Siva Ratri

bangalore_shiva

Today marks the annual festival of Shiva Ratri , in honor of the God Shiva. Although as Vaisnavas or as Krishna bhaktas, we do not participate in the many Hindu festivals, still we honor Lord Shiva as being the greatest yogi (SB. 2.8.20) and as the greatest devotee (SB. 4.24.18). Both Text and purports by Srila Prabhupada follow.

Maha Shivaratri is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honour of the god Shiva. There is a Shivaratri in every luni-solar month of the Hindu calendar, on the month’s 13th night/14th day, but once a year in late winter (February/March, or Phalguna) and before the arrival of spring, marks Maha Shivaratri which means “the Great Night of Shiva”.

It is a major festival in Hinduism, but one that is solemn and marks a remembrance of “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in life and the world. It is observed by remembering Shiva and chanting prayers, fasting, doing Yoga, and meditating on ethics and virtues such as self-restraint, honesty, noninjury to others, forgiveness, and the discovery of Shiva. The ardent devotees keep awake all night. Others visit one of the Shiva temples or go on pilgrimage to Jyotirlingams. This is an ancient Hindu festival whose origin date is unknown. (text pasted from; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maha_Shivaratri)

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Śivaratri

Today is Maha Shivaratri or Shivaratri, so we are posting one nice verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam in glorification of Lord Siva.

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: Canto 4: “The Creation of the Fourth Order”
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Chapter Four, Text 14

yad dvy-akṣaraṁ nāma gireritaṁ nṛṇāṁ
sakṛt prasaṅgād agham āśu hanti tat
pavitra-kīrtiṁ tam alaṅghya-śāsanaṁ
bhavān aho dveṣṭi śivaṁ śivetaraḥ

yat—which; dvi-akṣaram—consisting of two letters; nāma—named; girā īritam—merely being pronounced by the tongue; nṛṇām—persons; sakṛt—once; prasaṅgāt—from the heart; agham—sinful activities; āśu—immediately; hanti—destroys; tat—that; pavitra-kīrtim—whose fame is pure; tam—him; alaṅghya-śāsanam—whose order is never neglected; bhavān—you; aho—oh; dveṣṭi—envy; śivam—Lord Śiva; śiva-itaraḥ—who are inauspicious.

TRANSLATION

Satī continued: My dear father, you are committing the greatest offense by envying Lord Śiva, whose very name, consisting of two syllables, śi and va, purifies one of all sinful activities. His order is never neglected. Lord Śiva is always pure, and no one but you envies him.

PURPORT

Since Lord Śiva is the greatest soul among the living entities within this material world, his name, Śiva, is very auspicious for persons who identify the body with the soul. If such persons take shelter of Lord Śiva, gradually they will understand that they are not the material body but are spirit soul. Śiva means maṅgala, or auspicious. Within the body the soul is auspicious. Ahaṁ brahmāsmi: “I am Brahman.” This realization is auspicious. As long as one does not realize his identity as the soul, whatever he does is inauspicious. Śiva means “auspicious,” and devotees of Lord Śiva gradually come to the platform of spiritual identification, but that is not all. Auspicious life begins from the point of spiritual identification. But there are still more duties—one has to understand one’s relationship with the Supreme Soul.

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