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Sathya Sai Speaks
From Shavam to Shivoham


On February 23 this year falls the sacred festival of Shivarathri. This celebration has been one of the most significant events in the festival calendar of Prasanthi Nilayam, every year right from the 1950s. On many years, Bhagavan Baba, gracefully has used this occasion to offer a glimpse of His Divinity with the mysterious manifestation of the Linga from His own being. Besides this, the message that the Lord delivers to the large concourse of devotees who gather for this festival is deeply profound and revealing. Let us recapitulate one of those priceless discourses. Here is an excerpt from Bhagavan’s message delivered, nearly four decades ago, in 1969.

Aim of all Saadhana is to Eliminate the Mind

Though we have the Mahashivarathri once a year, we have a Shivarathri every month, dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva. And, why is the rathri (the night), so important? During the dark fortnight of the month, sadhana (spiritual practice) has to be done to eliminate each day a fraction of the mind, for, every day, a fraction of the Moon too is being taken out of cognisance. On the night of chathurdhasi, the 14th day, which is the night of Shiva, only a fraction remains.

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Sathya Sai Speaks

If special effort is made that night, through more intensive and vigilant spiritual practice like puja or japam or dhyana (ritual worship, or one-pointed repetition of holy names or meditation), success is ensured. Shiva alone has to be meditated upon that night without the mind straying towards thoughts of sleep or food.

This has to be done every month; once a year, on Mahaashivaraathri,a special spurt of spiritual activity is recommended, so that what is shavam (corpse) can become Shivam (God), by the perpetual awareness of its Divine Indweller.

Linga – The Symbol of God

This is a day dedicated to the Shiva that is in each of you. From the Himalayan ranges down to Cape Kanyakumari, the entire land of India resounds today to the authentic declaration "Shivoham" and to the adoration, "Om Namah Shivaaya."

Since thousands pray here, and elsewhere in lakhs and crores, the Linga is emanating from Me, so that you may derive the Bliss that pervades the World through Lingodhbhava (emergence of the Linga).

The manifestation of the Linga is a part of My Nature. These pandits (scholars of spirituality) explain it as reminiscent of an epochal event in the past when Shiva challenged Brahma and Vishnu to gauge the height and depth of the Linga Form He assumed. They failed and had to accept defeat. But, the Linga emerges, as a result of prayer and Grace. You have to recognise in this event a glimpse of Divinity, a sign of infinite Grace.

Just as Om is the sound symbol of God, the Linga is the form symbol or the visible symbol of God, the most meaningful, simplest and the least endowed with the appendages of attributes. Lingam means, that in which this jagath (world of change) attains laya (mergence or dissolution), Leeyathe. All Forms merge in the Formless at last. Shiva is the Principle of the Destruction of all Names and Forms, of all entities and individuals. So, the Linga is the simplest sign of emergence and mergence.

Just as Om is the sound symbol of God, the Linga is the form symbol or the visible symbol of God, the most meaningful, simplest and the least endowed with the appendages of attributes. Lingam means, that in which this jagath (world of change) attains laya (mergence or dissolution), Leeyathe. All Forms merge in the Formless at last. Shiva is the Principle of the Destruction of all Names and Forms, of all entities and individuals. So, the Linga is the simplest sign of emergence and mergence.

Live in the Constant Presence of Shiva

Sathya Sai Speaks
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Every form conceived in the Shasthras and scriptures has a deep significance. Shiva does not ride an animal called in human language, a bull. The bull is the symbol of stability standing on four legs, Sathya, Dharma, Shanthi and Prema (Truth, Righteousness, Peace and Love). Shiva is described as having three eyes; they see the past, the present and the future. The elephant skin, which forms His cloak, is a symbol of the bestial primitive traits which His Grace destroys.

In fact, He tears them to pieces, skins them, and they become totally ineffective. His Four faces symbolise Shantham (equanimity), Roudhram (frightening facade), Mangalam (grace) and Uthsaham (elevating energy). While adoring the Lingam on this Lingodhbhava Day, you must contemplate on these truths of Shiva that the Linga represents.

It is not this night alone that you should spend in the thought of Shiva; your whole life must be lived in the constant presence of the Lord. Endeavour - that is the main exercise which is the inescapable consummation for all mortals.

Even those who deny God will have to tread the pilgrim road, melting their hearts out in tears of travail. If you make the slightest effort to move along the path of your own liberation, the Lord will help you a hundred-fold. That is the hope that Mahashivarathri conveys to you. Man is called so, because he has the skill to do manana, which meansinner meditation’ on the meaning and significance of what one has heard.

Even those who deny God will have to tread the pilgrim road, melting their hearts out in tears of travail. If you make the slightest effort to move along the path of your own liberation, the Lord will help you a hundred-fold.

But, you have not yet emerged out of the stage of shravanam (listening)! All the joy you crave for is in you. However, you suffer like a man who has vast riches in the iron chest but has no idea where the key is. Listen to the instructions properly, dwell upon them in the silence of meditation, practise what has been made clear therein; then, you can secure the key, open the chest and be rich in Joy.

Visualise Shiva as the Inner Power of All

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Sathya Sai Speaks

You have given up even the little sadhana that Shivarathri demands. In olden times, people would not put even a drop of water on their tongues on this day. Now, that rigour is gone.

They used to keep vigil the entire night, without a wink of sleep, repeating Om Namah Shivaya without intermission. Now, the name Shiva, is on no one's tongue.

Resolve, on this Holy Shivarathri, to visualise the Shiva as the inner power of all. With each breath, you are even now, asserting Soham ("I am He"); not only you, but every being that breathes, lives, and exists does this. It is a fact which you have ignored so long. Believe it from now on.

When you watch your breath and meditate on that magnificent Truth, slowly, the ‘I’ and the ‘He’ (the Sah and the Aham) will draw nearer and closer, until the feeling of separateness fades away and the Soham transforms into OM, the Pranava, the Primal Sound, the Fundamental Formula for God. That OM is the Swaswarupa - the Reality behind this "relative reality."

~ Divine Discourse on Shivarathri Day, February 1969

 

Dear Reader, how did you like this excerpt from His Divine Discourse? Please share your reflections with us by writing to [email protected] mentioning your name and country. Thank you for your time.



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Vol 7 Issue 02 - FEBRUARY 2009
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