Shivratri is the longest and darkest night of the
month. It is
the night on which Shivji
and Parvati tied the knot and became 'One'.
Hence it is symbolic of the meeting of the Soul with the Almighty.
Shivratri is also called Shiv Jayanti which means: The Birth night of God'
Darkness (Shivratri) or you may call it a 'Vast Emptiness' is all
pervasive, present everywhere, like God.
Creation takes birth in this 'Vast Emptiness'
Light is worshipped as creation and destruction.
Shivji is also called 'Rudra' which means 'The one who destroys evil and
Shivji is called Pashupati: The Lord of all animals and Living Beings.
had to perform a lot of penance in order to wed Shivji.
Shivji is called Ardhnarishwara. It literally means 'Half woman'
demonstrating the fact that man is incomplete without woman and vice-versa. It
also expresses that in the Hindu tradition man and woman enjoy an equal status.
her last life Parvati was Sati. She doubted and
disobeyed the word of Shivji.
her life as ‘Parvati’ she vowed
to marry Shivji,
for which she had to do a tremendous amount of penance (tapasya)
Shivrati, the Divine Union takes place once more,
never ever to be separated again.
above story is the ever recurring story of Man’s quest for the Almighty.
days on which prayers were supposed to be conducive to Spiritual advancement
were decided by the position of the stars, hence in the Hindu calendar the dates
always vary. The MahaShivratri is one such date.
some people stay awake the whole night chanting and praying. I have
read: Let this night be a night, not only be of wakefulness, but of awakening.
Ishvaku King, Chitrabhanu was a hunter in his previous birth. Once when he
could not return home at night, he took shelter in a bel tree. His tears fell on
a Lingam at the foot of the tree and so did the bel leaves. He stayed up all
night and he fasted, he was amply rewarded. In remembrance of the above story,
devotees offer bel leaves, water and milk to the lingam in the hope to please
is called 'Bhola' (innocent, kind hearted, easily
pleased) because it is believed
that He is easily pleased and grants boons instantly (hence he is called
Ashutosh). Krishna, in comparison is a difficult
God to please. You see Krishna is not interested in rituals. He wants
total surrender and Love. So it depends upon what you consider easy or
is also called ‘Mahadev’.
is a Divine Being
Shivji is prayed to, as the Divine Incorporeal form of Light: 'Jyotirlingam
The 'Bindu' is a 'point of light' which being infinite and omnipresent,
cannot be measured.
Shivji is likened to a pillar of light, which has neither a beginning or an
The 'Lingam' is an oval-shaped form of light. It could also be compared to a
flame of light and our egg shaped Universe. By venerating the Lingam we pray to
the entire cosmos.
Shivji is also called Lingodbhava.
One of the meanings of the word 'Shiva' is auspiciousness.
According to Rajiv Bhosekar 'Linga' refers to that in which everything
ultimately dissolves or merges. So Shivalinga means to understand the concept of
Cosmic Consciousness. The linga is that form, from which the cosmos arose and
into which it will dissolve eventually...How can the attributelessness be
described? Only something with attributes can be an object of the mind and
senses. So the rishis conceived if the Shivalinga to represent the unmanifest
Brahmn and manifest Creation...Scientists describe the shape of the universe as
ellipsoidal or egg-like, and this is referred in Indian spiritual tradition as
andam or brahmandam...Shiva represents the principle of the unchanging, the
changeless substratum behind all change in the universe and Shakti, the cause of
change or flux. The Shivalinga is a symbol of Shiva Shakti union. By meditating
on the linga, we will be inspired to realise this Supreme Truth.
On Shivratri, devotees pour water and milk on the
Shivling and the rainy season is the time when kanwarias make the pilgrimage to
Haridwar and back, after offering prayers to Shivji.
According to Seema Burman, when Shivji tried to
swallow the poison that emerged from the churning ocean, he experienced intense
heat. He had to douse his body with cold water to neutralise the effect. Lord
Indra asked the skies to open up and hence Shivji loves Sawan, the rainy season.
Namah Shivaya is the five syllable mantra that
means 'Salutation to Shiva'. When Om is chanted before it then it becomes a six
syllable mantra. The five syllables in this mantra stand for the five elements.
Na stands for Shivji's hidden Grace, Ma
symbolizes the world, Shi means Shiva, Va is the revealing Grace and Ya is the
Soul. Adi Shankaracharya has said that Shiva means "One who purifies the one who
repeats His name.
Ramakrishna Paramhansa had a vision of Shivji
when he was visiting Benaras. When He was asked by the pundits of Benaras
whether Shivji really lived in the holy city he replied, " I saw a tall white
person with tawny matted hair walking with solemn steps to each pyre in the
burning ghat, raising carefully every jiva and imparting into his ear the mantra
of Supreme Brahmn...
us see if we can perceive what Shivji stands for, by
the way He looks.
