Maha Shivaratri Holiday - Shiva Night February 21

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Maha Sivaratri - awareness of the Omnipresent Divinity,
This event is celebrated once a year from the 13th to the 14th lunar day of the dark phase of the lunar month. This Holy Night, the Most Gracious, means "Goodness in the Dark." Goodness refers to Wisdom, which exists even at the very peak of ignorance and darkness. Like light and darkness, Wisdom and ignorance are polarities of the same universal Fundamental Principle of Creation. The divinity that created this principle extends beyond wisdom and ignorance and is completely independent of them. The night of Shivaratri becomes a day for those who are trying at this time to establish friendship between the mind and God. Shivaratri reminds people of the Omnipresence of Divinity, Which is the Foundation of all things and even extends beyond the universe. Auspicious night for drawing closer and merging with the Lord and attaining the Light of Higher Wisdom. Waking on this holy night helps to transcend feelings, the mind and even the Mind and to realize your higher "I". This is the day when the connection with the relative side of existence (which is symbolized by the marriage of Shiva and Parvati) is most animated in the Pure consciousness. This holiday is a very good time to revive the relationship of the relative with the Absolute. The impulse of this day can improve both spheres of life: both spiritual development and material life, especially regarding those aspirations in life that are aimed at important achievements and which are difficult to achieve. Shiva is such an aspect of the Natural Law that overcomes the resistance to evolution and development and destroys ignorance on the path to pure knowledge. On this day, the impulse of the Creative Mind, which gives spiritual development and enlightenment and which helps in the implementation of aspirations, is most manifested and animated in Nature.

Puranas reveal the significance of this holiday. Once, when everything in all the worlds was consumed by Shiva, nothing was present in that darkness, Parvati worshiped Lord Shiva with great devotion. Parameshvara (Shiva), satisfied with Her prayer, decided to reward Her. She asked for benefits for all creatures: that in the future, whoever worships the Lord on the day of Sivaratri with devotion, they should be awarded Moksha - final liberation, enlightenment. When Brahma and Vishnu argued among themselves: “who is the greatest,” Shiva appeared before them like a pillar of fire. They could not find the beginning and end of this pillar. Then Brahma and Mahavishnu repented of their mistake and asked Shiva to forgive them and began to honor Shiva-Lingam, which is a form of flame. On the night of the Shivaratri festival, Shiva appeared before them and blessed them. Therefore, devotees of Shiva appeal to him throughout the night of Shivaratri, performing Abisheka, chanting mantras and performing other holy activities.

All day, before the Great night, you need to observe fasting. A maximum of one meal is allowed, and the next day, observe full strict fasting. On this day and night, one must take control of the spiritual aspect of passion, ignorance and darkness. The celebration begins at 8 pm and lasts until 4 in the morning. Before the holiday, bathing in the rivers takes place, they put on new clothes and sit around the altar of Shiva. They pour milk, water from rivers, yogurt on lingas, decorate lingas with bilva leaves, burn incense, lay flowers. They do meditation. Shiva promises his help to those who devote this night to spiritual practice. Symbolizing the aspect of transformation, Shiva helps to overcome obstacles in the path and experience inner bliss and peace. The main prayer of the holiday is "Om Namah Shivay."

This night it is not recommended to ask for material wealth, only for successful spiritual practice, liberation or a better rebirth.

The 4 rituals will purify and awaken what a particular seeker needs. Before each ritual, it is customary to take a shower / bath and wear clean clothes. During each ritual, the libation of water and the various ingredients of Shiva Lingamu, the offering of flowers, takes place. Here it is necessary to bring your thoughts into the appropriate form - to realize: “What do you sacrifice to Him from yourself? What do you want to share with Him and what do you want to gain from Him in return? ”

The first ritual is dedicated to the Guru, for without the grace of the Guru the spiritual search is fruitless and will not bring the desired results. The blessing of the Guru opens those doors that are forever closed for those who are not ready to lay down their ego at the feet of the Master. Then the mantra Ganesha is sung - the son of Shiva and Parvati, the destroyer of barriers. With the blessings of Ganesha, any business argues! Ganesha protects us by building obstacles where we should not go, and removing them where we really need to go!
During the first ritual, the oldest fiery ceremony is held. Only fruits and sweets are offered as an offering. At this time, it is worth praying for success on the spiritual path: “Oh Lord, help me meet my Guru, grant deep faith and true knowledge!” It is useful to pray for others, for peace and prosperity for all, in the whole world and in all worlds! ” And no selfish requests!

Around midnight, the second ritual begins. There are prayers for prosperity, wealth, fame, career, with personal requests in the mode of rajas. But this does not mean at all that it is imperative to ask Shiva for something. You can simply praise him, enjoy the very process of worshiping him - joyful and cheerful dances and songs.

During the third ritual, the worship of Shiva Rudra in His formidable aspects is performed together with His wife Parvati in the aspect of Mahakali. At this time, it is good to give all the animal that is in a person - these are the negative qualities of our mind. Ma Kali and Shiva are happy to take them - the main thing is to recognize their presence in themselves and honestly give them away. It is favorable to smash coconut in front of the altar: it symbolizes the breaking of the ego and meditation is aimed at what qualities in oneself a person would like to smash into smithereens.
Just like a coconut, the ego has a strong, thick shell, but an empty space inside. Pride, self-esteem are just as false as coconut - solid on the outside, but empty and liquid inside.

The last ritual is associated with the veneration of Shiva as the Absolute, which is beyond all qualities, names and forms. What matters here is not so much external veneration as deep meditation and the discovery of inner unity with Shiva. The time from 3 to 5 in the morning is the predawn time, when amazing peace and quiet reign in nature, just contributes to such meditation. This is the gap between sleep and wakefulness. It is believed that this time allows you to enter a higher state of consciousness, that which is above the thought, above the mind. The last ritual makes it possible to feel Shiva as the Soul of his soul, as his Higher Self. Mantras are chanted to 108 names of Shiva.