I follow the Hindu festivals, much as I observe the Jewish holidays, Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas. Any excuse to pray and meditate! Any pretext for bringing myself into the Presence of this moment! The cycle of holidays through the year elevates human life, takes us out of the pedestrian and provokes reflection.
So today, Feb 12, is a collision of Shiva's Great Night (Shivaratri) and his wedding to Parvati with Abraham Lincoln's birthday. Shiva is the god of dissolution, the one in whom the Universe sleeps after destruction and before the next cycle of creation. Abraham Lincoln is the president who dissolved the bonds of slavery. Lincoln was forced to use the destruction of war to do it, which weighed heavily on his heart. What he wanted was for all individuals to have equal dignity of prerogative.
So this, for me, is a day to reflect on emptiness and compassion, freedom and justice, union and choice.