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Mahashivratri, Shiva & his devotee Gurudruha

An interesting story associated with Mahashivratri and Shiva....


Once on a night of Shivratri, a poor man named Gurudruha went hunting to feed his family. He climbed up a bel tree, beneath which stood a shivalinga, and aimed at a deer. His movement made a few of the bel leaves to drop on the shivalinga below. It also made a few drops of water fall (from the vessel he was carrying) on the shivalinga. And unknowingly, he had managed to worship Shiva!

The resulting noise made the deer aware of his presence. It then requested Gurudruha to allow it to meet its family for a last time after which it would happily come to him. Although reluctant, he let the deer go.

This entire incident was repeated two more times with two more deers through the night. Eventually, he saw all three deers walk towards him. He took his position again to aim at the deers, and yet again worshipped the shivalinga for the fourth time in the night!

This coupled with the unknowing fast (carried in the night), made Gurudruha an enlightened person, and he let all the three deers go! Shiva was extremely pleased at his actions and blessed him to serve Rama in his next birth as a Nishada, and then attain moksha!

The 14th night of the lunar month – the night before the new moon – is the darkest night of the month and referred to as Shivratri. The Shivratri that takes place in the Hindu month of Falgun (Feb-March) is the most auspicious and called Mahashivratri.

While one legend says that this is the day ehen Shiva performs the Tandava (heavenly dance), another indicates it to be the night when Shiva and Parvati got married.

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