Sunday, September 21, 2008

Maha Shivaratri

Maha Shivaratri falls on the 13th day of Krishana Paksha
of Maagha Maasa (February-March). It is a night of fasting and prayer in
honour of Lord Shiva in His aspect of destroying sins and bad things. The
night is called Shivamaya, i.e. a night to spend with thoughts of Lord Shiva.
As the Lord of the universe He is full of compassion and only punishes out
of Love and for the good of mankind. It is on this great night that Lord
Shiva redeems the world. He swallows poisons and sins to save His devotees.
During this holy night the devotees of Lord Shiva fast, meditate, pray and
sing the glory of the Saviour. Whatever is offered to Lord Shiva with devotion
is pleasing to Him. On this night He showers blessings abudantly.

The Symbol of Lord Shiva, is the Shiva Lingam, it is a form to represent the formless and it is worshiped with great splendour during Maha Shivaratri. This Lingam is the symbol of the one who is All - Pure, All -Perfect, All - Bliss; Lord Shiva. When contemplated with adoration it becomes a mirror of the soul. It becomes a cosmic window that opens to allow the devotees to touch the All - Pure One.

The Shiva Lingam in the Ashram was found many years ago and named Sachchidanandishwara by Sri Swamiji. During Maha Shivaratri the devotees themselves can do water abishekam to this Lingam with water collected from the holy rivers of India. It is followed by Ekadasha Rudrabishekam (pouring different ingredients on the sacred Lingam: milk, honey, ghee, curds, coconut water, sugar, flowers and bay leaves). Beautiful decoration of the Lingam with flowers, vibhuti, sandalpaste, turmeric, kumkum, rudrakshas, butter etc. crown the abishekas. Everything has a deep meaning. During the ceremonies you can hear the huge crowd of devotees chanting the famous Shiva-mantra:

Om Namah Shivaya...
Om Namah Shivaya...

A memorable part of Shivaratri is Sri Swamiji's Agni Puja, the worship of the Fire God, which He has inherited from his ancestors and has been performing for many years. Sri Swamiji does Puja to the Firegod standing in the pit (Homa Kunda) unmindful of the leaping flames which surround Him. The flames are powerless before Sri Swamiji; they cannot even touch a hair on His crown. It is a case of spiritual fire conquering material fire, and it benefits the whole world!After performing Agni puja, His Holiness brings out Shivalingams and other forms of deities from the fire pit, which are the prasadam (gifts) of Lord Agni. These sacred objects provide the basis for Sri Swamiji's predictions and advice to His devotees for the coming year, as well as His long term forecasts.

1 comment:

avagdro said...

Thanks there for sharing.Great to know that.Wish you and all a tremendous joyful MahaShivaratri.

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