Shakti: Realm of the Divine Mother

There is a beautifully written book on the various energies and forms of the Divine Mother authored by Vanamali, a long time friend of Swami Kriyananda and Ananda. In Shakti: Realm of the Divine Mother, she covers the philosophical and spiritual basis of the Mother aspect of God, along with stories and explanations of specific aspects of the Cosmic Mother. I highly recommend this book for those interested in deepening their understanding and devotion.

Here is the Foreword written by Swami Kriyananda, where he writes about the need for worship of God as Divine Mother (shared with permission from Vanamali):

Mata Devi Vanamali—Mataji, as I shall refer to her hereinafter—is a fit person to write about the Divine Mother of the universe. Mataji is a deep devotee who is also filled with India’s ancient concept of wisdom or jnana. Because my own devotion to God finds particular expression to the Divine Mother, I was deeply touched when Mataji asked me if I would write a few words of introduction to this beautiful book.

There are two aspects of the important subject of the cosmic mother: the scriptural and the experiential. Mataji has rightly given us the scriptural slant on the subject. In this age, when most of us think of God as “He,” it is necessary to point out, as Mataji has done, that God is neither He nor She, and at the same time God is both! In the words of a great Kaali bhakta (devotee) of Bengal, Ram Prasad, “A thousand Vedas declare my Tara [a name for the Divine Mother] is nirakara [without form].”

Yet religion in these times has become too rationally formal and therefore too rational altogether. Years ago in America, the inspiration came to me to spread the concept of God as mother and not only as father. I wasn’t thinking of the Virgin Mother only, as is more common in the West, but of the formless infinite in its motherly aspect. I went to many Western shrines dedicated to the Divine Mother and worshipped in them. I received in each of them great inspiration and love. And I say now, is it not time for dogmatic religion to be replaced by devotion and love? There has been too much thinking about God. Mankind must learn to love Him, to talk with Him, and to experience Him. And that “Him” needs to be understood first in its higher impersonal aspect and then brought down to earth in its more truly personal aspect as the Divine Mother.

For God is inherent in “His” different aspects, though each in essence is different from every other aspect. It matters not only how we ourselves look upon God and define Him in our minds; it is also a question of how God views us. If we invoke God as the Divine Mother, She comes closer to us. The infinite—which is beyond all sexual differences, comprising the maternal as well as the paternal principle—opens its heart to us when we appeal to it as mother.

There is a story from the life of that same poet, singer, and saint Ram Prasad. He was mending the fence in front of his house. At one point, his daughter came up to him and offered to help with his job. He had been singing. She said to him, “Whom have you been singing to, Papa?”

“I’ve been singing to my Divine Mother,” he replied. “But she’s very naughty. I keep calling and calling her but she won’t answer!”

“If she doesn’t answer, Papa, why do you waste your time calling to her?” The little girl then ran off with a childish laugh.

When Ram Prasad came indoors later on, he told his wife how their daughter had come and helped him with the fence and talked to him playfully.

“But that’s not possible,” answered his wife. “Today she’s visiting on the other side of our village.”

“But I know it was her,” he exclaimed. Later on when their daughter returned home, he pressed her, “Wasn’t it you helping me with our fence today?”

“Why no, Papa. You can ask anybody. I was with friends on the other side of our village.”

Thus did Ram Prasad come to know that the Divine Mother herself had come to him and teased him.

“O my Mother!” he cried. “What a naughty dear you are! Though you pretend to be inaccessible, you are ever near me and, Mother, ever dearest to me.”

All aspects of God hear us when we pray, but the Divine Mother listens to us—I don’t say more so but more particularly. For we are her children. She cares for each one of us specially. When we err, she spanks us through the law of karma. But when we love her, she also forgives. For she is ever anxious for us to understand that we may return with outstretched arms to her lap of infinity!

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This entry was posted in cosmic mother, Devi Vanamali, divine mother, hindu, Hinduism, kriyananda, ramprasad, yogananda and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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