January 24, 2020

The Preamble of the Constitution of India, And What It Means Today

“WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;

And to promote among them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation”

Written in these exact words is the beginning of the Preamble of Constitution that has for decades now served as the foundation stone on which the country stands.

On 26th January 1950, the then authorities of India put together a rulebook for the citizens of the nation. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar- the architect of The Constitution ensured that its guidelines allowed peaceful co-existence among the citizens and that each and every individual of the country is granted certain rights for his/her benefit and protection that have been highlighted in the Preamble.

70 years down the line, the country still honours the key aspects of The Constitution in all its legacy.

What does the Preamble mean to us?

Preamble is simply a lawful statement that secures the citizens of India with justice, liberty, freedom and fraternity.

The key aspects of the Preamble include-

Sovereign: India is an independent entity and is not to be dominated by any external authority. The democratically elected government of the country can alone change and enact laws in the nation.

Socialist: The ‘Democratic Socialism’ adopted by India in the Constitutional Amendment in 1976 aims to eradicate poverty, inequality, ignorance etc. by creating a mixed economy where both private and public sectors function together.

Secular: One very important aspect of the Constitution is the Secularism which states that all religions shall co-exist in the country and shall receive equal opportunities, security and treatment by the state.

Democratic: This section gives people of the country the right to choose and elect their government in a democratic fashion. It upholds the statement that the government of India is “of the people, for the people and by the people”.

Republic: This again states that the leader or head of the country is elected directly or indirectly by the people of India.

Other provisions in the Preamble include that people be served social, political and economic justice; be given the liberty to express their opinions, beliefs and faith and have freedom from slavery, despotism, etc. while also having equal opportunities. Fraternity aspect of the Preamble holds together the citizens of the country in brotherhood.

It is important to note that without our constitution, we would not have the many rights that we don’t usually think about today- the right to express oneself is one among them. Without the freedom to be who we are and practice our cultural identity with pride, we would never have been able to create and preserve the art that is so close to our hearts.

This 70th Republic Day, let us remember to re-honour the Constitution and vow to exist in peaceful harmony as “one for all and all for one”.

January 16, 2020

Shades of India- How the country celebrates the Harvest Festival

India is predominantly a land of agriculture and festivals. It is hence no surprise that the season of harvest is celebrated with much grandeur, with great joy across the country. The only aspect that varies is how each state welcomes the season in their own unique manner.

Tamil Nadu- Pongal

Pongal is a four-day long festival celebrated in the Southern state of India- Tamil Nadu. The word ‘Pongal’ literally means ‘to boil’. It is named so because on the second day of Pongal- Thai Pongal, people prepare a sweet dish by boiling rice and milk together (Kheer) which is offered to the Sun god.

The festival commences by honouring Lord Indra on the first day. People collect old household items and burn them in a bonfire made of cow dung cakes.

On the third day called the Mattu Pongal, people worship cattle as they play an eminent role in growing crops. Legend has it that once upon a time, Lord Shiva sent his servant Nandi on earth to inform people that they should bath daily and eat once a month. Nandi however, mis-informed people that they should eat daily and bath once a month. An angry Lord Shiva then sent Nandi on earth to help farmers grow more crops.

On the last day of Pongal-Kannum Pongal, people enjoy a mini picnic in their courtyard with left over kheer, betel leaves, etc.

Andhra Pradesh- Sankranthi

Andhra Pradesh celebrates the harvest festival for three days.

Much like Tamil Nadu, the people here honour Lord Indra on the first day by burning old, worn-out items in the Bhogi fire. This tradition symbolises new beginnings.

The second day, called the Makara Sankranti, is the main day of this three-day long festival when people prepare Kheer using freshly harvested crops.

On the third day, people honour and worship cattle for aiding them in agricultural activities.

During this time of the year, one can spot colourful kites in the sky as flying kites on this festival is a tradition widely followed in the country.

Punjab- Lohri

‘Punjab’ immediately strikes an image of lush green agricultural fields and a joyous, vibrant culture. Their harvest festival is also as colourful as their heritage.

