Thursday, November 22, 2012

Is Lakshmi a Goddess in Name Only?

Is Goddess Lakshmi only figurative? Posted By: Poonam Srivastava/Atika Singh at NDTV Good Times
(November 11, 2012)

The festive season is a buzz with excitement, happiness all round, the city lit up, the sweet shops bustling, people rejoicing in the festive spirit. For a lot of us this festive season also becomes path to connect with the divine and pray to Goddess Lakshmi, who for us represents the epitome of bringing wealth and prosperity.

There is obviously notable furor of activities in the temples as people actively pray and ask for blessings. I was crossing once such temple and that’s when I observed something very disturbing right in the heart of all the festivities. There was this group of men, who had just come out of the temple and probably finished praying to Goddess Lakshmi for wealth and prosperity, and to my horror; start eve teasing two girls barely 25 feet away from Goddess Lakshmi’s abode!!!

I was left astounded with the stark irony where, in a country like ours on one side all of us including men pray to Goddesses like Durga, Kali, Lakshmi, Saraswati and bow their heads in respect. And yet the living feminine form is treated so badly. Every day in the news we hear of rape, honour killing, dowry deaths; in fact we don’t even have to look outside, in our very own homes men and women are not treated at par. While times have changes and there is considerable liberalization especially in the upper strata of society.

Today’s working woman is not only supposed earn but also look after the home and the family irrespective of whether the man helps her or not in the household. A woman is expected to play the roles of a mother, wife, daughter-in-law, sister, daughter to perfection! Does a man have the same pressure of expectations?

I recently watched the movie ‘English Vinglish’ I’m sure some of you would have seen it as well. It was a beautiful interpretation of a middle class family and especially how woman of the house is expected to only give and if she makes the mistake of expecting something in return she is sure to be disappointed. What touched me most was the scene where the protagonist, says that she is not even seeking love from her husband and children but all that she wants is a little respect.

Is that also too much to ask for considering we are living in the 21st century and claim to be modern and free thinking? So while we rejoice, pray and seek blessings from our Goddesses’ lets also spare a little thought for the Goddesses’ in our family and bring in a little light into their lives this festive season!

(Poonam Srivastava is a Delhi based writer who has published books and articles on subjects of social innovation and practical spirituality. She also actively volunteers her time to promote causes related to these spheres.)

(Atika Singh is a post graduate in Counseling Psychology from Amity Institute of Behavioral & Allied Sciences and graduate in History from Delhi University. She has been actively involved in the emotional counseling space; and is passionate about empowering individuals to deal with their personal and professional issues, and achieve greater success. She is a certified Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner.)

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