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John Mortimer
28 July 2014, 04:42 AM
Namaste :)

I am very much a new comer to the Hindu tradition, with clouds of ignorance to dispel. I would really appreciate some insight on the concept of the Divine Feminine in Hinduism.

I have decades of experience in Western religion & spirituality, which in its orthodox manifestations ignores the Divine Feminine completely. In fact the very idea of the Divine Feminine is usually condemned and despised. The completely unbalanced emphasis upon the creation-transcending-God concept, (at the expense of the immanent, all-pervading God concept), has given the West a deeply ingrained view of God as essentially masculine. This - even if it is acknowledged as purely symbolic - seems to me to be very damaging.

I have left Western religion & spirituality behind now, as I intuitively sense and confirm through experience that the Hindu Dharma manifests the light of our true nature. I don't actually know why the concept of the Divine Feminine is so important to me, (it has been for many years), and so I would greatly value any insight from those who can speak from the Hindu Dharma.

Om Shakti

John Mortimer
02 August 2014, 01:04 PM
Om Shanti

My opening post perhaps comes across as a bit abstract and maybe intellectual.

If I ask this a different way........ what does the Divine Mother mean to you?

I would appreciate any responses, be they devotional, simple, contemplative, (or even abstract and intellectual! :D ).

It's not that I want to discuss this in a particular way or that I have an agenda. I would just love to have some Hindu people share with me what the Divine Mother means to them.

Shakti!

Viraja
03 August 2014, 07:31 AM
Namaste,

It is a great thread. I would like to say very simply that to me, divine mother (be it Durga devi or Sri Mahalakshmi or Saraswati devi) is the embodiment of 'perfect qualities' or 'virtues'.. some of these virtues being - charity, hospitality, chastity, sincerity, truthfulness, being able to be a good mother, ability to work hard, and finally...devotion.

To me, worship of divine mother brings about the above qualities gradually in a person - makes them perfect for Lord's worship.

Without the divine mother, I wonder if a sadhaka will mature fully enough for 'moksha' (or even being a contributing sadhaka in the society).

I found a great link on Hinduism's view on females, this link speaks about Hinduism's view on women from the Mahabharata perspective and the Tulasi Ramayana perspective:

http://www.hinduism.co.za/women.htm

Thank you.

Ram11
03 August 2014, 08:34 AM
Namaste Ji,

There are many forms of the Divine Goddess,which forms do you like?Each form has a meaning/philosophy.

Eastern Mind
03 August 2014, 08:50 AM
Om Shanti

If I ask this a different way........ what does the Divine Mother mean to you?



Vannakkam John: All the different sects and schools will see it differently. Obviously the Shakta school will give Divine Mother utmost importance, as Supreme.

Others, not so much. In my school, for example, She is the manifest half of Siva/Shakti which is probably best represented as Ardhinarisvara, which demonstrates that She is never apart from Siva.

But there will (as usual) be a ton of various understandings, none right or wrong, and none demonstrating the whole of Hinduism.

Aum Namasivaya

John Mortimer
03 August 2014, 02:39 PM
Namaste Ji,

There are many forms of the Divine Goddess,which forms do you like?Each form has a meaning/philosophy.


Namaste :)

I especially am drawn to, MahaLakshmi and Shakti.

Believer
03 August 2014, 06:12 PM
Namaste,

My biased views,
In the religious sense, the female deities are as godly, spiritual and whole in their own right as their male counterparts. They are the other half of the divinity and they complete the picture of the divine power for humans to worship in one of the many forms - Sita/Ram, Shiv/Parvati, Radha/Krishan etc.

At purely intellectual/academic level, the concept of divine feminine drives home the point that women in general are not mere objects for male pleasure. They have to be treated as equal human beings and all the respect/reverence/affection shown to men has also to be showered upon them. It basically is female empowerment for better functioning of the family unit which is the backbone of any successful society.

Having said all that, I would second the following thought for a complete picture of the divine feminine in Hinduism:

But there will (as usual) be a ton of various understandings, none right or wrong, and none demonstrating the whole of Hinduism.

Pranam.

renuka
03 August 2014, 09:06 PM
Namaste :)

I am very much a new comer to the Hindu tradition, with clouds of ignorance to dispel. I would really appreciate some insight on the concept of the Divine Feminine in Hinduism.

I have decades of experience in Western religion & spirituality, which in its orthodox manifestations ignores the Divine Feminine completely. In fact the very idea of the Divine Feminine is usually condemned and despised. The completely unbalanced emphasis upon the creation-transcending-God concept, (at the expense of the immanent, all-pervading God concept), has given the West a deeply ingrained view of God as essentially masculine. This - even if it is acknowledged as purely symbolic - seems to me to be very damaging.

