Sri Sri Ravi Shankar lovingly called as Guruji, the founder of Art of Living Foundation through which He relieves the stress at individual levels, thus reducing violence, sufferings and conflicts and spreading the love, harmony, peace throughout the world in various societies.
Today, on this auspicious day of Mahashivaratri, there are just two things you should take away with you, which will instantly bring peace and happiness to your mind.
1. Know that ‘God is with me at all times, and He will fulfil all my needs’. God is there only to fulfil your needs.
2. With this deep faith, relax and repose in the Self.
Coming to the state of deep rest, is what Mahashivaratri is all about. Mahashivaratri brings deep rest to the mind and the spirit. The mind is always running after something, or desiring one thing or another – whether it is a spiritual or a materialistic thing. So just remember that God is there to provide you both, and relax.
You should establish that deep connection with God, and remember that ‘God belongs to me’. Have this unshakeable faith that whatever you need will surely be given to you. The moment this faith dawns from within, the mind settles and comes to a state of rest.
You get the same kind of peace and deep rest when you do kirtana (Satsang). You know, just singing bhajans (devotional songs) in a superficial way is no good. When you listen to the songs and when you sing along, you should sing with all your heart and with a deep sense of devotion and love for the Divine. You should cry out for the Divine.
When we sing whole heartedly and become one with the song, in absolutely no time you become one with God.
Lord Shiva is not outside; He is not sitting in a temple, or somewhere far away in the Himalayas; He is not at the Manasarovar Lake or at Mount Kailash. Lord Shiva is present within you, and He is present everywhere. Just know this and relax.
He is omnipresent, He is the one you see manifest everywhere you go, be it in the mountains, plants, trees, etc. He is the scene and the seer. Just remind yourself about this again and again and relax. You will see that in a short while, you will attain such a deep state of Samadhi (the ultimate non-dual state of Consciousness), and your mind will find so much happiness and peace. You blossom so totally from within, that nothing else remains. That is it.
On Mahashivaratri, this is what you need to do – just relax and repose deep in your Self.
When you listen to knowledge, it purifies your mind and the intellect. The mind drops the petty cravings and desires in which it gets entangled, and your intellect gets purified. This is why we also sing bhajans during or after the puja. And it is so beautiful and meditative that one finds it difficult to talk after such a puja.
I know that many people here have this desire in their heart that Gurudev should give some knowledge today. Isn’t it so? How many of you here wanted me to speak something? (Majority of the audience raise their hands)
You know, we depend too much on words.
Now, just as knowledge purifies the intellect, singing bhajans cleanses and elevates our feeling of devotion. When your mind and feelings, both get uplifted and blossom so totally, then you transcend everything to reach that ultimate state of your Being – which is Lord Shiva, and that is what you and I truly are. Being or reaching that state is what Mahashivaratri is all about.
There are four levels of experiencing this deep connection with the Divine. The first is calledSaamipya (nearness to the Master or the Divine). It means to feel that we are very close and very dear to the Divine.
Now when will you get this experience? Will you feel this closeness tomorrow, day after, ten days later, or a few months later? No, right now, in this very moment, just feel that you are very close to the Divine. This is what a Guru does. A Guru helps you feel that nearness, that closeness with the Divine.
The second level is Saanidhya – meaning to feel or invoke the presence of the Divine. When you meditate, you feel that presence of the Divine (within yourself). It means you become aware of the existence of the Divine, you experience the presence.
For example, we are enveloped by the air at all times but we do not always feel its presence. When you take a deep breath in, you realize the presence of the air all around you. In the same way, we are always enveloped by God but we do not feel His presence. To experience the presence of the Divine, we perform yajnas, pujas and celebrate all these different festivals.
The next is Saarupya – to see the Divine in yourself and in all forms everywhere. It means to feel that ‘the Divine is in me, and I am the Divine’. It means to realize that the Divine is present in my form, and in all the forms around me. Though formless, the Divine is present in all the forms.
The ultimate state is Saayujya – meaning to feel totally one with the Divine, merging so completely that you see no difference between yourself and the Divine. At that state there is no two (no duality), there is only One.
This only happens through deep experience. One cannot express that in words. That total oneness can only be experienced in deep silence, in the stillness of the Being, when you are totally one with the Divine.
So today, you must take the first two steps – first is Saamipya, that is feeling very close to the Divine. The second step is Saanidhya – to experience the presence of the Divine in everything everywhere.
These are the four stages of knowledge, of Samadhi and of enlightenment. So in a state of deep rest, we unite with the ultimate – that is Shiva.