yin and yang symbol
recent times, Chinese symbols and paraphernalia have
glutted the market world-wide and Feng Shui which is the
traditional art and science of land selection for
residential and official purposes has suddenly become
of the most popular symbols, that greet the eye, is the
‘yin and yang’ symbol on a round plate. The black
eye is surrounded by a major white tail and the white
eye on the tail end is surrounded by a black portion.
Both look like a fish with a tail. And this symbol bears
an air of mysticism and those who know a bit on Chinese
symbolism regard it as a sense of unity and solidarity.
In reality, the yin and yang symbol signifies
much more than unity or solidarity. The symbol is what
psychologist Carl Jung calls ‘anima’ and
‘animus’ and what the Hindus call Ardhanari
Adam and Eve descended on earth, there was no power
struggle and no spiritual books claiming one gender was
superior to the other. Due to certain biological
limitations, women assumed the role of the nurturer and
men assumed the role of the provider. Thus, women tended
to the home front, bore children, nurtured and raised
them, while men hunted, ploughed fields, fought wars and
provided for the people at home. However, somewhere along the line, globally, men began
denigrating women till ultimately, today there is an
ugly imbalance and the battle between the sexes is an
ancestors must’ve found a few exceptions to the rule,
where a timid man lived with a determined woman! Thus
this woman became the bread-winner and the man must’ve
tended to children! And in course of time, the woman
must’ve become a bit more assertive and the man
yielding. However, when someone breaks rules, somebody
benefits and those who benefited were the unscrupulous,
nosy society, which relegated the position of women,
binding her to the shackles of superstitions and guilt.
Chinese will tell you that ‘yin’ is the female,
representing night, dampness, dimness, submissiveness,
downward and inwards and that ‘yang’ is the male,
representing day, brightness, dryness, strength, upwards
and outwards. However, a closer look at the symbol will
reveal that the black mass contains a dot of white at
the head and that the white mass contains a black dot in
the head. This in reality symbolizes the balance that
nature has created.
to Carl Jung, the average male possesses 70% masculine
traits, 15% feminine traits and another 15% of childlike
traits! Masculine traits are akin to Darwin’s
‘survival of the fittest’ trait, his need to fight
wars, his outgoing nature, his courage to counter danger
etc. Most men have this daring streak in them. However,
men also have an emotional side-to care for his young
ones, to cry when hurt, sympathize and empathize and to
be a part of a group. His childlike qualities are
curiosity, the need to experiment, quiz, find out and
even play like children joyously.
women too possess 70% feminine qualities like the
ability to nurture, sympathize, empathize etc, 15%
masculine traits that make them assertive, independent,
ambitious and self-reliant. The balance 15% is the child
like trait of being inquisitive, joyous and carefree.
Whenever masculinity in men and feminine
qualities in women are too pronounced by their absence
or presence, there is an imbalance. You can’t expect
men to watch helplessly at a crying infant. Similarly,
when a man is confined due to sickness, a woman can’t
be too docile and unable to fend for herself. And
there’s the age-old proverb, “All work and no play,
makes Jack a dull boy.” So, a life full of cares,
worries and seriousness without simple pleasures, ages
one too quickly. Here the child-like qualities come to
the rescue. This is the essence of the yin and yang
is a reminder asking us to lead a more balanced life.
While it’s perfectly fine for women to go out there
and work rubbing shoulders with men, and perfectly fine
for men to wash dishes, a balance has to be sought. If
one consumes too much of salty food, the tongue craves
for sweets and if one consumes plenty of sweets, a
craving for pungent food is quite natural.
When it’s hot and stuffy, all that’s needed
is open the windows, turn on the air-conditioning. And
in colder regions, sitting around a bonfire is all
acclimatizing to nature and environment is natural and
easy, coping with changing human behavior can be tough.
It is a mistaken notion that oriental societies of yore
advocated that women resigned to the temper tantrums of
their husbands or fathers. Ancient oriental wisdom, in
fact advised couples to remain silent and allow their
spouses to vent their feelings and worries. This mode of
silence is applicable even to men.
Hindu mythology, it is said, “Without Shakti, Shiva is
shava,” meaning without the feminine energy, the male
is impotent or as good as dead. In physics it is proven
that energy is the catalyst that causes movements or
transformations. A thing can have potential energy, but
kinetic energy is of paramount importance for the
represents the yin energy in spite of being the male
form and Shakti His female consort represents the
masculine force or the yang, despite being a woman.
Legend has it that in order to destroy a demon, Goddess
Parvati Shiva’s wife, assumed the form of Kali and
went on a killing rampage, destroying not only evil
forces, but also vanquishing whatever came in her way.
Just then, Shiva her husband posed as a corpse and lay
on her way. Upon stumbling on her husband, Kali (Parvati)
realized her folly. This only goes to show that too much
of yang is harmful. She had to return to her yin side.
When Shakti is yang, the legend shows the destructive
power of yang energy. Later, she lay her one foot on his
chest and brought him back to life. In order to quell
her fury, He started crying like an infant, which
stirred Kali’s maternal instincts and brought back the
yin force in her. Here again, the legend goes to prove
how yin and yang are both sides of the same coin.
Shiva is the seed, Shakti is the energy, the primordial
life force that breathes life into the body and brings
the seed to fruition!
heavens are considered yang and the earth yin. When man
proposes, the woman yields. The rains that descend from
heaven that is yang, descends downwards, exhibiting its
yin quality. The earth that’s yin looks upwards and
receives rains and thus is productive. Being yin, the
earth, makes itself yang, as creation is, energy that is
yang. None is superior to the other. If rains fall on
concrete ground, no seed will germinate and the rain
water just flows uselessly. Without rains, the seeds
that have the potential to grow into sturdy trees will
remain scattered and dry. Thus the wisdom of the yin and
the yang only speaks about harmony and equality, not
image of the Hindu Goddess Mahishasuramardhini, is
depicted Her as seated on the ferocious lion. You could
draw parlance in the tarot card ‘Strength’! The
ferocity of the lion is yang, but is portrayed as yin
when the beast is controlled by Shakti who is yin. The
Goddess being a yin force has her yang side as she
successfully controls the yang, ferocious lion!
A king or leader is respected by his subjects
only when he displays his leadership qualities through
his generosity, mercy and benevolent qualities. A queen
is respected when she fights injustice and corruption
through her inherent qualities of being just and loving.
yang head mingling with the tail of the yin and
vice-versa also reminds us of the proverb, “Darker the
night, closer the dawn”! In despair, we can find
strength and this strength will soon show us the light.
And when life seems too good, let’s prepare for the
bad times too, with equanimity and poise.
black mass with a white eye or dot reminds us that even
the worst of mankind will have a bit of goodness, if
nurtured, will shine like a star in the night sky! The
white mass with a black eye or dot reminds us that none
is perfect. One black dot is always prevalent, urging us
to keep striving and excelling!