Hindu Gods and Goddesses

Friday, February 16, 2018

Romance and the Cycles of Creation, Maintenance and Destruction

The mythology of sanAtana dharma, aka "Hinduism," is full of hidden meanings and stories to be read at numerous levels of interpretation. It is said that as well as being a compendium of wisdom and ethical guidance and revelations of the nature of the Divine, a great deal of scientific knowledge and glimpses of the subtle workings if the Universe are conveyed in the various myths and renderings, obscured that only those with understanding might read the hidden meanings.  Even in the archetypal romantic play of the Three primary expressions of God, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and their consorts, in the love stories of the Creator, Maintainer and Destroyer and their Beloveds, are intriguing clues to the nature of the play of Mind and matter, cycles of romance and the abiding dance of that most seminal dichotomy of female and male, prakrti and parusha.

The Creator, Brahma, and His Consort Saraswati are told as playing out a cycle of desire and love making that is rooted in the desire of the Creator, and in fact in the desire that is the impetus for creation.  Early in the process of creation, Brahma was lonely and wanted help with creating, so He created a beautiful Goddess.  Regardless of the particular renderings of the story, Brahma then becomes exceedingly desirous of Her, and begins to pursue Her with lust.  She turns Herself into a mare, and in lascivious pursuit, Brahma turns Himself into a stallion and covers Her.  She then turns into all manners of beasts, and the Creator in turns Himself into the male version of each animal and makes love to Her.  Thus male desire appears as the impetus of creation.

The loveplay of Vishnu and Laksmi is characterized in myth largely by female desire and faithfulness.  Sita remains faithful to Ram whilst She is held in captivity by Ravana, even as He is faithful to His responsibility to rescue Her from the demon king.  As Radha, Goddess Laksmi is portrayed as pursuing Krishna through the forest as He makes love to the many milkmaids or Gopis He encounters along the way.  The Gita Govinda of Jayadeva tells the play of Radha pining for Krishna's embrace and lovemaking skill.  Thus the impetus for maintenance is presented as female desire and faithfulness generally.

The story of the love of Shiva and Parvati is certainly more complicated than the previous archetypal portrayals, and there are more myths telling of the sexual play of the Destroyer and His Consort. Perhaps most pertinent archetypally, at least in regards to explicating the generalities of these cycles of love and of creation, maintenance and destruction, is the tale of Parvati manifesting in ten forms as the Mahavidyas to block Shiva in ten directions as He attempted to leave Her.  Exasperated and rather terrified, Shiva sits down and closes His eyes to meditate.  As God the Destroyer opens His eyes, His Beloved Shakti is standing before Him in a pleasing form, thus expressing the Tantric ideal of the Feminine as active and the Masculine as passive.

Thus in the themes of the loveplay of the Creator, Maintainer and Destroyer and Their Consorts is expressed a cycle that begins with male desire, is maintained by female desire and by mutual faithfulness, and meets it's fruition in Masculine submission to the Feminine, or perhaps better, the Masculine attaining proper state as passive, as a pillar, and the Feminine as active, as Shakti (Sanskrit for "power"), the dynamic aspect of Being.

Though certainly these myths do grant clue to the subtle mechanics of the expansion, maintenance and contraction of the Universe, an account of cycles and sorts of human desire and devotion and even of biology and human psychology are therein portrayed.  The rich and archetypally rife descriptions of the loveplay of Creation, Maintenance and Destruction indeed grant a glimpse of the cycles of the desire and loveplay that animate human desire and the impetus of the Divine in the manifestation of maya (this illusory reality).  Male desire to create, female desire and general faithfulness to maintain, then male passivity and female action and power as the means to stay and store the potency of destruction.  Indeed, love and desire do make the world go round.