Thursday, February 23, 2012

MAHA SHIVARATHRI 20-FEB-2012 = Grand Celebration At Isha Foundation = What Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev said = Summary = What is the Epic importance of this day?


Maha Shivaratri is the GREAT CELESTIAL NIGHT OF LORD SHIVA (PRONOUNCED by most as SHIVA but written mostly as SIVA in sanskrit)- which is celebrated with utmost devotion and religious fervor by Hindus. 

Maha Shivaratri falls on the moonless night of the new moon in the Hindu month of Phalgun (in the month of February or March). This year, it fell on the 20th, February, 2012.

Devotees observed day and night fast and worshipped Shiva throughout the 24 hours of that day.

Many interesting legends are related to Maha Shivaratri

1.       Shivaratri is the wedding day of Lord Shiva and his concert Parvati.
2.       Shiva performed ‘Tandava Nrityam’, his famous dance on one such Shiv Rathri - signifying his role as the sublime destroyer of the creation, before it is again created by the creator.
3.       His concert performs a complimentary and beautiful dance called “laasya”, to bring down the destructive emotions of Lord Shiva and make him benevolent yet again.
4.       A popular legend, described in Linga Purana, is that - on Shivaratri, Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of a Linga for the first time – and the night is therefore considered very auspicious for this reason.
5.       Another legend is – when the churning of the sea by the Angels and Daemons was done, for procuring Amrit (the nector), first, a  Great poison called Haalaahala arose from the sea and it was about to burn all the worlds. On the request of all, Shiva drank that poison – but Parvati held the poison tight at the neck point itself – as all worlds reside virtually in Shiva’s own belly and they will get any way burnt by the poison if it goes inside. Shiva was awake all the night for neutralizing the effect of the poison and his neck full of poison, turned blue in colour. In gratitude for this great act of Shiva, devotees keep awake (along with Shiva and Parvati) on the Great Night of Maha Shiva Rathri.
6.       A strong belief is – performance of Fast and waking up throughout the day and night  of this day – gives the devotees the blessings of Lord Shiva, and liberates them.
7.       Though Lord Rama and Sita are usually considered to be the forerunners of the custom of one man – one wife,on earth, it was Shiva and Parvati who established the custom for the first time. Some people mistakenly assume Ganga also as the concert of Shiva, but Ganga never was a wife of Shiva. Shiva was only a helpful factor in bringing Ganga to the Earth – nothing more.
8.       The Best of many human traditions emanated from Lord Shiva and his Concert Parvati.
9.       He was the one Lord who bestowed favours on every type of creature who came to him with devotion. His devotees include all types of creatures including Angels, Daemons, Serpents, all  animals and in fact all creatures. For this reason, he is called Pasupati, the Lord of all animals.
10.   Colour, Caste etc were never a bar among devotees of Shiva. The greatest of his devotees come from the lowest of the low.
11.   While Saraswati is the Goddess of studies and Lakshmi is the Goddess of riches – it is Parvati, also addressed as Mangala Gauri, who gives her devotees, the most sought-after treasure of all, the human happiness. She especially blesses her women devotes with the longest living, loving husband and children.
12.   Parvati is considered as the Maha Sakthi pervading the entire Universe – and Shiva is addressed as Ardha Nareeswara -  which concept is one of the best contributions to Human Civilization.”The wife is the Best Half of the husband” – this concept actually flows from Ardha Nareeswara depiction of Shiva and it is not a western concept at all. Sakthi or Parvathi is recognized as the Best Half of Shiva – and one without the other is unthinkable. While Sakthi represented all energy, Shiva represented all wisdom and love. For this reason, Sakthi always accepted Shiva’s commandments and followed them with love and affection. To this day, woman is recognized as more emotional and Man is recognized as more logical. For life, both are essential. While Logic is the route, emotion (positive) is the goal. Joy is an emotion. Happiness is an emotion. These are essential human goals. But, logic must be the path to attain them – not emotion itself. Daksha Yagna fiasco is the first of such incidents in the universe, which proved to the world how logic is essential to achieve joy. One lies more with man ;the other lies more with woman. Therefore, Ardha Nareeshwara.
