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Hindu Goddesses and Divine Females

Goddess Kali is the terrible form of World Mother in Hinduism

Goddess Kali is the terrible form of World Mother in Hinduism


The Sanskrit word for human beings is manav, which comes from Hindu King Manu. The legend of Manu is similar to Noah, who saved the humanity in his ark. Manusmiriti, the most sanctified Hindu book of law, is ascribed to King Manu. In the book the wise king says, “The deities delight in places where women are revered, but where women are not revered all rites are fruitless. Where women of the family are miserable the family is soon destroyed.”

Though the Hindu society basically is patriarchal, the religious doctrines emphasize on matriarchy. The Vedas, that were believed to composed between 1200-1500 BCE mention about the Gods such as Indra, Som (Moon), Surya (Sun), Agni (Fire) but these all Gods worship Aditi, the Mother of all Gods. Uma, also called Parvati in Puran, is another Vedic Goddess. Rig Veda mentions about Eight Mother-Goddess called Asta Matrika.

Women are idealized as Goddesses in Hinduism. It is harder to say when a common woman becomes divine, but Hindu scriptures mention about lots of women Seers. They composed mantras in Vedas and discussed philosophical ideas in the Upanishads.


Women Seers in Hindu Religion

Gargi, also called Vidushi Gargi – literally, wise Gargi – is probably the most controversial women figure in Hindu Scriptures. According to the Upanishads she had participated in the philosophical debate in the Court of Janaka and defeated many savants of the time. It is even hinted that Yagyavalka, one of the three sages who devised Hindu book of laws called Yagyavalka Smriti, could not answer Gargi and he just said her to shut her mouth.


Laksmi is the Goddess of Wealth in Hindu religion. She is consort of Lord Vishnu

Laksmi is the Goddess of Wealth in Hindu religion. She is consort of Lord Vishnu

Durga is the benevolent form of World Mother in Hindu religion

Durga is the benevolent form of World Mother in Hindu religion

Sarasvati is Goddess of wisdom and intellect

Sarasvati is Goddess of wisdom and intellect



Divine Females in the Mahabharata

The heart of Hindu culture, tradition and religion lie in the epic Ramayana by Valmiki and Veda Vyasa’s Mahabharata. The Mahabharata, one of the oldest stories in the world, is also the longest at over one hundred thousand stanzas, about seven times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined. According to the Hindu myth, the Ramayana which has 24,000 couplets divided into seven books is older than the Mahabharata, central events of the Mahabharata is ascribed to 1300 BCE. However, the present version of the Ramayana, literally romance of Rama, and the Mahabharata, epic of Bharata dynasty, is believed to be composed around 300 BCE.

Draupadi is one of the central characters in the Mahabharata. She was born out of sacrificial fire, and married to Pandavas, five sons of king Pandu. One of the reasons for the war between Pandavas and their cousins Kaurava was because they had humiliated her. In her idealized form she is taken as childhood friend of Lord Krishna. In her terrible form she is also symbolized as Bhairavi, consort of Bhairav, where Bhimsen, one of the five husbands of Draupadi is Bhairav. Though Draupadi is more human than divine, she is defied for her power to change the course of history. Draupadi-Bhimsen cult is very popular in Nepal.

Apart from Draupadi, there are other divine women in the Mahabharata. Satyavati is the matriarch. She is not only the mother of the poet Veda Vaysa, who composed the Mahabharata but also the mother of two brothers whose children fight in the epic war.



Divine Female in the Ramayana

Sita is the Divine Female in the Ramayana. Sita, personification of wifely allegiance and self-surrender, was married to Rama. When Vishnu took incarnation of Rama then Laksmi, consort of Vishnu, also took the form of Sita. She was a small child, when King Janka found in the furrow while he was plowing the farm (Literal meaning of Sita is furrow). So, Earth is said to be Sita’s mother. At the end of the story in the Ramayana, she asks Mother Earth to let her in, Earth Goddess opens her chest and then Sita vanishes into the cracks.

Sita, like the Mother Earth, is the perfect example of endurance. She accompanied Rama when he was banished from his kingdom for fourteen years. While in exile, she was abducted by demon king Ravana. After Rama killed Ravana, Sita had to go into the ordeal of fire to prove her purity. She was rejected and sent to the jungle by Rama when people began to talk about her chastity. However, throughout her life she maintained her devotion to Rama.

Comments

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on July 11, 2012:

@Mary, I'm glad that you found this interesting and you tried to understand the basis of Hindu religion. Thanks for your comment.

