Subtitle: Goddess Transforming Spiritual Activists
“Thereis no tool for development more effective than the empowerment ofwomen.” Kofi Annan
“Religions have followers,Spirituality counts on spiritual activists.”
Thereis no doubt in the minds of many women leaders today that Goddess, orthe Divine Feminine, is inspiring and informing a global SpiritualTransformation. Goddess culture is not embedded in myth, asandrocentric chroniclers, historians and anthropologists have made usbelieve. Goddess culture is embedded in women who embody Goddessenergy, and men who honor the Divine Feminine, alive and well incultures where loving caring conquers a monoculture of warsterrorizing women, children and the aged for the sake of selfish,unending greed and subliminal messages of male privilege as endorsedin God-centrism. Unfortunately, sometimes even the most optimisticpeople believe that there has never been an end to wars. Thisnarrative of the three main Goddesses from India comes from atimeless Oral Tradition. Today you will listen to the ways in whicheach Goddess informed women in a remote country in Western Africa, asthey put an end to fourteen years of civil war—though there is noevidence that any of them were externally devoted to a HinduGoddess—nonetheless, they embodied fearless Goddess energy andstrength.
Unlikethe history of western religions, which reveal a chronologypunctuated by wars, and notions of hell as a “place” reachedsomewhere in the afterlife, the stories of Indian gods and goddessesreflect internal battles or struggles in the conscious andunconscious mind. They are symbolic of the journey of the embodiedsoul towards the victory over the internal forces of darkness.
TheGoddess has been at the center of Shakta spirituality in India forthousands of years. In Western Northern countries She has beenuncovered from the suppressed histories that Marija Gimbutas broughtto light in her groundbreaking research, inspiring many others likeRiane Eisler in The Chalise and the Blade, first, and morerecently in her political activism since her more recent bestseller,The Real Wealth of Nations. Similarly, the Divine Feminine, asin the form of Mother Mary, has always been at the center in thehearts and conscience of countless Christian devotees; as well as inthe Goddess forms of Tara and Kuaiyin honored by people in China andJapan, and nearby countries. She is asserting her Presence in today´sworld where the God has been presented as the Father of “chosenpeople,” rejecting “untouchables,” inspiring wars instigated byHis so called “chosen” ones to plunder the water, minerals,fossil resources of the oppressed “others” in Third Worldcountries. At a time when the construct and image of God, and hisrepresentatives, has been corrupted and distorted by sociopathspiritual and secular world leaders, Goddess comes to restore sanitythrough the Compassion of the Divine Feminine in Her most redemptivecapacity. She emerges in the caring ways of every woman and maninvested in stopping the madness of endless destruction and leaving alegacy of life.
Inorder to make this story even more relevant in the context of modernwestern experience, I will introduce you to women who made use of theFeminine Divine, transcended religious differences to succeeded inbringing about the end of a protracted war. Before entering on thetopic of the Goddesses trilogy of India, the main subject of thistalk, I would like to give a brief introduction about the women ofLiberia, for the benefit of those among you who have not heard aboutthem.
Thewomen of Liberia have embodied the Divine Feminine in ways that caninspire, embolden and empower all women in the First World to put theGoddess Shakti, or energy, into good use towards the end of thedeplorable endless genocidal wars fueled by greed, exploitation and anarcissistic technocratic agenda gone mad. Liberia is a West Africancountry approximately the size of Tennessee in the US, which wassubjected to over fourteen years of civil war between 1989 and 2003.It was under these circumstances that Leymah Gbowee was inspiredduring the liminal stages of a recursive dream, as she woke updetermined that she had to do something to end the daily massacres.Gbowee felt compelled to organize and lead the Liberian MassAction for Peace, a Christian and Muslim women’s peacemovement that helped bring an end to the Second Liberian Civil war in2003, and the exile of dictator Charles Taylor and his retinue ofruthless war lords; most of them brothers, husbands, fathers, sons,uncles of these Women. The PBS documentary series Women, War andPeace, segment by the name “Pray the Devil Back to Hell,”offers the dramatic and searing account of the ways in which LeymahGbowee and the women of Liberia took control of their politicaldestiny. The documentary tells “the astonishing storyof the Liberian women who took on the warlords and regime of dictatorCharles Taylor in the midst of a brutal civil war, and won a onceunimaginable peace for their shattered country in 2003.” Thededicated activism of the women of Liberia is “a compellingexample of how grassroots activism can alter the history of nations.”
