|Date: 9 March 2005 morning||Occasion: Sivarathri||Place: Prasanthi Nilayam|
Lord of Kailasa has manifested his divine form
with the crescent moon adorning his head,
the cool water of the Ganga flowing between the matted locks,
with his radiant eye in the middle of the forehead, and
with the purple neck gleaming like the sheen of a blackberry.
He wears serpent bracelets and a snake belt,
his entire body is smeared with Vibhuti,
his forehead is adorned with a Kumkum dot,
his ruddy lips glow with the juice of the betel,
diamond-studded gold earrings dangle from his ears,
and his whole swarthy body glows with divine effulgence.
No one seems to have made an effort to recognise the meaning and significance of Sivarathri. In fact, the very word Sivarathri reveals its meaning. "Siva" means auspicious and "rathri" means night. Thus, Sivarathri means auspicious night. Then the question arises: who is Siva? The divine consciousness pervading all the living beings is none other than Siva. This Sivattwa (divine consciousness) permeates not only human beings but the birds, beasts, and animals as well. In fact, every moment in our life can be taken to be Sivarathri. We need not wait for Sivarathri on a particular day in a year.
Embodiments of Love!
The Siva-consciousness is all-pervading. How can we limit it to a particular time and place? Sarvatah Panipadam Tat Sarvathokshi Siromukham, Sarvatah Sruthimalloke Sarvamavruthya Tishthati (with hands, feet, eyes, head, mouth and ears pervading everything, He permeates the entire universe).
If we carefully analyse this aspect once, it will be obvious that
all that we witness around is Siva consciousness, and nothing else.
Siva does not mean a particular form with matted hair and tiger skin.
Wherever we look and whichever form we come across --whether a child or
an elderly person, whether an woman or a man-- in every form, the Siva
consciousness is resplendent. How can you describe that all-pervading
Siva-consciousness or limit it to a particular time and place?
People display a particular dance form to portray the Siva Tandava (the cosmic dance
of Lord Siva and Parvati). But this is only symbolic and does not
portray the real Siva Tandava.
How can one describe the transcendental Siva consciousness, which words
cannot describe or the mind cannot comprehend?
Lord Siva is described by some as Mukkanti (the Lord with three
eyes). All of you have only two eyes. But the Lord has a third eye as
well. You are aware of only the past and the present. You cannot
visualise the future. Only God can. Lord Siva, who can visualise the
future with His third eye, i.e. jnana
netra, is therefore referred to as Mukkanti.
God is described by different people in several ways. He is
described to be donning several forms. Nevertheless, all those
descriptions fail to describe Him in full. Each one describes God and
ascribes Him a particular name and form, depending on his imagination.
The nameless, formless God is omnipresent and all-pervading. He is Avanmanasagochara (neither
words can describe nor the mind can comprehend Him) and Aprameya (immeasurable).
Who can describe such Divinity? There is only one sign for Divinity:
Consciousness. In whichever form this divine Consciousness permeates,
it will assume that form --it may be the form of a dog, a crow, a
crane, or a human being. Easwarattwa, therefore, can be described as
Divine Consciousness. This Divine Consciousness permeates all human
beings, nay, even the insects, birds and beasts and animals.
One of the names given to this divine Consciousness is Sivattwa
(Siva Consciousness). It is not therefore correct to describe Sivattwa
by such appellations like Mukkanti, Trinetra, etc. Sivattwa means the
all-pervading divine Consciousness. In fact, all the devotees sitting
in this Hall are embodiments of Lord Siva. Sarvam Sivamayam (all that you
witness in this objective world is a manifestation of Siva). It
pervades all the three worlds --the earth, the space, and the nether
world. It exists in all the three periods of time --the past, present
and future. It is indescribable. Any length of time is insufficient to
describe the Sivattwa.
Several people are worshipping such an omnipresent and all-pervading
Divine Consciousness by describing it through different names and
forms. Just as the all-embracing divine love does not make a
distinction between living beings, so also the Divine Consciousness
does not differentiate. It is only we who make distinction between
people as my father, my mother, my brother, my sister, etc., based on
our earthly relationships with them. In fact, every living being is an
Embodiment of Divinity. God assumes all names and forms. You are God.
Once Parvati, the consort of Lord Siva asked Him, "How can people
recognise the divine consciousness, which is said to be all-pervasive?"
