I hope you all are faring well. It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all yet another blog this week. As at the time of my current writing, it is Radhastami; a special festival celebrated by Gaudiya Vaishnava’s that marks the appearance day of the feminine aspect of God. This naturally ushers us into a topic I’ll to share with you all today; the concept of God’s gender.
We live in a world that is Male dominated and there is no doubt that this is reflected in many areas of our lives, whether in a subtle form or in an outright manner. There is also no gainsaying that over time this is changing and with the rise of many feminist groups, many “masculine status quo’s”is being questioned, especially if they do not serve a positive result. Many religions across the world teach us about Divinity, the Godhead, etc. However, in the many different descriptions from the major world religions such as Christianity and Islam at least, we hardly find God or the Supreme person being described in a feminine light or perspective not to even mention as a feminine person. The beauty of Gaudiya Vaishnavism is that it probably the only faith that has a philosophy where God is depicted in both his Male and Female energy, both equal in quality. In fact, the Vedic philosophy makes us understand that we cannot access the Masculine form of the Lord without the blessings of His feminine side.
Let’s back up a little before we get into the technicalities of this concept. The first question many people ask is “How can God be feminine?” or “How can God be both?”. The answer is simple; if there is something that God cannot be, then how is He God? If there is something impossible for God to do or become then where is the idea of Him being all-powerful? So, clearly, we have placed certain restrictions on what God can and cannot do because we are limited living entities who try to understand something that is unlimited. First and foremost, we need to understand that everything emanates from God and as such, he is the complete perfect and even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains a complete balance. We also need to understand that the material world is but a perverted reflection of the spiritual world, as such there is nothing here that is foreign to the spiritual world. In the material world, we have Lust, which is nothing but the perverted reflection of Love. Similarly, just as we have the male and female gender here, we also have the same in the spiritual world, because they both emanate from God. In the material world, whenever a Man wants to experience some loving relationship he seeks out a Woman to fulfill this sentiment. Thus, he is dependent on someone or something to fulfill his needs. This is one of the differences between the living entity and the Supreme Lord.
God doesn’t need anyone or anything to satisfy himself, because he is self-sufficient. Everything emanates from Him and as such, there is nothing outside of Him. Furthermore, when the Lord wants to engage in certain pastimes that require him to show his feminine side, he himself manifests a feminine form; that is no other than his own internal energy. This energy is responsible for giving pleasure to the Lord. The Supreme Lord is said to have 3 energies; internal, marginal and external. The living entities are part of the marginal energy because we have the ability or tendency to either be influenced by higher energy or lower energy. The external energy of the Lord oversees the material world that we currently live in. Thus, each energy of the Lord has specific functions and they all work to serve the Lord. The internal energy of the Lord takes on a Feminine form which is none different from the Lord himself and even more compassionate than his Masculine form. In the Vedas, this form or aspect of the Lord is described in details and as such, I am only trying to give pointers here. For one to get the full audience or mercy of God in his masculine form, one has to obtain the favor or mercy of his feminine form, which shows us how important this aspect of him is.
The feminine aspect of God is not something that is new or just “created” to serve the ideology of feminism, rather it is part of a very sound philosophical tradition dating back to the oldest scriptures known to Man; the Vedas. In the Vedas, we have a very detailed description of many aspects of life; from the science of self-realization to the soul, creation, the material world, the spiritual world, innumerable universes, Demigods, Humans, Demons, Life after Death, Heaven and Hell, just to mention a few. The Shrimad Bhagavatam which is but a book of one part of the Vedas (The Vedas is divided into four parts), contains about 18,000 verses. This is to show you the wealth of information present in this scripture. There is no doubt that, if God wants to reveal himself to us then he would do so in a very elaborate manner so as to enable us to get a glimpse of his unlimited attributes. Today, we have some people who have also begun to embrace the idea of Mother-Father God, because they have gone through some logical conclusions (Jnana yoga) and seen that there has to be the other side of divinity. The good news is, we don’t have to speculate what this feminine aspect of God is, what she looks like, or what she does. The Vedas have already answered all these questions for us, we just have to make ourselves available to read and receive it.
The Supreme Lord expands himself in multiple forms according to time, place, circumstance or pastime. There are no rules as to how or why he assumes a form, and he does so at his own discretion. To place a limit on how the Lord can look, act or manifest is but a display of insufficient knowledge of infinite matters. Till next week, read, share and follow for more.