Warning: include(domaintitles/domaintitle_cdn.exoticindia.php3): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/exotic/newexotic/header.php3 on line 921

Warning: include(): Failed opening 'domaintitles/domaintitle_cdn.exoticindia.php3' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php') in /home/exotic/newexotic/header.php3 on line 921

Subscribe for Newsletters and Discounts
Be the first to receive our thoughtfully written
religious articles and product discounts.
Your interests (Optional)
This will help us make recommendations and send discounts and sale information at times.
By registering, you may receive account related information, our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. Please read our Privacy Policy for details.
By subscribing, you will receive our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. All emails will be sent by Exotic India using the email address [email protected].

Please read our Privacy Policy for details.
Sign In  |  Sign up
Your Cart (0)
Best Deals
Share our website with your friends.
Email this page to a friend

Ardhanarishvara in Art and Philosophy

Article of the Month - June 2005
Viewed 58829 times since 2nd Oct, 2008
One of the early images from Mathura
One of the early images from Mathura

Ardhanarishvara is one of the most prevalent forms of the Divine in Indian art since around the beginning of the Christian era or a little before. The earliest Ardhanarishvara images are reported from the period of Kushanas (circa 35-60 AD). A few scholars discover an Ardhanarishvara type figure on the obverse of a largely defaced Kushana coin from this period, which they think could be the ever first reported Ardhanarishvara image. The coin seems to have the Shiva icon but as Ardhanarishvara it has little approval. It is instead a mid-first century Kushana stele, now with the Government Museum, Mathura, which as the earliest reported example of the Ardhanarishvara form in art has greater unanimity.

In the Rigveda and the subsequent body of Indian thought, there is a lot suggestive of the unity of male and female elements, which instruments creation. However, besides such symbolic dimensions, the Vedic literature makes no direct allusion to the Ardhanarishvara form or to a term suggestive of such androgynous form. Hence, there are scholars who claim that the Ardhanarishvara form is an art perception, a product of man's queer imagination, a quaint anatomy seeking to reconcile the ever conflicting male and female elements into one Divine form.


The Biological Union of the Outward Duality


It is true that the Ardhanarishvara-related canonical literature and iconographic prescriptions appeared much after the Ardhanarishvara image was discovered in art, but the concept of the two elements- the male and the female, merging into each other for effecting creation was an ancient one. This apparent visual fallacy of arts has, thus, not only a deeper meaning and cosmic significance but also its roots in the ancient texts and creation-related metaphysics. More significantly, the Ardhanarishvara form represents the biological unity of the outward duality, which the Indian mind has always perceived in all things and in the entire creative process. The Vedas have perceived this biological unity in several dually existing things- Agni and Soma, Stri and Punam, Kumara and Kumari, Pita and Mata, Linga and Yoni, Mahagna and Mahagni, Prana and Aprana, Nara and Nari, Heaven and Earth and so on. The Rigvedic perception of 'Prana' and 'Bhuta'- the life and the matter, which the Rigveda calls Hiranyagarbha, is, however, more explicit and better defined. In the Hiranyagarbha analogy, 'hiranya' or gold is the 'Prana', the life and 'garbha' the 'Bhuta', the matter. The Rigveda observes that it (the cosmos? or existence?) was the single egg but split into two- the 'Prana' and 'Bhuta'. The Rigveda does not elaborate the point any farther but its symbolism moves into two apparent directions. Egg contains both, the life and the matter. When it splits, both fall apart. Besides the lifeless matter, the Egg also yields the matter with life. The Rigveda calls them as 'aprana' and 'saprana'. The matter with life has life but is just the single Egg, the inherent aspect of the female, as by itself it is unable to farther the creative process and it is thus only the inactive 'Bhuta'. It is only after the male energy fertilizes it that it becomes the Golden Egg- the life-bearing one, the Hiranyagarbha of the Rigveda. And, now the Hiranyagarbha- the 'Bhuta' combined with 'Prana', the matter energized by spirit, takes to its own form and defines creation. The Ardhanarishvara form is, thus, the Golden Egg- the visual perception of the Rigvedic analogy of the Hiranyagarbha.

