26. Sivaratri-3.3.

3. Lord Shiva’s Assurance-3.

    The formal worship consists of bathing the Lord.

Lord Shiva is considered to be the Form of Light (which the Shiva Lingam represents).

He is burning with the fire of austerity. He is therefore best propitiated with cool bathing. While bathing the Lingam the devotee prays : - “O Lord! I will bathe Thee with water, milk, etc.

Do Thou kindly bathe me with the milk of wisdom.

Do Thou kindly wash me of all my sins, so that the fire of worldliness which is scorching me may be put out once for all, so that I may be one with Thee—the One alone without a second.”

    At the Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh, the Shivaratri festival is celebrated in the following manner.

    1. All spiritual aspirants fast the whole day, many of them without taking even a single drop of water.

    2. A grand havan is performed for the peace and welfare of all.

    3. The whole day is spent in doing the Japa of Om Namah Shivaya and in meditation upon the Lord.

    4. At night all assemble in the temple and chant Om Namah Shivaya the whole night.

    5. During the four quarters of the night the Shiva Lingam is worshipped with intense devotion.

    6. Sannyas Diksha is also given on this day to sincere seekers on the path.

Swami Sivananda
 To be continued  .....

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