(Continued from Part 1.)
On the relative plane, the Divine Mother creates all there is, preserves it for a time, and then dissolves it into the formless Father again
According to the saints and sages we shall hear from, it is the Mother who operates the world; that is, who creates, preserves, and destroys everything there is.
As Swami Nikhilananda observes, She is “Procreatrix [cf. Prakriti], Nature, the Destroyer, the Creator.” (6) His remarks echo ancient texts. Of Her the Upanishads declared: “Thou art the creator; thou art the destroyer by thy prowess; and thou art the protector.” (7) In the Bhagavad-Gita, Sri Krishna addresses Her as Maya.
“Maya makes all things: what moves, what is unmoving.
O son of Kunti, that is why the world spins,
Turning its wheel through birth and through destruction.” (8)
This knowledge is not privy to Hindus alone. The avatar Zarathustra taught that the Mother was in sole charge of “the management of the bodily and spiritual worlds.” (9) Solomon also knew that Wisdom “operates everything.” (10)
Swami Nikhilananda used various metaphors to suggest how She operates:
“She projects the world and again withdraws it. She spins it as the spider spins its web. She is the Mother of the Universe, identical with the Brahman of Vedanta, and with the Atman of Yoga. As eternal Lawgiver, She makes and unmakes laws; it is by Her imperious will that karma yields its fruit. She ensnares men with illusion and again releases them from bondage with a look of Her benign eyes. She is the Supreme Mistress of the cosmic play, and all objects, animate and inanimate, dance by Her will. Even those who realize the Absolute in nirvikalpa samadhi are under Her jurisdiction as long as they live on the relative plane.” (11)
She is metaphorically called the Voice in the Wilderness in the Bible because no law, no principle of organization, no structure can apply to the formless God. Only the Mother has form; as such She gives Voice to God and cries in the “wilderness” that the Father is.
The Mother made the body
Having created the universe, the Divine Mother dwells within it, as King Solomon, an enlightened devotee of the Mother, suggests: “Wisdom [Solomon’s name for the Divine Mother] … penetrates and permeates everything that is, every material thing.” (12) Sri Ramakrishna agrees: “After the creation the Primal Power [the Mother] dwells in the universe itself. She brings forth this phenomenal world and then pervades it.” (13) The Avatar of Dakshineswar confided to his devotees that “the Divine Mother revealed to me that it is She Herself who has become man.” (14)
She made the five material bodies (or pancha kosas) by which we act and know. Solomon cryptically comments that: “Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn her seven pillars.” (15) It is my impression that the “seven pillars” are the seven chakras. St. Paul too was referring to Her role as the body’s creator and in-dweller when he said: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God [the Mother] dwelleth in you?” (16) In Sri Krishna’s words: “Every human being is essentially a soul [the Child of God or Atman, one with the Father], covered with a veil of maya [the Mother].” (17)
Let us pause with this mention of the immortal soul. We now have three eternal actors in our divine play. We have the Father without form, the Mother with form, and the immortal soul, their offspring, which the prophet Amos called “a firebrand plucked out of the burning.” (19) What is the divine drama in which all three are engaged?
If we look at events from the standpoint of the immortal soul, then it could be said, as I have done elsewhere, (18) that the purpose of life is enlightenment. The purpose of life is that the undying soul should travel out from God, into the world, where, after eons of spiritual evolution and enlightenment, it will learn that it and God are one. The purpose of life, viewed from the Creator’s standpoint, is that God should meet God, and, through that meeting, enjoy His own bliss. (20) The Father created the Mother, who went on to create trillions of forms – prodigal children, embodied souls – which left the Father and travelled in the realm of matter, until every form comes to know itself as God.
These three actors could be called the Transcendental (the Holy Father), the Phenomenal (the Divine Mother), and the Transcendental in the Phenomenal (the immortal soul or Child of God). If we alter their order, we have what Christians call the “Trinity” – the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. We explore the Father and Mother in this article. The immortal soul is the unrealized “Son of God,” (21) the treasure buried in a field, the Pearl of great price, the Prince of peace, and the mustard seed that, upon realization, grows into a great tree. (22) The point at which Christianity and Hinduism intersect is right here, at exactly this same Trinity, which Hindus know as Brahman, Atman, and Shakti.
