Tag Archives: kashmir

Beauty of Kashmir

 

On the way to Aprawat.Pic taken from the Cable car.
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A view of Tangmarg…

 

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Gulmarg..
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Vishnu-The protector

Sri Vishnu is an aspect of supreme consciousness who dwells within animate and inanimate beings of creation and controls our inner recesses of our being by constant source of motivation, judgement and perception. Vishnu literally means “the one who encompasses the world” who controls processes of creation and as an interdweller or Antaryaami and yet is unaccomplished by myriad souls and thus is referred as Para Vasudeva.
Among various names extensively used for Vishnu are Narayana, Hari, Govinda, Madhava, Vasudeva, Janardana, Rama, Krishna, Srinivasa, Narsimha etc.
Vishnu is also referred as Peetambara and his common form famous among devotees is the one where Lord is standing in equipoise and is called as “Samabhangi”. In this form Lords color is of rain bearing clouds which signifies all pervasiveness and having four hands. The upper hand holds conch which symbolizes that he is the eternal communicator and thus his word is the source of creation, discus reveals that Lord annihilates the worlds, whereas lower left hand hold mace implying that he always upholds rule of law and suitably punishes those who create havoc whereas his lower right hand is in Varada Mudra which is shown as holding lotus that bestows boons. He sports garland of attractive flowers strewn with wild flowers and Tulasi. Vishnu has a mark on his chest which is called as “Srivatsa” and is representation of Lakshmi as both of them cannot be separated hence this mark. He is donning a necklace of rare gems called as “Kaustabha” and his head has a towering diadem studded with precious gems.
Vishnu is commonly famous through his Dashaavtaras most venerated among them being Rama, Krishna, Buddha. Subsequently there is a complete school of Vaishnavism who consider Lord as Para Brahama with multitude of other gods and deities as attributes of Vishnu. The Lord has various avtars such as poorna avtars, ansha avtars , avesha avtars , leela avtars and jnana avtars which are acts of Lord to communicate with the worldly beings and impart meaningful lessons to humans. All these forms have different attributes, weapons, appearance’s which extended from time to time.
Vaishnavism is the important cult of followers of Lord and are widely spread in Indian Sub continent. It is important to mention that all the Agamas pertaining to Vishnavism were written in Kashmiri at a place called as Predhuman Peetha which is now known as Hari Parvat. The litanies’ written are Panchratra Agamas totaling around 200 in numbers. All the rituals of Vaishnavism are as per these agamas.
According to Vishnu Puran, Vaikuntha is the abode of Vishnu and is most sacrosanct place which is final refuge to the liberated souls. In Vaikuntha Lord is said to be residing on multi headed serpent also known as Adi Sesha. All other chief deities are in full attendance singing hymns and eulogizing lord through their prayers. The Lord is represented with six qualities of Wisdom (jnana), Sovereignty (Aishwarya), energy (Shakti), strength (Bala), valour (veerya) and luster (Tejas).
The Tulsi plant worship is an important ritualistic aspect of Vaishnavism and is offered to Vishnu besides recitation of Vishnu Saahsranaam. Vishnu is said to reside in a pot where tulsi is grown and is offered daily to Lord.
The important places of veneration in Jammu and Kashmir are Naubandhana Teertha also known as Vishnu Pad or Kaunser Nag in Pulwama, Kashmir besides Varahamulha now known as Baramula associated with varaha avtar of Lord and Anant Nag associated with Sesha nag who is also known as Anant nag.
The Vishnu has been the most venerated God among the rulers and hence various temples were dedicated to Him especially by Lalitaditya and Avantivarman. The official patronage for building of Vishnu temples was given during the reign of Avantiverman of Lohara dynasty and a famous temple of Avantiswamin was built near Avantipora.
Later Sikh rulers and most importantly by Dogra rulers the temples dedicated to different forms of Vishnu were built and murthis consecrated in them. The notable among them which stands tall on architectural grandeur are Ragunath temple of Jammu and Srinagar.
All the iconographic orientations of Vishnu in these temples are ornate, aesthetically beautiful and highly impressive.

 

By-Sunil Raina Rajanak
(The author is a founder member Himalayan Heritage Foundation.)

