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M A H A S H I V A R A T R I - T H E H O L I E S T N I G H T
by Gregorian BivolaruThe holiest night of the year is approaching. Ready for the great night. This year, the Maha Shivaratri will be celebrated on the night of March 2nd to March 3rd.
Maha Shivaratri, Shiva's great spiritual night is traditionally devoted to Paramashiva (Shiva the Supreme, God). Shiva's devotees consider unanimously that this night is the holiest of the whole year.
The Maha Shivaratri night is the night previous to the new moon night, in the February or March. This interval corresponds to the Phalguna month in the Hindu calendar. The advanced yogis consider this night not only a wonderful spiritual possibility, but also a great holiday.
Therefore, they fast the previous day and stay awake, in sharp and devoted meditation all night. Those of the devotees who have not been yet initiated in the secret mantras of Shiva meditate also, uttering uninterruptedly and transfigured the name of Shiva, or they sing hymns of devotion for His name.
Another form of worship consists of adoring the Shiva Lingam, the phallic symbol of Shiva, who is in fact the Supreme God.
In this respect, the Veda-s say: "Our Lord, Ever-present and Almighty secretly dwells in the hearts of all beings. Graceful, loving, and kind, He offers spiritual freedom to all conscious beings who turn their faces to Him."
Living in the vicinity of a temple is of utmost importance for the Hindus and this is the reason for which they have built so many temples.
The tradition says that going to the temple is a laudable act in the eyes of God and that it brings auspiciousness and blessings in this life and in the following.
The religious life of the Hindus has a main physical center the temple. This is because here, in "God's House", it is easier to be preoccupied and to care for our relationship with God.
The faithful and righteous Hindu, who do not stand to stay away from God for too long, go to the temple at least once a week and try to attend all important spiritual holidays, whenever the various Shaktis (manifesting divine forces) of God become pregnantly manifested during certain times of the year.
Shiva's worshipers perform the puja daily, in the temple. This is why His worshipers go to the temple in the most sacred of the nights, dedicated entirely to Him, Maha Shivaratri.
They come to the temple in an inner attitude of reverence and humility, because this represents the House of God for each of them.
The Veda-s say: "May the Lord be thus pleased by our songs. As a saint amongst men, may the devotee make the offering to the divine beings with great fervor. Great, overwhelming and full of mysteries is Thou name, oh, Lord!" Aum Namah Shivaya.
Maha Shivaratri is considered especially auspicious for women, as married women may pray for the well-being of their husbands and sons, while unmarried women pray for the appearance of their ideal husband, for his resemblance to Shiva, the spouse of Kali, Parvati and Durga.
Shiva is said to have been married to Parvati on Sivaratri. However, it is generally believed that any person uttering Shiva's name with pure and ardent devotion, on Mahashivaratri will be freed from all sins and will reach the adobe of Shiva, freed from the cycle of birth and death.
MAKE YOUR HEART A FOUNTAIN OF DIVINE LOVE
This mysterious night, unbelievably special from a spiritual point of view and completely sacred will arrive soon. Knowing its significance, let us all try to make this night one of the most spiritual events in our lives.
Let us remember at least for this night that our purpose in this life is to discover and know God, and therefore we should let our ardent hearts burn in Shiva's loving fire.
Let us climb, animated by our spiritual aspiration on the highest peaks of the sacred Kailasa mountain, let us experience profoundly and intensely Shiva's mysterious presence inside our souls, in the form of our immortal Self, Atman.
Let us prepare the best we can for the arrival of this night, performing our sadhana in a perfect way. Let us remember during this day and this night that a lifetime lead in the perfection of the Supreme, Ultimate Truth has a tremendous force.
Each human being is a microcosm reproducing the Macrocosm. Let us be purified and make our hearts be fountains of divine love during this night.