Tag Archives: Shivaratri

Shivaratri and the Mysterious “Siva Linga by Priya Kenney

siva lingaWhat form of “Siva should we contemplate on the holiest night of the year?  “In all the various temples for yogis and Hindus in all the various continents around the world, “Siva will be worshipped in his many forms, but it is the “Siva linga, most of all on Shivaratri, that is the purest, most mysterious of all,” explains Swamiji.

The “Siva linga is an upright form, sitting on a base (also called the yoni) that represents “Sakti (the Goddess, or feminine expression of “Siva).  The primordial realities of “Siva and “Sakti are omnipresent in our own human forms and the world around us.  In meditation, I have experienced my upper torso as the linga and my legs and lower torso as the yoni.  It was a powerful awareness of revering “Siva within, Om Namah Shivaya.

There is a connection between the “Siva linga and the yaj~na (fire ceremony).  For many thousands of years, “Siva has been revered through the yaj~na. Those of us yogis who went to Ganeshpuri in 2013 experienced this profound ceremony. Priests presided over offerings into the fire, surrounded by tables of murtis (statues) and colorful sand designs — all underscored by hours of mesmerizing and rhythmic chanting to all the forms of “Siva. This complex and beautiful ceremony propelled us deep into the inner realms, “Siva’s vast expanse.  In ancient times, “Siva was worshipped in this way every single day.

Over thousands of years, the practice of a daily yagj~na became erratic and fell away, leaving an immense gap. “People were looking for something that they could use for their focus, for their mind and their heart to remember God,” says Swamiji. “There are a number of amazing and beautiful stories that explain the origins of the “Siva linga, about how “Siva took the shape of a mounded stone and how the flame froze and became the stone.  The “Siva linga gave people a form of “Siva they could touch and handle and carry with them,” explains Swamiji.

“The linga gives me an immediate experience of presence, in a stillness and deep silence that draws me into the innermost recesses of my own being,” says Swamiji. “The “Siva linga is the mystery, in a physical form.”  Explaining that it isn’t a statue of “Siva, Swamiji says, “It is the whole of “Siva, yet existing within “Siva.”

By including the “Siva linga in our celebration of Shivaratri, we connect with an ancient tradition and maximize experiencing our own divinity.

Watch for an article on how to have your own Shivaratri celebration.

U-Turns by Maitreyi (Margie) Wilsman

Early in my yoga career with Swamiji, I learned that life tells us to look outward, while yoga tells us to look inward.   At first it was the inner experience of a quiet mind, and the many gifts of final Shavasana—the MORE.  Later it became the experience of my tailbone wiggling and sacrum rocking.

Now years later, the looking has shifted to me experiencing my Self as Consciousness on the inside—another major and deeper U-Turn, one that my mind has trouble handling with ease.  Mysteries are difficult for my mind.  Meditation and the movement of Kundalini provide breakthrough experiences of timelessness, spacelessness, the unending flow of Grace and love from Swamiji that makes my heart expand and expand—all experiences beyond the limits of my mind.

Now there is the opportunity to celebrate the ancient tradition that provides the guidelines for how to do these deeper U-Turns.  In the ancient words of Sages and the current words of our modern Sage, Swamiji, I will offer the celebration of Shivaratri.  While each day I bow to my Shivalingam and Nandi that sit on my puja, on the Night of Shivaratri I will do puja to my Shivalingam for three hours, celebrating the mystery of Shiva.  Each day I wear the garland of my rudraksha beads, but on the night of Shivaratri I will wear the three strips of white on my forehead and quietly celebrate the mystery of Shiva—the formless who has taken form in everything that exists, in all my students and clients, in my yoga buddies, in my yoga teachers, in me, in all that exists and beyond, as Swamiji reminds us.  Thank you, Swamiji, for teaching us how to do puja and how to celebrate Shivaratri as well as guiding us through our successive and deeper U-Turns.