Easwara replied that the same consciousness that is immanent in Him permeates all the living beings. He also explained that it permeates every cell even of her body. One cannot explain it; one has only to experience it. Once, Parvati could not find her own son Vinayaka, although he was very much near Lord Easwara. She was searching for Vinayaka everywhere, except in the divine proximity of Lord Easwara. How strange! Similarly, man today is searching for God everywhere, not knowing that he himself is an Embodiment of divine Atma.
Lord Easwara never tended His hair. He left them in their natural
position as matted locks. His matted locks, His third eye, His
ash-smeared body --all were left in their natural position and colour.
But they appeared differently to different people. Who can describe the
colour and effulgence of Lord Siva's body?
Once, a controversy arose between Lakshmi and Parvati about the
physical appearance of Lord Easwara and Lord Vishnu. Lakshmi, in the
course of arguments enquired, "Parvati! How did you court this strange
person, who does not keep His body neat and who smears the ash from the
cremation ground all over his body?"
Parvati was offended. She retorted, "Amma! Your husband Vishnu
reclines on the serpent, Sesha. He is blue in colour. Why don't you
mend His ways and try to change the colour of His body?"
When they were arguing thus, Saraswati entered the scene. She tried
to counsel them saying, "There may be some differences in their
physical appearance. So far as I am concerned, I do not find any
difference between them. The same divine consciousness permeates both
these forms. I am able to realise it. Since you are not able to realise
it, you are entering into argumentation. Hence, forget all the outward
This type of transcendental nature is immanent only in Saraswati.
All such differences in physical appearance are only in the minds of
human beings, but God is attributeless. It is the devotees who ascribe
different names and forms and attributes to God. Based on their
imagination, they picture God in different forms like the great artist
Ravi Varma. As you think, so shall be the form of God. People describe
the form of God as Rudra
and Santhiswarupa. But
God is always Santhiswarupa
(Embodiment of Peace) only. He is always pleasant and smiling. To
imagine such an Embodiment of Peace in a different form is only the
making of the devotee. If at all there are any such illusions, one has
to get rid of them.
One has to realise Divinity by cultivating love for God. Only love
can bind God. Through such divine love, the oneness of God has to be
realised. If the attributeless God has to be described, the description
would be Ekam, Nityam, Vimalam,
Achalam, Sarvadhee Sakshibhutam Bhavateetam Trigunarahitam (One
without a second, eternal, pure, unchanging, witness to all functions
of the intellect, beyond one's imagination, beyond the three gunas
(purity, serenity), rajas
(passion, restlessness), and thamas
You attribute differences to such an attributeless God and feel very happy. This is not correct. The oneness of God has to be realised. There shall be no confusion in this regard, though poets and artists like Ravi Varma portrayed God in different forms, giving expression to their imaginative skills. Whatever be the different forms of portrayal by poets and artists, God is only one. For example, Lord Vinayaka appears as only one, wherever you see. He has no attributes, whatsoever. One who has no gunas (attributes) is Ganapati. He has no leader above Him. That is why He is called Vinayaka. If you thus analyse, each name ascribed to God would reveal one meaning. Since He has no leader above Him, even Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheswara worship Him.
Embodiments of Love!
People today are promoting differences among human beings by
attributing different names and forms to the nameless, formless, and
attributeless God. This is a serious mistake. Divinity is being divided
by devotees. The oneness of God is not realised, with the result that
futile arguments and counter arguments ensue. Whether it is Rama,
Krishna, Easwara, or Vishnu, all these are only different names
ascribed by devotees to God. But God is only one. These names are
ascribed to God only for our own satisfaction. Divinity, however has no
difference at all!
The best sadhana would be to realise unity in Divinity and worship God as such. You may, however, worship God in the form you like. There can be no objection to it. But the underlying unity between the different names and forms should never be forgotten. It is a misconception to think that Lord Rama may be angry if you worship Lord Krishna and vice versa. Such differences may be felt by devotees, but they are not in Lord Rama and Lord Krishna.
God does not entertain such negative feelings. It is only human beings who have differences and negative feelings. In fact, there is no possibility at all for negative feelings to enter divinity. He is all positive only.
Do not ascribe any difference or negative feelings to God. You may worship God with whatever name and form you like. If by any chance you find any difference in divinity, it is the mistake of your negative feelings, not that of God. Hence, worship God with single-minded devotion.