Om Nama Shivaya. Namaste
Welcome to the divine day Maha Shivarathri, the most glorious of all days, especially in the worship of Lord Shiva. When I say, “worship” it is more of a recognition, more of understanding, or even acknowledging the fact of something which is unknowable. We cannot know it, we cannot even think about it, we cannot even fathom it – it is so big. I say it because Shiva is definitely not a person. Shiva is the vastness. Shiva is the state. Shiva is everything. Shiva is the manifested and the unmanifested. The Earth is actually a very tiny planet in the whole cosmos, all the galaxies, the created universe. The Earth is very small and on earth there is an extremely tiny particle called humans. There are 7.5 billion people and because we are born as humans, we started recognising ourselves as these identifications, rather, we started identifying ourselves as individuals, we stopped understanding the vastness that is the Creator, the Source, the essence within us.
Yesterday I was discussing about the Shiva principle (the Shiva Tattwa) with some people and I wrote down a few points, which I will read out. It will quantify and make the point clearly understood.
I say the REAL because the REAL or the most real or the exact real is Shiva. There is nothing more real than Shiva. Please understand that Shiva is not a being, not a form. It’s beyond everything. It’s the created universe and the uncreated one or the infinite universe which cannot have any beginning or end, rather, it doesn’t have any beginning or end.
The REAL needs no display. The REAL needs no sound, form, colour, fragrance or communication. The REAL has no dependency on space, time, events or experiences. The REAL is unbound. The REAL is eternally independent. The REAL is always free. That REAL is what we call Shiva. That part of it in us is called the Soul, Soul or Aatma and Shiva are one. Both dimensions are eternal.
Higher than the highest, larger than the largest, bigger than the biggest, harder than the hardest, deeper than the deepest, smoother than the smoothest, heavier than the heaviest, lighter than the lightest, still beyond stillness, bliss beyond happiness. Detached beyond perfection, unknown and unknowable to human mind matter, which is mind, ego, intellect together, eternally liberated exists the real one, the unfathomable Shiva.
Shiva is beyond explanation, notion, understanding, or even awareness. Shiva is The Beyond. It has no comparisons, it has no boundaries, it is beyond dimensions. It is an experience that the experiencer dissolves completely into.
It is Shiva.
It is what everything is made of. It is what everything depends on. It is the Source, solution and dissolution. It is the essential life in all creations. It is Shiva. It is the moving and the immovable, it is the immortal within all mortals, it is the vastness within the limitedness, it is the Father, the Source. It is the dispassionate witness. It has no beginning or end. It never began and it never ends. It is Shiva.
It is the Source of mind, yet it is no mind.
It is the Source of desires, yet it has no desires.
It is the Source of sounds, yet it is silence.
It is the Source of elements, yet it has no dependency on them.
It is the Source of time, yet it is timeless.
It is the All Space, yet it is unfathomable space-less space, complete and full, beyond fullness.
It is the soul of the fire, water, air, earth, space, suns and galaxies, yet it is independent from all of it.
It never gives or takes.
It is never born or has death.
It is expansion, bliss and beauty.
It is unexplainable.
It is Shiva.
Then what is Shivarathri?
That’s the time when people, the conglomeration of the planets, the position of the planets, gives us the time, the subtlety to connect to something which cannot be defined through any words. Thus, Shivarathri is the day where the prakrti (nature) connects to purusha (the Supreme Soul). The Supreme Soul is the Source of the nature and the nature is dependent on the Supreme Soul, but the Supreme Soul has no dependency.
So we, as incarnations, as units, are trying to connect to the vast consciousness which is the Source of everything, but has nothing to do with anything. That reminder is the point of Shivarathri.
Maha Shivarathri is a great day for remembering, reminding ourselves through chanting, through feeling, through experience, through awareness, what we really are. We are the essence, or in other words, the essence within us is the REAL us and it’s a time, day, a particular configuration which helps us to connect to the subtlest aspect of us and through that subtlest aspect we experience, we realise Shiva, the vastness. It’s vaster than the vastest, it’s deeper than the deepest, it’s REAL. The only REAL is Shiva. Again I am telling you Shiva is not a human form, it isn’t a form, it is pure energy brighter than a million suns. We cannot even define it. We cannot even feel it or witness it because we don’t have those faculties. Our faculties for perception are mind, intellect and ego. They are too weak or inadequate to understand Shiva, but at the same time we have to use them, or bring them together as a unit i.e. body, mind, intellect, ego, spirit should come together as one unit, one microcosm, to experience the macrocosm, the largest, the Supreme Consciousness. But always remember that the Supreme Consciousness exists in us as part of our existence and THAT is exactly what we are connecting to.
In summary, all you have to do during Shivarathri is to chant within om namah shivaya, or om hreem namah shivaya to balance the Shiva and Shakti. And concentrate on your heart centre, bring the energy there, focus on it and you can do fasting, you can do abishek of Shiva linga (pouring water over Shiva linga) with the chant. Or you can go into a deep meditation, penance. This is all to bring you to yourself.
So Shiva is you. Shiva is not separate from you. And no individual can be called Shiva because Shiva is vastness. Everybody, all the bodies are limitedness so we cannot call limitedness the vastness or the unlimited. However, we have that element in us which is unlimited and that’s the Soul. And the Soul is the only one which is immortal, real, eternal. Hence if we understand the Soul deeply, we understand Shiva.
It is connecting with ourselves, a day to connect to ourselves, a day to bring ourselves inside, and stabilise. Stillness is Shiva. “Stillness” means Shiva has no desires, desires bring thoughts, thoughts bring movements, thoughts create relativity, time, space… and Shiva has nothing to do with it. Shiva is the platform on which all this is happening, but at the same time it has nothing to do with it.
Almost like – on our body there are probably numerous bacteria, numerous beings living. We are not even aware of them. But if you put your skin under a microscope you can probably see many beings walking over the skin, they are living there. However, as a body, as an incarnation, we are not even aware that they exist on our body.
Like that, the huge Consciousness and the created universe, created world which is like a small speck of dust, or a stone in the whole vast ocean, that ocean doesn’t even know, doesn’t even feel that the stone exists. That free, that detached is the ocean – so free and so detached. It doesn’t even know, it doesn’t have to know, it’s not dependent on the created universe. So this awareness is what we need on Shivarathri.
I wish you a great Shivarathri and I wish you a great union with the Lord Shiva. Shiva is not a lord, Shiva is a state, Shiva is an experience. I said “Lord Shiva” for the sake of focusing on something because mind needs something to focus on. That’s why I use the word “lord”. But please always remember that it’s not a personification, it’s a state, it’s consciousness.
Om namah shivaya
Transcribed by Biljana Vozarevic Proof-read by Vidya Rajagopalan