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FEMALE AND THE ASTROLOGY OF INDIA

India is a country in which the Goddess in its many faces is honoured. Yet at the same time the position of women is open to debate.
This webpage is dedicated to the way the astrology of India deals with the female principle. You are welcome to contribute to this webpage. It does not matter whether you are male of female if you have something interesting to tell just say it.
A few possible subjects: How the astrology of India is used and can be used to enrich the life's of females, the origin of the nakshatras (a zodiac based on the Moon), astrology and the Indus valley culture (a culture which probably was matriarchal in origin) and more.

If you like make to make a contribution just click on the following word:

WRITERSGUIDELINES

DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are those of individual authors, and are not
necessarily shared by other contributors or by the owner of the website.


CONTENTS: (click on a title to go to the article):   

INDIA, STILL A MAN'S WORLD,  this article gives an overview of the situation of women in India.

THE SUBLIME PLAN OF NAVARATRI, an overview of the different forms of the goddess 

There will be art on this page and more articles so visit us again!

INDIA, STILL A MAN'S WORLD

Reproduced by permission of Lonely Planet Publications 
We thank Lonely Planet for reprinting this article and Hugh Finley for writing it

India is a country of great fascination and colour; it is also a country of great hardship, and the people who face the worst of it are generally women. It is a cruel paradox that, at a time, when India's prime minister was arguably the world's powerful women, 75% of the country's women were living in villages with little education, few rights, strenuous and poorly paid jobs, and little prospect of anything better.

Problems for Indian women begin at birth. Boys are considered more desirable, for they offer parents security in old age - traditionally, sons remain in their parents' house even after marriage. Girls are often seen as a burden, as they not only leave the family when married, but need an adequate dowry. Consequently, girls may be fed less if there is insufficient food, and their education neglected. Such is the desire for boys that clinics in India used to advertise pregnancy testing to determine the sex of the foetus; in many instances abortions were performed if it was female. Although such practices are now illegal, it is believed they still occur.

Arranged marriages are the norm rather than the exception. A village girl may well find herself married off while still in her early teens to a man she has never met. She then goes to live in his village, where she is expected not only to do manual labour (at perhaps half the wages of a man), but also to raise children and keep house. This might involve a daily trek of several km to fetch water, as much again to gather firewood, and again to gather fodder for domestic animals. She would have no property rights and domestic violence is common. In many ways, her status is little better than that of a slave.

For the urban, middle-class woman in cities such as Delhi and Bombay, life is materially much more comfortable, but the pressures still exist. She is much more likely to be given an education, simply because this will improve her marriage prospects. Once married, however, she is still expected to be mostly a mother and homemaker. Like her village counterpart, if she fails to live up to expectations (e.g. providing a son) the consequences can be dire-'brideburning' is not uncommon. There are daily newspapers reports of women burning to death in kitchen fires. The majority of these cases are either suicide, or murders by in-laws who want their son to marry someone they consider a better prospect.

A woman faces even greater pressure if she wants to divorce her husband. Few women are in a position to do this because they will become outcasts from society; even a woman's own family will turn its back on her, and there is no social security net. A marriage in India is a social contract joining two people and their families. It is then the responsibility of the couple to make the marriage work; if the marriage fails both husband and wife are tainted, but the fallout for the woman is far worse. Not surprisingly, divorce rates are low.

However, the picture is not all gloomy. In the past decade, the women's movement has had some success in improving the status of women. In 1933 the first women were inducted into the armed forces, and women account for around 10% of all parliamentarians. Tow high-profile professional women are former prime minister Indira Gandhi and Kiran Bedi, India's first female police officer and now head of Delhi's main prison, Tihar Jail.

For the village woman, it's much more difficult to get ahead, but groups such as SEWA (Self Employed Women's Association) in Ahmedabad have shown what can be achieved. Here poor and/or low-caste women, many of whom work only on the fringes of the economy, such as scavenging for waste-paper at the dump, have been organised into unions, giving them at least some lobbying power against discriminatory and exploitative practices. SEWA has also set up a bank, giving many poor women their first access to a savings or lending body.

The central government is well aware of the generally poor position which women have in Indian society. A government report prepared for the Beijing women's conference commented that 'gender equality and gender justice are still distant dreams'. Attitudes are slowly changing, but for the moment women's power lies in their considerable influence over family affairs and remains largely invisible. It will be a long time before they gain even a measure of equality with men.     

