Maha Shivratri: The Union of Shiva and Shakti

Maha Shivratri is a festival of immense spiritual significance. Unlike most festivals in India, this day is celebrated during the night by observing silence, being in an introspective mode and meditating.

By Mala Kapadia, Professor, Director of Centre for Wellbeing & Resident Mentor

This month in the Gregorian calendar 8th March and Indic Calendar Maha/Phalgun Krishna Paksha 14th are remarkably close. Maha in Gujarat and Maharashtra, while Phalgun in North India, as there are 2 weeks of the time difference in counting the months. 8th March is celebrated as International Women’s Day, while the 14th Krishna Paksha is Maha Shiva Ratri, the night when Shiva and Parvati- the Primordial Yin and Yang got married.

This is one of the most auspicious night for meditation and self-transformation. Shiva’s one manifestation is Ardhanarishwar, One who has embodied the Masculine and Feminine Energies as One. The dates closer to each other is no coincidence- it reveals the possibility of a New World Order and balance in this world. 

Shiva as Ardhanarishwar, needs to be invoked today within all of us as we try to find the right solutions to the world crisis. We, as humanity are on the threshold of annihilation, with ecological and emotional crisis. Our unsustainable way of life has almost reached a peak, and Shiva, tonight, as Ardhanarishwar, can show us the Path. Shiva is known as Adi Guru- as Shiva is the Knowledge of Yoga and Parvati, in Her compassion for humanity has urged Shiva to share this knowledge on planet Earth. Shiva is celebrated as Adi Yogi. Many names of Shiva reveal the inner Nature that we all have also inherited- Rudra as in anger, Ashutosh as in inner contentment and happiness, Shiva as in Kalyan- a word that is difficult to translate in English. Kalyan comes closest to well-being and welfare.

Shiva is primordial energy- well-being Energy that is inherent and yet covered with other human tendencies. We as humans have divided the world not only in genders of male, female and transgender, we have also lived life for many years by more dominance of masculine energy. This divide has created a world that is competitive, power-driven, Cartesian and mechanistic. Structure, boundaries, hierarchy, division of power are all result of this masculine energy thinking. Women, in the last century, have also in their search for freedom have adopted more of the masculine energies in their thinking and behaving. This has resulted in a society lacking feminine energy values of compassion, nurturing, creativity, sustenance, giving and caring, trusting relationships and communities of love. 

Maha Shiva Ratri is a possibility of harnessing our own duality and integrating the energies. Yajurveda Samhita has a prayer- 

 तन्मे मनः शिवसंकल्पमस्तु 

May my psyche be filled with Shiva. Sankalpa is an intention formed by the heart and mind, devoid of any doubt. Mind and Heart filled with Divine’s Design for evolution. Shiva is the well-being of Every Being, not just on this planet, but the entire Universe. This Vedic wisdom forms the foundation of Deep or Vedic Psychology. Such intentional living can create sustainability and happiness. Such a mind creates inclusiveness and integrity. Such a person is able to integrate one’s own Masculine and Feminine Energies for the New World Order. 

May this Maha Shiva Ratri, we unite with the Highest possibilities within us.

लोका: समस्ता: सुखिनो भवन्तु