21 February 2020, Shivaratri celebrations – Amritapuri Ashram
Shivaratri was celebrated at Amritapuri with joy and enthusiasm. Chantings of Rudram and Chamakam took place along with special Shiva pujas and continuous chantings in the Kalari by devotees and ashramites.
In the evening Amma led a special bhajan session, meditation, gave her message for the occasion and even danced for a few moments to everybody’s joy. Amma then asked a few small kids to talk on the microphone, telling stories and giving short speeches in Sanskrit.
Throughout the night, bhajans were being sung by different groups to keep the celebrations alive. Below is the excerpt from Amma’s Shivaratri message.
Amma’s Sihvaratri Message 2020
“When we hear Shivaratri, we may wrongly surmise that it means “the Night of Lord Shiva” or “the Night Meant for Lord Shiva.” Lord Shiva, the Absolute Reality, has neither night nor day. Neither does he sleep. Shivam is constant, unbroken awakening—the absolute consciousness. Holydays like Shivaratri and its observances, such as fasting and maintaining vigil at night, are meant for us—not for God. All of them send us the same message, “Know yourself.”
“Lord Shiva symbolises supreme sacrifice and dispassion. The heaviest burden is that of the ego. When we renounce that burden, we will rise to the plane of Shiva. Lord Shiva is the supreme bliss and complete perfection of that ego-renunciation. Shivaratri is the knowledge “I am that perfection.”
“Normally when we say “night,” we understand it as an external state of darkness when nothing can be seen properly and one thing can be distinguished from another. But the word ratri—night—in Shivaratri, does not mean this. During the day, we see the world with its myriad forms. We distinguish between “you,” “I,” “this” and “that” and thus regard everything as separate. But none of this exists at night. Even though it may be temporary, the distinctions of the daytime are not perceptible in the darkness of night. This gives us the impression of oneness—of unity. This indicates shivatvam—the state of being Shiva. When the notion of duality ceases, the non-dual state of “I am Shiva” rises within us.
“Our two eyes symbolise duality. Through these two eyes, we see the diverse objects of the world and their distinct separateness. When we realise that the myriad objects of the universe are nothing but different manifestations of the one consciousness with different names and forms, the two eyes of duality disappear. Lord Shiva’s third eye opens within us also. This is why the word ratri—night—in Shivaratri does not indicate darkness. Rather, it indicates the “light of a million suns”—the light of supreme consciousness.
“The oneness of the universe is indicated by the ancient rishis through the unified form of Shiva-Sakti. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are not separate; they are one. Shiva is inherent in Sakti, and Sakti is inherent in Shiva. In this sense, the Mother of the Universe and the Father of the Universe are the same. The mother is inherent in the father, and the father is inherent in the mother. This is why Lord Shiva is described as both “quick to anger” as well as “easily pleased.” He is described as a strict disciplinarian as well as having an easily melting heart. When we look at nature, we can easily understand why this is true. Nature can become fiery very quickly and it also becomes calm quickly. She can bestow her bounty in abundance, yet she can also take everything back in a flash.
“As it is the same energy that manifests as both the Universal Father and Universal Mother, we need not fear this power—God. Because God is our mother as well as our father. But to obtain that power’s grace, we have to purify our mind.
“The conflicts and calmness in the human mind are being expressed in Nature as well. If the parents’ wealth is not shared equally between their children, it will create conflict in the family. Similarly, the wealth in this macro-family that is the universe should be given and taken equally. If not, it will create conflict. It will create a state of imbalance in Nature. When we perform actions selflessly, it will eventually result in a pure mind. Through this, the ultimate awareness “I am Shiva” rises. Along with that, the harmony of Nature is also preserved.
“The trinity—Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesvara—are not separate entities, but three aspects of the single cosmic power. The bulb, refrigerator and fan are not three electric powers but three ways the same electricity is expressed. This is why the ancient rishis said: isavasyam-idam sarvam—“Everything in this universe is pervaded by God,” This universe is a garment worn by God. God resides within it. In this regard, the world and God are not two, but one. This is the import of the teachings given by the ancient rishis: vasudhaiva kutumbakam—“The world is one family” and lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu—May all beings in all worlds be at peace.”
“Shivaratri involves remaining awake through the night with the remembrance of God. The principle behind remaining awake through the night is that one should remain alert and maintain awareness in every thought, word and action. This is the real awakening. This principle is not meant to be remembered and mechanically observed just once a year. It is a lifelong observance that should be followed and contemplated upon—every moment—by anyone who wishes to attain God.
“Renunciation and surrender are to be practised not only during Shivaratri but at all times. May my children always have these qualities. May all your thoughts, words and actions arise from love. May the knowledge that “I am not this perishable body but the very form of Lord Shiva—Satchidananda—existence, consciousness, bliss—shine in my children. May compassion fill and overflow in you.”