Many Lord Shiva devotees do not know that there are few things that must not be offered to Lord Shiva. Thought worshiping Hindu Gods and Goddesses with flower offerings is not only considered auspicious but has its own importance too. Many people are great devotee of Lord Shiva as they know He is one of the supreme God and one may get huge benefits by worshiping Lord Shiva on Sawan Somwar (Sawan Monday) and Mahashivratri. Many know that Lord Shiva’s favorite plant is Bael, and also likes bhaang, dhatura, milk, sandal, and ash. However, there are a few things that you must not offer.
Here is list of all the things forbidden to offer to Lord Shiva.
1. Tulsi or Basil Leaves
According to Shiva Purana offering Tulsi on a Shivalinga is strictly forbidden.
Reason behind why Tulsi is not offered to Lord shiva
According to Purana, Tulsi is the daughter of dharmaraja (god of righteousness. Since her youthful days she was a great devotee of narayana (lord vishnu). Once she saw Lord Ganesha mediating and fell in love with him. But he was following bachelar (Brhamacharya) so, Ganesha politely refused Tulsi for marriage. Tulsi took this as an insult and she became very angry and cursed Lord Ganesha, in return Ganesha cursed Tulsi that she will be married to an asura (demon) and then under a blessings from the sages (or gods) will become a plant.
On the other hand, there existed a demon or Asura named Jalandhar (shankhachuda). Jalandhar was married to a woman named Vrinda. She was wholeheartedly devoted to her husband and was a truly a virtuous wife. This was the biggest complication that no God was able to kill the demon because of her prayers to Lord Vishnu, which kept him safe at all times and situation. Finally, finding no solution to the problem the Gods decided to ask Lord Shiva for help.
Shiva and Vishnu plotted against the demon and his wife, even though Vishnu was heartbroken to cheat on his biggest and ardent devotee – While Shiva and Jalandhar were engrossed in a battle, Vishnu transfigured himself as Jalandhar, Vrinda’s virtuousness was broken as soon as she touched Vishnu thinking he was his husband. However, upon touching him she immediately knew he wasn’t her husband Jalandhar and asked him to show his real form. Upon Vishnu revealing his true identity, Vrinda broke down completely and cursed Vishnu to turn into a stone.
While, on the other hand, Jalandhar had become powerless and Shiva then killed him ending the misery of Gods and Sages alike. As Vrinda was given a boon to be reborn as Holy Basil, she denied Shiva to be ever worshipped with any part of her. It is for this reason that Shivalinga should never be offered Tulsi; while worshipping Vishnu is incomplete without her.
2. Ketaki Flower
The flowers of Ketaki highly fragrant and are even used for making aromatic oils and perfumes, but they are not used as offerings to Gods.
Reason behind why Ketaki flower is not offered to Lord Shiva
At the beginning of time in Cosmos, Vishnu and Brahmā approached a huge Shiva linga and set out to find its beginning and end. Vishnu advanced to seek the end and Brahma the beginning. Taking the form of a boar, Vishnu began digging downwards into the earth, while Brahma took the form of a swan and began flying upwards. However, neither could find his appointed destination. Vishnu, satisfied, came up to Shiva and bowed down to him as a swarupa of Brahman. Brahmā did not give up so easily. As he was going up, he saw a ketaki flower, dear to Shiva, floating down. Ketaki told Shiva that she had been placed at the top of the Shiva linga. Brahma’s ego forced him to ask the flower to bear false witness about Brahmā’s discovery of Shiva’s beginning. When Brahmā told his tale, Shiva, the all-knowing, was angered by the former’s ego. Shiva thus cursed him that no being in the three worlds will worship him. The flower of Ketaki, for bearing false witness, was cursed to be never used for the worship of Shiva.
3. Champaka Flower
Champaka, also known as Golden Champa or Yellow Champak is not used in the worship of Lord Shiva.
Reason behind why Champaka flower is not offered to Lord Shiva.
According to Shiv Purana, in ancient times, on the way to Shiva Temple in Gokarna stood a beautiful Champaka tree with full of flowers. Sage Narada once on his way to temple noticed this tree and admired it. Suddenly he found a Brahmin priest nearby. He came to pluck the flowers but on seeing Sage Narada he refrained from doing it. When enquired by Sage Narada the Brahmin told that he was on his way to a nearby village and just stood their enjoying the Champaka tree.
