Shiva is the most widely interpreted word in the world of literature. People irrespective of their cultural backgrounds love the concept for its versatility.
Shiva is a formless and genderless supreme consciousness to some. In other words Shiva is energy. For a few others he is an ordinary man. He is an epitome of anger to some and to a few others he is an embodiment of love. He is a monk in the graveyard to some and according to a few others he makes the world itself a graveyard by destroying the whole of it one fine day! There are many who have not only attached him different forms, but, they have also attached names. They range anywhere between 108 and 1008!
Yet, Shiva remains a mystery! How do we then understand Shiva well? 然而，湿婆仍旧是个未解之谜。我们对湿婆的了解究竟有多少？
Let us go to the Sanskrit root of the word
शिवः – शेरते अस्मिन् सर्वे इति शिवः
शिवः Shiva means that in which everything merges. 意味着融合一切。
The idea of merging is quite peculiar. Does man ever get merged into himself? The fatigue of the body and the mind will push the body and mind to rest. In that state of rest, all his thoughts, actions and experiences get merged into the self. It is called sleep. Sleep is the period in which man merges into the self. But it is involuntary!
Can man merge into himself voluntarily?
Yes! The act of merging into oneself is called Self-study.
There are three kinds of Self-study.
The first one is Self-criticism. Man here, looks deep into himself only in terms of his negative thoughts, actions and experiences. This is opposite to growth. This kind of a self-study practiced time and again will lead to stagnation in life and causes other mental disorders.
The second state is called as self-knowledge. Here man looks both at his good and bad sides. Alas! He merely looks into it. He does not do anything with them. To merely know ‘what I have’ and ‘what I am’ is also a path of stagnation. To rectify the bad and become good and also convert the good into better and eventually the best, is vital to man’s growth. Knowledge when not put into practice will degrade itself into information!
The third kind is called introspection – ‘The art of looking deep into one’s own negative thoughts, actions and experiences, eventually, to change them into positive’. Such a man is a true seeker of growth and progress. He does not merely look into self, but acts upon the negativities therein. He also goes a step ahead to receive feedback from people and judiciously incorporates them in his life to become individually vibrant and socially productive.
Generally, the deeper man goes inside, in terms of self-study, greater is his fear. Self-study is like the act of mining. Mining leads to a great excavation of waste as well, before a valuable mineral is extracted! So does the human mind in the process of self-study. He excavates and finds the negativity to the fore and one day a great amount of positivity is discovered.
On the day of शिवरात्रिः (shivaratri), it is this state of introspection which is essential. This action of introspection will make the festival meaningful.
在शिवरात्रिः (大湿婆之夜) 当天，自我反省是必不可少的。自我反省赋予了这个节日的重要意义。
But what is the significance of रात्रिः(ratri) in the word शिवरात्रिः?
在शिवरात्रिः (shivaratri) 中的रात्रिः (ratri) 又有怎样的重要意义呢？
राति सुखं इति रात्रिः.
That which gives us pleasure is called रात्रिः.
A man who gets the pleasure out of introspection has thus celebrated शिवरात्रिः.
शिवरात्रिः (湿婆之夜) 即是通过自我反省而获得愉悦快乐。
Man naturally craves for pleasure. He also seeks comforts and convenience. Greater is the degree of pleasure, comforts and convenience when he introspects and finds a solution to his existing troubles and struggles! Thus pleasure is associated with a meaningful act of introspection.
But the question is why should one introspect only during the night? Has that idea something to do with astronomy?
May be, yes! Many people do opine that शिवरात्रिः (shivaratri) is related to certain aspects of astronomy. However, in this article we resort to bhagavadgītā to understand the essence of introspection ‘in the night’.
Night here is not a reference to the time after sunset. 这里所指的夜晚并不是单纯指的太阳落山后的时间。
Generally, human beings spend majority of their life in search of material world. They find that to be empowering and enlightening. For such people, the inner self appears dark and disempowering.
But a man who is introspective finds the inner world or the self enlightening and empowering! However, he finds the external world dull and dim!
Thus, moving towards the neglected area – the inner self is शिवरात्रिः (shivaratri).
因此，走向未知的区域－深度的自我，即是शिवरात्रिः (大湿婆之夜) 的意义。
On this day man can dance, sing, intoxicate, beat the drums and even die, but as long as they do not transform him into becoming individually vibrant and socially productive, he has not celebrated the festival at all. Introspection is the golden path to transformation!
There is nothing good or bad at the end of the day! What is day to the crow is night to the owl!
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