Festivals of all kinds are days of celebration. However, religious festivals are also memorials. They are a reminder and a celebration of greatness, be that of an event or a person. To someone from the west, India seems like the very land of festivals! A cornucopia of colour, joy, music and even reverence and sometimes solemnity. However, to the discerning eye, one festival shines like a beacon above all of the others, Maha Shivratri.
It is a festival of hope. It is a festival bringing the promise of light and the end of darkness, the beginning of spring, and renewal.
Most cultures across the world have some way of welcoming spring after the desolation of winter, but in India it is very different. This particular festival is celebrated by Hindu communities, wherever they may be, but the memorial is of Shiva, the Supreme Father of all souls, first making Himself known in Bharat. Perhaps those who grow up celebrating this day never question the wonder of that. To someone from the west it is astonishing, because it means that this incorporeal Father Shiva, the Supreme Benefactor Soul, the Father of all of us souls, must have definitely come at some point, or this memorial would not exist.
This Supreme Soul must have actually appeared here on Earth, and that too in India, to bring an end to a world of darkness, of suffering, of sorrow, of confusion, and bring forth a world of peace and beauty.
The world we live in now could hardly be darker than it is or hold more suffering than it does. There could be no time more in need of the reappearance of such a Divine Being.
It could be said that this festival has been celebrated since ‘time immemorial’, that it began so long ago that no one can remember how it began. Of course, if time is linear, then casting the mind back to recall an event of this magnitude would be almost, if not certainly, impossible. However, if time is cyclical, the end will reach the beginning, and scenes that have only been remembered will actually be witnessed again.
Could it not be, that it is now that the most significant and powerful event in the whole wonderful story of humanity is re-enacted? It seems like a very good time to consider that possibility.
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