Culture and Society

The State of Duality | “Ardhanaarishwara”

Yin and Yang is one of the most famous concepts these days. Yin and Yang are opposites. Extreme ends. When together, it’s the perfection. Hinduism has a similar concept about a character. They have become an ultimate unity. It is no longer a man or a woman.. The perfect God, Shiva.

In Hindu Mythology Ardhanarishwar is a form of Shiva that we worship. It is both female and male. In this form Shakti is believed to be part of Shiva (Chetna). Shakti is also been represented as Maya, the illusive power of God.

From Bhagavad Gita Ch.18, verse 61

The Lord dwells in the hearts of all beings, O Arjuna,
causing all beings, by His illusive power (Maya), to
revolve as if mounted on a machine.

The Symbol of Totality

According to Osho: “Ardhanarishwar — half-man, half-woman; is the only symbol of its type all over the world. Shiva — half is man, half is woman; half Shiva and half Parvati, his consort. Half the body is of man and half of woman: Ardhanarishwar, half-man, half-woman. That is the symbol. Lovers join together but on the surface they remain two. Shiva is one, the body is two — half comes from Parvati, half he contributes. The body is two, on the surface the banks are two; in the depth the souls have mingled and become one.

Or look at it in this way: the room is dark, you bring two lamps into it, two candles into it. Those two candles remain two, but their light has mingled and become one. You cannot separate the light; you cannot say, “This light belongs to this candle and that light belongs to that candle.” Light has mingled and become one. The spirit is like light, the body is the candle.

True lovers are only two bodies, but not two souls. This is very difficult to achieve. That’s why love is one of the most difficult things to achieve and even if for moments you can achieve it, it’s worth a life. Even if for some moments in your entire life you can achieve this oneness with someone, this oneness will then become the door for the divine. Love achieved becomes the door for the divine because then you can feel how this universe exists in the many and remains one.

But this can come only through experience — if you love a person and you feel that you are two and still one. And this should not be just a thought but an experience. Exactly how the bodies have remained two and the inner beings have merged, melted into each other — the light has become one.”

It’s not until I am a little older that I found a new perception about the same thing ‘Ardhnaarishwar’. I was traveling when I happened to witness a saintly man dressed half man and half women- The Shiva-Parvati look. That was something I had never seen before. Whosoever he was, he made me think. All the lines that divide what men and women should be and should do began to blur in the light of this fusion of the two Gods and two sexes. Deep inside, it answers many questions within me and cleared many clouds of doubt. I just smiled at him and they, Lord Shiva and Parvati, smiled back.

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