The Significance of Mahashivratri
Mahashivratri is one of the most important Hindu festivals of the year. This auspicious festival is celebrated to honour the Hindu God Shiva.
New Delhi: The fourteenth day of every lunar month or the day before the new moon is known as Shivratri. Among all the twelve Shivratris that occur in a calendar year, Mahashivratri, the one that occurs in February-March is of the most spiritual significance. On this night, the northern hemisphere of the planet is positioned in such a way that there is a natural upsurge of energy in a human being. This is a day when nature is pushing one towards one’s spiritual peak. It is to make use of this, that in this tradition, we establish a certain festival which is night-long. One of the fundamentals of this night-long festival is to ensure that – to allow this natural upsurge of energies to find their way – you remain with your spine vertical – you stay awake.
Mahashivratri is the day when the Shiva Tattva touches the earth. The consciousness, the aura, or the ethereal world, which is always ten inches above the material ground, touches the earth element on the day of Mahashivratri. It is the wedding of the material with the spiritual, and that is the celebration.
Mahashivratri is very significant for people who are on the spiritual path. It is also very significant for people who are in family situations, and also for the ambitious in the world. People who live in family situations observe Mahashivratri as Shiva’s wedding anniversary. Those with worldly ambitions see that day as the day Shiva conquered all his enemies.
Shiva is the soul (of everything) – there is no difference between the soul and Shiva.
Your true nature is Shiva, and Shiva is peace, infinity, beauty, and the non-dual one.
Ratri means 'to take refuge'. Shivratri is taking refuge in one’s own spirit (Shiva). It is the day that we celebrate the soul or spirit (Shiva Tattva) within ourselves.
Ratri (which translates as ‘night’) is that which gives you rest, or peace. Three types of peace are needed:
• Material peace
• Mental peace
• Peace of the soul
But, for the ascetics, it is the day he became one with Mount Kailash. He became like a mountain – absolutely still. In the yogic tradition, Shiva is not worshipped as a God, but considered as the Adi Guru, the first Guru from whom the knowledge originated. After many millennia in meditation, one day he became absolutely still. That day is Mahashivratri. All movement in him stopped and he became utterly still, so ascetics see Mahashivratri as the night of stillness.