Shravan means ‘to listen’ in Sanskrit. It is the first step in integrating knowledge into our lives. We listen (Shravana), then we bring to our memory repeatedly (manana) and then the knowledge becomes integrated as a wealth into our life (nidhidhyasa).
This month is a time to listen to our elders, listen to wisdom, to be in knowledge. Parvati did puja to Shiva during this month. She did tapas in order to attain Shiva. This month is the time to go inward and meet the Shiva tattva (Shiva principle) within us.
Parvati is a manifestation of Shakti. Shakti means strength, power and energy. Shakti is the womb for all creation and is therefore expressed as the mother aspect of the Divine. Shakti is the seed for all dynamism, radiance, beauty, equanimity, peace and nourishment. Shakti is the life-force.
There are five aspects of creation.
Asti – Is-ness
Bhati – Knowledge and Expression
Preeti – Love
Nama – Name
Rupa – Form
Matter has two aspects, Name and Form.
Consciousness has three aspects, Asti – it is, Bhati – it knows and expresses and Preeti – it is loving. Maya – ignorance or delusion is not being aware of the three aspects of the consciousness and getting caught up in the name and form.
Different functional aspects of this divine energy, Shakti, have different names and forms. The “i” (ee) in Shakti is energy. Without the “i”, “Shiva” becomes “shava” which in Sanskrit means lifeless.
Shakti is dynamism expressed. The Shiva tattva is inexpressible. You can see the wind blowing, trees swaying, but you can’t see stillness which is the reference point for all movement. The dynamic expression is Shakti. The stillness and calmness is Shiva. Both are necessary. When dynamic expression is combined with stillness within, then there is creativity, positivity, and Sattva is generated.
Shakti is the moving force. Parvati is an ansha of Adi Shakti. With reference to Shiva, she is the ardhangi. She is the scintillating energy, the dynamic aspect of Shiva.
There was a time for even Shakti to be in tapas. To throw an arrow you have to first pull it backward. Shravan maas is that nivruti kala, where even Shakti goes inward. The restlessness of the soul is quenched by this tapas.
In life, there is contrast everywhere, opposites co-exist. Heat and cold, mountain and valley, greenery and snow – there are several such instances. Dynamism and stillness are the contrast of energy. It is this contrast that adds juice to life.
As Shiva’s ardhangi, they represent all the beautiful contrasts that enhance the quality of our lives. Shiva is full of compassion and she is full of grace. Shiva is the still substratum of this creation and she is the dynamic expression. Shiva is benevolent and she is magnificent. Shiva is intelligence with innocence she is intelligence with skill. In this way, they share all the qualities.
Shiva and Parvati are self-luminous and are the guiding light for others. Parvati is the embodiment of love, innocence, caring, and of honoring the roles. She is the perfect daughter, wife and mother. She is the landmark for dampatya.
Parva means celebration; the celebrative aspect that comes out of sattva. When tamas dominates, there is only inertia, no celebration. Any celebration born out of Rajogun cannot last. Only in sattva can we be in celebration constantly. Shiva is the Adipati of celebration with purity of mind, intention, thought, feeling, speech, and action. Eternal celebration is the representation of Parvati. Eternal peace is Shiva. They are an exemplary couple guiding many lives. One can’t even say couple because they are really just one. Jagada pitarau vande parvati parameshwarau. They are worshipped as the parents of this creation. Pa is the root word which refers to parabrahma, paramatma. Pa is the root for Parvati and for Parameswara. They represent the principles that are beyond the material. They are eternal symbol of celebration, joy, benevolence and love.
When you go inward, when you are established in yourself, celebration happens around you. That is why this month is full of festivals. Sri Sri says Life is love, joy and enthusiasm. Love and joy without enthusiasm is still inert. The enthusiasm is Parvati. Shiva is the tranquil stillness. When the celebratory aspect is combined with love, joy and wisdom then that is the peak of life.
-An article by Smt. Bhanumathi Narasimhan, sister of H H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, meditation teacher and Director of Women and Child Welfare programs of The Art of Living Foundation.