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 ~ Amma’s Message ~

The Significance of Austerities Observed on the Eve of
Maha Sivaratri, the Great Auspicious Night

 

Lord Siva and Parvati Devi are the most loving
parents of all living beings.

 

Holy Bath in the Triveni Sangama

 

In the sacred land of India, many people have the wish to take a holy bath in the Triveni Sangama at least once in their lives. The Triveni Sangama is a place where the three holiest rivers in India merge together. Tremendous merit is obtained by bathing in such an auspicious location. However, there are three actions that become equivalent to taking such a holy dip when performed together, especially on the holy occasion of Maha Sivaratri. These three actions are:

 

 

Applying vibhuti to the third eye stimulates the ajna chakra and provides supreme mental balance and inner peace. Wearing rudraksha seeds gives auspiciousness and purity to the body, prevents one’s energy from draining away, and encourages one’s energy to rise through the sushumna nadi. It is said in the Vedas that one who wears the holy rudraksha seed mala is verily a form of Lord Siva himself.

 

The Significance of Fasting and Maintaining Vigil Throughout the Night

On the holy occasion of Maha Sivaratri, millions of people around the world observe the Maha Sivaratri Vrata (Vow), in which they refrain from eating any food or sleeping throughout the entire night of Sivaratri. [In many parts of the US, the Maha Sivaratri Vrata may be observed starting on March 10, going into the morning of the 11th. Please check with your local temple to find out when to observe the vow.] Actually, ratri means “night,” so Sivaratri is the Great Night of Lord Siva, or the Great Auspicious Night. Through observing this vow, one remains free from desires and emotional or sensory indulgences for one full day out of the year. In this way, the body itself becomes a true temple for Lord Siva. It is our desires which veil the supreme Self and block us from experiencing divine truth.

 

Is it not true that in any place of worship, only the most fragrant and auspicious items like flowers, sweets, fruits, milk, and honey are brought before God in the sanctum sanctorum? Any unpleasant or inauspicious items will not be granted access to the Lord. Similarly, it is our positive thoughts and divine actions which give fragrance to our life, thereby bestowing peace and happiness and connecting us to God. On the other hand, our negative tendencies will lead to suffering and pain and will prevent us from approaching God.

 

In the pursuit of Atma vidya—the knowledge of the supreme Self—one has to be very vigilant and alert. This is the real significance and motive behind staying awake throughout the night of Sivaratri. Only by remaining alert and aware can we guard against being taken over by the six inner enemies—wrong desire, greed, illusion, arrogance, jealousy, and anger. These six enemies are ever waiting to take control of our lives and must be guarded against with the utmost vigilance. When we are in submission to these dark forces, then our lives will not be ruled by Divinity.

 

Amma performs abhishekam to Lord Siva with sugar; Lord Siva is the one who
showers us with sweetness and auspiciousness.

 

Silence is lost through the intrusion of sounds. In the same way, inner silence, which is divinity, is lost through the intrusion of the karmendriyas and jnanendriyas—the organs of action and senses. In the absence of sound, we are automatically engulfed by silence. Thus, in the absence of sensory indulgences and physical or mental activities, we are automatically engulfed by the divine inner silence. Spiritual practices like meditation or puja (worship) are the true antidote to sensory indulgences. These holy devotional activities, especially when performed on Maha Sivaratri, will tame the senses and the mind, thereby allowing one to be immersed in the sacred lake of absolute silence and inner purity.

 

At the physical level, fasting means to refrain from taking food into the body. Fasting is very beneficial for the physical health and also helps in inner purification. It is said that fasting for a single day will increase the lifespan by seven years. At the level of the subtle energy body, fasting means to refrain from taking sensory experiences or worldly thoughts and ideas into the mind. In true fasting, one replaces all worldly ideas and preoccupations with thoughts of Sri Parameswara, the supreme Lord. This is known as spiritual fasting. By chanting stotras, singing bhajans, doing mantra japa or meditating, one can completely fill one’s entire mind with the divine vibrations of supreme consciousness.