10-15 days prior to the main festival, children of the town go around their neighbourhood singing folk songs and asking for wood logs. It is considered inauspicious to send them back empty handed. Hence, people offer sesame seeds, peanuts, jaggery, etc. These collections made by the children are called “Lohri”. This is then distributed during the celebrations at night.

The people here also light up a bonfire to which they add til (sesame seeds) and gud (jaggery) symbolising the end of old days and new beginnings. They dance around the fire as a tribute to the holy god of fire.

Many other states celebrate this season of harvest in a similar fashion.

Assamese call it Magh Bihu while people of Himachal Pradesh call it Magha Saaji and in Uttar Pradesh it is known as Kicheri.

In Maharashtra, a simple dish is prepared by mixing sesame seeds and jaggery and they distribute this sweet among their friends and family asking them to maintain cordial relations.

Despite differences in languages, cultures and traditions, India is united by its innate nature of being an agricultural country and hence, this festival is dear to one and all.

This festive season, we hope happiness and success find their way to you and your dear ones.

Team Artisanscrest wishes you a very Happy harvest festival.

December 28, 2019

Some Art for Every Corner of Your House

Homes are a paradise on earth. There is nothing that provides comfort and warmth like your house does. We have discussed things that new home buyers should keep in mind and have also posted a blog on how to decorate your interiors based on Vaastu Shastra to fill your space with positivity.

Let us now help you pep up every room in your house. After all, special spaces deserve a personal touch.

  1. Living Room

It is true that the first impression ought to be the best impression. It is your living room or your drawing room that your guests notice first in your house, and it ought to stand out.

Make this space all about your creativity. Display some of your very best artefacts- your prized possessions. Don’t forget to hang a painting or two above your sofa.

However, make sure you do not overdo it. Simplicity is the key!

Balance all the elements using the right colour combinations. For example, if you want to display bright, colourful paintings ensure that your sofa set is of a soft, nude colour. This way you can avoid causing visual chaos.

 

  1. Bedrooms:

Your bedroom is your personal space and it should be as peaceful and soothing as possible. Hanging a painting here is the best bet. Make sure the art piece is not too loud or something that portrays wilderness and violence. Let it be a depiction of flowers or natural landscapes.

You can always place a sculpture or two in your bedroom. However, ensure that they are small sized artefacts- something that can be displayed on a side table or a bookshelf.

  1. Kitchen:

Yes! You heard us right. If we are including every room in your house, why leave the kitchen alone? Paintings in the kitchen are a cliché. However, displaying your favourite crockery set is not.

Bring out those bright bowls and wine glasses and showcase them in a way you think is best.

Placing small plants and pots such as those of flowers and herbs is also a very pleasing décor element.

  1. Garden:

This is the place to display those big, intricate sculptures.

Purchase some beautiful sculptures such as those of a maiden, huge flower vases or mini waterfalls to place in your garden.

Try placing a set of tables and chairs somewhere in the garden where you can experience a great view. Imagine sipping some piping hot tea and nibbling on cookies, enjoying a cool, winter evening out in the open.

Find some exquisite and indigenous artifacts on our website.

You can customize and get them designed to suit your needs. Feel free to write to us at contact@artisanscrest.com

 

Artisanscrest brings the glory of Indian art to the global stage. For more updates and to see our products, follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. You can also reach out to us on 918217781109 for queries.

December 19, 2019

A Guide to Interior Décor based on the Vaastu Shastra

There exists a huge misconception that Vaastu Shastra is nothing but an archaic superstition. However, this isn’t entirely true. Scientifically speaking, Vaastu Shastra takes into account the direction of wind, sunlight, rainfall, etc. to develop a placement order that will bring in positive energies. It simply aligns and balances the elements of nature with the lifestyle of man to create harmony between both.

Increasing modernisation is enabling people to step out of the conventional arena and opt for interesting ideas to decorate their homes and spaces. An entire field of work called Interior Designing caters to this very need.

However, a well-planned and decorated house can still feel chaotic, disconnected and uncomfortable. One reason for this could be that the décor is not done complying to the rules of Vaastu Shastra. Let’s look at how and why Vaastu is important in interior decoration.

