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Sanatana Dharma as a Liberating Force for Women

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    The text below is excerpted from the article Sanatana Dharma as a Liberating Force for Women, the complete article of which is at this link:
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 20, 2005
      The text below is excerpted from the article Sanatana Dharma as a
      Liberating Force for Women, the complete article of which is at this


      "The twentieth century witnessed the re-emergence of appreciation for
      the feminine aspect of God. The concept of God as Goddess, while long
      the norm in Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism), Yoga spirituality and other
      pre-Christo-Islamic religious traditions, has achieved wider
      acceptance in the Western world only in recent decades. As the twenty-
      first century begins, we find ourselves entering an era in which the
      more feminine qualities of compassion, nurturing, tolerance and love
      are rapidly replacing the outmoded anthropomorphic notion of God as a
      judgmental and vengeful old man in the sky so prevalent in the
      Abrahamic religions.

      "Coupled with the new acceptance of the importance of the feminine
      aspects of the Divine, we have also seen a growing recognition of the
      realm of nature as something that is itself a reflection of God's
      love in this world. Nature is no longer seen as something apart from
      God, wild and untamed. But rather, nature is now increasingly
      recognized as being an essential and especially sacred part of God's
      grace upon us. And more, an increasing number of both theologians and
      lay-persons alike are beginning to see nature as being distinctly
      feminine in essence – a fact that Sanatana Dharma and Yoga
      philosophy has known and taught for over 5000 years. The Earth is not
      a static dead rock floating in space that exists solely for man's
      economic purposes. The Earth was not created by God to be partitioned
      into artificial geographic regions, over which men will then
      foolishly war with one another. Rather, she is a living being, a
      mother, a woman, a Goddess, whom we are to love, respect and nurture -
      as she so patiently nurtures us. In the Hindu tradition, Mother
      Earth even has a name: Bhu-devi. In Sanatana Dharma, the dual issues
      of respecting the ways of nature and respecting women are ultimately
      inseparable concerns....


      "The intricate dynamics of power and gender has grown to become an
      increasingly important topic within the realm of present day society -
      and justifiably so. Though representing half of the human race,
      women's voices, needs and inner psyches have, more often than not,
      been relegated to a place of unimportance in the history of the
      Western world. Throughout the history of post-Classical European
      civilization, the nature of the feminine was misunderstood, neglected
      and, in some cases, practically demonized. Consequently, for
      millennia women have been deprived of much of the power - political,
      economic, spiritual, even sexual - which men so take for granted.
      Recognizing the imperative need to correct this historic imbalance,
      many modern feminist leaders attempted to devise an ideological
      framework through which they felt that the roots of this imbalance
      could be properly understood. Additionally, there have been many
      attempts to wrest control over the primary mechanisms of power,
      specifically in the political and economic sectors. As a result, what
      were at one time conceived as the exclusive domains of the male
      gender have now begun to open up to women...."


      Swami J
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