May 26, 2012
Jyeshth Shukla Shashti, Kaliyug Varsha 5114
One of the first prayers I was taught as a Hindu child began, “Treat your mother as God.”
At the time, I understood it simply as “Respect and obey your mother.” It has taken me a lifetime to understand it as a prayer.
In the Hymn of the Origin, a part of the ancient Hindu scripture called the Vedas, it is said that before there was a beginning, before time, there was “one.”
No attributes are attached to this “one” other than its one-ness. The “one” separated itself from itself, and this initial act of self-sacrifice was the moment that creation began.
For Hindus, the origin of creation in the “one” means not only that there is one god, but, in fact, that there is only God. There is nothing but God. The movement of all life, and most particularly of human life, is to experience consciously that sense of oneness with God and creation.
Hindus think of the one God in many ways. When we think of God as infinite, beyond names or forms, we use the Sanskrit term Paramatma. But as we begin our spiritual journeys, it’s easier to think of the roles or aspects we ascribe to God. God is the creator, the “one” who preserves, maintains and guides creation and the “one” who impels spiritual evolution.
These roles are always pictured as tandem, with a masculine aspect of potentiality and a feminine aspect of divine energy or activating grace. This way of thinking of God as both masculine and feminine is one approach to the concept of a genderless God.
Hindus see these feminine embodiments of grace as both emanating from God and inborn in us. Just as the creator is associated with the feminine aspect of the word, so the desire within us to learn, to know, to imagine and create is grace working within us. Just as God’s grace is moved by love, so our compassion and service move us toward God. Just as God’s will impels change, so our devotion and resolve impel our evolution as spiritual beings.
Hindus, both men and women, consider the meditation on the sacred feminine as an empowering meditation, reminding us of our spiritual purpose and helping us achieve oneness with the divine.
It is this grace, reflected in our mothers’ unshakable faith is us, that reminds us that we can be more, do more and love more. To treat mother as God is more than respect — it is reverence for God’s presence around us and within us. It is a prayer that we achieve the oneness for which we were born.
Vasanthi Vasudevan is a volunteer with the Hindu Temple of Central Indiana.
Source: Indy Star