The Manhattan winter of 1992 caught me dreaming about writing an epic saga infused with the beauty of tantra. It would be set in an ancient Indian mythical civilization ruled by Rudra-Siva, the great god of paradox; somehow I intuited that this divine entity, the Wild God himself, would spark my dream into roaring life. (If you’ve looked at the post previous to this one, you’d know that Whip of the Wild God took me twenty years to complete!)
Buried in the vastness of the Tantras, I came upon an ancient saying that immediately struck me as true. It translates something like this: When Shiva set his seal upon this world, he cleaved it into male and female; when male and female come together in sacred union, Shiva blesses them with the bliss of Oneness.
Whether depicted as Ardhaniswara (half-man, half-woman), or in his contrasting roles of supreme ascetic and supreme hedonist, I knew Shiva was not speaking merely of the union of man and woman, oh no—he was equally addressing the wise celibate, who, aware that all humans contain the essence of both male and female within themselves, seeks to unite these twin polarities in his or her own being. Shiva’s point was stunningly clear: in order to be whole—which I took to mean radiating an unshakable inner joy and peace—male and female must unite; and this fusion could occur in either the practicing celibate, or through the medium of a spiritual couple.
As an Indian woman born into a multi-tiered society governed overtly and subtly by men who—by osmosis and conditioning—demean women in a million ways, it was not long before I began to mull over why all male-dominated cultures had turned into such raging battlefields for the sexes. And since each one of us who cares to investigate this subject is bound to have a unique take on the seething, often subterranean, gender wars that have ruined the fabric of our existence, on this critical subject I must speak solely for myself….