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Κυριακή, 10 Μαρτίου 2013

Shivaratri – Union of Shiva and Shakti

You see the most important thing you have to remember is that if you want to get out of this level of consciousness in which you are, then you have to use some such means which will have a direct effect on the inner force, and that inner force is called Shiva. This is the philosophy about Shivalingam. That is why concentration and meditation on Shivalingam are considered very important, because it can explode the inner source of awareness where infinite knowledge is hidden and where the possibility of the great evolution of man is stored. 
Swami Satyananda Saraswati

The 14th night of the new moon in the dark fortnight during the month of Falgun is known as Sivaratri, the night of Shiva. On this day worship of Lord Shiva is most propitious as on this night we celebrate the union of Shiva and Parvati, the Cosmic Father and Mother.
Swami Sivananda Saraswati

Aradhana of Shiva-Shakti - Aradhana Yoga of the heart
On Sivaratri chant Ramacharitamanas from Balkand doha 70 to 116 as these verses glorify the wedding of Shiva and Parvati. Worship the Shivalingam by offering bel leaves and ganga jal while chanting the mantra Om Namah Shivaya 108 times. Perform havan of Shiva Sahasra Namavali, the 1000 names of Shiva in the evening. On this day worship Lord Shiva as well as Mother Parvati with prayers and kirtans as on this day we remember the cosmic union and how can there be a wedding if there is only a groom and no bride!
Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati

Shivaratri – Union of Shiva and Shakti
By Swami Satyananda Saraswati

There are two concepts of spiritual illumination. One is that Shakti awakens, goes up sushumna nadi and unites with Shiva in sahasrara chakra. Shiva represents the higher cosmic consciousness and Shakti represents evolution of energy. Kundalini yoga is based on this concept.

The other concept is that consciousness goes to meet Shakti, and this is Sivaratri. The concept of Sivaratri is the awakening of consciousness at the material level of existence and uniting with Shakti at a higher point in evolution. Therefore, the word used is ratri, meaning dark night. What are the night and day of consciousness? When the individual experiences existence, the objective reality all around him, that is the day of consciousness. The night of consciousness is when the consciousness is all alone and no objective experience takes place. You don’t hear, see, feel or know anything. Time, space and objectivity – three qualities of mind – fall flat. Consciousness alone remains. That is the dark night of the soul, the stage just before illumination. So Shivaratri is a symbol of the spiritual state of samadhi. But for us, Sivaratri means the state preceding samadhi, illumination.

In the story Shiva, who lived in the forest, went to marry Parvati, daughter of the Himalayas, who lived up in the snow peaks. He was the master, guru and controller of ghosts and demons, and so they were part of his marriage procession. Some had one eye in the back of their head, some had no eyes, or eyes in their belly. Some had only one ear, others had huge elephant ears or only holes for ears. Some walked on one leg, others on three.

Parvati’s family sent out a reception party to escort them to Parvati’s house, but when they caught sight of Shiva and his strange companions, they took to their heels and ran for dear life. At Parvati’s house they related what they has seen in awe and horror. “Oh, he is terrible! The son-in-law has come riding on a bull. He is naked and his body is smeared with ash. He has snakes all over him and his companions are most hideous.” Parvati’s mother was so upset. How could she accept such a horrible son-in-law? But Parvati remained calm and resolute.

The moment Lord Shiva’s procession entered the Himalayan kingdom, he and his funny companions turned into dazzling divine beings with beautiful faces, fine clothes, fragrant flowers and so on. The demons changed into lovely people. Everything was transformed in the twinkling of an eye, and so the marriage took place.

Shiva is symbolic of consciousness. For the individual, consciousness is moving higher and higher towards Shakti. It moves along with all the instincts and animal propensities, with all that we are. Even as you practise yoga, everything is still with you – fear, anger, passions, worries, anxiety – you are moving with all your companions. Your soul is also evolving, progressing, along with all your companions. But there comes a point in spiritual life when all these companions are transformed, and the same instinct becomes intuition.

During the course of spiritual evolution, you try many times and fail – you go to the church for the wedding but when you get to the door, you find that the bride is not there and you have to return home disappointed. You have inspirations, you may catch a glimpse of the higher state, but it is not complete. When the time comes and the transformation occurs, the ugly compan- ions turn into divine attendants with suits and ties! The horrifying aspects of your personality become your ornaments, your helpers.

Parvati symbolizes the higher energy; she also symbolizes the kundalini shakti in tantra. The divine union which takes place when Shiva comes to meet Shakti represents enlightenment in absolute darkness.

Shivaratri, the cosmic merger of Shiva and Shakti, is celebrated on the dark moon of Magha (February /March). This union symbolizes the concept of kundalini yoga in which Shiva goes to meet Shakti. It represents the awakening of consciousness at the material level of existence and uniting with shakti at the higher point of evolution. Shiva means higher consciousness and ratri means night, referring to the 'dark night of the soul', the state just before illumination. Shivaratri is considered to be the most auspicious day for sannyasins and for taking sannyasa diksha.

As the story goes, on Shivaratri, the darkest night of the year, Shiva, lord of yogis, sets out for the home of Parvati, daughter of the Himalayas. Shiva is an ascetic, and covered in snakes. His marriage party of demons and ghosts, symbolizing the instinctive and animal propensities of which he is controller, is equally horrendous. Some have no head, some walk on only one leg or maybe three. Some have huge elephant ears which flap in the breeze, others have a red eye in the middle of their forehead or in their belly.

