Mahashivratri: The Union of Shiva and Shakti and the Eternal Celebration!!

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Mahashivratri represents the meeting and merging of Shiva and Shakti. It is the meeting, merging, and disappearance of two bodies into one soul. It is a metaphor for the ‘Night’ embracing the ‘Day’. It is a symbolic expression for ‘She’ encompassing ‘He’. It is a poetic metaphor for Yin enveloping Yang. The result is a fusion of everlasting love, dance, and celebration. Mahashivratri is a never-ending night of love, dance, and celebration.

Today is a Mahashivratri day. The night of this day is celebrated as a never-ending night of love, dance, and celebration. In the Indian tradition, Shiva is considered to be a symbol of love, bliss, dance, and celebration. He is actually considered to be a God of love, dance, and celebration. What does the word “Mahashivratri” mean? It is made up of three words - Maha, Shiva, and Ratri. Maha means everlasting, never-ending, and eternal. It means something that is beginningless and endless. Shiva means the name of a true lover. The blissful one. The one who represents that everlasting love, bliss, dance, and celebration. Shiva is a person symbolic of love, dance, and celebration. Shivam means blisfulness. Shiva means one who is ever blisful. There are these two words: Shiva and Shava. Shava means a dead-body, a corpse. Though we are alive, we all live the life of dead people. We are always engrossed in either memories or imaginations. We either live in the past, or live in the future. The true present (the timeless) is always far away from us. We get attached and identified with thoughts, memories, and imaginations. We are conditioned that way over a long period of time. Hence the bliss of the present is always far away from us. Shiva is also called the Hara. Hara is the death center in us. Shiva is one who has transcended the death center. Shiva is one who has gone beyond the Shava and experienced the bliss. Shiva is one who is always radiating bliss. Ratri literally means the night. It is a dark night of the soul. Our soul is suffering from the darkness or ignorance. And has not met with the light or illumination. And hence suffering from the absence of bliss. We are always living in a state of hell. It is really very strange that the symbol or metaphor is ‘Night’ and not ‘Day’. This metaphor ‘Night’ has so many meanings in the Indian tradition. Mahashivratri also means an union of Shiva and Shakti. Shiva is a lover and Shakti is his beloved. It seems they are eternal friends. It appears they are an eternal couple. It seems they are eternal Valentines. Shiva and Shakti are two complementing energies (active and passive). Mahashivratri is a fusion of these two energies. Shiva and Shakti are also symbolic of Purusha and Prakriti. It is the merging of Purusha in Prakriti. The consciousness is hidden in the matter. And the Supreme Consciousness is enveloping the matter and the consciousness. It is like the Yin and Yang of the Chinese mythology. In Chinese mythology the whole creation is a union or perfect balance of these two energies. Yin is the feminine energy, the female fish, and Yang is the masculine energy or the male fish. The whole creation is a perfect fusion of these two energies. In the Chinese Mythology this single resultant energy is called Chi. And we suffer from health problems when there is an imbalance in this Chi. In the same way in the Indian tradition, Shiva and Shakti are these two primordial energies. They are the manifestation of that single and eternal energy. In the Indian tradition they represent the whole creation. The symbol ‘Night’ is also representative of a feminine or passive energy. The one that has the capability of embracing the masculine or active energy. Feminine energy has the capability of embracing or encompassing the masculine energy. Day represents the masculine energy or active energy or Shiva, and Night represents the feminine energy or passive energy or Shakti. It is the representation of Shakti embracing Shiva. It is the indication of Night embracing the Day. The day meeting the night, dissolving and disappearing into each other. Mahashivratri is symbolic of the meeting of these two energies. The meeting and merging of these two energies and becoming one and cosmic. The meeting of the two bodies and merging into one soul. The people of the East have really been very intelligent in choosing these symbols. They must have worked very hard on these esoteric meanings. The night also indicates a particular time, a particular period. Night is symbolic of a time that is absolutely suitable for rest, relaxation, and love. We can not take a nap or sleep while standing. We have to lie down and take this particular posture. Similarly, it becomes very difficult sometimes to sleep, rest, and relax in the presence of light. Night has also been chosen as a symbol of rest and relaxation. That is why when we want to take a nap or sleep, we ensure that the lights in the room are switched off, the window curtains are pulled down, the mobile phone is either switched off or kept on the silent mode. We make sure that the atmosphere is cozy. We also get angry if anybody disturbs us while we are sleeping. The night or evening or afternoon is also chosen as a good and suitable time for meditation. This is the time when the active energies of the morning and the day are descending. This is a perfect time for contemplation and meditation. The night is also symbolic of a time that is suitable for dance and celebration. If we look into a tribal or village life, we will be surprised to know that the tribals or villagers after working the whole day in the forest and the farm assemble in the night to sing, dance, and celebrate before the fire. It is a time of festivity for them. And the night is also symbolic of all creation. All the creation in the universe is taking place during the night. The sprouting of a seed, petals coming out of a bud, dewdrops falling on the buds and the flowers, are all happening during the night time or in the dark. The night is also symbolic of pain and suffering. While somebody suffering from any pain, we encourage by saying, “Let this night pass and everything will be alright”. All pain, anguish, and suffering is like passing through the dark night of the soul. We also say, “There is always a light at the end of the tunnel”. The first light of the day brings us freshness, life, and hope. It is again a beginning of something new. A new day and a new beginning. It is also symbolic of the death of the ugly past and the beginning of a new and bright future.