Ardhanarishvara: The Cosmic Seed

The Ardhanarishvara is, thus, the Cosmic Seed, which is both, the pistil and the anther, the Pita and the Mata, the Prana and the Aprana, the Nara and the Nari, the Bhuta and the Prana, the matter and the spirit, the Prakriti and the Purusha and so on, that is, the ultimate perception of the biological union of the outward duality. It is the assertion of the fact that the creation is instrumented only when duality merges into absolute oneness. The single one, even when he is the mighty Shiva, or even two- the male and the female, unless they merge into inseparable oneness, can not instrument creation. For effecting creation, the one is required to split into two and the two to merge into one. The Ardhanarishvara form is constant, which affirms the continuity and the recurrence of the creative process, as the fusion of pistil and anther creates Seed- the Golden Egg and the Seed splits into the pistil and anther and thus the procreative process goes on endlessly.

Shiva Shakti
Shiva Shakti

For effecting the creation, the fusion has to be absolute, that is, not only the male and female elements have to merge into oneness but also their act, which the scriptures have identified as copulation, in which all distinctions, even the femaleness and the maleness of the agents, vanish. Copulation has been, hence, considered as the absolute union and the proven instrument of procreation. The bride and her groom also perform one act- the marriage, but in the process their femaleness and maleness do not melt as they do in the act of copulation. Hence, marriage only partially creates. It creates at the most a bond. Copulation creates the seed, which is both, the male and the female, and puts the wheel of creation on move. The act of copulation thus represents not only the androgynous state of mind but, if reduced to a form, also the hermaphroditism of the Ardhanarishvara form. The Matsya Purana, and with a little deviation the Linga Purana, perceive Ardhanarishvara as the composite form of Linga and Yoni. The Ardhanarishvara in such form is suggestive of the same procreative act of copulation, which creates Seed. Otherwise also, Shiva and Parvati- his consort, are perceived as the timeless Linga and Yoni and as symbolizing the unending act of procreation. Thus, the Ardhanarishvara form is not only the Cosmic Seed but it also represents the unending procreative act- the Cosmic Copulation.


Ardhanarishvara: a Combination of Two or the Extension of One?


The term 'Ardhanarishvara' is a combination of three words- 'ardha', 'nari' and 'ishvara', meaning respectively, 'half', 'woman' and 'Lord' or 'God', that is, Ardhanarishvara is the Lord whose half is woman, or who is half woman. Some scholars interpret the term as meaning 'the half male' who is Shiva and 'the half female' who is Parvati. Such interpretations are suggestive of 'dveta', the duality of existence, and thus contradict the Vedic stand in the matter. Such contentions also contradict the Shaiva philosophy of 'adveta', which is very emphatic in its assertion that He alone is the cause of the entire existence, as it is by His will and out of Him that the cosmos came into being. In the Shaivite hymn- Ekohum bahusyami (Shiva Purana), that is, I am One, but wishes to be many, there echoes the Rigvedic perception of the single egg splitting into 'Bhuta' and 'Prana'. Otherwise also, the Vedas widely favor the principle of monogenic existence. Besides its emphasis on the unity of the outward duality, the Rigveda acclaims, 'He, who is described as male, is as much the female and the penetrating eye does not fail to see it'. The Rigvedic assertion is explicitly defined. The male is only so much male as much he is female and vice versa the female is only as much female as much she is male. The maleness and femaleness are the attributes contained in one frame.

Purusha and Prakriti
Purusha and Prakriti


This Vedic symbolism reverberates also in several Puranas. The related myth in the Skand Purana presents it quite characteristically. Brahma asks Rudra to divide himself; and thereupon Rudra, the Shiva, divides himself into two halves, one male and the other female. At another place, the Skand Purana mentions Parvati as asking Shiva, 'Let me reside in you all the while embracing you limb by limb', that is, Parvati merges into Shiva, limb to limb, and the duality is eliminated. The Shiva Purana puts it somewhat differently. Brahma, in the process of creation, creates first a number of males, the Prajapatis, and commands them to create other beings. Prajapatis, however, fail in doing so. The worried Brahma then meditates upon Maheshvara. Thereupon Maheshvara appears before him. He has the composite form of male and female and it is out of this composite form that the creation comes up with the desired pace.


