Tonight is celebration of Mahashivaratri. It is the night dedicated to Lord Shiva who represents the divine, auspicious and eternal essence that exists in all things. One of the traditional ways to honour this occasion is to chant Lord Shiva’s name throughout the night.
I first celebrated Mahashivaratri 20 years ago this year during my first visit to India. I remember standing on the roof of a pavilion listening to the sounds of Om Namah Shivaya being chanted below me. As the syllables of the mantra rose up into the night sky to be received by the heavens, I too felt transported into a mystical, majestic, and pristine realm of purity and peace. I have always remembered the experience of that state of pure being. Since that moment on, I look forward to Mahashivaratri night as a time to recall the power of this place – this unchanging essence of peace, purity and tranquility within myself.
I’ve assembled some links to move you into the spirit of this sacred day:
- First, a gallery of images from celebrations across India over the past few days
- A short video of the arati for today performed in Haridawar
- And, a bit about the origin and significance of Mahashivaratrifrom Swami Sivananda of the Divine Life Society.
- Here is Sianna Sherman recountingthe story of how Lord Shiva got his name as Neelakantha, the Blue-Throated one.
- Finally, the Chandrashekara Ashtavama devotional song dedicated to Lord Shiva as the “One who holds the crescent moon in his hair”, courtesy of the ISHA foundation. Words and translation here.
Wishing you an auspicious Mahashivaratri,