Mahashivratri festival this year on 18 February 2023. According to the scriptures, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married on this day. According to another belief, Lord Shiva appears as Jyotirlinga on this day. According to religious belief, fasting, puja and ablution on Mahashivratri removes all the problems related to life and brings happiness and prosperity to the family. But conch is never used in the worship of Lord Shiva, besides offering Ketaki flowers to Bholenath is also forbidden.
According to the Shiva Purana there was a mighty demon called Sankhachu. Shankhachu was the son of Daityaram Dambha. After a long time no child was born in Daityaraja Dambha’s house, he performed severe penance for Lord Vishnu. Pleased with the penance, Vishnu appeared. Shri Vishnu asked for a boon, then Dambha asked for a boon of a mighty son who would be invincible to the three worlds. Tahastu said Shri Hari. Then a son was born to Dambha, whose name was Shankhachu. Shankhachud performed severe penance for Sri Brahma at Pushkar and pleased him. Brahma asked for a boon, then Shankhachud asked for a boon that would make him invincible to the gods. Brahma blessed him and gave him the armor of Lord Krishna. At the same time Brahma ordered Shankhachu to marry Dharmadhvaja’s daughter Tulsi.
On the order of Brahma, Tulsi and Shankhachud got married. Having obtained the boon of Brahma and Vishnu, the demon Shankhachud established ownership in the three worlds. Then the devas, distressed and alarmed, sought help from Vishnu, but he himself had blessed Dambha with such a son, so he prayed to Shiva. Then Lord Shiva decided to remove the sorrow of the gods. But even Lord Shiva could not succeed in killing him due to the Patibrata religion of Sri Krishna Kabacha and Tulsi, then Vishnu assumed the form of Brahmin and accepted his Sri Krishna Kabacha as a gift from the demon king. Then he tricked Tulsi by assuming the form of a conch shell. On that occasion Shiva killed the conch shell with his trident and the conch shell was born from its bones. As Sankhachu was a devotee of Vishnu, conch water is very dear to Lakshmi-Vishnu and provision is made to offer conch water to all deities. But since Shiva killed him. Hence conch water is said to be forbidden to Shiva. For this reason, water is not offered to Shiva with a conch shell.
According to the Shiva Purana, Lord Shiva himself abandoned the Ketaki flower from his puja. There is a reason behind this. According to mythology, once there was a dispute between Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu as to who was the stronger of the two. Shiva had to decide the dispute. A Jyotirlinga emerged from Lord Shiva’s maya. Shiva said that whoever between Brahma and Vishnu would tell the beginning or the end of this Jyotirlinga, would be called elder. Brahma decided to go down to Jyotirlinga and search for its beginning and Vishnu went up to search for the end. After a long time Brahmaji saw that a Ketaki flower had also come with him.
Brahma approached Lord Shiva with the Ketaki flower to lie. After this Brahma claimed to know the origin of Jyotirlinga. Vishnu on the other hand said that he did not know the end of Jyotirlinga. To prove his truth, Brahma got the Ketaki flower to bear false witness, but Shiva knew all the truth. While cutting off one of Brahma’s heads for lying, he asked the Ketaki flower to be excluded from his puja.