The Male-Female Equation in Contemporary Contexts

The Vedic perception of the male, being half female, and the vice versa, has wider approval of the modern scientists, primarily the behavioral analysts and psychologists. Somewhat controversial but quite novel and a totally different kind of thinker of the present era, Acharya Rajnish, widely known as Osho, discovers in the Ardhanarishvara form great mysticism and cosmic significance. To him, the Ardhanarishvara form shows that the line dividing God's creation as male and female is only superfluous. The creation is essentially composite in its character and the Ardhanarishvara form is its best manifestation. To him, the Ardhanarishvara image represents Him in His absolute form and is hence more sacred and His worship absolute and far more accomplished. Thus, even on the mundane level, the Ardhanarishvara form is the perception of the unity of the conflicting male-female elements. This perception is essentially different from that of the Western world, which perceives in Cupid and Psyche, their love-god and his spouse, the inseparable union of the male and female but such union is essentially of the two in two frames. In Indian thought, as it manifests in the Ardhanarishvara form, this union is in the single frame and with cosmic magnification. A Greek myth also comes out with a hermaphroditic form. Salamacis, a nymph, falls in love with Hermophroditus, the son of Aphrodite. After Hermophroditus turns down her proposal, Salamacis prays gods to put her into his body. And, thus, the two join limb to limb into a single frame. This Greek hermaphroditic form has mythical dimensions but it is neither divine nor cosmic or procreative, such as is the Ardhanarishvara form.

Shiva as Ardhanarishvara

Ardhanarisvara Vishnu+Lakshmi (Kashmir Style)
Ardhanarisvara Vishnu+Lakshmi (Kashmir Style)

Most of the Ardhanarishvara myths, as well as the Ardhanarishvara form in arts, except very rarely, as the mention of the term Vallabhavardham in the Bhavishya Purana, or a few late miniatures from the northern India, center around Lord Shiva. Vallabhavardham, a largely Vaishnavite term synonymous to Ardhanarishvara (Vallabh: Vishnu; vardham: woman), seems to have been conceived by devotees of Vishnu and the same might have inspired the miniatures seeking to represent Vishnu in Ardhanarishvara form. Such miniatures come primarily from Kashmir like northern belt where Vaishnavism had been in greater prevalence. Under the related mythology as also by their number, Vishnu's Ardhanarishvara forms, though a rarity, are almost insignificant.

The tradition perceives Ardhanarishvara mainly as the form of Shiva who it perceives as Sadashiva, Adishiva and Adipurusha. As has been discussed heretofore, Ardhanarishvara is the timeless Cosmic Seed, the endless procreative process and the existence in its composite character, the aspects which are the attributes of Shiva who is the timeless Linga, the all enlivening Prana and the inexhaustible Bhuta. As the Rigveda has it, Rudra, the Shiva, is Agni, who as Prana energizes all things. He is without a beginning as also without an end. As Bhuta- the Prakriti or matter, is only his aspect, he is the entire existence. He creates out of him and is thus himself the creation. He is thus male as also the female. The Vaishnava myth is different. It is suggestive of duality- the dveta, as Vishnu is not the creation but its sustainer. The sustainer and the sustained are two entities. He is also only the male. He has the female- his consort, though in inseparable union, yet she does not merge into his being. Lakshmi, as herself or as Sita or Radha, is with him or with Rama or Krishna, but they are not in them inseparably, as is Shakti in Shiva. Each of the born ones is the single egg- the male or the female, and so are Brahma and Vishnu. Shiva, the Maheshvara, is the total- the Sakala and Nishkala, the Linga and Alinga, the Rupa and Arupa, the Atman and Maya, the Sansar and Nirvana, all that is timed and all that is beyond time, the born and the unborn, the manifest and the unmanifest, the spirit and the matter, the ephemeral and the transcendental, the masculine and the feminine. The Indian mind believes that Lord Shiva is the first of all beings and the root of all elements. He was always and was the only one. Being the first, he is the Adishiva, and being always, he is the Sadashiva. Both as the Adishiva and the Sadashiva, Shiva has inherent in his being the male and the female, the positive and the negative, and thus his Ardhanarishvara form.

