Mahāśivarātri

नम॑स्ते अस्तु भगवन्विश्वेश्व॒राय॑ महादे॒वाय॑ त्र्यम्ब॒काय॑ त्रिपुरान्त॒काय॑ त्रिकालाग्निका॒लाय॑ कालाग्निरु॒द्राय॑ नीलक॒ण्ठाय॑ मृत्युञ्ज॒याय॑ सर्वेश्व॒राय॑ सदाशि॒वाय॑ श्रीमन्महादे॒वाय॒ नम॑॥

nama̍ste astu bhagavanviśveśva̱rāya̍ mahāde̱vāya̍ tryamba̱kāya̍ tripurānta̱kāya̍ trikālāgnikā̱lāya̍ kālāgniru̱drāya̍ nīlaka̱ṇṭhāya̍ mṛtyuñja̱yāya̍ sarveśva̱rāya̍ sadāśi̱vāya̍ śrīmanmahāde̱vāya̱ nama̍ḥ  ||

Oh Lord, my prostrations to you, Lord of the universe, boundless and effulgent. The one with three eyes, who resolves the three worlds in Himself. One who, like fire, devours the three periods of time (past, present and future). He whose neck is blue, who is victorious over death, the Lord of all, the ever-auspicious, the glorious Lord of all Devas.

Mahāśivaratri

Mahāśivarātri is a Hindu festival in which a whole day and night are dedicated to God Śiva. In every month, the night preceding the new moon is called Śivarātri, the night of Śiva. On the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight of the month Māgha (according to the South Indian calendar) or Phālgunī (according to the North Indian calendar), Mahāśivarātri, the great night of Śiva, takes place.

During the day, in temples and ashrams, it is common for continuous and uninterrupted chanting of the mantra “Oṃ Namaḥ Śivāya” until midnight. Throughout the night, rituals are performed and every three hours a fire ritual is offered, accompanied by chanting. The festival invokes asceticism, with many devotees observing fasting and wakefulness.

In the triad of Hindu gods (Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva), Lord Śiva represents the aspect of dissolution. He is the one who destroys the creation to make room for the next creation. One who destroys ignorance and opens the space for knowledge. Hence, he is the deity of ascetics, yogis and students of Vedānta. His devotees are those who are on a spiritual search.

On this day, rituals for Śivaliṅgam, which consists of a representation of Lord Śiva, are also common. Liṅgam is an indicator, something that points to something else. Its representation is a form with no known form. He points to the one who is free from all forms, but in whom all forms have their abode. Thus, Lord Śiva is seen from the point of view of the absolute, the reality free from limitations, that which the Upaniṣads point to as the true identity of the individual, the world and God.

The word Śiva means “auspicious”, the knowledge of your true nature is synonymous with liberation from illusions and suffering, liberation from saṃsāra.

May in this Mahāśivarātri we reaffirm our vows for the pursuit of the highest goal of human life: the knowledge of the Self free from limitations. May Lord Śiva, who is Maheśvara, the Great Lord, intelligent and material cause of the universe and who presents himself in the form of order of karma, bless us with the necessary and favorable conditions for the spiritual journey and its success.

Oṃ Namaḥ Śivāya

My salutations to Lord Śiva.

Om sad gurave namaḥ _/\_
Written by Maline Ribeiro