SIVA, SAKTI & MAHASIVARATRI

Siva  should not be nomenclature-d at all as He is Infinite and ‘Nirakara’. Yet He has been named more than a thousand times possibly with the naïve intention of adding more and more dimensions to His Infiniteness !! Though every name is supposed to mitigate His infinite glory, on the contrary, it adds a few more dimensions to His mystical existence.

His consecration as Mahakala  is the name that appears to be the most mystical one. It has compelled humanity to discern and acknowledge convergence of Science and Adhyatma  which existed eternally yet human frailties dissuaded us to do that for long. That Science is a progeny of Adhyatma  would have been too explosive a revelation for the frail human wisdom to assimilate. Proposition of Einsteinian Theory of Relativity and it’s affirmation through discovery of Gravitational Waves on the surface of Universal AkasaKala  Matrix revealed beyond an iota of doubt to gross human wisdom that Kala  is one of the most fundamental parametres of creation, sustenance and dissolution. It happened to be a scientific affirmation in a small measure, what Rsi-s and Maharsi-s had established thousands of years ago.

Kala  is the dimension that cannot be pinioned at all. If at all it is pinioned or shackled, it is in the manifest of Vartamana, very Vartamana  that is incessantly passing away, never to return at all. Akasa  exists because Kala  exists as Akasa  is a proceed of Kala. Manifestation of Sakara  is the proceed of Akasa  as various physical / gross attributes exist within the domain of Akasa  alone. It is Kala  that transforms itself within the domain of Akasa  to allow innumerable manifests of physical existence to come into being. This cosmic reality of mysticism, most fundamental of all realities, is reverentially adored as Siva. Literally, Siva  means ‘Nothing’ as also, almost 99% of the cosmos !! It is in reality, the vibrant and dynamic aspect of Siva  that is named as Kala Bhairava. When He is as tranquil as absolutely stilled, He is transformed into Mahakala. Kala Bhairava  is also annihilator of Ajnana  which then, leads to Moksa, Ultimate Emancipation from shackles of cycles of birth and death. When the last citadel of Ajnana  is demolished, Moksa  is attained in the eternity of Vartamana, not only here itself but also within ourselves. Nothing more remains to be attained or renounced, in the midst of Absolute Nothing i.e. Mahakala.  

Androgyne manifest of Siva  is Ardhanarisvara  wherein left half of the deity is depicted as Devi  in compatible contours and hues. In this manifest, Siva  and Sakti  enjoy equal prominence being Purusa  and Prakrti  respectively. Just as fire and it’s blaze are distinguishable albeit inseparable, Siva  and Sakti  too, are not only inseparable but also mutually inclusive. In the state of intense meditation, divine splendor of Devi  is perceived to have overshadowed bright white of Siva  imparting an illusion of Siva  having been assimilated into Her. This experience allowed the doctrine of Sakta, also known as Kaula’s, to rise wherein only Sakti  need to be worshipped as SivaTattva  stands absorbed within Sakti. Theory of creation and dissolution propounds cyclical and evolutionary nature of Siva  and Sakti.

So vividly narrated Jagadguru Adi Samkaracarya  in his Saundarya Lahiri

Jagatsute Dhata Hariravati Rudraha Ksapayate Tiraskurvannetat Svamapi Vapurisastirayati  I

Sada Purvaha Sarvam Tadidmanugrhnati Ca Sivastavajna-malambya Ksanacalitayorbhulatikayoha  II 24 II

Brahma  brings forth universe; Hari  sustains and protects; Rudra  destroys that; Mahesvara  absorbs all these deities into Himself, then disappears into Sadasiva. Then Sadasiva, when mandated by Her through the movement of Her brows, impels them into activity.

 

Therefore, there can be no maiden creation or final conclusion in the manifest of dissolution. Creation is reversal of the state of involution and both states are known as Kalpa  and Pralaya  respectively each, continuing for billions of human years. In Sakta  doctrine, Sakti  and Prakrti  appear to be differentiated with Prakrti  being effect of Sakti  while in most others, both are identified to be one. At the instance of Sakti, Siva  initiates creation based on the template of imprints retained from previous creation. Hence, in Sakta  doctrine, Sakti  is supreme and initiator of creation while in others, Prakrti  initiates creation at the instance of Siva. Without Sakti, Siva  is entirely incapable creation or any movement.

Siva  crushes the demon of Ajnana  during SivaTandava, emancipates all from fetters of Karma  by raising one foot and initiates cosmic phenomenon of destruction which is in reality, re-construction devoid of all desecrations. By opening Ajna Cakra, He dissolves all delusions including irrational identification with gross body and reminiscences of past. His Yogic  posture of deep meditation with eyes semi-closed, focused on nose-tip symbolizes intense engagement through introversion merged in the Supreme Self. This is the state of Vairagya  i.e. ultimate renunciation of Prakrti, it’s Maya  and Siva  abides in the manifest of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss.     

