Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai entered Premamrutham Hall at Satya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli, and blessed all the devotees present with His divine grace. The morning celebrations began with Linga Abhishekam. Chantings of Sri Rudram and Chamakam echoed through the hall. Swami blessed everyone once again by sprinkling holy water on them even as bhajans glorifying Lord Shiva rent the air. After the abhishekam, the Lingam was decorated with garlands.

Ashtavadana seva was offered to Lord Shiva along with Vedas, Upaniśad, Sangeeta, Vādya and many more Sevas. The morning program was supposed to end after Aarathi to our beloved Bhagwan, but Swami was so pleased with the chanting of the Mundaka UpanĪśad that he went on to describe the true meaning of the verse that was chanted.

Two birds of the same kind lived on a tree. One bird ate the berries from the tree. It would rejoice whenever it ate a sweet fruit and complain when it ate a bitter one. But the other bird would simply sit and witness the happenings. The first bird would often see the second one being happy all the time and think why it too could not be like that bird.

Swami explained that the first bird was Jīva and the second was Īśa, Jīva, the poor bird, didn’t consider itself to be Īśa. It considered itself to be the slave of the Lord and failed to recognise God within himself. The moment Jīva attempts to become Īśa, it would realise its Supremacy and become one with divinity. Both Jīva and Īśa reside in every being. When Jīva realises Īśa, all ignorance and darkness is dispelled and Jīva becomes Īśa. Swami explained that Maha Shivaratri was about Jīva becoming Shiva. Swami then told his devotees to contemplate on the thought that both Jīva and Shiva are within oneself. He also assured all that no effort made in the path of spirituality would go waste.

Swami concluded His divine discourse by blessing everyone and advising them to put sincere efforts to realise the divinity that exists within each one of us.

The evening’s Akhaṇḍa Bhajan began as soon as Swami inaugurated the session by lighting the well decorated lamp. The session began with bhajans glorifying Lord Ganesha and the Guru followed by bhajans in praise of Lord Shiva.

After singing the glory of Lord Shiva all night, the morning programme began at 5 am the following day. The first speaker was Sri BN Narasimha Murthy. He stressed on the fact that sincere and consistent effort needs to be made in order to experience divinity. He also insisted that this effort has to be backed by complete faith in the words of our scriptures and our Guru. Self-realisation cannot be attained without shraddha. Sri Narasimha Murthy went on to explain that everyone must believe in and contemplate on the supreme Truth, Ahaṃ brahmā, sarvaṃ brahmā.

A distracted mind will not allow one to do any of these things because it remains stuck in worldly distractions, desires and attachments. One must pray to the Lord and ask for His help so as to shed one’s ego, desires and attachments. He also said that any person who is always established in Oneness is considered to be God and an opportunity to see such a person was rare. Those blessed with such an opportunity must follow in the footsteps of such a person so that they too can attain the state of sahaja samādhi. He concluded by expressing gratitude towards Swami for his divine message on the auspicious occasion of MahaŚivarātrī.

It was then time for Swami’s discourse.  Swami began by explaining the true nature of Ānandā. He said that it was a pure state of existence, which is self-dependent and self-sustained. It is born in the hearts of desireless people. Shiva is called Kamadahana, the one who destroys all the desires, including the very desire to exist. “Only such a person is entitled to that Ānandā which is beyond all the Gunas”, Swami said.

Swami also described the efforts one has to make in order to realise the divinity that exists within oneself. He explained the meaning of Shiva opening his third eye. Shiva cut off his interactions with the physical world and opened his third eye that signified knowledge and thus opened up to his inner self. This could be experienced by anyone who is sincere in their efforts. This can be achieved even faster with the help of a Guru. Swami explained that his job was to make everyone revel in divinity. Constant remembrance of the truth helps one to become God. He also reminded everyone of the opportunity that had come to them after births of yearning to be around the knower of Brahman. Shiva created jagat and he is the only one who knows how to destroy the demonic aspects of jagat. Therefore, everyone worships Shiva. Swami also narrated instances which proved that tyaga of Shiva was what made him immortal. Sacrifice needs to be made in order to replace the marbles that fill a hand with elixir.

He said that Shiva was one of the purest manifestations of Brahman and pointed out that everyone was the same as him. It is unfortunate that we are not aware of this fact. This could be understood only when the mind is dissolved. Dissolution of mind is the end of sadhana. This is similar to a wall that separates two sides. When the wall comes down, Jīva and Shiva become one. Swami also emphasised on the energy that penetrates everything around hills because of penance of many people to attain salvation.

Swami then answered a question about the significance of the Lingam. He said that we are bound by physical parameters and a shape or symbol was necessary to see divinity. Even though it is known that divinity is formless, it is difficult to worship something that is not defined by form. Therefore, Hiranyagarbha or the golden womb was the first manifestation of the unmanifested divinity. And the closest thing to Hiranyagarbha that can be worshipped is an ellipsoid, which is said to be an ideal shape where the forces are at perfect balance with each other. It was so effulgent that it appeared golden. Hence it was given its name.

Swami concluded His discourse by blessing everyone to realise their inherent divinity and to constantly contemplate on the thought that they are indeed divine.

Swami then distributed prasadam with His divine hands. The celebrations came to an end after Mangala Arati to the Lord.