Trinidad and Tobago: On the occasion of Maha Shivaratri 2021, which is celebrated in India, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad issued a statement.
On this sacred day of Maha Shivaratri, I join with all who observe and participate in this special day’s various traditions within Hinduism. Maha Shivaratri, dedicated to the Hindu deity, Lord Shiva, is a highly promising Hindu observance worldwide.
Unlike many other Hindu festivals, Shivaratri is a solemn event, most known for its introspective focus, fasting, a meditation on Lord Shiva, and an all-night devotion at Shiva temples. It is a self-reflective occasion where one looks inwards, deep into themselves rather than outside, for the answers they seek.
Many devotees will engage in an all-night vigil and prayer as they mark the night as overcoming darkness and ignorance in one’s life and the world through devotion to Shiva. Offerings of fruits, among others, are made to Lord Shiva while some perform all-day fasting, and others may perform meditative yoga.
In temples, the sacred mantra of “Om Namah Shivaya” is recited throughout the day and into the night as many seek the introspection and answers that come with it.
According to one story, this is the night when Lord Shiva performs the divine dance of creation, preservation, and destruction. Today we see many Hindus and Non-Hindus alike observing this day as it gives us all an opportunity to engage in some much-needed introspection into ourselves.
In this modern world’s fast-paced lifestyle, we are often caught up with work and responsibilities and forget the importance of introspection. No doubt, today, amid this ongoing global pandemic, we can all do with the peace and tranquillity that meditation brings and the revelations about oneself that come with it.
We learn so many new things about ourselves during self-introspection that we never knew of before. On this day, I, too, will be engaging in some self-introspection, and I urge others to do the same. In doing so, only then will we truly understand the personal challenges we may be facing. Often, we find ourselves spotting and pointing out the problems in everyone else’s lives but our own.
Self-introspection and meditation are practices we can all benefit from as it reveals our true selves to ourselves. We see and learn more about ourselves through meditation and self-introspection.
This time is an opportunity for us to all remember what remains most important to us. As I said before, during this ongoing pandemic, we have seen that what we value and treasure the most are what we have always had. Health, family, friends, and the simplest of interactions with our loved ones are all that we have grown to value above all.
When we truly realize that these are the things that matter the most to us, only then will we realize how hard we must fight to protect these very said things. However, the most important thing to me has always been your future, your children’s future, and the chance of creating a better future for them than the one we had.
Today, as we engage in prayer, I ask that you keep Trinidad and Tobago in yours. We as a nation continue to face difficult, uncertain times, but we as a people have that strength to overcome. We have found that strength from within, in each other, or in the prayer which has all led us this far. The Lord did not bring us this far only to abandon us, so we must never forget that our faith must be the strongest when the challenges become the heaviest.
In closing, as we all chant our mantras, make our offerings, and practice our self-introspection for this Maha Shivaratri, we know that with the Lord, we have the potential to overcome and achieve anything we set our minds to.