February 23, 2014
Dear Siddha Yogis,
On Mahashivaratri, "The Great Night of Shiva," the moon rises in the shape of an exquisite crescent. The night of this crescent moon, like the space between the inhalation and exhalation, is a doorway to the Heart. It is a night so supremely sacred that the benefits of spiritual practice performed during this time are multiplied a thousandfold.
Traditional practices during Mahashivaratri include offering puja to Lord Shiva, fasting or eating traditional fasting foods, singing hymns to Lord Shiva, and telling scriptural stories about Lord Shiva from the ancient Puranas, such as the story of "The Hunter and the Deer."
On the Siddha Yoga path, the principal form of worship on Mahashivaratri is repetition of the great redeeming mantra,
Om Namah Shivaya. And so, on this night, in Siddha Yoga Ashrams, meditation centers, chanting and meditation groups, and their own homes, devotees throughout the world will chant the mantra and bathe their minds in its purifying vibrations.
In his introduction to The Nectar of Chanting, Baba Muktananda asks, "Who is invoked by uttering Om Namah Shivaya? Who is remembered? Who can be met and spoken with through Om Namah Shivaya?"
And Baba answers this question, saying, "He to whom we kneel by uttering Om Namah Shivaya is the Guru, the Self of all, the embodiment of sacchidānanda—existence, consciousness, and bliss absolute."
It is this supreme Shiva, the pure Consciousness at the heart of all beings, that we invoke as we chant Om Namah Shivaya on Mahashivaratri.
Each year, I look forward to Mahashivaratri with great anticipation. Time and again, while chanting Om Namah Shivaya on this extraordinary night, I’ve experienced myself being carried easefully along on steady currents of grace to a space of blissful luminosity. There, every sense of separation falls away, and I am one with the Guru, one with God, and one with all creation.
And so it is with great joy that I invite you to chant the mantra during the time of Mahashivaratri and, by so doing, to enter the abode of Lord Shiva, the space of pure Consciousness from which the mantra arises—the space that Gurumayi guides all of us to experience as we study her Message for 2014.
Let us drench our minds in tranquility as we chant the mantra on Mahashivaratri.
Siddha Yoga Meditation Teacher