13.   Human beings are advised to live like that always. That is why, Rama and Sita ,though another set of ideal couple – are not considered the best as much as Shiva and Parvathi.
14.   Shiva rubs Vibhuti, the ashes from the cremation ground on his entire body – and this is all that the priests give to his devotes at Shiva temples. Other than Vibhuti, other items brought there or taken/ purchased inside the temple must be consumed or otherwise given up within the temple and nothing other than Vibhuti is to be taken back to home from Shiva temple. Reasons is – Vibhuti is considered the GREATEST TREASURE of all. Amara Simha, in his Amarakosam Treatise of  over 1000 years old – gives it three names as “vibhuti, bhuti, aiswarya” – all meaning Great happiness giving treasures.
15.   Everything, living or lifeless, will ultimately become ashes or vibhuti. But ashes  can not get reduced below that level. Even air ultimately becomes ashes. From ashes arise all treasures and all life each in its own time  and turn to come. Even diamonds form as diamonds from ashes only in course of time. All life again springs up from ashes only in time. The science and philosophy behind the ashes, especially human ashes, is the best wisdom that there is to learn.
16.   The Dvadasa Jyotirlingas all over India are most famous places of Shiva worship – and it is believed that these were all established on Shiv Rathri Day.
17.   Kasi is of course the premier Shiva temple, on the Banks of Ganga and a visit to Kasi any time of the year is considered most Sacred. But Maha Shiva Rathri is the MOST SPECIAL DAY for praying to Kasi Viswanath.
18.   For several reasons of sacredness, hygiene etc – Rudraksha Beads, Bilwa tree leaves, Vibhuti, flowers , and such inexpensive offerings are preferred at Shiva temples, by Shiva Devotees.
19.   Shiva is considered as “ABHISHEKA PRIYA”, a lover of being bathed and cleansed in various liquids – while Lord Vishnu is considered as “ALANKARA PRIYA”, one who likes being decorated.
20.   Wherever the devotee does Puja, before Puja, he must perform abhishekam with water, milk,Yoghurt(curd),honey, ghee, etc – and then again clean Shiva with water and then decorate him with vibhuti, Gandham and so on. Then starts the Puja.
21.   Shiva Panchakshari Mantram – consists of the 5 syllables of “NAMAH SHIVAAYA”. One must of course add OM to it at the beginning – like for any Mantra. So, “OM NAMAH SHIVAYA”  becomes the Shiva Moola matra to be chanted preferably (but not necessarily) with closed eyes – any number of times on this day.
22.   I have given some of the legends above. That is fine. But, who knows when Shiva was born? To whom was he born? No one knows. He is the creator of himself and there is no dating. It is at the very beginning of all beginnings-  if you get it right. For this reason, he is called SVAYAMBHOO, the Self creator. Sambho is a name of Shiva which approximates to it.
23.   People consider him as the most ancient God. Some consider him as the member of the Great trinity of Creator (Brahma), Protector (Vishnu), Destroyer (Shiva), through whom,  runs the great Universal Sakthi in equal division -  but the Universdal Maha Sakthi finally settled as the concert of Shiva for performing the not so pleasant act of destruction-assigned to Shiva.
24.   By all accounts – Shiva is considered the Maha Yogi. He is the Yogeeswara – who taught the great science of Yoga ,first to his concert Parvati, and then to the great Saptharshis – and from them, it came to others.  Lord Vishnu also is considered as Yogeswara and Brahma is considered as Yoga Brahma. Lord Krishna says – he taught the Yoga Sasthra to a lineage of sages and kings in various yugas, which finally culminated in his telling Arjuna as Yoga Sastram, also called Bhagavad Gita.
25.   The science of Yoga was finally formulated into water-tight laws by the Sage Patanjali, which all people follow now. It is not relatable in any way to any single religion – as it does not accept any belief system or any God – including Shiva, Vishnu etc. Every Yoga Sadhaka has to go into Yoga headlong, and experience it at each step himself; and finally know himself through the Yoga process. It is not knowing Shiva, Vishnu or Brahma. It is knowing one self – that is Yoga. And, in the process, you will know all other truths FIRST HAND. You will Know – You don’t have to believe!.
26.   For Yogis, Maha Shiv Rathri is a very, very special day. You can find them performing various Sadhanas, prayers and pujas on this Day.