I have left Western religion & spirituality behind now, as I intuitively sense and confirm through experience that the Hindu Dharma manifests the light of our true nature. I don't actually know why the concept of the Divine Feminine is so important to me, (it has been for many years), and so I would greatly value any insight from those who can speak from the Hindu Dharma.

Om Shakti

Namaste Mortimer,

I typed a reply yesterday but have no idea why it did not seem to be posted.

Anyway I will re type it.

I will be rather technical in my reply.

To a certain extent to understand a little about the Macrocosmic scene taking a walk down the Microcosmic scene would help to an extent.

Before I go into the Feminine Principle of the Macrocosmic Scene..I would like to bring your attention to the Microcosmic Scene.. that is the birth of a living organism.

For the birth of a living organism we would need a Masculine Principle and a Feminine Principle.

I am using the word Masculine Principle and Feminine Principle and not Male and Female Gender for a reason...that is in cases of partogenesis in certain species of bees mating with males(drones) is not needed.Even the Brahmasutra Bhashya makes a mention of certain species of cranes that reproduce without any male contact. read below about "Proxy Male"

Now in cases of cloning for example the cloning of Dolly the sheep..she was a product from cloning from a ear cell of the female donor sheep.

Here we had the DNA from the ear cell acting as the Male Principle even though the donor was a female.

So in cases of cloning..the DNA acts as the "Proxy male" and the enucleated Ova is the Feminine Principle.

From Biology lets jump to the Macrocosmic Scene.

In Hinduism there is the concept of Purusha(Masculine Principle),Prakriti(Feminine Principle).

Both the Purusha and Prakriti combination is needed for the emergence of the phenomenal world and its multitude of Jeevas(Souls).

Prakriti the Feminine Principle is 3 stranded flow of continuity of Gunas(Qualities) namely:

1)Sattva(Intelligence.. imparts balance)

2)Rajas(Energry.. causes imbalance)

3)Tamas(Substance..creates Inertia)

Prakriti is called Nature, the Divine Mother and the deification of the 3 Gunas is what is known as the Feminine Principle a.k.a Shakthi and each termed a Goddess. Durga(Sattva),Lakshmi(Rajas) and Saraswati(Sattva).


Coming to Western Philosophy..according to Parmahansa Yogananda the Feminine Principle is the Holy Ghost of the Trinity Fame(The Father..The Son and the Holy Ghost). So its not entirely absent..its just that its not really spoken much about.

You can read it here:

http://www.yogananda.com.au/g/g_prakriti.html

renuka
03 August 2014, 11:24 PM
Namaste,

A typo in my post above..I am unable to edit it because I dont have that option.
I had wrongly typed Durga as Sattva.. the the corrected line should read as :

Prakriti is called Nature, the Divine Mother and the deification of the 3 Gunas is what is known as the Feminine Principle a.k.a Shakthi and each termed a Goddess. Durga(Tamas),Lakshmi(Rajas) and Saraswati(Sattva).

Ram11
04 August 2014, 01:04 AM
Namaste :)

I especially am drawn to, MahaLakshmi and Shakti.

Namaste Ji,

The Goddess is mentioned umpteen number of times in the Vedas,Upanishads and the Puranas.The main scriptures of Shakteya(Shakti School) are Sri Devi Mahatmyam,Srimad Devi Bhagavata Purana and many Agamas/Tantras.

My suggestion is to begin with the Devi Mahatmyam.It is the form of a story/narrative and has philosophy hidden within it.You can find various interpretations.


http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=8471

www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=13060 (http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=13060)

http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=212

I am not sure if there is any particular text on Devi Lakshmi.There are many narratives interspersed in the Puranas.I would like to ask other members if they know about any text dedicated to Devi Lakshmi?

If you are into philosophy oriented literature,then you may check the Shakta Upanishads.

The Shakta school is a vast one,within in it are many sub-schools,each having their own huge treatises.Do not get intimidated or bothered by the number/types of Shakta texts,as you keep reading you will understand.:)

I request members to suggest some good books that will help John Ji.

John Mortimer
04 August 2014, 03:52 AM
Your post is greatly appreciated, Viraja - thank you.


Namaste,

It is a great thread. I would like to say very simply that to me, divine mother (be it Durga devi or Sri Mahalakshmi or Saraswati devi) is the embodiment of 'perfect qualities' or 'virtues'.. some of these virtues being - charity, hospitality, chastity, sincerity, truthfulness, being able to be a good mother, ability to work hard, and finally...devotion.

