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If You Must Assume the Goddess : Be Kali! Not Sita!

November 2, 2013

33064-sita.jpgSITA:  She’s the conventional woman and wife all Indian women are told to be like.  She is a husband-worshipper.  She follows and obeys him passively.  She accepts his rejection and injustice.  Follows his orders blindly, embracing loneliness, poverty, sacrificing her self and her life for him.  She even jumps into fire for him!

Puja-as-KaliKALI: She assumes her power in full, and refuses to take injustice and abuse from men.  She is not afraid to actively fight for her own protection and that of others who are oppressed.  She is not afraid of challenging the wrong, of standing her ground.  She looks the ugliness of repression in the face, and responds to it with the might and glory of her own powers.  she does not care if the expression of her powers frightens the world that has come to expect women to take oppression like Sita does, sweetly and passively.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. Samir Chatterjee permalink
    November 4, 2013 7:24 am

    Goddess Kali wipes all the evil clean off this world alright. Nevertheless she nearly bites her tongue off when she realises she has stepped up on her prostrate husband Lord Shiva! Nevertheless you are right about the image you are portraying of Sita.

    • November 4, 2013 11:32 am

      That’s the general belief. According to the literature on Chandi, he is drunk and drugged like he normally is and passed out. She’s on a war-path, drinking blood of the demons she kills, and notices nothing. “Biting the tongue” does not look like what we see of Kali. Wide open mouth, tongue fully out — that’s an angry roar!

  2. Saganaga permalink
    November 4, 2013 1:36 pm

    Reg Sita, didn’t she finally leave Rama and go away with her mother – Bhooma Devi after she finishes her exile with her sons? I tend to think she is a feminist, though a latecomer. I vaguely remember reading that she used disrespectful words to describe Rama. Eg, in the Tamil version (Kamba Ramayanam), she uses the word “avan” ["he" without respect instead of "avar" which is with respect] once she learns Rama doesn’t trust her.

  3. November 4, 2013 4:24 pm

    L’ha ribloggato su Antropologia e sviluppoe ha commentato:
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)

  4. November 4, 2013 4:36 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2kFzGyKgpA Iran Infuriated By Film Of Woman’s Stoning
    How can a nation that could soon be a nuclear power still legally stone women to death for adultery?

  5. November 4, 2013 5:00 pm

    Reblogged this on lolarina and commented:
    I agree, from Spain.

  6. Kathana permalink
    November 4, 2013 9:02 pm

    This is what I’ve been saying! All that BS about Rama being the perfect husband and Sita being the perfect wife is just that – BS. Rama was a jerk who doubted his wife’s chastity, even though she had sat outside Ravana’s palace for 12 years and refused him every day. He made her walk through fire and believed her, so he took her back to Ayodhya. Then, because ONE stupid citizen mentioned how he doubted that Sita had stayed pure and loyal to Rama, made his BROTHER take her to the forest outside Ayodhya and LEAVE HER THERE WHILE SHE WAS PREGNANT. I do not blame her for praying to Mother Earth to swallow her whole when Rama saw her again 10 years later and asked her to walk through fire again. I’m sorry, but if my husband had done that to me, I’d have turned into Kali. Not even a joke here.

    Kali is the embodiment of scorned and enraged women, and that is the goddess we all need to emulate now, because we have been taken for granted, taken advantage of and taking too much BS from the rape-culture in our patriarchal society for too long.

  7. November 5, 2013 11:43 am

    Interesting. That is a very similar story about Ra and Sekhmet (only Ra is the father in this case). But yeah, I was always a fan of Kali :)

  8. Rashma N. Kalsie permalink
    November 6, 2013 2:52 am

    Sita is one of the finest portrayal of an evolved woman,. She was physically strong at 16 to have effortlessly lifted a bow that most men couldn’t raise a few inches above the ground.She falls in love with Rama before he marries her and she seeks divine intervention to marry the man she loved. You must understand that Sita is goddess incarnate and not a teenager with a crush. So when as a newly wed she follows her husband to live a harsh life of an ascetic in ruthless jungles it is her own choice. We forget that Sita and Rama lived as celibates and mates, not sexual partners. Sita had divine powers so that Ravana could not seduce, tempt or rape her, such was her aura. The aura of a ‘realised woman’. She had the power to walk through flames, Draupadi did not. and later she parented two boys alone, in jungles.
    Mythology presents us with prototypes of heroes and heroines. Sita is the silent power of an Indian woman.
    when I tell people of the west that indian women do not abandon their children when their marriages break they are surprised. even the poorest of women in India choose to live a harsh life of a single parent to raise their children rather than go hitching a man. Can you believe they do not feel the need for sex. How many women in the West will ascribe to that view. By the way, sex is a need of the mind not the body – 1st chapter, KamaSutra

    • November 10, 2013 12:59 pm

      Well, since I have written a book on the history of Sex and sexuality in India (Sex and Power, Penguin Books), I can tell you that the Kama Sutras were making the same arguments that western feminists made in the 1970s on the sexual revolution 1500 years earlier than them! The Kama Sutras strongly argued that women had the same physical need for sex that men did. That women were just as entitled to sex and learning about sex, sexuality and how to orgasm — BEFORE THEIR MARRIAGE! The Kamasutras argued, that child birth was not the sole purpose of sex for women. Women are entitled to derive pleasure from it without thinking about reproduction. They also argued that men while making love are often selfish and don’t think about whether or not the women have orgasmed, and that they need to understand that physiologically women are very different. The kamasutras also argued that love marriage was one of the best forms of marriage because the sexual chemistry which is so essential to any form of physical union in marriage was also pre-determined. And the Kamasutras and other literature from the entire 1st century millennium in India had other such wonderful gems of advice and observation. You can certainly check out my book for more. It suffices to say that today Indians have regressed as far as women’s sexuality goes! And it is a pity that Sita type definition of “power” exists, which basically measures a woman’s capacity to take abuse lying down! The more abuse she can take silently the stronger she is! It’s actually terrifying that we think this waY!

  9. karthu1993 permalink
    November 6, 2013 11:20 am

    Kali is my role model…

  10. emery permalink
    November 7, 2013 3:14 am

    I read a report that sales of firearms shot up after the Delhi gang rape of Dec. 2012. so maybe the idea is catching on.

    • November 10, 2013 1:04 pm

      Unfortunately not! Women in India need to understand that they have to fight back! Right now their response is to cower and sometimes beg for safety. We have to storm the political platforms and assert ourselves as equal citizens.

  11. angst the ontological oddity permalink
    November 23, 2013 8:40 am

    I have come to know of Kali through the teachings of Ramakrishna.
    Even as a man I feel no shame or guilt looking upon God as Mother!
    I feel empowered by Kali and hope to extand that power to my daughters too! All us men do is fuck things up….Its time for a change!
    Nameste

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