Sunday, March 7, 2010

Feminine Element of Creation

We are celebrating the ‘International Women’s Day’ tomorrow and as usual there would be loud declarations and pronouncements and we will go back to our usual ways in a society where women are marginalized and treated in the most unacceptable manner. Education towards evolving a new paradigm of perceiving the station and stature of women should begin not as mass enculturation or a conversion process but as a process creating awareness in individuals as to why the misconception has occurred and how one should really see the different dimensions of the female aspect of creation, especially, the women.

I do not want to get into the historical background that led to this cultural aberration but briefly mention that infant mortality and the life style of the Homo sapiens as hunter gatherers, wherein the loss of male species was predominant, necessitated practice of polygamy and the domesticated role of women as child bearer and caretaker. This archaic and magical structure of consciousness got deeply embedded and was further strengthened during the mythical era, up to the time of first few centuries in the Christian era, through religious channels. This was not challenged during the Cartesian, rational and temporal construct of human consciousness, as dogma prevailed over all other forms of thinking or perceiving. The Abrahamic religions which adopted modified mythos from the Egyptian and Greek traditions portrayed women in a very negative role in spirituality.

Classical Rabbinical literature is highly derogatory to women. The Talmud states that the women of their time and culture spoke more than they should “Ten measures of speech descended to the world; women took nine”
(Kiddushin 49b) and that women are “light-minded” (Shabbat 33b). “The sages say that four traits apply to women: They are greedy, eavesdroppers, lazy and jealous...” Rabbi Yehoshua bar Nahmani adds: “they are querulous and garrulous”. Rabbi Levy adds: “they are thieves and gadabouts” (Bereshit Rabbah 45:5).
The fall of human race was attributed to Eve and thus women were relegated to a negative role in the human psyche, as vehicle of evil. Though the figure of Mother Mary as the mother of the second Adam, the Christ, was seen as a co-redemptress, she was assigned a divine attribute due to her immaculate conception and elevated to a stature as some one who is a Holy Virgin and beyond the ordinary created female.
In Islam, though the role of the tempter was solely attributed to
Iblis (Satan), a negative connotation sets in with respect to women due to the fact that in the ‘Jannah’ (garden or paradise) though she is spiritualized, she is assigned purely an objective role as an instrument of love. Through this positioning women became an ‘object of love’ and no room was given to a participatory subjective experience in relationship or society.

Wisdom was always assigned a feminine attribute in many traditions. Shakthi, Kali and most of the pantheon of Hindu female deities as well as puranic figures such as Sita, Radha have all been the indispensable wisdom and sustaining element in the portrayal of the action of Cosmic consciousness. The word
‘Shekhinah’, which is feminine, was used to denote ‘divine presence’ in the Hebraic scriptures and the same word is used to describe the ‘Holy Spirit’ in the Christian New Testament Bible. In Islam, this word in its Arabic form is used six times in the Quran. ‘Sukaina’ is the Spirit of Tranquillity, or Peace of Reassurance it's also the shorter version for the original word 'Sakina' which is mentioned in the Quran as having descended upon Muhammad and the believers as they made an unarmed pilgrimage to Mecca, and were faced with an opposing military force of the Quraysh, with whom Muhammad struck the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. “He it is Who sent down the sakina into the hearts of the believers that they might add faith unto their faith” …. Surah 48:4

Let us see humanity as a homogeneous whole with the male representing the actualization principle of the female divine wisdom principle, male representing the structure and the female its sustaining essence, both being the highest form of evolved consciousness.

Love to you all

7 comments :

  1. Very nice thought with full of quotations from various scriptures. Very nice to read on this day.
    Thanks You

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  2. Thank you for your appreciation Ramesh.

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  3. Women's assignmet with wisdom is fine.But,all that is attributed and glorified as femininity also justifies her endless endurance of sufferings and violence..This is where I would prefer that such attributes are interchangeable and not given a gender attribute.Not all men are devoid of wisdom and women of action.Hence I vote for the construction of humanity,where each individual shall choose his or her own role in constructing a spiritual conciousness.

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  4. Subathra, we must not mix up manifested creation and the undifferentiated spirit which is resident in all creation. If there were no functional differences why is the varied structures and forms in creation. Your saying "Not all men are devoid of wisdom and women of action" is only at the worldly level.

    The wisdom that is spoken of in spiritual tradition is the essence of all that pervades creation and thus through this essence the structure is birthed. This is the reason that in Jungian psychology, the inseparability of Animus and Anima in all archetypes in human consciousness is brought out.

    My take on this subject is that only when we understand that all creation comes with both the attributes and capability of birthing through Divine wisdom, as an instrument of continuous creation, and a sustaining structure in the action of creation, we will fall short in our understanding of the Divine process.

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  5. Subathra, the last line should read
    "we will not fall short in our understanding of the Divine process."

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  6. Hello, Uncle. Thanks for the post commemorating Women's Day. I cannot help commenting that should there be souls having wisdom to stop to ponder over these things, women would be treated much better.

    Look at how the Women's bill has come to be finally passed after the 14-year exile period and the drama that went behind it. Debates are far from over...

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  7. Thanks, Loreto, for your your feedback.
    The human consciousness is in an evolving process. From the Tribal to Warrior to modern and post modern we are evolving but this evolution does not mean there is a total replacement but even today we have nearly 80% of the world population living in the tribal and warrior cultural consciousness. It is less than 1% of the world that is exhibiting integral or holistic consciousness. It is a journey that has begun but as the upheavals we have witnessed in the past 5000 years, every stage evolves with its associated birth pangs.

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