What I want to share from my experiences is that love conquers everything.It is my hope that it will inspire the readers to open their hearts to the Divine. If we can try to understand that we all are equally part of the Divine and are here to achieve this greater Truth and to realise our Self - if we make this our goal and do everything with Love…then everything will be lovely and you will always be happy.


Sri Swami Vishwananda

Saturday, March 9, 2013

What is Shivaratri? ....

... Actually, Shivaratri is when you forget about your mind and let your mind dwell only on the Divine. Actually, right now when you were singing and chanting “Panduranga Vittale Vittale, Panduranga Vittale Vittale,” you were not thinking. You were just chanting the Name of God and by that movement you didn’t think of anything. You were just concentrating on the vibration that was coming out from what you were chanting, no? That’s what Shivaratri is, actually – it is uplifting you and really awakening what is deep inside of you. If I were to tell you to just sit and meditate, would you meditate? Half, no, three quarters of you will sleep. Like that the whole world is sleeping right now, but you are all awake. What is best, to sleep or to chant the Divine Name? [audience: To chant] Ah, very good. How many of you do that every day? And how many of you sleep the whole night? [laughter -Swami laughs] Well, at least once a year on this night of Shivaratri you can awaken this Divine Consciousness inside of you, awaken this Love, and let Lord Shiva, Lord Panduranga, the Divine Mother, awaken also. Many will say “But it’s Shivaratri. Why are we singing Panduranga? Why would we sing Krishna’s Name? Why would we sing Narayana’s Name?” Actually, in the mind of man there is a lot of difference, but for God there’s no difference. That’s what is said: to enter the Kingdom of God, one has to rise above good and bad. Actually, it is that one has to rise above all duality, which the mind creates. That’s what Krishna said in the Gita: “A true yogi sees me everywhere, in everything.” And of course, in this time it’s not easy to become a true yogi. This night of Shivaratri, why do we stand praying to the Lord? Why do we do four times abishekam when we can just do it one time and be finished with it and go to bed? No, actually this night is a very auspicious night. And what you receive this night, all the other nights you won’t receive that, the Grace of the Lord, the Grace of Lord Shiva. The Grace of God, you receive it by chanting the Divine Name, by chanting Om Namah Shivaya, by chanting Panduranga, Krishna’s Name. It doesn’t matter whose Name you’re chanting. The main thing is that you are connecting with God throughout the night. The four prayers that we do represent the four Vedas. Of course, we can chant the whole Veda. The whole Veda – what is the Veda? The Veda is just about life itself. It’s not about the mantras that we chant. This is part of it, if you know the whole Veda. But yet, if you have not come face to face with God, you have not seen the Divine, you have not realised the Divine, the Veda is useless. So that’s why it’s said the simplest thing is to chant the Divine Name and connect yourself, because in the Divine Names there is everything. The whole Veda is present. It’s like when a moth has seen the light. Does it go back again into darkness? No, it will die in the flame of that light, but it will stay near the light. The same thing is with the Divine Name. When you chant God’s Name, you awaken this feeling. You awaken the Divine inside of you. Of course, it will not happen in one day because your mind has to be purified completely. Your trust has to build little by little. Your strength has to become more and more, then the Lord will shine through you. Realisation is not something outside that you can pick up from a tree and say “OK, fine, I have it.” No, it is inside of you. When you have cleansed the outside, actually, your True Self reveals itself to the mind. When it reveals itself to the mind, this is when the dissolution happens – the dissolution of your identity, the dissolution of the mind itself. That’s why we talk of the merging of the mind and the heart and the spirit together. Then there is no you and me. There is only Him that dwells everywhere. He is the same Lord which dwells in everything around. The essence of the Lord is present everywhere. If one sees it, if one realises it, one’s life will change completely. For that you have to sincerely want it because that Love, it’s not just the kind of Love that says “I love you”. It’s a Love that consumes you. It’s a Love that burns your identity, that burns everything. Are you ready for that? No, you are not. Don’t say “Yes.” You are not ready, because if you were ready you would have been burned already, with this Love. One can try one’s best to be ready, because this is what your soul wants and that’s what your mind also wants. Yet, the mind knows only the tangible things which are outside – running from one thing to another, looking for the eternal. Wherever the mind is focused you are not happy. Today you want a house. Tomorrow you will want a car. You will get the car and then so on and so on, because nothing outside can really hold the mind. But once the mind has seen the Light, once the mind has seen the Divine face-to-face, the mind gets consumed into that Divine Love. For this, it doesn’t matter whether you are here, whether you are at your place. It doesn’t matter what you are doing, but it just needs the sincerity of your heart. Just that. Simple! You see Yogis meditating, you see great Sages meditating. Why? It’s because they have already come face-to-face with that Divine and for them, seeing the world, they don’t see it the way people see. They see it completely differently. That’s why if they have to explain that to humans they will not understand. They prefer to run away to caves to hide themselves. They say it’s better being in the cave and being with the Lord, helping the world than being with people who will not understand anything. Man always wants to understand things through the mind. Man always wants to know more and more. What will you do with it? Do you think next life you will take it with you? Ah, forget about that! All that you have studied in this life will be buried with you here. You will not take it to the next life with you. The only thing that you will take is what you are working on for your soul. That’s the only thing that you will take with you and this, you will carry through lives. This is because when you are spiritual in this life it’s because in the past you have already worked, through many lives you have worked your way to be here. It’s not just that God is saying “This one, I like his face. I will bring him on the spiritual path.” It’s not like that. You are here because in previous lives you have worked hard and this life you are also working hard, but this time is different from other times, it’s a very special time. All times are special, but at the moment we are living in a very specific time where God is giving Himself to you, whereas in other times you had to run towards Him. In this time He is running towards you. But what is man doing? He is running away from Him. It would be a good scenario for a film, huh? This is how humans function. They think that they will lose something and they’re scared of losing. What would you lose? The Gita said that you have come with nothing and you will leave with nothing, so the only thing is Him. All what you call “Mine, mine, mine, that is mine, this is mine,” you can’t take with you. Lord Shiva, why do we adore Him with vibhuti? Just to remind us that everything is ash. This body is ash and it will become that ash. That’s what the symbolism of vibhuti is – remind yourself that you are just dust, nothing else. This body that you call “I, I, I,” is actually this pile of dust that we just offered to Him. Once it goes through a furnace, goes through the fire, it’s just that what will stay. Where is your knowledge in it? Nothing! When the spirit is gone it will carry on in another body or it will carry on in other spheres to grow, to advance, to look for the Divine, to look where he can realise himself. Shivaratri….. Shiva is a great Yogi, who is seated within each one. That’s why when we say Shivoham, we identify our Self with Lord Shiva. It’s not just words to say. We say Aham Brahmashmi. These are the three words in the Hindu tradition that we say: Aham Brahmashmi – I am Divine. I will not say I am God. I am Divine, because this is the essence of human nature. You are Divine and when the outside identity is dissolved, the true identity, the Divine identity of who you really are will reveal itself to you. Shiva is always sitting in meditation to represent that the mind has to calm itself. As long as the mind is wandering around left and right, there will be misery. You will come back again. But when you have learned to calm your mind, when you have learned to surrender your mind to the Lord, then He can reveal Himself. That’s what the essence of Shivaratri is – to surrender your mind. Focus it on God. Chant His Divine Names. Purify yourself. Purify your mind. In short, that is Shivaratri, nothing else.

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