HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : -26-2-1-1
1.The Story Of King Chitrabhanu-1.
In the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata, Bhishma, whilst resting on the bed of arrows and discoursing on Dharma, refers to the observance of Maha Shivaratri by King Chitrabhanu.
The story goes as follows.
Once upon a time King Chitrabhanu of the Ikshvaku dynasty, who ruled over the whole of Jambudvipa, was observing a fast with his wife, it being the day of Maha Shivaratri.
The sage Ashtavakra came on a visit to the court of the king.
The sage asked, “O king! why are you observing a fast today?”
King Chitrabhanu explained why.
He had the gift of remembering the incidents of his previous birth.
“At the time of death, I saw two messengers of Lord Shiva.
They were sent down to conduct my soul to the abode of Lord Shiva.
I learnt then for the first time of the great merit I had earned by the unconscious worship of Lord Shiva during the night of Shivaratri.
They told me that there was a Lingam at the bottom of the tree.
The leaves I dropped fell on the Lingam.
My tears which I had shed out of pure sorrow for my family fell onto the Lingam and washed it.
And I had fasted all day and all night.
Thus did I unconsciously worship the Lord."
To be continued .....