For instance, Vastu Shastra states that one must opt for soft colours such as cream, baby pink and white for the walls. It asks to avoid dark colours such as red and black. The reason for this is that such deep colours can create a sense of darkness and negativity as opposed to the calm and soothing environment that should be maintained in a house. Similarly, the furniture of the house is suggested to be made of wood or some natural material so that one can always stay close to nature.

Here are a few guidelines you can follow to incorporate Vaastu Shastra into your interior décor:

  1. Curtains:

Curtains are not only useful in maintaining your privacy and to separate one area from another; they can instantly spice up your space.

Try and use plain and light-coloured curtains in bedrooms and more textured and bright ones in your living room.

Using loud, elaborate curtains in bedrooms can create a sense of chaos as bedrooms are closed spaces.

  1. Paintings and Artefacts:

Avoid purchasing paintings that depict violence or disturbance such as those of wars, scenes of hunting or of wild animals.

Instead, opt for more calming ones like portraits of Lord Buddha, scenes from mythology or even of beautiful landscapes.

  1. Mirrors:

Mirrors are considered very powerful as they can absorb and reflect energies. Avoid placing your beds in a way that you will have to face a mirror while sleeping. Also, placing mirrors in your living room is not a very good idea as energies of all those who walk in or visit you can be absorbed. 

  1. Furniture:

Place your beds in a way that your head is towards the south or east. Never purchase beds or sofas with a metal base.

Your study table should be placed where there is abundance of sunlight.

Avoid placing your computer table in your bedroom. Electronic devices can have high radiation that will affect the energy of the room.

Following the aforementioned guidelines can bring in good luck, happiness and prosperity and will also ward off negative and evil energies. For more effective guidance, contact a proper Vaastu specialist and consult your interior designer so you and your space are always well-protected and happy!

November 29, 2019

An Art Collection For New Homeowners

Some things in life are a big leap, like moving from a rented apartment to a new house of your own and on occasions like these, one will want to do everything in their capacity to make their new space look welcoming and attractive.

Now that you are the owner of the house, you can hammer holes wherever you want, you can hang up paintings and more, you can move/place furniture as it suits you and you can also paint as you like.

As exciting as that is, it can also be a very daunting affair- the part where you wonder “what do I do with all this space?”

Why not bring in the rich legacy of Indian Art to add character to your space?

Of late, Indian Art is coming back to its former glory. All the vibrant hues, stark motifs and exquisite figurines are loved by art connoisseurs across the globe.

Indian Art celebrates the cultural diversity between all its states and religions in much grandeur. Each region has its own style of art to bring to the table and they are all unique yet beautiful in their own way.

We have brought together here some great ideas for you to decorate your new home the Indian way.

  1. Wooden, Stone and Metal Artifacts:

Indian art is all about making use of naturally occurring substances as raw material. Hence, artifacts made of wood, stones such as sandstone, pink stone, etc. and metals instantly bring in a traditional feel.

 

  1. Figurines of deities and animals:

Any traditional interior décor is incomplete with a picture of Lord Ganesha or an idol of Lord Buddha. Similarly, it is in the roots of India to worship and give equal importance to animals and birds as well. If you notice, you can almost always find a sculpture of an elephant or a painting of peacocks in every Indian household.

 

  1. Wall hangings:

While displaying a painting here and a picture there, traditional art offers some exquisite styles such as the Pattachitra paintings, Tanjore paintings, Mandala art, Kerala Murals, etc. They all make use of natural, vibrant colours and will instantly make your space very bright and happening.

 

  1. Bright handicrafts:

Apart from artifacts such as sculptures and paintings, everyday handicraft product such as bed sheets, cushion covers, and door hangings also can be customized to the Indian style. Select vibrant colours with tribal prints or even make a project out of block printing them yourself!

While Indian décor can look very appealing, warm and welcoming, make sure you do not overdo it because all the bright colours and vivid prints crammed together can give off a very chaotic vibe.

While you throw in some beautiful artefacts, always balance them with plain or nude colours as and when possible.

For instance, while the cushion covers may be loud, mute them down with a sofa in nude colours such as grey, cream, etc.

