Four reasons why Mahashivarathi 2016 was so wonderful for me!

By Nagulan,  Sri Premananda Centre of Vlamertinge

My wife and I have been back home in Belgium for about six weeks since our stay in the Ashram during Mahashivarathri and every day my thoughts still linger there.  During the day a bhajan will suddenly come to mind and I’ll begin singing.

This year Mahashivarathri and our stay in the Ashram was a wonderful experience for me.  It was different from previous years and since being home, I’ve been able to keep this feeling of joy I had in the Ashram.  I wondered why this could be and, according to me, there are four reasons.

This year I spent a lot more time in the meditation room, where I joined in the chanting of the ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ mantra.  It was as if this gave me added strength to overcome falling asleep during Mahashivaratri night. Or did this strength come from the presence of the forty lingams, which continue to grow more powerful each year…or was it Swamiji who was helping me?  In any case, I was very pleased with this Shivaratri night, although I did miss the Maharudra-abhishekams and the Yagam.  I would have liked to be there but I had to make a choice and couldn’t be in two places at the same time.  I think my presence in the ‘Om Nama Shivaya’ meditation room is the main reason for the good feeling I had and continue to have this year!

I’ve been a heart patient since 2002 and so I allow myself to sleep until seven in the morning.  I have to spare my heart anyway in the hot Indian climate and avoid putting it under pressure by getting too little sleep.  On the 25th of February 2016 at 5:30 a.m. I turned seventy.   My wife suggested that I go to the lingam abhishekam with her at 5:30 a.m., which happened to be the exact time of my birth.  I thought to myself that it wouldn’t hurt me to get up early for once.  When I arrived at the Premeshvarar temple, an Ashram resident came to congratulate me on my birthday.  I was surprised that she knew it was my birthday but soon remembered that this was, of course, because of the special abhishekam I had asked for and which she would be performing.   Afterwards she gave me the prasadam and a little vibhuti, taken right from Swamiji’s statue; I felt so happy!!
After that and for the remaining thirteen days of our stay, I continued going to the lingam  abhishkam at 5:30 a.m.  I didn’t want to skip even one day.  There was an energy that led me to go there and during the day I didn’t feel any more tired than when I had slept longer, as I had been used to doing during our previous visits.  This experience also contributed to my happiness, not to mention the small daily pujas to the statues in the temple, after the abhishekam, which were so powerful.   On one of those mornings I also had the chance to be able to perform a lingam abhishekam to Swami’s Samadhi myself.  What a blessing!

In years past, due to my weak heart and the warm climate, I didn’t do any seva in the Ashram.  I had a good excuse to rest, namely, my heart condition.  But this year we had the opportunity to do two hours of seva every day – making vibhuti and sandlewood packets.  It was a pleasant activity and left me feeling satisfied that I was able to be helpful in this way.

I love singing bhajans and, during the three weeks we were in the Ashram,  I attended the bhajan sessions with lingam blessings every single evening.   After a few days we began using the microphone and loudspeaker system and this was a lot less stressful on my voice.  Singing bhajans takes me to a higher vibration, which brings a good feeling.  I was very happy to be able to lead at least one bhajan every night.  I would have liked to sing more but, of course, there were many others who also enjoyed leading a bhajan.

Now, back at home, during the day, I will find myself singing fragments of bhajans that come up in my mind and once I had a dream in which I was singing bhajans on the Ashram road while the children were singing along, with big smiles on their faces.  In that dream I also felt a strong heavenly vibration go through my whole body.  Too bad it didn’t continue when I was awake. Swamiji is in my thoughts every day.

I just wanted to share this experience with everyone, because our stay in the Ashram brought me so much joy, and still does…. and all this makes me look forward with anticipation to Mahashivarathri 2017!

Jai Prema Shanti!

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