Lord Shiva is considered as the most divine among Hindu gods.
Hence he is given the name as “maha dev” i.e. the greatest God.
He is said to have no birth and also does not need other divine support for his excellence.
Shiva is the one who gives blessings to wishes of the devotees faster than any other gods.
His son Lord Ganesha is considered to be the one eligible for the first worship. So devotees during any form of Hindu puja or rituals offer their prayer to Lord Ganesha.
Lord Shiva is also called by many other names like
Trinethra = Three-eyed one (3rd one in the forehead)
Neelakanta= Due to the blue neck (It is said he consumed poison and stored it in his neck)
Jatadhara= As he has long hair.
How to pray Lord Shiva
Lord Shiva is the one who is considered as the god residing in burial grounds indicating his disregard for the worldly pleasures.
Unlike other gods, he needs no ornaments or gold for decoration.
Not even beautiful cloth is required. Just plain white ash is sufficient to pray effectively.
The way he has become the god and his story of emergence can be found in the book Shiva mahapuran.
For one to get the desires or wishes blessed he needs to pray with a composed mind and pleasant heart.
1. Visit his temple on every Monday with a clean mind and body to pray.
2. If possible wear a suitable rudraksha bead, to gain instant bliss of shiva. Wearing a rudraksha bead is like carrying shiva with you every where. It is believed to prolong your life span (avoids untimely death), overcome disease, gives you peace of mind and also success.
3. Recite Maha Mrutunjay manthr for as many times as possible. This is the spell to overcome fatal diseases and untimely death.
“Om Tryambakam yajamahe sugandhim pushhtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva bandhanan mrityor mukshiya maamritath.”
4. Apply a tilak of vibudhi or basm on the forehead during the temple visit.
5. Keep chanting lord as “Om Namah Shivaya” continuously in your route to temple and back.
6. Perform worship as abhisekam to shiva linga by bhasma, water
7. Always worship Lord Ganesha before praying to Lord Shiva. He is supposed to remove any obstacles in the course of prayer and blessings thereon.
8. It will be a good sign to light a deep or Jyoti as it is a prayer to lord shakti the other form of goddess Parvathi the wife of Lord Shiva.
9. If possible offer jilledu flowers (Madar Tree, Gigantic-Swallow-Wort, Mudar, Aak) for Shiva puja.
Both bilwa and jilledu are the ones which can be found in the nearby farms or forest. It is more auspicious to get from the natural source than buying from a shop.
10. If possible visit any one of the jyotirlingas.
11. If the prayer is on Monday carry some prasad to the temple. If possible distribute to the people there.
Who should worship Lord Shiva?
1. Those with chronic diseases or disorders to get rid or minimize the suffering. Even the untimely death is prevented by Lord Shiva blessing.
2.Those desirous of getting a baby by proper carriage if there are repeated abortions before.
3. Those willing to achieve spiritual progress and enlightenment.
4. Those who wish to achieve high goals in life can worship Sada Shiva.
5. Shiva god story is quite interesting that he was in love and married. So he might even bless lovers.
6. Those who are having weak or troublesome moon in their Vedic astrology chart. In general pundits advice them to wear a pearl gemstone. But praying to god Shiva and goddess Parvathi will be more beneficial. Even they may not require to wear a pearl gemstone.
How to worship Lord Shiva at home
1. Do a regular prayer to Shiva lingam at home during the early morning and also evenings every day.
2. Wash the shiv linga and apply vibhuti or bhasm.
3. Light a deep, Incense sticks, also known as agarbathi can be light besides.
4. Recite “Namah Shiva” a few times.
5. On Mondays especially offer milk or any sweet made with milk to the lord.
Lord Shiva is one of the most sought-after Hindu gods as witnessed by the number of temples all over the world. He is also said to have incarnated as lord hanuman during Ramayan.
If are not a believer of Shiva or you have doubts like is god real, then go for a deal with Shiva, like ask him for something and say will go for his prayer if it happens. This might help you overcome doubts about the presence of God.
For more story on Shiva, you can go through Shiva Purana or Understanding Shiva. Even there is a Hindi video episode on youtube by TV channel Life OK as Devon Ke Dev Mahadev and Hara Hara Maha dev on other regional languages.