Every yoga practitioner should celebrate Shivaratri

Tomorrow is Shivaratri. Shiva is the God of Yoga. He gave us thousands and thousands of years ago the deep and mysterious Yoga Science, as in meditation, chanting mantra’s, asanas, pranayama and every other single element of yoga practice. He also taught us about the Yoga Lifestyle and Sattvic food, this is very important during the celebration of Shivaratri: it purifies body, mind and soul.

Shiva is the most worshipped God in Hinduism, not Brahma the creator, which would be more obvious. We worship Shiva because our whole life happiness depends on him: he destroys the darkness so that Shakti or love and bliss can shine. He and Shakti are one, Ardhanarishwara, they reside in every living being. Every plant, every animal, every man and even the elements: all contain the life-giving energy or life force. We are all one. That is what we celebrate during Shivaratri: the one-ness in all, which is represented with the Shiva Linga.

With an austere life, in service and sacrifice for others, we can reach our ultimate goal: become love to merge with love or the Divine Higher Energy of Love. Moksha. Shiva represents this process of cleaning ourselves from negative thoughts, patterns and actions, so that we will become pure light and love. We will realise that we are love and then we become divine.

Shiva represents service and sacrifice: he drank the poison which made his neck blue, to safe humanity and he gave them back the moon and ganges, light and water. He is all about taking the darkness and giving love. We are all a little bit afraid when Shiva comes cleaning (it means that we have something dark inside!), but we know deep inside that this is necessary for enlightenment, so we welcome him. We worship him.

Every yoga practice is focussed on merging with the divine and the inner cleansing proces of our body, mind and soul. This process is described in Jnana, Karma, Bhakti and Raja Yoga. Shiva is the master of this proces, he is your guide on the path to divinity, which is the universal dharma of every living creature. Some seem to have forgotten this goal, but it is sathya, the truth of our being. And we can reach this only with yoga, meditation and self sacrifice.

Shivaratri is celebrated on the day and night with the smallest New Moon of the year. When the moon is the smallest, the mind is at peace. When the moon is full, it functions as a big magnet that draws our thoughts out to the surface to clean them all. During New Moon all these thoughts are destroyed and we can become in between thoughts in a state of samadhi much easier: it brings us to emptiness where we can reconnect with God and the divine energy. We have to be relaxed and release all stress to be able to live fully focussed on our dharma.

Almost full moon

Next to chanting mantra’s, aum and the 108 names of Lord Shiva, fasting is very important during these days: it stills the mind. Light food gives light thoughts which are much easier to put aside to come in this space of nothingness. Only drinking water and eating some light Sattvic foods like fruits, will help you deepen your meditation during these days of Shivaratri. Staying up all night is a challenge: are you thinking only of food and sleep during this time? Or is your mind focussed on the divine energy of God?

Almost new moon

This is a good test for yourself to see how well you have control over thoughts and senses which is necessary to be able to reach moksha. With control over your inner energy you will be able to become pure love and bliss: particles of the same attract and you’ll be able to merge with Divinity.

Lord Shiva will always hold your hand while walking the path, he will guide you, he will give you love and happiness, he will give you mountains to climb and moments to crawl up after a huge fall (only by this process we are able to learn); but he will be there for you unconditionally like a mother and a father, he will give you everything you need on your path to reach Him. He will train you, so that you’ll have a strong character with control over emotions, thoughts, patterns and actions.

On the road you’ll feel at home, you will become your true self of love and bliss, which is your soul. In a way, you’ll come home to yourself by knowing more and more of yourself. Know thy self and you will know God. You will overcome all earthly matters, the fear of death will not exist anymore, because you realise that you will live on forever and ever in this huge body of love and bliss which is the Divine Presence of God. This is what Shiva wants for you, for everybody. This is why we celebrate Shivaratri.