Yoga, Physiotherapy, Health, Sankhya, Metaphysics, Sanatana Dharma, Perennialists & Hinduism

Shiva & Maha Sivaratri – the Ultimate Night of Yoga

on February 19, 2012

Maha Sivaratri – the dark night of the Absolute (Prashanti Nilayam 2012) (Mahashivaratri on Vimeo) (Om Namah Sivaya)

Dear readers,

Yet another short post to remind Yogi’s that tomorrow night (20th Feb 2012) is a very auspicious night for contemplation on one’s Reality. The night is called Siva-ratri, or the “night of Siva”.

If you have already browsed through the articles on this blog, you might already appreciate the symbolism of Lord Siva in Hinduism. He represents the Father and the Formless, Transcendental Absolute beyond Consciousness, Mind and Nature. He reveals Himself through the 5 elements, the panchakshara mantra (, and 5 aspects; creation, preservation, destruction, concealment & blessing or Grace, and  through 3 levels; the Formless (New Moon, bindu, AUM, 5 elemental pentagram), the Lingam (ellipsoid) & the reflected symbolic image or form (Siva).

In India & Hinduism, He is the Ultimate Yogi, and Sivaratri is the ultimate night of Yoga to receive the Grace of Reality through a stilled mind on the darkest New Moon of the year.

From an understanding of astronomy & jyotish, this co-incides with the waning of the Moon (mind) to conjunct the Sun in Aquarius in the constellation of  Satabishaj Nakshatra, according to the Sidereal zodiac. The process begins from 2 weeks before, when the Moon is full in Leo in the constellation of  Purvaphalungini; the Nakshatra connected to Bhagya (fortune) and the Sivalingam (granting the power of  procreation). As the Moon wanes, by the 13th “tithi” or phase/day of the waning  moon it reaches a day called Trayodasi; which according to the Vedic lunar calendar is timed to propriate Siva.

Therefore, from the 14th waning day until the New Moon (Amavaasya) day in the Month of February-March is particularly auspicious for meditational practice. It is also during the period of  “Uttarayana”, or 6 months after the winter solstice, when the Sun begins to move northwards relative to the Earth; considered a divine half of the year when there is increasing solar light for spiritual practice. Remember to keep your spine erect for the energies to move upwards too!

The specific celebrations and contemplation begins from 14th night at the point of dusk to the following morning at the point of dawn. During this night, the power of void and gravity on the mind is at its greatest and most conducive for Yogic meditation and Samadhi. Therefore, the normal practice is to keep vigil all night, singing bhajans or mantric music, limiting food intake and using the energy at one’s disposal to turn within the the Source as one’s Self. This year is a very auspicious Mahasivaratri, falling on Monday (Siva’s day) in Sravana (Vishnu’s) Nakshatra – the most auspicious constellation!

Shiva Puja or Worship

You can read the earlier wiki link to access the more technical and ritualistic details that Hindus and Yogis practice to worship Siva on this night. Generally, worship on this night involves offering the panchamrit (for the 5 elements) and bilva leaves to the lingam with the Mahamrityunjaya mantra, “Om Namah Sivaya” & the Lingakshakam;


Rudra Siva


Om Tatpurushaya Vidmahe Mahadevaya Dheemahi, Tanno Rudrah Prachodayat.

 “We meditate on Rudra to give us the supreme Knowledge. We meditate on Rudra to energise our life and to stimulate our mind.”

RUDRAM (Namakam & Chamakam = Name & Form)

(Namakam prayer for purification & protection; Chamakam prayer for prosperity) (You tube) (Sai Baba)

Om Namah Sivaya (Om Namo Bhagavate Rudraya) – essence of  Namakam

 The Mahamrityunjaya mantra – essence of Chamakam

“aum tryambakaṃ yajāmahe sugandhiṃ puṣṭi-vardhanamurvārukam iva bandhanān mṛtyor mukṣīya māmṛtāt, Om Hreem Namah Sivaya”

Meaning: We hail the fragrant Three-eyed One who nourishes [all] and increases the [sweet] fullness of life. As the cucmber is liberated from captivity [from its stem], may we [also] be liberated (mukshiya) from death (mrityor) not from immortality (maamritaat).  Reverence to That.  & &

The Sri Lingashtakam

– a popular 8-canto hymn chanted during the worship of Lord Shiva

Brahma Muraari Suraarchita Lingam

Nirmala Bhashita Shobhita Lingam

Janmaja Dukha Vinaashaka Lingam

Tat Pranamaami Sadaa Shiva Lingam

Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, which is adored by Brahma, Vishnu and other Gods, which is praised by pure and holy speeches and which destroys the cycle of births and deaths.

