Friday 12th March - appreciating Maha Siva-ratri
“Once upon a time, the cowherd men of Vrindavana, headed by Nanda Maharaja, desired to go to Ambikavana to observe the Siva-ratri ceremony. The rasa-lila was performed during the autumn, and after that the next big ceremony is Holi, or the Dolayatra ceremony. Between the Dolayatra ceremony and the rasa-lila ceremony there is one important ceremony called Siva-ratri, which is especially observed by the Saivites, or devotees of Lord Siva. Sometimes the Vaishnavas also observe this ceremony because they accept Lord Siva as the foremost Vaishnava. But the function of Siva-ratri is not observed very regularly by the bhaktas, or devotees of Krishna.
Under the circumstances, it is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam that Nanda Maharaja and the other cowherd men “once upon a time desired.” This means that they were not regularly observing the Siva-ratri function but that once upon a time they wanted to go to Ambikavana out of curiosity.” (Srila Prabhupada - Krishna Book Chapter 34)
Tonight we will have an evening focussing the greatest Vaisnava (devotee) Lord Shiva.
Please join together @ 7:30pm* where we will be reading from the Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 4, Chapter 3 and available online HERE
See you online via our usual zoom link:
"In this verse Lord Siva is described as midhushtama, the best of the benedictors. He is also known as Asutosha, which indicates that he is very quickly satisfied and very quickly angered. It is said in Bhagavad-gita that less intelligent persons go to the demigods for material benedictions.
In this connection, people generally go to Lord Siva, and because he is always quickly satisfied and gives benedictions to his devotees without consideration, he is called midhushtama, or the best of the benedictors. Materialistic persons are always anxious to get material profit, but they are not serious about spiritual profit.
Sometimes, of course, it so happens that Lord Siva becomes the best benedictor in spiritual life. It is said that once a poor brahmana worshiped Lord Siva for a benediction, and Lord Siva advised the devotee to go to see Sanatana Gosvami.
The devotee went to Sanatana Gosvami and informed him that Lord Siva had advised him to seek out the best benediction from him (Sanatana). Sanatana had a touchstone with him, which he kept with the garbage. On the request of the poor brahmana, Sanatana Gosvami gave him the touchstone, and the brahmana was very happy to have it. He now could get as much gold as he desired simply by touching the touchstone to iron. But after he left Sanatana, he thought, “If a touchstone is the best benediction, why has Sanatana Gosvami kept it with the garbage?” He therefore returned and asked Sanatana Gosvami, “Sir, if this is the best benediction, why did you keep it with the garbage?” Sanatana Gosvami then informed him, “Actually, this is not the best benediction. But are you prepared to take the best benediction from me?” The brahmana said, “Yes, sir. Lord Siva has sent me to you for the best benediction.” Then Sanatana Gosvami asked him to throw the touchstone in the water nearby and then come back. The poor brahmana did so, and when he returned, Sanatana Gosvami initiated him with the Hare Krishna mantra. Thus by the benediction of Lord Siva the brahmana got the association of the best devotee of Lord Krishna and was thus initiated in the maha-mantra, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. (Srila Prabhupada. Srimad Bhagavatam 4:7:7. purport.)