SHIVARATRI represents the “State of Enlightenment”
Raatri – (night): Here raatri does not basically mean night. All of us essentially are in a realm of ignorance (spiritual ignorance/darkness) or Avidya. In Vedanta ignorance is always likened to darkness and Vidya – Spiritual knowledge is likened to Light. For the removal of this Spiritual ignorance, “Shiva” Saakshaatkaara must happen within us. Shiva represents the State of Mukti, Moksha or Enlightenment.
For this to happen we are advised to do Upavaasa. When the body is denied food, the mind is also denied its food and hence it becomes easier to control the extrovertedness of our body and mind.
But essentially UPAVAASA is: UPA means ‘near’; VAASA means ‘to stay’. Hence, Upavaasa is “to stay near the Lord”. To be identified with the Lord and to be ever connected with the Lord almighty is Upavaasa.
JAAGARAN: When we are on the path of contemplation, we have to be alert and vigilant. A spiritual seeker walking along the path of God realization is ever in the ‘Light of Knowledge’ (Alert/Jaagrita), while the whole world of beings are indulging in Samsara (Maya / Ignorance / Darkness). This is the significance of staying awake the whole night on Shivaratri. Hence a spiritual seeker is ever alert, not just on Shivaraatri Day. He ever remains Jaagrita …