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It is sad that as a woman in India, your introduction and discovery that you are a sexual being happens through a harassing incident most of the time. A bus conductor touching your breast or a fellow passenger rubbing his penis or a random stranger pinching your buttocks are the ways in which you realize there are certain hormones in the body that get activated when certain parts are touched.
And after that you are introduced to a world where “sex” exists and “sexual inclinations” exist and “sexual harassments” are the thieves that wreck that world.
This used to be a subject that kept me preoccupied as a young girl. What was the way out? And as I tried different ways to tackle the situations, it took me on a discovery to know more and more of myself better. I will share my journey and my learnings along that path.
HARNESSING THE RIGHT ATTITUDE
I feel every child should be introduced to the possibilities of the incidents of sexual trespass, so that they are prepared to tackle better by having anticipated the strategies of the intruder. This could be done at home by parents or in school by teachers.
While we introduce the idea that “bad things happen in the world”, we as adults have to be very careful not to colour the mind of the child with fear, hatred or mistrust. The real challenge actually lies here. Children are very sensitive. And an over-coloured image can harm their growth to a great extent.
I had seen a movie where a girl had run away from her home and her lover had abused her horribly taking that chance. The adults who were there with me during the movie took that as an opportunity to educate me, “This is what will happen to you, if you do that.” They felt they had done a good job as an educator. But I was horrified and my innocent, little world was demonized.
I think this could have been the angle that would have worked better:
“There are all kinds of people in this world. And even in those kinds “good” and “bad” are not so distinctly marked. Everyone is a mix of that darkness and light. So it can happen that some people have gone more into the darkness in a certain aspect of their nature and have lost their sense of judgement, self-respect and respect for others. And when they have lost that sense, this is how they may act.”
I feel the child should recognize the “evil” instead of growing hateful towards the individual. I feel the child should feel sorry for him if at all something like this occurs and not sorry for herself or himself being harassed. This should also not make her aggressive but compassionate and sow that seed of strength in her right from the start. “Compassion” does not mean not taking an action. Compassion is an inner act. The outer act whatever it is appropriate for that situation should not be driven by hatred and aggression is what should be kept in mind.
The “evil” of harassment can also enter disguised as love. Because the actor-lover is aware that this is a clever way of getting to the indoor and safely loot and come out. My discovery of “hatred” also happened along this path.
I held that hatred in me for very long. But it evaporated more and more as I learnt the lessons from it to make myself stronger. The more we learn, the more we let go. The more we let go, the more we evolve. I was a novice in the lessons of love and sexuality, without any command in that path. I didn’t know the tricks, the loop-holes, the numbers of doors through which a thief can enter and the numbers of ways for me to guard.
I assume a huge number of teenagers must be suffering that.
The sweet world of love soon gets achy with disgust and hatred to an extent one cannot recognize one emotion from the other.
This is when “love” overall is recognised as a “fearful emotion”. “Opposite gender” becomes synonymous to an “evil force” at our destruction. This is where miso-gyny or miso-andry begins. The journey of a man who hates women often starts from being denied of an expected love. The journey of a woman who hates men often starts from being affected by that anger.
It is important therefore, to not contribute to that circle of hatred and anger.
LEARNING THE ART
When you are a novice, you get played around by the experienced one. That is why there is a social pressure on keeping the woman a “novice” so that she can be played better. A novice woman is considered a better bride because she will not understand the tricks played on her. A novice woman is a better target because by the time she will come out of her bewilderment, hatred, resolution and learn to deal with the situation better, the harasser will move on.
I was a studious girl unaware of this part of the world. I was brought up in a “decent way” where high philosophies mattered. Subjects like love and sex were looked down upon as distractions. From that high standard, I had to teach myself to step down and explore the basic lessons that were skipped along the path.
Being a creative individual, it was not tough for me to shift my role from a focused Savitri to a playful Meneka exploring the colours untapped.
My lessons at Belly Dance enhanced my learnings that I had lacked. I felt powerful as a woman. I felt creative in my steps and voice and movements that now unleashed my sexuality without fear. I felt there were years of hatred, silence and anger that were bottled up. My struggles found an outlet when I accepted I was a sexual being without being guilty of that. I was part of the nature that blossomed at Spring and let the cuckoos sing on branch. I was fragrant and flowering and I recognised my sexuality was actually my creative force waiting to be recognised.
When I was in London, I met men who could so easily complement a stranger-woman that she looked nice. When I returned to India I heard similar sentences distortedly hushed into ears. Random men who passed by whispered words that could have been a complement but sounded hurtful and offending because of the ways it was put together.
I realized it could be a natural urge to express to the other. When that expression is denied, the distortion appears. If the men were taught the right ways to express and if the women were taught the right ways of accepting or not accepting that, half the battle I feel would be resolved.
I realized it is not true that women have a weaker stance at sex and is an easy victim all the time. It is that way because the society looks down upon women who know that art and looks up to the women who do not.
I feel during teen-age, it is important to teach this art to the young individuals. Instead of focusing so much on the subjects that conflict with their inner turmoil, students should be taught the subjects that mother nature wants them to learn at that time.
When sexuality is recognized as a creative energy, it is an opportunity to cultivate poets, writers, musicians and dancers or admirers of the beauty which is abundant in nature.
BEING POWERFUL WITHOUT MISUSING THE POWER
Being powerless is a problem. We are easily exploited. Being powerful also is a problem. We then become the exploiters. After the sexuality is recognized by an individual, it can happen that it is misused on others. You can become the person who you had hated once. You can become the player causing bewilderment to many others.
This power also demands that from time to time it is fed with acknowledgement from others. It likes the thrill. It likes approval. A person who harasses sexually using an emotional crutch or a person who harasses emotionally using a sexual touch, does that from a confidence he or she has gained from past.
If the journey is about to complete its circle from being the prey yourself to the hunter, it is time to recognize that end and retract. The circle can now be closed without initiating another circle for someone.
It could be the time of high confidence and high amount of energy unleashed outward. It is important at this point to learn how to turn that energy inward. The drive that has been created to seek thrill and adventure constantly outward, has to be pacified. The fire has to be brought inside the house, instead of burning the town, to keep the house warm. The practise of Tantra is all about recognizing and harnessing this energy for a bigger outcome.
It is an irony that India being the country with so much work in this field, is also the country that is suffering the most with lack of practice in that. If we could bring back the exposure in an appropriate manner, I feel we could have more fiery saints than demons of fire.
I had met Sanjay Bharti, a Tantra practitioner in Zorba The Buddha, New Delhi. I liked the way he is re-kindling that fire and removing the misunderstanding of the shadows that cast. Here is an interview that will serve as an introduction:
A Tantra Vision of Life – An Interview with Swami Sanjay Bharti
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