There is an unknown and mysterious energy that is driving all of us. Scientists have not been able to give it a name, yet. However, saints of yore have called this unknown energy Shiva.
Shiva is the energy believed to make every living being alive.We are able to breathe, eat, walk and carry-out our day-to-day activities because of Shiva. Not only does it drive living beings, it resides in non-living things as their energy. Shiva, thus, drives existence.
Why do we celebrate Mahashivratri?
In the daily hustle and bustle of life, we lose awareness of our source of energy – that which is running us. Mahashivratri is a festival to remember, and to take our awareness, to the basis of our existence—to Shiva.
What to do on Mahashivratri?
Mahashivratri is the day to honor and celebrate Shiva—honor life and celebrate existence. Most people spend the day of Mahashivratri in prayer, meditation and celebration. Here are a few activities you could participate in:
Fasting detoxifies the body and curtails the restlessness of the mind. A mind that is not restless slips into meditation easily. Therefore, fasting on Mahashivratri serves to detoxify the body and aid meditation. It is recommended to fast with fruits or easily digestible food. Know all Mahashivratri fasting guidelines.
The constellations on the night of Mahashivratri are in a position considered very auspicious for meditation, and so, it is very useful for people to keep awake and meditate on Shivaratri.
In ancient times, people used to say, ‘If you cannot meditate every day, do so at least one day in a year, on Shivratri day; keep awake and do meditation’.
Wake the Divinity that is deep within you – this is the message. The Divinity is within you, let it wake up!
- Chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya’
‘Om Namah Shivaya’ is the perfect mantra to chant on Mahashivratri as it immediately elevates your energy.
‘Om’ in the mantra refers to the sound of the universe. It means peace and love. The five letters, ‘Na’, ‘Ma’, ‘Shi’, ‘Va’, ‘Ya’ in ‘Namah Shivaya’ indicate the five elements – Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether.
‘Om Namah Shivaya’ chanting harmonizes the five elements of the universe. When there are peace, love and harmony in all the five elements, then there is bliss and joy.
- Attend Mahashivratri Puja / Rudra Puja
Rudra Puja or Mahashivratri Puja is a special ceremony performed to honor Shiva. It involves singing of special Vedic mantras accompanied by certain rituals. Rudra Puja brings positivity and purity to the environment and transforms negative emotions. Participating in the Puja and listening to the chants helps the mind slip into meditation effortlessly.
Meditate to the chants of the auspicious Mahashivratri Puja at The Art of Living International Center, Bengaluru.
- Worship the Shivalinga
The Shivalinga is a symbolic representation of the formless Shiva. Worshipping the Shivalinga includes offering ‘Bel Patra’ (leaves of the bel tree) to it. Offering ‘Bel Patra’ represents offering three aspects of your being – rajas (the aspect of you that is responsible for activity), tamas (the aspect of you that brings inertia) and sattva (the aspect of you that brings positivity, peace, and creativity). These three aspects affect your mind and actions. Surrendering the three to the Divine brings peace and freedom.