First, in  a few words – what I did at home – as it directly continues into what Sadhguru did later at  Isha foundation.

As described  in preceding details, in the early morning hours, we at our home performed Abhishekam for Shiva and Parvati ( (together) and then performed Prayers and Puja with various stotrams (Namakam, Chamakam and so on). We performed 2 varieties of Chakra dhyanams (with Om,Yam,Ham in one dhyanam and Om,Yam and Ram in another). These are simple, but absolutely marvelous in their effect on the meditator.

Now, the program at ISHA FOUNDATION :

In the last 3 years  - from 6 PM in the night, we have made it our habit, our routine, (Me and my wife) to watch the Maha Shiva Rathri Celebrations at ISHA FOUNDATION, COIMBATORE (on TV, from my home), while my children are either at Coimbatore ISHA Ashram or at a central place of celebration by ISHA  at Chennai.

There were possibly around 30000 people or more at the Ashram – according to my estimation (I may be wrong on the wrong side).

There were great musicians, artistes, the inimitable Shekhar Kapoor, the yesterday’s Dream Girl Hema Malini and so many devotees of Shiva and of Sadhguru himself. One must ask Hemaji her secret. She must have one. She looks like the Dream Girl of today, not of yesterday.
Today, I was listening to another great spiritual speaker Sri Nocchur Venkatraman; he said – when you look at 3 things - truth, love and beauty, your mind (eyes, ears etc) tends to linger very long on them. And, these are the ancient Sathyam, Shivam and Sundaram, we mystically refer to - in that same order.
Today - Truth is Maha Shiv Rathri, Shivam is Sadhguru and Sundaram is….. Hemaji. Well. Truth has to be accepted any way … with love and beauty.Shiva, of course, was everywhere.

Sadhguru exhorted all people to follow the songs and those who can dance can dance or move their body rhythmically – so that the night is really enjoyed. People responded enthusiastically.

Sadhguru made the direct and indirect audience (TV viewers like us) perform a simple meditation at around 10.55pm – with slightly upturned faces, hands upturned in our laps and chanting, “Sambho..., Sambho..,Sambho...” for a few minutes. He said…tilt your head up and see between your eyebrows. Your attention will automatically turn between the eye brows. And, it does turn. This Mantra Japa ended with attention on anahata, visuddhi and ajna chakras.

We did it all at  in our home- as it was happening in Isha foundation.

Sadhguru followed it up with his rendering of Karpoora gouram.. karunaavatharam..samsarasaaram..bhujagendrahaaram…   ...  ...bhavam..bhavaanee..sahitham namaami….

His tone, his becoming one with the rendering.. always result in a beautiful chanting experience…

Now – a summary of what Sadhguru said on the occasion :

Sadhguru said I am not a devotee,or lover, or a friend..or any such thing….to Shiva …I am drawn to him a slave ….   …. The slavery is unfortunate but ecstatic….  I am utterly ecstatic.. and therefore utterly shameless… This shamelessness is a great liberation… I can problem..though great singers are here.. I will dance.. even though Hema malini is here…. Once shameless, no problem, no issue..whatever is needed…. simply doing it.

When we say.. a human being..almost everybody is referring to his limitations.. never to the possibilities.. or to the immensities of being human.. we express our limitations,. But not our possibilities..our immensities..

Shiva brought about this possibilities for the first time.. the possibility to cross and go beyond this body.. even when you are alive.. to go beyond the limits of your physicality...

