The fourteenth day of every lunar month, or the day before the new moon, is known as Shivratri. Shivratri, the darkest night of the month, is an opportunity to go beyond limitation, restrictions and restraints – to experience your infinite potential, your limitless nature.
Out of the twelve Shivratris that occur in a calendar year, the one that occurs in February-March has the most spiritual significance and so it’s called Maha Shivratri, The Great Night of Shiva.
There are different stories as to why Maha Shivratri is celebrated. One story speaks of Shiva drinking poison and turning it into nectar. This is the capacity of an awakened consciousness state. Avidya, incorrect knowledge, is the only poison so when an awakened consciousness state is moving in the direction of unity, there is no poison.
The invitation is to realize that any problem is only there because of a certain consciousness state, so it’s important to refine. Problems don’t have an independent existence. They only exist in relation to the one having the problem. With all challenges, all pain, the experiencer is the common denominator so refine your consciousness state. Turn that poison into nectar!
Another story is about the merging of Shiva and Shakti. This is referring to the awakening of Kundalini, our infinite potential, as it rises from the root chakra and encounters Shiva at the third eye. This is the journey from fear, from a fragmented state, oblivious of our own true nature and our potential, to unity, gaining more and more celestial value within ourselves, tapping in to our own God nature.
Another story speaks of this night as the night when Shiva performs his heavenly dance or ‘tandav’, his cosmic dance of creation, preservation and destruction.
On the subtlest level, Shiva is the wholeness through which everything emerges. It is the great void, the vast field of silence. At a certain level of that field of Shiva is the dynamism of Shiva, known as Shakti. This dynamism births time and space. Then comes the Trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. These are expressions within time. So, Shakti is an expression of Shiva and then Shiva becomes an expression of Shakti within time. It’s important to understand that we need to cognize both or we miss the point. It is the one within time that realizes the timeless. It’s only the finite expression who gains infinity.
Wherever there is creation there is destruction and vice versa. Creation and destruction are just expressions of the unfolding of the universe within time. But when consciousness expresses at a human level it is gripped by fear - fear of destruction, dissolution, death, fear of Shiva, who represents that which is not, the vast field of silence. Yet this is the journey of all forms. Anything that comes into time, dissolves in time. And so, Shiva and his cosmic dance are great pointers for us to realize the impermanence of all existence.
Light and dark co-exist. Whenever there is light, there is darkness and wherever there is darkness there is light. The lower mind sees the unknown as an enemy. It is afraid of the unknown. But for the yogi, the unknown is our greatest ally.
The invitation of Shivratri is to align with the unknown, to embrace the unknown, to realize the impermanence of all that exists, including the body.
Avidya, incorrect knowledge, is the fundamental root of all suffering. Avidya is not ‘not knowing’. It’s the state of not knowing while believing you do. Shiva is the destroyer of avidya, the destroyer of the ego, the false self and Shivratri invites us to move in that direction – from isolation to separation, from fear to love, to unity.
Maha Shivratri is the night when Shiva awakens and dissolves all opposition, all avidya - the not knowing of one’s own Shiva nature. This is what needs to be destroyed. As we grow in awareness and make contact with that dimension of ourselves, the isolated self starts to dissolve. False narratives, agendas, investments all fall away as the isolated value gains more and more value of the ocean, universality, within itself.
It’s an opportunity to experience that vast emptiness, that lies at the core of all beings, for yourself. This vast emptiness is from where everything else arises. It is the source of all creation.
It is, also, a great night to honor the unbroken, continuous chain of teachings that serve the evolution of the collective.
On the human plane, Shiva is Adi Yogi, the first teacher. This is not referring to a person but rather to a consciousness state, where a being begins to wake up to their own true Self, becoming a channel which has access to the field of Veda, the wisdom body.
Shiva is that possibility, which pulsates within each of us, to live that free life where we can exist in the timeless but be active within time. This is the invitation of all yogic teachings, to have access to that dimension of our being. There is no place where there is not Shiva, no being in whom there is not Shiva. Shiva is the ultimate Self of each and every one of us. The Self of all selves, the Being of all beings.
This night is about self-reflection and introspection, in order to grow, to evolve, to awaken, to be fearless, to exist in this world but not belong to it.
Dive deep within your own Shiva nature. Unleash your Shakti. Allow Shiva and Shakti to unite. Move from avidya to unity, from fear to yoga, from suffering to bliss. Wake up to that place within you where Shiva lives. Once you can locate that dimension within you then Shiva becomes alive in the mountains, the lakes, the trees and the birds, the goddess.
Don’t let this night just be a night of wakefulness. Let it truly be a night of awakening for you. This is the invitation.
Many observe a full day fast on Maha Shivratri, eating only on the next day after bathing. This can help to heighten the experience, as we go beyond the body and access the truth of who we are.
This year, the festival will commence on March 1st, 2022 and we will come together to celebrate. Tap into this powerful spiritual energy and raise your frequency by joining us live from the Himalayas for a special Online Event. Overcome the darkness & move in the direction of light.
March 1st 6pm - 10pm IST – Live on Sattva Connect - All are welcome!
If you are not already a member, take advantage of our 14-day free trial and be transported to the Himalayas for this event – not to be missed!