The Power of Being Broken

I’ve recently come across an article written by Julie Peters that introduced me to a very interesting figure that I wanted to pass on.  Meet Akhilandeshvari, (pronounced ah-kee-LAN-desh-va-ree) we’ll call her Akhilanda for short.  She is the Hindu goddess of Never-Not-Broken.  She derives her power from always being broken; in flux, pulling herself apart, living in different, constant selves at the same time, from never becoming a whole that has limitations. She shows us the power of opportunity of being broken into pieces by heartache, disaster, and other life changes and traumas.

It’s the kind of broken that tears apart all the stuff that gets us stuck in toxic routines, repeating the same relationships and habits over and over, rather than diving into the scary process of trying something new and unfathomable.

The Never-Not-Broken Goddess promises that the greatest strength is in the transformative moments: the uncertainties, the pause before we hit the ground, and what we do with ourselves after we land.  She shows us the power of surrendering to change.

Another very interesting thing about Akhilanda is how she gets around: on the back of a crocodile! It represents our reptilian brain, which is where we feel fear. Also, crocodiles overcome their prey by spinning and disorienting them in the water.  By riding this spinning predator, Akhilanda neither refuses to reject her fear nor does she let it control her.  She rides on it.  She gets on this animal and takes her fear down the river and uses its power to navigate the waves. She is not controlled by the need to keep her identity consistent.

She teaches us an important lesson. If everything remained the same, if we walked along the same path down to the river every day until there was a groove there, this routine would become so limited and toxic to us that the crocodiles would catch on, and we would get plucked from the banks, spun, and eaten. This is so eloquently expressed in the following poem by Jamie K. Reaser entitled, Akhilandeshvari ‘s Crocodile.

Sometimes it seems like

your entire world is

in a tailspin.

Everything moves so fast that

focus and certainty

become nothing more than the

theoretical constructs

you obligingly recount

in stories wailed to your old self

with a sense of foolish piety.

Welcome aboard.

You’re riding the scaly back

of Akhilandeshvari’s crocodile.

Around and around you go.


Let’s See:

How many pieces have you broken into?

Count them.

There’s a pretty good chance

that the head has been severed

at the neck

and the heart has been

sliced open.

“Cosmic surgery!”

gleefully shout the mystics

in all the Truth traditions.


when invoked with courageous intent,

can nourish the body and soul,”

they say.

Have you not noticed

the feverish whirl

of their dance,


and tongues?

Torn apart from the masks,

self betrayals,

and toxic aphrodisiacs

in all forms and strides,

Your inventory will reveal that

all that no longer serves

has been purged from your

own reptilian being.

It is impossible for you

to reconstruct

what was.


Congratulations –

you’ve had a complete breakdown.

The dark ferryman will help you

disembark from the crocodile

at the next bridge crossing.

When he does,

look for the sign.

It will read something like this:

“Only you know the way.”

Oh, and remember to thank

the crocodile.

If you look closely,

you’ll catch a glimpse

of your indestructible beauty

reflected in his tears.

If you are saddling up for your own ride on the back of Akhilanda’s crocodile, let STA guide you on your journey down the river.  You can reach us at (201) 488-6678.