‘The Soul Has No Gender’
Ardhnarishwara is the manifestation of creation at work: a deity that merges the physical being of Shiva with the heavenly beauty of Parvati. The seed of this creation is the perfect conjugal union of Shiva and Parvati, the symbols of domestic bliss, asceticism and destruction. Lovemaking between Shiva and Shakti is a window into the many wonders of the universe. The ascetic and hermit called Shiva falls in love with the soft-spoken, beautiful goddess for her strength and determination. It is in the depths of Mount Kailasha that love between Shiva and Parvati blossomed. The beauty of their lovemaking inspired all creation, and their passion broke free. When Shiva dances the Tandaav, Parvati echoes each step in a milder, mellower note. Theirs is the perfect coupling.
Ardhnarishwara does not only represent the lovely union of a well-blended match. It also stands for the interdependence of human on his own soul. It is a well-known belief that this deity is The Absolute. Ardhnarishwara is complete because the Masculine experiences Feminine by being physically fused with it and vice versa. It also symbolizes attunement with your own feminine/masculine angles. Together, they are at once the symbol of individual perfection and the magnificent harmony that a compatible wedding brings.
Since we live amidst fragmentation and brokenness, this becomes an ideal to attain. The modern couple faces hurdles like distance, work, self-centeredness and the worst feeling of all – alienation.
This is very similar to maintaining the yin/yang balance that Taoism advocates. The feminine yin has to be complemented perfectly by the masculine yang for a relationship to be balanced and harmonious. However, shifts and imbalances may very well occur internally, and upset an individual’s ability to reciprocate. It is better to be in alignment with your internal disputes, rather than expect your partner to fulfill your life.
Happiness in relationships stem from inner joy and fulfillment; one cannot expect a partner to make up for a lack that comes from deep within. The Ardhnarishwara is this innermost fulfillment that opens one up to all the beauties that previously went unnoticed. Attainment of unknown wisdom can serve us in two ways: it can give us a deeper understanding of our relationships and help us fix the broken ends, or it can show us that we need to let the difficult relationship go, and move on.
Taking either decision requires courage, honesty and independent thinking, and that comes only from being in touch with every aspect of our soulful being.
The deity has several magnificent aspects. To the ardent lover, it will reflect his desire for his beloved, whereas to one in need of healing, it will represent the healing itself. There can be, further, two strands of imbalances that may plague someone’s love life. One can be unhappy and be willing to deal with issues, whether with solving them or by taking a step to move on from the unhappiness.
The more difficult relationship issue is being unhappy in a relationship without realizing it. This is where one has to put all of one’s ‘accepted’ beliefs aside and be open to the truth of the heart. In short, this is where you have to let your soul take the decision.