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Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev
Magazine : Mother of All
Language : English
Volume Number : 5
Month : January
Issue Number : 1
Year : 2006

Mahashivaratri is a night of many possibilities. The darkness is cause for celebration. We tend to resist darkness and opt for light. But the word Shiva literally means that which is not. That which is, is existence, that which is, is creation. That which is not is Shiva.

That does not mean, if you open your eyes and look around, if your vision is for small things, you will see lots of creation. If your vision is really looking for big things, you will see that the biggest presence in existence is a vast emptiness. Just a few spots – which we call galaxies – are noticed, not the vast emptiness that holds. This vastness or unbounded emptiness, is Shiva.

Science today says that everything comes from nothing and eventually goes back to nothing. As the vast nothingness, Shiva is referred to as the great Lord or Mahadeva.

Every religion, every culture on this planet has been talking about the Omnipresent, all-pervading nature of the Divine. The only thing that can be truly all-pervading is darkness, nothingness or emptiness. Generally, when seeking well-being, we talk of the Divine as the light..

When we no longer seek well-being, we are looking beyond our life in terms of dissolving. If the object of our worship and sadhana is dissolution, then, we refer to the Divine as darkness. The greatest source of light we know is the Sun. But you can stop the Sun’s light with your hand. Not so with darkness. It is everywhere.

Immature minds allude to darkness as the devil. But, when you describe the Divine as all-pervading, you’re obviously referring to the Divine as darkness, because only darkness is all-pervading. It’s everywhere; it doesn’t need support from anything. Light always comes from a source that is burning itself out. It has a beginning and an end. It is always from a limited source. Darkness has no source; it is a source unto itself. It is all-pervading, everywhere, Omnipresent.

So when we say Shiva, we are referring to this vast emptiness of existence. It is in the lap of this vast emptiness, that all Creation has happened. Our ancient prayers are not about saving yourself, protecting yourself, or about doing better in life. They have always been about ‘Oh lord, destroy me, so that I can become like Yourself.’

So when we say Shivratri, which is the darkest night of the month, it is an opportunity for us to dissolve our limitedness, to experience that unboundedness of the source of Creation, which is the seed in every human being. Today is an opportunity to bring yourself to that experience of the vast emptiness within every human being, which is the source of all Creation.

Shiva is known as the destroyer. He is also known as One who is most compassionate, the greatest of givers; yet, He doesn’t like those who keep asking for things. The asking people never got along with Shiva. So Mahashivarathri is a special night for receiving too.

Spiritual sadhakas live a life of exuberance and intensity. But people who lead ‘normal’ lives have many duties to fulfill. Despite this, if they endeavor to also pursue the spiritual path, it is truly wonderful. Don’t pass tonight without knowing at least a moment of the vastness of this emptiness that we call Shiva. Let this night not just be a night of wakefulness; let it be a night of awakening for every one of us

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