I grew up in a patriarchal family. While the male folk honestly cared and respected the ladies in the house, still all the major decisions, lay entirely only in the firm hands of the men. With years of being a witness to this system, I believed that men are far more powerful, strong, dependable, and the most important people in the family. And it totally convinced me that women should always rely on men. Somewhere it got inscribed deep in my soul that women are naturally the weaker sex and it is impossible to live their life without leaning on the man’s wide shoulders.

The male stories were firmly rooted in my mind and when the moment arrived to choose a deity to move forward on the path of devotion, I naturally drifted towards my favorite male deity, Mahadev. But as I meditated on Lord Mahadeva I constantly found something missing in my bhakti, something incomplete. What was it? I could not figure it out!

Just then, on this very platform, I found many people were reciting the Lalita Sahasranama. Curious to know what it was all about; led me to post a question on the same and the lovely Os.me family helped me with the answers. With mother’s divine grace, I began reading the Lalita Sahasranama. As Divine mother helped me understand her many names (mother’s leela is so vast; I doubt whether an ordinary human like me will comprehend it fully) a wonderful glorious world unfolded before me; something marvelous that may be impossible for me to express in words.

And after that, the most beautiful thing happened. As I meditated on my beloved lord Shiva, I could sense a super-charged energy surrounding his form. It was the supreme energy of Devi that was radiating from him. I felt Shiva’s picture now complete and felt myself a step ahead in my path of devotion.

Now, my old belief that men are the only superheroes was challenged. The perception I held for years suddenly got transformed. I closed my eyes and imagined my uncles and my father without the female counterparts, and what did I see? A dull image, sort of lifeless and arrogant; there was no softness, no beauty in them. They looked all incomplete, the same incompleteness that I had seen in Shiva. I then imagined them with their female counterparts and what a vibrant glowing picture flashed before me. They not only looked complete but appeared as if infused with life. My mother, aunties, granny were the true shaktis of the family. Sadly, they themselves never realized their hidden light. They were never aware of their inner strength.

Yes, the men in the house could do the most difficult task on earth. But they themselves were completely unaware that it was the female energy that accompanied them, granted them the strength to do so.

Reading the Sahasranama revealed many things. I could now imagine my mother, my aunts, my grandmother as the strongest, the brightest in the house without whom the creative energy of their male counterpart was missing. Their mere presence was a big contribution. They were the energy that was unseen to the eyes. This was a new finding which erased all my previous beliefs and my past conditioning; opening some fresh pages in the book of my life, ready to write new chapters, a new definition.

This was that powerful experience that changed the meaning of my own existence… that I am not the weaker one!!

Om Sri Matre Namah

Image: Sonika Agarwal, unsplash