Similarly, do not place two or more paintings together for they are all very detailed pieces of work and can be very overwhelming to look at when placed one beside another.

Congratulations, new home buyer!

You can find some of the artifacts featured above and more in our latest collection “New Homeowners”.

Happy decoration to you!

November 23, 2019

The Origin Of Sin

Folklore has it that long, long ago, God created his first humans and named them Adam and Eve. He built a paradise on earth called the Garden of Eden (which is believed to be in modern-day Iran) for them to inhabit and provided them with an abundance of resources.

They were however not permitted to eat the fruit of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”.

As fate would have its, Eve was one day lured by a serpent (desire) into eating the fruit and giving some to Adam.

God, furious at being disobeyed and fearing that the now polluted Adam and Eve eat the fruit of “the tree of life” and live forever, banishes them from the Garden of Eden and curses them to live a life without God and thus, began the sufferings of mankind. 

Fast forward many centuries, there lived a woman named Mary in a town called Nazareth which was a part of the then-Roman Empire. She was engaged to a humble man named Joseph. One fine night, an angel appears before Mary and informs her that she has been chosen by God to give birth to God’s own son. Joseph was informed the same in a dream and was asked to name the boy Jesus, meaning “saviour”.

As the Lord’s birth neared, a new law was passed in the Roman Empire which required Joseph and Mary to visit Bethlehem to get some formalities done.

It was 25th of December when they reached. Joseph could not find any place so they decided to spend the night in a cattle shed. That night, Mary gave birth to a divine baby boy who would grow up to be the saviour of mankind.

Naturally, he gained popularity and was immensely worshiped. He used to often spend time with his disciples and preach.

On one such occasion, as the Lord was having his supper along with twelve disciples, he declares that one of them shall betray him and that he shall die.

That night, as Jesus predicted, a disciple named Judas informs the state authorities of the whereabouts of Jesus. The king wanted to have him executed as his growing popularity was becoming a threat to their power.

After a trail, Jesus was crucified by nailing him to a cross.

Three days after his death, Jesus was resurrected, thus symbolising that he bore the torture and punishment for the sins committed by man and by coming back to life, all sins have been washed off and that mankind has been purified and blessed once again.

Christian Art:

It wasn’t until 300 CE that Christians could worship publicly or portray any imagery of their God. As fate would have it, Roman empire started coming down due to barbaric invasions.

Christianity came into light once again. Art had immense importance at that time and was used as a medium to celebrate the religion.

Architects, sculptors and painters were entrusted with the responsibility to develop a new art form which was later named the Early Byzantine Art.

Relief structures and exquisite paintings depicting verses and instances from the Bible and the life of Jesus were often depicted in churches, chapels, etc.

The Renaissance period of art saw the most notable art pieces depicting the stories of Christianity such as the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo, The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci, etc.

 

This Christmas bring home beautiful depictions of Lord Jesus and remember to walk on his path of non-violence and kindness.

Check out our collection “Christ-The Saviour”. You can also place a request for custom made art. Contact us today!

October 26, 2019

Of Wealth and Glory- A Tale Of Prosperity And Goddess Lakshmi

     One very common sight in most Hindu households is a painting or an idol of a graceful, elegant woman clad in a bright red saree with heavy gold ornaments. Seated on a lotus with royal white elephants beside her is the Goddess of riches that not only Hindus but also Buddhists and Jains worship- Devi Lakshmi.

Being one of the principal deities, she forms the Holy Trinity with Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Parvati who work together to provide the universe with knowledge, wisdom, wealth, prosperity, nourishment, fertility and other aspects that make life sustainable.

We as humans are heavily dependent on these elements for our growth. We cannot imagine life without food, shelter, clothing and more. Hence, it is but obvious that we worship wealth, riches and prosperity as a form of divine power whose blessings we need to keep growing as a species.

While Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains idolized their form of wealth as Goddess Lakshmi, different civilizations and cultures that existed in their time and some that continue to do so, have come up with their own representations of power.

