The great night of Shiva, tonight.

Tonight is Maha-Shiva-Ratri [maha – great, ratri – night], one of the most important of the all the Hindu festivals. Commonly, Shiva represents one of the three principal deities in the Hindu trinity. But more importantly Shiva represents the formless and the infinite divinity. Tonight marks the celebration of the limitless dimension in oneself by identifying it with the Universal infinite principle of Shiva.

The occasion behooves the mention of Adi Shankara, the young Indian scholar and philosopher from the 8th century AD, who propounded the concept of Advaita or non-dualism (a-non, dvaita-two/dual). Advaita holds that the Creator is not distinct or separate from the Creation; that finite beings born of the Infinite are, therefore, themselves Infinite. So, as a young boy of eight wandering  in search of a guru, Shankara encounters a seer who asks him “who are you?” Shankara responds in these six exalted Sanskrit stanzas that would be known as the Atma Shatakam. Below is a concise and beautiful translation of the sublime verses I took from the acclaimed spiritual classic and one of my favorite books, Autobiography Of A Yogi.

Atmashatakam by Adi Shankara. (Photo: South Padre Islands Beach. #nofilter)

One of the renditions of Atma Shaktakam (also called Nirvana Shatakam) that I love the best is from the album Sacred Chants of Shiva:

Further reading:

5 thoughts on “The great night of Shiva, tonight.

  1. I’m not of your faith but I hope that you got out of it everything that you were hoping for and then some. 🙂 Those verses are so beautifully written. I may have to pick up that book. I always enjoy reading new material; especially about others religions and cultures. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks 🙂 Well, I didn’t “do” much, other than pondering over the thought expressed here.

      As for the book, I listened to the audiobook read by Sir Ben Kingsley, and he brings the book to life. I’m glad you thought of trying it out. Yoga (just not the physical exercises part, but the entire concept), was first introduced by the author to America.


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