@Mr. Happy, when the Hindu religion evolved the society was matriarchy. That's why religious doctrines emphasize on matriarchy. Later men took control over everything including religion and they molded the society on the basis of patriarchy.

Hindu religion put lots of emphasis on sexual purity. Since Sita was kidnapped and lived within the confinement of Demon king, after she was rescued and went to live with her husband, people thought that she was not sexually pure any more.

Thnaks for your interest.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on July 10, 2012:

"Though the Hindu society basically is patriarchal, the religious doctrines emphasize on matriarchy." - Why the confusion? If the spiritual books teach matriarchy, how come the society is set-up on the patriarchal platform?

"She was rejected and sent to the jungle by Rama when people began to talk about her chastity." - Can You explain this part? I am not sure what is meant by chastity here.

Thank You for putting this piece of writing together. I appreciate it.

Cheers! : )

Mary Hyatt from Florida on July 09, 2012:

I have to tell you I read this Hub, and found it very interesting. I won't say I understand it all, but I sure tried. The different religions of the world have always fascinated me. In some cultures women are revered, other cultures they are considered worthless.

I voted this UP

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on June 23, 2012:

TToombso, thanks for reading and leaving a wonderful comment.

Cheers

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on June 23, 2012:

Very interesting and insightful, Vinaya. Thank you for enlightening me to the beautiful Hindu Goddesses and Divine Females. Voted up and more. :)

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on June 09, 2012:

Hi Angel, Hinduism is basically polytheism. There are hundreds of thousands Gods and Goddess in myriad forms. Thanks for reading and leaving comment.

Cheers

Angelme566 on June 08, 2012:

I know only some Goddesses , Like Sita , only now i know so many are there..wish i can live life like the way they did..Great hub writer !

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on April 29, 2012:

Dear Safa, thanks for stopping by.

Safa bird on April 28, 2012:

Great article, Vinaya. Very interesting

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on April 22, 2012:

Rajan, thanks for reading and commenting.

Cheers

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 22, 2012:

Vinaya, nice and interesting information. Thanks for sharing.

Voted up & interesting.

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on March 20, 2012:

B. Lekley,

I understand what you mean. When I set to read about Greek Gods and Goddesses I face the same problem.

Cheers

Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on March 20, 2012:

It's hard to keep track of all the characters. The topic is interesting. I look forward to reading more hubs on Hinduism.

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on March 04, 2012:

Hello Christy, I'm glad that you found this article interesting.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Cheers

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on March 03, 2012:

How interesting Vinaya, I did not know any of this information. I vote up and 'interesting', I like the hub.

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on February 08, 2012:

Irena, thanks for coming back.

Irena Petlaca on February 08, 2012:

Thank you I appreciate that!

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on February 08, 2012:

Hello Irena Petlaca, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad that you enjoyed this article.

Thanks for following me, I will follow you back.

Irena Petlaca on February 08, 2012:

I have enjoyed from the beginning til the end. Quite new for me and interesting as well. Beautifully transferred! Excellent writer.

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on February 08, 2012:

Hello SanneL, I feel delighted that this hub could hold your attention. We all are here to learn and share. I learn from you, you learn from me.

Cheers

SanneL from Sweden on February 08, 2012:

This hub caught my interest from the very beginning until the very end! I learned things about the Hindu religion and culture I know little about. Well done!

Voting up and interesting!

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on February 07, 2012:

Hello Radha

I agree with you about Clinton and Ms Obama. Thanks for sharing your opinion.

I believe there must be emphasis on sisterhood to uplift women's status in the society.

radhapriestess on February 07, 2012:

I think President Obama appreciates Hillary Rodham Clinton as his Secretary of State. Both Hillary and Michelle Obama are the two most admired women in the world. As a woman manager I always made sure I did a good job because I was the first woman in the position. I wanted other women to have my opportunity.

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on February 07, 2012:

Mrslagibb, I understand what you were trying to convey. Around the world, there are many women like MS Thatcher, who made great impact on politics, Benezir Bhutto of Pakistan is one example, Indira Gandhi, the late Prim Minister of India was another great icon. In my country, in Nepal, thought women have not achieved this sort of position, 33 percent of the members of parliament are women.

Mrs L A Gibb on February 07, 2012:

What I am trying to say is. If Women like Mrs Thatcher the former Prime Minister of britain, can make a career in politics, and can sort of be worshiped, praised, because she made something of herself. Then Why can't it be like this for the ordinary women all over the world, instead of being treated with no respect. People all over the world should in in my opinion take a High View of Hindu Goddesses and divine females.

