They sing and dance on this delightful day because Lord Shiva also dances heavenly dance of creation, preservation and destruction.
Music itself has been originated from the damaru (a musical instrument) of Lord Shiva. So the devotees of Lord Shiva spend the whole night reading the Shiva Purana and chanting Shiva bhajans.
The Mahashivaratri festival is related to this folk story too. A hunter whose name was Suswar, was compelled to spend the night on the branches of Bilwa tree on the auspicious occasion of Mahashivaratri without food.
So he wept bitterly on that night. His tears rolled down with withered leaves of the bilwa tree (in the Hindu Mythology Shiva is described as intimately associated with this tree). The devotees of Shiva tie to their pig-tails (Shikha) the Bel leaves because they are considered sacred and pious and pleasing to their favourite Lord. If he is invoked with these offerings then, he is supposed to be pleased soon. He assumed that his true devotee was worshipping him sincerely. Consequently he blessed the hungry hunter.
It is believed that he was born in a royal family in the next birth.
So, Mahashivaratri is considered the festival of rags to riches in true sense of the term because Lord Shiva is the all-seeing guardian-deity of Hindus.
He does not distinguish between pauper and prince devotees. He is a truly liberal, generous and purely democratic God of this universe. So he is very popular in this atomic age too. He is also easily pleased and satisfied immediately. So his devotees worship him whole heartedly on this auspicious occasion.
According to Vijayavati’s inscription at Suryaghat, Abhilekha Sangraha, Part I, Page 23 “Salutation to thee O! Siva Maheshwor (the great Lord of all) whose will is the cause of all this world along with whole cosmic order, wherein all the acts of creation, sustenance, growth, decadence and destruction take shape and the universe is bound to appear and disappear for ever.”
Our country is widely known as Pashupatik shetra (as the abode of Lord Shiva). The lines quoted above support this statement. Literally Pashu means the human being or individual soul (Jivatma) and Pati means Lord.
The Shiva philosophy has deep influence on the social system of the Hindu community in Nepal. He is the supreme God of all dances and dramas. Drum (Damaru) is considered as the instrument par excellence.
It has been originated from the first word om. His cosmic dance (tandav) has made him the Natraja( masters of all dances). Thus it is considered that the beginning of all arts and sciences is accredited to Shiva. Medical science also owes to him because Ayurveda is originally related to Parada (mercury) and Gandhaka (sulphur) to Shiva and Parvati.
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