The legend of Shiva is also something like this. Shiva was very poor but was a free and daring spirit. He had no house of his own and hence he was living in the Himalayas. The whole of the Himalaya was his home. He was a wanderer. And the mantra of his life was love, dance, and celebration. This was a by-product of his bliss. He was like the hippies of the West. It seems he was the first Indian hippie. And he was a man of true love. Parvati, who was also known as Shakti, was the daughter of a rich man. She fell madly in love with Shiva and insisted on marrying him. She was not willing to marry anybody except him. Her father was unwilling and unyielding. But she was very adamant and hell bent on marrying this guy. This guy, though poor, was a fantastic lover. Somehow, they eloped and got married. In the Hindu Mythology there are three Gods who are considered to be the custodians of the whole creation. Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh. Mahesh is another name of Shiva. Each one of them handle an independent portfolio. And when it comes to the affairs of the creation they three consult each other and take the decision.

Brahma means the beginning. He is the very beginning if there was any beginning. He is the beginning in everything. He takes care of the creation. Vishnu means sustenance. He takes care of the sustenance of the creation. He is the life-span of that creation. He is the time-span of any beginning. Shiva mean annihilation, destruction or transformation of the creation. He takes care of transition and transformation. Whatever that has come into existence, has to stay, sustain and disappear in non-existence. The old dies and the new comes in. Whatever that is born, is bound to die one day. If the existence has come out of the non-existence, it has to disappear again in the non-existence for the new existence to appear. Christ has to crucify the old to resurrect into the new. Old Testament goes and a New Testament comes in. Old commandments go and new commandments come in. Old ideas go and new ideas come in. Old values disappear and new values emerge. The ignorance has to die for the intelligence to emerge. The unconsciousness has to disappear for the consciousness to flower. The ignorance has no beginning but has an end. The unconsciousness has no beginning but has an end. The consciousness has a beginning but no end. The consciousness is endless, deathless, and eternal. This way these three guys handle these three independent departments or portfolios. They are considered to be the architects of the whole creation.

