The Great Night of Lord Shiva

 

Shubh Mahashivaratri!

Mahashivaratri, the great night of Lord Shiva, takes place in the lunar month of Magha in the Indian calendar. This is the night when the crescent moon is at its finest, just before the phase of the new moon begins.

This auspicious night carries the blessings of a great boon Lord Shiva bestowed for the benefit of all. The boon is that on this night, the power of each repetition of the great mantra of Shiva—Om Namah Shivaya—is magnified a thousand-fold.

On Mahashivaratri we repeat the name of the Lord, and we meditate on him as the Absolute, the Self, dwelling in the hearts of each one of us.

By meditating on Lord Shiva, we are practicing Gurumayi’s Message for 2015:

Turn
Inward
Meditate
Easefully

Lord Shiva is also known as Yogeshvara, the Lord of Yoga. He is seated in deep meditation. The crescent moon he wears in his hair represents time. The moon’s changing phases are measures of time; therefore the crescent moon Lord Shiva wears symbolizes his mastery over time. He is the embodiment of all-pervasive Consciousness; he at once transcends time and pervades each of its moments.

Have you ever sat down to meditate and lost track of the passage of time? The future and the past seem to disappear. Your awareness is perfectly in the moment. This is a taste of the timeless nature of the Self. Through the practice of Siddha Yoga meditation we come to understand and experience our own timeless nature—the eternal bliss of the Self.

The moon is also a symbol for the mind. Therefore Shiva’s form as Yogeshvara illustrates how we can become masters of the mind. By meditating regularly we gain the ability to focus and still the mind and to direct it back toward its source, which is divine Consciousness. In meditation we recognize our oneness with the Lord; we experience our own inner divinity. Once we experience Shiva in our own heart, we can see the Lord in all of creation.

This is the power of meditation.

On Mahashivaratri one of the primary ways we worship Lord Shiva and enter into meditation is through chanting the Siddha Yoga mantra Om Namah Shivaya.

Om Namah Shivaya is a pure vibration of the Self. As we absorb our mind in the vibrations of the mantra, the mind merges with the mantra in the space of the Self.

In his ecstatic work in praise of Lord Shiva, Shivastotravali, the sage Utpaladeva speaks of the blessings this mantra bestows. Utpaladeva declares:

He who utters the name of Shiva
Hundreds and hundreds of times
Grows great through the showering
Of the sweet, sublime nectar . . . .
 
And that word, which flows like honey
From the nectar-crescent of the moon,
Causes the highest nectar to flow—
That is the sound of Shiva.
The blessed ever have this sound upon their lips.1

On this auspicious occasion of Mahashivaratri, by chanting the mantra that is one with Shiva, by meditating on the great Lord, we can experience the nectar of the Self flowing like honey.

Shubh Mahashivaratri!

Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay

 

1 Reproduced by permission from Meditations on Shiva: The Shivastotravali of Utpaladeva by Constantina Rhodes, the State University of New York Press ©1995, State University of New York. All rights reserved.

Swami Ishwarananda

Swami Ishwarananda has been following the Siddha Yoga path for over forty years. He received shaktipat initiation in 1972 while living and teaching English in Japan. Shortly afterwards, Swamiji began his Siddha Yoga practice, and in 1980 he took monastic vows to become a Siddha Yoga Swami. Swamiji has served Gurumayi as a Siddha Yoga meditation teacher, traveling extensively throughout the world to teach in Siddha Yoga courses, Sadhana Retreats, and Shaktipat Intensives. He is a graduate of Williams College in Massachusetts. Swamiji lives in Shree Muktananda Ashram in South Fallsburg, New York.

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