Ardhanarisvara – The God Who is Half-Woman

Siva-ArdhanariswaraThis is among the more esoteric forms of Siva, the destroyer in the Hindu trinity.

Beyond stereotypes, beyond boundaries and frameworks, Siva stands at the periphery of social order. Siva is the eternal ascetic, famed for his excesses, whether in penance and austerities or in sexual vigor. Siva, the intrinsic unpredictability immanent in everything that’s created. Siva, the undifferentiated spirit, the potential from which everything manifests, Purusa, the primordial.

Parvati, the mother goddess, the creatrix, the primal spark which animates all creation, pure energy which when combines with primordial matter spins out all that is created. Parvati is Prakriti, the essence of nature. Parvati is Sakti, the primordial energy. Parvati is Maya, the divine illusion of form the cloaks the essential unity of all creation.

Matter is inert without energy to animate it. Energy is without purpose without matter to animate. Matter is made up of energy. Energy comprises matter. Both within the other, yet both needing the other for meaning. And perhaps to find the ultimate purpose. Ardhanariswara.

What you see here is 18-inches by 24-inches, natural colors on plywood, and a rather unconventional treatment. The traditional approach is to depict with full garments and ornaments, perhaps to capture the deities in the domesticized glory. Whereas here, Siva and Sakti are mendicants, denizens of the forests and the hills, living within and immersed in nature, immersed and enraptured in the meditation that is creation, creating, destroying, blossoming, absorbing, matter contemplating energy, energy animating matter. The eternal tension of dynamic equilibrium.

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