Guruji On Mahashivaratri

According to a story, a hunter was once hiding upon the branch of a Bilwa tree to hunt some animal for food. As he waited patiently for his prey to appear, he began plucking the leaves from the tree, and throwing them upon the ground. He was unaware that there was a Shiva Linga beneath the tree. Shiva being fond of the Bilwa leaves, was extremely pleased with this shower of His favourite leaves. He immediately appeared before the hunter and blessed him with extreme wisdom. It is said that since that day, the hunter stopped hunting and eating meat. Instead, he cultivated great love towards all living beings.

Shiva means nothingness, and yet He is all-powerful and all-pervading. He is Formless, Supreme, and Limitless, yet He is the primordial Universal Self. Amongst the Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva), Shiva is known to be the “Destroyer”. At times, He assumes the form of a ferocious god Rudra. He spends long periods of time in deep meditation, in the mighty Himalayas. It is in this meditative form that yogis consider Shiva as the universal Guru, the Aadi Guru. The line of Siddha Gurus is said to have originated from Lord Shiva.

Mahashivaratri which literally means “the great night of Shiva” occurs on the 4th of March, this year. Once again, on this auspicious occasion, we are given the opportunity to offer our ‘sadhana’ at the feet of Lord Shiva – the God of austerity and renunciation. Utilize this sacred period to offer yourself to the Master of all Yogis. All of you are invited to attend the Mahashivaratri ocassion at our Ashram and also to participate in the scheduled ‘all-night meditation’. You may or may not find it convenient to attend the event at our Ashram, but nevertheless, it is important that all sincere sadhakas engage themselves in an all-night meditation during this auspicious period, wherever you may be. Take this opportunity to tap into the benevolence bestowed upon humanity.

On the Mahashivaratri day, observe a fast during the day and keep yourself awake during the night. Ensure diligently to keep a fast or partake in only light meals. Engage yourself in an all-night meditation session, or at least sit in an erect posture all through the night. When you fast, keep awake, and meditate on this auspicious occasion, it signifies self-control. The rajasic and tamasic qualities are subdued, and God-consciousness is practised. It will earn you the benevolence of Shiva-tatwa which is showered in abundance by the cosmos, on this particular day. Meditate for as long as possible. Prepare yourself for this auspicious day each year, for the rest of your lives, by cultivating good spiritual habits.

  • Eat with complete awareness. Choose simple, healthy, and vegetarian foods that are easy to digest. This will ensure a positive effect on the body and mind, on the environment, and on other living beings.
  • The food we eat, infuses our body with vital energy. A simple and natural diet based on seasonal fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, pulses, and organic milk optimizes physical and mental health, and also promotes harmony all around.
  • Cultivate the habit of proper breathing. Most people are used to shallow breathing. Health-related problems stem from shallow and improper breathing. Proper breathing helps to use the lungs to a maximum, and also enhances vitality and mental clarity.
  • Engage in regular Pranayama, as these specific breathing techniques help to increase the oxygen intake from air. It helps in absorbing ‘prana’. By controlling ‘prana’ through breath, we can manage to keep the mind calm and clear. This in turn will lead to increased energy, well-being, and peace of mind.
  • Discipline yourself to do regular Yogasanas. Be aware that your body is a vehicle for the evolution of soul, carrying the soul through its journey of this lifetime. Only an agile body, mind and spirit can help the soul’s progress.
  • Yogasanas are designed to develop the body, mind and spirit. They also benefit the internal organs, glands, and nerves, leading to an overall radiant health.
  • Rest and relaxation are important, being nature’s way of recharging body, mind, and soul. Relaxing every muscle in the body through shavasana and yoganidra, it is possible to attain physical, mental, and ultimately spiritual relaxation.
  • Thoughts decide who or what we are. Every thought we harbour has a vibration that impacts us. So, never allow pessimism or negative thoughts to invade your space. Strive to maintain a positive and serene mind. Keep ‘satvik’ company. Engage yourself in ‘satsang’ and practise meditation.
  • Every day, ensure that you read at least one page of the holy scriptures, and during the rest of the day reflect upon your readings.

These daily practices are keys to achieving maximum peace of mind, and especially for preparing yourself for a spiritual journey. Shiva also represents the ideal of supreme renunciation, a renunciation born out of a clear understanding of life and its true nature. As you progress on your spiritual journey, you begin to realise the futility of material things, and also the interconnectedness and unity of the entire cosmos. All your material desires get decimated, and the only desire that remains will be the desire for God for Self-realisation. So, strive hard for obtaining the Shiva-tatva on the most holy occasion of Mahashivaratri.

Love you all. Bless you. May you achieve all that you strive for in your spiritual journey.

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