Day 10:44 pm
ONE day it was suggested to Sri Maharshi that no spiritual progress could ever be made without sadhana, or discipline. After a pause he made these observations:
“Mind it is that binds man, and the same mind it is that liberates him. Mind is constituted of sankalpa and vikalpa desire and disposition. Desire is of two kinds the noble and the base. The base desires are lust and greed. Noble desire is directed towards enlightenment and emancipation. Base desire contaminates and clouds the understanding. Sadhana is easy for the aspirant who is endowed with noble desires. Calmness is the criterion of spiritual progress. Plunge the purified mind into the Heart. Then the work is over. This is the essence of all spiritual discipline!”
This year saw an unusual tilt to the annual Mahashivatri festival in Tamil Nadu for it was celebrated on two days due to a difference between the dravidian (lunar) and aryan (solar) calendars. So, after it was celebrated all over India in February, it was celebrated in March in some parts of TamilNadu notably in Tiruvannamalai.
At the big temple of Arunachala there were awesome kolams drawn on the floors representing Lord Shiva and his consort Parvathi. There was also an incredible array of oil lamps (more than 100000) burning everywhere, lit by devotees and creating an ambience of sacredness and piety.
Giri Pradakshina was performed all through the night by hundreds well into the wee hours of the morning. Prasad was distributed at many of the lingam shrines on the path and the big temple hosted a live concert of Shivamani and his troupe which enthralled all the pilgrims and kept them awake, for the importance of this night is not to fall asleep.