Sun temple of Mattan

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Genealogical Tables of Kasmir Dynasties according to Kalhan

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Source-Rajatarangini by M.A.Stein

Maps of srinagar and parihaspura by A.Stien

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The I-I (philosophy)

In Yog vashist, an allegorical anecdote is repeated ‘N’ times…
A witness witnesses a crow sitting on a coconut tree.As soon as the crow flew , a coconut fell down on the earth.The witness wrongfully co-relates that because the crow flew from the tree; a coconut fell down.
In reality, if the crow hadn’t flew, the coconut would have still dropped down.

It has been mentioned that it is the wrongful identification with this body(or mind) that is the root cause of all ignorance.

Sage vashist reveals to Rama that the greatest virtue is the renunciation of mind-the ephemeral ‘l’.

This ‘I’ is the reflection of the real unversal ‘I’-the Shiva. Shiva is the supreme ‘I’, the consciousness of the consciousness. The transitory ‘I’, that is according to KS-the contracted form the universal ‘I’- embodies itself or limits itself or creates an feeling of a separate ‘I'(duality or maya)

Out of play, the shiva(consciousness)(experient)who has the nature of Ananda(bliss)-wants to experience ‘Ananda’ in knowledge(pramana) as well as object of knowledge(prameya).But to have these both attributes, there should be time, space and ‘I’.

The supreme ‘I’ because of ‘Bliss’ creates maya, and the only one I.e ‘I’-the shiva-gets contracted , the attributes of universal ‘I’ gets contracted too once it comes In contact(or enters) Maya.

According to KS..following contractions happen to the universal ‘I’- who is originally full of
Chaitanya(consciousness)
Anand(bliss)
Iecha(will)
Gyan(knowledge)
Kriya(action)…

Chaitanya gets contracted and becomes Kala(कला)-limited creativity
Vidya(limited knowledge)
*Raga(attachment)*
Kaal(time)
And Niyati(…this is space)

Because ‘I’ the Shiva(consciousness of consciouness) is the universal first person, it always remains the first person, ‘I'(though limited, once it comes In maya) and the knowledge and object of knowledge remains the 2nd/3rd person. Because ‘I’ loose the unlimited creativity(because of contraction and becomes Kala) , the unlimited knowledge associated with it too gets contracted(vidya)….Then arises Raga(attachment)…..the ‘I’ is in the process of attaching itself to the objects of all the duality or differentiated consciousness. It becomes this whole universe full of sentient(in the form of knowledge and object of knowledge) and insentient beings(in the form of knowledge of insentient)….The universal ‘I’ becomes the ‘I’ of you and me and all beings.

Kaal and niyati…in other words denote the time and space. Space is internal too i.e ChidAkash…it denotes the space inside our mind, where thoughts and feelings rise and fall…

A child remains in the stage of non-duality(and bliss) , till he/she ignorantly superimpose their consciousness on their bodies and entrap themselves as , ‘I am this body ( in time and space)

If we meditate on the transitory ‘I’, and try to find out the source ‘ME’, we realise that we or ‘ME’ is a witness to all the physical and mental activities.We can negate anything and everything that we are witness of, because that is the 2nd/3rd person and the witness (of witness) always remains the first person.

If we delibrate further, we can go up to the void, out of which the mind and its thinking faculity arise. It is not possible to go beyond that void, through the means of mind -which is a synonym of duality.

Vedantis say when we are not aware of ourselves, mind comes into effect instantly; and when we concentrate on mind, it ceases to exist and we remain just as an awareness.But to maintain that awareness is difficult.

‘I’ of supreme consciousness  is non dual in nature so is the transitory (dual) consciousness as long as we maintain/center our awareness on it.

It too is pure awareness as long as we maintain that one-pointednesss. And it becomes truly dual ‘I’ when that awareness is broken, and that ‘I’ becomes the source of all duality…

However….it like shiva-The universal first person always remain the first person.

Abhinavgupta has mentioned Shiva as the ever present ‘NOW’, Shakti as ‘Future’ and past as ‘Pashu’ or ephemeral being.He also mentions that future and past have their origin in ‘NOW’-which is ever present.

This ‘NOW’ is again the synonym of ‘I’ or awareness.

In our lives too, everything is centered around ‘I’. Thinking of past or future is possible only because of ‘NOW’-the ‘I’.without this ‘I’ nothing exists not even ‘NOTHING’ or ‘VOID’.

