VEDA conducts an elaborate Mahashivaratri event every year and this year is no exception. Whats special this year:
Shankhabhisheka, an ablution (abhisheka) of water from sacred tirthas through 108 or 1008 Shankhas, is a time-honored tradition in many temples, thereby revealing the exalted status of the sacred Shankha in our tradition. Water poured in the conch is considered holy and hence the Shankha is called “Pavitra Patram” because the Shankha is never affected by the “Pancha Bhoothas” or the five elements.
Significance of Shankha
Man’s skeleton is covered by skin whereas in a Shankha, the soft tissue (skin) is covered by a hard skeleton (shell). Just like the shankha becomes pure when its impure tissue gets ruptured, man becomes cleansed when his inner impurities are removed.
Origin of Shankhabhisheka
Our traditional practices bear references from our Puranas and Itihasas.
1. Chandra, the Moon God, married Daksha Prajapati’s 27 daughters (stars) but had shown favoritism only to Rohini, which angered the others. In response to their complaint, Daksha cursed that Chandra’s glow would wane. Soon Chandra’s bright glow diminished. Chandra prayed to Shiva, who took pity on him and engulfed Chandra in His matted hair. Chandra poured forth his “Amritha Dhaara” on Shiva. Shiva was extremely pleased at this ablution of the cool waters of Chandra and blessed Chandra to gain his glow back every 15 days.
Water poured in Shankha or the conch is supposed to be cool, like the showers of Chandra. Shastraas vouch for the fact that such a Shankhabhisheka cools Shiva and pleases Him.
2. Tirukkadavur Sthala Puranam explains the history of Shankhabhisheka. King Muchukunda Chola wanted to visit the temple of Amritagadeshwara in Tirukkadayur. On his way to the temple, he took bath at the sacred temple pond of Tirumeignanam (also known as Tirukkadavur Mayanam), not realizing that the water in the pond was only for Lord Shiva. As a result of this apachara, he was afflicted by a serious skin disease. To expiate, he performed a Shankhabhisheka with 1008 Shankhas, with waters from 7 sacred rivers on a Karthika Somavara day to Lord Shiva and was cured of the disease. Since then, Shankhabhisheka to Lord Shiva is believed to cure all kinds of diseases and confer all kinds of prosperity.
3. A sacred Shankha emerges from the temple tank of Tirukkazhukundram, (near Chennai) once every 12 years! Sage Markandeya is said to have performed a Shankhabhisheka to Lord Shiva with the first Shankha that emerged from the tank.
One shankhabhishekha yields ten-fold benefits of a regular abhisheka.
Devotees are invited to sponsor the event and partake in the blessings of Lord Shiva.
Due to COVID restrictions, devotees are requested to donate towards sponsoring the services and NOT to bring prasadam or other items.
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