Union

BBC Radio 4 Something understood https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/b091s7pv

In Radio 4’s Something Understood episode on the Divine feminine, Remona Aly states, ‘Only together can both men and women bring balance, justice and understanding of the divine universal messages.’ She quotes Camille Helminsky in her book, Women in Sufism, says,
“Women and men need to stand together in the light. The masculine attributes of strength and determination also belong to women. The feminine attributes of receptivity and beauty (me-creativity) also belong to men.
As we look to see the divine in each other, encouraging each other to rise to the fullness of his or her own divine nature, we push against our own limitations until those limits dissolve and a gift unfolds.”
Remona continues, ‘That gift seeks us. A return to the sacred feminine essence can restore the balance, heal the wounds of misogyny and reconnect us to our humanity….. The divine feminine has many faces, the nurturing love of a tender mother, the power of a dynamic leader, the enlightened wisdom of a sage. Yet the mystery prevails. It forms an essential part of the ongoing search for meaning, origin and return to the divine, All-encompassing essence.’

Ardhanarishvara represents the synthesis of masculine and feminine energies of the universe (Purusha and Prakriti) and illustrates how Shakti, the female principle of God, is inseparable from (or the same as, according to some interpretations) Shiva, the male principle of God. The union of these principles is exalted as the root and womb of all creation. 

In Downward Dogs and Warriors – Wisdom Tales for Modern Yogis, Zo Newell tells the story of how Shiva married Sati (Pali word for  mindfulness/remember) Daksha’s daughter. Shiva arrives at their wedding with matted hair, body covered in ashes and Daksha horrified, wants to cancel the wedding. Sati, not deceived by appearances, is able to recognise him and to please her, Shiva shows himself in magnificent aspect. So the marriage proceeds but Daksha holds a grudge and insults the couple not inviting them to important fire ceremony. Sati doesn’t believe Her father means to not invite them, so goes anyway and is further insulted and in place of no other sacrifice flings herself onto the fire.

Shiva furious tears his hair out and that hair turns into Virabhadra the personification of righteous anger and the noble impulse to defend the innocent- me yesterday. Virabhadra then destroys Daksha. Shiva Arrives and feeling compassion for Daksha grabs the head of a goat and brings him back to life but then wanders for years mourning Sati.

Sati is reborn as Parvati the daughter of Mount Himalaya. Her name meaning mountain. Determined to win his love she adopts an ascetics to rival his own. Shiva, in Disguise, taunts her and she preserves her equanimity until he insults Shiva. But then she is so passionate that his reserve is melted. He reveals himself and god and goddess are reunited.

One of Shiva’s devotees is jealous of their closeness tries to worship him by circumambulating his body but Shiva holds Pārvatī so closely not even an insect could get between them. Their perfect unity, as the complementary halves of one whole is visually expressed in the form of Ardhanarishvara inseparable union of shiva and parvati god and goddess. The embodiment of non-duality.

Shiva (/ˈʃiːvə/Sanskrit: शिव, ISOŚiva, lit. ”the auspicious one”) also known as Mahadeva(lit. ”great god”)[7][8][9] is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. He is the supreme being within Shaivism, one of the major traditions within contemporary Hinduism.[10][11]

Shiva is known as “The Destroyer” within the Trimurti, the Hindu trinity that includes Brahma and Vishnu.[1][12] In Shaivism tradition, Shiva is one of the supreme beings who creates, protects and transforms the universe.[7][8][9] In the Shaktism tradition, the Goddess, or Devi, is described as one of the supreme, yet Shiva is revered along with Vishnu and Brahma. A goddess is stated to be the energy and creative power (Shakti) of each, with Parvati (Sati) the equal complementary partner of Shiva.[13][14] He is one of the five equivalent deities in Panchayatana puja of the Smarta tradition of Hinduism.[10]

According to the Shaivism sect, the highest form of Ishvar is formless, limitless, transcendent and unchanging absolute Brahman,[15] and the primal Atman (soul, self) of the universe.[16][17][7]There are many both benevolent and fearsome depictions of Shiva. In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash[1] as well as a householder with wife Parvati and his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya. In his fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. Shiva is also known as Adiyogi Shiva, regarded as the patron god of yogameditation and arts.[18][19][20]

The iconographical attributes of Shiva are the serpent around his neck, the adorning crescentmoon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the third eye on his forehead, the trishula or trident, as his weapon, and the damaru drum. He is usually worshipped in the aniconicform of lingam.[2] Shiva is a pan-Hindu deity, revered widely by Hindus, in IndiaNepal and Sri Lanka.[21][22]

Parvathi

Parvati (Sanskrit: पार्वती, IASTPārvatī), Uma (Sanskrit: उमा, IASTUmā) or Gauri (Sanskrit: गौरी, IASTGaurī) is the Hindu goddess of fertility, love, beauty, marriage, children, and devotion; as well as of divine strength and power.[5][6][7] Known by many other names, she is the gentle and nurturing aspect of the Supreme Hindu goddess Adi Parashakti (Shivashakti) and one of the central deities of the Goddess-oriented Shakti sect called Shaktism. She is the Mother goddessin Hinduism,[1][8] and has many attributes and aspects. Each of her aspects is expressed with a different name, giving her over 100 names in regional Hindu stories of India.[9] Along with Lakshmi and Saraswati, she forms the trinity of Hindu goddesses (Tridevi).[10]

Parvati is the wife of the Hindu god Shiva – the protector, the destroyer and regenerator of the universe and all life.[11] She is the daughter of the mountain king Himavan and queen Mena.[12]Parvati is the mother of Hindu deities GaneshaKartikeyaAshokasundari. The Puranas also referenced her to be the sister of the preserver god Vishnu.[13][14] She is the divine energy between a man and a woman, like the energy of Shiva and Shakti. She is also one of the five equivalent deities worshipped in Panchayatana puja of the Smarta Tradition of Hinduism.[citation needed]

Parvati is a form of Shakti. In Shaivism, she is the recreative energy and power of Shiva, and she is the cause of a bond that connects all beings and a means of their spiritual release.[15][16] In Hindu temples dedicated to her and Shiva, she is symbolically represented as the argha. She is found extensively in ancient Indian literature, and her statues and iconography grace Hindu temples all over South Asia and Southeast Asia.[17][18]

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