Inspite of great fear, but with unflinching determination, Gbowee andthe women of Liberia organized for over two years and finally securedtheir place at the negotiating table in Ghana, where they signed aResolution to end the civil war. Leymah Gbowee and LiberianPresident Ellen Sirleaf were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.Yet the women of Liberia continue their efforts towards social,educational, economic and political reconstruction even today. Thevalor and practices of the Women of Liberia on behalf of peace andhuman dignity bring to life an impressive account of how accessingthe Divine Feminine, women elsewhere can organize and put an end toall wars. Goddess energies from within informed them that the mostsacred external work of mothering society at large, never ends. Thewomen of Liberia embody a triumphant Goddess informed culture inmodern times.
Today,when the destruction of ecosystems and wars have taken unprecedentedproportions—we hear of water wars, oil spills, nuclear plantdisasters and ongoing emissions, we also learn of attacks on thehealth care system and the food systems—we are deeply concernedthat the natural resources that we enjoyed are no longer availablefor younger generations. These are precisely the best fields whereinthe three Indian Goddesses inspire and inform us on overcominginternal and external struggles required to restore social justice.
TheIndian Goddesses trilogy appears in the Markandaya Puranas, itsprofound mystic meaning and allegorical descriptions also appear inlovely and elaborate iconography. The Durga Sapta-Shati or DeviMahatmya is the scripture of the Goddess. The Durga Sapta-Shati alsocontains verses found in the Ratri Sukta of Rig Veda, whichdemonstrate that the Goddess was worshipped from time immemorial. Themain Goddesses appear as Kali-Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati—thoughmany other goddesses emanate from their effulgence, just as infiniterays emanate from the effulgence of the sun and moon.
Eachverse in the original Sanskrit text continues to be elaborated uponby Sanskrit scholars in India and abroad. In the story of theGoddesses, each obstacle or enemy of the soul is depicted as a demon,as we will see. The demons, in their arrogance, aspire to take theGoddess by force, and therefore, an intense battle in the field ofthe mind-heart conscience ensues. The battle represents the battle oflife. We are thrown to battle between the forces of dharma andadharma, ethical action vs unethical action. Just as historic warshave been endless, the same applies to the internal wars in the mindsand hearts of everyone who aspires to evolve in consciousness. Tosome who are negatively impressed by the iconography of Kali-Durga,it may help to ask, if the ongoing destruction caused by wars isaddressed as more comfortable just because we do not see it in thepresent media —it is not televised. ~ Could it be that “out ofsight, out of mind.” ~
Thestory of the three Goddesses symbolizes the journey through spiritualtransformation—this process is internal and integral, it covers allaspects of life simultaneously: physical, mental/emotional andunconscious—and as such, it leads us to confront the enemies of thesoul: egoism (or Iness/mineness), mental distractions and ignorance.In the first stage of the spiritual journey the worship ofKali-Durga helps in the removal of gross impurities of the mind,like many expressions of egoism. From the standpoint of KundaliniShakti the knot of karma, or Karma Granti in the Manipura Chakrais pierced and dichotomies of attachment and hatred are resolved. So,eliminating gross impurities from the unconscious, Goddess Durgaestablishes a firm foundation as the more dynamic and creativeaspects of the journey lead to the heart center. In Nonduality orAdwaita-Vedanta, this stage represents the blossoming of Sat, or theAbsolute Existence aspect of God is realized.