The legend is that one day there was a great crisis and all the three were to meet, consult, and take a decision. Somehow, Brahma could trace Vishnu but Mahesh was not traceable. They tried all possible ways to communicate with him but in vain. He was not available on the Internet. He was not responding to the Gmail. He was not found online on the Google chat. He was not replying to the SMS. His Nexus One mobile phone was switched off. His WhatsApp message was left unseen. He was not available on his Facebook page. He was also not available on his Google+ page. They followed him on Twitter but there was no response. All the efforts of communication and collaboration gone in vain. And the matter was very urgent and critical and he was to be consulted. Brahma and Vishnu decided to reach him at his home directly in the Himalayas. They both reached the Himalayas. There was nobody at the gate of his house. There was no security guard even. Even the Nandi (the bull, his consort) was not seen. They rang the door bell. Tring, Tring, Tring. There was no response. They were really worried now. They saw if the door was locked. They pushed the door and it opened. It was open and unlocked. They entered his house and found there was nobody in the drawing room. They yelled his name: Shiva, Shiva, Shiva. There was absolutely no response. They tried to see him if he is there in his bedroom. But they hesitated. It could be a trespass. It may amount to be immoral and unethical. And there was no other option available. It was the last chance. And hesitantly they both peeped into his bedroom. Shiva was absolutely busy with his beloved Shakti. They both were busy loving each other. Shiva looks at both Brahma and Vishnu and ignores them. He acts as if he has seen and not seen them. This is the reason why he was popularly known as the God of love. He was a lover of lovers. Brahma and Vishnu feel very sorry for him, and wait outside in the drawing room for Shiva to come out. They wait for a long time but Shiva does not come out. Brahma and Vishnu get very angry on Shiva and curse him. They curse him saying that for the rest of his life he will be known and worshiped in his phallic symbol of “Shivalinga”. This is how Shiva is also worshiped all over the world in the form of Shivalinga.

This is again a symbolic, metaphoric, and esoteric thing. And there is no need to feel bad about it and react negatively. We must know and understand the esoteric meaning behind this story. The whole story is the story of the union of Shiva and Shakti. It is the story of Shiva merging into Shakti and disappearing totally. Who will come and who will meet Brahma and Vishnu? If Shiva is there he will come and meet. In the eternal love, Shiva has become one with Shakti. They both have disappeared into each other and dissolved in the universal and eternal love. They both have become one. Two bodies meeting and merging in one soul. It is a symbolic story of the duality disappearing in the non-dual. It is a symbolic story of the Gunas disappearing in the Nirguna. It is a metaphoric story of the relative merging and becoming one with the absolute. Shiva represents intellect and Shakti represents emotion. The result of their union represents pure innocence and pure consciousness. That is the reason why Shiva is also known as Ekalinga, meaning one gender (Nirguna, one beyond the gender and its attributes). That is, now they are no more He and She. They are no more Shiva and Shakti. They are no more Prakriti and Purusha. They are no more two but one, the non-dual, the Brahman, the Turiyam, the Supreme Consciousness. This is a metaphoric and symbolic story of a Spiritual Singularity.

The East has represented the whole creation in three layers - He, She, and It. That is, Thinking, Feeling, and Being. ‘He’ represents the masculine energy. It is the active energy. It is the intellectual energy. It is the thinking energy. ‘She’ represents the feminine energy. It is the passive energy. It is the intuitive energy. It is the emotional energy. The meeting of the two, merging of the two, union of the two, the complementation of the two, and the perfect balance of the two is a transcendental state called the ‘It’ or the ‘Being’. It is the Brahman. It is the Turiyam. It is the Supreme Consciousness. It is the Ishvaram. These two energies are not opposite and antagonistic to each other. They are complementary to each other. They appear as opposites but are compensatory. They complement, compensate, and complete each other. This is also the reason why Shiva and Shakti are also called the God and Goddess of Tantra. They both are symbolic of the science of Tantra. Tantra is the natural way of meeting, merging, and becoming one. It seems as if God has desired the Tantra way. Tantra means transformation of the body. Tan means the body. Tra means the churning of the three - Tamas, Rajas, and Satva. In Satva (in perfect balance) we realize and experience the blissful body. So, Trishul is that amazing weapon of Shiva that helps in conquering the Trigunas (three attributes) and transcending them. And what follows after the victory is the Damaru and the Dance. All the devotees of Shiva are praying, dancing, and are wakeful the whole of the night. Now, what does this waking whole of the night mean? This means when we are wakeful to our lust, it will transform into love. When we are wakeful to our ignorance, it will transform into wisdom. When we are wakeful to our ugly past, it will transform into an eternal future. And when we are wakeful to our unconsciousness, it will transform into the Supreme Consciousness.

I wish you all a very Happy Mahashivratri from the bottom of my heart. Can we then contemplate and meditate on the Shiva Mantra? Om Namah Shivaya. Om Namah Shivaya. Om Namah Shivaya.

Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva/link/button/#8e44ad

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