Maha Shivaratri celebrations in the Divine Presence – Day One – 07 March, 2016 (Morning)

Maha Shivaratri is an auspicious festival in the Hindu calendar in reverence of Lord Shiva. It is observed on the Krishna Paksha Chathurdasi in the month of Magha. Shiva verily meaning – ‘The Auspicious One’ is most often worshipped in the form of the Lingam. Although it is easier for one to connect and worship God when attributed with a name and a form, the Lingam symbolises the formless aspect of Divinity, thereby enabling man to transcend from the Sakara (form) to the Nirakara (formless).

The morning session of the Shivaratri celebrations at Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli began with Bhagawan’s arrival at the Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham auditorium at 9 AM. He was led by a ceremonial procession of Poorna Kumbam and Veda chanting by the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva High School. Melodious bhajans on Lord Shiva were also being rendered by the students. Accepting letters from some, and blessings others with a word or two, Bhagawan walked down the aisle, showering His grace on all students and devotees alike.

Abhishekam of the Shiva Lingam

Once He ascended the dais, the ceremonial Panchamrutham Abhisheka, Ekadasha Rudraabhisheka and Astavadana Seva were offered to the Shiva Lingam, in the central shrine area. After invoking the blessings of Prathama Pujya – Lord Ganesha, as per the ritual – various offerings of milk, curds, honey, ghee, sugar, banana, coconut water, sandalwood paste, turmeric, kumkum, vibhuthi, sugar cane, dry fruits were made sequentially along with chants of sacred mantras by Vedic priests.

The Panchamrutham Abhisheka has a lot of inner significance, as each item that is used for the Abhisheka has a spiritual connotation. The milk Abhisheka is done to removes all sins, curd is for prosperity and progeny, honey for removing all sorrows and problems in life, ghee to get rid of all illnesses and increase our intellect, sugar for happiness, sandal paste to improve luck and get good health, turmeric to increases wellness, coconut water to increase the overall wellness of family, vibhuti for better job prospects and lemon for getting rid of the fear of death. And how fortunate were all gathered, to be in the holy precincts of Muddenahalli, in the very presence of Sai Shiva, witnessing each of these sacred rituals.

Shiva stotrams and chant raise the energy

Once the Abhishekam concluded, there was Archana or special worship of the beautifully decorated Lingam with 108 Suvarna Pushpams (golden flowers), accompanied by rendition of the Shiva Ashtotra. Following this, a collection of Shiva Stotrams and songs on the glory of Lord Shiva were offered to Bhagawan by the students, both girls and boys, enriching the ambience with divine vibrations.

After the completion of the rituals, Bhagawan proceeded to sprinkle the sacred Abhishekam water on everybody present in the hall. As He graced the entire crowd with His blessings, every heart was filled with joy, ecstasy and bliss. Aarthi was then offered to Bhagawan, and Prasadam was distributed to everybody.