The ephemeral being as written above denotes himself as ‘I’ and almost everyone belives or has experienced that ‘HE’ has never really changed, though his body has grown old. Somehow the witness(I) of the changes never change.

Subconsciously and linguistically, we have firm faith that the witness(I) is eternal.if someone dies, we say , May he go to heaven’ or VBAJ. What does that mean!

Who will go to heaven or Vaikunth? For example, if I imagine of my death, I immediately picture myself in Heaven/Hell or Vaikunth. Who is it that I am imagining myself to be! I will have no physical body but that does not deter me.Isn’t it that the ‘I’ that I imagine to go to heaven is the witness-whom I know by ‘I’.

It is for that ‘I’ we perform ‘Shraddh’ or other religious practices as we (all human race) have firm belief that the witness will remain, though somewhere else.

The ‘I’ is the first thought that arises when we wake up in the morning and it remains the last when we fall sleep.The dreams too are centered around the ‘I’ and so is the deep sleep.

Shiva- the ‘I’ is sarv-vyapak(ever pervading). He is the awareness of awareness.Revealing and concealing his own self is his play.

But nonetheless , he remains in us as the ever present witness whom we call ‘I’ .

 

(based on the philosophies of Vedant and Kashmir shaivism)

Indian Dogs go back-The story of Hall Transit camp

 

One can see a Graffiti that writes- Indian Dogs go back-widely in Kashmir.

The recent incidents in Kashmir, put a stamp of approval on this graffiti. The incidents of attacking of KP’s in transit camps at Hall, Kupwara and vessu further strengthen this belief of the Jihadi –separatist nexus and their supporters. And turning a blind eye on these incidents puts a question mark on the intentions of PDP-BJP Govt.

Why am I writing this? Well, Please read:

I was told briefly by some of my Kashmiri Pandit(KP) friends, about the incidents that transpired with them, after the killing of Terrorist Burhan Wani, at Kashmir. These employees are working under Prime minister’s package for kashmiri migrants, at Kashmir. They are protesting at jammu and Delhi from last 27 days under the banner of All migrant employee association.

An acquaintance, who resided in the ‘Hall Transit camp’ , and was present in the camp from 8th july 2016-15th july shared his poignant ordeal with me in detail. He requested to keep his name Anonymous. I will address him as Ajay in this write up.

“So, Ajay, what happened with all of you, during the nights of 8-10th july”, I asked him over Phone. There was a pin drop silence from the other side. “May be, he is trying to recollect”, I thought. “Are you there, Ajayji?”, I enquired once again.

He cleared his throat, and thus began his story.

“ The news of Burhan Wani’s death came to us at around 8-8.30 p.m. on 8th july. We were apprehensive that, we may get attacked once again.”, Before he could complete his sentence, I interrupted him and asked curiously, “ Have you been attacked previously too?”

“O Yes. Officially, we have been attacked 11 times, and unofficially, it is 17 times. We were attacked in the past , when Afzal Guru was hanged. Every year, on Deewali, the miscreants hurl stones on our Houses. We do not burst crackers on Deewali, not that we don’t want to, but we get attacked if we do so. Instead we only light up the Diyas.” He informed.

Please continue, I requested him.

“Because of our apprehensions, and our past experience, we locked the main entry door of our colony/camp. At around 9.00 p.m, the loud speaker of the local Mosque urged the Kashmiri Muslims(KM’s) to gather at the Mosque. Within no time, a crowd of 5000 people gathered outside the Mosque. A stringent voice from the Loud speaker of the Mosque directed the crowd to surround our colony.” Said Ajay and he paused for some time.

“At least 4000 so-called-miscreants encircled us and started raising derogatory slogans against us and against India. But the most used slogan was-Indian dogs go back. We were the dogs, as we were the Indians. ” He explained. “ Then, they resorted to indiscriminate stone-pelting .They hurled at least 40-50000 Stones on our quarters. The shrilled tones of their slogans was frightening. We felt like trapped pigeons. Children in the camp were crying out of fright. Some of the children clung to their mothers for comfort and hid their eyes in the bosom of their mothers out of fear. Many women fainted repeatedly out of fear”. His voice was brittle. I could feel uneasy emotions welling up in me as well.