To me, worship of divine mother brings about the above qualities gradually in a person - makes them perfect for Lord's worship.

This gradual bringing about of virtue is something I can relate to very much when I consider my more recent devotional experience. Now that I am explicitly worshiping the Divine Feminine I have such a sense of relief. The orthodox Western religious conception of God as utterly transcending creation and yet demanding perfection is a burden the world can do without. To know directly that The Goddess is always there and always love is peace and joy to me. Indeed to know that ultimately I, (in common with the whole creation), AM the Goddess is enough to sustain me through any and all experiences. This gradual bringing about of virtue is simply the realignment of the manifestation with its essence. However dissatisfied I may be with my spiritual state, I can always remind myself that every atom of my body is the Divine Mother and indeed my very being is Her.


Without the divine mother, I wonder if a sadhaka will mature fully enough for 'moksha' (or even being a contributing sadhaka in the society).

Indeed!

Om shanti

John Mortimer
04 August 2014, 04:13 AM
Greetings, Eastern Mind :)


Vannakkam John: All the different sects and schools will see it differently. Obviously the Shakta school will give Divine Mother utmost importance, as Supreme.

Others, not so much. In my school, for example, She is the manifest half of Siva/Shakti which is probably best represented as Ardhinarisvara, which demonstrates that She is never apart from Siva.

But there will (as usual) be a ton of various understandings, none right or wrong, and none demonstrating the whole of Hinduism.

Aum Namasivaya

This is another thing I love about the Hindu world.....there can be various understandings and yet you don't all set out to kill each other or damn each other to hell for the sake of those understandings! Radical! :D

As to the the Divine Mother being Supreme........
We have two highly auspicious concepts there. For me, those concepts resonate in an harmonious way. The personal history here is no doubt causing a certain bias however. ;)

John Mortimer
04 August 2014, 04:29 AM
Namaste, Believer...


Namaste,

My biased views,
In the religious sense, the female deities are as godly, spiritual and whole in their own right as their male counterparts. They are the other half of the divinity and they complete the picture of the divine power for humans to worship in one of the many forms - Sita/Ram, Shiv/Parvati, Radha/Krishan etc.

Yes, this balance is no doubt taken for granted in Hinduism.....yet it is so very important.


At purely intellectual/academic level, the concept of divine feminine drives home the point that women in general are not mere objects for male pleasure.

I know this is going off at a tangent somewhat - but I would like to mention something here. The question of why women are attractive to me is one that has been a serious question for me all my life. It is only recently that I actually found the answer. (The same thing applies to women's attraction to men). At the deepest level it is the desire for duality to end....that is what I have found in myself. Having realized this, all that trouble is gone. I mean, I actually made myself mentally ill over this question of why I found women so attractive in the past. Understanding brings liberation. The wonderful thing also is, that having reconnected to the Divine Feminine, I find nothing "wrong" with duality now either. Without duality there could be no relation, no knowing, no manifestation. It's just when duality is taken to be reality that all the trouble starts.


They have to be treated as equal human beings and all the respect/reverence/affection shown to men has also to be showered upon them. It basically is female empowerment for better functioning of the family unit which is the backbone of any successful society.

Certainly.

Om shanti

John Mortimer
04 August 2014, 04:51 AM
Namaste, renuka


Namaste Mortimer,

Before I go into the Feminine Principle of the Macrocosmic Scene..I would like to bring your attention to the Microcosmic Scene.. that is the birth of a living organism.

For the birth of a living organism we would need a Masculine Principle and a Feminine Principle.

I am using the word Masculine Principle and Feminine Principle and not Male and Female Gender for a reason...that is in cases of partogenesis in certain species of bees mating with males(drones) is not needed.Even the Brahmasutra Bhashya makes a mention of certain species of cranes that reproduce without any male contact. read below about "Proxy Male"

Now in cases of cloning for example the cloning of Dolly the sheep..she was a product from cloning from a ear cell of the female donor sheep.

Here we had the DNA from the ear cell acting as the Male Principle even though the donor was a female.

So in cases of cloning..the DNA acts as the "Proxy male" and the enucleated Ova is the Feminine Principle.

Ok - that's very powerful, the concept of the feminine principle and the masculine principle. For one thing, there is no sense of "opposite"...the duality appears spontaneously, (or naturally). I get what you are saying about gender not being the only way for the masculine and feminine principles to manifest. It's all too easy for humans to project what they take themselves to be upon nature.