For instance, Greeks worshipped Plutus as the God of wealth while Chinese worship Tsai Chen, and the Romans worshipped Venus as the Goddess of fertility, love, and prosperity.

The appearance of Goddess Lakshmi:

Centuries ago, the devas and asuras decided to come together on the advice of Lord Brahma to churn the Ocean of Nectar (Ksheera Sagar) to obtain amrut or the elixir of life. For this purpose, Mount Mandara was used as the fulcrum and Vasuki, the snake, as a rope tied to the mountain. Lord Vishnu took the form of a giant tortoise to balance the mountain on his back. Devas and Asuras held either side of the snake and the churning began.

As the ocean was being milked, many things appeared from the ocean before Amrut such as the moon, a deadly poison called Halahala, some herbs, fourteen ratnas (gems), some supernatural creatures such as Kamadhenu, Airavata, etc. and along with them emerged Goddess Lakshmi seated on a lotus.

She immediately chose Lord Vishnu to be her consort. Hence, Devi Lakshmi is considered the daughter of the sea and sister of the moon. Thus came into being the goddess of wealth and prosperity- Mahalakshmi.

Significance of Lakshmi Puja:

With the much-awaited festival Diwali just around the corner, Hindu households are being cleaned and decorated to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi.

During this five-day long celebration, the goddess is worshipped in all her grandeur with much devotion asking her to bless them with prosperity, wealth, riches and success.

Most business houses consider this time to be auspicious to close their financial accounts and to start new ventures and sign more deals.

On all these days, people light lamps and place diyas in and around their houses to welcome the goddess. Elaborate pujas are performed, and many sweet delicacies are offered to her.

This Diwali, bring home an idol or a painting of Devi Lakshmi to invoke her blessings into your place and life.

Check out our collection “The Invincible Shakti” for beautiful art pieces to choose from.

October 16, 2019

Through the Nine Days of Navratri

      It is not less than a week ago that India witnessed one of the brightest and most energetic festivals of the country-The Navratri.

It is a nine-day long festival that worships Goddess Durga but also celebrates womanhood and femininity in its principles.

The folklore behind Devi Durga’s incarnation goes that a demon named Mahishasur, upon receiving a boon from Lord Brahma started creating chaos in the Trilok- Heaven, Earth and Hell. The boon he received ensured that no man would be able to harm him or kill him.

Left with no option, the three main Gods- Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma combined their powers together to create a powerful woman called Durga. She is said to be the incarnation of Devi Parvati and is a very powerful form with tremendous energy and exceptional warrior skills.

Thus, Devi Durga set out on her mission to kill the asura and engaged in a 15-day-long battle with him. On the last day of the battle, she killed him in his buffalo form using her trishul.

These nine days signify the battle between the goddess and the asura and the tenth day signifies the triumph of good over evil.

During this time people engage in various pujas and follow other rituals such as performing traditional dance forms like Dandiya and Garba, holding Mata Jagratas which are night events where devotees sing prayers of the goddess, fasting, etc.

On each day, a different form of the Goddess is worshipped:

Day 1

On the first day, the Goddess is worshipped as Shailiputri or the daughter of the mountain. She was the consort of Lord Shiva- Sati and is seen riding a bull.

She is said to be the mother of the universe and hence radiates power and energy. To symbolise this, orange colour is worn on this day.

It is believed that if a devotee offers pure ghee on the feet of Shailputri, he/she will be blessed with a long, healthy life.

Day 2

White is the colour of the day where Goddess Durga is worshipped as Brahmacharini- a lady dressed in white who walks barefoot with a kamandalu in one hand and a rudraksha mala in another.

This avatar symbolises the time when Devi Parvati performed deep penance to please Lord Shiva and get him to marry her.

Sugar is offered to the goddess on this day to pray for longevity of family and friends.

Day 3

The third day celebrates the success of Devi Parvati in getting Lord Shiva to agree to marry her. Hence, colour red is chosen for the day.

On this day the Goddess takes the form of Chandraghanta, a ten-armed goddess with a crescent moon on her head and her third eye open. This symbolises the Devi’s role as Lord Shiva’s consort.

Kheer is offered to the goddess on this day asking her to wash away all pains.