Inthe context of the women of Liberia, facing an internal and externalbattlefield, their task was to dismantle 14 years of unconsciouscomplicity, or women feeling “silenced,” into organizing andmobilizing for change. Durga aids on ending distractions that promotenegative patterns and prepares the field of the mind/heart for deeperexpansion of consciousness.
Mantra for propiciating Kali-Durga: Om Sri Durgayai Namah
Onthe second stage of the spiritual journey, Goddess MahaLakshmidestroys a buffalo demon and his army, which symbolizes the spirit ofdistractions. At this stage, the eight arms of the Goddess holddivine weapons, representing psychic abilities, which specialize indestroying or dissolving aspects of distraction, which robs one ofspiritual strength, while other arms confer the treasure of DivineWealth *discernment, detachment from adharma, six virtues(tranquility, control withdrawal, forbearance, faith, concentration), and intense longing for Liberation * during a process ofreconstruction, re-creation and transformation of unconsciousimpressions.
Thebattle is characterized by a growing awareness of distractions asobstacles to expansion of consciousness and meditation. The demon atthis stage is adept at changing forms, one obstacle is overcome, andit emerges as another one—it is extremely cunning, and moreresourceful than a chameleon. Endless subtle desires from theunconscious keep the mind agitated, and rob the person of inner peaceand a deeper capacity to feel empathy and true Love. Now, theinternal battle emerges from deep rooted unconscious impressions, asblind spots are revealed through daily life practice and in deepmeditations. As meditation deepens, what was unconscious to thesurface level of awareness becomes clearer in the awakened state ofmind, where one encounters the subjective facets of human personalityand deeper self-analysis. Goddess Lakshmi rents asunder the threeknots of the heart: desire, anger and ignorance. With the end ofdistractions, or externalization of mind, the Grace of GoddessLakshmi manifests as growing divine qualities in the conscious mind,and inexhaustible creative energies begin to emerge in thepersonality.
Interms of Kundalini studies, the dissolution of the three knots of theheart prepare the subtle energies in the individual to ascend to theAnahata Chakra, at the throat center encompassing knowledge of sleep,dreams and death. At this stage in the spiritual movement toNonduality or Adwaita-Vedanta, oneness with God asExistence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute, manifests in the unfolding ofAbsolute Knowledge on the journey towards Self-realization. TheAdvent of spiritual prosperity and calm relaxation accompanies thedawn of the Grace of Goddess Lakshmi.
Inthe context of the women of Liberia, Goddess Lakshmi inspired thecreation of the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, serving as platform for their movement towards victory against thewarlords and forces of destruction, the work of personal, emotional,social, political and spiritual reconstruction continues progressing.
Mantra for propiciating Goddess Lakshmi: Om Sri Mahalakshmiai Namah
Goddess Saraswati symbolizes wisdom that destroys ignorance in itstwo aspects: the ideas of “I and mine” (individuality and itsload). One of the most dramatic episodes at the beginning of Herstory is when a messenger demon comes to take her by force, with theintention of taking Her to his Lord and King, because She is the mostbeautiful woman he has ever seen. To this arrogant and crudeproposition, Goddess Saraswati calmly responded that since earlychildhood She made a vow that She would not marry* (71) one whodoes not defeat Her in battle—meaning, the Goddess will notassociate with one of inferior qualities—a most important firstcommandment for Women everywhere, this battle is not justphysical, it is also emotional and intellect. The smoky-eyeddemon—Smokey Eyed was his name—came back with an army of 60,000soldiers, representing the endless ramifications of self-centered or perverted vision. As the demon and his army approached,the Goddess utters the power-charged bija mantra “Hum.”A bija mantra is a powerful sound wave uttered withsubatomic and transatomic purity and intention, therefore it isinfallible. The esoteric meaning of the Goddess of Wisdom marks theactive stage in spiritual evolution when the intuitive function ofthe mind predominates. At this stage the Kundalini Shakti movesfrom the heart center to the throat center and from the throat centerto the Ajna Chakra, or third eye between the eyebrows, ending theknot of ignorance, wherein the castle of dualistic vision,represented by the demons “Iness and mineness,” vanishes.
