This statue, as do many others, including Chola bronzes, depict the time-honored Hindu scripture concept that all of us half of what we think we are.
Shiva, the silent, aloof, meditative Chief of the Hindu scripture Trinity is often depicted as half woman, half man. Generally his left half is feminine, probably indicating how the woman is superior.
In many Western myths, several creatures, some divine and some demonic, are depicted half and half, but almost always as upper and lower halves. I have never come across a Western depiction of a being separated in two halves as that of Shiva as Ardhanarishwara, Half woman-half man, vertically split.
Scientists, who claim to know everything, tell us that our cells comprise 23 chromosome pairs and of these just one pair determines our sex. All the illusion we see and obsess comes from less than 5% difference between a male and a female. Of course, vive la différence!
At conception, we’re gender neutral. Nature endows us with gender differentiation as it deemed fit to facilitate our reproduction. Also to add some spice to our lives.
When we’re born, we feel no difference. If we’re left alone without interfering adults till adolescence, we may feel no difference, barring some minor protuberances in some body parts. But, adults and religion make it a point to drive home the separation and classify these differentiated body parts as sinful. This is where the trouble starts.
The root inner energy center, the muladhara chakra, is beautifully energized when we arrive in this world. The nurturing we receive blocks it. Sex and anything to do with sex being considered sinful, blocks our inner energy. If religions didn’t make such a fuss about it, all of us would grow to be perfectly normal adults. As we are, the way we are brought up with help from religions, we are sex starved perverted human beings.
Don’t worry, you’ll not become a free love freak, but more attuned and balance to handle your sexual self-esteem. You’ve nothing to lose but the shackles around your primal inner energy.