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Maha Shivarathri

“Early in the morning after Maha Sivarathri night, the slender streak of a moon in its last phase escapes from the darkness which threatens to swallow it up by union with the resplendent rising sun.”

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(March 06, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian)
Maha Sivarathri which falls on March 6, 2008 will be observed in every temple particularly in Shivan temples and also in Hindu homes. The whole day and night will be profitably spent in temples.

The night which is devoted to Lord Shiva as the term Sivarathari indicates is more important than the observances during the day. At a temple the night is divided into four quarters from sunset to sunrise, in each of which, ceremonies of Abishekam, Puja and Archanai are performed and at the same time in a separately appointed place there will be continues devotional music and religious discourses to enable the devotees to pass the time in prayer and meditation without sleeping, throughout the night.

The night is emphasised to signify the darkness of the world of senses in which we find ourselves, the endeavour is to pass from darkness to light, from night to the day of deliverance.

Early in the morning after Maha Sivarathri night, the slender streak of a moon in its last phase escapes from the darkness which threatens to swallow it up by union with the resplendent rising sun.

This is symbolic of the achievement of Moksha, heavenly bliss, illumination, liberation from Sansara as salvation and it is in essence the realisation of the object of one's life.

In fact, Lord Shiva in his aspect of Nataraja or the Cosmic dances on Maha Sivarathri day is represented as working out the infinite modes of rhythm in the process of universal creation, preservation and destruction. The small drum (Udukkai) in one hand symbolises creation, the abayakara or the hand dispelling fear and assuring protection symbolises preservation.

Fire, in another hand depicts the aspect of destruction. These three fold nature of God Absolute is brought out by the dance of Shiva on Maha Sivarathri day.

Furthermore in every Shivan temple there is Nanthy (bull) which is the Vahana or vehicle of Lord Shiva, is always found facing Shivalingam in the places of worship.

In fact, Nanthy represents Dharma. It is very often said that "the world revolveth not round the inventors of new noises, but it revolveth inaudibly round the inventors of values," thus said a German poet.

Further, in the history of the world every nation has stood for a particular idea which it has sought to wave into the fabric of the lives of the people.

The Germans made the concept of beauty essentially their own, the rule of law moulded the pattern of the Britishers.

Likewise, long before the Greeks and Britishers, the Hindus were told to govern their lives by the norms of Dharma, which comprehends all the excellence, which make for an ideal humanity. Dharma is an internal discipline by which a given social order is protected. It is by Dharma that civilization is maintained.

Therefore Dharma may be defined as social norm or moral law. Since Nanthy or the sacred bull is said to be the vehicle of Lord Shiva, it also means that Dharma is the vehicle of Lord Shiva.

To the ordinary Hindu, Nanthy represents physical of Shiva in the form of a Bull. Lord Nanthy is manifested energy or dynamic motion that is felt in the invisible and partly visible nature of the Macro cosmos and in the visible objective nature it is a vehicle.

Indeed, there is a flag for every nation, every religion and every political party without any exception.

They hoist these flags during all their important occasions and celebrations and the whole world comes to know their respective celebrations on account of their Flag hoisting ceremony.

But, there is no such flag common to Hindus being hoisted during festivals or ceremonies anywhere in the world.

Realizing this divine service the World Saiva Council's (Sri Lanka) vice President, Vice President of All Ceylon Hindu Congress, Vice President of Vivekananda Society and Trustee of the Colombo Saiva Munneta Sangam Mr. Sinnadurai Dhanabalaa (JP) and Secretary of the World Saiva Council (Sri Lanka) Mr. Muttiah Kathirgamanathan and several other eminent personalities like Mrs. Raja Manohari Pulendran, Mr. Subramaniam Chelttias, Trustee of the New Kathiresan Temple, Bambalapitiya, Treasure of the World Saiva Council (Sri Lanka) Mr. R. Vaithamanithy and Mr. Raja Puveneswaran have taken all possible steps to hoist Nanthy flags at new Kathiresan Temple on Maha Sivarathri day and distribute these flags to all the devotees and wellwishers.

The funds collected on this day will be made use to put up a building in Batticaloa for the orphans affected by war and tsunami. Likewise, the funds collected in Jaffna, Kalmunai, Akkaraipattu, Udappu, Negombo, Vavuniya through the distribution of these Nanthy flags will be used for the respective projects in those particular areas.

Further, these flags will be hoisted in various temples and religious organizations in foreign countries, like London, South Africa, Australia, Canada, France and various other countries.

Furthermore, the flag hoisting ceremony in Temples particularly on Mahasivarathri day indicates that the descended Kundalani Sakthy at Moolatharam of our spinal chord should rise to the head.

The flag lowering ceremony indicates how this supreme concionsness descends down from the head to the body (creation) and reach the end of the spinal cord. In fact, the hoisting of Nanth Kodi (Nanthy Flag) at the top of the Rajagopurams of the temples and in other religious organizations will undoubtedly explain the principles and philosophies of Saivaism to achieve the goal of life.

- Sri Lanka Guardian

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