Mahasivaratri at the SAT Temple
Monday, February 20th at 7:30 p.m. through
Tuesday, February 21st at dawn, 2012
1834 Ocean St., Santa Cruz
Meditation, readings, recitations, kirtans,
and puja to Siva.
In Sanskrit, Puja means reverence, adoration, or worship.
Puja is a fundamental form of worship in Hinduism, and it varies widely from region to region and for different sects. Pujas are performed daily in Hindu temples and in Hindu homes. Pujas are performed in reverence to God, signified by the lingam or other deity according to the sect. Pujas are also performed on a variety of special occasions or included during ceremonies, which are considered “rites” or “passageways” to important events in life such as at weddings, sacred thread initiations, etc. Pujas are performed by a pujari. A pujari is a surname which means priest. Pujas are performed by offering many different items to the chosen deity. Items vary from 5 to 64.
Here, at SAT, during puja, we worship Siva, the Sivalingam being the form worshipped. Because our orientation is that of Self-Knowledge, we offer some of those items representative of such. Offering incense symbolizes renunciation of vasanas; offering water symbolizes the pouring out or emptying out of ignorance; offering rose water symbolizes the essence of the mind dissolved in pure Consciousness; offering milk symbolizes all wishes and the fulfillment of those wishes being offered to the Absolute (alt. meaning: all individual souls ((i.e., the herd)), all the good of all the individuals are offered to the Lord); offering essential oil symbolizes the essence of Knowledge distilled by discrimination and devotion that pours itself continuously into the Truth; offering light (oil lamp) symbolizes the conviction that one is the Supreme Siva, without qualities and Self-illumined; scattering of flowers symbolizes the contemplation that “I am the perfectly full, blissful Self”; offering camphor (aarti) symbolizes destruction of ignorance by purifying the mind. When one takes the light to one’s forehead he is receiving illumination, which is Knowledge. So, as each item is lovingly offered to the Sivalingam, absorption in deep meditation ensues, the mind rids itself of delusions and one attains the great Bliss of Liberation, which is Siva.
Those who, worshipping the Supreme Siva—
The Consort of Uma, who reveals the steadfast Knowledge—
Attain purity of heart with all sins scoured out by His compassion,
Will, with all sorrows effaced,
Know themselves to be as the Supreme Siva,
The mass of Bliss, the Self of all this universe,
And formless and all pervasive
As the undivided space of Conciousness.
-The Song of Ribhu 4:41
On a Sivaratri day, after dinner, Bhagavan was reclining on the sofa surrounded by many devotees. A Sadhu suggested that, since this was a most auspicious night, the meaning of the verse in praise of Dakshinamurti should be made clear. Bhagavan gave his approval and all were eagerly waiting for him to say something. He simply sat, gazing at us. We were gradually absorbed in ever deepening silence, which was not disturbed by the clock striking the hour, every hour, until 4 a.m. None moved or talked. Time and space ceased to exist. Bhagavan’s grace kept us at peace and silence for seven hours. In this silence, Bhagavan taught us the Ultimate, like Dakshinamurti. At the stroke of four Bhagavan asked us whether we had understood the meaning of the silent teaching. Like waves on the infinite ocean of bliss, we fell at Bhagavan’s feet.
~ T.K. Sundaresa Iyer, Ramana Smrti Souvenier
********* All are welcome to join! *********
Om Namah Sivaya!
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