Crescent Moon stands for the fact that He has conquered (Kaal)
time and now uses it as adornment. (Time was calculated in olden times by the
waning and waxing of the moon). Incidentally ‘Kaal’
stands for ‘death’ and ‘time’ and Shivji has
ash smeared on His body, denotes His complete Vairaagya
(detachment from the world and its pleasures.
have heard Sri Morari Bapu
state that the snakes are Shivji’s ornaments. That
is the extent of His indifference towards whether He adorns Himself with snakes
or precious metals and jewels. Snakes on ones body would force one to remain
alert at all times.
According to Bhaishri Ramesh Oza:
Shiva holds the serpent of Time, Kaal in his neck, which means he also
controls Time. Therefore he is Mrityunjaya; the vanquisher of Time. He is not
led by the Time but the Time is controlled by him as per his wishes. Hence he is
activities are in accordance with Dharma, hence his vehicle is the Nandi which
symbolizes Dharma. He puts all powers and energy to beneficial use, therefore
Parvati the Goddess of Power and energy is his consort.
Lord Shiva is
also said to be the Lord of ego so that even after accomplishing all difficult
achievements our mind does not get afflicted by egotism.
Renunciation or Vairaagya personified. Therefore he lives in the cemetery, which
instantly inspires renunciation. He applies ash on his persona signifying that
his inner self remains aloof and unaffected by this world. For his company he
has beings like ghosts whom the world abhors, thus indicating that he is the
sole refuge of even those whom this world has rejected".
could also denote unleashed controlled energy.
Shiva has been called the Nataraja. The
Lord of the Dance.
and death, formation and decay, change and movement occur all the time as it is
the law of the universe. The above is symbolized in the dance of Shiva. Without
movement there is neither action, speech or experience.
Angikam is Body Movement
Vacchikam is Speech
Aharya is adornment
Sattvikam is Dance of Truth, Bliss, Oneness with Shiva
point to note, is that one can never separate the
dancer from the dance. Similarly one cannot separate God and His creation.
us look at the 4 hands of Nataraja.
upper right hand holds the ‘damru’ (a small
Geeta Radhakrishnaa writes:
"Shiva is the rhythm of life. He dances with timeless, boundless energy.
His movements are extraordinary...Shiva dances to enjoy Himself...He plays and
dances at his own will. At his own will he again stops dancing and playing...He
can stamp kick and jump...He can twist, turn and twirl...He can raise his legs
at any angle. He can assume any dancing pose. He has no barriers and
like to believe that the ‘damru’ represents the
heartbeat of creation. Tat-dhit-tom-nam Tat thit tom nam...It also stands for the vibration, the sound that creates
and annihilates the universe.
Shivji is called: Omkara, the Creator of the sound 'Om'
lower right hand is in a blessing posture. It seems to be telling us that we are
upper left hand holds ‘fire’
is an element that stands for divinity.
are various reasons for it, and all religions worship it in one form or another.
if you hold a lamp upside down, the flame will rise upwards. Human nature tends
to be like water, flowing to lower levels. The flame that we light reminds us to
destroys the impure.
one moves forward on the Spiritual path, the darkness of ignorance is replaced
by the Light of knowledge. The fire is symbolic of this light which brightens as
we journey within.
lower left hand points to the foot.
is telling us to rise.
Shivji’s foot there is a demon which is being
could easily believe that the demon stands for attachment, ego, forgetfulness
(that man is divine)
is interesting to note that the demon is small.
the demon be representing a man with his consciousness only concentrating on the
world, when he should be looking at loftier horizons?
flying cloth of Shivji introduces Him as a Spiritual
you look closely, you will notice that one earring
of Shivji is
masculine, the other is feminine.
the energies in Shivji are in immaculate perfect
Shiva is both
severe and tender.
Shivamastu and Kalyanamastu which means 'welfare' and "May you
all life forces with 5 faces: Two faces on the left as Vamadeva
(Shiva is terrible. He is Rudra, one who teaches others by
making them shed tears, not to harm them) and another face:
Two faces on
the right as Dakshineshwara (Showering Dakshina or compassion
upon all creation) Second face: Ishaana (controls individual
beings with extreme care)
One in the
centre as Kalyanasundaram, He is beautiful, the Supreme
Controller and One who promotes greatest welfare to all living
beyond all the faculties of all existential bondages.
Sada Shiva. Sada is always. Shiva is Welfare.
Mantramala by Rohini
'The word Rudraaksh literally
means, the eyes of the Rudra, Lord Shiva.
Once when Lord Shiva opened
His eyes after a long deep meditation, his tears of joy and peace fell upon the
earth and took the shape of the fruit of
the rudraaksh tree which
grows wild in the Himalayas. The berries drop off, the green fruit skin dries up
and the seeds harden into the rudraaksh beads.
The dried berries have
different number of segments: most have five, very few have only one. Rudraaksh
are differentiated by these segments called mukhis and each one has a
different significance. The properties of each number have been mentioned in the
Rudraaksh have been a valued
possession for centuries, worn and treated with great respect'
would love to tell you about, the Mother Energy, but for that click, on the