August 28, 2019
Please join us and our guest, Dena Merriam, for a show on The Untold Story of Sita: An Empowering Tale For Our Time, which takes a new look at the classic Ramayana by tearing away the patriarchal lens through which the story is traditionally viewed. In the traditional account Sita is a secondary figure and her true nature is hard to access. In this reading of the story, told by the people of Sita’s household, the role of the sacred feminine is predominant.
Dena is the Founder and Convener of the Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW), bringing spiritual resources to address critical global challenges, such as conflict, social justice, and ecological scarring of the earth. Over the years she has worked to bring greater gender balance and balance between the Abrahamic and Dharma-based religious traditions for a more inclusive interfaith movement.
Dena served as Vice Chair of the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders, held at the United Nation in New York in the year 2000. She subsequently convened a meeting of women religious and spiritual leaders at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, and from that gathering founded the Global Peace Initiative of Women in 2002. In 2008, Dena was one of the founding members of the Contemplative Alliance, which later became a program of GPIW, to explore how meditation and contemplative practices are reshaping the spiritual landscape of our societies.
For over 40 years, Dena has been a devotee of Paramahansa Yogananda, a practitioner of Kriya Yoga meditation, and a student of the great texts of the Vedic tradition. She received her Master’s Degree from Columbia University in sacred literature.
In 2014 Dena received the Niwano Peace Prize for her interfaith peace efforts. She is the author of My Journey Through Time - A Spiritual Memoir of Life, Death and Rebirth and The Untold Story of Sita: An Empowering Tale for Our Time.