Sivaratri Celebrations, 23 February 2009 — Amritapuri
“God is always awake within us, but we are sound asleep,” Amma said. “As a result, we are unable to experience his presence.” It was almost 2:00 in the morning—half way through the traditional night-long vigil and fast of Sivaratri. Amma then told everyone assembled that holidays like Sivaratri are opportunities to try to emerge from this state through a night of austerity.
Amma then went on to explain that ‘remaining awake’ in fact did not only mean keeping the eyes open. “It means to maintain awareness of our actions, words and thoughts,” she said. “When this awareness dawns, ignorance disappears. Darkness is not something we can remove, but when we bring in light, it automatically disappears. In the same way, when awareness dawns, the darkness of ignorance fades away.”
Amma also sang a number of Shiva bhajans to help enliven and inspire her children—including “Manobudhyahamkara chithani naham,” “Om Namah Shivaya” and “Bolo Nath Hare.”
“Food and sleep are very important,” Amma said. “No one will sacrifice them just like that. Only when our love for God transcends our love for food and sleep will we stop consider fasting and maintaining vigil as suffering. … When love for God awakens in our heart, we find all worldly thoughts fading away. Festivals like Sivaratri are opportunities to awaken this love within us.”
Amma ended her talk by saying, “It is Amma’s prayer that her children have the attitude of sacrifice and surrender not only on Sivaratri but throughout their lives. May your thoughts, words and actions arise from love.”