Divine Equals in Every Way Striving for an Ecologically-Based Society
In today’s episode of “Healing From Within” your host Sheryl Glick author of The Living Spirit and her soon be released book A New Life Awaits: Spirit Guided Insights to Support Global Awakening tales of remembering our soul divinity so we may value our life and relationship to the earth for our human and soul needs and to improve the human condition is delighted to welcome Dena Merriam author of her newest book The Untold Story of Sita for a return visit to the show and to share her extraordinary views of past present and future to enable a finer view of modern day shifts in living with more balance in regard to an understanding of feminine wisdom and the religious traditions that will shape the new life and new world we are creating at this time in human history.
To hear the last interview Dena and I shared about her book My Journey Through Time go to my website www.sherylglick.com to the radio page and open to March 2019 Special Edition.
As listens of “Healing From Within” have come to expect Sheryl and her guests share intimate experiences and insights into the world of our energetic and physical duality as we travel time and space history and create the present reality in our enhanced way with remembering that we are spiritual beings having a physical life in hoping to refine our feelings and higher awareness of love and the creative force of eternal life.”
In today’s episode of “Healing From Within” Dena Merriam founder of the Global Peace Initiative of Women bringing spiritual resources to address critical global challenges such as conflict, social justice, and ecological scarring of the earth has worked to bring greater gender balance and balance between the Abrahamic and Dharma based religious traditions for a more inclusive interfaith movement. Ms. Merriam received her Master’s Degree from Columbia University in sacred literature and in 2014 received the Niwano Peace Prize for her interfaith efforts. Today we will discuss the story of Sita, a beloved figure throughout Southeast Asia who represents the feminine divine and offers a new understanding of feminine wisdom and leadership as needed now to face an unprecedented ecological crisis and to restore the planet and humanity to its highest state of living in cooperation with nature. Dena tells us that for all of her adult life she has been a devotee of Shri Ram and Mata Site (Sita) but it was not until she started writing this book that she came to feel a personal relationship with them. They became very real living guides for me. Dena found herself basking in their presence and reflecting deeply on the words she was hearing within and trying to understand with her intellect, but being heard within her heart. Sita’s story carries the memory of a world lush with divine forces that appeared in various forms through rivers and forests winds and solar rays. Was Dena’s mind creating memories and narratives through its imaginative powers she asked herself, but her heart would respond, ”Hush and listen for Mata Sita is speaking to you.”
Dena Merriam feels a new reading of the story is immensely needed now. Many ages ago in ancient India, Shri Ram came to establish the foundation for a society based on universal principles of righteous action, in harmony with the universal laws, known as dharma. What is at the heart of dharma? Love. Love is what keeps the universal laws in motion. Love is what holds the magnetic and gravitational fields together. It is the force of love that is the cause and mover of all manifestation which will actually transform back into the unmanifest ultimate reality. It is this love that Shri Ram and Mata Sita displayed for each other, for all the people of their kingdom, for the creatures of the forest, for Mother Earth herself, and for the stars that dwell at a distance. Only by awakening the true essence of dharma, the love that is imprinted in our nature will we be able to realize the higher possibilities that await human life.
Sheryl shares her intuitive feeling that the masses of people worldwide are crying out to the Universe to help them reconnect to the ancient ways to respect and love nature and work cooperatively to improve life on this planet. We have distanced ourselves from our true soul nature and alignment to Spirit in a search for materialist gains in a physical world that is eating away at the truth of our eternal soul being.
Dena expresses that In the materialist world we live in now we have been separated from our original connection to Universal Source, the divine nature of each other and the Oneness of Being. Remembering our virtues is a part of reconnecting us to nature and our soul source of being.
“Dignity was a quality much valued in our kingdom. Although life in the kingdom of Videha was simple, our needs and wants were few, we saw this simplicity as a form of dignity because of the respect we accorded all of the natural world and all of the people in our kingdom. Nobody took too much, lest others go without, and this we would not tolerate. Every child who lost a parent was cared for. Every aged person was honored. There was little breaking of the trust between people. Everyone was accorded the same respect and honor and care. Janak Baba understood that for a society to be in harmony, everyone had to be looked after without exception.
