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About Our Guest Dena Merriam

Dena Merriam is a partner and vice-chairman of Ruder Finn company.  As the Founder and Convener of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, she brings spiritual resources to address critical global challenges, such as conflict, social justice, and ecological scarring of the earth. 

For over 40 years, she has been a student of Paramahansa Yogananda and a practitioner of Kriya Yoga meditation.  Dena is also a long time student of the great texts of the Vedic tradition.  In 2014, She was honored as a recipient of the Niwano Peace Prize by the Niwano Peace Foundation in Japan for her years of commitment to interfaith dialogue. 

Dena received her MA from Columbia University in sacred literature.  She has served on the boards of Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions, the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy, Manitou Foundation, All India Movement for Seva, the Gross National Happiness Center in Bhutan and as an advisor to the board of Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association.

Dena serves with the Interfaith Center of New York City in the creation of the Millennium Peace Summit for Religious and Spiritual Leaders.  Their objective is to engage religious leaders from around the world to work as a resource to the United Nations in its efforts to resolve conflict throughout the world.  She also provides counsel to the State of the World Forum in its attempt to gather world thought leaders to address international problems.

The Untold Story of Sita: An Empowering Tale for our Time, by Dena Merriam, 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 story, told by the people of Sita’s household, the role of the sacred feminine is predominant.

Sita is a beloved figure throughout Southeast Asia, but the message of her life extends beyond these audiences and bears universal import, particularly relevant for the modern age when a new understanding of feminine wisdom and leadership is needed, and when we are facing an unprecedented ecological crisis.  Mata Sita and Sri Ram were instrumental in setting the foundation for a new civilization during a time of transition from one era, or yuga, to another.  We stand at a similar time in history, where we are experiencing the passing of one era and intuitively feel the birthing of another, as yet unknown.  One thing seems inevitable, however, that the new society we are striving for must be ecologically-based.  There is an excellent value in looking to lessons of the past to move forward.

I invite you to listen to my interview with Dena Merriam.  Our conversation will be about her remarkable spiritual journey, and her latest book, The Untold Story of Sita: An Empowering Tale for our Time.

Get in touch with Dena Merriam by completing the form.

Listen To The Show (Tuesday, July 16 at 10 AM CT) 


The Untold Story of Sita replaces the traditional narrative of Sita's life as told in the Ramayana with Sita as she truly is -- an incarnation of the great Devi Narayani.  Sita comes to Earth to join Sri Ram in setting the foundation for a new civilization at a time when humans are becoming separate from the natural world.  She seeks to embed a great love for the forests and rivers, plant and animal life in the hearts and minds of the people, and to share the high spiritual accomplishments of the great women rishis and sages, many of whom you meet along Sita's journey.  This is a story of a woman's wisdom, courage and strength, her love for the manifest and unmanifest worlds, and her selfless sacrifices for the welfare of all.  So step into Sita's time and see what life was like during a more spiritually more advanced age, when there was an understanding of Dharma, not just as duty but as an alignment with the higher forces of love that make possible the preservation of our world.  You can purchase Dena Merriam's book here.

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