Significance of Maha Shivaratri

One of the many unique contributions of Bhagawan Baba to humanity is His profound interpretations of the inner significance of the various festivals and the associated rituals as practised by mankind. In this posting, we have Bhagawan Baba revealing to us the inner significance of the festival of Shivaratri. Maha Shivratri is a Hindu festival celebrated every year in reverence of Lord Shiva. Shivaratri means the great night of Shiva. It is celebrated every year on the 13th night/14th day of the Maagha or Phalguna month of the Hindu calendar. The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bilva leaves to Lord Shiva, all day fasting and an all night long vigil. 

There are nine Discourse excerpts presented in this posting. These have been selected from the Discourses given by Bhagawan Baba over a number of years – 1977, 1987, 1991, 1997, 2000 and 2004. 

In the 1st audio clip, Bhagawan explains what is so special about the night of Shivaratri. He then goes on to explain in the 3rd audio clip, the meaning of the word Shivaratri as per the science of numerology. He elaborates in the 4th clip, the association between the mind and the moon and how 15 aspects of the total 16 aspects of the moon and the mind remain subdued on the night of Shivaratri, with just one aspect left to be conquered by man. In the 5th clip, He talks of the misunderstanding that prevails among people about the significance of Shivaratri and the night long vigil. The 6th and 7th clip is about the true prayer that one should make during the night long vigil and the definition of true devotion and true devotees. The 8thclip cautions us not to wait once a year for Shivaratri, for every night must be considered as the night of Shiva and spent as such. Finally, in the 9thclip we hear the melodious voice of our Lord chanting the Panchaakshari Mantraa – Om Namah Shivaya.  
Each audio clip has a name that adopts the following code: Serial number, Title appropriate to the key content, Duration of the clip, Year-Month-Date of the Clip. Below the title is the translation in English of the select excerpt of the Discourse, followed by the audio player. The post ends with a short quiz that would help you evaluate your assimilation of Bhagawan’s Message from these extracts.  
Note: Those receiving this blog by email may see words bunched together due to a technical glitch. That is beyond my control. Please click on link at the top of the email to read the blog directly. Sorry about this. If anyone has a solution to this please help me out.
1. What is special about the night of Shivaratri-1.35-2000 March 04


Shivaratri is the night of auspiciousness

We call this night as Shivaratri. In fact we spend so many nights. But why do we specially call this night as Shivaratri? Shivaratri means the night of auspiciousness. Therefore, this auspicious night has to be spent chanting the auspicious name of the Lord. Shivaratri does not mean just keeping awake the whole night. Many people wish to keep a night long vigil, and so what do they do? Telugu poem – Merely by playing cards the whole night you cannot claim to have done Jaagaranaa (night long vigil). Keeping awake by watching 3 to 4 cinemas (movies) cannot amount to Jaagaranaa. Shivaratri means, the night has to be spent chanting the name of the Lord only. This chanting has to come from within. That is why it is called “reflection of the inner being”. The holy name that comes from within is called the principle of Shiva.

2. Whatever we do must be from the source and not out of force-0.39-2000 March 04
Source and not force

Whatever we do, we must do it whole heartedly, with love. It must be Prema source (love from the source) and not Prema force (love through force). These days we do everything out of force. This is not correct. You must do things (chanting the name of God) wholeheartedly, even if it may be for just half a minute. One teaspoon of sugar is enough, one teaspoon of cow’s milk is adequate, why barrels of donkey’s milk?

3. Si-Va-Ra-Tri-Inner Significance-Control of Senses-2.01-1991 Feb 12
Focus on the 12th entity – The Paramaatmaa

The message of Shivaratri is this. The ten senses of man are the ones responsible for drawing him on the wrong path. There are four syllables in the word Shivaratri: Shi, Va, Raa, Tri. There is a close relationship between numerology and the meaning of these four letters. ‘Shi’ symbolizes the number 5, ‘Va’ represents the number 4, ‘Raa’ indicates the number 2. Adding 5+4+2, we get the number 11. Five Karmendriyaas(sensory organs of action), five Jnaanendriyaas(sensory organs of perception) and the mind make a total of 11. These 11 are the Rudraas – the Ekaadasha Rudraas. What do these Ekaadasha Rudraas do? They drown man in the world of sensory objects, enhance their mean desires, and get them lost in worldly life. Beyond these 11 there is one entity and that is the Paramaatmaa (supreme Self). Only when we catch hold of the 12th, we will be able to control our sense organs. Therefore, we must take great care of this 12th entity – the Paramaatmaa. (You would need to increase the master volume for this clip)

