There was much excitement and a definite holiday atmosphere here in the air last Thursday night as people everywhere were celebrating the annual, all-night long, Hindu Maha Sivaratri Festival, the ‘Great Night of Siva’, in reverence of Lord Siva, who is the manifestation and emanation of transcendental, undifferentiated consciousness.
According to Hindu mythology, Mahashivratri is Lord Shiva’s favourite day. Devotees on this day remain on fast or perform hour long spiritual meditation by following rituals to commemorate Mahashivratri and be blessed with grace. In the early morning, they visit temples to offer cold water, milk and bael leaves. During Sivaratri, people go to one of the Siva temples and stay up through the night , as they chant, meditate and pray in this night long Puja. The idea is that during this process of wakefulness and spiritual practice people can contemplate their true nature.
It is these elements of Indian (and in particular the Hindu) culture that I love. Just looking at all the colours of the women’s saris and the flower garlands and listening to the music and drum beats coming from the street outside my window was wonderful. There is nowhere quite like India