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Even though the celebration of Maha Shivaratri is attributed to several tales in the great Sanatan tradition the one tale fitting in this context is the Samudra Manthan, or churning of the ocean of milk.

This happened, when the Devas and Asuras were churning the ocean of milk to obtain amrita (drink of immortality), they came across many unusual substances including a deadly poison. Terrified, all approached Lord Shiva for help, and out of compassion for all living beings, Mahadev swallowed the poison. The poison was so strong that it turned his neck to blue. As a mean to show their gratitude the Devas and Asuras took turn performing various dances and playing music to amuse and entertain Mahadev all night. As the day broke out, Lord Shiva, pleased with their devotion blessed them all.

 With the following Shlokas wishing all an auspicious Maha Shivaratri

Om Tryambakam Yajamahe Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva Bandhanan Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat

Offering prayers at the Uma Maheshswari Temple on K R Road in Shastry Nagar, Thyagarajanagar along with Corporator N R Ramesh on the occasion of Mahashivaratri.