Day 4

Royal blue is the colour of the day as Devi Durga is worshipped as Kushmanda who is said to have been given the task of maintaining the health and wellbeing of earth.

Mal Pua is offered to the goddess asking her to bless them with intellect.

Day 5

This day celebrates motherhood as the Goddess is worshipped as Skandamata who is seen holding baby Kartikeya and pampering him.

People wear yellow colour on this day to signify the aspects of motherhood such as joy, warmth, energy, etc.

Bananas are offered to the goddess on this day.

Day 6

Seen riding on a lion on this day is a ferocious form of Goddess Durga called Katyayani. She is depicted carrying a sword and, on a spree to finish off all evil.

Green is worn on this day to symbolise the end of evil and of new and fresh beginning.

Honey is offered to the goddess to symbolise a sweet start.

Day 7

On this day, Goddess Kalaratri is honoured.

She is seen as a four-armed deity riding a donkey and holding a sword, a trident and a noose.

She is said to have given up on her fair skin to embrace a darker complexion to fight demons and hence, colour grey is worn on this day.

The Goddess is offered jaggery as prasad to ask her to protect them from evil.

Day 8

Ashtami or the eight day is dedicated to Goddess Mahagauri who is said to be the embodiment of peace, serenity and intelligence.

Purple is worn on this day to symbolise the same and the Goddess is offered coconuts.

Day 9

Navami- the ninth and the final day of Navratri is dedicated in the name of Goddess Siddhidhatri who is seen seated on a lotus while holding a mace, a book and a discus in her hands.

She is worshipped as the Goddess who helps her devotees attain their spiritual goals.

Peacock green is worn on this day and the deity is offered sesame seeds.

 

In this manner the joyous festival of Navratri is celebrated across India with great zeal and fervour. It reminds us of importance of femininity in our existence.

September 28, 2019

Ardhanareeshwara: Union of Purusha-Prakriti

Once upon a time in the Himalayan mountain of Kailash, Goddess Parvati wondered what Lord Shiva must be feeling and as to how being in any state with oneself feels like. Hence, she walked up to the Lord and asked him to suggest to her a way by which she could enter that state and experience whatever he does along with him.

In answer to her question, Lord Shiva simply asked her to sit on his lap. She did so and he immediately absorbed her into him, and she became a part of him because of which Lord Shiva became ecstatic. As Lord Shiva accommodated Devi Parvati, he had to shed half of him and that is how a complete man became half woman- Ardharaneeshwara.

This seemingly interesting mythological story however has great meaning and significance to it.

The idea that such a portrayal of a half man-half woman conveys is that anything in universe is the result of the combination of masculine and feminine energies.

Let us look at different contexts in which the representation of Ardhanareeshwara is symbolic:

Creation and Existence-

When looked from this aspect, Lord Shiva can be perceived as Purusha (a catalyst for creation) and Goddess Parvati as Prakriti (nature or the energy that nurtures creation). It is because of the actions of a Purush that creation takes place and of Prakriti that life continues to grow- be it of humans or of mere ants.

If either of these two entities are removed from the chain, life in all its forms ceases to exist and hence, their union is the force that keeps life going.

Evolution and Development-

In this context, Shiva and Shakti (Goddess Parvati) are portrayed as masculine and feminine energies respectively. Here, it is important to note that masculine energy does not essentially refer to a man and feminine energy to a woman.

This school of thought is called Tantra Yoga. According to it, masculine energies hold within themselves a sense of freedom, consciousness, purpose and awareness while feminine energies are made up of creativity, sensuality, expressiveness and the need to nurture.

Tantra Yoga says that every individual has within himself/herself both these aspects irrespective of their gender and it is when both masculinity and femininity are balanced that a person attains a state of perpetual joy similar to how Lord Shiva became ecstatic as soon as Devi Parvati became a part of him.

In today’s world, these masculine and feminine energies are often misconceived to be limited to a particular gender. For instance, any man who is soft centred and sensitive or any woman who displays strength and assertiveness are immediately berated.

