Feb 17-20, Malke. Mahashivratri has a great importance in spiritual world as it is said to be the night when Lord Brahma was blessed with the sight of the divine Shivlingam, huge and blazing (formless God appearing in light form which had no limits). It guided him into the concept of creation which helped him create the universe. The other idea for this occasion is that Shiva and Shakti (Parvati) were united on this night. This idea supports the previous one as the duo exist behind every creation – ਜਹ ਦੇਖਾ ਤਹ ਰਵਿ ਰਹੇ ਸਿਵ ਸਕਤੀ ਕਾ ਮੇਲੁ – ਗੁਰੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ (Wherever I look, I see the Lord pervading there, in the union of Shiva & Shakti, of consciousness & matter.)
At Malke ashram, every year a 4-days sadhna shivir (spiritual retreat) is conducted on this occasion concluding on Mahashivratri. A few hundred enthusiastic aspirants gather there to dive deep inside and witness the play of Shiva and Shakti. The day started early under the guidance of Sri Maharaj Ji with melodic meditation combined with some breathing and chanting followed by Siddhamrita Surya Kriya Yog. Afterwards, different kriyas were taught and shared as per personal interest and ability. Around noon Maharaj Ji personally listened to any spiritual question or query participant may have had and provided guidance to them before he gave some tips for advancement. In the evening pure and powerful Sunshine was assimilated one more time before starting with the evening meditation. The evening sessions focused were more on awakening the serpent power latent within and specific beeja (seed) mantras for the chakras were used for this purpose. In addition to chanting these beeja mantras certain special kriyas (exercises) were also taught to let the mantra vibrations enter inside the sushumna (the inner channel) and open it up.
Maharaj JI’s research with sound in form of mantra and music has produced some very innovative and powerful ways of chanting. The speciality of the mantras lies mainly in their specific way of chanting which brings instantly obvious results. Particularly, the detailed practice of Aum chanting is just amazing. On the eve of Mahashivratri, hundreds of devotees gathered from all the corners of the world and experienced this for themselves. Non-stop chanting of Vedic Mantras for 3 hours in the night took them all to a different world. The enormous energy created by this group chanting forced everyone in a very deep meditation where there was no fear, no fatigue, no falsehood. Everyone felt free from all the limitations and close to this true form, then and there. An important factor of this achievement was that during all these days participants were encouraged to keep silence as much as possible and maintain the focus on ‘naam’ i.e. Gurumantra.
The food served during the camp was very simple and spiritually charged to check the outward pranic flow. Every morning and evening a special herbal drink was served which is prepared in ashram itself for in-house usage only. This drink is made of fresh herbs which help in purification of body at physical as well as pranic level and also help in gaining inner strength. In fact many people have overcome so many medications with the help of this herbal drink. The food was also rich in natural ingredients suitable for spiritual progress but without any compromise on taste or nutrition. The food prepared during these retreats is called as ‘satrasni’ due to its variety and uniqueness and it means- original taste which lasts forever. In fact many participant inquire the recipe so that they can prepare it back home also considering its nutritional and spiritual value and also the taste.
On the final day, a grand sabha (congregation) was organized in which thousands of devotees arrived from all corners of the world. After a few devotional songs Sadhwi Ji and Swami Ji delivered their discourse to inspire the devotees on the inner path. Then Maharaj Ji lucidly explained the spiritual aspect of Mahashivratri and provided the practical ways to approach it.
Maharaj Ji explained that Mahashivratri falls in the last month of the solar calendar used in India (panchang) and that too just a night before no-moon night. Though every month we have no-moon night in combination of full-moon night but this night is still special. The speciality of this occasion is that soon after this a new year, a new cycle will start. So, this actually represents a last ray of hope as moon is slightly visible on this night giving us the message of not letting it go in vain. This night also reminds us of the kindness of Lord Shiva that even if we call him at the last moment, he will appear at once to save us from the darkness provided our call, our prayer is ingenuous. When Lord Brahma was deputed to create the world, he did earnest tapas to gain the complete understanding of the task given to him and it was on this night that he was enlightened. When he was deep in meditation contemplating over his goal and the means to achieve it, he was blessed with the divine grace of Lord Shiva, who unfolded the secret of the creation and guided him into his duty. If we could dive deep inside on this occasion, we may also unfold those secrets for ourselves and get connected to the almighty.
This is the night which reminds us of the kindness of the divine that even though the cycle is about to get over, even though it is almost dark but the last ray of hope – the divine grace can definitely save us if we could surrender completely by knowing that we essentially belong to HIM and even if we go astray he would not leave us. He is the most loving rather he himself is love. He is always willing to offer his love but we need to accept it. His grace is always guiding us but we have to recognize it. His treasure is with us all the time but we need to unveil it. His doors are always open but we need to turn our faces towards it and make an approach, earnest and honest.
Mahashivratri is the occasion when we need to reason out our unnecessary wandering … and recognize the goal of our life … and get connected to the divine by accepting the oneness. If we pray with faith and understanding, he is already willing to guide us, he wouldn’t delay but the problem with us is that we are so impatient, we don’t give time to the seed for getting dissolved and being one with the source. This also means we don’t have faith. With all the doubts and confusion even if we pray and meditate, it will not bring us real fruits. There are many ways to bring focus in our life, the first and the best is satsang, uniting with those who are united with the divine. If we love those who love the divine then the divine would love us.
You may please read or listen to the discourse here.