Wednesday, Jan 16 2019
MahaShivaratri - 16 FEB 2015
Mahashivaratri is known as the Great Night of Lord Shiva. Shiva is the divine auspiciousness, and Swami has said that this Divine Consciousness is in all living beings – birds, animals, insects all included. In fact, Swami has also said that all living beings are the embodiments of Divinity, and we are all God.
Once, Goddess Parvati asked Lord Shiva, “How can people recognise the Divine Consciousness, which is said to be omnipresent?” Lord Shiva replied that the same consciousness that is in Him is in all human beings. One cannot explain it, one can only experience it. Once, Parvati could not find her own son Vinayaka, although he was very much near Lord Shiva. She was searching for Vinayaka everywhere, except in the Divine proximity of Lord Shiva. Similarly, today we are searching for God everywhere, not knowing that we ourselves are the Embodiments of the Divine soul.
During Mahashivaratri celebrations in Parthi, Swami would materialize lingas from within His being. Swami has explained that the linga is a symbol of the beginning less, the endless, and the limitless. It has no face, no limbs, no front, no back, no beginning and no end. Linga means that in which all forms and names merge and that towards which all names and forms are proceeding, to attain fulfillment. It is the fittest symbol of the All-pervasive, the All-knowing, the All-powerful. During Mahashivaratri, abhishekam is done on the linga using water, milk and honey.
Lord Shiva’s greatness is not just something that we hear in stories alone. The stories of Lord Shiva bring messages for all of us, and they are messages we can use in our daily lives.
Once, Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati were strolling in the heavenly world. They saw, on the earth, one person cutting the branch of a tree on which he was resting. The branch was almost cut and was about to fall any moment. Parvati was very anxious. She prayed to Lord Shiva, "Oh Lord! Please save him immediately from falling on the earth below." Shiva replied, "It is you who saw him first. Only you realised that he might fall down by cutting the branch on which he was sitting. Hence, it is your responsibility to save him." Parvati then laid down a condition, "Swami! Normally, any person falling from a height will express his agony by uttering the words 'Amma!' or 'Appa!' If this man cries 'Amma!’, I will rescue him. On the other hand, if he cries 'Appa!' You have to rescue him." Shiva agreed. Meanwhile, the branch finally broke. The person sitting on it fell down. Mother Parvati was ready to save him. Lord Shiva was also ready. But, the person prayed to neither "Amma! (Mother)" nor "Appa! (Father)" He just wailed "Ayyo!" Though Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati were both waiting to rescue him, the man did not call them!
This story is a reminder to us that we should always remember our parents, no matter where we are, or what situation we are in. “Matru devo bhava. Pitru devo bhava”. I am very tall now (taller than my mother and my sisters), but my mother and father still call me their baby. No matter how big or smart we get, we are still our parents’ child. While we should remember our parents wherever we are, we should also honour and respect them, which is our SSE theme for the year. Honouring our parents does more good to us than it does them. We gain their blessings, and it brightens up our day when they smile. Not only our parents, but also all those who have taken care of us. Lord Shiva is not only the Divine one, but He also guides us through these messages, and this is why Mahashivaratri is a very important festival for us.
Every year, we celebrate Mahashivaratri by singing bhajans through the night, singing Lord Shiva’s name in gratitude. This year, Mahashivaratri celebrations will be held in Singapore at 133 Moulmein Road. I wish everyone a blessed Mahashivaratri.
Thank You and Jai Sai Ram