Sheryl says Oh how we need to return to this beautiful and necessary righteous thoughts words and actions.
Dena goes on in the story of that ancient time and place how the leaders served their people. Everyone in our society understood the rhythms of nature and lived in accordance with the natural cycles. To us, its laws were sacred and the key to our prosperity, and our prosperity lay not only in the abundant resources of nature but also in the wisdom that flowed from our Maharaja, which guided every aspect of our lives. From him we had learned that as long as we upheld the natural laws, our needs would be provided for one way or another. Difficult times were there to teach us certain lessons, he said, but we had to remain true to our principles and beliefs.
During this time of Sita, the spiritual feminine source of nurturing humanity was more integrated into the natural world. There was no thought to take more from nature than was needed, for we were also conscious of the needs of the animal and plant kingdoms. In earlier days most of our food had come from the abundant forests and valleys, which had been overflowing with so many varieties of fruits, nuts, roots, and wild grains. But as we grew in numbers and encroached upon the forests, these foods diminished, and so the leaders of the nation led us in the cultivation of crops. But we had not forgotten how the forests once served all of the needs of our ancestors, and so a deep gratitude remained embedded in our minds and spirits. Gratitude, respect, and love for all life—this was the essence of dignity our leader Janak Baba taught us. Our gratitude was also for the earth, for her soil, which provided more and more of our food. We honored her, respected her and were grateful, and this feeling became even stronger when we learned that the earth goddess had given us a daughter. She had given the people of Videha one who could not only protect our kingdom but also help restore balance to the whole of the natural world.
All the people were more convinced than ever that the powers of our leader and knew Sita and his daughter extended far beyond the material realm. So when he brought home his daughter, we viewed her as he did: a gift from the gods. While the village people said she was born of the earth, there was whispering throughout the household that she was a self-manifesting one, the great Devi of whom the sages spoke. She took physical form through her own will. Janak Baba did not dissuade this talk, but he allowed the villagers to proclaim that she was the daughter of Vasundhara Devi, the earth goddess. And so she was named Sita, which means “furrow” of the earth.
We can learn much from the character of Sita and how she is a role model for us today. From the character of Sita we learn that she was called into life by the intention to have an equal partner for the next king…a woman connected to the living earth as it is in best interest of all societies where men and women are equal and remembered as such respected for their innate spiritual gifts and serve each other to the best of their talents and abilities without judgment from the outside world, but with love from “within” for all living thing. When her father the Maharaja was asked why he had a daughter and could she take over his kingdom he smiled and said “Kingdoms come and go. I am concerned with the welfare of the earth,” he responded. “I have observed increasing disturbances in the rhythms of nature and believe that only the supreme Shakti (the Divine Feminine) herself can again bring balance and harmony to the natural world. Without regaining this balance, I fear there will be much more suffering. Her presence is needed now, and I will invoke her again and again in the hope that she will respond and pour her love over all the living creatures on this earth by appearing in physical form.” And so the meditations continued. And so the story of how a child came to be that would take over the kingdom when the leader Janak Baba passed goes like this….. When Janak Baba beheld the small desert creatures that had gathered around, he looked at them with gratitude in his heart. “She is coming for you as well,” he said, “not only for us humans.” He took a vow that his daughter would belong to the earth and all of her creatures. She would not belong to him, Sunaina, or any man. She belonged to all. He had not called her forth to extend his kingdom, to perpetrate his reign, or to gain greater power or wealth, but to help and heal the natural world that was growing increasingly imbalanced.
As a child Sita or Mata as she was also called showed us that she was a natural healer and this is explained in the following story where she is guided by her intuition to find from the earth’s natural remedies.