“A rivulet passes near by our transit camp. The Jihadi-Mob diverted the route, and the direction of the stream to our compound, They wanted to flood our camp, so that we would be forced to come out of our colony. And kill us. But they could not succeed in their devilish plans.” He said emotionally.

“The hostile mob tried to break the main Door. Some goons or so-called-jihadis, tried to scale the main wall of the compound. It was at that time, the Police(4-5 numbers) meant for our protection, came forward to our rescue. They opened fire into air in order to scare away the mob. 65 rounds of bullets were fired to scatter the crowd. And it did helped. But briefly”. His voice modulation was sketching out pictures of the incidents in my mind.

“Did the mob run away after the fire into air incident”? I asked curiously. “No. It was a temporary respite. The Mob, re-gathered and started hurling stones at us again, once they realized that the police was out of ammunition. They also hurled glass bottles at us. It was so scary. We thought, they would kill us and rape the ladies of our camp”. He said in chocked voice. “The hostile crowd damaged 8-10 cars too, that were parked inside the premises of the camp.”He complained. “The respite came at around 12.30 a.m in the form of rains. It rained heavily and the belligerent crowd dispersed. At least, for the time being” .He informed.

“Didn’t you tried to contact the administration over phone”?, I asked him. “We called up everyone in our contact list. We contacted the police as well as the administration. But whole administration had collapsed. Or if any Administration, existed, it did so to aggravate our woes. The administration was playing wait and watch policy and had kept the lives of the Kp’s of our camp as a bait. They were missing, when we needed them the most.” He complained.

“To be honest with you, we thought, we would be dead soon. We were like the frightened pigeons. We were concerned about the welfare of the two and a half year child, who was hit by the stone. We were nervous about the condition of a pregnant lady of our camp. We needed a doctor. We needed protection. We needed administration. But we were wronged by all those, who are in power.” Said he in a distressed tone.

“What happened after that”. I inquired.

“Next day i.e 9th july 2016, some policemen came to our compound for our protection, but they left the camp by evening. We were again left with the usual 4-5 policemen. And now they were unarmed.” He informed.

“The local Mosque at around 3.30 p.m once again urged all the KM’s to throw away all the Indians. It was a direct threat to us. But nobody cared for us. Again the Mob swelled by the late evening and encircled our camp. Again they pelted stones on our houses. Again they raised the belligerent slogans. Again they gagged us to leave the valley.” He was getting angry. And I could feel a sense of helplessness in his voice.

“It was after 48 hrs, on 10th july 2016, The Army came to our rescue. The Mob refrained to some extend, but still some stones were hurled on us. We asked about the security situation outside the camp from some people. It was decided that the employees would leave the camp for Jammu in the night. An arrangement was made to send away some 250 odd KP residents of the camp in the dead of night, during the next few days. By 16th july whole of the camp was deserted and the entrance was locked by us.” He informed. “The other camps too in the valley had to face the wrath of the Jihadi-Mob. The camps were stoned at Kupwara and Vessu too. An attempt was made by the miscreants at Sheikhpura too. And at all these places, The administration was caught napping.” He said. “There are around 2000 KP employees stationed at Kashmir. Out of these, 1665 employees were recruited under the PM Package. All the employees under PM Package are protesting against the injustice meted to them.” Ajay Informed.

“What do you want now from Govt”? I sked him.

“we all should be deployed/re-posted at jammu until all the KP’s are rehabilitated at Kashmir. We risked our lives in 2010, we were assured of security, we were assured that a conducive environment will prevail, But during all these years of service at Kashmir, we have noted that the jihadi-fundamentalists are gaining their ground and all their activities are directed towards us. We are the sitting ducks for them. Enough is Enough. At least, we did never raise our voices for Pakistan. We are proud Indians and we would like to remain as Indians.” He asserted.

“we also request the center to release our salaries unconditionally. Our KM counterparts in Kashmir, have got their dues from the state, in spite of being absent from the duty. We, on the other hand, have been told that we won’t get our salaries as we were absent from our duty. Why double standards for us”?, he lamented.

The communication was snapped because of some network issue. But, I guess, he told me, What I ought to know.

