(Back to part 1)
Creation and Consciousness
The myth of Shiva and Shakti shows us the successive phases of creation and the process of becoming conscious in the interaction of male force and female power.
In the beginning is One – Shiva, the transcendent All-One. His everlasting Brahman-being means: limitless consciousness. It is the One without a second. All creative processes are still at rest. They still lie inactive within him. The deities pray to their “sleeping” energy that it may bring itself into the world and take on a concrete form and effective power. Thus Sati is born.
Then there are two – Shiva and Shakti/Sati – consciousness and power. From the formless infinity of the One, creation takes form through the principle of distinction. The supreme consciousness divides into two complementary aspects that create together and have many names: Shiva and Shakti, Purusha and Prakriti, Spirit and Matter, Consciousness and Energy. Creation begins when His conscious will so decides and it rises as a current of power in Him. Then it detaches itself from His rest and begins its world dance: Shiva and Shakti unite. He gives Himself devotedly into her hands.
“For He wants to become worlds in which He can joyfully enjoy Himself in trillions of forms, and She enables Him to realise this desire. As His executive creative power, Her inexhaustible energy becomes the Divine Mother of the Cosmos, His world-conceiving and world-birthing power.” (*Thole 2015)
The divine sinks into nature
Two becomes many – Sati causes the unfolding of nature. Shakti’s pulsating power leads to the unfolding of all nature. She brings forth ever new forms, from the subtlest beginnings through the various stages of the psychological inner worlds to the densest materiality. From her point of view, everything is the primordial All-One, which expresses itself in the world as Two-in-One. But very gradually she envelops him more and more with her variety of forms, so that less and less of his conscious being can penetrate through this “packaging”. At some point, Shiva is no longer overtly visible in Shakti’s products. Now it is he who sleeps in her.
Parvati brings about liberation and completion
The many become the One – Parvati’s way to Him.
The dissolving love ecstasy of Shiva and Sati/Shakti receives a continuation, for with Parvati the process of creation is led to its fulfilment.
“The becoming of form must be followed by the becoming of consciousness, so that the partners are equal to each other again. The Shakti force thus works on two levels. While Sati predominantly symbolises the natural level of the world mother, Parvati represents the high level of the all-conscious Mahashakti […]. She is the supreme mistress who is not bound in her work by any mechanisms of nature and has the power to lead the limited consciousness of the individual being back into the experience of the all-unity via the path of a greater becoming conscious.“ (*Thole 2015)
What the divine couple exemplifies to us in the mythological narrative is a kind of “blueprint” that wants to transform down into our everyday coexistence.
“This is the knot that ties the stars together:
The Two that are One form the secret of all power.
The two that are one are also in things might and right.”
The drama of dependence and liberation also takes place in the human being
The theme of power also plays a decisive role in partnership. It is something like the “glue” of every relationship, but only if we learn to see through immature childish and adolescent power impulses in intensive shadow work.
As with Shiva and Shakti, dependent and independent parts are constantly wrestling within us. Our fundamental neediness results from our earliest childhood. The less the elementary first needs could be satisfied in the relationship with the mother and father, the more we will later project our needs onto the partner in the couple relationship.
In further development, but especially in puberty, we then cannot move fast enough to become independent and self-reliant. We then tend to succumb to a delusion of wanting to become independent (cf. * Dittmar 2015). However, growing up does not only consist of gaining independence. Much more important is an increase in the ability to relate – by learning to build a widely ramified network of relationships. We need each other. We need relationship, indeed we can learn to become relationally capable at all.
This requires both partners to try to show each other their independent and dependent parts on an equal footing and to really allow vulnerability and dependence on each other. We can recognise that it is of no use at all to assert one’s own interest against that of the partner. In doing so, we would only damage the relationship for the sake of short-term need satisfaction.
By becoming more and more aware of our hurts and vulnerabilities, we shed our protective armour and give our innermost potential the opportunity to reveal itself. A permeability to our real self – as we are “meant” to be – can occur. In this gradual opening we can come into contact with a reality that is behind and above everything – with a space, a liveliness, a fullness, a connectedness beyond all imagination.
We may see this inward openness as a process of self-empowerment. By gradually recognising the immature personality parts of neediness and compulsive independence within us, the identifications with these ego parts can loosen, perhaps even dissolve.
The power of love radiating from the innermost core of our being can emerge and work more and more freely. This power radiates far beyond the partnership into the innermost part of matter. It will also make the earth a “New Earth”. In this way we attune ourselves to the divine working – to Shiva and Parvati.
Dittmar, Vivian: beziehungsweise – Beziehung kann man lernen, edition es, Munich 2015.
Sri Aurobindo: Savitri, Book I, Canto 4
Thole, Ela: Die göttliche Shakti (The Divine Shakti), Bielefeld 2015