After Narada left for the temple, the Brahmin plucked the flowers in a basket and hid it. On return from the temple, Sage Narada again met the Brahmin and this time he told that he was going home. But suspicious about this behavior, Sage Narada went and asked the Champaka tree did anyone pluck your flowers. The Champa tree said no. But still Sage Narada had his doubts so he went back to the temple and found that the Shivling was covered with Champaka flowers.
Sage Narada asked a man who was meditating nearby as to who offered this flowers to Lord Shiva. The man told that an evil Brahmin daily comes and showers the Shivling with Champa flowers. Lord Shiva is pleased with this act and due to His blessings the Brahmin has become very powerful in the King’s court and now harasses poor people. The Sage Narada went to Lord Shiva and asked why he is helping the bad man. Shiva told that I cannot deny a devotee who worships me with Champaka flowers. Sage Narada went back to the Champaka tree and cursed it for lying to him. He said that the champa flowers will never be accepted in worship of Lord Shiva. He also cursed the evil Brahmin to be born as demon and will attain only moksha when Lord Ram kills him.
4. Coconut Water
You can offer coconut fruit to the deity but do not offer coconut water.
Reason behind why coconut water is not offered to Lord Shiva
There is no as such story listed in Puarana, but yes, it is not recommended to offer coconut water to Lord Shiva, especially on Shivaratri. Reason behind this is that everything offered this day is considered as nirmalaya, and cannot be consumed and, as consuming coconut water after being offered on deities is considered as mandatory to drink, it is therefore not offered to Lord Shiva.
5. Kumkum and Sindoor
Offering Saffron or Kumkum on the Shivalinga is prohibited.
Reason behind Kumkum and Sindoor not offered to Lord Shiva
Though the devotees can use Kumkum and sindoor for the idols of Goddess Parvati (wife of Shiva) and Lord Ganesha (son of shiva). Not only on Shivratri or Sawan but also in general, it is prohibited to offer on lord Shiva. The reason is that Lord Shiva is a recluse, and recluse people put ash on their forehead. And it is a universal fact that Shiva puts ash, not Kumkum. Also Kumkum is applied by married women for the long life of their husbands. Lord Shiva is considered to be the “destroyer” hence Kumkum is not used for his puja.
6. Haldi (Turmeric)
Haldi is also one of the items, strictly prohibited to be offered to Lord Shiva.
Reasons behind why Haldi is not offered to Lord Shiva
Though Haldi is offered to most of the Hindu Gods andGoddess, but haldi is one of the holy items, which is never offered to Shiva. Reason being this item is used for enhancing the beauty and the deity being a saint, worldly pleasures have been given up a long time back by Lord Shiva. So turmeric is feminine in nature and is considered a cosmetic product for females while Shivlinga represents masculinity, hence it is not offered to Lord Shiva.
7. Circuit of Shivlinga
Completing circuit of Shivling is forbidden.
Reason why one should not complete circuit of Shivlinga
According to ShivPuran, you should never take whole rounds of a Shivling. Always take a half round and always return to the place where you started. If you take a full-round it is taken as blame.
8. Bronze Pot
Copper pot is considered auspicious in Hindu religion, so while offering milk or curd to Shiva, use of bronze pot is prohibited, instead we can use copper pot.
Reason why not to use bronze pot while offering milk curd to Shiva
While offering milk or curd to Shivlinga, stay away from bronze pots. It should always be in a copper pot. Reason is that it is equivalent to pouring wine as per some passed down theories. Also, do not let your fingers touch the water, milk, and ghee because the touching of nails makes these things inauspicious.
9. Infected Bael Paan
Anything infected is forbidden to offer Lord Shiva, we use leaves and flowers to offer lord Shiva but one should keep in mind not to use infected Bael leaves.
Reason why infected or cut Bael leaves are not offered to Lord Shiva
Bael is one of the most sacred trees. It has a lot of medicinal properties and is known to be a cooling agent. Bael paan is his favorite but it should not be cut, hole, or insect-eaten when given as an offering.