Tuesday, August 25, 2009

An Incarnation of the Divine Feminine


When You Go Beyond the Ego You Become an Offering to the World

"Known around the world as a radiant embodiment of unconditional love, Ammachi literally hugs everyone who comes to see her. This captivating interview with one of India's greatest contemporary saints asks: What is compassion in the face of the ego?"
This is my second posting about this remarkable Indian woman. I'm featuring her because she has frequently been described in the language of poetic metaphor as an 'incarnation of the divine feminine' or 'the divine mother.' There is a dearth of such public role models for women to admire, holy women who seem to have gone beyond the category of saintliness and reached another, rarer dimension completely beyond ego and self (no time for a scholarly treatise on mystical theology here). Some pluralist Christian theologians would suggest that the language of incarnation used to describe and define 'Yeshua, the God obsessed Hasid from the hill town of Nazareth' should be viewed in the same fashion, as metaphor. I tend to agree. Theologians of note in this camp would be Roger Haight, S.J., Paul Knitter, and Peter Phan, whose book, Being Religious Interreligiously, I would highly recommend. Catholic process philosopher Beatrice Bruteau, mystical theologian Jim Marion, and Diarmuid O'Murchu also come to mind. This is, at the moment, a contentious issue within the Catholic/Christian community and I'm only offering Ammachi as a worthy example of feminine holiness beyond and outside the Christian tradition. The insistence on only one divine incarnation in human history, however, implying that 'G-d' can only be imaged by a male, has had a harmful and debilitating effect on women throughout history (Not to mention devastating consequences for the Jews. Human kind cannot bear the guilt of a murdered, tortured god, so someone has to pay). It is time to move on and let go. Needless to say, as has been pointed out countless times by others, the insistence on the singular, exclusive divine status given to Jesus, the repression of the feminine within the church and the existence of a pernicious homophobia are all intimately connected. They are linked to the exaltation of the masculine and the repression of the feminine. As a counter witness of the divine feminine (without capital letters), I offer Mother Ammachi. (See video two posts below)
Interview with Ammachi at Enlightenment Next magazine.

(Amma does have her detractors. You can access a highly critical website here, but beware, some of it is quite toxic. Pay close attention to the rebuttals.)

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