Mahashivaratri 2014

Mahashivaratri 2014

[An extract from my Autobiographical Memoir, On the Loom of Time Chapt. 27 (describing our visit to the Baidyanath temple, Deogarh, S.P. on the day of Shivaratri 1996)]

 

  ” Once  we went to Baidyanathdhama on  the occasion of Maha Shivtri said to be the Night of Shiva.  Some say that the Lord  was married  to Parvati that night, others say He  performed that the supreme cosmic dance (Tandava))  capable of creating, and also destroying, the cosmic order. It so happend that the   head priest of the great Shiva temple called on us to invite her to sing Rudrastakam, a poem  composed by  the great Tulsidas,  at 3.30 a.m. from the wide portico with a crowning dome  above of the main entrance providing engress into the sprawling quadrangle in which so many majestic temples had been built of which the Baidyanath Temple was the most famous. This entrace was called the Singh Darwaza (the Lion Gate) as massive lion images had been put on  both the  sides of the entrance.  She accepted the request.  When we ascended the portico we saw an ocean of humans in the campus abuzz with all sorts of devotional sounds in different tones, pitches and tenors. Most of them had come trekking over all the way from the bank of the holy Ganges at Sultanganj singing devotional songs. Once  she began singing, silence prevailed in the campus. It was still dark, and the electrical light created beautiful chiaroscuro effects. The sweet plenitude of her voice wove an environment  which could  be imagined, but not described in words.  She sang the  Rudrastakam which   recites the glory of God who is eternal and is all bliss. It begin with the melliflous shloka:

नमामीशमीशान  निर्वाण रूपं विभुं व्यापकं ब्रह्म     वेदस्वरूपम

निजं निर्गुणं निर्विकल्पं निरीहं  चिदाकाशमाकाशवासं भजेहं

 

We felt we were in paradise.”

 

 

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