I was forced to think , Does it matter that KP’s are the indigenous race of Kashmir, with a known history of 5000 years! Does it matter to Hindus and India that Kp’s have been ousted from Kashmir purely on the basis of Religion! Does India care for the Hindus of Kashmir?

If yes,

Where is India? Sleeping? Or, has the eyes of justice been blinded by the shenanigans of the politicians and their polity and their version of Truth!

Kashmiri Hindus are proud Indians. And in Kashmir, when a Graffiti is painted that says, “Indian Dogs go back”. The Dogs that are referred to are Kashmiri Hindus as well….

The point is, will the grievances of KP employees of Kashmir redressed. Or will they be forced to go back, where they will again hear or see a graffiti, that says:

Indian dogs go back……

Selective targetting of KPs?

What is wrong in showing concern for our brethren in Kashmir?

Just a few days back, when Burhan wani was shot dead in an encounter with the Armed forces, whole of Kashmir valley shut down.They have right to protest but so does the KPs.

Isn’t it true that some transit camps of KPs were stoned by the angry protesters-most of whom happened to be Muslims-and it took hours before they were rescued by the Indian armed forces.May I ask , why were they stoned? May I ask why are they holed up in transit camp?

They are living in transit camps for the same reason due to which 4 lakh(approximately) KPs had to fled in the dead of the night.Should we forget that in 1989-90, KPs were killed in the most gruesome manner, for absolutely no fault of theirs except one.

We were Hindus and represented India…

The KPs in the transit camps were targeted by the so-called-miscreants for exactly the same reason.while, they were targeted by the frenzied mobsters, few KP had sent an S.O.S to their friends and relatives outside the camps.There was complete chaos all around.

The memories of 1990 haunted back to KPs once again.

Many rumours were also spread by the rumour-mongers; and it was very difficult to sieve out the truth from falsehood.Most of the KPs were concerned about the welfare of their friends and relatives back in Kashmir.Different platforms as well as social media was used to apprise the community about the latest situations in Kashmir.And many KPs were doing their bit to spread the information pertaining to KPs in Kashmir.

One such KP was SH.Ashok Koul-a journalist and a senior citizen.He was informed by one of his acquaintance in Kashmir that 2 KPs are reported to be killed.He posted the information on his FB.Later on the news proved to be false.Ashokji apologised publicly as soon as he came to know that the news was a canard.

However, as it proved to be, Ashokji was booked by the Cyber cell for creating rumours and creating ill-will between the two communities of Kashmir.

C’mon, you must be joking! A KP booked for showing concern for his Brethren ! But unfortunately yes! This is what has happened.

Is false-reporting the parameter for booking someone.If yes, why is this exercise implemented only on a KP? Isn’t it true that BJP’s unsucessful contestant from AmiraKadal constituency-Ms.Henna Bhat just a few days claimed on a National News channel that 1 lakh Kashmiri youths have lost their lives during the 27 year long insurgency.Where did she get those figures?

Officially approximately 55 thousands people have lost their lives. The figure includes all civilians, Militants, and Armed forces.Doesn’t that exaggerated figure fuel the communal tension and malign the image of India!

Hurriyat conference and its coitere puts the figure to somewhat 5 lakhs. Has the Cyber cell booked them too? If we look at the Pakistani supporters and their puppets, many of whom are very active on the social media; and the inflated figures provided by them about the so-called atrocities committed on Kashmiris; One will be bewildered. They in fact should be booked on the charges of sedition.But have they?

No.

For such elements, the govt has the policy of healing touch.

What about the wrong-reporting of the Kashmir newspaper ‘Greaterkashmir’. Isn’t it true that in 2014, they had mislead the entire valley, when they claimed 4000 KPs are undertaking the ‘Kaunsarnag-Yatra’. However the fact was that only 28 KPs were going for the Yatra.

I challenge the Cyber cell to book them first.If one goes through the content they have been publishing over the years; it might look as if ‘ISI’ is directly owing it.

If no step has been taking against all these people and organisations; then why only a KP? At least he immediately apologised when he realised the news was fake, unlike Hurriyat and its coitere.

Kashmiri Pandits demand the harassment of SH.Ashok Koul should be stopped immediately or else book all those people who are / have been indulging in the same acts.

If not, take back the case against SH.Ashokji.Concerning about the welfare of our brethren is not a crime.Don’t choke the voice of a KP.

