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.

Sathya Sai Baba, March 09, 2005

My implicit connection to Shiva seems preordained. After all, Swami named me Shivamala.

When I was 10 years old, we lived by a Shiva Temple. My version of self-reflection was a daily trip to the temple during summer vacations. I thought the ritual gave me a sense of purpose. As I grew older, I found myself embodying some of Shiva’s legendary traits: Being fiery and energetic. Even my obsession with percussion is, in my mind, simply explained by my name.

As I drifted through life, I felt a constant undertow pulling me toward Swami and bhajans were the anchor. There was nothing like the all-night vigil of Sivarathri to give me renewed energy for term papers, winters, or other trials of young adulthood. When I added meditation to my daily ritual, I connected with the ascetic in Shiva. But the purpose was to have a sharper mind and be a better thinker.

I think, therefore I am

Rene Descartes

The thinking man statue that graces so many college campuses reminds us that our ability to think is what puts human beings at the top of creation. The human mind can build bridges out of immovable stones. It can eradicate diseases and cultivate barren land. It can write poems, design printing presses, turn books into tiny digital bytes and preserve ideas for eons. All progress depends on the human mind. Perhaps meditation could make my mind just a little sharper.

Never follow the mind. The mind by nature is highly sacred, but due to the impact of modern education it has become unsteady like a monkey.

Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 39, 2006

The attempts to still my mind revealed all its frailties. It is when you can hear your thoughts that you realise how few of them are constructive. The mind wanders aimlessly. It destroys as quickly as it creates. It flits from the past to the future but always manages to evade the present. The mind can solve any problem except its own. If modern education and modern society has corrupted the human mind, how can I be both auspicious and modern?

The mind is intimately associated with the Moon. Chandra (the Moon), is the presiding deity of the mind. He loses one sixteenth of his brilliance every day after the Full Moon day and continues waning until on this night he is left with just one sixteenth of his power. The waned Moon may be taken to stand for the mind with all its vagaries and waywardness reduced after it has been conquered by sadhana (spiritual discipline). On this night there is just a minute part of the mind left to be conquered and that can be done by keeping vigil and dwelling on the Glory of God.

Sathya Sai Baba, March 7, 1978

Every Sivarathri, I give my mind a task. To mitigate, what I believe, is its most destructive quality that year, such as: impulsiveness; rushing to judgment; restlessness. The list is long and frankly endless. But it gives me new purpose each year. Someday, perhaps, I hope to balance the fire, energy, and impulsiveness with water, grace, and stillness that defines the nature of Shiva.

Shivamala Miller, USA

Try to understand the true nature and significance of the names. It is a fact that nobody has ever seen Lord Easwara in person. People call Him "Kailasavasi" (the Lord who resides in Kailasa). Where is Kailasa? It is only when you contemplate on Him in the depth of silence that you can visualise Lord Easwara in Kailasa. Therefore, one has to practise mouna (silence). And that silence implies total stillness of thought and word. Embodiments of Love! You are all amrutaputras (Children of Immortality). Hence, constantly remain under that awareness. Proclaim yourself to be amrutaputras. Whatever name has been already been given to you, prefix that name with "Amrutaputra". To consider yourself as anrutaputra is a great mistake and a misnomer. Hence, realise your true nature and call yourself Amrutaputra.

Sathya Sai Baba, March 08, 2005

A drama performance by Balvikas (SSE girls) from Chennai in the year 1970. Author believes to be the youngest girl standing to Swami’s left with a smile.