Every Mahashivratri is meant to wake up every particle of your body. The festival is a wake-up call to move away from conflicts and move towards truth, beauty, peace, and benevolence – the ethereal qualities of Shiva.”
– Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Mahashivratri is a festival that honors Lord Shiva. Devotees of Lord Shiva stay awake all night on this auspicious night of Shivratri. Some perform poojas, chant Vedic mantras, practice sadhana and meditation. These sacred practices bestow a sense of peace and oneness within us and with the world.
There are many stories around Shiva. While each of these stories is meaningful, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar sheds lights on the significance of Mahashivratri. He says, Shiva is not a person, but the very energy on which the entire creation rests. This energy pervades the entire universe and is present within every living being. This energy is called the Shiva Tattva.
Meaning of Mahashivratri
Ratri means ‘night’ and also ‘to take refuge.’ Shivratri is the night we take refuge in our spirit i.e., Shiva. It is the time to celebrate the soul or consciousness within. During Mahashivratri, we practice sadhana and take refuge in the divine consciousness. There are two ways to do this: meditation (sadhana) and surrender. Surrender is having the faith that there is a divine power that is taking care of us. Sadhana and surrender bring peace and solace to us and help us to experience the true significance of Mahashivratri.
Symbolism of Lord Shiva
Lord Shiva is considered the soul of everything. There is no difference between our soul and Lord Shiva. Since Lord Shiva symbolizes truth, peace, beauty, and infinity, He represents the essence of our soul as well. It is what we are made of. When we worship Lord Shiva, we recognize these higher qualities within ourselves.
Understanding Shiva Tattva
Mahashivratri is a time to celebrate the Shiva Tattva. Spiritual seekers and devotees of Lord Shiva meditate and rejoice in the Shiva energy.
Shiva represents our soul, and Tattva is a principle or truth. This is that time of year when we rest in the truth or principle of our soul. It means we are seeking higher truths of life that are lying within us.
It is believed that Mahashivratri is a time for sadhana, deep rest for the body, mind, and ego. A deep rest that awakens a devotee to the highest knowledge of the Shiva Tattva.
Mahashivratri & the importance of sadhana
“When one has access to mystical realms through deep sadhana and detachment to the material world, one is able to experience the Ananda Tandava. There are multiple dimensions of existence. One who has gained entry to the subtle realms of creation will find that the dance of Shiva is happening in a ceaseless continuum. This blissful dance of the cosmic rhythm can be enjoyed only after transcending the body, mind, intellect and ego complex.”
Why should we meditate on Mahashivaratri?
Deep connection: Mahashivratri & sadhana
According to Indian astrology, there are certain days and time frames in a year that are conducive to spiritual growth and meditation. Mahashivratri is one such day.
Meditation gives access to something beyond the scope of the mind and intellect. There is a point during meditation when we experience space: a space of nothingness and love. This experience takes us to the fourth level of consciousness that is also called Shiva.
Shivratri for a spiritual seeker
Mahashivratri is the day when the Shiva Tattva is believed to come in contact with the earth. It is said that our consciousness or aura is, generally, ten inches above the material ground. On this day, this consciousness descends and touches the earth element. It is a good time for our inner consciousness to come alive within our body. That is why a spiritual seeker has a special significance for Mahashivratri. It is the wedding of the material with the spiritual.