- Religion and Philosophy»
PARVATI & SHIVA: BEING A TRANSFORMER FOR GOOD
Eliminating the "Isms"
I worship Sankara, Bhavani's husband, the fierce, exalted, luminous supreme Lord. Indivisible, unborn and radiant with the glory of a million suns; who, holding a trident, tears out the root of the three-fold suffering. And who is reached only through Love.
Many of us celebrated Shiva Ratri on Saturday, March 9th. The celebration honored Shiva and Parvati, his consort and wife. She is his energy, power and Shakti. He can not do anything without Her. Shiva is part of the Hindu Trinity, along with Vishnu and Brahma. Vishnu is the preserving, sustaining aspect of God, while Brahma is the Creator of the Universe. Shiva is the Destroyer and Transforming aspect of the Divinity. Shiva and Parvati eliminate and destroy the negative aspects you want to remove from your life.
Shiva and Parvati are about eliminating what I call all the societal "isms," which prevent you from being who you really are. You are divine and capable of being a transformer for good in the world. Most of us forget this aspect of ourselves until we have an experience or encounter which changes our life for the better. Shiva and Parvati enter inside of us and we are never the same again.
Let's look at some of the "isms" which interfere with and mar our true path as spiritual beings. Some of the worse "isms" of our times are constantly being manifested on various levels all over the world. Sexism, racism, poverty, violence against women and rape, war and global warming are just some of our negative "isms" which destroy our bliss as spiritual beings.
As an ecological and human rights activist, I have dealt with many of these "isms" my whole life. I always wondered what it was which made some people so courageous in their struggle for freedom in an oppressive situation. You really have to have a lot of love to keep going in many of these situations. To succeed you have to do your inner work as well as your outer work to bring social change. Gandhi did much outer work in the world in the Indian Independence Movement, but he also did the inner work. One day a week he remained silent to connect with the Highest Source.
We cannot become like our oppressors. That is why he taught non-violence. This is what being a transformer for good is all about, not becoming like the oppressors. Recently, I saw a discourse between Sri Sri and one of his disciples. He is a well-known and respected guru (spiritual teacher) in India. The student asked him how someone could love someone who killed a family member. He said you don't have to love them, but you need to accept them. They did what they did out of ignorance; otherwise, they would not have killed the person. He gave an example of a woman whose husband had been killed by Maoist rebels. She started teaching the rebels about Hinduism. They were amazed, considering what happened to her husband. She became the transformer for good among those who had killed her husband. They were changed by her personal actions and accepted the ideas she taught them.
Of course, there are other reasons for the "isms." Greed, misuse of power and not taking responsibility for one's actions are some of the negative behaviors Shiva and Parvati eliminate in our lives when we transform our lives for good.
When I was in college, I worked in a woman's shelter as a child's advocate by creating activities, which transformed their lives. Music, art and other creative play activities got them to focus on positive avenues of dealing with family violence. They were hungry for this kind of attention and concern. It was hard to leave sometimes because they would hang on to my legs, not wanting me to leave them. Finally, in the end, I gave them my old guitar when I got a new one, so they would create their own music. We gave each other a gift of creativity, which kept on creating after I left for other opportunities in the world.
In the case of global warming, some people do not want to take responsibility for their actions, so it's easier to deny the problem exists. With all the extreme weather happening all over the world, you really have to be in denial. Perhaps, some people need to see the Artic melting for themselves before they really get it. Perhaps, their greed has become more important than others. We all need to change our behavior and live more simply for the good of humans, animals and nature. Do we really all need to drive the latest gas guslers?
Big corporations like to make full profits, so they do not like to change what they are doing to the planet. However, some companies are starting to change some practices. Energy efficiency actually saves everyone money and reduces green house gases. Sometimes you have to start where people are before more change can happen. You have to understand their motives and do good by appealing to something that they can relate and understand.
Sometimes you have to speak up when so many people are being affected by negative behaviors. In college I worked at a public radio station. During this time many women were starting to enter the broadcasting field. One guy at the station started harassing me with his unwanted physical contact. I told him that he did not realize what he was doing to others when he did his deeds. I started asking other women if he did the same thing to them. Almost all of them said they had the same problem with him. The station manager was informed by me and others about his unwanted behavior. He stopped this behavior soon afterwards. We all became transformers for good. Later on, in my work life, this experience allowed me to help other women with the problem. There is strength in numbers. We must speak truth at times to bring social change.
Racism is found in all races of humanity. We are often ignorant of each other because we do not know each other. We stereotype people. Instead of seeing the person, we see someone who challenges our world in some way. We have stereotypes of people from every race in our minds. Sometimes it's easier to cling to those stereotypes than to acknowledge our ignorance. We need to meet our neighbors of all backgrounds and to know them as people. One way is to invite them to share dinner with you. When we get to know each other, change can be possible.
Today is my birthday and this is my gift to myself: to be a transformer for good in the world. Shiva and Parvati appear from time to time in our lives. Sometimes they appear as homeless people. They like to visit us and see what we are doing to be the change we want to see in the world.
JAI SHRI SHIVA & PARVATI! JAI SHRI BE THE CHANGE!