Who is Ardhanārīśvara?

Ardhanārīśvara is a hybridized deity form of Śiva and Śakti and is thus popularly depicted as half-male and half-female. A compound of ardha (अर्ध), meaning “half,” nārī (नारी), meaning “woman,” and īśvara(ईश्वर), meaning “lord,” the name literally means “Lord who is half woman.” Ardhanārīśvara is thus a profound and empowering symbol of the “non-binary” and philosophically represents the non-duality and non-separableness of Śiva (Consciousness) and Śakti (Energy). 

There are several references to Ardhanārīśvara in the purāṇas, a genre of Indian literature that details the myths, stories, and legends of the Hindu pantheon. In one tale of the Śiva Purāṇa, the god of creation, Brahmā, creates all beings, who unfortunately all turn out to be male. He instructs them to regenerate and reproduce themselve

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