Inthe context of the women of Liberia, Goddess Saraswati inspired themwith wisdom and insight into the workings of the minds and hearts oftheir opponents, for implementing the conditions conducive for aPeace Agreement and the Vision and the wherewithal for victory at thenegotiating table. Like Goddess Saraswati, the women of Liberia exercised their power in a unique way by uttering a different power sound, the sound waves of “NO” to the sexual ‘needs’ of the men in their lives. In this way, these brave women claimed power over their bodies, minds and Spirit, while they put an end to men using them as allies in an ongoing state of war! May more women exercise their power for such a noble cause!
Mantra for propiciating Goddess Saraswati:Om Aim Saraswatiai Namah!
Onthe journey to expansion of consciousness, Kali-Durga manifests todestroy egoistic tendencies like hatred, fear and greed; whileGoddess Lakshmi emerges in loving kindness, creativity, increasingawareness of ethical integration; and with ongoing effort onpersonality integration, Goddess Saraswati emerges in the form ofincreasing insight, intellectual expansion until She bestows supremeBlessedness, Liberation. The women of Liberia have taught womenelsewhere that women are not only the keepers of the home, theenvironment, and economic resources. The women of Liberia havedemonstrated to the women of USA and the rest of the world how tostir a dynamic social conscience, put it at the service of creativeaction in solidarity and goodwill, until they drew the highestblessings from the Goddess, an insight into putting an end to war.The women of Liberia have taught women all over the world how to putan end to all wars.
SuchSpirit driven movement implies changes in the normative, formativeand performative social structures. So, to “Be the change”is not enough, let us all be agents of change!
Maythe three Goddesses Bless endow you with Health, Joy andEnlightenment!
MEDITATION ON THE GODDESS
Namo Devyai Mahadevyai Shivayai Satatam Namaha |
Namaha Prakrityai Bhadrayai Niyataah Pranataah Sma Taam ||
Roudrayai Namo Nityayi Gouryayai Dhatrayai Namo Namaha |
Jyothsnayayai Chendurupinyayai Sukhayayai Satatam Namaha ||
Kalyannyai Pranatam Vridhyayai Sidhyayai Kurmo Namo Namah |
Nairutyayai Bhybritaam Lakshmyai Sharvanyayai Tey Namo Namah ||
Durgayai Durgapaaraayai, Saaraayai Sarvakaarine |
Khyatyai Tadhiva Krishnayai Dhumrayai Satatam Namaha ||
Ati Soumyati Roudrayai, Nataastastastyai Namo Namaha |
Namo Jagatpratishtayai, Devyayai Krityayai Namo Namah ||
Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Vishnu Mayeti Shabdita |
Namastastyai Namastastyai Namastastyai Namo Namaha ||
ENGLISH CHANT FOR MEDITATION
Adorationsagain and again to Goddess, the Divine Mother, who abides in allbeings in the form of the Divine Maya (Cosmic Illusion),Consciousness, Intellect, Sleep, Hunger and Thirst, Shadow, Energy,Class, Shame, Peace, Faith, Loveliness, Wealth, Thought waves,Memory, Compassion, Fulfillment of ones’s desires, Mother, Error.
Visualizethe form of Goddess Durga abiding in the lotus of your heart.Dissolving obstacles of fear, adversity and pain; physical andmental. Visualize the form of Goddess Lakshmi in the lotus of yourheart, conferring the boon divine qualities: insight, creativity,wealth in physical, emotional and spiritual ways. Visualize the formof Goddess Saraswati, Goddess of learning and Wisdom, abiding in thelotus of your heart as your experience in body, mind, intellect,insight and spirit blossoms into the Nondual realization, “I am allthis.”
OmShanti, Shanti, Shanti!
Open your eyes.