Celebrating your personal Mahashivratri
Is Shiva a human being?
Shiva is a principle, an energy field, a consciousness that permeates the entire universe. Shiva wasn’t a person who walked this Earth. Shiva cannot be limited by time as he is Mahakaal, the time of times.
Where do we find Shiva?
The seven layers of existence are body, breath, mind, intellect, memory, ego and Self. As we go deeper into these layers, they get more and more refined. Beyond the level of the Self lies cosmic intelligence and beyond the cosmic intelligence lies the very subtle prakriti in Shakti form. Beyond that lies Shiva or the Shiva tattva. The five elements which make up the human body are the manifestation of the subtle forces of the Shiva consciousness but in gross form.
Diving into a vastness
The shiva consciousness is extremely subtle and human intelligence is extremely gross. For the gross human intelligence to understand the subtle is impossible. It is only the subtle that has power over the gross. The only aim of the practitioners of yoga, meditation and the allied practices is to tap or dissolve into that shiva consciousness. We have no say over it because we’re beings of limited intelligence. We cannot access that subtle realm of consciousness through our limited intellect. So we have to wait for that power, that intelligence to shower its grace on us at a given time. Shivratri is that time. It is that night that gives us the rare opportunity to dissolve our limited identities and merge in the vastness that is Shiva.
The energy makes itself accessible on the night of shivratri but if we are in a gross state we may miss this opportunity. Hence the importance of preparation for this night that all devotees wait for. Eating light food, meditating, doing seva, and charity are all ways which will take away grossness from our consciousness, helping it go deeper and take a dip in the Shiva tattva. The generous vastness that has opened itself for us, might even let us dissolve some part of us in its limitlessness. This dissolution is what we call samadhi. Whenever we have experienced extreme bliss, joy or happiness from within, some dissolution has happened. Wherever there is celebration, know that the shiva principle has blossomed. You have attained Kailasa - a place where only celebration exists. The opposite is also true. When shiva tattva dawns in you, your life becomes a celebration.
It is also believed that it was on Shivratri that Shiva in all his splendour danced the tandava and brought down divine wisdom to human levels so that we could comprehend it easily.
A cosmic wedding
Some also believe that it was on Shivratri that Shiva and Parvati were married.
Honoring the savior
When the Gods and demons churned the Kshirsagar or the ‘Ocean of Milk’ to obtain ambrosia that lay at its depths, a pot of poison emerged. Lord Shiva consumed this poison, saving both the Gods and mankind. The poison lodged in the Lord’s throat, turning him blue. Shivratri is honoring the savior.
Taming the fury of the Ganga
As Ganga, the celestial river, descended from the heavens in full force, Lord Shiva caught her in his matted locks, and released her on the Earth in several streams. This prevented destruction on Earth. As a tribute to him, the shivalinga is bathed on this auspicious night
Your personal Shivratri
Shivratri can also be understood. as Shiva and Shakti coming together - Shiva as the father and Shakti as the mother. The coming together of both these divine energies results in sowing the seed of creation. At a grosser level, the same energies are represented by Surya and Chandra. In Jyotish (astrology), Surya represents the father and Chandra, the mother. Their coming together in a particular alignment is the cause for creation to happen constantly on planet Earth.
I would like to digress a little bit and share with you a very interesting piece of information.
The distance between the Earth and the Sun = 108 * Diameter of the Sun
In other words, we can put around 108 Suns between the Earth and the Sun.
The distance between the Earth and the Moon = 108* Diameter of the Moon.
About 108 Moons would fit between the Earth and the Moon.
The Sun, the Earth and the Moon existed 4.5 million years ago but there was no life on the Earth. About a billion years ago microbes started taking shape. 500 million years ago life started taking shape on Earth. What happened that life suddenly appeared?
The Moon, the mother, moved into the same 1080 vibrational frequency as the Sun. Their creative ratio is 1080 * the diameter of the Sun and that made life blossom on this Earth. This is constantly happening through the Sun and the Moon.
Why is Surya connected to your father and Chandra to your mother? Surya and Chandra are constantly creating on this planet through the energies in a man and a woman driving them to become pro-creators. This is how Surya and Chandra operate on planet Earth. This happens everywhere - from the plant kingdom to animals to humans.
At the time of your birth the Sun and Moon were in a certain position. When that alignment occurs again in the successive years, that is your real birthday according to the traditional Indian calendar. That is the day of your tithi birthday. That day need not necessarily coincide with your birth date according to the Gregorian calendar we also follow. The tithi birthday is your personal Shivratri. So it is very important that on your tithi birthday you should chant Om Namah Shivay, attend or perform Rudrapooja, be in meditation. In doing so, you give your consciousness access to your root, your recharge point. You amplify your consciousness and recharge yourself for the entire year.
While your birth date might be months and weeks away, let’s get ready to celebrate the Mahashivratri - the night that Shiva dances to lure you into himself.
Based on inputs from Ashutosh Chawla, Head, Jyotish and Vastu, Vaidic Dharma Sansthan.
Inputs from the wisdom talks by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar .
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