Pournami – The Night of the Full Moon
On this Pournami some 2500 years ago, something very tremendous happened after which the world has never remained the same. After almost eight years of very body-destroying efforts, Gautama Siddhartha had become very weak. His body was destroyed almost to a point of death. At this time, he came to the river Niranjana, which was actually just a large stream with knee-height water flowing swiftly. He tried to cross the river, but halfway across, his body was so physically weak that he could not take one more step. But he is not the kind to give up so he just held on to a dead branch that was there and just stood.
It is said that he stood for many hours. We do not know whether he actually stood for many hours or a few moments which seemed like hours in that state of weakness. But at that moment he realized that what he was seeking was after all within himself, so why all this struggle? “All that is needed is absolute willingness, and it is right here. Why am I searching around the world?” When he realized this, he had that little extra ounce of energy to take that step, walk across the river and sit down under the now famous Bodhi tree. He sat down with the determination that, “Unless the ultimate happens to me, I will not move. Either I will get up as an Enlightened Being or I will die in this posture.” And in a moment he was there, because that is all it takes. All it takes is that it should become the only priority. Then it is just one moment.
Gautama has left an unchangeable impression on the world. In his own silent way, he changed the world forever. He brought about a change in the world on the spiritual path; he brought about a different quality in the whole aspect of man’s aspiration to seek something higher. That man’s flowering on that full moon day 2500 years ago has made a significant change for every spiritual seeker all over the world, whoever they are. His presence has become so dominant. A person who grows on the spiritual path cannot ignore Gautama.
Any Pournami is significant because one thing is there is a certain aesthetic quality about it. Anything that you look at, if it is beautiful, your receptivity to that object suddenly becomes a little more, isn’t it? Anything that you consider as ugly, the moment you look at it, your receptivity to that just comes down. So one thing is it has a certain aesthetic quality about it, which definitely improves your receptivity. Another thing is, the planet has moved into a certain position with the moon. The vibration and the feel of the moon is very different when it is full than when it is in other states. And the magnetic pull is also different; the pull of the moon is working upon the surface of the planet which is exposed to the moon. So when there is a natural pull like this, because your spine is vertical, there is a tendency for the energy to go into a natural upsurge of upward movement. Within you, the blood and the prana – the fundamental life energies, flow in a different way because the vibrations have changed. So just as the tides rise more on that night because the gravitational pull of the moon is working on the water more than on other nights, your blood is also being pulled and the circulation of blood increases in your brain.
When this upward movement happens, whatever is your quality, can get enhanced. You may have heard that people who are a little off their mental balance will become more imbalanced on those days because the upsurge in energy enhances whatever is your quality. If you are little imbalanced, it will make you more imbalanced. It is also doing the same to the other qualities in you, but most people may not be sensitive enough to notice it. If you are meditative, it makes you more meditative. If you are love, it makes you more love. If you are fear, it makes you more fear. Whatever is your quality, it enhances that.
So people on the spiritual path, if they are on the meditative path especially, it is more conducive to meditate on those nights because without an upsurge of energy, without a heightened sense of energy, there is no question of awareness. What you call as awareness will come naturally to you when you have a heightened sense of energy in your system. So we want to just make use of that night, of that natural phenomenon which is occurring. On this day it is like you have a free ride of energy and awareness.