Hindus will observe Maha Shivraatri today in the conventional manner by engaging in elaborate, but symbolic rituals coupled with fasting, congregational worship and twenty four hours vigil.
Maha Shivraatri which means the “Great Night of Shiva” is a sacred occasion for the Hindu. It is a moment of reflection and introspection and recommitment to spirituality.
The occasion allows an opportunity to remind oneself of the need for spirituality, which is the pursuit of truth which the Hindu views as the Reality of life. The ultimate goal of life is to merge with that Truth or Reality. It is to achieve God-Realisation or Shivahood.
The Hindu highest school of philosophy (Vedanta), or more particularly the Advaita School of Vedanta defines the real as Satyam, Jnanam, Anantam, Brahman. Eternal Existence is Satyam or truth. Jnanam is awareness or pure consciousness. Anantam indicates infinitude.
Brahman connotes the real. Aanandam Brahman is yet another definition of truth. It means that the Real is Bliss and no being is alien to bliss. Summing up all these definitions Akhanda Sat Chit Anandam or the infinite existence-knowledge-bliss is the real (God) and Vedanta philosophy deals with it, which is the highest and central focus in the sacred observance of Maha Shivraatri.
A blessed Shivraatri to all!