The discourse opens with Maharaj Ji chanting Om by expanding the vibrations of the sound from low to high octaves on the musical scale. Simultaneously, this practices in meant to cause the vibrations also expand from the root chakra within the body to the highest chakra in the summit of the body. This is followed by invoking the grace of the Guru, the Para-Brahm, through the use of various focused arrows of sound (mantras) aimed at the heart and the mind. Thence, begins the discourse:
We are in midst of celebrations that are called, not Shivratri, but Mahashivratri. This is the last month of the traditional calendar, and hereafter comes Chaitra, the first month of the new year. This being the last month of the year, with amaavasya on the verge of spreading total darkness. This state of the external world on the verge of darkness, and yet not totally dark, is called Mahashivratri.
Nights come so often, they keep on coming and going; first the night of the Shukla, then the night of Krishna, and each time the darkness of the night intensifies until comes amaavasya – the night of total darkness. And then again comes the new year.
This year is ending, and a new year shall rise. But first we have to pass through amaavasya. Right now the night is not totally dark, the moon is still there, though faint – such a time is celebrated by the name of Mahashivratri: because, Lord Shiva is extremely compassionate. He is compassionate without reason, without any bounds. Mahashivratri hints at the great compassion of Lord Shiva: that howsoever deeply may a being be steeped in darkness, though terribly confusions surround him, howsoever may the net of his desires entangle him, deeply asleep in attachment and inertia he may be, drugged be his state, so much so that only a single ray may be left with him, and yet, even then if he/she calls out to the Lord, the Lord responds back and showers his grace. So, Mahashivratri is the remembrance of Lord’s mercy, Lord’s compassion.
This day is extremely pure, and also is the day of the beginning of the creation. After every Maha-pralaya (total dissolution of the creation), the work of another creation is handed to Lord Brahma. As the Japuji Sahib also says:
Ekaa Maai Jugat Vihaai Tin Chele Parvaan (Page 7, Guru Granth Sahib)
The One Divine Mother conceived and gave birth to the three deities.
The three deities are Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra. Brahma is assigned with the task of Creation; Vishnu, sustains, and Rudra destroys. At the root of these three devas is Maha-deva. You may call by the names Akaal Purush, Kartaa, Param-Shiva, Brahm – any name can be kept. We are taking the evidence from Gurbani, because this is commonly known. It says
Shiva shakti aap upayeke kartaa aape hokum vartaae
He, the Kartaa, Himself manifests as Shiva and Shakti…
Where Shiva-Shakti unite, there is Maha-Shiva. This is the night of Maha-Shiva, of Akaal Purush. This day signifies their compassion.
When Brahma was assigned the task of creation, to create the sun and the stars, he was left to himself, and were still thinking how could this task be fulfilled. What was the way to do create? A sound guides him: Perform tapas. Lord Brahma began with the tapas. Before him appeared a huge, gigantic, expansive lingam of fire and light. Lord Brahma was awestruck for the form seemed endless; if he looked below or above he could not see the end of it. He tried to search, but there was no end to the infinity that was before him. Ultimately, there was only one way left for him. He prayed, ‘O Lord, What kind of a form have You taken?’ This was the manifested form of Maha-Shiva, as a lingam, which was the means to unite with the devotee with Him.
Lord Brahma praised Maha-Shiva, and made the Lord happy. The moment when the prayer and the fruit of the prayer (the happiness of the Lord) came together it was celebrated as the night of Shivaratri. So if we can cry out to the Lord on this occasion, it opens the door to unravel those deep mysteries of existence which were unravelled by Brahma in the first worship, by Vishnu in the first worship. The path exists within, and by calling out we climb on the chariot that takes us onwards.
On one side, on this day, they worshipped and explored the mysteries of existence and created the worlds. We are also a part of Para-atman – but just a little spoiled. There is no doubt about that – only that we are in a state in which we do not remember this association. We have forgotten. We are confused and lost in ignorance. And for this reason, Bhagwaan loves us tremendously. He loves us so much that he says, if only once you cry out, “I am yours”, though in darkness, that He will create the path. And this can occur on the day of Mahashivratri.
Such is His grandness. There is no end to his greatness and splendour. And what can we say about ourselves? No, we will not say that there is no end to our foolishness also, let us not put it this way. There is no end to his greatness. And somewhere deep down in our being, we also love the Lord, we also want him. Though we may have forgotten, though we may be ignorant, yet his remembrance does not leave us totally. Our relation with Bhagwaan, though we may be aware or unaware of it, cannot end.
Times passes on. Months pass by and in the end the final Shivaratri comes. If we miss even that, a new circle begins. If we miss again, another circle begins and this continues. The relation is from both sides. We cannot separate ourselves totally from the Lord, howsoever dark may be our life. And the Lord goes on waiting, anticipating for the moment when He can take us in His embrace and shower his Love on us. So, if both have a relation, what is the wait?
