March 1, 2021
The month of March brings us one of the most auspicious nights of the year—Mahashivaratri, “the great night of Shiva.” This year, on March 11, as the moon wanes to a lovely thin crescent, we can participate in celebrating a night so supremely sacred that the benefits of the spiritual practice we perform during these hours will be multiplied a thousandfold.
To prepare us for this celebration, the Siddha Yoga path website will be featuring many ways for us to learn about Lord Shiva and to open ourselves to receive his divine blessings. On the Siddha Yoga path, we worship Lord Shiva with the understanding that the one we are invoking is the Supreme Being. He is the Adi-Guru, the primordial Guru. He is the universal Consciousness that pervades all creation, dwelling within everyone and everything. Through his grace, we can recognize him—Paramashiva, Supreme Shiva—as our innermost Self.
Of all the ways to worship Lord Shiva, I have been especially drawn to the recitation of Shri Rudram. This text is from the Krishna Yajur Veda, one of India’s earliest scriptures. Shri Rudram invokes Lord Shiva in his fiery form as Rudra, who destroys our limitations and purifies our awareness, opening the way for us to recognize the presence of God in ourselves and in all creation.
About six years ago, I bought a copy of the recording of Shri Rudram from the Siddha Yoga Bookstore, and sat down determined to master this scriptural text. It challenged me, and for this reason it absorbed my attention. I loved the sound of it and the powerful way it made my breath move, leaving me with tremendous energy in my body and clarity in my mind. I understood this to be the work of the transforming power, the shakti, that flows through every practice given to us by the Siddha Yoga Gurus. I have recited Shri Rudram each day since.
No matter my mood or physical condition, reciting Shri Rudram energizes me. This text is my great friend, whom I look forward to meeting each day. I have felt my focus deepen, my breathing strengthen, my general stamina increase. My voice has changed its resonance, which is significant to me, as I narrate audiobooks for a living. After my recitation, meditation is effortless. And I feel the atmosphere scintillate in the room in which I chant.
My recitation of Shri Rudram feels like a contribution, an offering of goodwill and blessings to the world, a half-hour of pure joy and celebration that radiates outward.
As each of us continues with our own daily sadhana practices during this month of March, we can also look forward to the following anniversaries and celebrations.
Chanting Tour in Australia: March 22–April 19 (2014)
This year marks the seventh anniversary of the Siddha Yoga Chanting Tour: Australia 2014, a milestone event in Siddha Yoga history. Gurumayi named the tour Satyam Shivam Sundaram—Truth, Auspiciousness, Beauty.
Crossing the breadth of Australia, the Chanting Tour brought the transformative power of Siddha Yoga music to thousands of seekers.
Holidays and Observances
Mahashivaratri: March 11
On the Siddha Yoga path, Lord Shiva is worshipped as the primordial Guru, the bestower of divine knowledge who is easily pleased by the simplest of devotional actions.
This month on the Siddha Yoga path website you will find many ways to deepen your understanding and experience of Lord Shiva and Mahashivaratri. The mantra Om Namah Shivaya, the initiation mantra of the Siddha Yoga path, is a powerful way to invoke Lord Shiva’s grace at any time—and especially during Mahashivaratri. We can meditate on the indwelling Lord and read scriptural stories about Lord Shiva and his worship in the “formless form,” the Shiva-linga. We can also extol Lord Shiva and experience being in his presence by singing hymns in his praise, such as the Shiva Mahimnah Stotram, the Shiva Arati, and the Shiva Manasa Puja, or by chanting namasankirtanas, such as Jaya Jaya Shiva Shambho and Samba Sadashiva.
Earth Hour: March 27
In the Vedas, Mother Earth is revered as a divine being who bestows radiance and strength upon humanity. What can we offer in return? The World Wildlife Fund sponsors an annual global observance on March 27 on behalf of the Earth, in which we show support for our planet by switching off any nonessential lights for one hour from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. This observance offers us a quiet interlude during which we can contemplate the amazing bounty that we receive from Mother Earth.
Holi: March 28–29
Beginning on the full moon, Holi is a two-day festival celebrated throughout India as a joyous welcome to spring’s colorful return. With singing, dancing, laughter, and the playful splashing of colored powders among friends and loved ones, this spirited festival is filled with camaraderie, warming the hearts of all.
This month of March we have a fresh opportunity to expand our vision and strengthen our understanding. As we explore the Siddha Yoga teachings through our contemplation and practice, we can discern the abiding and auspicious presence of the great Lord Shiva amidst the fluctuating situations of our lives. I have found that there is always a moment: to repeat the mantra in between tasks, or simply watch my breathing; to read a passage from one of the Siddha Yoga books or log on to the website; to bathe in the protection, reassurance, and inspiration of the teachings; to recognize and to remember.
I wish you a safe and happy month of March.