The word 'ratri' in Sanskrit connotes that which relieves you from the three types of agony - Ethereal, Mental and Material. This brings rest to the three instruments: the body, mind and speech.
The festival most sacred to Shiva devotees falls on the fourteenth night of the new moon, during the dark half of the lunar month of Phalguna, some time between February and March. This is Mahashivaratri or the great night of Shiva.
Shiva means good, benevolent. Ratri' means that which gives rest, takes you into its lap and comforts you. Shivratri is that which brings such a deep sense of serenity and benevolence.
Shivratri literally means that night which infuses the Shiva tatva, or the transcendental, into the three instruments. Samadhi is often referred to as Shiva Sayujya, the presence of Shiva, a concept that's difficult to explain. Kabir Das calls it the koti kalpa vishram, a billion years of rest consolidated in a moment. It is like the deepest possible rest with alertness one could have, which brings freedom from all identities.
Shiva tatva is Omnipresent. The whole point of realisation is to be conscious of it in its depth, yet to be awake to its non-dual glory, in one's awareness, in the depth of Samadhi. It is as if a wave is being skilfully conscious of the vastness of the ocean. The jagran in Shivratri is not just forcing oneself to be awake or watching movies or singing bhajans aloud. It is all about keeping awake and being inward... and reaching the witness consciousness by being consciously aware of the inner rest that sleep anyway brings on an everyday basis. When you surpass a certain layer of sleep, the rest of samadhi or Shiva sayujya happens.
It is only wakefulness that brings out this knowledge in the consciousness and Shivratri is the night to celebrate the wakefulness of one universal consciousness without falling into the unconscious sleep state. Breaking the pattern of unconscious sleep gives you a glimpse that you are not a mechanical apparatus but a legend in the creation. To recognise the Shiva tatva , you have to be awake.
This year H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji celebrates Shivratri in Kollam, Kerala.
For devotees in Mumbai we have organized Shivratri celebrations.
We will have Rudra Puja, Meditation & Satsang the 23rd February 2009 at Dahisar Sports Foundation Ground, Opp Vidya Mandir Road, C.S.Road, Dahisar (East) Mumbai. At 6.30pm .
Rudra Puja will be performed by Swami Vishnupaad Ji & Veda Acharyas from Art of Living. World renowned singer & guitarist Shri Vikram Hazra will lead divine celebration & music after the Puja. People can take a sankalp in the Rudra Puja being performed.
Contact 310 99 999.