Sources of Ardhanarishvara Image

Shiva image- both the anthropomorphic and the symbolic Linga, has the pre-Vedic emergence. Excavations at Indus sites have revealed images of Shiva as Mahayogi and Pashupati and the Linga type objects suggestive of Shiva's manifestation as Linga and the cult of Linga worship. There also revealed his anthropomorphic images with prominent upward phallus suggestive of the significance of Linga in his worship cult. Shiva's subsequent Urdhalinga image was only its developed form. In two of its verses, the Rigveda is critical of the phallus worship cult, which suggests its prevalence in the non-Aryan tribes. Besides, such cult of phallus worship was prevalent also in other parts of the world. The remains of Hellenistic civilization also reveal traces of phallus worship. The ancient Egypt perceived its god Osiris in the form of Linga and worshipped it. These early images of Shiva do not so much reveal an iconographic perception of him but reveal quite significantly his divine dimensions, out of which developed his Sadashiva and Maheshvara and consequently the Ardhanarishvara forms. In these early images, he is the Linga, the Cosmic Seed, the root of procreation and thus himself the creation; as Pashupati, the keeper of herds, he is the sustainer of the born ones as also of the fields that fed them, that is, the sustainer of the 'jeevas' and 'ajeeva', the Prana and Aprana; and, as Mahayogi, he is the Cosmic Self, the means of transcendence, that is, he is the Sansar as also the Nirvana.

The proper Shaivite iconography emerges, however, during the post-Vedic era. The earliest ones to emerge were his Sadashiva and Maheshvara forms. The four-armed towering graceful figure with broad chest and elegant Jatajuta characterized these forms. The majestic bull was his vehicle. Added to his iconography, the bull gave to it a new dimension. Now the Maheshvara with his bull was Vrashavaha Shiva. The usual two-armed Vrashavaha Shiva had one of his hands rest on the bull. Parashiva, Sadashiva, Maheshvara and Vrashavaha Shiva are primarily the forms of the Saumya Shiva. Strangely, his consort Parvati does not emerge in this early phase of Shaivite images but his Ardhanarishvara form does. Obviously, even in arts, the Ardhanarishvara form was not an amalgam of the two forms but rather an independent perception of Shiva, which represented him in his totality. Practically, the iconography of the female part of the Ardhanarishvara was discovered in the form of Mother Goddess, as by then the Brahmanical pantheon did not have female deity icons. Inspired by the Vedic perception of Shiva as Rudra, the furious Archer and the tamer of animals, there emerged also the Raudra Shiva- Shiva in his violent forms, but his Ardhanarishvara form did not borrow any of its features from the Raudra Shiva, perhaps because the Raudra and feminineness could not go together. The Ardhanarishvara images discovered their male iconography in the forms of Saumya Shiva, mainly Sadashiva and Maheshvara and the female largely in the Mother Goddess.

Iconographic Dimensions of Ardhanarishvara

Siva, the Lord Whose Half Is Woman (Ardhanarisvara)
Mankot School
Western Punjab Hills
Opaque watercolor on paper
21.3 X 20.5 cm
Siva, the Lord Whose Half Is Woman (Ardhanarisvara)
Mankot School, Western Punjab Hills, c.1710-20
Opaque watercolor on paper, 21.3 X 20.5 cm






Barring a few exceptions, the right half of the Ardhanarishvara images comprises of male anatomy and the left that of the female. A few images, obviously influenced by Shakta cult, have a vice versa placing of the male and female parts also.






Ardhanarishvara with Ganesha
Ardhanarishvara with Ganesha






As regards the height perspective, dimensions of face and other parts, the male anatomy, and more so in sculptures where bolder forms are chisel's need, is the determinant, but in paintings, which look for the softer aspects, the female anatomy is found dominating the entire figure.









Despite a similar anatomy of the two parts, the female part imparts the feeling of elegance and tenderness. An elegantly modeled prominent breast is the essentiality of the female anatomy. The Ardhanarishvara image may be endowed with two, three, four, six or eight arms. Arms more than eight are the attribute of Raudra Shiva who has been conceived with as many as a thousand arms. The two-armed image is the Ardhanarishvara in lalita posture, the beautiful one in absolute ease. The female hand carries either a mirror or nilotpala, a blue lotus. The male hand either rests on the bull or is let loose below the thigh. It may also be in abhaya-mudra, the gesture imparting fearlessness. When three-armed, one is on the female side and the two on male.

Now one of the two male arms is in abhaya or varada and other one carries a trident or rod. In four-armed figures on male side it is almost the same, but the second female hand carries variously the mirror, nilotpala or pot. The male in six and eight-armed figures carries, besides the abhaya and varada, various weapons and the drum and the female, besides the mirror, nilotpala and pot, also the parrot.



