Mahasivaratri, 2003, Part 1, Meditation
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2003-05-27
Mahasivaratri, Part 1 of 3Meditation and Mahasivaratri. Bodhinatha remarks how special Gurudeva's talk was which we played tonight, then goes on to give a wonderful upadesha about how the inner worlds open up because of the various influences of auspicious timing, puja and the devotion of those present. He speaks of meditation, worship of Siva inside of us, as an important part of Sivaratri, as well as the benefit of being near the monks as they strive to realize Parasiva, Absolute Reality.
Maybe we can turn that into a Upanishad, Mahasivaratri Upanishad. Certainly a beautiful talk by Gurudeva. It is hard to think of what to say afterwards. Fortunately, it is written down. I don't have to think. That was, a part of it where Gurudeva was seeing as Siva, certainly very special.
Our talk tonight ties in quite nicely. You'll see as we go along. It ties in predominately with Gurudeva's theme that after we express all our love in the temple, after we worship God Siva with our whole heart and blend with Him through the process of devotion, we can keep going. We can find a quiet corner and worship in our inner temple. We can practice meditation, dhyanam on Siva, inside of us. That is what he was encouraging us to do. So that is what our talk leads up to tonight, that idea.
I think this is a special Sivaratri and having so many pilgrims coming from such diverse parts. Usually, we have a much smaller group. When we started, it was just the monks and Gurudeva. Today we are blessed with so many people from so many places, all coming and all sharing a love of Siva that brought you here tonight for this special evening dedicated to Siva. We call that Siva Sambandam, bound together through Siva. Relatives of sorts, sharing something in common and, in this case, we all share a love of God Siva that brought us together this evening.
As Gurudeva pointed out, Mahasivaratri is Siva's special night, the Great night of Siva. I was thinking and trying to find an analogy and came up with one of ozone layer and cosmic rays, which is interesting. Think of holes in the ozone layer. The bigger the hole, the more the cosmic rays come in. Of course, that is bad in that context. But there we are looking out in space from earth. We have that little ozone layer there and it protects the cosmic rays, bounces most of them off, except when we get a hole they come through.
If we compare that to the spiritual worlds, it is the same thing. But, it is going inside, instead of going outside. The barriers between the worlds lessen at certain times, like opening a hole in the ozone layer. Instead of cosmic rays coming through, these are Siva's rays. Divine rays of blessings from the inner worlds come through this hole.
What causes the hole to open? Well, an auspicious night such as Mahasivaratri just by itself creates a very big hole. So, lots of blessings are flooding through from this inner hole. But, the ceremony itself widens the hole. The beautiful chanting of the priest, the chanting of Sri Rudram takes a hole that is already there and makes it bigger. So, we get even more blessings coming through. Furthermore, the devotion of those present widens the hole even more. The more devotion they feel, the bigger the hole gets.
So all of this working together creates this very special vibration, very special event, whereby on the inside out, we have all of these blessings coming, all of this energy coming from God Siva and the inner worlds, changing us in ways that we can't even imagine. As Gurudeva talked about briefly there, "cleansing us, purifying us, changing our karmas, mitigating our karmas, changing our futures" and so forth, in very dramatic ways. That is because we opened ourselves up to it, through our devotion on Mahasivaratri.
So, that is not in the script, as you can tell!
Mahasivaratri is nicely described in 'Dancing with Siva'. We are doing it all. Chanting Siva's name, we did that. Singing His praise, we did some singing. Chanting Sri Rudram, we did that. Bathing the Siva Lingam is coming up. Of course, these are common forms of worship done wherever Sivaratri is held and we are doing them all here this evening as well. But it goes on, meditating is the next one and the last one, being near the monks as they strive to realize Parasiva. It is right in Gurudeva's definition of Sivaratri. What a very interesting way of describing it! Most places you go, you don't find meditation going on. It is not part of Sivaratri. But for the completeness of the experience, as we did tonight, we meditated.
First we worshipped. We worshiped Siva through the homa ceremony and later we will worship Siva through Abhishekam and archana. But, we also worshiped Siva inside of us, as the Divine Self inside of us. So it is a unique part of our ceremony, something I never really thought about as much until I read it, and we just do it. We, meaning the monks, focus on the transcendent aspect of Siva trying to realize Parasiva, trying to touch into that part of Siva which we always are. As Gurudeva spoke, a large part of his talk, one of the themes of his talk was the transcendence of Siva and claiming that part of you which you already are. You don't have to become It, you are That.
We are all having an opportunity tonight and what is the benefit of being near the monks as they strive to realize Parasiva? Well, it can quicken our own spiritual life. It is not that we are going to sit there and become enlightened, just because someone across the room is having a good meditation. No. But it can quicken us, it can inspire us, kind of speed up our impetus, help us move along a little faster on the spiritual path than if we had not been there. We may not notice but we pick up some speed. Maybe, we were slacking slightly. We get back to normal speed. Or maybe, we were going along fine and it makes us go along a little faster. In any case, it is a very positive experience, helping to inspire us, even unknown to ourselves to move along faster.