I hope you can understand what I have tried to say. the post comment played up on me when I was trying to edit it.

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on February 07, 2012:

Hello mrslagibb, I have read about Thatcher, even watched the biopic, that is all rage these days.

I do agree that women are not regarded highly in many cultures and country.

Mrs L A Gibb on February 07, 2012:

Hi Vinaya, I have seen a lot of women not regarded highly, in some situations. Some men, I have seen knock women when they want a career for themselves. I know I am straying away from your hub. But to me, Women are not treated properly in some situations. In Britain have you ever heard of Mrs Thatcher, the Iron Lady the Prime Minister back in the 80's. This is what brought me to say what I am saying now. perhaps you would like to read Cut backs, because I have a theory over politics and religion.

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on February 07, 2012:

Hello Philly, I don't know about situations of women in India, but in Nepal, my country, women are regarded highly. There is still a custom where, a girl is worshiped as a Goddess, even President bows to her.

Regards

Jose Velasquez from Lodi, New Jersey on February 06, 2012:

So my question to you would be, How are women regarded today in India? Do these beliefs have any bearing on the society of today?

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on February 04, 2012:

Hello Sheila, thanks for being supportive and leaving appreciative comments here, there, everywhere.

Cheers

sheilanewton from North Shields, UK on February 04, 2012:

Great piece of history and mythology. Wonderful.

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on January 31, 2012:

Hello Phyllis, thanks for reading this hub. I have read you hub about Mother Goddess, and I have been enlightened.

Ramayana and Mahabharata are much appreciated epics in the Indian subcontinent.

Thank you very much for highlighting me on your profile page.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on January 31, 2012:

Voted Up and all except Funny.

Vinaya, this is a wonderful hub. You know I like reading and writing about goddesses and I find this hub very enlightening. I am anxious to study "Ramayana by Valmiki and Veda Vyasa’s Mahabharata". I spend most of my research time in ancient mythology, religions and philosophy. Thank you for such an interesting hub.

PS: I started a new weekly 'highlight a hubber' in my profile and you, kind sir, are this week's favorite.

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on January 28, 2012:

Hello alocsin, thanks for you appreciative comment.

Cheers

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on January 28, 2012:

A nice introduction to the Hindu pantheon. Voting this Up and Interesting.

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on January 27, 2012:

Rosemary.

thanks for sharing your perspective. I appreciate your comments.

Cheers

Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on January 27, 2012:

A fascinating hub Vinaya. We learn so much of your culture and beliefs through you.Thank you for sharing.

“The deities delight in places where women are revered, but where women are not revered all rites are fruitless. Where women of the family are miserable the family is soon destroyed.”

Women are the centre of the family, and women who have the honour of carrying new life into this world. A woman will always put her family before herself.

A very interesting hub and well present as always

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on January 25, 2012:

Hello mrslagibb, your concern about feminine aspect of divinity is appreciative. Thanks for sharing your point of view.

Mrs L A Gibb on January 25, 2012:

What a very imformative article and full of learning about another religion. I myself only know two religions, but they do not have more Godesses than gods, nor do they teach of how to resepect a woman as a godess. The religions I know is to respect the most highest divine of all religions 'God' and the mother of Jesus Christ his son. But These days some men and women don't see it as Respect, or as respect for another person, or even treating a women like a godess.

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on January 25, 2012:

Epi, I'm blessed and honored.

Thanks you very much.

Regards

epigramman on January 25, 2012:

..often I just come to your hubs to learn - to listen/read and to be a child of wonder - and I will most sincerely post this marvel of enlightenment to my Facebook page with a direct link back here - at lake erie time ontario canada 5:54am and sending you warm wishes and good energy .....

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on January 21, 2012:

Hello Kitty,

Interestingly, I'm so much in love with your work. There is so much to learn for your hubs on religion and philosophy categories. I did not know about Wicca and Paganism before reading your articles.

Thanks for leaving a wonderful comment.

Cheers

Kitty Fields from Summerland on January 21, 2012:

I've heard the story of Rama before...but never the story of the beautiful Hindu Goddess Sita...or the other Hindu goddesses mentioned in this article. Lovely hub, Vinaya! I'm so happy to be a follower...I love learning about the Hindu religion. So...how are you doing?

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on January 21, 2012:

@Movie Master

@radha

@Flora

Thanks for your wonderful comments. I'm blessed and honored to have friends like you.

