Shiva – His Drum of Consciousness, part one
Consciousness and Speech Series VII.
Sacred Speech Masterclass VII, part 1.
When Shiva plays his damaru, his drum of consciousness, the Shiva Sutras, the phonemes of Speech, are heard.
Shivaratri is the single most important day for not only for worshipers of Shiva but anybody in any of the Indian knowledge traditions, esoteric traditions, music, shamanistic, alchemy, anything that is let’s say hidden from normal view. It is the day things that are hidden become revealed. We call tomorrow Mahashivaratri. So Shivaratri is actually takes place 12 times during the year. This takes place on the 14th dark lunar fortnight of the moon. Once a year is Mahashivaratri, and Mahashivaratri takes place on the 14th dark lunar fortnight on the Indian month of Magh. So that is tomorrow. Today is the tryodashi, which is the 13th dark night of the moon, and this is a day that we do preparations for tomorrow.
The observations, the real ritual observations and the practice and the puja and the worship of Shiva and the requests and the quest for secret knowledge, esoteric knowledge, hidden knowledge, takes place after midnight, which reflects the major vow that is made on this day which is the vow of not sleeping. So the ardent devotees of Shiva, they spend the night, awake, doing rituals, singing, doing bajans, kirtans, talking, satsang, anything to stay awake. And then at dawn, the 4th, final puja of Shivaratri is performed and the vrat of staying up all night is completed. But during this time, of course, is when, this is considered to be in the Tradition, the darkest of all the nights of the moon. So it is quiet, it’s silent, and there’s one other very important aspect because we can speak about Mahashivaratri in the context of the conversation we are making about speech. On Mahashivaratri, the visagra, do you remember from the, from last week, I spoke about visarga? The visarga is reduced. The visarga is the echo or the mirror syllable. For example, when, if you would say, “Shiva,” you would say, “Shivaha.” So, “a”, the visarga of “a,” is “aha”—but not a full “ha” but a half-“ha” which is a reflection of “a.”
I am going to tell you a curious thing about this syllable that is an echo. You could think of the moon as an echo or a reflection of the sun. After all, it is not the moon’s light that we’re looking at, it’s the sun’s light. And even in a non-scientific, non-astronomical environment, in a mythological environment, in an environment of analogies we can also see that the moon is reflecting the sun. We know this from the positions of the moon, and the phases of the moon. So, the moon has, well, there’s described 16 kalas of the moon. You could think of them as phases, but they are not proper phases in the sense that we measure the month. In the measurement of the month, there is basically a maximum of 15. The 16th is considered the moon that stands behind, that exists in potential, behind all the changes of the moon. This is relating to the visarga. The sun, in this analogy, is the anuswara. It’s the tension that exists between the subject and the object. So when we denote in script, in notation, the visarga, the visarga is two dots, one on top of the other. Curiously enough, this is the same in Chinese calligraphy, where the sun and the moon are represented by these two dots. So, that would indicate that the dark night of the 14th, being the darkest night of the year, that would have the visarga at its weakest, and the subject which is Shiva, which is consciousness, at its purest and strongest. So that’s why, on this particular night, which is tomorrow night, Shiva is worshipped, and esoteric practices and knowledge is very much sought after.