Om Namah Sivaya!
Om Namo Bhagavate Sivanandaya!
Om Namo Bhagavate Chidanandaya!
Om Namo Bhagavate Krishnanandaya!
The Observance of Sivaratri
by Sri Swami Krishnananda
Sivaratri is an important festival, with deep religious and spiritual significance. It is the day on which Siva as the manifested form of the Absolute in its function of universal transformation is adored by all devotees. This worship is performed on the 14th day of the dark half of the lunar month of Phalguna (February-March).
The day is especially significant as an opportunity for austerity and spiritual contemplation. The principal items of the observance of the day are fast, vigil, havan, yajna, and continuous recitation of the Divine Name together with worship of Siva throughout the night. Fast does not merely mean abstaining from taking physical food but a spiritual exercise of the withdrawal of sense powers altogether in a continuous mood of God-consciousness. The havan, or yajna, is an external act of offering into the sacred fire, and is symbolic of the dedication of oneself to God in utter surrender. The formulae chanted during the havan are mantras which have the power to generate a vibration in the atmosphere around and to invoke certain divine forces. The havan, essentially, as it is performed at the Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, is intended to generate forces tending towards world peace in addition to spiritual benefit to the devotees. Similar is the purpose of the chanting of the Divine Name.
The worship during the night is done through various consecrated articles such as bael leaves and flowers. The bael leaf is regarded as especially sacred to Siva. To the chant of the Divine Name, one hundred thousand offerings of bael leaves are made to Siva on this night. Another part of the worship is called abhiskeka, or the offering of the divine bath to the Deity with such articles as milk, curd, ghee, sugarcane juice, honey, rose water, etc. These are all symbolic of self-consecration and Divine contemplation.
March 11, is the holy celebration of Mahasivaratri. There are several articles on our website on the significance of this festival. They are:
The following article has been posted at Sri Swami Krishnanandaji's site:
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
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LOVE LITTLE, BUT LOVE LONG: There was a lady who was for some time on good terms with the Ashram, but later the relation between her and the Ashram became strained. The Master remarked on this: “This is the nature of the world. People love one another for some time. Then friction sets in. This is not good. Love little, but love long. Only a saint can love all for ever.”
“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.” – Swami Krishnananda
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