Devamuni Pravaraarchita Lingam

Kaamadaham Karunaakara Lingam

Raavana Darpa Vinaashaka Lingam

Tat Pranamaami Sada Shiva Lingam

Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, which is the destroyer of desires, which the Devas and the sages worship, which is infinitely compassionate and which subdued the pride of Raavana.

Sarva Sugandha Sulepitha Lingam

Buddhi Vivardhana Kaarana Lingam

Siddha Suraasura Vanditha Lingam

Tat Pranamaami Sadaa Shiva Lingam

Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, which is lavishly smeared with variegated perfumes and scents, which elevates the power of thought and enkindles the light of discrimination, and before which the Siddhas and Suras and Asuras prostrate.

Kanaka Mahaamani Bhushitha Lingam

Phanipathi Veshtitha Shobhitha Lingam

Daksha Suyajna Vinaashaka Lingam

Tat Pranamaami Sadaa Shiva Lingam

Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, the destroyer of Dakshas sacrifice, which is decorated with various ornaments, studded with different gems and rubies and which glows with the garland of the serpent Lord coiled around it.

Kumkuma Chandana Lepitha Lingam

Pankaja Haara Sushobhitha Lingam

Sanchitha Paapa Vinaashaka Lingam

Tat Pranamaami Sadaa Shiva Lingam

Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, which is smeared with saffron and sandal paste, which is decorated with lotus garlands and which wipes out all accumulated sins.

Devaganaarchitha Sevitha Lingam

Bhaavair Bhakti Bhirevacha Lingam

Dinakara Koti Prabhakara Lingam

Tat Pranamaami Sadaa Shiva Lingam

Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga which is worshipped by the multitude of Gods with genuine thoughts full of faith and devotion and whose splendor is like that of a million suns.

Ashta Dalopari Veshtitha Lingam

Sarva Samudbhava Kaarana Lingam

Ashta Daridra Vinaashaka Lingam

Tat Pranamaami Sadaa Shiva Lingam

Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, destroyer of all poverty and misery in its eight aspects, which is the cause of all creation and which stands on the eight petalled Lotus.

Suraguru Suravara Pujitha Lingam

Suravana Pushpa Sadaarchitha Lingam

Paraatparam Paramatmaka Lingam

Tat Pranamaami Sadaa Shiva Lingam

Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga which is the Transcendent Being and the Supreme Self, worshipped by all Suras and their preceptor (Brhaspathi), with innumerable flowers from the celestial gardens.

Puja Items

Some special item for Siva worship are the Parad (solidified mercury) lingam, rudrakshas (especially 1, 5, 11 and 14 faced beads), vermillion, sandal paste, vibhutti, jasmine flowers etc.. To purchase such items there are many sites on the net. One  international site that was reliable and honest, and provided authentic items is:-

Siva Lingam – portal to the unmanifest Absolute 

Note that Siva & Lingam represent the Absolute, the Self or Reality – Sathyam, Sivam, Sundaram; Truth, Goodness & Beauty of Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence-knowledge-Bliss). He is the Grace inherent through one’s own consciousness, and the ultimate shaman, remedial & healer. In physics, he is the proton, and in psychological terms, He is the power of imagination or Maya – the veiling (rope) and projecting (snake) power of the mind; that superimposes illusion on His transcendental Reality (power of the unmanifest – lingam). Even though “Siva” never incarnates, as He is the impersonal Reality, His family symbolise aspects of nature; ie. Sakti is the electron field; Ganesh the subjective reality and gravity, & Murugan (seed of Siva), objective reality and electro-magnetism. The 11 rudras represent aspects of His power, of which, Hanuman was the greatest embodiment. &

To Sai devotees, Shirdi Sai Baba was an Avatar of Shiva.

More information on Siva has been added to the bottom of this blog post; including His symbolism, His shrines & a recommended  book list. However, for now, I will leave you with a poem by one of the greatest Advaita phiolsophers of ancient India on the essence of Siva.

Have a blissful and illumined Sivaratri. Tat Twam Asi!

