Days and Nights of the Devi

The triumvirate of creation, sustenance and destruction in the form of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh is common enough knowledge but they are inert without Para Shakti. In her creative aspect, she is inspired artitstry; in her nourishment avatar, she is the womb of the world; in her destructive form, she is ruthlessly savage. All destruction is but creation waiting to be born.

This morning, I had a glimpse of the elements as an expression of the devi principle.

Earth is the fertile field on which life is born and sustained. Bhoomi devi is also the savage goddess who makes the earth quake and erupt liquid fire that eventually transforms the geoscape.

As water, she is the ocean on which Vishnu sleeps until the moment of creation is ready to spring alive. She is also the waters of the womb nestling new life just as in her fury, she is pralaya.

As Fire, she is the union of egg and sperm that sparks life even as she nestles in the warmth of a mother’s embrace. She is also the pyre which chars the shell of a spent body.

She hastens the seasons to create their winds even as they soothe or agitate the body. In her rages, she is the hurricane that hurtles through life.

Space implodes in her black holes even as stars are born and planets wobble in their steady orbits.

She is Mahamaya even as she expresses in such sensory life. It’s hard to wrap around the thought of the illusory nature of the human embodiment even as it evolves in mystical ways into Pure Consciousness.

These days of the Devi have been one of heaviness of the heart and I didn’t expect to have her darshan. But, I did. In unexpected ways, both in human form and in clay. It’s such an irony that this period has also seen a rise of #metoo in my land. On one hand, we worship the feminine energy and on the other, our girls and women are violated as they have been since the beginning of creation. It’s Maha Ashtami today and as I looked at the avatars of the Devi in the neighbourhood, I couldn’t help but recall Maya Angelou’s ‘Still I rise’.

The neighbourhood community Devi.

With all the rage of suppressed voices and mockery of those who have never known the paralysis of silence, one thing that is lost is the now. That’s all we have and sometimes it comes as a prescription from an old teacher- one setuband sarvangasana a day. Sometimes, the very thing you tell yourself has to be heard through another voice.

I have zero expectations as I assume the shape of the asana and wonder if I’m imagining things even as I watch the wobbliness of Prithvi and the lopsidedness of Ap as it flows on one side. Agni is burning inwards and vayu is blocked in a triangular circuit while Akash is closed to me. Is it possible to actually sense these things when one has been out of regular practice? I don’t know what to believe and so just watch the unruly mind as the body goes through the motions of rest.

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