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Divinity Series: Day 1 - Shailaputri

Day 1 of the nine days of the Navratras is also known as the Pratipada. This day is associated with Shailaputri meaning the ‘Daughter of Mountain’, and manifestation of Parvati.

Shailaputri is worshiped as the companion of Shiva. She is considered to be the direct embodiment of Mahakali. She is depicted as riding the bull, Nandi, with a trishula in her right hand and a lotus in her left. Nandi stands for stillness and patience. It is also the active meditative state where there are no expectation and no desires.

Trishul is the destructive force and lotus depicts the creative force. Both destruction and creation go hand in hand. The generative force which is ready to burst out or explode.

For a Shakta-Hindu, menstruation is a holistic concept. It is a religion (dharma). The term ritu, which signifies menstruation, also signifies the cyclical changes of the seasons as well as orderliness in the cosmos. Thus, it is believed that the menstrual cycle in the female body corresponds to, and represents, the cyclical change of the seasons and the orderliness in the universe. A woman's ritudharma is thus said not only to interrelate and integrate the concepts of woman, female, and feminine but also to interrelate humans to their environment, and to the sociocultural reality in which their rites and rituals attain fruition. The concept of ritudharma needs further explanation because as one of the dharmas, it carries the ambiguity and plasticity that the notion of dharma generally carries.

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