4. Shivaratri-15 Kalas are under control and only one aspect of mind to be conquered-2.31-1987 Feb 26
On Shivaratri night, the mind has to conquer one aspect  alone

Shivaratri means the night of auspiciousness. Night basically symbolizes darkness. Chandramaa Manaso Jaataha Chaksho Suryoajaayataa. There is a close relationship between the mind and the moon. Today is Chaturdashi– the 14th day of the waning phase of the moon. The moon has 16 aspects and the mind of man also has 16 aspects. Tonight 15 aspects of the moon and therefore the mind have been overcome and just one aspect alone is left. Therefore, we are very close to our true goal. Hence, humanity being so close to God today, whosoever chants the name of the Lord today, with a pure heart, will be benefited greatly. It is very necessary to spend the time today thinking only about God and not allowing our mind to be diverted towards anything else. Not even a fraction of a second must be wasted during this most valuable period. Time reduces every second just like a block of ice! Our life span reduces continuously just like water diminishes in a pot with a hole. Thus we must not make every effort not to postpone the worship by thinking that we can do all this sometime later. Such great good fortune that we have got now must be experienced with all happiness and must be made purposeful.

5. Wrong understanding and misuse of Sivaratri-2.39-1977 Feb 16
All wrong understanding…

Unfortunately, this most auspicious festival of Shivatri, on account of not being able to understand its true significance, is being misused by people of the world. If by playing cards, one keeps awake the whole night, can it amount to Jaagaranaa? If one concentrates on the water in the tank so as to catch some fish, will such concentration lead one to liberation? If one gets heavily drunk, can it take him to a state of super-consciousness? If one gets angry with his wife and does not partake food, can it be called fasting (upavaasaa)? However, the youth of today watch 3 cinemas, 4 cinemas, thinking that it is just enough if one keeps awake the whole night, in whatever way; and thus misuse the opportunity. All these are not sacred means at all. If the same money that one would spend on the 3-4 cinemas, if one would use that for feeding 3 to 4 beggars starving on account of hunger, how much merit one would get, how much peace one would get, what a noble task one would have accomplished. Thus we must participate in such noble endeavours and to the extent possible, spiritual aspirants must engage in service to the nation, service to humanity, service to society, service to the individual and consider all this as service to the Lord. This is Bhagawan’s wish. 

6. Chant the name of God whole night praying for welfare of the world-2.18-1977 Feb 16
Pray for the welfare of the whole world

Embodiments of Love! Today is the great and sacred festival of Shivaratri. This is a special kind of night among all the nights. Nights are always associated with darkness, but this particular night is not associated with darkness. You must consider this night as a night of sacred auspiciousness – one of Prajnaana, Vignaana and Sugnaana, one of brightness. Therefore we must spend this night with a pure mind, with sacred feelings, with a prayer that the whole world must be happy – Lokaa Samastaa Sukhino Bhavantu, all beings must have a sacred heart, all must have a sacred intellect – Dhiyoyonah Prachodayaat. Gandhi also said, “Sabako Sanmati De Bhagawaan”. Gandhi was a great devotee of Rama who prayed for a noble mind to be bestowed on all. Therefore you must always pray for all beings to have a good mind. This sacred night if you pray with a sacred heart, on account of you – the Bharathodaarakaas, I wish that Bharath will shine eternally with continuous auspiciousness and celebrity – Nitya Kalyanam Pachha Toranam.  