We cannot separate from him – that is our Nature, and on the other hand, his grace and mercy knows no end. So where is the shortcoming? Where is the separation? Why are we in ignorance? Why are we entangled in the world? Shouldn’t this be understood? There is misery, we cannot deny that. We are scrambling in darkness – that cannot be denied. And the shortcoming is just one.
It is that we have not understood and identified the grace of Bhagwan. The extent of his grace, we have not imbibed. We say “What can we do, we cannot meditate” – and try to finish the matter. “We really tired hard, but nothing happens.” “We have called out, but no reply comes.” We thereby mix dung and sugar.
Let us not do this. Let us believe in the greatness of Bhagwan. Call out to him, and go on calling out to him. But that is what we don’t do. We do not put trust in his grace, and do not call out to Him. We may say, ‘We practice a lot, we practice through the night’ – but really, we do not practice, we do not call out. It is like a child, who has sown a seed in the ground. If the seed is sown, it is bound to become a tree. But the child takes it out every five minutes, to check if it has progressed towards becoming a tree. Here is the flaw. We do not give time for the seed to dissolve. Else, the child thinks, probably the water is insufficient. So, he pours 2-3 buckets, but then again takes it out to check. Now, in this way, the seed will only get spoiled. He further tries putting some manure, but even after that he takes it out to check. This is what we keep on doing.
“We practiced so much, the mind did not yield.” “We tired, but what to do, we are sinners.” So we cut off the relation. We call out and then we call ourselves sinners. “We tried to engage the mind, but it helped not”. We do not give time. And probably, even before practicing, we know within us, that our mind will not yield.
If we do not put trust in his grace, if we do not believe that I am a part of him, and devoid of this keep on trying, we would not get the results. The important question then really is, how can this belief take root? That the grace of Lord is infinite, He embraces the sinner too – How can this believe occur in us?
Now, there are many methods for that. One will have to do those. The easiest is satsanga.
Pratham bhakti santan kar sangaa.
The first devotion is to be in the company of sages.
Those who have reached, those who are advanced, those who are travelling on the path – if we cannot love the Lord, atleast we can love such people, cherish their company.
We do love somebody. For example, we love a grand house. Seeing one, our heart also calls out to have one someday. Seeing someone advanced, seeing someone getting a job, our heart also vibrates. Similarly, if our heart is buoyant to be with the loved ones of the Lord, then we are bound to end up loving the Lord also.
Else, there is a story of two boys, who are meant to go to school. But there is an exciting cricket match to begin, and a new movie has released which is promised to be a thriller. And they cannot decide what to do. So they toss a coin: heads – they will go to the cricket match, tails – the movie, and if the coin stood on the edge then they would go to school.
Such are our attempts too to go to satsanga. We first wish to complete all our other duties and then go to satsanga with a “free” mind. But our free mind also brings with it a mobile phone!
What should really happen is, that satsanga should be have the topmost priority among other things. Recently there was a headline. A boy, a government employee, was arranged to be married on a certain date which ended up clashing with the date set for elections. He postponed the date for his marriage, to fulfil his duty first. Similarly, let us also fulfil some measure of our duty here.
There is only one condition thing to keep in mind. Our coming to satsanga should not become a source of misery to someone. Suppose, there is a diseased one at home, who needs our service. We should attend him first. But, otherwise, satsanga should be at a priority position one for those who want to develop love for the Lord. In this way, we will end up being in love with Lord. And in time, we will also get the path of meditation – there is no doubt in this as well.
There are many beings present here, who even sacrifice their duty for the sake of satsanga. And they are progressing on the path of increased bliss, and divine love.
We would like to add one or two other points related to Mahashivratri. The body goes on decaying, getting diseased and old. And then an attitude takes hold of us, ‘Oh! Now I am old, now what can I do, how can I meditate! Now I cannot see, what granth-paath can I do! I cannot even walk.’ In such a situation, one should be kept in mind, the day of Mahashivratri and what it implies. Even when death approaches, when one has not died, but is nearing it; the voice is not all lost, but is there in some small measure. Even then can one wake up. The body is going to be left behind, even then if you wake up – that becomes a Mahashivratri. And the Lord will take care of us, if we call out to him in earnest.
But one needn’t wait for that last Mahashivratri. If we celebrate every night of our life a Mahashivratri, then there a previously unseen bliss will come to pervade our life.
So we end now.
We have talked of two things: one, faith, trust, belief in the infinite grace of the Lord. Another, whenever there is a chance, celebrate Mahashivratri. When all seems lost, but is not all lost, then and there call out and celebrate Mahashivratri.
You may please listen to the discourse here.