1st March 2022, Shivaratri Celebrations – Amritapuri
Excerpts from Amma’s Shivaratri Message
India is a land of countless religious festivals and celebrations. These festivals and celebrations support the social life of the people and increase their faith and ethical values. Among the festivals of Sanatana Dharma, one of the most important is Sivaratri.
True Sivaratri means awakening to the principle behind the festival.
What is the Siva-tattvam—the principle behind Lord Siva? It is the understanding “Siva is my very nature.” It is the recognition that “I am that pure consciousness.” It is looking within and realizing the true nature of our own self. This is the message of Sivaratri.
Every day can be turned into Sivaratri. This does not mean that you should remain awake every night. But be ready to sacrifice something when you think of the ultimate goal. Something that will help others as well as yourself. We need to sleep as needed and eat as needed. We should learn to do everything in moderation and stick to the middle path, bringing moderation in our words, actions, glances and thoughts.
Sleep represents ignorance, and awakening represents knowledge. Whether we maintain a vigil or not, whether we observe a fast or not—the point is to keep the mind centered on God.
The Sivaratri observances urge us to bring our senses and mind under control and pursue the greater bliss without seeking satisfaction in small sensory pleasures.
These external eyes, through which we see and experience the external world, will not rescue us from the darkness of ignorance. To wake up from that darkness, we have to open the eyes of knowledge. This means to see everything as equal, as one.
On Sivaratri, along with worshiping Lord Siva, may we also be able to receive the message he gives us straight into our heart. Let us try to follow the role model he has set for us. May Sivaratri give us the inspiration to go from wrong to right, from adharma to dharma, and from ignorance to knowledge. May grace bless my children.