Universal Mating Dance

Nowadays, people are finding it more and more difficult to understand their specific gender role as a woman or a man, particularly when it comes to relationships. Many women do not want a return to the old, outdated ways but are not really happy with the so-called equality gained through the feminist movement either. For many, it has produced more confusion than anything else. Let us take a look at how the feminine and masculine roles and principles are reflected throughout the universe and the macrocosm.

Still, silent, breath bated, anticipant, hopeful. Soft, gentle, moist, fertile, accommodative, pliant, responsive … she lies in wait in the dormant darkness for his coming.

Strong, dominant, self-assured, determined, purposeful. He comes for her. She willingly, happily, yields to his advances.

The two become one, fusing together in union, integration, yoga, synthesis and creation — the eternal celebration, the eternal intercourse, the eternal symbiosis, the eternal marriage. A love without cause. A love without end.

Is this the story of two lovers coming together under the cover of darkness? Not exactly. It is the interplay and the impregnation of the material nature, prakriti, by the spiritual principle, purusha. Without it, life as we know it would remain in a state of dormancy — an unrealized notion, an unmanifest thought, an unfulfilled dream. It is the creative impulse made manifest. It is universal law and occurs and recurs in a cyclical manner.

Prakriti and purusha — the eternal interaction of the polar opposites, the dance of the dualities, the yawing of the yin and the yang.

Prakriti is feminine in nature — meant to be penetrated, meant to be impregnated, meant to be submissive in the act of creation. She is the fertile womb of the universe (matter) which becomes impregnated by the productive principle of purusha (spirit), and, through the impregnation, gestation and birth process, she gives purusha form, substance, nature, and attributes. The material manifestation in its myriad species and forms is their offspring. Prakriti is animated by the presence of purusha. She is brought to life or into a state of being or becoming by the act of impregnation. She yields as Divine Lover and gives birth as Divine Mother.

Prakriti is yin and purusha is yang.

Purusha is masculine in nature — meant to penetrate and impregnate in the act of creation. Purusha is the spiritual principle that infuses matter with consciousness. He is the Divine Father. In the Bhagavad-Gita (The Song of God), Krishna, an incarnation of God, says, aham bija-pradah pita. "I am the seed-giving father of all existence."

Existence is obtained from the father while the body or vehicle is obtained from the mother. In Vedic understanding, the soul who is desirous of taking birth enters the body of the chosen father through his eating of grain. The soul is then transferred into the body of the mother through intercourse or conception. In Australian aboriginal tradition, a soul desirous of taking birth waits in a dormant state in a water hole, pond, river or lake where it is imbibed by the chosen father and then inseminated into the mother.

When the universal forces of prakriti and purusha multiply and take human forms, they become male and female in accordance with the preponderance of the purusha element, the male polar positive, or the prakriti element, the female polar negative. That is, a soul who has a greater degree of the prakriti element will take its birth as a woman and a soul possessing more of the purusha element will take its birth as a man.

The opposites of purusha and prakriti have an affinity or attraction for one another. When they come together, the dynamic, creative force finds a fertile field and the creation of all life in the universe begins. The seed of spirit or consciousness unites with the egg of matter, and life in all its forms is produced. Mother Nature has no power to create without the power of the purusha, just as a prakriti, or woman, cannot produce a child without the connection of a purusha, or man. The purusha impregnates, and the prakriti delivers.

Purusha is emotionless or immotionless. It is the steady or constant influence that is paired with prakriti which is emotional and mutable.

Let's look to the heavens and observe two of the most immediate and compelling symbols in our universe while remembering, 'as above, so below.' In Vedic understanding and in the lore of most ancient cultures, the Sun represents the masculine principle or purusha energy, the father, while the Moon represents the feminine principle or prakriti energy, the mother.

The Sun is self-illuminating, that is, it possesses its own light. The Moon, on the other hand, reflects the light of the Sun. This does not mean that the feminine principle cannot shine on her own, that a woman cannot distinguish herself as an individual. Naturally, she can and should. But when in relationship with the masculine principle (her mate), she must to some degree, reflect the light of the man with whom she is mated. If she doesn't, then the natural balance is disturbed, the male energy may be eclipsed and the woman will eventually be frustrated, perhaps without realizing how she has contributed to her own frustration.

Purusha represents identity or individuality. It is constant or should be so. Whereas, prakriti represents the persona, that is, the various masks we wear to interact effectively with the world around us. We put them on and take them off as the situation warrants. This is evident in the phases of the Moon. One of the greatest qualities of prakriti or the feminine nature is her ability to sense what is required and provide it, to be flexible and adaptable, to determine which persona will be most effective.

The Sun or purusha projects the will, that is, he blazes a purposeful and self-determined path. The Moon or prakriti is not fulfilled through such a masculine pursuit but through the feminine principle of desire, the ability to draw things to herself. The Sun pushes, the Moon pulls. With this same energy, she affects the ocean’s tides and the menstrual cycle in women.

The power of the Sun enables one to determine one's purpose in life. The perfect complement to the Sun is the full Moon which encourages one to pursue only those desires that are in harmony with that higher purpose, that is, the desires that reflect one’s light in totality. It is the symbolic expression of two people, man and woman, who are perfectly suited to each other and who mirror each other's best qualities.