7. Turning mind towards God is true devotion-Not just sitting in Darshan Hall-2.51-2004 Feb 19
Turning the mind towards God is true devotion

Last night (19th February 2004, Shivaratri night), at 1.00 am I came here. I saw. All devotees and students are singing happily. But who among the devotees were the real devotees? Those with a steady mind, chanting the name of God with detachment, are the real devotees. All are seated here. In the hall there are thousands seated, but all are not devotees. The body is seated here but the mind is not focused on God. Therefore directing mind towards God is true devotion. You may sit anywhere, but the mind must feel the proximity of the Lord. You can experience Divinity there itself. If you feel sleepy, you may go to sleep. But even in your sleep, keep the principle of Divinity in your mind. Therefore, true wisdom, true awareness lies in the experience of oneness in the three states of existence – waking, dream and deep sleep. At any point of time, keep the principle of Divinity in mind. It is only because of love for God, that you have stayed awake and come and sat here at that hour (midnight). If you did not have love, you would have as well slept in your home. But sacrificing that sleep, coming over here, sitting below a tree, resting the back against the tree, they consider this as a Divine experience. This is true devotion. You do not need any convenience, any happiness, any food. At such time only, you can experience the principle of Swami, the oneness. You may go anywhere, but have total control over your mind.       

8. Every night is Shivaratri-With ego Shavam-Without ego Sivam-1.08-1997 March 07
Every night is the night of Shivatri

Do not consider that Shivaratri comes only once in a year. We must consider every night as the night of Shivaratri. Where we think about God, where noble thoughts come to our mind, there manifests Shivaratri. Shivam Mangalam. Shivam is auspiciousness, meaning giving up one’s ego is Shivam. The people who know Telugu can understand this very well. In the Telugu script, when the mark (horn) on the letter ‘Sha’ is removed, it reads as ‘Shi’. Then it becomes Shivam (auspicious). But if we do not remove that horn, it remains as Shavam(dead body). What is the difference between Shivamand Shavam. With the horn of ego, it is Shavam (dead body), without the horn of ego it is Shivam(auspicious). So everyone must kill this ego.

9. Bhagawan Chants Om Namah Sivaya-1.28-2004 Feb 19
Om Namah Shivaya

A Short Quiz…

1. What is the literal meaning of Shivaratri?
2. What is the analogy that Bhagawan gives for stressing on the importance of quality of chanting the Lord’s name rather than quantity?
3. What is the inner significance of the word Shivaratri as understood with the help of numerology?
4. On which day of the lunar calendar does Shivaratri fall?
5. What is the relationship between the mind and the moon and what has this got to do with the festival of Shivaratri? 
6. What are the 16 aspects of the human mind according to Bhagawan Baba?
7. What are the five examples presented by Bhagawan as illustrations of misunderstanding the spirit of spiritual practices and confusing mundane activities with spiritual pursuits?
8. What must be our prayer when we chant the name of the Lord on the night of Shivaratri?
9. What is true devotion? Who are the true devotees?
10. What is true wisdom / awareness?
11. What is the difference between Shivam and Shavam?


What are the 16 aspects the human mind? I could not find the answer in the above script.

I found only the significance according to numerology….Please clarify



Sairam. I have not been able to get the list of the 16 aspects of the human mind from any Discourse of Bhagawan so far. However, in some other context, Bhagawan has talked about the 16 black spots in the mind of man that need to be eliminated. Not sure whether these are the ones He refers to in the context of Sivaratri. The 16 black spots of the human mind are:

Eight types of pride (mada): pride of physical strength, of birth (lineage), of scholarship, wealth, penance, beauty, youth and power/position;

Six kinds of enemies: desire, anger, greed, infatuation, arrogance and envy;

Rajas and Thamas Gunas (passionate and slothful traits)

Thank you very much Sir.

Your website is very useful for our Study Circles purpose. I have taken up Vagaries of the Mind as our next topic.


Most welcome. Please feel free to offer your suggestions to make it more useful.

Swamis life is his massage. It is so important to attain true knowledge to practice. Swami has guided us all. Residing swami in our hearts makes us steady in life and fee gods presence. Total surrender and have to seek no where else. He is our lord shiva of kalyug. Love you swami for you guided me from my young age of seven when we sang the song. Manas se bhaj le guru sharanam during our village mandir pooja. Do not have to go anywhere else you are residing in my heart. Om sai ram

The mind or manas consists of an Executive supported by 15 components, total of sixteen, also termed 'shodasha kalaa manas'. These are:
– the Executive, manas
– five input sensors : karmendriyas : eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin
– five faculties : tanmaatraas : sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch
– five action-drivers : karmendriyaas : hands, feet, mouth, excretion-organ, procreation-organ

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.