Om Namah Sivaya!
Om Namo Bhagavate Sivanandaya!
Om Namo Bhagavate Chidanandaya!
Om Namo Bhagavate Krishnanandaya!
Lord Siva, The Master Yogin
by Sri Swami Krishnananda
Mahasivaratri is the glorious annual occasion when we offer special adorations to Lord Siva as the austere and the contemplative aspect of God the Almighty. We conceive God as glory, as creativity, and as austerity. Vishnu is glory and magnificence, Brahma is creativity and force, and Siva is austerity and renunciation.
It is said that God is the embodiment of six attributes, of which renunciation is one. We may wonder how God can renounce things. He is not a sannyasi; He is not an ascetic like a vairagyi or a sadhu. What is He going to renounce? How can we conceive Siva as an austere yogin or a renunciate? What does He renounce? As the all-pervading Almighty, what has He to give up or abandon?
Here is the secret of what renunciation is. It is not renunciation of anything, because there is nothing outside Him. Renunciation does not mean abandonment of any object. If that were the definition of renunciation, it could not apply to God. God does not renounce any object, because all objects are a part of His cosmic body. Then how is God represented as an embodiment of vairagya? Bhagavan, who is endowed with bhava or glory of a sixfold nature, is also an embodiment of vairagya. Do we identify Him with a sannyasin possessing nothing? As God is the possessor of all things, can He be called a renunciate, a sannyasin and a vairagyi?
The secret behind the concept or the consciousness of vairagya, or renunciation, is here in the identification of this attribute with God. It is only when we interpret things in terms of God that they become clear; otherwise, they get confused. We cannot know what goodness is, we cannot know what evil is, we cannot know what virtue is, unless we refer all these values of life to the concept of God in its perfection. The only standard of reference for us in all matters of life’s values is the existence of God, so the concept of renunciation, which has been very much misused, becomes rectified, rarefied and purified when it is understood with reference to the existence of God, whose special manifestation in this context is known as Lord Siva.
As God does not renounce anything, what is meant by ‘renunciation’ in this context? It is the freedom from the consciousness of externality. This is called vairagya. How can we abandon things? All things are there in front of us, such as trees in the forest. There is no abandonment of things, because they are internally related to us. Nobody can renounce anything, because everything is connected to everything else, as you have been listening to my repeating this great fact several times. As everything in this world is connected to everything else, how can anyone renounce anything? Then, what is vairagya?
Vairagya is not a renunciation of any object, which is impossible because everything clings to us. But the idea that things are outside us makes us get attached to them. This false attachment is raja, and its absence is viraga. The condition of viraga is vairagya. As God has no consciousness of externality because everything is embodied in Him, there cannot be a greater renunciate than God, and inasmuch as this consciousness of God is the highest form of wisdom, He is the repository of jnana.
In our religious tradition, Lord Siva is thus represented as an aspect of God the Almighty, who presents before us the ideal of supreme renunciation born of divine realisation—not born of frustration, not born of an escapist attitude, not born of defeatism, but born of an insight into the nature of things, a clear understanding of the nature of life, and a wisdom of existence in its completeness. This is the source of vairagya, or renunciation. We do not want anything, not because we cannot get things, but because we have realised the interconnectedness of things and the unity of all purpose in consciousness. All desires get hushed, sublimated and boiled down to the Divine Being only when this realisation comes.
February 14, is the holy celebration of Mahasivaratri. There are several articles on our website on the significance of this festival. They are:
Please do checkout the Shivaratri page at our DLS HQ site:
Kindly take note that the celebrations will be broadcast live from The Divine Life Society, Rishikesh on 14th February from 7.30pm onwards. The link to the live broadcast feed is at:
Yours in the service of Gurudev,
Lord Siva and His Worship
By Swami Sivananda
This is a most valuable and instructive book for the aspirants, particularly for the devotees of Lord Siva. It is full of instructions on practical Sadhana for attaining Siva-Tattva or God-realisation.
The secrets of Siva Tandava, Sakti Yoga, etc., are very nicely presented. The translation of the Saiva Upanishads is a beautiful addition. The lives of Siva Acharyas, the Bhaktas and the Nayanars are inspiring and soul-stirring. A study of their lives will make one's life sublime and holy.
Up to this time there has been no such presentation on this subject. The philosophical portion is highly illuminating and helpful to the readers. The book contains the essence of all Saiva Puranas. The book is written in a very lucid and clear style. It must be studied by all religious-minded persons as it is of solid worth from the spiritual point of view.
For more information, please see: Lord Siva and His Worship
MASTER’S FRANKNESS: A sceptic foreigner was once looking in doubt on the large propaganda apparatus of the Ashram. His doubt and scepticism increased when he saw the Master himself in a modern European overcoat. But then he looked down, and lo! the Master’s feet were bare! Then and there he concluded that the Master was not the external but the internal.
The Master told him, “I wear this overcoat, which may seem absurd to you in this place, because it has been given to me by a disciple, and because it is cold here in winter. It is not the robes that make the monk.”
The visitor was overwhelmed by this disarming frankness of the Master.
"The symbology of fast and vigil on Sivaratri is significant of self-control, rajas and tamas subdued, and God glorified. God is glorified, and the senses are controlled. The glorification of God and the control of the senses mean one and the same thing because it is only in God-consciousness that all senses can be controlled. When we see God, the senses melt like butter before fire. They cannot exist any more. All the ornaments become a solid mass of gold when they are heated to the boiling point. Likewise, in the furnace of God-consciousness, the sense energies melt into a continuum of universality." – Swami Krishnananda
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