Shiva is the dimension that finds limitless expressions. We can pursue in our own ways. Yoga is not  simply aasanas etc. If we employ the body, use it, and try to attain to the dimension which is limitless, then, we are doing Karma Yoga. If we employ our intellect, then it is Jnana yoga; Employ the emotion to achieve this limitlessness.. it is bhakthi yoga. Employ the Energies in you for the same purpose it is kriya yoga.. yoga of transforming energies.

Each one who has this intention to achieve this limitless dimension..Everybody can explore the way, scientifically.. each has his way.. A million different ways..Shiva, with the first 7 disciples.. sapta rishis.. explored all possibilities.

We are here at velliangiri..known as kailash of the south..Shiva himself spent 3 and a half months upon these mountains. He came down south being drawn to a woman who fell in love with him..

Shiva could not come within a limited time fixed by this girl..and the woman died..and became kanya kumari...Shiva was angry with himself..went up on this mountain..sat there for a three and a half months.. not in his peacefulness..not in his aananda..but a little despondent..a little angry with himself..

And when he left…this energy left by him at  Velliangiri - later, generated many yogis ..of great intensity in the last millenniums…

One such great sage, of Tamilnadu was SUNDARAR…He by a quirk of fate and incidents got into the dead body of a cowherd called Moolan.. through Para kaya pravesha vidya.. then lost his own body.. and permanently became Sage Tiru Moolar… He gave annual messages to the people on this Shiva Rathri day… due to his utmost compassion. His messages are called tirumoolar’s tirumanthiram.

Tirumoolar once said -
A child can see a real elephant in a wooden elephant. But  a grown up man cannot see the elephant…
A mystic can reveal the whole creation in a lump of wood.
 ...... How true...that is the mystic's extraordinary insight..

As we approached midnight – Sadhguru detailed the intimate, intricate connection between human life on earth , the lunar cycles and the Sun’s distant impact. Our physical body is the total creation of the Mother Earth... she is the common mother to all of us.. But, the individual human mother can become a mother only because … the cycles of moon and the cycles of the feminine body are directly connected. If and I wouldn’t be born here.

The distances between the earth, the moon and the Sun.. are interlinked with the diameters of the Sun and the Moon – and these have links with the number of Chakras in Human body – which are 108 – leaving out the six gate ways which are also generally called chakras.The others 108 are the journey points, the chakras, which we use.

Human brain..will not evolve any more..This is now being recognized by modern science. Adi Yogi Shiva said this over 15000 years ago. You can transcend your physical limits, but not increase its size.

After giving these deeper insights – Sadhguru made the audience perform Moola Mantra Japa with Yoga Mudra… “OM Namah Shivaayah….”

After this midnight chanting of this Moola mantra was over, a whole lot of Great Music followed.

Great Musicians were there. In one, the musician was accompanied by the Isha’s own musicians.

They rendered a beautiful song. But, I could not catch either the words or the meaning..but just the beauty and essence of it. The essence was Shiva..who was sinking deep into all listener’s hearts. Beyond this..there was also no need for the words and meaning …at that time. But, it would be good knowing it too. Somehow, I have a great partiality and bias in favour of Isha's own home grown musicians. I love their Music, their drums - just every thing they do..with such sincerity and gusto.. They seem to be no less than any famed musicians..

I was with Isha programs up to around 2 AM.

I am sure Isha Foundation will be releasing a great rendering of the whole Shiv Rathri program for the benefit of all of us soon. Let us enjoy that.

I had to wait for 2 days – to get rid of the conjectivitis…that was there in one of my 63 year old eyes..from a day before the Great Shiva Rathri Day to this day…before I could compile these details.. I was particular that you must get Sadhguru’s message especially..

Hope You enjoy..

What more do we wish.. shall we wish a hundred years more.. of such Great Maha Shiva rathri’s at Velliangiri..with Sadhguru..


Dated 23.Feb.2012 (if any small errors are there in conveying Sadhguru’s words in this summary, the mistakes may please be taken as my limitation and excused).

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