Mahasivratri has been observed as the single most important vortex of time by the yogis and householders in India for thousands of years. Based on the planetary alignment with earth and the lunar cycle, this vortex of time holds the objectives of yoga as in being the Spirit having the human experience; as in being ‘liberated’ from the limits of the mind and as in having the grace of Source in our daily realities.
Reasons to celebrate Mahasivratri
State of Turiya, the super-conscious states of an enlightened yogi
There are many versions of stories behind Mahasivratri. One of the popular version of the stories behind this is the following:
A thief was running away into the forest as it was getting dark. Since he was frightened of the wild animals, he climbed up a tree. By good fortunes of the past births of the thief, the tree happens to be the Vilva and its leaves are Lord Siva’s favorite offerings to be given. Unknown to the thief, just below was a Siva Lingam (Lord Siva represented as a in the form of infinity- the Lingam). The thief was afraid to fall down and he kept away through this night of Mahasivratri and the leaves of Vilva kept falling down accidentally. Through the night, the thief had stayed up all night—and morning the thief—by grace of staying up all night—had attained enlightenment.
In India, millions of ordinary people—householders and yogis stay up through the night chanting and signing to Lord Siva. Most householders, however, like weekend warriors, simply jump into Mahasivratri fighting sleep with determination. They may miss the essence of Mahasivratri as the “staying up all night” is actually a yogic process of attainment of the state of Turiya.
Turiya is the State of Focus, Joy, and Bliss
The state of Turiya is called the sleepless sleep: a realm beyond the mind that is of intense joy and bliss. The state of Turiya is also attained by each of us when we are in totality of focus, inspiration, excitement, and happiness while doing something that we enjoy—when we do not feel tired, hungry, hot, cold, or sleepy.
For a yogi, it is an inner journey to attain the supreme objective of yoga—to be Lord Siva, the Yogi. Lord Siva is our awake soul, the Spirit that is mentioned in the Bible as the Holy Ghost. By observing Mahasivratri and attaining the state of of blissful union with Lord Siva, through the night of Mahasivratri, the state of Turiya awakens as the experience beyond limits of the mind.
Consciousness is awakened by attainment of state of Turiya, even if it was just for that one night. Then for our entire lifetime we are blessed by the empowerment of ourselves through the state of a yogic mind; the state of Turiya.
The wisdom of ancient spiritual India works in potency through the determined time vortexes
All scientists of the past in India were yogis. The yogis were intuitive and scientific in seeing time as an important facet of divinity, as much as infinity, matter, and energy is seen as representing Source/God. For thousands of years, the Mahasivratri observed on the lunar calendar has been determined by the yogis as the single most important period to attain enlightenment, grace of fulfillment as blessings, and renewal. It is a common observance amongst yogis who do intense spiritual penance (tapas) to be in solitude through the whole year and come out to the public on the night of Mahasivratri to bless humanity.
Any religious festival observed by millions, from Christmas to Ramadan, creates a time vortex as a result of the power of collective consciousness. Mahasivratri is celebrated in fasting and worship by the largest mass of humanity creating adding grace to the already potent time vortex.
Mahasivratri is an ideal time to detoxify and rejuvenate
When we want to attain the yogic union of the mind with Source/God/Lord Siva, fasting aids in the process. When there is minimal activity in our digestive tract and our a mind has tuned into the state of joy that forgets hunger, heat, and cold and the other limits of the body and mind, we are able to step into the grace of stillness to meditate and tune into the state of Turiya.
The fasting of Mahasivratri is done in stages. The first step is to have fruits, fruit juices, plenty of water, and nuts. The yogi then awakens intense states of joy to gradually reduce the intake of fruits and nuts. The body and the mind must be treated with love and care through this period as we meditate on bliss and become bliss form. Having specific Ayurvedic herbs that are wisely chosen during this period intensifies the rejuvenative energies of our body and mind.
Liberate yourself- a crucial essence of yoga!
A primal need of all humans is the desire for freedom, or wanting to be free. To be free really means to be free of limits of the mind, body, and realities.
When practicing yoga, the first experience is bliss and liberation. Any yoga asana done properly with awareness of breath conveys the experience of bliss like a drop of nectar.
Liberation means freedom. This sense of freedom/liberation is in reality the experience of being the yogi as the Spirit having the human experience—felt as bliss. Lord Siva is called Satchidananda- meaning Sat-truth, chit-consciousness, ananda-bliss. When we experience bliss and transform our life experience as bliss, we attain the body of bliss and the mind of Turiya. Mahasivratri holds the condensed and intense experience of this bliss that liberates us. Doing the inner pilgrimage through Mahasivratri for a yogi is the attainment of the honey pot.
Understanding ourselves as the Emperor through observance of Mahasivratri.
The difference between a slave and an emperor is: Who owns time?
We are all caught in the 24-hour clock of time, tied to the sleeping, dreaming, and awake states of the mind, the mind in its moods of ups and downs. In these states, life circumstances keep us running the same old race. A yogi, by contrast, is liberated from this time clock.
Freeing ourselves from Time through Practice
The first step to breaking free from the prison of time that holds our mind is to light a lamp, candle, or flame at least once a day and connect to Source/God.
The next important observance is to observe one day a week solely to connect to Source/God. Doing this is a precious and ongoing holiday that we can give ourselves and set ourselves on the throne of the Emperor.
The third observance is to connect to the moon cycles of the New Moon (the time to celebrate Lord Siva as Spirit) and the Full Moon (the time to celebrate Lord Vishnu as the awake mind).
The single most important moment through the year is Mahasivratri, the moment when we take our inner pilgrimage to awaken to the “I Am” experience of Lord Siva as the timeless, beyond the mind. This experience awakens us and sets us on a journey to enlightenment and beyond.
Every time we observe setting aside one day a week to connect to God, our special day off for being a yogi, we relive the once-a-year Mahasivratri, the experience of being Light and expand our consciousness to be the Sun of the mind that has woken up the Spirit to enshrine our body.
It is from timelessness that time can be defined.
Now as conscious beings of timelessness, let us define realities for ourselves and all of planet earth as time!