Just before conducting the Rudra Puja on Shivratri night,
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar spoke about the true essence of Shiva and Shivratri. Let us understand a little about the Shiva tattva. Only a little can be known. The intellect has to be content and finer feelings awakened. Both scientific understanding and spiritual wisdom are necessary to bring this contentment that is holistic and complete. There is no need to go to on long pilgrimages to find the Divine. If you don’t find God here, where you are, then it is not possible anywhere else. Where the mind dissolves, Shiva is there. Be established wherever you are. The moment you are established, centered, you see that there is Divinity present everywhere. This is meditation. One of the names of Lord Shiva is Virupaksha - meaning one who is formless yet sees all. We know that there is air all around us and we can feel the air as well. But what if the air also starts feeling you? Space is all around us, we identify space. But what if space also recognizes and feels your presence? This happens. Only we don’t know it. Scientists know this and they call it the theory of relativity. The one who sees and that which is seen are both affected when seen. The Divine is all around you and is seeing you. He doesn’t have a form. He is the formless core of existence and the goal. He is the seer, sight and the scene. This formless Divinity is Shiva. To simply wake-up and experience this Shiva tattva is Shivratri.
Usually when there is celebration, awareness is lost. Deep rest in celebration with awareness is Shivratri. When you face some problem, you become aware and alert. We are at rest when everything is well; on Shivratri we rest with awareness. It is said that a yogi remains awake when everybody else is sleeping. For a yogi, everyday is Shivratri. Lord Shiva is beautifully explained in a verse by Adi Shankaracharya (Sri Sri recites a few lines from the verse).
Adyantahinam - One without a beginning or end. Sarvada - He is the Bholenath (innocent ruler of all) who is present everywhere all the time. We think Shiva is somewhere else sitting with a snake around his neck. Shiva is one in whom everything has taken birth, who encompasses everything right this moment, and in whom everything in creation dissolves. Every form you see in this creation is all his form.
He permeates the entire creation. He is never born and has no end. He is eternal.
He is the fourth state of consciousness, the turiya avasta, the meditative state, that is beyond the waking, deep sleep and dream states.
He is the non-dual consciousness that is present everywhere. That’s why to do Shiva puja, you have to dissolve in Shiva yourself. Being Shiva, you do Shiva puja. Chidananda rupa - He is the consciousness that is pure bliss.
Tapo yoga gamya - One who can be known through tapa and yoga. The Shiva tattva can be experienced in the knowledge of the Vedas. The state of Shivoham (I am Shiva), Shiva kevaloham (there is only Shiva) is attained. Shivratri is the day to experience a wave of joy and contentment. Without yoga, Shiva can’t be experienced. Yoga doesn’t mean only asanas (physical postures) but that experience of Shiva tattva which happens with meditation, pranayam: when that ‘WOW’ happens from within.
The word Shambo has come from the same source - to realize how beautiful the Divine is, the creation and the Self is! It is a miracle how the same consciousness is present in every being in this creation! There is no other miracle greater than this. How did this One become so many? This tradition (of Shivratri) of moving from many to one is so unique. Yoga and meditation is necessary for that. Without meditation, the mind is not calmed. On the occasion of Shivratri meditation, bhajans are all part of the celebration. Everyone participates with a full heart. Everyone should sing. Shiva is the cause of all causes. Because of which everything is there – the tree growing, the sun rising, the wind blowing... The reason for everything happening is Shiva - because of whom everything happens and without whom, nothing happens. Panchmukha, Panchtattva – There are five faces to Shiva - Water, Air, Earth, Fire and Space. Understanding these five elements is tattva gyana (knowledge of the five elements). And then Shiva is worshipped as Ashtamurti (eight forms)– Mind, Memory, Ego are also included. This is both the form and formless aspect of Shiva. Worshipping Shiva is dissolving in the Shiv tattva and then wishing for something good. What to wish for? Wish with a liberal heart for the universal good, nobody should be unhappy in the world. ‘Sarve janah sukhino bhavantu .’ And make one sankalpa on this occasion. It is something which comes to you again and again like your breath, like your heartbeat. And when you surrender such a sankalpa to the Divine, it will definitely come true.
We also worship nature. Divinity permeates everything in this Earth. Puja is not complete without honoring the trees, mountains, rivers, Earth and the people living on the Earth. Honoring everyone is Dakshina. Da means to give and Dakshina means giving something that will cleanse us of all impurities. Offering with which all your sins vanish. No puja is complete without Dakshina. When we act in society with skill and free from the distortions of the mind, all negative tendencies like anger, worries, sorrow are destroyed. I will say give your tensions, worries and sorrows as Dakshina. And how does that happen? With Sadhana (spiritual practices), Seva (service) and Satsang (company of the truth).
Ride the boat of the intellect to dissolve in the ocean of finer feelings and faith.“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”
~ Sri Sri Ravishankar
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For Global Spirituality