Abhanga posture of Ardhanarishvara
Abhanga posture of Ardhanarishvara







The Ardhanarishvara images have broadly three body postures- the abhanga, a posture without a curve;







Tribhanga posture of Ardhanarishvara
Tribhanga posture of Ardhanarishvara








the tribhanga,







Atibhanga posture of Ardhanarishvara
Atibhanga posture of Ardhanarishvara







a posture with three mild curves; and, the atibhanga, a posture with extreme curves.







The Male Female Divine Unity
The Male Female Divine Unity

Similarly, four of the gestures of the Ardhanarishvara images- abhaya, varada, vyakhyana and katyavalambita, are more prevalent. In abhaya, the upper right hand is held in posture imparting fearlessness. In varada, the lower right hand imparts varada. In vyakhyana, the fingers of right and left hands join in a circular knot defining the interpretive posture. And, in katyavalambita posture, the right arm is placed resting and sometimes as suspending over the 'katya' or waist. The distinction of the two aspects is discovered more in the style of costume and adornment. The male part has Jatamukuta, while the female a well dressed coiffure. The female part wears upon its ear an impressive ring, while the male may have an earring made of scorpion or snake. The half of the forehead, towards the male side, has half eye and to it towards the left joins a half tilaka. The left half of the figure, the female part, is in sari, while the upper half towards the right is either naked or is covered with elephant hide of tiger skin. Its lower half, usually up to knees, is covered by a loincloth comprising of lion skin. Similar distinction is perceptible in other things seeking to define the male and female aspects of the Divine Being.


References and Further Reading

  • Rigveda: (ed.) Vishvabandhu: Vishveshvananda Vedic Research Institute, Hoshiyarpur.
  • Bhavishya Purana: Venkateshvara Press, Bombay.
  • Skand Purana: Venkateshvara Press, Bombay.
  • Linga Purana: (ed.) J. L. Shashtri, Delhi.
  • Neeta Yadav: Ardhanarishvara in Art and Literature: New Delhi.
  • V. S. Agrawal: Shiva Mahadeva, The Great God : Varanasi.
  • Ellen Goldberg: The Lord Who Is Half Woman: New York.
  • Stella Kramrisch: The Presence Of Shiva: Delhi.
  • O. P. Mishra: The Mother Goddess in Central India: New Delhi.
  • C. Krishnamurthi and K. S. Ramchandran: Ardhanarishvara in South Indian Sculpture (Indian Historical Quarterly): 36:69 - 74.
Post a Comment
  • Many Thanks to Thee for delving into the sacred Ardhanarishvara scriptures...I must say, however, that this article left much to be desired in it's reverence for the Feminine Principle of the Divine
    by Rosmarinus on 19th Aug 2005
  • Thank you for this wonderful Divine article which clearly explains the Female and male creation of this universe. Keep up the Good work
    by Dr.Kurri Pakirareddy on 11th Jul 2005
  • this article stuns me well !
    by laks on 21st Jun 2005
  • Thank you for this great article !
    It helps me understand the male-female aspect of the Buddhist deities, especially the Kannon, Guanyin.