“Please, have patience, Meenakshi, Sita said as they walked in the forest. I know I will find it. I hear it calling.” “Is it an animal?” I asked. She shook her head. I couldn’t understand what she was talking about, but this was often the case with Sita. Sita stopped by the water birds in front of them. After a few minutes I saw her fold her hands and thank them; then very consciously she went to a nearby stream and started to dig out some roots. “There, I have found it. Now we can return,” she said simply, holding a large bunch of roots in her hand. She took the roots back to Janak Baba. “What is this?” asked Janak Baba with a broad smile. “It is for the sage’s stomach,” she said. “This will help him.” The confusion on the sage’s face turned to shock. “Stomach?” inquired Janak Baba. Then turning to the sage he asked, “Do you have stomach troubles?” “Indeed, I do. But how could you know this, Sita? Nobody but my wife is aware of this.” She didn’t answer, but instead advised him to boil the roots and drink the liquid, and his stomach troubles would improve.
Sheryl says Seems Sita was an empath who could feel the pain of the wise man and also with messages from Spirit find ways and herbs to help those around her to heal.
As the child grew other spiritual talents emerged guided by dreams, nature and her strong connection to Universal energy and nature. Here is another healing story. Sita and her helper were by the river and the conversation went this way: “That was the river goddess. Did you see her beautiful form?” “No, Mata. I saw only a mist of light.” “She explained to me that death is part of life, and that she took the ox because it was his time to leave his body and take another. She said I should not mourn death because without death there is no birth. I am very sorry for the way I spoke to her.”
“Mata, I am sure she understood that your heart was moved by the plight of the farmer.” “Yes, that is why she called me here,” she said as she rose to leave. “I will not question her again.” “It is true what she said about death. But this is a hard lesson, Mata.” She turned to look at me.
Another lesson is learned and goes as follows…Sage Gargi entered the room and took her seat beside Sita. “Sita, we live on the physical plane. In the higher realms, thought alone can manifest what one desires. Here in the material world, a denser vibration is needed. The physical world came into manifestation through the vibration of sound, through the Om vibration. And these wise men are correct: pronunciation is key. It is very difficult to align oneself with the correct vibration; if one’s thought is not attuned, the sound will not be perfectly aligned. Thought guides the sound. A pure mind is needed, or at least a very disciplined mind, which is why so few hold the power of mantra. In earlier times.
Sheryl says there is indeed a divine plan and since nothing is good or bad just experience for the soul to expand to higher consciousness and closeness to this powerful force of creation we must accept and surrender to destiny without too much sadness and never judgment. We must balance and find peace and hold our energy and connection to love which is the real spark of the divine.
Dena explains the Yuga Theory of History which seems to explain many of the problems the world is experiencing at this present time. Yugas are the Hindu map of time, Age cycle or world eras.. There are four cycles. The western time system is linear while the Yuga system of eternity can be in this moment. Time and eternal in the East don’t map time in the linear system. In Hinduism Yuga matches the consciousness as it develops. It is believed we are in the “Kali Yuga” and at the beginning of this cycle where virtue is reduced to twenty five percent and we have declined from the grand scheme of virtuousness or the turning away from our inner world and our dependence on the outside world.
That is why we are struggling now in the world. Materialism is at the core of this cycle and the lowest point is when we would rather be a robot or technological being and the inner world of consciousness is lost to the technical over the human aspects. This is a movement away from our naturalism and a movement away from our state of spirit and eternal life. This is indeed a dark age in the Kala Yuga. Access to these ancient texts and waking up to our inner awareness is the only way to survive this age of destruction. We must move towards the age of Truth and awaken. Dena has discovered while writing her first book My Journey Through Time that past life memories are real when we discover the triggers that awaken our past life memories. It could be a person or place or dream or visit from Spirit. Most of the time, it is a combination of events that open the heart and soul to our true nature as spiritual beings having a physical life. Dena in that book tells us that after being separated from her husband and moving into a new house she began to have dreams of a grand house. She discovered at that time there are different types of dreams and that most dreams are of a subconscious or soul inspired remembrance, a melding of thoughts and fears about our daily lives. Some dreams convey a message and help lift us beyond reality to see the past present and future merging in a oneness of our soul life experiences. Dena had a recurring dream of that grand large elegant house for over ten years and one day met Jay who was African American who addressed me in Russian and something shifted and I became aware of a woman in spirit who I knew to be my Russian mother who I had loved so much in that time and grand house and had been separated from during the Russian Revolution.. Dena’s dreams brought her to places she had known in that lifetime validating for her truth that her memories were real.