Sun or purusha represents the spiritual principle, the soul, which radiates consciousness throughout each and every being. Moon or prakriti represents the mind which is changeable and brings to consciousness its diversity of expression. In all beings, consciousness is constant although it may be of a higher or lower evolutionary degree. In animals, for example, it is the instinctual nature or mind that gives each species its unique behavioral traits.

The Sun provides one with the motivation which promotes expansion and development. It is at sunrise when people get up and are inspired to begin their work. The Moon, on the other hand, endows one with a particular mode of expression or personality or persona in bringing about one's personal evolution.

Purusha enables one to express passion in the form of ideology and higher principle. Prakriti enables one to express emotion through sentiment and empathy.

The Sun or the masculine principle is empowered by the self in keeping with its self-illuminating potency. Due to its reflective nature, the Moon or the feminine principle is more likely to be affected by the environment and the opinions of others.

Purusha seeks to expand itself while prakriti contracts and draws within. The Sun is the positive, creative and life-giving principle while the Moon is the negative, receptive and life-preserving principle.

How are we to understand this idea of the masculine energy being the positive pole and the feminine energy being the negative pole? In the realm of the feminine or prakriti, the use of the negative force means to see and perceive what isn’t there. For example, a positive form may be easily identifiable as a person sitting in the chair in front of you. It’s what can be easily seen or positively identified. The negative perception consists of what cannot be easily seen or positively identified, such as the aura around the person, the mood, the emotional environment, her true intention, her sincerity or lack thereof, her level of consciousness, her presence or distraction of mind. All these are interpreted or perceived through the power of the negative perception of the feminine force. It is like looking at a black and white photograph which naturally emphasizes the person in the foreground of the photo. When looking at the negative of the same photo, the background is brought into prominence, thus diminishing the impact of the subject of the photograph — in other words, negating him. This feminine ability of perceiving by means of the negative pole allows a woman or man with a strongly developed intuition to see “behind the scenes,” to see what may really be taking place in reality though the person being seen may be trying to present an altogether different impression. Having spent many years as a professional musician, I learned to recognize a highly competent player by not only what he played but by what he didn’t play. He knew when not to play. Or as we would commonly say, “He knew how to play the spaces.” He was just as familiar with the negative pole (playing no notes) as he was with the positive pole (the playing of notes).

Purusha establishes the fundamental character of an individual while prakriti expresses the personality through impulse, feelings, instincts and sensations. Purusha comes to his conclusions through the power of the intellect. Prakriti arrives at her understanding through the power of intuition.

The Sun provides energy which heats and inspires action while the Moon's soothing light provides energy which cools and promotes calm.

In the grand scheme of things, God is purusha and He enjoys His creation consisting of all living beings who are considered to be His prakriti. The ultimate result of meditation upon and devotion to God is to develop genuine love for the Supreme. Love is a word which is often used in relation to man and woman. And love is the only word that can be properly used to indicate the relationship between God and the living entities. The living entities are regarded as prakriti, the feminine principle. The Lord is always described as the parama-purusha, or the supreme male personality. Thus the affection between the Lord and all living entities is something like that between the male and the female. Therefore ‘love of God’ is the appropriate term for the relationship between God and all living beings and the ultimate objective reflecting total universal balance.

Lord Vishnu is always mentioned as the supreme purusha in all Vedic spiritual texts. Sometimes the living entities are also mentioned as purushas although they are essentially purusha-shakti, the energy of the purusha. Illusioned by the material nature or maya, the living entities falsely think of themselves as the purusha although they do not possess the qualifications to proclaim themselves the Supreme Being. The Supreme Lord has the power to protect all living beings. Of the three personal manifestations of the Godhead, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, the first has the power to create, the second has the power to protect, and the third has the power to destroy beings, universes and worlds. When was the last time you saw your next-door neighbor create a universe?

From a universal perspective, the male is considered to be the energetic principle, that which provides the impetus for creation. The female is the energy itself which brings about the realization of the creative desire. She gives form to the creative impulse. In order for feminine energy to accomplish a task, it must have direction, which is provided by the male principle, just as the male impregnates the female and not vice versa. Male principle or purusha assumes the role of subject and provides direction. Female principle or prakriti assumes the role of object and provides expression. The male principle is the actual substance. The female principle is the embodiment of the qualities and attributes of that substance.

The beauty and harmony of this interdependence is expressed in so many ways in nature. The masculine sky rests upon the feminine earth and impregnates her with life. The masculine ocean is contained by the feminine seashore. The orb of the Sun is masculine but his light, the sunshine, is feminine. The masculine principle has the power to taste and smell while the feminine principle embodies all tastes and smells. Any form conceived by the purusha is assumed by prakriti. Male is day whose lord is the Sun. Female is night whose lord is the Moon. Purusha is the creator and prakriti the creation. The female provides the articulation and eloquence of speech while the male provides the meaning. These two must not be thought of us opposing forces or rivals for they are, in actuality, different aspects of the same ultimate reality. As such, they are complementary, not antagonistic. If they assume an antagonistic posture, then the result is chaos. However, if they are true to their mutually complementary nature, like Vishnu and Shri, then the result can only be cosmos or harmony.

As you can clearly see, these two principles, purusha and prakriti, are all-pervasive and dependent upon each other in the eternal mating dance which is the material creation in the macro-cosmos. In the micro-cosmos, purusha and prakriti are reflected in the divine interaction of male and female, both completely distinct, non-interchangeable, and totally interdependent as are the masculine and feminine within us all, no matter what our gender may be.