From Biology lets jump to the Macrocosmic Scene.

In Hinduism there is the concept of Purusha(Masculine Principle),Prakriti(Feminine Principle).

Both the Purusha and Prakriti combination is needed for the emergence of the phenomenal world and its multitude of Jeevas(Souls).

Prakriti the Feminine Principle is 3 stranded flow of continuity of Gunas(Qualities) namely:

1)Sattva(Intelligence.. imparts balance)

2)Rajas(Energry.. causes imbalance)

3)Tamas(Substance..creates Inertia)

I see........so the gunas are coming from the Feminine Principle. I did not realize that.


Prakriti is called Nature, the Divine Mother and the deification of the 3 Gunas is what is known as the Feminine Principle a.k.a Shakthi and each termed a Goddess. Durga(Tamas),Lakshmi(Rajas) and Saraswati(Sattva).

Wow! I had not realized that these Goddesses were deifications of the gunas either. I wonder why I am particularly drawn toward Lakshmi (Rajas)?


Coming to Western Philosophy..according to Parmahansa Yogananda the Feminine Principle is the Holy Ghost of the Trinity Fame(The Father..The Son and the Holy Ghost). So its not entirely absent..its just that its not really spoken much about.

That is a fact!

John Mortimer
04 August 2014, 04:56 AM
Thank you so much, Ram....I am getting down to reading the Devi Mahatmyam now. :)


Namaste Ji,

The Goddess is mentioned umpteen number of times in the Vedas,Upanishads and the Puranas.The main scriptures of Shakteya(Shakti School) are Sri Devi Mahatmyam,Srimad Devi Bhagavata Purana and many Agamas/Tantras.

My suggestion is to begin with the Devi Mahatmyam.It is the form of a story/narrative and has philosophy hidden within it.You can find various interpretations.


http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=8471

www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=13060 (http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=13060)

http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=212

I am not sure if there is any particular text on Devi Lakshmi.There are many narratives interspersed in the Puranas.I would like to ask other members if they know about any text dedicated to Devi Lakshmi?

If you are into philosophy oriented literature,then you may check the Shakta Upanishads.

The Shakta school is a vast one,within in it are many sub-schools,each having their own huge treatises.Do not get intimidated or bothered by the number/types of Shakta texts,as you keep reading you will understand.:)

I request members to suggest some good books that will help John Ji.

Amrut
04 August 2014, 05:24 AM
Namaste John,

In general, the feminine aspect of God is taken as prakriti or mother nature. the male aspect or masculine aspect is the substratum for prakriti. Feminine aspect is called as dynamic power of God or maya (mAyA or maayaa).

There is a sect (sampradAta) which is specifically dedicated to the feminine aspect. They refer to by the name Adi Sakti (aadi shakti). Adi means the first and Sakti means power. She is known by the name tripurAsundarI (tripuraa-sundari). she presents the ultimate state, or the supreme Brahman of the upanishads. This sect, by the name of Sakta considers Tripurasundari as the supreme Godhead and all avatars including Rama and Krishna are under her sway.

Note: 'Sa' and 'sa' are pronounced differently. 'Sa' is pronounced as 'sha'

e.g. Sa as in Ship

Hari OM

Amrut
04 August 2014, 05:56 AM
Namaste John,

In general, the wordhip of devi (feminine aspect) is connected with yogic / tAntrika (tantric) practice. the centre of meditation being rising kundalini, the serpant power, or mother kundalini / goddess kundalini, from mulAdhAra chakra (root chakra) to sahasrahAra chakra (crown chakra).

However, Adi Sakti is also worshiped as one of the five deities panch-dev-upAsanA (worship of five deities) also known as pancayatna pujA. Five deities considered form of supreme brahman are - Ganesha, Shiva, shakti, Vishnu and Surya.

Tantras are step by step procedures for evolution of consciousness until individual consciousness is one with cosmic or universal consciousness. It starts from external worship - rituals, to mixed (external and internal) to purely internal.

internal is taken as mental process like kundalini yoga, rising of kundalini, and also doing puja mentally by protruding deity from ajna chakra (3rd eye) and then mentally performing puja with all ingrediants like flowers etc are also visualized and offered (mentally). After worship is over, the form is pulled back.

There is one purANa (puraaNa) by the name Devi bhAgavat. mArkanDeya purANa also contains verses praising shakti. it is called as canDI pATha. Devi mAhatmya is also found in it.

Adi SankarAcArya ji's composition saundarya lahiri is very popular and one of the main scripture of the Sakta-s.

