The destroyer of illusion, of attachment and ignorance. Shiva Ratri literally means the night of Shiva. Lord Shiva is worshiped on many occasions in the form of a Lingam. A stone without any specific form. Most typically in temples the idols look as shown in the picture on the left. But they may look like well rounded pebbles also.
I was reading about this day to try understand the historical significance of this occasion. The only somewhat convincing answer I received was from one of Baba’s discourses. It emphasized that the day marked as the perfect occasion for entering the spiritual realm through meditation and the practice would be very fruitful.
However, this was somehow not sufficiently clarifying. As it so often happens with Baba’s blessings, I had a chance to visit a Rudrabhishekham (Rudra is another name of Shiva. Abhishekham means to give him a bath while continuously chanting Vedic hymns). It has been almost 4-5 years since the last time, I attended a live ceremony of chanting of Vedic Hymns. Within the few minutes we reached the temple, we could sense the spiritually charged atmosphere created by the powerful Rudram Chamakam chantings.
I stood almost lost in the corner as the Brahman gave the Lingam, bath with Ghee (melted pure butter), Milk, Honey, Coconut water and yogurt. The chanting of Rudram Chamakam is like invoking the all pervasive supreme force to come into the lingam, the formless to reside in the form for the duration of the chantings. The significance of these materials used for the bath are that, this process generates intense amount of heat and these items are used as a way to cool the idol.
It is hard to describe the feeling in words. The only thing I remember from the half hour I stood there rooted to the spot were tears trickling down my eyes and later on talking to someone about the Power of listening live to the vedic recitations and the brilliance of Sanatana Dharma.
But Baba clarified at the end of the day the meaning of this day. The culmination of form into the formless is the significance of Maha Shiva Ratri.
Wishing all a Beautiful and loving Maha Shiva Ratri…