However, no sooner do Shiva and his companions enter Parvati's Himalayan kingdom than they are all instantly transformed into lovely beings with beautiful faces, fine clothes and glittering ornaments. Instinct becomes intuition. Thus the marriage takes place amidst great wonder, joy and merrymaking. Then Shiva and Shakti go up to the top of Mount Kailash, symbolizing sahasrara chakra, where they embrace and merge in the highest bliss of cosmic consciousness.

After consummating their marriage, Shiva and Shakti descend together, symbolizing that the highest consciousness is now manifesting on the plane of duality. Having become one, Shiva and Shakti are now able to act in the world as two. This event is of great significance for the evolution of all beings because it also represents the process taking place in every aspirant who experiences a spiritual awakening and then returns with heightened awareness to work in the world.

In tantra, Shiva represents the male principle, consciousness beyond all action and change. Shakti represents the female principle, eternal evolution through action. She is negative to his positive; he initiates, she receives and transmits. Shakti is the creative energy that manifests the universe in response to the inspired consciousness of Shiva. We perceive them as two, but really they are the complementary aspects of the one, for energy without consciousness is dissipated and consciousness without energy is impotent. They are inherent in each other, like brightness in the sun, and their union is the primal image of blissful communion and awareness of oneness through duality.

On the physical plane, the sages have long maintained, and science now agrees, that matter, consciousness and energy are one. The basic unit of matter, the atom, is now known to be a static, positive core of energy balanced by a dynamic, negative force field - the union of Shiva and Shakti. What applies to the microcosmic atom also applies to the macrocosm which is held together by intermeshing energy fields.

In the realm of the human psyche, the union of Shiva and Shakti is a deep-rooted archetype of the personal integration achieved when, through yoga, we come to understand the forces that constitute our personality. Within everyone is the masculine and feminine ideal, and by exploring this complementary inner nature, we can pass through to a richer mode of being. Through tantra we explore the dark terrain of the unconscious mind, granting conscious recognition to the unruly passions, violent impulses and irrational fantasies that are suppressed in the daily business of living. This instinctive part of our nature, symbolized by Shiva's demonic companions, is transformed when we yoke together the opposites within ourselves positive and negative, masculine and feminine, Shiva and Shakti. An awakening takes place and the unfulfilled potential within our psyche becomes actualized, revealing our true inner nature. What we have long considered monstrous becomes divine.

Shiva is the eternal faculty of awareness, the unchanging, unmoving spark of the divine in each of us. Shakti gives us the mind and body that are our tools for the direct perception of this divine awareness. Shakti is the power that propels us to the peaks of expanded awareness. On the spiritual plane, the union of this cosmic couple is the primal image of blissful union in the Absolute. In sexual rapture we forget our isolated selves and experience a fragment of joy, but this is just a foretaste of the eternal ecstasy that dissolves the individual consciousness into the supreme.

The union of Shiva and Shakti is the primordial symbol of eternal communion with the divine. Here there is neither purity nor impurity, neither affirmation nor denial, neither form nor formlessness, but a state of superconscious being that is beyond all duality. The union of man and woman becomes the union of Shiva and Shakti; the physical union becomes psychic union in the highest state of transcendental consciousness. The ordinary man and woman, the creatures of passion and ignorance, are transmuted into transcendental Shiva and Shakti, unconditioned and free.

Paramahamsa Satyananda Saraswati

Sivaratri is traditionally known as the dark night of the soul before realization, or before the birth into another level of consciousness. It is one of the most important and auspicious events of the year. This night celebrates the marriage of Siva and Parvati, symbolizing the union between the supreme consciousness and the individual consciousness. It is a time of soul searching and letting go of samskaras, deeply embedded impressions or patterns of behaviour that we no longer have use for.

Η γιορτή του Σιβαράτρι είναι παραδοσιακά γνωστή σαν την πιο σκοτεινή νύχτα της ψυχής πριν από τη συνειδητοποίηση, ή πριν από τη γέννηση σε ένα άλλο επίπεδο επίγνωσης. Είναι ένα από τα πιο σημαντικά και ευοίωνα φεστιβάλ του γιογκικού ημερολογίου. Αυτή τη νύχτα γιορτάζεται ο γάμος του Σίβα και της Πάρβατι, ο οποίος συμβολίζει την ένωση μεταξύ της ανώτερης και της ατομικής συνειδητότητας. Είναι η νύχτα όπου η ψυχή απελευθερώνεται από τα σαμσκάρας, από βαθιά χαραγμένες μνήμες ή αρχέτυπα τα οποία δεν τα χρειαζόμαστε πια. 
Swami Sivamurti Saraswati

Rikhiapeeth 2012

It is a well known fact that on this day it is Shiva who is worshipped
by performing abhishek on the shivalingam. However by divine
grace on Shivaratri a new tradition has dawned at the Samadhi
Sthal of Swami Satyananda at Rikhiapeeth, and that is the worship
of both Shiva and Shakti on this day by performing abhishek on the
shivalingam as well as the Sri yantra.

After all Shivaratri is the union of Shiva and Parvati, the night

when Shiva came with his baraat or wedding procession, to claim
the hand of Parvati. So the question arose why not include her in the
aradhana of Shivaratri, for how can a wedding take place without
the bride!

This was amazing insight into an age old tradition which had
been lost forever of worship of both together which re-instated the
proclamation of the scriptures that they are inseparable. Although
until now on Shivaratri only the shivalingam was worshipped
from this year onwards Peethadhishwari of Rikhiapeeth, Swami
Satyasangananda has set a new precedent as on this sacred day both
the father and mother, Shiva and Shakti will be worshipped.

Paramahamsa Niranjanananda Saraswati

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