Cheers

FloraBreenRobison on January 21, 2012:

You always teach me so much about other faiths, Vinaya. Thankyou.

radhapriestess on January 20, 2012:

Vedic Philosophy is one word some have used. Meaning it's a way of life, as opposed to a religion or culture.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on January 20, 2012:

Hi Vinaya, thank you for another wonderful hub, I'm learning something new and you always make it so interesting.

Reading about 'divine women' was fascinating and voted up.

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on January 19, 2012:

@radha, thanks for sharing your own interpretation of Mother Goddess. Feminine aspect of Divinity is very popular in Hinduism. Today Hindus around the world celebrate more festivals attributed to Goddess than Gods. I agree with your view on matriarchy and India. I believe Indian sub continent is the right word to use when someone is talking about Hindu civilization, culture and philosophy.

@always exploring, thank you very much for being with me.

May the World Mother bless you.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on January 19, 2012:

This is very interesting..I learn so much rrom reading your hubs. Thank you again for sharing...

radhapriestess from Minneapolis, MN on January 19, 2012:

Nice to see the combination of forms of the Mother. India in ancient times was more matriarchial than today. Women had the right to marry their own husbands. There were great female sages, as you mentioned Gargi, etc. I personally think she was the great sage of the age because she could ask such pointed questions of every one and no one could answer her. India would be so great if they returned to the matriarchy. Sita was a great Shakti and did not always do what Ram wanted her to do. For example she followed him into the forest, which he did not want her to do because he thought she was too delicate. This is only one of the many examples. Rama is like many rulers concerned with his image with the people, but in the end Sita triumphed with her Mother Bhumi. Justice was restored.

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on January 19, 2012:

@Allana Calhoun

@AudreyHowitt,

thanks for sharing your views. I appreciate your comment.

Audrey Howitt from California on January 19, 2012:

I lament the loss of the divine feminine in the west--thank you so much for sharing this information~

Allana Calhoun from Chicago, Illinois on January 19, 2012:

Wow, lots of info. I love mythology of all cultures (especially ancient ones). It is all so fascinating! Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on January 19, 2012:

@Bell

@Frank

Thanks for reading and leaving appreciative comments.

Happy hubbing!

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on January 19, 2012:

another one of your top shelf hubs up and awesome my friend :)

bell du jour from Ireland on January 19, 2012:

Hi Vinaya, I really enjoyed your article, very interesting and very well put together. Thanks for sharing:-)

Bell

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on January 19, 2012:

@blaise25, I'm very delighted that this topic interest to you.

@Sueswan,yes I believe women hold the family together.

@Cardisa, thanks for sharing your view. Thanks for appreciating my work.

Thank you all for reading and leaving wonderful comments.

Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on January 19, 2012:

The Rastafarians in our culture refer to their females and empresses or queens. This is very interesting and enlightening and you title was really captivating. You are a very intelligent man and good writer.

Sueswan on January 19, 2012:

Hi Vinaya

"Where women of the family are miserable the family is soon destroyed.” I agree. I think women are the peace makers and hold the family together. They put their family needs ahead of their own.

Voted up and awesome

Enjoy your day.

Fehl Dungo from close to you... on January 18, 2012:

one of the most fascinating topics I wanna read..

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on January 18, 2012:

Hello nityanandagaurang, thanks for stopping by.

nityanandagaurang on January 18, 2012:

very interesting blog

Vinaya Ghimire (author) from Nepal on January 18, 2012:

@carolinemd21

@ishwaryaa22

@anupama

@asmaiftikhar

@Eddy

@Dale Hyde

@mckbirdbks

Hinduism is an ancient belief that is largely matriarchal. There are more goddess than gods.

Thank you very much for reading and leaving wonderful comments.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on January 18, 2012:

This work is filled with interesting information regarding a belief system, I know little about. Thanks for your hard work.

Dale Hyde from Tropical Paradise on Planet X on January 18, 2012:

Always wonderful to see such hubs! Spirituality in various forms is a past time of mine, and I have pulled from many Paths and incorporated it into my own spiritual path, a rather eclectic mix. Thanks!

Eiddwen from Wales on January 18, 2012:

A great hub Vinaya ,thank you for sharing.

Has to have that up up and away vote.

Take care and enjoy your day.

Eddy.

asmaiftikhar from Pakistan on January 18, 2012:

That's an informative article and good to increase the knowledge.Thanks for the information.keeeeeeeeeep it p!

Dr Anupma Srivastava from India on January 18, 2012:

Very informative article. Thanks for sharing it.

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on January 18, 2012:

Very Insightful and well-informed Hub! Interesting. Vote Up.

Caroline Marie on January 18, 2012:

Great article Vinaya! Learned a lot. Thank you for sharing.