    Gabi Greve, Japan

    by Gabi Greve on 17th Jun 2005
Thank you for really great prices compared to other sellers. I have recommended your website to over 40 of my classmates.
Kimia, USA
I am so happy to have found you!! What a wonderful source for books of Indian origin at reasonable cost! Thank you!
Urvi, USA
I very much appreciate your web site and the products you have available. I especially like the ancient cookbooks you have and am always looking for others here to share with my friends.
Sam, USA
Very good service thank you. Keep up the good work !
Charles, Switzerland
Namaste! Thank you for your kind assistance! I would like to inform that your package arrived today and all is very well. I appreciate all your support and definitively will continue ordering form your company again in the near future!
Lizette, Puerto Rico
I just wanted to thank you again, mere dost, for shipping the Nataraj. We now have it in our home, thanks to you and Exotic India. We are most grateful. Bahut dhanyavad!
Drea and Kalinidi, Ireland
I am extremely very happy to see an Indian website providing arts, crafts and books from all over India and dispatching to all over the world ! Great work, keep it going. Looking forward to more and more purchase from you. Thank you for your service.
We have always enjoyed your products.
Elizabeth, USA
Thank you for the prompt delivery of the bowl, which I am very satisfied with.
Frans, the Netherlands
I have received my books and they are in perfect condition. You provide excellent service to your customers, DHL too, and I thank you for that. I recommended you to my friend who is the director of the Aurobindo bookstore.
Mr. Forget from Montreal
Subscribe to our newsletter and discounts
Share with friends
Links Related to
"Contrarily metaphysicians and theologians perceived his form as it manifested in the Upanishads and Puranas….The ‘Advaita’ philosophy also contends that the entire Creation is just the extension of One…. Dance illustrates one of the ever-first cosmic acts with which Shiva seems to have tamed violent motion and separated from it rhythm, moves that communicated emotions and states of mind – human mind and the cosmic, and disciplined and defined pace…. Unlike Vishnu who resorted to dance for accomplishing a contemplated objective, Shiva has been conceived more or less as a regular dancer performing for accomplishing an objective as also for pure aesthetic delight…. Unfurling locks of hair and his snakes floating into space portray the dynamics of the act."
Shiva, the Nataraja
"Her epithet in the Devi-Mahatmya is Mahalakshmi. She is the wrathful four-armed goddess of battlefield represented holding in them various weapons…. A form of Lakshmi seated over a lotus laid over a golden seat and a pair of white elephants…. Except in some classical forms in Lakshmi-Narayana imagery Lakshmi is ordinarily two-armed…. Incarnation theory is the crux of Vaishnavism. Vishnu incarnates alone but Lakshmi also incarnates in simultaneity…. Though very rare some enthused artists have conceived on Ardhanarishvara line also Vishnu’s Ardhanarishvara images."
Iconography of Vaishnava Deities: Goddess Lakshmi
"This middle path lies in between extreme asceticism on one side, and extreme indulgence on the other…. When standing under a Ashok tree, tired and exhausted, she raised her right hand for seeking support of a branch of the tree…. The unique balance that defined his entire life was pre-determined in this duality….One day, in the palace garden he frightened his attendants…. He ate less and less till his diet reduced to a sesame seed, and himself, to a mere skeleton…. Seven days after the attainment of enlightenment gods sent food for breaking his fast…. However, he postponed his ‘nirvana’ for three months till he visited the places he had reminiscences of."
The Light That Enlightened Millions
(The life of Buddha in the popular mind)
"She has always believed that this would redeem her of her distress….A coconut, otherwise an ordinary dried fruit or the source of edible, or at the most, beauty oil, has always been revered as an auspicious object effecting good and well-being and the food that gods most loved….The tree in the Buddhist tradition was later identified as Bodhi-tree, seated under which Buddha had attained Enlightenment….Body gestures and symptoms, signs, indications among others must have been the early man’s tools of communicating oneself and knowing and understanding the world around….Kirttimukha was initially conceived as a mystical mask….Lion does not figure in the wide range of animal toys or figurines excavated from Indus sites."
Auspicious Symbols in Indian tradition
"A man receives a wife given by the gods... Where women are revered, there the gods rejoice; but where they are not, all efforts are unfruitful…. The husband, tradition says, is the wife, They can never be cut loose from one another. This is the dharma made by Brahma himself….he king who bears patiently when those in anguish insult him will be exalted in heaven…. If the driver of a vehicle injures a man, animal or property, he needs to be punished along with the owner of the vehicle…. This in a nutshell, is the definition of suffering and happiness."
Living According to Manu: God’s Manual of Instruction for Life
"Bhishma undoubtedly is one of the central figures of the Mahabharata.…. One should not venture out too early in the morning…. But one should not go to sleep with wet feet….A person who desires to live long should never irritate the following three…. One must shun company of people who criticize the Vedas…. If we are traveling, one must find shelter inside a house…."
Living the Full Life: 50 Instructions from the Mahabharata
