|AHYMSIN NEWSLETTER, ISSUE - March 2019|
Shivaratri Manasa Puja
by Swami Ritavan Bharati
[This is a transcript from Shivaratri, 4 March 2019, which took place during the 2019 Sangha Gathering at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama.]
We now find in this matrix of time and space, find this Self, the pure Self, that has taken on the ignorance, taken on the illusion as ignorance, and the samskara of many bodies again and again, where in this mandala of universe you now find yourself the bound and ignorant jīva as you sit here at this place, at this time, draw yourself to yourself and with the prayer, mukṣīya, mukṣīya, mukṣīya, you are searching through the layers and layers upon layers of that illusion. Now sit still in the very centre of the mandala that you know yourself to be. In that stillness a settling of the mind. A relaxation of the body. An intention to know yourself. Śivoham. I am Śiva.
Resting in the moment and observing of passing of moment to moment. In this way becoming aware of your breathing, a gentle rhythm, a smooth flow of exhalation followed by inhalation. Mind-stream and breath-stream flowing as a single stream of awareness. That stream, that pathway now from the navel to the nostrils and nostrils to the navel, gentle flow and deep and diaphragmatic breathing. Within this stream along this pathway, you are pulled, pulled to your centre. Draw your mind’s awareness to that point between the two breaths that now expands into a cave like presence, entering that cave, with all humility and sincerity, with a sentiment of namaha, leaving all attachments behind, all that is of name and associations, all that is identified with wealth and the pursuit of those desires, all that is associated with kin and clan as family and all other identities and associations.
Enter into the darkness so as to observe the light. Observing a candle like flame of a pure white nature. The very flame draws you, pulls you, and you sit before that light. Now gather those associations that are still remaining. The very attachment to the body as the tattvas and thereby take sandalwood paste associated with the earth, prithvī, and the earth like identities that you carry. Making an offering of sandalwood paste on the altar in front of you where the white light is witness.
Next take a kalasha of milk representing the jala or liquid. That which flows in your personality. It finds restrictions, blocks, yet as water it flows through, around, above and below and thereby offering these with the sentiment of svāhā.
Next lighting a deepak and placing the flame that represents the agni. That agni, that fire like presence within your personality, you make an offering svāhā.
Next lighting the sandalwood sticks of incense. That vayu in the form of a gentle waft of smoke, where all the vayus of your personality, all the wind like attributes are now offered with the sentiment of svāhā. I surrender.
Gathering multicoloured flower petals, representing the akasha where flowers open into that space, you the personality has matured and opened, yet you are bound, break loose those fetters with the flower petals offered and the sentiment of svāhā.
Having offered all the tattvas, you are no longer bound in these elements, nor their psychological associations. A pure sentiment of svāhā, thereby rising and once again merging into the central stream. Here a gentle push on an upward journey on an inward flow. Here a gentle pulling upward, upward, to your yajña centre. Here observe a crystal like presence like the crystal lingam, radiating and illuminating in the form of pure light and thereby a crystal-like light is observed. This crystal-like light your mind, and you sit before the lingam observing the light like a mirror observing your mind. Here the memories of the past, here the expectations of the future are illumined as you open your mind to those groves of habit patterns and samskaras and vasanas and to the desires that remain unfulfilled as expectations, thereby in observing the bondage, observing the attachments, observing the illusion in the unfulfilled desires and the pains and pleasures that remain. Remembering mukshīya, you draw your sankalpa, you draw that power of iccha shakti into a resolve. May I be released from this illusion, O mind. You are an instrument of my bondage, yet you are an instrument of my freedom and thereby you now see the purity of the buddhi as it reflects the light of the soul, the atman. Observe yourself as Śivoham, I am that Śiva, ever pure, ever wise, ever free.