Whether God or Creator is male or female or genderless is a widely discussed question across all cultures and societies in all times. This is a very profound question which various religions and philosophers have tried to engage in their unique manner.
To my mind, male or female are certain aspects of the divine. God transcends all such binary categories. To me, God is unknowable and incomprehensible to the human intellect. Hence we can worship the ultimate being in any form and method.
Being a woman, the worship of the sacred divine in its female form is of utmost significance and interest to me.
Hindu culture has an extensive number of Goddesses both of minor and significant importance. Some appear as consort to the central male deity, and some have their own independent, and sometimes even ferocious identity. The Hindu Goddess beginning from the Vedic era represent mother nature in its many forms such as Usha, Aditi, and Saraswati. The women goddess generally associated with the life-giving entities such as rivers, plants, and vegetation. Goddess also symbolize wealth, war, divine love, romantic love, and motherland. Dominant Hindu goddesses are Laxmi (Goddess of wealth), Saraswati ( Goddess of intellect, music, and arts), Shakti (Goddess of Creative power). Every Goddess has not just unique quality and boon making power in worldly life but also a separate set of rituals for invoking her. Various prayers and hymns are mentioned in scriptures for pleasing them.
Not just Hindu culture, but ancient Greek, Buddhist, Christian and Egyptian cultures have given place to the sacred female divine.
I am starting a new weekly series where I will write about female representations and symbolism of the feminine divine across cultures and religions. I want to understand and analyze the role these Goddess play in daily lives and what kind of influence they hold in the lives of the common women across the globe.
Please do share your thoughts and opinions on the same and help me in doing complete justice to this massive, ambitious and sensitive subject.