Today, Swamiji narrated 3-4 stories that signify the importance of this day. But he first underlined one important distinction about this day that it was a ‘vrata'(vow/solemn ritual) and not a ‘habba'(festival/ceremony).

The following four stories have been ascribed to this day:

The gods and the demons churned the ocean of milk using mountain meru as the spindel and snake vasuki as the rope. As the began to churn, snake vasuki puked out an ocean of poison. This poison had to be prevented from destroying one and all. Lord Shiva came to their rescue and drank all the poison. This was the day on which he drank the poison and saved the world.

Once the gods, all of them, got bored of their work and wanted some entertainment. One of them got this idea that Shiva being a great dancer; watching him dance could enliven them. So, they all request Shiva and he obliges by performing tandava nritya. It was this day that he performed. The connecting story here is that: Shiva first played his drum(the ‘damaru’) some 14 times (or 24?) . Each sound of these 14 is a sutra for Sanskrit language (grammar?), collectively known as Maheshwara sutras.

Once Brahma and Vishnu gave vent to their ego’s and started arguing as to who is the greater among them. Suddenly, there appeared a shiva linga one end of which reached the skies. A voice from the heavens declares that whoever reaches the end of the linga will be the greatest. It so happens that after long years too the ends are not found by either of them and they are humbled. It was Shiva who had created the linga and the day was mahashivaratri.

I forget the last story; i am writing it after about a week that i heard the lecture.

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