The Divine Mother made the body and the Holy Father hid a fragment of Himself within its heart (the Child of God), which the Mother has raised and educated until the divine spark realizes its true identity.
The Mother arises from the Father and merges in Him again
The Mother arises from the Father and falls back into Him again. She is like the clouds in the sky; the Father is the sky from which the clouds emerge and into which they melt again. Sri Ramakrishna tried to convey Their relationship by using the metaphor of impermanent waves forming on the ocean of Satchidananda:
“These waves [arise] from the Great Ocean and merge again into the Great Ocean. From the Absolute to the Relative, and from the Relative to the Absolute.” (23)
“It has been revealed to me that there exists an Ocean of “Consciousness” without limit [i.e., the Father]. From it come all things of the relative plane [i.e., the Mother], and in it they merge again.” (24)
Paramahansa Yogananda also used a wave metaphor to describe the Mother: “The storm-roar [the Mother] of the sea [the Father] creates the waves [materiality] – preserves them for some time as larger or smaller waves — and then dissolves them.” (25)
While the great ocean of consciousness is formless, the waves, which are a part of it, have form. Nonetheless waves and ocean are one. “That which has form,” Sri Ramakrishna asserted, “again, is without form. That which has attributes, again, has no attributes.” (26) “Water is water whether it is calm or full of waves. The Absolute alone is the Primordial Energy, which creates, preserves, and destroys.” (27)
Sri Ramakrishna describes how the relative plane emerges from the absolute and falls back into it again.
“Brahman [the Father] may be compared to an infinite ocean, without beginning or end. Just as, through intense cold, some portions of the ocean freeze into ice and formless water appears to have form, so through intense love of the devotee, Brahman appears to take on form and personality. But the form melts away again as the Sun of Knowledge rises. Then the universe [the Mother] also disappears, and there is seen to be nothing but Brahman.” (28)
(Concluded in Part 3.)
For full details on these sources, see Bibliography
(6) GSR, 9-10.
(7) Swami Prabhavananda and Frederick Manchester, trans., The Upanishads. Breath of the Eternal. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1957; c1948, 37. [Hereafter UPAN.]
(8) Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, trans., Bhagavad-Gita. The Song of God. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1972; c1944, 80. [Hereafter BG.]
(9) Duncan Greenlees, trans. The Gospel of Zarathushtra. Adyar: Theosophical Publishing House, 1978, 187.
(10) Edgar J. Goodspeed, trans., The Apocrypha. An American Translation. New York: Random House, 1959; c1938, 192. [Hereafter APO.]
(11) GSR, 30.
(12) APO, 191.
(13) GSR, 135.
(14) Ibid., 231.
(15) Proverbs 9:1.
(16) Corinthians 3:16.
(17) BG, 103.
(18) See ”The Purpose of Life is Enlightenment” at http://www.angelfire.com/space2/light11/purpose.html.
(19) Amos 4:1.
(20) See “The Divine Plan” at http://www.angelfire.com/space2/light11/divine1.html and “Is There a Plan to Life?” at http://www.angelfire.com/space2/light11/plan.html.
(21) “If you will know yourselves, then you will … know that you are the sons of the Living Father.” That is, if you were realized, you would know that you are Sons of God. (Jesus in GATT, 3.)
(22) See “Christianity and Hinduism are One” at http://goldenageofgaia.com/2012/10/28/christianity-and-hinduism-are-one/.
(23) GSR, 353.
(24) Ibid., 359.
(25) Paramahansa Yogananda, The Second Coming of Christ. Dallas: Amrita Foundation, 1979, 1, 16. [Hereafter SCC.]
(26) GSR, 271.
(27) Loc. Cit.
(28) Sri Ramakrishna cited in Nikhilananda, “Shankara’s Philosophy of Non-Dualism,” CJD, 18-9; cf. GSR, 191.