Why does Sadhguru call himself Lord Shiva

The meaning of Mahashivratri

Mahashivratri, "The Great Night of Shiva", is the most significant event on India's spiritual calendar. Sadhguru explains what makes this night so special and how we can participate and use it.

Sadhguru: Indian culture used to have 365 festivals a year. In other words, they just needed an excuse to celebrate every day of the year. These 365 festivals were assigned to different occasions and different purposes of life. You should celebrate various historical events, victories, or certain stages in life, such as sowing, planting, and harvesting. There was a festival for every occasion. But the meaning of Mahashivratri is of a different kind.

The fourteenth day of each lunar month or the day before the new moon is called Shivratri. Of all the twelve Shivratris that occur in a calendar year, Mahashivratri, which takes place in February-March, is of the greatest spiritual importance. On that night, the northern hemisphere of the planet is positioned so that there is a natural ascent of energy in a person. This is a day when nature pushes you to your highest spiritual point. To take advantage of this, we have introduced a particular festival in this tradition that lasts all night long. One of the foundations of this night-long festival is making sure you stay awake and keep your spine upright throughout the night to allow this natural surge of energy to find its way.

After many millennia in meditation, one day he [Shiva] became absolutely still. That day is Mahashivratri.

Mahashivratri is very meaningful to people who are on the spiritual path. It is also very significant for people who live in family relationships and also for the ambitious in the world. People who live in family circumstances celebrate Mahashivratri as Shiva's wedding day. Those with worldly ambitions see this day as the day Shiva conquered all of his enemies.

But for the ascetics it is the day he became one with Mount Kailash. He became like a mountain - absolutely still. In the yogic tradition, Shiva is not worshiped as a god, but as the Adi-Guru, the first guru to whom the science of yoga can be traced back. After many millennia in meditation, one day he became absolutely still. That day is Mahashivratri. All movement in him ceased and he became perfectly still, which is why ascetics regard Mahashivratri as the night of silence.

Legends aside, the reason this day and night is held so important in yogic traditions is because of the possibilities open to a spiritual seeker. Modern science has gone through many phases and has now reached a point where it is out to prove to you that everything you know as life, everything you know as matter and existence, everything you know as Knowing the cosmos and galaxies is just one energy that manifests in millions of different ways.

This scientific fact is an experienced reality in every yogi. The word “yogi” denotes someone who has realized the unity of existence. When I say "yoga" I am not referring to any particular exercise or system. All longing to know the unlimited, all longing to know the oneness in existence is yoga. The night of Mahashivratri is an opportunity for a person to experience this.

Shivratri is the darkest day of the month. The monthly celebration of Shivratri, and the special day, Mahashivratri, almost seems like a celebration of darkness. Any logical mind would resist the dark and naturally choose the light. But the word "Shiva" literally means "that which is not". “That which is” is existence and creation. “That which is not” is Shiva. “That which is not” means that if you open your eyes and look around, and if the way you look is for the little things, you will see all kinds of created things. If the way you look really calls for great things, you will realize that the greatest presence in existence is a great void. A few points, which we call galaxies, generally get a lot of attention, but not all of them notice the great void they contain. This vastness, this limitless emptiness is what is called Shiva. Today modern science also proves that everything comes from nowhere and returns to nowhere. It is in this context that Shiva, the great void or nothingness, is referred to as the great ruler or Mahadeva.

All longing to know oneness in existence is yoga. The night of Mahashivratri is an opportunity for a person to experience this.

Every religion, every culture on this planet has always spoken of the ubiquitous, pervasive nature of the divine. When we look at it, the only thing that can really permeate everything, the only thing that can be anywhere, is darkness, nothing or emptiness. When people seek well-being, we generally speak of the divine as light. When people no longer strive for well-being, when they look beyond their life in the sense of dissolution, when the object of their worship and sadhana is dissolution, then we always speak of the divine as darkness.

Light is an entertaining event in your mind. Light is not eternal, it is always a limited possibility because it happens and it ends. The greatest source of light that we know on this planet is the sun. You could even stop the light of the sun with your hand and leave a dark shadow.

But the darkness envelops everything, everywhere. The immature mind in the world has always referred to darkness as the devil. But when you describe the divine as all pervasive, you are obviously referring to the divine as darkness because only darkness pervades all. She is everywhere. She doesn't need any support from anything. Light always comes from a source that burns itself out. It has a beginning and an end. It always comes from a limited source. The darkness has no source. She is a source of her own. It is all pervasive, everywhere and omnipresent. So when we say Shiva, it is this great void of existence. It is in the bosom of this great void where all creation took place. It is this womb of emptiness that we call Shiva.

In Indian culture, all of the ancient prayers were not about saving yourself, protecting yourself, or finding your way around life better. All the old prayers have always been, "Oh Lord, destroy me so that I can become like you."

Light always comes from a source that burns itself out. The darkness has no source. She is a source of her own.

So when we tell Shivratri that it is the darkest night of the month, it is an opportunity to dissolve your own limitation, to experience the unlimitedness of the source of creation, which is the seed in every human being. Mahashivratri is an opportunity and a possibility to bring yourself to this experience of the great emptiness in every human being, which is the source of all creation.

On the one hand, Shiva is known as the destroyer. On the other hand, he is known to be the most compassionate. He is also known as the greatest of the givers. The yogic traditions are full of stories of Shiva's compassion. The way he expressed his sympathy was incredible and amazing at the same time. Mahashivratri is also a special night to receive.

It is our wish and our blessing that this night does not pass for you without knowing at least a moment of the vastness of this emptiness that we call Shiva. May this night not be just a night of waking, may this night be a night of awakening for you.

Editor's note: The Mahashivratri festival is celebrated at the end of February / beginning of March and is celebrated in the Isha Yoga Center by millions of participants and spectators. For internal preparation, it is possible for everyone to do the Mahashivratri Sadhana. All performances will be broadcast live on the Internet all night long, the German translation will be streamed on the German Sadhguru YouTube channel from 6 p.m. European time. Be part of it!