By Brahma Kumar Brijmohan
Among the numerous festivals celebrated in India, Shivaratri stands out. It signifies hope – bringing the promise of light and the end of darkness, the beginning of a spiritual renewal.
It is a commemoration of the task performed by God at the end of every cycle of time when humanity suffers due to spiritual ignorance and sorrow. Shiva, the father of all souls, incarnates in this world, ends the suffering of his children, and ushers in a world of peace, bliss, beauty and plenty.
Of all the figures in the Hindu pantheon, Shiva alone can perform this task as He is the only one who is free from all bondage and, therefore, capable of liberating others. The others in the pantheon are deities, whereas Shiva is the Supreme Soul.
This status of Shiva is also depicted in the images of Shankar, in which, he is shown meditating in front of a Shiva linga, which is a representation of incorporeal God Shiva. It implies that Shankar, who is also called Mahadev, is worshiping a higher being. Even the names of Shiva temples in India, which bear the suffix ‘nath’ or ‘ishwar’, distinguish Him from the deities.
Shiva uses a human medium to perform His task of rejuvenating the world for His spiritual children. This medium comes to be known, and later worshipped, as Brahma, the creator, through whom Shiva introduces Himself to the world and reminds human souls of their true identity and their relationship with Him.
When souls recognise who they are and who their soul father is, they connect with Him by remembering Him. Through this mental link they receive God’s powers and blessings that help remove their weaknesses, or vices, and ultimately liberate them from all kinds of distress and depravity.
By living according to God’s directions, the human souls also attain divinity and are worshipped as deities when all humans have lost their purity and come under the influence of vices. They hark back to the golden age of their deity ancestors.
Since the deity souls themselves are in the cycle of rebirth and go through the human experience of joy and grief like everyone else, they are not in a position to release others from suffering. It takes the Supreme Being to perform that task.
The ‘Shivpuran’ quotes Shiva, the ‘Jyotirlinga’, as saying, “I will reveal myself from the forehead of Brahma.” It further says that Shiva showing mercy on suffering beings on earth, descended in the forehead of Brahma to recreate a better world. For this reason, He is hailed as Kalagni ‘Rudra’.
As Shiva does not take birth like humans, the word ‘shambhu’ is suffixed to His name. ‘Shambhu’ is short for ‘swayambhu’, the one who incarnates on His own, or one who cannot be procreated.
The world as we know it today, could seldom be darker than it is, with the suffering of all creatures, and Mother Nature, nearing the breaking point. There could not be a more opportune time for God to arrive and end the miseries of His children. He has definitely performed this task at the end of Kali Yuga in every Kalpa, eternal cycle of four yugas, otherwise it would not be commemorated every year on Shivaratri.
The writer is chief spokesman of Brahma Kumaris organisation
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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