Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Panch Kanya's

Reading about the Panch Kanya's. Five Young Wondrous Girls. Kunti, Draupadi, Mandodari, Tara and Ahiyla.

Kanya's are not virgins, as popular interpretation of the word Kanya would have us believe. These are women, rather maidens, who have earned the right to desire.

Strange right. Doesn't everyone have a right to desire, you ask. Yes, everyone can desire. But for women, typically their desires are circumcised by the patriarchy.

Not for the Panch Kanyas. For them, the universe is a supplicant, forced to give them whatever it is that they desire. Uncircumcised. They do not take "No" for an answer. Fate, time or Karma cannot deny their desire. They have been bestowed this right by the dint of their actions and their conduct in their lives, and yes, their persistence of getting their due, no matter what the world says.

It is said that worshiping them, or by simply remembering them, makes a devotee achieve Nirvana. Actually, beyond Nirvana. Nirvana is expected to be this place where a being has no desire at all. For the Panch Kanya's, they are beings with only desire. Because, what must have come before this world? The makers desire to make this world. Desire comes even before time. Kanya's are beings in that realm.

None of these women are worshiped in temples. Unlike the numerous women goddesses or Shaktis - Durga Ma, Kali Ma, Parvati, Sita, Radha, the list is large - almost every household has its own goddess, its own Shakti. Sometimes the Shakti's are worshiped by themselves, or with their consorts, Shiva, Ram, Krishna, manifestations of the masculine.

But the Panch Kanya's have no male consorts. They are just themselves, just women who are pure desire. Who need to be worshiped for just themselves, without any reference to the men in their lives, without any male consort. Women who stand alone. Only the sacred fierce feminine.

They revel in their desire, nothing being out of bounds for them. Opulence, beauty, glory, their place in the sun, pleasure - including sexual pleasure. These are free women who desire, and get it. Contrast this with the Sati-Savitri women, who desire nothing other than the happiness and glory for their husbands, fathers or brothers. These maidens want it for themselves, for their own pleasure, following their own rules. They go beyond the rules of world, the demands of motherhood, and their familial duties. They affirm themselves, needing no affirmations that is external to them.

They are the ones who have given everything to men in their lives, and have found them falling short. They have then decided to take what is due to them by their own hands. They are women who are survivors and winners in the world of men. They have, at some time, loved a man, got him, given their heart, soul, counsel, nurturing everything their feminine nature could do - and have been disappointed by him. Men have not been enough for them. They have relied on themselves and their God, and have got what they wanted. They have not forgiven the world of men, for falling short, and are always constantly reminding them of it.

Such women are what constitute the Panch Kanya's. And the universe ultimately bends in face of such persistence, and gives their desires to them, acknowledging that the world of men is not good enough for such women.

Who are these women?

Draupadi, the wife of the mighty Pandavas. The one who could not be protected by her mighty husbands, or the wise elders.

Kunti, the mother of the three Pandavas, wife of Pandu. The one who slept with other men to give her husband the sons he needed, but found him to be wanting in love, desire and regard for her.

Tara, the wife of the Monkey Kings, Bali and Sugriv. The one married the other to keep the peace when one disappeared, and then on his reappearance, had to once again be won by one by the brothers, while ensuring her son got his due.

Ahilya, the wife of the Gautam Rishi, a steadfast woman. The one who was cursed by a abusive jealous husband, for no fault of hers. Deceived by the cunning and disguise of a deva, and let down by a husband, who was wise, but not in the matters of the heart or even his wife.

Mandodari, the wise wife of the mighty demon king, Ravana. The one who could look beyond the current strength and might of her husband, and recognize the wrong actions of her husband, and tries very hard to protect him from himself. The one who had wisdom and righteousness to call out a deed a wrong one, even when the one who is doing is wrong is not only mighty, but a dearly loved one too.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Point of No Return

There are times in ones life when one reaches a point of no return. When the emotional, financial and time investment is so much that one cannot walk away. Even when the risks of moving ahead are staring at ones face. Even when the chances of success are mind-bogglingly slim. But one is too involved, and has no choice but to keep moving ahead.

On the other hand, at the point of no return, the cost of walking away is more than the cost of staying. And when the risk of staying is less than the risk of walking away.

It is terrifying, paralyzing, agonizing. This point of no return.

But strangely liberating. To know that one needs to do what one has to do regardless of the results. If one wants to live with oneself in the other breaths that follow this one.

I grit my teeth, take a deep breath and square my shoulders, and I tell myself to take the next step. And I do. And the next step. And the next one. And the next. And I just keep walking. Walking on and on and on.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Being Worthy

Today, I rededicate my life to being worthy of life.

To be able to live life the way it is right. For me, and my loved ones.

To be able to justify the expenses in ecological and economic terms - of living on this earth.

To be worthy of my parents love and their nurturing.

At the end of it all, it should be worth it - not just for myself, but for my parents, first and foremost, for my family,for my friends, for my professional team mates, for this Earth - that I lived and breathed for a few years and was a part of their life.

May I have the resolve (my Achilles heel) and inner strength to stay the course I chart out for myself.