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Celebration of Mahasivarathiri around the world - and the importance of mahasivarathiri

According to the great research works from Japanese scholar Shri Hajime Nakamura: Indian god that had played a significant part in the religious life of the Japanese people, is Maheshvara (Makeishura-ten), otherwise called Shiva of whom various forms have been conceived in Japan.

He is depicted as having two, four, eight and eighteen arms and riding a white Ox. Mahakala (Daikoku), the terrific god (another form of Shiva), whose images abound in the temples of Tibet and China, enjoys an exhalted position as a household deity in Japan whose association with wealth and prosperity gave rise to a strange but interesting custom known as Fuku-nusubi (fortune-stealing). This custom started with the belief that he who stole divine figures (gods and goddesses) was assured of good fortune, if not caught in the act of stealing. In tdue course of time stealing of divine images became so common practice in Japan that the Toshi-no-ichi or the ‘year-end-market’ held in the Asakusa Kannon temple became the main venue of the sale and disposal of such images by the fortune-seekers. Many small stalls were opened where articles including images of Daikoku or Mahakala were sold on the eve of New Year celebrations.

In ancient times, the Japanese warriors went to war in helmets bearing Sanskrit bijas as benediction for victory. Such helmets can still be seen at the Reihokan Museum at Koyasan. The Tokonoma or alcoves in Japanese parlor often have a smiling image of Daikoku or Mahakala, clad in Japanese robes, and standing on two bags of rice representing affluence. The Japanese also maintain the Bijaksara of Mahakala as a Siddham-nagari monogram. The traditional pilgrims, used to climb the holy Mount Ontake wearing tenugui on white Japanese scarves with the sacred mantra Om.