"people all over India will say approvingly for someone: "He is a Rama like son, a Rama like brother, or a Rama like king. " It is rare however to hear the following as a compliment "Rama like husband or son-in-law."... All of Sita's miseries in the confinement of Ravana pale in comparison...to the emotional trauma and humiliation she was subjected to by Rama himself. In a bitter irony, what was to be her moment of deliverance, turned out to be the beginning of another trial... Sita sets a high standard as an ideal wife who stays unswerving in her loyalty and righteousness, no matter how undesirable her husband's response... She emerges as a woman that even Agni - who has the power to reduce to ashes everything he touches - dare not touch or harm..."
Sita - The Silent Power of Suffering and Sacrifice
"One uniqueness of our Vedic religion is that it allows for salvation not only through renunciation (nivritti) but also through the path of material happiness (pravritti).... If dharma makes it mandatory that conjugal pleasure be restricted to the life partner, how is it that Krishna indulged in the amorous sport of Rasa with others' wives?.... Some stopped cooking, some stopped feeding, some stopped eating, some stopped washing clothes etc. and ran away.... Upanishads call the jiva in waking state as Vishwa and the dreaming jiva as Taijasa (Mandukya Upanishad Mantras 3-4)."
Krishna's Rasa Lila: The Vedantic Perspective
"Here is a fragment from one of the most poignant episodes of Indian history…. This piece of history is from the Mahabharata…. She was dying with shame but inside, like a true kshatrani (woman of the warrior race), she was burning with anger…. I have heard that women who follow dharma were never brought before a public court….Greed is the destroyer of dharma. I do not desire a third boon…. Draupadi was as forgiving as mother earth herself…. Just then Arjuna saw his dear friend Bhagawan Krishna approaching him…. “Leave him, leave him. He is a brahmin and worthy of our worship. Their mother should not cry, like I have at the death of my children."
Analyzing the Eternal Dimensions of Dharma Through Itihasa (History)
"The sources of Dharma have been systematically divided into four simple categories....This desisting from the prohibition is what constitutes the karma, leading to Dharma.....There are many Vedic Karmas which do not find mention directly in the Vedas but are found only in the Smritis....The Agnihotra mentioned above can be performed at any one of the three times....Lord Shiva drank the deadliest poison easily. However, if anybody else did the same, he would be reduced to ashes....However, this is the weakest source of Dharma out of the four."
Understanding Dharma: The Four Authentic Sources
"There is Rama, the son of Ayodhya's king Dasharatha in his human birth, and there is Rama's divinity, his divine aura that overwhelms the Tulasi's entire Ramacharit-manas, one manifest - with attributes, and the other, unmanifest - without attributes. With main emphasis on his majesty in South Indian tradition this crown is taller than usual. His 'khadgasana' images are usually in three modes; one with his right foot moved forward represents him in a commander's disposition ready to rush for protecting a devotee in crisis or redeem him from some calamity. Harihara, a form in which he shares with Shiva half of the body. Basically a bird Garuda is seen for ages as Vishnu's ardent devotee, a learned human being and an auspicious presence, and in iconographic tradition often conceived with a man's face, anatomy, ornaments and ensemble. The Puranas are replete with tales of Garuda's divine exploits."
Iconography of Vaishnava Images: Vishnu
"Durga Puja is more than the periodically observed navratra in the subcontinent..The akaal bodhon Durga Puja has evolved into great socio-cultural significance in the Eastern Delta region, and is the lifeblood of Bengalis everywhere...On dashami the next day, one could sense the pall that descends upon the delta...Ma Durga's time in Her girlhood home draws to a close. Now is the final throes of festive exuberance."
Durga Puja - Worshipping the Wife of Shiva, Daughter of Bengal
"No one spends even a single moment without doing some action or the other....We generally notice in history that almost all civilizations acquire a lot of material affluence in the beginning and after sometime they go into oblivion....We very well know that it is only the work based on well thought plan that solves problems and not our worry.....The success of any action depends not only on visible parameters but also invisible one....We are carried by the slogans of the times and move in the turbulent waters of life in a rudderless boat.....Want to give us a state of pleasure which is constant and never ending."
Dharma: The Only Remedy for Modern Man
"Both the Mahabharata and Shrimad Bhagavatam give a vivid description of how things are like in Kaliyuga…. The following is a list of features typical to Kaliyuga…. A man will consider only those people to be his relatives who are related to him through….The ashrams will be full of show-offs who are experts in the art of living off the food of others….. We can save ourselves from Kaliyuga."
50 Characteristics of Kaliyuga
"We assume that our happiness is the result of an interaction with external objects…. Suppose that an individual is deprived of sleep and food and pleasurable objects for a long time and then all of them are simultaneously offered to him…. Actually, seeking the answer to this question is the most significant pursuit in life…. The veil comes up again and the duality returns…. In this background, we can now analyse the nature of dukha (grief)."
Ananda: Analysis of Happiness in the Upanishads
Show More
All rights reserved. Copyright 2020 © Exotic India