Today is the celebration of Maha Shivaratri (the Great Night of Shiva) in the Vedic tradition. It is always celebrated the night before in reverence of Lord Shiva. Right now, as I am writing this article, I can still feel the buzz with a high energy after a magnificent late night discourse and a powerful Shiva Kundalini Dhyan meditation by Paramahamsa Nithyananda.
So what’s the significance of Shivaratri?
Shiva means eternal auspiciousness, auspiciousness without reason or cause. When something exists without cause or reason, it is eternal (Nithya). According to the Vedic purana (a recording of mystical happening), today is the day when Shiva (also known as Mahadeva) assumed form from his formless space, meaning, he entered into the space of form from the formless. He created Brahma (Lord of Creation) and Vishnu (Lord of Sustenance) by empowering Brahma to create and Vishnu to maintain. All the conflicts in life happen because of these 2 forces: creativity and sustenance i.e. whether we should put our energy into creating/expansion or maintaining/sustenance. It is the tussle between creativity (creator) and maintaining (maintenance engineer). Whenever there was a conflict between these two forces, Shiva has to resolve the conflict by teaching them the truth that neither knowledge nor wealth can give the ultimate liberation. It was recorded that on this very day of Shivaratri, Mahadeva assumed the form which can be perceived by Brahma and Vishnu. He appeared as an eternal light shaft as Arunachala (a sacred hill in Southern part of India). Hence, on this very day, there will be intense Cosmic energy radiating on planet earth.
There are multiple qualities of Shiva that you may like to know – for example, whenever he sits in silence he puts people into enlightenment, sometimes he appears as Adi Guru (the first spiritual guru) under the banyan tree as Dakshinamurthy to give knowledge and dispel darkness; whenever he dances as Nataraja – the cosmic dancer, he puts people into bliss; he destroys all negativities in the form of Kalabairava (Lord of Time & Space); when he decides to show compassion and save the world, he can take any poison and swallow it, risking even his own body. He can destroy even death, Yama (Lord of death) such that he is beyond death.
The grandeur with which he expresses the experience, he showers on people who even remember him, Sadhashiva, the ultimate Guru , ultimate Yogi, ultimate King, Ishwara (one who gives the experience of Samadhi), ultimate Leader, ultimate Bliss, ultimate compassion, ultimate life. Despite all these qualities, he is very easy to approach and easily pleased. Nothing much is required to please him. That is why he is called Bole Baba, it means “easily pleased”. He is an extraordinary being who is beyond our physical plane. He enters the physical plane as a master in the body for people to experience all the auspicious qualities experienced as life and not just as a belief. He is the charmer of the Kundalini (inner potential energy) energy which is depicted as a snake or serpent. He can play with the Kundalini snake which resides in every being. In each one of us, there is an inner space where Shiva (Cosmic Light) is happening, also referred to as Atma Guru (higher Self or inner Guru) which can simply transform any negativity into positivity.
The best introduction you can get about you to you is from Shaiva Tradition. In Shaivism, where Shiva is worshipped, this is the lineage which gives you the right context about you, the right introduction to yourself. The most important person you need to meet in your life is YOU because it is only with the right context about you that you will solve all the conflicts in your life. Mahadeva is embodiment of Liberated Thinking. He does not want even himself to be an obstacle for you to achieve that ultimate liberation. That is why he starts with Shivoham. You are introduced to yourself as Mahadeva himself, your initiation starts with the great truth: “Shivoham”! “I am Shiva!”. Wherever the experience of “I exist”, the “I” is experienced as Shiva. Only a devotee or a follower of Mahadeva can declare “Shivoham” because he goes on creating more and more Mahadevas! He does not introduce you to you as a sinner or a slave or a follower. Only Vedic Tradition has the courage to declare, even the concept of God is a stepping-stone for enlightenment! The concept of Shiva is just to experience the original non-dualistic state, the space of completion. Shiva is also a stepping-stone for Shivoham. He is the Being who resides in the space of eternal completion, Nithya Poornathwa, the complete completion. To celebrate his existence and his presence, his grace is required for him to happen in your life, not otherwise.
Shiva is too vast to even grasp as he is the embodiment of thousands of auspicious qualities (Ananda Kalyana Guna). Here are 7 qualities which I picked for us to meditate on today:
- Beyond fantasies. He is the energy which burns the Manmatha (fantasy) before marriage. He destroys fantasy and then gets married to Devi, he first establishes himself and then marries Devi.
- Beyond fear. Not only fearless, even fear fears him. A being never touched by time (kala), time fears him.
- Without worries. There are 3 confusions which creates the 3 kinds of worries – worries related to past, worries related to future and the possibility of present. He burns all these 3 worries.
- Established in causeless love. Being established in unconditional love, he is constantly sharing and giving. By his extraordinary love and giving nature, he has given half of his very being to Devi, he is the eternal giver.
- Unique. Mahadeva is an expression of unique energy which is beyond comparison.
- Beyond ego. He is just a simple innocent being who is easily available and easily pleased. You can connect with him just by remembrance.
- Being in eternal fulfilment. He is constantly in the state of eternal completion, eternal bliss – Nithyananda.
To experience ourselves as the pure Cosmic Light, we just need to cognise this one great formula without resistance and acceptance. Any resistance will make us powerless whereas any acceptance creates laziness in us. For one month, just experiment with this technique of “Shivoham” playfully to all your incompletions. You will see the power of this small fire in burning all the huge load of incompletions. Then you will experience the space of completion that gives you enormous courage to jump in and disappear into the space where the ‘I” does not exist (Namaha means not me, not mine). Simply you will be celebrating the Cosmic Light in you and experiencing an explosion of waves of bliss within. Namaste! 🙂