How would you describe UR relationship with the nine Devi’s?
Laxmi Narayan Tripathi
Transgender rights activist & Bharatnatyam dancer
7 min read
Laxmi Narayan Tripathi belongs to the oldest ethnic transgender community, the Hijras. She is a leading voice of change for the transgender movement and has provided trans representation internationally. A Bharatanatyam dancer, a human rights activist and one of the first transgender to represent Asia Pacific in the UN in 2008. Laxmi Tripathi Acharaya Maha Mandaleshwar Kinnar Akhada expresses the power of Stree shakti –
What does Stree Shakti mean to you?
I represent the oldest ethnic Transgender community in India, known as the ‘Kinnars’. I’ve learned in my younger years that in Satya Sanatan Dharma Lord Shiva himself says that without Shakti he is ‘Shuv’ (a dead body). Gender balance was taught by Lord Shiva to signify the power of Stree Shakti. Similarly, in the Bhagavad Gita it is also said that the entire Prakriti/universe is Nari/Stree.
For me, Stree Shakti is the oxygen to human life, and we should learn how to respect and teach our generation to show some dignity, whether it is in the form of a woman or a man. A woman who respects herself, loves herself and exudes positivity and confidence is the true definition of Stree Shakti. Womanhood is a form of celebration where all the avatars of the Devi within her are channeled and brought into the world. At times we forget how to respect the modern age women in her true form. I’ve learned the art of loving myself and my nature with dignity to empower the woman I’m today.
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How would you describe UR relationship with 9 Devi’s?
When you speak about the nine Devi’s, everything rises from them. UR name gives you the most characteristics; I believe I have a lot of attributes from all the Devi’s. I’m lucky to have been blessed by their grace and instincts; to protect, destroy and to take care. My relationship with all of the Devi’s is one with nature. I am nothing but an atom when compared to the nine Devi’s shakti. I believe the nine shakti’s, Ashta Lakshmi’s and all the shakti from the universe, whom we call Jagath Janani Tripur Sundari Bhuvaneshwari have guided my path and is always with me. Jai ho Jagath Janani Tripur Sundari Bhuvaneshwari.
What Devi Shakti avatar do you most relate to & why?
Like my name I’ve always related myself with the Goddess Lakshmi, I’ve always found the ocean to be my father’s place. They say Lakshmi is Chanchal, she’s prosperity, glamours and everything starts from, and everything finishes with her. I believe my being and instincts are very similar to goddess Lakshmi as she continues to shower her blessings on me.
What role does performing arts play in one’s mental well-being journey?
When the world was against me, I had only one friend, which was the stage, and my heart always led me to the stage. The stage has mentally helped me heal my mind and has given me an identity which I call my own as an artist. I believe the stage is still waiting for me, and I should perform again!Since I was a child, I was ridiculed frequently for expressing my liking and interest in dance. I’ve used performing arts as a medium for me to release all the stereotypical pressures the world/society tried to put on my head when I was a child. As a child, I’ve learned that the stage never ridiculed me for expressing my love and passion for dance. I was always appreciated and welcomed with open arms on stage without judging me about my sexual orientation.
When the world was against me, I had only one friend, which was the stage, and my heart always led me to the stage. The stage has mentally helped me heal my mind and has given me an identity which I call my own as an artist. I believe the stage is still waiting for me, and I should perform again!
My dance has given me confidence which no other degree would’ve given me. Dance has built the foundation to my everlasting confidence, which has helped me elevate my life to the next level!
What is UR fitness regimen or go-to exercise to stay mentally & physically fit?
Before COVID, I was living out of airports all over the world just like the saying goes: ‘you live out of UR suitcase’. Whenever I get time, I prefer to perform. For me, the smallest of things like brushing my teeth and saying I love you, Lakshmi, is what I consider as the art of loving myself. This keeps me mentally and physically fit. My mantra is not to be selfish but to love myself. There is a thin line between being selfish and loving UR self and that is called the art of self-love.
How has dance helped UR body, why do you consider it UR superpower?
Dance has taught me how to use my expressions as a language when I was shy. It taught me a language, when I was afraid behind the curtains. It taught me to speak with just one look, which would keep many people away from me, and one smile would bring thousands closer to me. My dance has given me confidence which no other degree would’ve given me. Dance has built the foundation to my everlasting confidence which has helped me elevate my life to the next level!
What gives you the most strength?
Nothing is impossible in this world; you can achieve anything and everything. My gender and my sexuality are in my bedroom. I, as a human being, have the same aansh as Swachitha Anand and Swaroop of any man and woman. I’m very productive, and I can achieve and also pick up my pieces and move forward when I need to. Only I, possess the power to control my achievements with my mind.
What is UR relationship with food, what is UR diet like?
Food is like Annapurna; we all strive hard for one morsel of food. People from my community also sell their body for one morsel of food. Food is everything to me; I eat whatever is served on my plate.
Early morning – Tulsi and lukewarm water
Favourite food – Khichdi, fresh green veggies and okra
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What has dance taught U in life, how and what did it heal for U?
Dance has healed the biggest void and wound in my life of not being accepted by society. My dance helped me break through all the stereotypes set by our society and helped me heal my life. It got rid of any negativity around me and brought back my dignity. Dance never let me fall in my life; it has healed my wounds from sexual abuse, non-acceptance and being nowhere. Dance is one of the forces in my life, which has taught me how to speak, communicate and help me become the person that I’m so proud and grateful of today.
How do you celebrate the Devi Within U?
The Devi which resonates within me is the Goddess Lakshmi. I enjoy every second of my life. I consider talking about this also as a big celebration. A saint once asked me what I felt my life is. I answered saying my life is a festival, full of colours. If I add all the colours from the rainbow, I would still consider it to be
significantly less to describe what I think my life represents. I live life queen size, the Stree in me which I myself recognized and pampered is what created Laxmi Narayan Tripathi.
What’s UR message to the world to stay optimistic during COVID?
The biggest strength during this pandemic is UR will to live healthy, to take care of yourself will help you get through any crisis. UR will be UR saving grace.
What is UR powerful message to all the wonderful women that are inspired by U?
My message to all women would be to pull out the real women in them. Learn the art of loving yourself and treat yourself with dignity. If you don’t treat yourself with dignity, nobody will. Don’t take any crap from anyone, speak up, take control of the situation and say NO in a stern voice. Love yourself with dignity, immaterial to any gender; transwomen, ciswomen and all women.
What do you consider as UR blessings?
My blessing is my mother, my family, the person who loves me the most is my fiancé, my guru, my guru bhais and a big universe of people around me. I’m blessed that I have so much of love; every little relation in my life has become my biggest blessing in my life. In Hindi, I say ‘Main Rishton main jee thi hoon’ I hold my relationships and connections with the people in my life very close to me. Har Rishta Kisi heere say kam nahi hai’ every relationship I have in my life isn’t less than a diamond.
5 women U admire
My mother and my Janani
Helen of Troy
Jagath Janani Tripur Sundari Bhuvaneshwari she is the supreme shakti and the most beautiful woman anyone could ever imagine. She and her blessings are everywhere.
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