For those who have asked me to write something about this evening; In my humble view I offer this –
Please know that I approach Hinduism from the same point of view as any other religion and that is from a metaphysical one. There is much more ritual, practice and history to this subject than what is written here. I hope this helps.
A traditional and classic explanation is that on this evening; the 13th night and 14th day after the full moon, the ‘veil’ of ignorance is thinner and can be pierced more easily. Hence, all our good intentions and spiritual practices are more potent and therefore fruitful.
On a more esoteric level it is the grounding time to recognize the work (ours) and the Triumph (Shiva’s) of transcending the physical plane and all the distractions that come with it. This, in my view, is what we’re meant to do here in this schoolmaster plane. To correct the misidentification we have with all things bodily, so called material or phenomenal. We fell asleep and got distracted with the images that we’ve created, and forgot that we created them in the first place. This is Maya.
“Shiva is another name for the Knower of the field and Shakti is the field; Spirit is another name for the Knower of the field and Matter (Prakriti) is the field”. In Christianity and Buddhism it would be addressed respectively as – Christ is another name for the Knower of the field and The Holy Ghost is the field; Buddha is another name of the Knower of the field and Perception is the field. It is the first AND second commandment of the Bible and therefore the corner stone of Judaism -1) ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.’ – 2) ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image…’
I maintain that there is only One Truth told over and over by all the great religions.
This is not to say that we try to destroy or deny image. From one point of view we have reverence, celebrate and worship these Names and images. Our work is in transforming our sense about ‘them’.
Shivaratri is the celebration of the triumphs and work of transforming phenomena to Consciousness or Spirit. In other words, seeing and feeling the so called physical world as mere shadow, subject to thought, and putting Consciousness as Substance (as what “Matters”) back to it’s throne.
If we really were in this state it would change the game a bit don’t you think? We would turn toward meaning instead of symbol. We would go to the Root of all things every time. The statement by Dr. Wayne Dyer, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”, would be a living experience. Imagine a world where all is subject to your good loving thought. There would be a pure state of Love.
In this world, the words ‘war’, ‘health’, ‘poverty’, ‘success’ or ‘failure’ would not even be in our vocabulary.
This is a part of what’s contained in every “Om Namah Shivaya” I sing.
On Namah Shivaya!