Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Shiva is where the mind dissolves. There is no need to go on long pilgrimages to find the Divine. Be established wherever you are. If you don't find God where you are, then it is not possible to find him elsewhere. The moment you are established, centred, you see that there is Divinity present everywhere. This is meditation.
Shiva is Virupaksha – one who is formless yet who sees all. We know there's air all around us; we can feel it. But what if the air also starts feeling us? Space is all around us, we identify space. But what if space also recognises and feels our presence? This happens. Only, we don't know it. Scientists know this and they call it the theory of relativity. The one who sees and that which is seen are both affected when seen. The formless Divine, Shiva, is all around you and is seeing you. He is the seer, sight and the seen. To wake up and experience this Shiva tattva is Shivratri.
Usually when there is celebration, awareness is lost. Deep rest in celebration with awareness is Shivratri. When you face some problem, you become aware and alert. We are at rest when everything is well; on Shivratri we rest with awareness. It is said that a yogi remains awake when everybody else is sleeping. For a yogi, everyday is Shivratri.
Adyantahinam, the One without beginning or end; Arvada – He is Bholenath who is present everywhere, always. He is eternal. He is the fourth state of consciousness, the turiya avasta, the meditative state, that is beyond the waking, deep sleep and dream states. He is the non-dull consciousness that is present everywhere. That's why you have to dissolve yourself in Shiva to do Shiva puja. Being Shiva, you do Shiva puja. As Chidananda rupa, He is consciousness that is pure bliss. He is Tapo yoga gamya, one who can be known through tapa and yoga.
The Shiva tattva can be experienced in knowledge of the Vedas. The state of Shivoham (I am Shiva), Shiva kevaloham (there is only Shiva) is attained. On Shivratri experience a wave of joy and contentment. Without yoga, Shiva can't be experienced. Yoga doesn't mean only asanas or physical postures but the experience of the Shiva tattva through meditation and pranayam.
Panchmukha, Panchtattva – there are five faces to Shiva: water, air, earth, fire and space. Understanding these five elements is tattva gyana, knowledge of the five elements. Worshipping Shiva is dissolving in the Shiva tattva and then wishing for universal good.
Divinity permeates everything on Earth. Puja is not complete without honouring trees, mountains, rivers and people. Honouring everyone is Dakshina. Da means to give and dakshina means giving something that will cleanse us of all impurities. When we act in society with skill, free from distortions of mind, all negative tendencies such as anger, worries and sorrow are destroyed. Give away your tensions, worries and sorrows as dakshina. And how does that happen? With sadhana or spiritual practices, seva or service and satsang or company of truth.
The tradition of Shivratri, of moving from many to one is so unique. Yoga and meditation is necessary for that. Without meditation, the mind is not calmed. Shiva is the cause of all causes.