I surreptitiously looked into his eyes. They seemed friendly and genuine. Was I going to be able to live the rest of my life with this guy? Was he the Shiva to my Shakti? Can you really decide your life partner after meeting him for just 10 minutes? I always believed
I can’t marry a man I don’t love,
I can’t love a man I don’t trust,
I can’t trust a man I don’t know
Yet I won’t know the man till I’m wedded to him!
And even as I was wondering what I should do, I caught God’s whispers – “Yes! You will be happy together” and decided to give the green signal to my parents.
“She looks very pretty and her family is very cultured. Will she satisfy me as my wife? Is she my Shakti?” And after much more such deliberations, he caught God’s whispers and decided that I would suffice.
We may have had different expectations from our marriage on various fronts. But one aspiration that we (and I am sure almost all men and women who enter marriage) were both very clear about was that we wanted to make our relationship blissful – to be Shiva/Shakti to our spouse and lead our life together as Ardhanareesvara.
Time came when the honeymoon got over and the world intruded. Oh! We never had archaic problems of “Is Shiva greater than Shakti?” or vice versa. But I soon felt that he was not being my Shiva and I was not fulfilling my role as his Shakti to lead our lives as Ardhanareesvara. Yet life went on. There were no major hassles and we reconciled ourselves to the thought that perhaps only Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti were capable of being Ardhanareesvara and that too only sometimes!
But I guess deep down somewhere the yearning for complete bliss refused to die and slowly by repeating the question, the solutions began to appear – through books, during the course of conversations…. someway, answers all the same. I began to read a lot – Paramahansa Yogananda, Aurobindo, Vivekananda – and the picture of seeking inwards in life began to make sense. Slowly the concepts of Masculine energy and Feminine energy; Yin and Yang; Creativity and Acceptance started taking shape. I began to understand that “marriage” between the Masculine and Feminine energies within a person were most important.
Each of us has within ourselves the Masculine energy of Creativity (Shiva or God the Father) and the Feminine energy of Acceptance (Shakti or God the Mother). Creativity makes us ambitious, dynamic and powerful, while Acceptance makes us patient, loving, and understanding. Excess of one over the other is what makes some men feminine and some women manly. People with too much arrogance are normally the ones where the feminine energy of acceptance is lacking. Those who have no ambition remain a doormat all their lives, lacking vital masculine energies. Only living with both these energies in perfect harmony within ourselves would make us Ardhanareesvara. There was no point in looking for satisfaction outside from my spouse, when I was unable to satisfy my own self. And so the exercise began in my life to mould myself to be complete in both Yin and Yang.
Well! All this information was from listening to wise men and reading their thoughts from books. But I was still used to thinking like a woman. So something within me protested – “There seems to be a partiality to men/masculine energies”. I found that even in mythology, the women were expected to tow the line of the men. Even Shakti was bound by the words of Shiva. In reality, even today, it was always the women, even those so-called liberated women, who were immediately ready to accept a change – men took much longer. Why all these discrepancies?
Yet, I did not believe in being a feminist, attacking everything about being a woman. I have never felt inferior to any man. And I have never found the need to question everything feminine. In fact, I always enjoyed being a woman – I am after all what I am.
Would God, if He were made of two distinct energies (masculine and feminine), distinguish between the two? Is one really better than the other (even if we are now not talking of men and women but just masculine and feminine energies)?
Prompt came the reply from God “If the feminine energy ACCEPTANCE is not able to ACCEPT falling in line with the masculine energy of creativity, then it defeats the very purpose of its existence. And if the masculine energy of CREATIVITY is not able to RISE ABOVE the feminine energy of acceptance, then it is crippling its own potential. These energies, by whatever name called, need to be in perfect proportion in order to attain perfect equanimity”.
So what now is ACCEPTANCE? Did it mean that the individual is to accept every decision of the world without questions? NO! Did it mean that we had to accept our spouse’s extra-marital relationships and crude brutal behavior? NEVER! Did it mean that we had to accept to be the one to always give in relationships and not be able to demand anything in return? NOT AT ALL!
Acceptance meant to acknowledge that things that have happened could not be changed. It meant that the PAST has to be accepted as it is. “If the feminine energy ACCEPTANCE is not able to ACCEPT falling in line with the masculine energy of creativity, then it defeats the very purpose of its existence.” Our past has already been CREATED and at this juncture we have nothing else to do but ACCEPT its verdict. No amount of post mortem would bring the dead alive. Only by accepting a weakness to be a weakness, can we take steps to correct the same.
But ACCEPTANCE did not command that we remain buried with the past. We have to live in the present with dynamic creativity. Our ambitions cannot die with the acknowledgement or acceptance of past mistakes (of our own selves or others). “ If the masculine energy of CREATIVITY is not able to RISE ABOVE the feminine energy of acceptance, then it is crippling its own potential.”
Past failures in life were because of the limitations of our yesterdays. If we decide because of those failures to limit our ambitions for the future, then we will be crippling our potential to a happy life. It is possible to rebuild our entire life by accepting what made it go sour, eliminating those tendencies and dynamically creating a new lease of life. We cannot afford to let our creativity to be limited by our acceptance.
However neither of these two energies is capable of functioning without the other. “These energies, by whatever name called, need to be in perfect proportion in order to attain perfect equanimity”. If we refuse to accept unhappy occurrences in our past, ambitious of proving that those events never happened, we will be living in a dream world that is soon likely to crash around us. That kind of foolish positive thinking can hardly be called dynamism. Having accepted past failures if we refuse to move on ahead into the creative present, foolishly thinking that we are accepting God’s verdict to remain unhappy always, then not even He can save us.
And naming them Feminine energy or Masculine energy hardly made it the sole proprietary of that sex alone. So there is no question of being a woman or a man. The question every individual needs to ask himself/herself is Am I Ardhanareesvara? No man and woman can together become Ardhanareesvara and live in total harmony all the time. But every man and woman can harmonize his/her creativity and acceptance to be an Ardhanareesvara – the secret is in having the courage to work towards achieving our dreams and the willingness to accept every result it fetches.
There goes a saying “You see things that are and ask why, I dream of things that never were and ask why not?” Thinking as a woman I kept asking “Why?” Now experiencing the presence of Ardhanareesvara, I ask “Why not?” Approaching our eighth year of marriage, my husband and I with folded arms bow with gratitude to the cosmic dancer – Shiva and Shakti as Ardhanareesvara – for guiding our lives forever!
Written by Gita Krishna Raj | Published in infinithoughts in November 2002