The fourteenth night of the new moon, in the dark fortnight of the month Phalgun is Shiva’s favourite day. It is called Sivaratri or ‘The Night of Shiva’. Sivaratri is a celebration of the union or marriage of Shiva and Parvati, which represents the union of individual and universal soul.
Sivaratri Yoga Sadhana Shivir was conducted in Rikhiapeeth from 21st to 23rd February. Hundreds of participants joined this shivir which enabled participants to prepare for the auspicious day of Sivaratri through swadhyaya, satsang and seva. The shivir had full-day schedules which included morning class of chanting led by kanyas, followed by asana and pranayama class, mid-morning class of antar mouna and ajapa japa and afternoon class in which the kanyas led the chanting of Ramayana followed by meditation led by Swami Tyagraj. Daily evening satsangs were also attended by kanyas and batuks in large numbers and featured havans, prayers and kirtans which were dedicated to the worship of Shiva.
Worship of Shiva is very special in Rikhiapeeth because it is the tapobhoomi of Paramahamsa Satyananda and is located in Baba Baidyanath Dham which is an awakened shrine of Shiva, where his sacred Jyotirlingam is venerated.
On the morning of Sivaratri, 23rd February, Swami Satyananda blessed all with his darshan in Tapowan. Sri Swamiji blessed the anushthana and his presence made this Sivaratri an event to remember and cherish. The kanyas conducted the program by chanting an extensive range of prayers and kirtans dedicated to Lord Shiva.
On this day initiation into mantra, jignasu and karma sannyasa and sannyasa was given to hundreds of aspirants by Swami Niranjanananda and Swami Satyasangananda.
As day turned to night, the Shiva Sahasra Namavalih havan was conducted on the Tapowan vedi with several thousands in attendance including residents, guests, kanyas and batuks, and many local villagers who had been invited to come and offer their worship to Shiva, the Adi guru. The kanyas led many prayers dedicated to Lord Shiva, and the batuks worshipped the Shivalingam with Rudrabhisheka as the kanyas chanted the ancient vedic Rudri hymns.
The very first Rudrabhisheka of the Shivalingam was conducted by Swami Satyananda himself. His sparsh or touch, and drishti or gaze, filled the Shivalingam with divine prana, which turned the stone into a divya lingam which has the power to bless us all.
Throughout 2009, the kanyas and batuks performed the sacred Rudrabhisheka in the ashram every Monday. The batuks continued their training in worship, havans and pooja and daily came to the ashram to perform the morning worship of the Shivalingam which is placed within the panchagni pooja area.