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Goddess Worship in Hinduism

Goddess Worship in Hinduism

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Published by Anurag Chand

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Published by: Anurag Chand on Mar 07, 2010
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N K SrinivasanGoddess Worship1
Goddess Worship in Hinduism 
--
Srinivasan Nenmeli-K 
Goddess worship has been practised from earlier civilizations --- in theMahenjadao-Harappa civilizations.But Why Worship a female God or Goddess?One can counter this question easily: Why Not?!If you can worship a male God, you can worship a female goddess aswell...or may be, even a God beyond gender,as Hindu philosophers told :"Worship 'IT'....."In the ultimate analysis, the form of worship you choose is yourchoice;but we are conditioned by our cultural,religious and historicalconundrums..Let us explore this in this opening section before weplunge into forms and methods of Goddess worship in the Hindu traditon...Worship of a female goddess appeals to many or 'should'--- becausealmost all of us [except a few psychotics or those born in test tubes]owe so much to our mothers and hold our mother [physical,that is] in highesteem and affection.The mother carried us in her womb for nearly ninemonths,fed us through her blood and supported us in the amniotic fluid-the sac of nourishing liquid---sheilded from noise,jolt and dust of this
 
world till our organs could grow to some size. After we made our tortuousexit from the womb,crying at the unfamiliar (perhaps shattering) worldoutside,opened our eyes to the world, she nursed with milk and later withsoft food.Then she supported us thorough babyhood ,preschool,elementaryschool-------.It is this intimate,affectionate bond that develops thatmakes us think of mother with sweetness and indebtedness which can betransferred to the worship of a female God-- the Supreme,Cosmic,Eternal,Divine Mother.In contrast, father is often harsh,strict dispenser ofrules,disciplinarian and a stern teacher.It is difficult to love yourfather compared to your mother at least in early months.True, your fatherprovides you with many things, buys toys and dolls ,and takes you out tothe park or ball game, protects you in many ways---all these come alittle later in almost all families..Goddesses and Male God in the Western traditionsNow to cultural influences , societal pressures and historicalincidents/accidents.WE are culturally influenced by the Father figure who provides food afterhunting or serving in a society and bringing home a hunted deer or hardcash; He protects you and your mother from wild predators--wolves andlions ---or in the modern context, against our harmful neighbourhoodthugs or social parasites and crooks or terrorists at large....All theseadd up to our awe and respect for our fathers.! This has been raised to asupernatural level by formal religion --with rituals and canons-- that wetend to worship "our Father in Heaven", "Our Supreme Being -Paramatman" :as a perfect male--{Purushottaman} ;If he is harsh and a strictdisplinarian and a judge at the end of our lives, it is for removing our
 
N K SrinivasanGoddess Worship3sins and purifying our souls .He is the provider (giving the dailybread) and he is entitled to administer justice! Such a cultural setting,in almost all formal religions, has given the male God a prominent placein our modes of worship.There are other negative religious/cultural connotations too--degrading the female persona....Females are tricky and vile, and temptyou into eating the forbidden fruit, making you do things which arewicked,leading to depravation and ultimate ruin;keep women at bay;makeyour decisions yourself...Again women are filthy,dirty [for instance themonthly menstrual flow is putrid];keep away from them..These connotationsled to such abhorrence of women that they were 'discounted' --a mildterm-- 'down -graded'. So they can be bought and sold as slaves,chattels,used in brothels, kept in harems and staged in titillating adult shows;and dispensed with at stakes--they could be witches too.[Women were notgiven property rights and could not vote till recent times in mostdemocracies.]In such a cultural setting,you cannot conceptualize a femaleGod!There were societies at the other end of the spectrum of socialconsciousness. Women owned property [lands and cattle] and passed them onto their daughters.The matriarchical society was most dominant and [stillprevails illegally] in Kerala state and is very strong in the north-eaststate of Assam in India and among certain hill tribes in India.{As myfriend,a male college professor from Bengal used to say: " Go toAssam;the girls are lovely and very sportive; marry one,get some teakwood estate from her family,fish in the beautiful lakes and get

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