Hugh Finley is the author of Lonely Planet's India - a travel survival kit

THE SUBLIME PLAN OF NAVARATRI

In the Mother Worship ceremony, the Divine Mother, or Goddess, or Devi is worshipped for nine days and nights. Although the Divine Mother is One, she is adored in three aspects - Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati.

During the first three days, the emphasis is given to removal and destruction of the grosser forms of obstacles by Goddess Durga. The heart of an aspirant is tainted by impurities in the form of anger, greed, hatred, lust, pride, jealousy, etc. These invaders must be rooted out and the building cleaned up or levelled before a proper house can be constructed and occupied.

It is Durga, riding on a tiger, who enters the heart of an aspirant and mercilessly slays all those impurities residing within. The levels the old complex personality and clears the way for the construction of a healthier personality in which divine virtues can unfold.

During the next three days of Navaratri, the same Devi is worshipped in Her constructive aspect as Goddess Lakshmi. Seated or standing on a lotus blossom and holding lotuses in many hands, Lakshmi symbolises unfoldment.
She is seen as the embodiment of gentleness, harmony and goodness, and an aspirant recognises Her Grace through circumstances of material and spiritual success and glory.

After Durga has levelled and cleaned up the dilapidated old structure of personality, a constructive process can now begin. A plan is made, a foundation is laid down, a house is built and the gardens landscaped. As you see more and more beauty unfold, it fills your heart with joy. This represents the stage in spiritual movement characterised by the advent of Lakshmi.

Lakshmi is the sustainer and nourisher of the constructive expressions of the soul. Durga destroys a dilapidated ruin; Lakshmi erects a shining mansion. Durga removes jagged rocks; Lakshmi produces a green meadow. Durga performs surgery by removing the diseased part of the mind; Lakshmi performs the work of healing.

Lakshmi is the Goddess of material and spiritual prosperity. She is symbolic of Divine Glory. This phase is marked by the development of divine qualities such as compassion, dispassion, purity, renunciation, charity, universal love, unity, magnanimity of heart, balance of mind, etc.
Lakshmi brings steadiness of mind by enriching the spirit and removing the distraction.

The last three nights of Navaratri are devoted to the worship of Goddess Saraswati, the bestower of wisdom. Saraswati comes forth to enlighten you by revealing the latent powers and potential grandeur of the soul.
Saraswati is described as having a complexion that is white like the Himalayan snows. She shines effulgent as all her garments and brilliant ornaments emit pure, snowy light. The implications that the Goddess abound with sattwa. When sattwa develops in the human personality, it brightens the intellect and leads to intuitional enlightenment. Saraswati is
further compared to the jasmine flower. This flower is not only white, but also fragrant. Where there is purity there is also fragrance and luminosity.
She holds in her hands a veena, symbolic of harmonisation of the personality.

Saraswati, Goddess of Wisdom enables you to go beyond the walls of your ego
and look into transcendent dimension. The moment you do, creative faculties begin to unfold. Ultimately, Sarasota destroys ignorance and reveals the splendour of consciousness.

By reflecting upon the glory of the Divine Mother during the nine nights of Navaratri, we see she has innumerable manifestations as she guides Her hind, the aspirant, in evolution, internal as well as external. The entire prakriti (nature) is Her sporting ground and all the manifestations of
heaven and earth are Her glories. Her Divine ways of guiding the soul are mysterious, yet always deeply compassionate.

The climax of Devi worship - attainment of Self Realisation - is symbolised by the celebration of Vijaya Dashami, the celebration of Devi's final victory over all the demons {remember the hmmmmph! technique?} on the tenth day of Navaratri.

This has been written by an anonymous writer. All attempts to find the identity of the writer have been in vain. If you know him or her please send an email to me so I can thank the writer for writing this wonderful article and give credit to him or her.    

Durga Puja is one of the biggest Hindu Festivals. In India, people celebrate the five days of Durga Puja with new clothes, fun and laughter. Wish your friends and family members a very Happy Durga Puja and Shubho Bijoya...

To send them cards go to: 

Durgapujacards:  http://www.durgapuja-cards.com/   

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