The Divine Mother has been described in various cultures other than the Indic civilization though this has happened not with the fullest understanding of her nature or charitra. We see this in depictions by aboriginal and matriarchal communities and tribes, in ancient Egypt, in the Japanese culture where she is Kwannon, the Goddess of Compassion, but most prominently perhaps in the denominations of Catholicism and Maryism.
For she is the Blessed Virgin who brings forth the Divine Child, the new Adam, conceived without sin. She who intercedes on our behalf unceasingly, whose love and grace permeate even the most rational Christological explanations, even among the Protestants.
But to Sanatana Dharma, she is self-evident, inevitable, obvious, as the Mother of God, who is Perpetually Virgin and is Assumed into heaven at the end of her life on earth. There are no acrobatics needed by the Hindu to explain away the birth of Jesus, the incarnation of God the Son, the avatar of our psychic being, the sacred heart, who came here to show us how to live out of a new consciousness and bring it alive into the flesh. Jesus thus transformed the commandments of the Old Testament into something radical, spiritual, transformative.
And she too is born as a simple woman, yet unique in delivering an avatar into a culture hostile, harsh and dismissive, and presides over his entire journey on earth and thereafter. Her quiet suffering, nay dharana of Jesus’ passion with deep maternal understanding and empathy, her presence through his infancy, adolescence, explorations, trials, crucifixion and resurrection—show her as an avatar of maternal nurture and protection with immense compassion and fortitude in an embrace vast as earth.
And she is his true confidante though he has disciples for they are too immature for his depths and who desert him at the slightest appearance of danger to themselves and deny him, though still somewhere somehow learning to love him.
As I watched the movie, ‘The Passion of the Christ’, I was moved to see how she holds him as he falls with the crucifix even as he shares with her his last journey. And she protects the body even as he is given up for dead and is there for his victorious re-emergence in a body of light and spirit. As a universal truth established on earth, we see her slowly becoming less and less understood and appreciated as Christianity developed into a religion even though her significance is never truly eliminated.
And though there are denominations that still see her as the key intercessor, refuge, advocate, protector and Mediatrix, the new Eve and Co-Redemptrix, she has slowly been relegated to the background in the most theological constructs of the Holy Trinity and the story of the Christ.
But if she were not there with the quiet purity of her heart, we would have no Jesus. And an important link in the unfolding of the human spiritual evolution would have been missed.
Yes, it may seem strange that a non-Christian honors and adores her. But perhaps this too is a bridge among the various peoples of her earth, in a spirituality beyond religion. It may be time for the more spiritual minds in the West to accept and understand her true universal reality. The Shakti remains unchanged; it is the receiving mind who sees her in images more suited to its conditioning and culture.
Without honoring her fully, we remain incomplete as her children. But if she is seen as who she is, in culture after culture, denomination after denomination, perhaps we can prepare the human instrument for her more direct action in the future.