Shivaratri is a very auspicious day for all. It is the fourteenth day of the lunar fortnight, when the moon is waning and the sun is in the sign of Aquarius. However, the festival is related to the moon rather than the sun. Unlike other nights, this particular night is the night of consecration, of dedication, of illumination. The mind is intimately associated with the moon. Chandra, the deity of 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 wild fancies and waywardness reduced after it has been conquered by spiritual discipline.
On this night, there is just a minute part more to be conquered, and that can be done by keeping vigil and dwelling on the glory of God The vigil that is prescribed is symbolic of the eternal vigil one has to observe, while the rite of fasting is symbolic of divesting the senses of the pleasures for which they crave. The night-long devotional singing is significant of the life long consciousness of the Divine Presence that everyone should cultivate.
Sri Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 14/Ch. 1: March 07, 1978
The SSSIO extends a cordial invitation for everyone to participate in the online celebrations of Maha Shivaratri, with 24 hours of uninterrupted devotional singing accompanied by beautiful Darshan of Sri Sathya Sai Baba along with prayerful chants from around the world.
Please join us from 5:30 AM March 11, 2021, PST to 6:00 AM March 12, 2021, PST for the program.
All times stated here are Pacific Standard Time (Los Angeles time) – Please check your local time carefully.
Significance of Maha Shivaratri
Shiva means auspicious. This is an auspicious night. Every month has a Shivaratri – the fourteenth day of Krishnapaksha, the waning part of the lunar cycle, is called Masa Shivaratri. Once a year, we observe Maha Shivaratri on the 14th day of the waning moon, in the month of Magha (February–March), which is the most auspicious of all Shivaratri nights. Maha means great and Maha Shivaratri is the great Shivaratri night.
The moon is the presiding deity of the mind. It represents the mind, which is least effective during the time of Maha Shivaratri. This is regarded as the most auspicious time for spiritual seekers. The mind is considered to be the cause for both bondage and liberation of man (“Manayeva manushyanam karanam bandha mukshayoh”). Once the mind is controlled and turned towards God, one is free and liberated. But if the mind is turned towards the world, one remains in bondage. Maha Shivaratri is an auspicious time when, Swami says, it is easy for a seeker to practice the control of mind and senses. Swami advises three things for spiritual seekers: (1) bend the body - that is, do service, (2) mend the senses - that is, control the senses, and (3) end the mind (manolaya).
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba says that it is important to understand the inner significance of Maha Shivaratri and that of the rituals performed on this night. The video below is a talk given by Dr. Narendranath Reddy, Chairman, SSSIO on Maha Shivaratri with insights from Swami and the scriptures.
Please use the gear shaped button at the bottom right of the video for subtitles in English and other languages
Please click the links below to to download the video and the transcript.
Abhishekam of a Lingam consists of bathing the Lingam with various materials. Each material represents an element of nature. First, the Lingam is bathed with milk. This represents the earth. Next, curd is poured and this represents the element water. Then, Ghee, or clarified butter is applied to the Lingam and this represents the element fire. And then honey is poured on the Lingam and that represents the element wind or Vayu. Finally, sugar is showered upon the Lingam creating a sweet mixture of the five elements called Panchamritha – made of milk, curd, Ghee, honey and sugar. Thus, Lord Shiva is worshipped with all the five elements.
Abhishekam can also be done with other materials such as vermillion powder (Kumkum) or sandalwood paste, or turmeric, or sugarcane water, or coconut water and some people also do Abhishekam with gold leaves. They can also do it with flowers, with fruits, or with Durva grass.
The video below shows an excerpt of Abhishekam of the sacred Saieshwara Lingam performed by priests in 2018 in Prasanthi Nilayam.
Maha Shivaratri Program
All times are in PST, Please check for your local time