17th century illustrious saint bhAskararAya mAkhin revived and popularized this sect.

Basics scriptures of Sakta-s are

Devi Mahatmya
Devi bhagavat Maha Purana
Lalita Sahasranam - 1000 names of Tripura sundari.
Saundarya Lahiri

Shaiva-s (worshipers of Siva s Supreme Brahman) worship shakti as a medium to reach the supreme Shiva.

some more info about tantra-s

http://www.shraddhananda.com/Introduction_to_Hindu_Scriptures_5.html

John Mortimer
04 August 2014, 07:23 AM
Namaste, Amrut.


Namaste John,

In general, the feminine aspect of God is taken as prakriti or mother nature. the male aspect or masculine aspect is the substratum for prakriti. Feminine aspect is called as dynamic power of God or maya (mAyA or maayaa).

There is a sect (sampradAta) which is specifically dedicated to the feminine aspect. They refer to by the name Adi Sakti (aadi shakti). Adi means the first and Sakti means power. She is known by the name tripurAsundarI (tripuraa-sundari). she presents the ultimate state, or the supreme Brahman of the upanishads. This sect, by the name of Sakta considers Tripurasundari as the supreme Godhead and all avatars including Rama and Krishna are under her sway.

Note: 'Sa' and 'sa' are pronounced differently. 'Sa' is pronounced as 'sha'

e.g. Sa as in Ship

Hari OM

This is most informative and interesting.
By the way - I very much appreciate your parentheses and pronunciation helps. ;)

Viraja
04 August 2014, 03:38 PM
I am not sure if there is any particular text on Devi Lakshmi.There are many narratives interspersed in the Puranas.I would like to ask other members if they know about any text dedicated to Devi Lakshmi?



Namaste Ram ji,

I know that Sri Lakshmi Tantra deals exclusively with Mahalakshmi sadhana.

Also, in the dasa-mahavidyas, some regard goddess Kamala as the 'tantric Lakshmi'. There are specific beeja to propitiate her.

Additonally, on a recent search, I landed on the information that 'Pancaratra' school of Vaishnavam views Sri Mahalakshmi as supreme being. One can look-up preliminary information here: https://en-gb.facebook.com/yogi.anandasaraswathi/posts/3577987026580.

Pranam.

Kalicharan Tuvij
05 August 2014, 12:24 PM
Namaste J,

At the deepest level it is the desire for duality to end....that is what I have found in myself.
Welcome to Hinduism, Āstika!

Without duality there could be no relation, no knowing, no manifestation. It's just when duality is taken to be reality that all the trouble starts.
Duality is, though, real. Just that the vision has to be further integrated from bottom to top.

Because one should not, in the meantime, lose sight of the power of Sat- the power of Identity- that enables one to see things exactly as they are.

On the other hand, Devi Ma invites one to join the party right there beyond the duality- so much to explore- and all that is as real as it gets- even while Identity is still there, and the other "eye" of duality-no-duality is also still there.

John Mortimer
06 August 2014, 02:17 PM
Namaste J,

Welcome to Hinduism, Āstika!

Duality is, though, real. Just that the vision has to be further integrated from bottom to top.

Because one should not, in the meantime, lose sight of the power of Sat- the power of Identity- that enables one to see things exactly as they are.

On the other hand, Devi Ma invites one to join the party right there beyond the duality- so much to explore- and all that is as real as it gets- even while Identity is still there, and the other "eye" of duality-no-duality is also still there.

Ah, yes I see what you are saying! :)
The very substance of all this manifestation is no different from the substance of ALL. I should have said something like, "...it's only when duality is taken to be the exclusive reality that all the trouble starts".

Thank you, Kalicharan Tuvij, for that most auspicious post. "The power of Sat"........that is something I have never contemplated as such. I sense there is a lot there.

Thank you again!

JaiMaaDurga
06 August 2014, 11:22 PM
Namaste,

Perhaps not surprisingly, I have contemplated overlong on how best to
answer John's question- and therefore have found other members already
addressing points which would have found clumsier expression in my words-
many thanks!

I can only add my welcome- of course I am always happy to see yet one
more here who is hearing Devi's call :)

John- please feel free to explore HDF and the Shakta subforum, there is
much here. If there is a question about Devi or Shaktism that previous
posts do not address, one of us can surely try to help- only please
remember, we are all just words on a screen to each other; keeping this
and the forum rules in mind makes everyone's time here beneficial.

May She bless your path as to draw ever closer to Her!

JAI MATA DI