According to Trika Darsana  with three systems of Pratyabhijna, Krama  and Kaula, also recognized as Kashmir Saivism, ubiquitous Siva  consciousness itself is the universe. Trika  implies all compacted into one entity with Siva  discerning Himself from Sakti  only to dominate the universe through Sakti  on the auspicious night of Sivaratri. All manifestations of bliss are expressions of self-recognition in the spirit of Aham Brahmasmi. This self-recognition has been held to be Prakasa  i.e. blaze of Supreme Consciousness and Vimarsa  i.e. faculty of self-discernment. At the core, both are innately and inseparably integrated. It is this Vimarsa  that every Jivatma  is mandated to strive for. Each expression of this Consciousness is Spanda  i.e. subtle wave and every Spanda  is superceded by another, immediately after. All Spanda-s are interdependent and integrated just as no two waves on ocean surface are separable in spite of being identifiable individually. Ultimately, all Spanda-s are integrated with Supreme Consciousness just as all waves are with the ocean, all inseparably albeit identifiable. Bliss of consciousness is perfect identification and harmony with the Supreme Consciousness after shedding infinite multiplicity just as two or more sound-waves of identical amplitude and frequency create a node upon superimposition. As we dive deeper into the cosmic ocean of consciousness, we migrate deeper into non-duality, deeper into omni-existence, an existence that exists at the core of all entities. Mahasivaratri  is celebrated on 14th day of Krsnapaksa  of the month of Phalguna. Due to planetary configurations, northern hemisphere of Planet Earth is positioned in such a way that natural upsurge of cosmic energy in human beings is inevitable. On this day-night, we are inspired to stay awake, fast and meditate on Siva  to arrogate ourselves with as much cosmic energy as possible. For a Grihastha, Mahasivaratri  is a celebration of His wedding anniversary, for the ambitious ones it is a day when Siva  conquers all His foes and finally for ascetics / renunciants, Siva  is absolutely still like Kailasa Parvat. Siva  is AdiGuru  i.e. first point of universal wisdom. After infinite number of millennia in intense Samadhi, Siva  is absolutely stilled, celebrated and adored on Mahasivaratri. On this auspicious occasion, we are inspired to discern infinite vastness of Siva  overriding all infinite number of creations in the entire expanse of universe.

Jvala Linga  is another name of Siva  that appears on Mahasivaratri  radiating immense energy all around which cooled down by mid-night. Sunya Putula  is the prime representation of Jvala Linga  worshipped as 18-armed Svacchanda Bhairava. Entire universe is visualized as Visvadeva  and oblations are offered to all entities as a mark of conclusion to the festival.

According to Siva Purana, worship of Siva  on Mahasivaratri  must include offering Bilva  leaves after the ritual of His bath symbolizing sanctification of Atma  through dissolution of unredeemed Samskara-s, applying vermilion paste on Linga  symbolizing virtues, offering food conducive to longevity symbolizing gratification of desires, fragrance of incense-sticks / oil lamp symbolize attainment of wealth / knowledge respectively and finally, offering betel leaves symbolize attainment of joys of life.

Vatesvara, an ancient Sivalingam  worshipped by Ravana, used to prognosticate impending events through luminescence emanating from SriCara  engraved on it, as described in ‘Rajatrangini’. Somyara Lingam  of Habbakadal  too, emits effulgence synchronized with lunar waxing. These may be perceptible only to highly advanced Sadhaka-s. Rabindranath Tagore said about Kashmir Saivism, “Kashmir Saivism  has penetrated to that depth of living thought where diverse currents of human wisdom unite in a luminous synthesis.” What renders Kashmir Saivism  different from Advaita Darsana  is that Sakti  is manifestation of Absolute Consciousness  in the entire universe. On the contrary, Advaita Darsana  holds Absolute Consciousness being absolutely inactive and the universe, being it’s Maya. Kashmir Saivism  is mostly based on monistic elucidation of Bhairava Tantra-s while Advaita, on Upanisad-s and Brahmasutra-s. Kashmir Saivism  claims to have superceded dualism enunciated in Saiva Siddhanta. Citi  i.e. Universal Consciousness, Mala  i.e. Consciousness that evolves into innumerable, Upaya  i.e. tormented owing to entanglement and longing to emancipate and finally Moksa  i.e. supreme liberation, are the four elements that constitute Kashmir Saivism. Three Mala-s are individual Mala, mind Mala  i.e. Maya  and KarmaMala. It prescribes four pursuits to be attained to the Supreme viz. Anavopaya  i.e. method of body, Saktopaya  i.e. of mind, Sambhavopaya  i.e. of consciousness and Anupaya  i.e. un-defined method. Sadhana  that is pursued in Kashmir Saivism  is mostly Astangayoga  of Maharsi Patanjali  and it demands attainment of Infinite Bliss here, in this life itself.

Mahasivaratri  is also celebrated on the day of Trayodasi  as Bhairavotsava  wherein elaborate Bhairava Yajna  is performed propitiating Bhairavi, Vatuka Bhairava, Rama Bhairava  etc. who emerged from vessels of various shapes and sizes. All others celebrate the festival on Caturdasi  when the Deity is presumed to have been pacified. Bhairavi, also known as Sarika, is regarded as full-fledged Devi  in her own right. Sarika Pitha, also known as Cakresvari, is located on a hill-top in central Srinagara. Esoteric manigest of Siva  as Svacchanda Bhairava  with His consort Aghoreswari  had been in existence even in medieval times. Svacchanda  implies liberty of spontaneity and Advaita  Consciousness alone signifies singular, non-dual union with the Absolute. Endowed with Iccha  i.e. will, Jnana  i.e. discriminatory wisdom and Kriya i.e. faculty of action, Svacchanda Bhairava  creates this universe with actions of Srsti  i.e. creation, Stithi  i.e. sustenance, Samhara  i.e. dissolution, Triodanha  i.e. concealment and Anugraha  i.e. revelation. Through His acts of Srsti, He creates and sustains the universe. Stithi  is persistence wherein consciousness merges with manifest. Samhara  is dissolution through retraction of consciousness towards non-dualism. Triodanha  is enfolding creation from Space-Time matrix and Anugraha  is it’s reversal. Entire creation is regarded as reflection of Svacchanda Bhairava  alongwith Aghoreswari. Thus, auspicious festival of Mahasivaratri  is essentially a celebration of Advaita.  

 

 

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