- Religion and Philosophy»
THE MOTHER INCLUDES ALL
Mother of the Universe
Navratri starts today and continues for nine nights. In ancient times India was more of a matriarchal country, where the female aspects were highly valued. There are still some matriarchal societies in India, such as in Kerala and other nearby areas of the country.
This year, as always, I am celebrating a Shakta Navratri. Shaktism is the form of Hinduism which encourages the worship of the Divine Mother as the highest Divinity. This spiritual system developed between the 4th and 7th centuries CE and still continues today in various forms in India and worldwide.
One of the greatest aspects of Shaktism is the concept of accepting all. Shaktas do not care about your gender, social class, caste, sexual orientation, occupation, race or any other category. Shaktas see the Divine Mother in all. Shaktas believe divinity is within us all. The Mother includes all.
What does that mean? She is the Mother of the Universe. Her energy and shakti pervades every living being and all creation. She is the Mother of all solar systems, planets, stars, animals, trees, plants and all beings on Earth and elsewhere. There are billions of stars and planets. There are millions of beings on these planets and solar systems. They exist in many dimensions as well as in the third dimensional world of planet Earth.
The Shakta philosophy is responsible for some of the greatest social change movements on the Earth. Mother Durga was the symbol of the Indian Independence Movement. Many women worldwide joined the movement. Many great female leaders developed their abilities while conducting actions with Gandhi and others in the movement. Several females held various positions in the movement itself and afterwards when independence had been achieved. Several of these women became cabinet members, governors, prime ministers, representatives and diplomats. The first female President of the United Nations, Lakshmi Pandit, was from India and had been a key person in the Independence Movement.
The Chipko Movement is another great female movement. A group of women surrounded trees in order to save them from being cut by loggers. Some of these members still continue their environmental activism today. Dr. Vandana Shiva is one of the greatest environmentalists of our age. She works to protect the Ganga River. She opposes the Monsanto terminator seeds which only provide one yield per season. She also opposes the construction of big dams. She fights for the health of trees worldwide. Her activism comes out of the Shakta philosophy that the Mother is in all and must be respected in nature.
Shaktism promotes the idea that rituals should be open to all. In some forms of Hinduism, women are excluded from rituals and aspects of conducting funeral rites. To a Shakta to exclude is violating basic Shakta philosophy. Goddess does not care about gender, race, caste, social class, lineage or anything else as seen as a barrier by some others. It's humans who exclude others because of these attributes. The Divine Mother loves and includes all. Pandit Chunelall Narine says, "No one should be excluded from any ritual." He won a Peace Award from the United Nations. Yes, basic human rights are important in bringing social progress to the world.
One time I had a dream of the Divine Mother where She showed me Her many colors and forms. She showed me Her forms as Mother Mary, Mother Durga and Mother Tara. She has appeared in all countries in various forms. She sometimes even communicates and talks to devotees and says, "I am the Universal Mother, the Mother of All."
March was Women's History Month. It was an opportunity to focus on great women leaders, the feminine qualities and aspects of life. Many of us remember great women of the Civil Rights Movement, Anti-Slavery Movement and Ecological Movement during this time. Some remember great female politicians, athletes, homemakers and spiritual leaders. It is not surprising that at the end of March we are honoring the Mother in all Her forms.
She has a warrior aspect and a loving aspect. Your mother will fight for your greatest good with a loving heart. The Divine Mother helps you deal with your own inner and outer demons. As She defeated many nasty demons, She will be there for you in your distressful times. Mother's love includes everyone. She is only waiting for you to let Her know you need Her help. After all, The Mother includes all.
JAI SHRI MA! JAI SHRI NAVRATRI! JAI SHRI SHAKTI!