Saturday, Sep 22 2018
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MAHA SHIVARATHRI - 9 FEBRUARY 2004
My humble pranams at the Lotus feet of Swami. Sai Ram Uncles, Aunties, Gurus, brothers and sisters. My topic for today is the significance of Maha Shivarathri. Shivaratri or Maha Shivaratri is the celebration to worship, honour and pay obeisance to Lord Shiva. The occasion is celebrated as His birthday and it is the first Hindu festival of the lunar year. This is a most auspicious event, for it is the only period that Shiva makes His divine descent and incarnates on earth. Shivaratri literally means "Shiva's night" therefore, what is celebrated as His birthday is really Shiv Jayanti, as jayanti means 'birthday'. The purpose of Lord Shiva's descent and incarnation is primarily to replace the old, sorrowful and vicious iron-aged world with a new golden-aged world of peace, purity and prosperity. His aim and objective is to assist souls to achieve the qualities and attributes of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Narayan through purification.
Who is Lord Shiva? Lord Shiva is God, the Supreme Soul . He is the only Soul that is not subjected to birth and death or reincarnation. It is for this reason He remains ever pure. Lord Shiva, the Supreme Soul, is a tiny point of light, full of conscient energy, and is oval-shaped. The oval shape is the original form of the Shiva-lingams that represent Lord Shiva as depicted by the artists and sculptors.
What does Lord Shiva teach us? Lord Shiva imparts the secrets of the Creator, and the cycle of the creation. He teaches the knowledge of the Gita, and the understanding of the faculties of the soul, namely, the mind and the intellect. In summary, He teaches Gyan and Yoga, both of which are necessary and essential for control of the mind and purification of the intellect. The method of purification is to imbibe this Godly knowledge, to inculcate the divine virtues and to do intense tapasya. Purification of the soul is achieved by having purity in thoughts, words, actions, relationships and connections. The seed of all actions is your thoughts and so the most important aspect of purification is to have absolute control of your mind. One must practice purity such that there is purity in body, mind and wealth. There is purity in how you walk, how you sit, how you talk, how you eat. There must be purity in all your actions. Lord Shiva performs the role of Father, Teacher and Satguru. As Father, He gives you the unlimited inheritance, as Teacher, He gives you knowledge and as Satguru, He shows you the direction. He is the unlimited Father.
Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shankar are the three divine aspects of God representing the Creator, the Sustainer and Destroyer of evil respectively. Similarly, Goddess Saraswati, Radha and Lakshmi are also the same soul in functioning in different capacities. To be more precise, Lord Brahma and Goddess Saraswati, Lord Krishna & Goddess Radha, Lord Narayan and Goddess Lakshmi are different forms of the same divinity.
Shivaratri is therefore an important festival where we have to reflect and imbibe on Lord Shiva's teachi ngs. In summary, we have to practice control of our senses and have unity in our thoughts, words and deeds. This is what will lead us to the purification of our souls and allow us to merge with God.
Om Sai Ram
SSEHV Group 3