It must be remembered that the chief aim of all sadhana (spiritual striving) is to eliminate the mind… Then only can maya (illusion) be rent asunder and the Reality revealed… Once a year, on Mahasivarathri a special spurt of spiritual activity is recommended, so that what is shavam (corpse) can become Sivam (God), by the perpetual awareness of its Divine Indweller.

Sathya Sai Speaks V09:03, Sivarathri Day, February 14, 1969

Sathya Sai Baba assures us that when the effect of the mind is diminished by focusing on God during the holy night of Sivarathri, we become in tune with the omnipresent God who is always there for us. The following experience beautifully shows us the omnipresence of God if we desire to “see” Him, no matter where we are physically.

Many years ago, I was invited to work at an American company as a translator for a marine project. All marine operations were carried out from a diving vessel named after the academician Tofik Ismailov, and I was fortunate enough to work as a ship interpreter. My shift at sea coincided with the celebration of the Hindu holy day of Mahasivarathri. I was very upset that I would have to be at sea on the holy day.

The ship was located about 300 km from the coast and I was thinking how I would be able to celebrate this holy Lord Shiva's night. From Swami's discourses, we know that this is a special night when the moon, symbolic of the human mind, disappears.  During this blissful night, one can find inner peace and harmony, if one contemplates sincerely on God, since the illusory effect of the mind is greatly diminished. Often it can be difficult for us to accept the circumstances of our life, especially when something goes wrong. Swami says, "Love My uncertainty." His mysteries are beyond understanding.

I was upset because I could not think of how I would be able to focus on God on this ship. Amazingly, to my pleasant surprise, I found out that a whole team of Hindus were working on the ship as service personnel. One of the Hindus was a devotee of Lord Shiva. In a conversation with him, I mentioned my commitment to Sathya Sai Baba. As a devotee of Shiva, he knew that this night was the holy night of Shiva and offered to hold a puja in my cabin. By the way, my cabin number was number SS9, an auspicious number! My new friend came to my cabin at the appointed hour, set up a small altar for Lord Shiva, and soon we began to recite the mantra for Lord Shiva together for some time. After he left, even though it was already late, I decided to watch TV and started watching a Russian channel. Unexpectedly, I saw a programme called “It’s hard to be God.” The transmission began with a video clip about Sathya Sai Baba in the ashram at Prasanthi Nilayam and also showed the materialisation of the Shiva Lingam. At the end of this programme there was also a video clip of the Lingam materialisation during Mahasivarathri.

I remember the spiritually uplifting feelings I experienced at the sight of this mystery. I was overjoyed. My loving Sathya Sai Baba heard my prayers and gave me His Darshan (vision of the Divine) and He also showed me the birth of Hiranyagarbha. Mysterious are the ways of God. Such is the greatness of our Almighty Lord Sai. He made it possible to fulfil my innermost wish to be one with Him on this holy night, despite being in the middle of the sea. I thank our dearest Swami for His Omnipresence, Omnipotence and Omniscience.

 

“The lesson of Shivarathri is that devotees should foster good and sacred thoughts. They should be filled with godly thoughts. They should seek to become one with the Divine by reflecting on their inherent divinity. If you constantly chant the name of God, God realization will come in due course.

 

Whatever other things they may possess, men suffer from lack of peace and bliss. These two can be obtained only from God. It is for these two that men should pray to God and not for anything else, because God alone can give them. When these are secured, all other things will come of their own accord by the grace of God. People should yearn for God. All other desires are worthless”.

 

 

- Divine Discourse: February 26, 1998

 

Om Sri Sai Ram

 

Riza Khalilov, Azerbaijan