Six Stanzas on Nirvana by Adi Shankacharya

I am not mind, wisdom, pride, and heart. Neither I am ear and tongue nor I am nose and eyes. Neither I am sky or earth nor I am power or wind. I am the eternal happiness or bliss state, I am Shiv, I am Shiv. I am not the state of being alive or the five type of Vayu. Neither I am the seven elements constituting the body (Dhatu) nor I am the five sheaths which invest the soul. Neither I am voice, hand, or leg nor I am the portion at the bottom of waist (anus or Linga). I am the eternal happiness or bliss state, I am Shiv, I am Shiv. I am not the state of envy and passion or the emotions of greed and attachment. Neither I am intoxication nor I am the emotion of jealousy. And I am not even the four Purushartha — Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. I am the eternal happiness or bliss state, I am Shiv, I am Shiv. I am not Punya (good deed), Paap (Sin), Saukhya (friendship), or Dukha (Grief). Neither I am chants (Mantra) or Shrine (Teertha) nor I am the Veda or the sacrifice and oblation. Also, I am not the food, or the one that should be eaten, or the eater. I am eternal happiness or bliss state, I am Shiv, I am Shiv. Neither I am the fear of death nor I am the difference between races. Neither I am [any relation like] father, mother, nor I am born. Also, I am not a relative, a friend, a teacher (Guru), or a student (Shisya). I am the eternal happiness or bliss state, I am Shiv, I am Shiv. I am free from changes, and lack all the qualities and form. I envelope all forms from all sides and am beyond the sense-organs. I am always in the state of equality — there is no liberation (Mukti) or captivity (Bandha). I am the eternal happiness or bliss state, I am Shiv, I am Shiv. , , ,



WIKI LINKS ON SIVA (as well as Tantra & Agamas):-

TANTRAS & Tantra

(Agamas ,  Shiva,  Om Namah Sivaya ShaivismHistory of Shaivitism  Shaiva Siddhanta)

Symbolism of Shiva




Paramam Pavitram Baba Vibhutim,
Paramam Vichitram Leela Vibhutim,
Paramartha Ishtartha Moksha Pradatam,
Baba Vibhutim Idamas Yami.

“BABA’S Vibhuti Is Immensely Sacred And Powerful; It’s Effects Are Mysterious. One Should Take Refuge In The Supreme, Protective Power And Infinite Grace Of Baba’s Vibhuti Which Enables One To Attain Moksha (Liberation)”.

Aspects of Siva

Names of Siva

Classic Literature  on Siva

Siva Sutras

Siva Prayers


Holy Shrines of Siva

Often,  in India, sacred sites are related to mountains (Siva-yang) and lakes, rivers or oceans (Sakti-yin)


(Crown Siva-Sakti Chakra)

Mount Kailash

BENARES VARANASI KASHI (Triveni – 3rd eye of Siva)

ARUNACHALA (Heart of Siva)

 (8 lingams in 8 direction reflects 8  petals from the Yogic  Hrit centre of body ie. the Self)

Arunachala (Arunach-allah)

Note that Arunachala is the most sacred place; the axis mundi and Heart of the World. Siva; the eternal, unmanifest Self; mythologically and symbolically, first manifested here as a column of light to Brahma (ego) & Vishnu (intellect),  and then as the first natural swayambhu lingam for worship of the Absolute Self.

It is called Siva Sthana, and is the abode of fire. It attracts those ripe in Jnana (wisdom), and even to remember and think of it regularly grants the magnetic Grace from within for knowledge of the Self. Sathya Sai Baba’s first bhajan “Manase Bhajare” was in praise of this mountain, and it is the home of Ramana Maharishi’s ashram. &

Every year, in the month of November-December when the Moon is exalted in Karthikai (Pleadies),  a fire  festival called “Maha Deepam” commemorates it’s birth (the Self – Siva) by lighting a flame at the peak of the mountain.

Mahasivaratri is also celebrated here, and mythologically, symbolises the marriage with Sakti (Consciousness) when all the Gods and beings pay homage to the formless Reality and Grace.

Arunachala is home to  one of five important lingam  temples in Tamil Nadu, India, which propriate the 5 elements.

Throughout India and Nepal, there are many lingam temples, but the most important are the Jyothi (light) lingams.

All around India and the world Hindus, Yogis and Siva devotees pay special importance to spiritual life on this most auspicious day of Mahasivaratri.

 For more on Siva you can refer to the book list below:-

Recommended book list

One response to “Shiva & Maha Sivaratri – the Ultimate Night of Yoga

  1. John! says:

    Very condensed and complete information on the meaning of Shiva and Sivaratri. Another brilliant and informative post from this site. Thanks for sharing

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