 

Both of these activities—fasting and staying awake throughout the night—are highly significant.  To be truly awake during the night of Maha Sivaratri means to dwell incessantly on God, to be on the alert for the coming of Lord, and to experience the highest divinity within the heart, which is the true sanctum sanctorum within the temple of the body. This is what brings the highest merit.

 

Worshipping Lord Siva Is Supremely Purifying and Grants Every Auspicious Boon

 

Abhishekam is very dear to Lord Siva. He is so pleased with this simple worship that he immediately bestows every kind of auspicious boon. In an abhishekam, different holy substances are poured onto a sacred idol, like a Siva lingam. Yet the highest form of abishekam is to offer the water of pure love and the milk of absolute selflessness to the Atma linga, the supreme Self which dwells in the heart.

 

When we perform abhishekam physically to a Siva lingam, our devotion and faith is enhanced, and we form a strong connection to our true inner divinity. This practice of outward abhishekam contributes to the development of pure love and the nectar of true knowledge of Atman.

 

By performing abhishekam on Sivaratri, hundreds of millions of sins are completely destroyed and our minds and bodies become so pure. Negative tendencies are eliminated and we gain control over the mind. Peace is attained and one becomes free from every type of disease. Through abhishekam to Lord Siva, selfishness and egoism are reduced and we become free from all suffering. Therefore, let everyone worship Lord Siva with faith and devotion on the most sacred occasion of Maha Sivaratri.

 

Shiva puja with linga

Amma worships Lord Siva with pure water. Lord Siva's purifying grace removes every kind of karmic pollution.

 

Sri Maha Sivaratri Shatkala Puja – Worshipping God at Six Important Times

 

There are six important times of the day for worshipping Lord Siva, and in ancient times, people used to perform worship during each of the six times, each and every day. However, today it is very difficult to do this because of the demands of modern life. On Maha Sivaratri, it is very auspicious to perform abhishekam to Lord Siva during any or all of the six following times:

 

  • Before sunrise (around 4:30 AM)
  • Sunrise
  • Between sunrise and noon (around 7:30 AM to 9 AM)
  • Noon (12 PM)
  • Sunset
  • Midnight (12 AM)

 

When abhishekam is performed to Lord Siva during all six times with the chanting of Sri Rudra Namakam and Chamakam, every kind of auspicious wealth is bestowed and all suffering is completely destroyed.

 

If you have a Siva lingam, you can offer milk or pure water to the lingam while chanting the Siva Sakti Panchakshari Mantra 108 times. If you just have a picture of Lord Siva, you can place a new, unused plate or bowl in front of the picture and offer the water or milk onto the plate. If you don’t have any lingam or picture, you can just chant the mantra mentally or out loud as much as you can.

 

All May Chant the Siva Gayatri Mantra and 24 Sacred Siva Names for World Peace

 

Starting on the night of Maha Sivaratri, all may chant the Siva Gayatri Mantra 108 times a day for 16 days straight. After chanting the Siva Gayatri Mantra, recite the 24 sacred names of Lord Siva. Let us all chant together for the sake of invoking Lord Siva’s most compassionate blessings for world peace. Those who wish may chant the 24 names every day, as this will relieve every kind of illness or suffering.

 

Linga and coconut

Tender coconut water is offered fresh from the coconut;
one can see the beautiful natural markings on this
Narmadeswara Siva Lingam.

 

Special Maha Partiva Siva Linga Puja Will Be Performed at Penusila Ashram

 

For the sake of universal peace and welfare, the very powerful Sri Rudra Homa and Ekadasavara Rudra Abhishekam will be performed under Amma's guidance at Amma's Penusila Ashram.

To learn more about the benefits and sponsorship of these homas and pujas, please click here.

 

 

Decorated shiva linga

The Siva Lingam has been beautifully decorated with fragrant
flowers and rudraksha malas after the puja with sacred bilva leaves.

 

This Sivaratri, let us all join together in praying to Lord Siva for the happiness of all beings. May the auspicious light of Lord Siva fill each and every heart with peace, healing, and spiritual illumination.

 

~ Hari Om Tat Sat ~

 

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

May All Beings Be Happy

 

Om Shantih Shantih Shantihi

May All Be in Peace

 

 

 

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