I begin with a part of Rigveda hymn that defines the Woman in me.
“I pervade all existing creatures, as their Inner Supreme Self, and manifest them with my body.
I created all worlds at my will, without any higher being, and permeate and dwell within them.
The eternal and infinite consciousness is I, it is my greatness dwelling in everything.”
I am blessed to have a vast cultural heritage that expound a reverence for the feminine and womanhood. A long history that is eternal source for a woman to understand woman, an inspiration to maintain sanity and live with dignity in modern world. From the Vedic age, I have been manifested in the scriptures and literature.
“The scholarly woman purifies our lives with her intellect. Through her actions, she purifies our actions. Through her knowledge and action, she promotes virtue and efficient management of society.” – Yajurveda
Atharva Veda states that women should be valiant, scholarly, prosperous, intelligent and knowledgeable; they should take part in the legislative chambers and be the protectors of family and society. When a bride enters a family through marriage, she is to “rule there along with her husband, as a queen, over other members of the family.”
I belong to the culture whose only words for strength and power are feminine -“Shakti” means power and strength. All male power derives from the feminine. I, who is responsible for physical and emotional nourishment, reverence and fulfillment of my family, identifies myself with all the rivers, who are all goddesses that nourish and create fertile valleys.
I inherit a multitasker who, in times of prosperity, is Lakshmi brings wealth and happiness to human homes, yet in times of adversity feeds and fights the battle as the angry woman destroying demons and evil in the universe after metamorphosing into Durga, Chandi, or Sri.
I have evolved from a devoted lover and wife, who occupies a position of pre-eminence in the dual worship, the names of Radha and Sita get precedence over the names of their companions Krishna and Rama.
The Woman in me is Meera, who is adamant in her thoughts and choices, and cheerfully submits to the infliction and bear them with fortitude as they only sharpen the one-pointedness of my love and pursuit.
I am also a fighter mother who identifies herself in Rani Lakshmi Bai, a brave female warrior who tied her 12 year old son Damodar to her back and fearlessly fought for her freedom, her legacy, her people, and roared “ Mein Jhansi Nahin Doongi’. I have manifested from time to time in Rani Durgavati, Ahilya Bai Holkar and Avantibai.
I am a philosopher, participant in the philosophical debates, as well as scholar, teacher and priestess who is indebted to Gargi, Maitreyi, Ghosha, Lopamudra, Apala and Sulabha. The philosophies that shape perception about life and beyond life.
The logical, analytical and a mathematician, me, who identifies herself in Shakuntala Devi, the human computer – holds an undisputed place in the Guinness Book of Records of 1980 for multiplying two randomly chosen 13-digit numbers and giving the correct answer in 28 seconds.
The glimpses of managerial and leadership skills of mine are showcased by Indira Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu. Former is the first woman Prime minister of India and later is the first Indian woman Governor of West Bengal after partition. Sarojini Naidu was also a poet and the second woman President of the Indian National Congress. She is widely known as the Nightingale of India. I feel the same link in entrepreneurs such as Indra Nooyi, Naina Lal Kidwai, Chanda Kochar and Neelam Dhawan.
I get the inspiration of tolerance and forgiveness from Mother Nature who exhibits a gentle face of power hoping that world would understand it. But, if the threshold is crossed she shows rough face of power like Earthquake, Tsunami, Hurricane and Drought, to which complete world surrenders. So beware, don’t push me beyond the limits that I defined. I have the courage to be assertive, prove my virtue via AgniPariksha and abandon my husband like Sita did, if denounced. If insulted in a joined family, I know to break down the joint family into nuclear family and to devastate the rest like Draupadi did.
“Beauteous daughter of the sky!
Hold they ruddy light on high,
Grant us wealth and grant us day,
Bring us food and morning’s ray.
The Woman in me begins her day with Usha, the dawn, the feminine. I take stride with Kiran (Sun ray, that reaches the earth and not Sun): the most radiant of lights, daughter of the sky, youthful, robed in white, driving forth the darkness, Princess of limitless treasure, shine down upon my family throughout the day. I start winding up my day with Sandhya and call off the day with Ratri, the strengthener of vital powers of life.
I find, enjoy, celebrate and feel proud about the perfect unanimity on womanhood in this universe. Every woman must rejoice and believe in her womanhood as the most powerful and the empowering force. A woman in me can never be weak to succumb. I am loving, caring, competent, artistic, musical and dancing beauty. I am omnipresent in every moment and I am invincible.
See you again. 🙂