The main messages of this story that are relevant to us today as the past and dreams remind us of our true eternal nature as in the story of Shri Ram and Mata Sita as told in the Hindu epic, the Ramayana the classic version of the tale is the Valmiki rendition is important because it is in that version which takes place after Ram is crowned king of Ayodhya, that Sita is brought low by the patriarchal assumption that she is nothing more than the wife of Ram, who was kidnapped against her will by the demon king Ravana and rescued by Ram, the hero. It is here that her purity is questioned, her reputation sullied, and she is forced to retreat to a forest hermitage where she bears her twin sons and raises them before she asks Mother Earth to open and receive her once again.
The Untold Story of Sita approaches Sita not as an appendage of Ram, but as his divine equal in every way. While Ram is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, known as Narayan, Sita is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu’s female counterpart, Mahalakshmi, called Narayani. In the celestial realms they are known as Narayana and Narayani, while on earth they are known as Ram and Sita. Nothing—the exile, the kidnapping, the separation from Ram, her supposed trial by fire and her time away from the kingdom at a hermitage—happens without her consent and her knowledge of the underlying reasons behind each action.
Another important continuing theme in this book discusses Gratitude a quality much valued in that long ago household, and this was set by Janak Baba and his wife, Sunaina Ma. They never failed to express gratitude to their servants and attendants and did their best to make life easier for us. It was our understanding that each person fulfilled an essential function in the household that was as important as any other role. No work was demeaning, and no one was treated as being worth more or less than the others.
It seems what matters is the spirit in which you perform your responsibilities, not what those responsibilities are. I have tried to teach you time and again that there is no distinction between the types of work one does. When you truly know this, everything will change. Then I will feel that I have fulfilled my responsibility in raising you to be a proper servant, a servant whose only thoughts are for the welfare of the one you serve.”
Sheryl says that nothing has changed and that the truth is It is not in the doing but who we are becoming that is the purpose of a physical life refining our spiritual essence with greater love and compassion for all. The materialist way of life has not supported this universal truth. Dena and Sheryl discuss that all the laws of trade and economic dependency upon the earth and the people to share what they have is the key to dealing with climate economic political and social changes in the world We are having a Spiritual disconnect from the truth of our being and have forgotten that it is through giving that we receive and in living with our soul wisdom that we make sense of the physical realities which can be harsh at times. From “within” are all the answers to what is happening in the world and often the fear and negative thoughts and actions we are generating out into the world are producing that reality. If you have fear of not having enough you will not have enough. If you trust and ask for divine guidance and project thoughts of being cared for, nurtured and loved you will live in that energy reality.
We thank Dena Merriam author of The Untold Story of Sita which is elegantly written and a departure from the previous view of Sita the ancient mythological Goddess as a helpless and submissive consort of Lord Rama moving past the limits of patriarchal and capitalist narratives to express the dynamic feminine power of action wisdom and balance through ancient and present day realities.
In summarizing today’s episode of “Healing From Within” Dena Merriam has shown us the progression from mythological times to now for how women in the past have been often seen as less than their full human and spiritual potential and at times been harmed emotionally physically and spiritually for their unique set of emotional and nurturing abilities. In this intense time of evolution and revolution, it is time for men and women to look to their spiritual energy capacities and find a complete awakening to the talents of both groups to reach a level of fairness and good judgment and walk side by side equally for then we will be able to restore ecological and social balance to our world.
Dena and I would have you remember your inner world and live from that truth as you journey through the physical world and begin to look past the social mores and limitations of your childhood any fear or trauma and false belief systems to engage the endless power of your soul potential to thrive and create a world of fairness prosperity and service to all living entities. It is from that place of Oneness that women will take their true place beside loving men without being subdued or controlled as in the past. We must all triumph in our Universal energy of soul life and bring heaven to earth.