Wishing you a Happy Maha Shivaratri!
Swami Lakshmanjoo gives us a unique meaning of Maha Shivaratri in this excerpt from the verses of the Hymns to Shiva, Utpaladeva's Shivastotravali, revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo, as he relates to us the true meaning of darkness and light.
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Chapter 6 (11:26)
विलीयमानास्त्वय्येव व्योम्नि मेघलवा इव ।
भावा वीभन्तु मे शश्वत्क्रमनैर्मल्यगामिन ॥७॥
vilīyamānāstvayyeva vyomni meghalavā iva /
bhāvā vībhantu me śaśvatkramanairmalyagāminaḥ //7//
Let me feel this objective world, this universe of objectivity, as it is lying in the ether of Your God consciousness; in the ether of Your consciousness, just like clouds. As clouds . . . as there are heaps of clouds in the sky, in the same way, let me feel this universal world as masses of clouds in the sky of God consciousness, in the sky of God consciousness.
In which action?
Vilīyamānā, just as clouds fade by and by–by and by they fade and there is only blue sky afterwards–afterwards there remains only blue sky and clouds are felt no more existing, in the same way, this universe would appear to me. Bhāvā vibhāntu me śaśvat krama nairmalya gāminaḥ, and [this objective world] will become purified and become one with Thee in the end. Let me feel that way.
Chapter 6 (12:55)
सन्ततं भातु मे कोऽपि भवमध्याद्भवन्मणि ॥८॥
santataṁ bhātu me ko’pi bhavamadhyādbhavanmaṇiḥ //8//
Svaprabhā prasara, O Lord, I have this desire that when, by the effulgent light of Your consciousness, the effulgent light of Your flow of consciousness, dhvasta aparyanta dhvānta santatiḥ, all of my ignorance, all of the masses of ignorance, . . .
No, not [masses]. Santati means . . .
JOHN: Layers, like layers?
. . . the layers (santatiḥ) of those darknesses [of my ignorance] will vanish by the effulgent flow of the light of Your consciousness, always. And, bhātu me ko’pi bhavamadhyād bhavanmaṇiḥ, and I will find–in the very action of this universe–I will find a great universal jewel of Thy formation. That universal jewel will appear to me in the universe.
JOHN: In the action of the universe, not separate from it.
SWAMIJI: Yes, not separate from it.
Chapter 6 (14:21)
कां भूमिकां नाधिशेषे किं तत्स्याद्यन्न ते वपुः ।
श्रान्तस्तेनाप्रयासेन सर्वतस्त्वामवाप्नुयाम् ॥९॥
kāṁ bhūmikāṁ nādhiśeṣe kiṁ tatsyādyanna te vapuḥ /
śrāntastenāprayāsena sarvatastvāmavāpnuyām //9//
O Lord, what is that stage, which You don’t possess? All stages are possessed by Thee. Kiṁ tat syāt yanna, and what is that formation, which is not Your formation? All formations are possessed by You. All forms of You are Yours.
I am really exhausted now [because] I can’t find You (śrāntas, exhausted). So, tena aprayāsena sarvatas tvām avāpnuyām, let me perceive the presence of Your consciousness, let me perceive the presence of Your Being, in my own home, in my own room. I don’t want to roam and roam and [try to] find out . . . in search of Thee. Because You are everywhere; Your appearance is possible anywhere. So, why not appear in my own bedroom?
He is actually tired now, exhausted. He does not want to search for Him.
Chapter 6 (15:53)
भवदङ्गपरिष्वङ्गसम्भोगः स्वेच्छयैव मे ।
घटतामियति प्राप्ते किं नाथ न जितं मया ॥१०॥
bhavadaṅgaparisvaṅga sambhogaḥ svecchayaiva me /
ghaṭatāmiyati prāpte kiṁ nātha na jitaṁ mayā //10//
Nātha, O Master, just by my will111–not by action–just when I desire, bhavadaṅga parisvaṅga saṁbhogaḥ, let the joy of becoming embraced with Thee appear automatically. I don’t want to embrace You. You must embrace me! This is what I desire. Bhavat aṅga pariṣvaṅga saṁbhogaḥ svecchayaiva me ghaṭatām, not by embracing, but by being embraced. I must get embraced by You112.
Iyati prāpte, when this is done, when this appears to me, kiṁ nātha na jitaṁ mayā, I have conquered everything in this world (kiṁ nātha na jitam, I have conquered everything). Each and everything that is to be conquered, that was to be conquered, I have conquered [by Thy embrace].
Chapter 6 (17:09)
प्रकटीभव नान्याभिः प्रार्थनाभिः कदर्थनाः ।
कुर्मस्ते नाथ ताम्यन्तस्त्वामेव मृगयामहे ॥११॥
prakaṭībhava nānyābhiḥ prārthanābhiḥ kadarthanāḥ /
kurmaste nātha tāmyantastvāmeva mṛgayāmahe //11//
O Master, appear to me! Now, appear to me! Nānyābhiḥ prārthanābhiḥ kadarthanāḥ te kurmaḥ, I will never ask any other thing as long as I am living. As long as I am in this world, I will ask nothing. I ask only that You should appear to me.
Tāmyantaḥ. I am tāmyantaḥ (tāmyantaḥ means “one who is craving and longing in excess”), I am craving and longing in excess.
[For example], when you are both in love, extreme love, and you are away from each other–say twenty-thousand miles away–and you want to meet with each other, what happens in your mind? That is called [tāmyantaḥ], craving and longing, desire. Desiring to meet.
And this desiring and longing is possessed by us. So, we desire only You and nothing else. So, let You become . . . let You appear . . . You must appear before us. I won’t ask other things from You. It is a promise. I will never ask for anything. I ask only one thing: just appear to me, that is all.
111 Śāmbhavopāya or īcchopāya, the path (upāya) of will.
112 “Fruitless practice and meditation is under your control. Fruitful meditation and concentration is under His control. You see, when you meditate for sometime and your mind is not one-pointed, it means you [have] put your own effort; grace is not there. When you meditate and automatically you get one-pointed, you must know that it is His grace that you are pushed in.” Tantrāloka (USF archives) 13.109.
“Once you are embraced by Him, there is no problem for your meditation.” Ibid, 15.77.
Source: Hymns to Shiva, Utpaladeva's Shivastotravali, revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo
Learn more about the meaning of Maha Shiva Ratri as taught by Swami Lakshmanjoo...
The Shiva Sutras:
In My Understanding
© 2013 V.S. Ferguson