The great festival of the convergence of Shiva and Shakti is celebrated as the festival of Shivaratri. It falls on the Chaturdashi tithi of the Magha month as per the Hindu calendar. It would fall on the 7th of March, 2016 this year.
Every religion or culture speaks about the Omni-present and the all-pervading nature of the Divine Almighty. However, if thought about deeply, the only thing which can be all-pervading and present everywhere is darkness, emptiness and nothingness. We talk about divine as light when we seek well-being, but when the latter is not what people seek, when they tend to look beyond life in terms of dissolving it and when the object of their devotion and worship is dissolution, then the divine is referred to as darkness, as is the case on the day of Maha Shivaratri.
Light is never static, it is not constant, it is not even eternal, it is a brief happening in one’s mind having a limited possibility which happens and ends soon. However, Sun is the greatest source of light on the planet Earth. Even the light of the Sun can be stopped with our hands to create a patch or shadow of darkness.
As for darkness, it is all-enveloping and has always been described as devil by immature minds, not knowing that when the divine is described as all-pervading, it is being referred to as darkness because only darkness can be all-pervading. It is omnipresent and does not need to be supported from any other source. On the contrary, light always emits from a source which burns itself out. It has a start and finish point or duration. It always comes from a limited source unlike darkness which is all-pervading, everywhere and omnipresent and is a source unto itself. So, when we refer to Shiva, it is this vast emptiness of existence which is being referred to. It is due to this reason that prayers in the ancient times in Indian culture spoke not about saving or protecting oneself but to destroy oneself so that one could become like the lord himself.
Hence, when we speak about Shivaratri, it is the darkest night in any particular month which gives us an opportunity to dissolve one’s limitedness in an attempt to experience the unbounded aspect of the source of creation which happened to be the very seed contained in every human soul. The Maha Shivaratri night is an opportunity, a possibility, for every living soul to experience the vastness within him which happens to be the very source of every creation.
Shiva, on one hand, is known as the destroyer, while one the other hand he is even known as the most compassionate of all. He is also regarded as the greatest of the givers. Maha shivaratri is one such special night to receive blessings and wishes as well. So, this year, on the 7th of March, on Maha Shivaratri day, let the night awaken you in every aspect, with blessings from Lord Shiva himself.