Let there be equilaty of justice for all….

some photos of Rainawari, Srinagar, Kashmir

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Lord Spontaneous (Shivratri-Herath)

The esoteric form of Shiva as Swacchand Bhairava with his consort Agoreshwari is central to Kashmir Shaivism, writes Sunil Raina

Shivaratri, celebrated on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Phalgun, is also called Har-ratri or Herath in Kashmiri. The festival has great religious and spiritual significance as it coincides with the emergence of Shiva tattvas on the physical plane. Shiva, at the early dawn of human creation, thought of Shakti, and in her search, donned the form of 18-armed Swacchandnath Bhairava.

Shakti, frightened by this form of Shiva, cast a glance on a pitcher full of water, wherefrom emerged Vatuk Bhairava and Rama Bhairava to defend her. Shiva at that time changed his form to Jawalalinga. Amazed by Shiva’s new form, Shakti along with her defending bhairavas merged with the Jawalalinga. Since this event is believed to have taken place on triyodashi, Kashmiris celebrate Shivaratri on this day, whereas the rest of the country, celebrated the festival on chaturdashi when the linga was pacified.

The esoteric form of Shiva as Swacchand Bhairava with his consort Agoreshwari is central to Kashmir Shaivism, and has been in existence since medieval times. Swacchand Bhairava signifies the prakasha, or the light consciousness, and Agoreshwari signifies vimarsha or Self-awareness. Swacchanda — as the term is understood — means free, independent and spontaneous and is synonymous with Swatantra. Kashmir Shaivism says that nondual conscious freedom is the only freedom that exists where the union with the Absolute is singular, amounting to you being Shiva, and is not dual.

This esoteric form of Shiva is imagined and deified as:

lWhite, five-faced and wide-eyed lord.

lHe is adorned with serpents and wears a necklace of scorpions which is called gunas. The word gunas in Kashmiri means serpent; Kashmiri women wear gunas bracelets that have at their ends, two serpents or red scorpions gazing at each other. This is symbolic of his instantaneous play with the bonds of soul.

lHe wraps a lion skin around his hip and an elephant hide over his shoulders.

lHe wears a garland of skulls, has a black throat and 18 arms.

His consort, who sits on his right thigh, has the same characteristics. By the power of his autonomy, the lord manifests this form with the highest level of Shakti. The lord has done so to facilitate and allow aspirants to enter the light of impartible that is indivisible or nondual as there is nothing like this in appearance anywhere else.

He is wide-eyed. He is in Bhairava Mudra intent on liberation of souls. He is focused within. He neither opens nor closes his eyes. He is overflowing with consciousness and bliss and has three power tools: icchha or will; jnana or knowledge and kriya or action. It is with these tools that Swacchandnath Bhairava manifests this universe with his fivefold acts of shristi or creation, stithi or sustenance, samhara or dissolution, triodanha or concealing and anugraha or revealing.

lBy his act of shristi, he holds and nourishes the universe in a way that he manifests the universe on the panoramic canvas of his identity.

lStithi is the persistence, the moment in which the consciousness is immersed in its projected content.

lSamhara is retraction; consciousness reabsorbs the content it has projected, essentially turning it towards nondual essence.

lTriodanha is enfolding or concealing of creation with respect to time and space.

l Anugraha is unfolding or revealing projections in the manifest world.

With these fivefold acts, Swacchandnath Bhairava, along with Agoreshwari, create an animate and inanimate world, thus unleashing the divine play of reality. The world is nothing but the mirror image of Swacchandnath Bhairava, and to recognise this unity between the individual soul, is the purpose of a well-meaning life. Shiva spreads the nectar of creativeness; shields the jivatman from torturous transmigration; brings forth the inner consciousness by tearing apart the individual ego, which essentially is ignorance; terminates maya; binds the universe and brings forth bliss, which is unlimited.

The night of Shivaratri is essentially considered to bring supreme awareness of Shivahood on the physical plane among aspirants. It removes nonduality among the souls and pushes the seeker to the higher orbit of Self-realisation. The festival of Shivaratri is celebrated with grandeur and reverence in every Kashmiri Hindu household, where each family member observes a fast and contributes towards making this festival a great success.

 

Written by:-Sunil Raina