The Egg Hatches into Duality

In the Rg Veda hymn 10.121, the source of "all powers and existences, divine as well as earthly,"1 is identified as a golden embryo (hiranyagarba), but it is water which "gave birth to worship:"2

water and egg
When the deep waters came, carrying everything as an embryo and giving birth to the fire [of worship], then the life of the gods, the sole [existent], evolved.3

And in hymn 10.129, creation begins with emptiness taking the shape of an egg and then, "through heat and desire, the One evolves and somehow becomes a creative duality, male and female."4 These two hymns contain the concerns of Hindu mythological fertility: heat and desire, duality, water and other facillitators of birth.

the egg breaks open

male female
pure spirit nature/matter
witness active force
immutable mutable
intellect binding
cognition agency

Samkhya-Yoga, a philosophical system ever-present in the Hindu world, maintains "a dualistic realism," made up of the female and male principles prakrti and purusa.5

Purusa, in itself pure consciousness, experiences the changes that prakrti, on account of its three gunas [lightness, passion and darkness], is undergoing, as if these were its own. Purusas are originally many -- prakrti is originally one. The association with a purusa makes prakrti, as the evolved being, manifold and makes purusa interact with it. . . . Under purusa's influence the equilibrium [of the gunas] is disturbed and evolution begins.6

Goddesses are not only strongly associated with but often personify and embody the forces of nature, or prakrti. In the Devi-mahatmya, Devi is called "the supreme, original, untransformed prakrti,"7 and Ganga Mata is both "Nature (prakrti) supreme" and the embodiment of sakti, or energy,8 specifically "the creative energy that generates and continues to activate the universe."9