Well, Shivaratri is behind us...how was it for you? Would love to hear your comments.
There was a big confusion with some of the Temples in the US celebrating it on March 5th and some celebrating with India on March 6th. Some of the folks I know were fasting on Pradosham (day before) and also Shivaratri. So as it turned out, I fasted both days. I had water and sabudana khichdi on the evening of the first day, the second day was relatively easy - just had juice and sabudana khichdi. Didn't feel too hungry, was relatively energetic, but the speaking voice didn't have the normal energy...
I did the pooja, with lots of flowers from the yard, with some of 2% milk, and also found some oranges in the backyard for the prasad. Pretty good I thought, my own creative way to do pooja of our Lord Shiva. Did my normal pranayama meditation, visualizing on the form of Shivji asking for his blessings. I also have an electronic prayer book with mantras and pictures that I go through every Monday, and I leveraged it both days to immerse myself in Shiva Bhakti.
If I grade myself, I would give myself a C, as there were too many thoughts going about in the head, whereas it would be really good to spend the day in Bhakti thoughts. Also, if I got a headstart in visualizing the form of Shiva in the 10 days before Shivaratri, I think it would be lot more effective. Maybe next year.
I did notice that I tried to ignore things happening around me, as I said the Shiva mantra and focused upon his form at times, and that is the true meaning of Enlightenment, where you can continue the day to day activities living in bliss, not affected by what is around you, but performing your dury. Mine was a bit psuedo, but I got a taste of it neverthless. I noticed that I would go into a trance (half asleep) stage at couple occasions, as I focused upon the mantra - but nothing significant - more related to drowsiness (lack of caffeine). At one time as I sat in the backyard, eyes closed doing my pranayama with the California sun falling upon me, birds chirping away (almost spring here dude!), I hallucinated that I was jogging in a nice ashram like setting - around a pond, and that jolted me back to reality.
I recited the Sri Rudram for the very first time, and found the translation a bit strange and wonder if it is right - strange, very strange. Because this is not what I imagine Shiva to be. But I might be missing the point altogether. I intend putting the word doc in this link for you to read and let me have your comments.
My blog and jyotirlinga site had lots of hits. strangely 939 on day 1 and 948 on day2, a bit amazed at how close the two numbers were. The blog is getting a lot more hits than the jyotirlinga site and I intend to revamp the content of the website - been static for too long, perhaps I could blog into the jyotirlinga site. I intend using DREAMWEAVER to make it a bit more professional looking.
And the visualisation is way better!
Thats all folks - your comments are very much appreciated.
Om Namah Shivay