The programme was further enhanced by the melodious Bhajans and Kirtans by the following guest artists: Umita Kalyan Nepaul & Tansen Nepaul, Sri Karthiegasen Pillay & family, Dr Veena Lutchman, Kumari Kimeshni Reddy, Sri Solly Pillay & Troupe and Sri Jay Udith & Troupe. The congregation was enthralled by classical dances by Sivananda Dance Academy, Sri Manesh Maharaj of Kala Darshan School of Dance and Kumari Roanna Moodley. We express our deep heartfelt gratitude to them for their divine outpourings and professionally executed presentations.
In the reading on the “Glory of Sivaratri” written by our Divine Master, Lord Siva told Parvati, “The hunter was able to enter My abode and ward off death by simple fasting and offering of a few Bilva leaves, however involuntary it might be, because it was the night of Sivaratri. Such is the solemnity and sacredness associated with the night!” In an audio message, Pujya Swamiji read from a book entitled Om Namah Shivaya—A Mantra Experience by Sharon Brown who was suffering from cancer. She states, “The fact is that it seemed like cancer was a small enough price to pay for experiencing something that was greater than I could ever imagine. When we hear God, everything becomes nothing, disease, body, the whole world becomes nothing.”
Each Prahara ended with chanting the “Om Namah Shivaya” Mantra and offering of bael leaves to the sacred Siva Linga. In the book All About Hinduism our Master states, “For a sincere devotee, the Linga is not a block of stone. It is all radiant Tejas or Chaitanya. The Linga talks to him, makes him shed profuse tears, produces horripilation (hair standing up) and melting of the heart, raises him above body consciousness, helps to commune with the Lord and attain Nirvikalpa Samadhi. What a lot of mystic Sakti there is in the Linga!” Regarding the chanting of the Mantra, the words of Pujya Swamiji were quoted in the welcome message, “The whole aim—I’ll give it to you in a nutshell—is to try and make the Divine Name as continuous as possible—is to repeat it continuously. And that is all the Sadhana that we have to do. I’ll repeat that—the whole purpose of Yoga is to remember God. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, ‘He attains me easily who remembers me constantly and daily’.
So the way to remember God constantly is to repeat His Name. And later on if you meditate deeply you will find there is no difference between God and His Name. They are both the same. The moment you repeat His Name you are in contact with God.” We conclude this report with one of our readings of the evening, “The Akshara Mana Malai”, which is an inspired poetical composition by Sri Ramana Maharishi, summing up the entire purpose of the observance of Mahasivaratri. One of its most evocative verses celebrates the death of the ego:
I came to you with the intention of making you mine. But instead it was You who consumed me. You swallowed my ego. You consumed my individuality and absorbed me into Yourself. Now there is peace.