In Hindu theology Divine Power is conceived as a divine woman-the Goddess. Sometimes she is wholly autonomous and sometimes she is the divine spouse of the creator God, Siva or Visnu. She is also held to be the evolving material source of every created phenomenon. Religious texts like Puranas and Tantras have thoroughly investigated the mysterious nature of the Cosmic Goddess. Tantra as a religious practice endeavoured to show how through ritual and Yoga one may achieve realization of the mystery of the Supreme Goddess. Authors in Sanskrit and modern Indian languages, have poured out their ecstatic devotion to the Goddess. She is close to the heart of the passionate devotee, who adores her as mother or daughter - a mortal emotional bond with the divine so peculiar to Hindus. She is also sovereign Power a little part of which reigning royalties covet to possess in order to be good rulers. AS the divine woman she is represented in all women. Therefore women should be holding a high position amongst Hindus. But the question is, do they? In spite of the obvious contrary evidence, women do succeed in carving out a very important position in Hindu religious practices by having their alternative religious rituals highly valued by Hindu women have a very complex interrelationship.
About the Author:
Sanjukta Gupta taught at Visva Bharati University and Jadavpur University in India. After 1967 she taught at the University of Utrecht, Netherlands and Oxford Unidersity, U.K. She has published extensively on the Indian philosophy of idealistic monism, on Vaisnava and Tantric Hindu religions, and on Hindu women.