This excerpt from Alain Daniélou's The Myths and Gods of India explores the union of opposites in terms of the hermaphrodite and the lingum and yoni. Added emphasis appears in red, and my reactions are enclosed in a box: (Note 114)

The Hermaphrodite

The neutral, uncreative substratum first divides itself into substance and energy, into a male and a female principle. When these again unite, a spark appears which is lust, the source of the flow of life.

It is this lust which is the apparent origin of manifestation. The division into a male and a female constituent represents an attempt to explain the appearance of the spark of lust out of the neutral substratum.

The union of Shiva and Shakti is their basic reality. This is symbolized in the Hermaphrodite, half male, half female, whose nature is pure lust. . . .

The lust for sex expressed by the "Give 'it' to me!" line from my "God Hunger" poem represented the desire to return to the primal state of being. As a toddler, my granddaughter came close to representing that state. But she slowly became divided within and from the world she originally experienced as an extension of herself.

The hermaphrodite quality of the Kuan Yin staute had an undivided sense about it. This bestowed a sense of equanimity on her presence. My basic drive was the search for union. Hence my attraction to any image that conveyed a sense of reunited repose.

The Union of the Principles

In the unmanifest state there is a perfect balance. . . . As soon as the first tendency toward manifestation appears in the undifferentiated substratum duality is already present. This duality has the character of complementary poles of attraction, a positive and a negative tendency, which will be manifested in the whole of creation by male and female characteristics. . . . There could be no creation from Shiva alone or from Nature alone. The union of a perceiver and a perceived, of an enjoyer and an enjoyed, of a passive and an active principle, of a male and a female organ, is essential for creation to take place. . . .

How could I achieve balance in a world of duality? That was my question. I looked for it in partners, I looked for it in sex. But I did not find it there. Perhaps it was not on the outside. Realizing my shadow projections showed me I had been looking in all the wrong places. The key to the Tai Chi Dancer's balance was inside myself.

Everything in Nature centers around procreation, is intended to ensure the continuity of life. It is in the union of the lingam and the yoni that divinity, the power to create, is most directly apparent in man. There cannot be procreation without such union, and there cannot be divine manifestation without their cosmic equivalent. It is only through the understanding of the lingam and the yoni that we can understand the mystery of creation. . . .

An abstract representation of the Shiva and Shakti sexual embrace came into my life. This demonstrated I was less likely to project the union onto primary relationships. This Tantric lingam was carved from stone taken from the Narmada river in India. The receiving yoni was carved from black granite with a cobra wrapped around the opening. This union of opposites occupies a prominent place in my living space.

Shiva and Shakti in divine union

The Shiva principle is the totality of the procreative power found in the whole universe. All individual procreation is a fragment of it. "From the relation of lingam and yoni the whole world arises. Everything therefore bears the signature of the lingam and the yoni. It is divinity which under the form of all individual lingam enters every womb and procreates all beings."

Living the paradox of a united being surviving in a world of duality became my mantra. The only way back to The Intuitive Self, which was whole unto itself, was to find the flowing Tai Chi Dancer balance in the maelstrom of life. This meant achieving sufficient flexibility to flow with the tides of rationality and intuitiveness (in the small), and the urges of the lower and upper chakras.