An estimated one lakh people from 60 countries assembled at the Art of Living (AoL) international centre on the city’s outskirts Monday to worship Hindu god Shiva on the occasion of the deity’s night-long festival.
“It was a sea of humanity at the centre where about 100,000 people from 60 countries participated in the Maha Shivratri celebrations that began with our founder Ravi Shankar performing rituals like ‘Rudra puja’ earlier in the day,” Art of Living said in a statement here.
Explaining the significance of the festival, the AoL founder said Shivratri meant taking deep rest when the mind is in the lap of the divine.
“Meditation on this day has a manifold effect as the spirit touches the earth. If you meditate on Shivaratri, the power of meditation is 100 times more,” Ravi Shankar told the gathering on the occasion.
Seekers from across the country and overseas, including Argentina, China, Brazil, Oman, Kuwait, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Russia and Taiwan converged in the sprawling AoL campus to celebrate the fest with hymns dedicated to the deity.
“It is a wonderful experience to have people from diverse cultures come together in a spirit of celebration. Meditating at such a vast gathering is rewarding and blissful,” Andreas Birkeland from Norway said.
Even as the atmosphere was charged with sacred chants, the diverse gathering meditated for the well-being of humanity.
The festival was also celebrated in hundreds of Shiva temples across the city and the state with religious fervour and devotion.
As devotees will be awake throughout the night after breaking their day-long fast with fruits and light refreshments,
Several organisations have set up make-shift dais near Shiva temples in the city and elsewhere to enable hundreds of devotees keep awake throughout the night after breaking their day-long fast with fruits and refreshments.
Held every year on the 13th night of Maagha or Phalguna month of the Hindu calendar, the festival is also celebrated by Hindu women for the well-being of their husbands and sons in the spirit Shiva’s consort Parvathi used to worship aeons ago.