However, what we fail to understand and keep in mind is that we are all a combination of both masculine and feminine and if either of the aspects go missing, life will be devoid of harmony and balance.

Hence, creative depictions such as that of the Arthanareeshwara act to remind one of this fundamental reality of life and existence.

September 13, 2019

The Invincible Shakti- Mystic Arts And The Tales From India

“She walks the planet to let many more lives walk on it. She lets herself be put through a test of time and remains serene and strong yet so. She resides in all of us as a giver of life and in universe as Shakti.”

Shakti- the power of The Almighty in Hindu religion is often personified as a female entity, i.e., a goddess. Many scriptures cite women as the source of life and of energy. Hence, it is but obvious that we worship women in as many forms as their male counterparts.

Be it the higher goddesses such as Parvati, Lakshmi and Saraswati or their incarnations such as Durga, Sita, Mahakali; each of them has played a vital role in shaping the history and mythology of India.

It is for this reason that women and men are compared on equal grounds and as two halves of one whole. The most common pictorial representation of this ideology can be seen in a portrait of Ardhanaarishwara. Such a painting depicts one half as Lord Shiva and the second half as Devi Parvati, both combined to look like one human being. This reinforces the thought that it is the combined effort of both the feminine and masculine genders that the world works on.

Through ages, many women have taken birth that set ideal examples in the form of queens, consorts and even chambermaids. The message, however, is clear- it is a woman’s world.

Sita- Embodiment of purity:

For some, Sita is the ideal wife, daughter, and daughter-in-law and to others a fearless warrior who would stand on no other grounds but of truth, purity and self-respect. She is the woman who obediently followed her husband into exile. She also put herself through Agni-pariksha or trial by fire to prove her innocence. But when she was questioned by the society and her husband did not take a stand for her, she refused to accept the mark on her character.

Hence, she dutifully united her sons with their father and disappeared from earth forever on her own terms. It is important to also note the context in which Sita’s story is set- the Treta Yuga is marked as the last period of Dharma on Earth and a king’s wife could do nothing else but to resort to public opinion.

Draupadi- A divine woman for whom life was unjust and disrespectful:

Centuries ago in the prosperous kingdom of Panchal emerged a beautiful, dark-skinned lady from the sacrificial fire. Unasked for but inevitable, she was destined to change the destiny of the world itself. She was sent by the gods to perform a task that only a woman of strong character and unwavering mental strength could do- act as a catalyst for the Kurukshetra war.

She was constantly subjected to humiliation, dishonor and injustice. Yet she refused to let herself break and give up. In fact, it is because of her humiliation that the epic war of Mahabharata between Pandavas and Kauravas took place- a war that is said to have begun the destruction of an era and beginning of another.

In contrast to Sita’s story, Draupadi never gets a chance to live up to her princely duties- by the time she is ready to be queen, her memory has been tarnished by the war she set afoot. It just goes to show the inevitable nature of fate and that those remembered as heroes later often live in very turbulent times.

Goddesses who took birth to destroy evil:

If one is aware of mythological stories, they would be able to tell that the instances of when a woman saved the day were more than one.

  • A treacherous demon called Mahishasura sought a boon that only a woman could kill him as he was confident that no woman would be strong enough for the task. Hence, Devi Durga who was later named Mahishasura Mardhini was born for slaying the demon.
  • When nectar was churned out of the ocean and claimed by asuras, Lord Vishnu had to take the form of a woman to lure the demons into giving the nectar to him.
  • Goddess Yoga Mayi had to take birth and be replaced in place of baby Krishna in the prison in order to save his life from his evil uncle Kansa at the cost of her own mortal form.
  • In another instance, Krishna’s wife Satyabhama saved thousands of women from the hold of Narakasura. He had a boon that only his mother could kill him. Satyabhama is said to be the incarnation of Bhudevi who was Narakasura’s mother. Hence, she fought the evil demon and set the women free.

It is for all this reasons that Hinduism celebrates femininity and women. Navaratri and Dusshera- festivals dedicated to the goddess are just round the corner.

Take a look at our collection of the month “The Invincible Shakti” and bring home some exquisite pieces of art that remind one of the importance of womanhood.

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