The Shakti Initiative
The Shakti Initiative is an online clearinghouse showcasing Hindu teachings about and by women, the contributions of Hindu women throughout history, and the role both women and men play in bringing to fruition solutions that are grounded in Hindu teachings to address critical contemporary issues.
Hindus understand the Divine to be both masculine and feminine, as well as neither. Divine energy, shakti, manifests and is worshiped as the Goddess(es) and is seen to be complementary and not in competition with divine masculine powers which manifest as God(s). These magnificent, awe-inspiring feminine manifestations — at once fierce and compassionate, scary and loving, and powerful and gentle — work hand in hand with their equally awe-inspiring male consorts towards upholding dharma (cosmic order), demonstrating for us mere mortals the ideal and strength of symbiotic existence.
In the material realm, the individual soul is eternal and genderless, but when manifested in human form, it takes on in varying degrees both feminine and masculine characteristics. One oft recited prayer reminds us of where the Divine can be honored in our daily lives in our mother and our father: Matru devo bhava pitru devo bhava.
Whether mundane or ethereal, internal or societal, when both the feminine and masculine principles are in balance, we all share in the potential of functioning as a blissful whole.
The Shakti Initiative would not be possible without an amazing team of passionate and talented writers. HAF is indebted to their tireless efforts, meticulous research, careful editing, and beautiful prose. While opinion pieces are attributed to the author, the remaining content were written by anyone of the following writers.
- Kavita Pallod
- Priya Pandit
- Shuvi Jha
- Sweta Maheshwari
- Shweta Maruwada
- Mat McDermott
- Suhag Shukla
If you’d like to contribute or nominate a Hindu woman of note for our team of writers, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Artist
The Hero Image for the Shakti Initiative is an original work by artist, Chandni Mishra. Chandni has a Bachelor’s in Technology and an MBA, but has left the grind of her old 9 to 5 to pursue her passion, art, full-time.
Chandni chose Shiva-Shakti as a subject for various reasons. Here’s what she shared:
“If we think in totality, Ardhanareshwar is the purest representation of all the energy forms. It is complete in its own self.No other subject could depict the complete nature of any being. It is a perfect example which depicts the equality of both the genders. It depicts how lord shiva submerged shakti in himself to make her feel what he feels in samaadhi yet he didn't take away the true form of the goddess. They have separate identities, still they are one. What could be more beautiful?
Moreover, I am always intrigued by the beauty the Hindu gods hold, be it the way they tie their hair, their weapons, their props, their skin, their posture or their demeanour . There is a burst of energy from each and everything they possess and whatever they do.”
Chandni is a self taught artist. She discovered her fondness for sketching at the tender age of 10. She was immediately drawn to sketching Hindu Gods and Goddesses as she found them to be the most aesthetic subjects for her art. As she got older, she tried her hands in all kinds of education and jobs, but still felt art was the only avenue to correctly channel her passion and energies. Her sister was instrumental in reminding Chandni of her innate talent and encouraging her to leave days of depression resulting from feeling stuck in a 9 to 5. So started Chandni’s journey in this field. She knows nothing will make her happier in life than pursuing what she is meant to pursue.
To view more of Chandni’s work visit: https://www.facebook.com/Paintopedia-By-Chandni-195332641216139/