Insights from timeless wisdom to help you become happier, more successful & connected
Excerpts from the wisdom talk shared by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Maha Shivaratri, 2021 at The Art of Living International Center in Bengaluru, India
Be awake and repose in yourself. Shivratri is when you repose in your being. Night gives you comfort. However frustrated you are, when you sleep, you’re not touched by this frustration. There’s no fear in sleep. It relieves you and comforts you. When you’re awake we are so caught up in so many things and when we’re tired, we fall asleep and get into inertia. When you consciously repose in your being, you encounter that which is magnificent. That which is universal. That which has no boundaries. Shiva is beyond time and yet he’s called the grand time. You feel the timelessness.
Shiva is beyond time, he’s Mahakaal. Shiva is beauty, but you can’t hold on to him. Shiva is beauty, but you can’t see him. He’s nothing yet everything. He’s formless yet he’s in every form. He’s the truth, but all of this Mithya is in him. He who’s in every form, in everyone, that is Shiva.
The power of surrender
When you meditate what do you feel? When you take a dip in the emptiness that you are - that emptiness is full of all glory, all bliss. We get so fried by our desires and fears and our anxiety and wants and dislikes we need to rest. That rest is what meditation is. Meditation is that which leads to Shiva Tattva, Shiva principle. For a moment you see the whole world as ephemeral, as temporary. The dream nature of everything lifts you to the reality that you are. The way is devotion.
Divinity accepts everything. You have guilt, offer it. You have thorns or flowers, they belong to the divine. Anything that you hold on within you, know that it is not yours, it belongs to Shiva. It all belongs to Shiva.
With surrender, you experience saamipiya. Shiva accepts everything. In life wanted, unwanted things happen. There’s happiness, there’s sorrow, anger, greed, lust - all of them arise. We get entangled in it and get frustrated. Don’t try to get rid of them. Surrender them. Surrender your good and bad qualities. When you hold on to your good qualities you become arrogant. When you hold on to bad qualities, then you get stuck in low self-esteem.
The essence of Shivratri
Shiva is personal yet universal. Shiva is beauty yet unseen. Shiva is every particle yet what we don’t see is also Shiva. Everything that we see is Shiva.
It’s the night that gives you the vision of infinity. In the daytime you can’t see infinity. In the night you can see how many universes are there. The glory of the universe is visible in the night. In the same way, the night takes you in its lap and comforts you, soothes you. Same with samadhi. When you go into meditation it brings relief to you, uplifts you. That’s what Shivaratri is all about.
A mystical quality
When you say Om Namah Shivaya, all the lack will disappear from you, fears will fly away, and tiredness goes away. You are left with bliss and pure bliss and that is Shiva. Shiva is Sat (the truth), Chit is consciousness and Anand is bliss.
The yogi finds it so obvious and the one who is not a yogi finds it just hearsay or a story. But a yogi knows it all and will say, ‘Yes, that is correct’. You are all yogis. ‘Shivo hum’, ‘Shivo hum’, ‘I am Shiva’, ‘I am Shiva’, this “I” is nothing but Shiva. He believes in the essence of ‘Sarvam Sivamayam Jagat’ means everything here is filled with Shiva, is soaked with Shiva, is a manifestation of Shiva.
The most important thing to remember
These two feelings “Everything is Shiva” and “I am Shiva”, that’s it, done. So, for you to go deep in meditation, know that you are loved, Shiva loves you so dearly. You are loved and you are lovely because you are made by Shiva so you have to be lovely, there is no choice.
However you have been created, the creator is responsible.
However you are, whatever role you are playing has been given by Shiva and so it has got to be lovely, it has got to be beautiful.
You are loved and you are lovely and see how the mind becomes free with these two understandings.