What is Shakti? As most of the sanskrit terms, it is quite difficult to translate it because it is full of nuances. For convenience sake, it is translated as “Strength”, “Power” or “Creative Power”, and though it is THE feminine principle par excellence, it is present in the whole Universe, being the principle responsible for the action, the movement and the life of all beings. Shakti is therefore the Goddess, the Goddesses, who in Hindu Dharma are named the Devis. She is worshipped specifically in the Shaktism, and generally by all Hindus.
Devis and Devatas (Gods) are our role model for uplifting a life. Because the Hindu Culture knows the secret of the power of womanhood, women have been traditionally respected as the embodiment of the Shakti. Any social evil in the treatment of women in the Indian society has nothing to do with the respectful view on women that Hindus have, and much to do with the shortcomings of certain humans. The westerners who point a finger to the indians to highlight these evils, should look at themselves and reflect: does the western society respect women by considering them primarily objects of desire? Because this is what the western society has done to the women and that most of the western women have accepted, wittingly or unwittingly.
I declare myself quite ignorant. What is the feeling of a drop in front of the vastness of the Ocean? Infinitude, reverence, belongingness, smallness and shelter. Like this and much more is how I feel in front of the Sanathan Dharma.
I write from the guts of my heart, if that is possible. I do not know many terms, I do not know many rituals. I know what I feel deep inside of me, the driving force that is taking me ahead in a life self-felt as meaningful. And that is the sense of being driven by Bhagavan in the path that is the most fulfilling one: the path towards the inner Self.
I am a foreigner in my own western country, unfit for a materialistic society that leaves imprint in all the members and drags far from a sense of Reality towards the gross unreal world of the senses, and the futile pleasures provided by them. I think that most of the statements that this society does, are leading it only towards self-destruction. And whoever imitates the westerners, will meet the same destiny. And that is the pity of my heart for the westernised India, for India that, steming from the core of the Ultimate Reality, has uprooted itself so much.
Women and men have equal importance but different qualities. Being different is a positive enriching characteristic that defines both genders. What we should strive for is to be fully women or to be fully men, for later trascending both human identifications and finalise our paths in the Ultimate Identification with the Atman or Brahman in us, in Advaita Vedanta. This is wisdom for life, and this wisdom is contained in the Hindu Dharma by extoling the complementary roles of men and women as the Divine Purusha and his Prakriti, Shiva and Durga, Krishna and Radha, Rama and Sita, etc. :
- Krishna and Radha are the role models of Love: the bhakti (devotion) to them, serves as a reflection in the mirror within for the Eternal Love between the jiva and the Paramatman and the pangs of the heart for the separation of the Beloved in the dualistic Vaishnavism approaches, for instance.
- Shiva is the Conciousness as the masculine inactive power and the Shakti His creative power who creates action and movement. Both principles are present in the Universe including in our bodies, so in Tantra for example, these complementary roles aim to unify Shiva and Shakti in the Final Union, either within oneself, or with a partner, in sacred ways and secret sacred techniques that the materialistic sex-driven west has misunderstood, distorted and de-sacralised to fit in its narrow worldly life.
There is still hope, and much hope for Indian society and hindu values while Navaraatri continues to be celebrated. In fact, Hindu Dharma is the unique living tradition in which Bhagavan is revered both as a feminine principle as well as a masculine one. Navaraatri: the nine Forms of Maa Durga celebrated in nine consecutive days devoted to the Shakti and Her various forms, seeking Her protection, prosperity, wisdom, health and happiness in general. The celebration of the Goddess and Her infinite aspects is the celebration of the Womanhood in its Real sense: motherhood, shelter, courage, compassion, infinite love, anger for the injustices… These and many more are the feminine characteristics that the Goddess reminds us in this celebration.
Durga, my Mother, mySelf in Eternal Love with my Lord Shiva…
Let´s extole the true features of being a woman. Let the Goddess Be in us.!