“When the Yoga Sutra began to be taught by priests and scholars from a masculine Hindu tradition, one with the power of gurus and temples and decades of study behind it, the feminine aspect of Spirit, Devi, began to be pushed aside and a disdainful attitude toward women arose.” – Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D. Yoga, Power, and Spirit: Patanjali the Shaman.
First of all—Love the image!!! Wish I knew the artist but don’t. (It came from Alberto’s blog feed.)
Secondly, my first intro to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra was from a very balanced modern approach explained by Stephen Cope, so the gender bias of it was not as evident, but considering the actual time period that the original Yoga Sutra was first published and taught, I believe Alberto’s take on it is factual.
Thirdly (if there is such a thing) as a woman who has seen, felt, struggled-with, and survived-through ‘gender bias’ from high school onward to my present retirement age, where today’s girls and women can hardly fathom such a thing as ‘female dismissal or exclusion’ having ever existed except in fanatical religions or dead-end cultures; I can say that it did exist and still DOES exist for many women around the world, and it was far from pleasant to personally experience over the years when I knew it and dealt with it firsthand.
I’ve battled my male counterparts for many a job position with less-than-enlightened male employers. I’ve even had to “prove myself” or “prove my worth” to those ‘men-in-power’ over less-qualified male applicants at the time. Sometimes I’ve had to do the work of two people just to show what a better choice they had made by hiring me over the next-best male applicant. If you complained about the workload unfairness, it was, “If you can’t cut it—you’re OUT!”
So I always “cut it.” I was a hard-driving over-achiever because that’s what it took to make it in the world against workplace gender-bias back then.
Over my work life I’ve been discounted, ignored, laughed at, snidely commented on, and sometimes even mildly assaulted by crude, ignorant men who thought that their male dominance was a permanent fixture in our modern work culture—men who felt that their authority was never to be questioned because they were unlikely to be ever be unseated from their self-created and well-protected thrones.
Well they were wrong.
Devi—the feminine Spirit, is finally back now.
And if She (Spirit Devi) is anything like me, she came back different than she once was. No more wallflower—no more door mat—no more punching bag—no more the willing recipient of male insecurity and uncontrolled, raging aggression.
Nope. Not gonna take it now or ever again.
When I look back on the young woman I once was—so idealistic and unsophisticated, so believing of ‘a better world for all’ just waiting to be unveiled and willingly accepted by everyone, I laugh at my previous naiveté and shake my head over all my years of perpetual struggle for ‘worthiness acceptance,’ and the simple acknowledgement of my equal right as a female being to exist on this planet—or the “feminist’s agenda” as some have actually called it, like ‘equal rights/equal pay’ was some female aspirational fantasy.
I think that’s what I like most about this image above—there is such power there—such calmness, clarity and assurance. And in her eyes I see strong, unbending intentions for a world to exist as SHE sees it to be, no matter how anyone else perceives it.
I look at HER image—the Spirit Devi—and nod now, because from the depths of my being, I can FEEL that new world materializing even as I write this—the birth of a new creation that is sure, steady, and unfolding as it was always meant to happen just as soon as there were enough of us around to strongly hold the energy and intentions of HER.
Well, we are all here now.
And at last, so is SHE.