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  • Writer's pictureDurga Dasi

From Dasya to Prati Vatsalya: Journeying to the Heart of the Mother (Pt 2)

SwamiJi Ambikananda Saraswati’s words resonate deeply:

“This Goddess from halfway around the world: should I—and did I even have the right to—call Her my Mother?”[1]

When Her full power and Cosmic form is considered, it seems ludicrous, even sacrilegious, to address Her as Mother. Our Beloved Devi reveals Her Virata Rupam in the Srimad Devi Bhagavatam. This appearance frightened even Her most disciplined of devotees so much so they swooned at Her feet! Upon being gently awoken by the Vedas (so much symbolism here, but alas, that’s another essay), Himavan praised Her while also beseeching that She return to Her form as benevolent Mā. “We tremble to see Your cosmic form, Mother. We beg you, be as you were before, so we can bear to look at you. Be soft and lovely again, ah, dreadful, unbearable One!”[2]

So, perhaps it’s not so preposterous to address Her as Mother. After all, She Herself tells Mahishasura, “Do you even know who I am, Danava? I am the Mother…”[3] Time and again, through countless stories, She responds to the call, “Mother”, and reveals Herself as such. It seems that She not only tolerates the intimacy of the title, but rather relishes in it; for it seems that She is the one who birthed this knowing in our hearts to begin with.

She is so generous with Her children, She says in the Shakta Advaita,

“Who and what I really am – cosmic awareness so vast I effortlessly hold trillions of universes in the palm of My hand – is beyond the capacity of human minds to understand. Therefore, imagine Me in whatever form appeals to you, and I promise in that very form I will come to you.”[4]

My beloved SatGuru, Sri Anandamaye Mā, once said,

“… become familiar with (Her). When this has been achieved, you may call (Her) ‘Mother’. Some relationship of this kind has to be established…”[5]

God has revealed Herself in many forms throughout history… but what I find to be extraordinarily lovely is that She revealed Herself as Mother first.

“…if one seriously studies history with an open mind, one cannot exclude the possibility of a Great Mother Goddess that reigned long before the Father God appeared.”[6]

So, now that a sort of permission to pursue this relationship has been established, I shall examine further what it means to see and serve this uncontainable, but sometimes loosely definable, Devi. Again, this is a telling of my personal journey, accompanied by tales and texts that became Her whispers of Grace, guiding me into Her arms. Please bear with me, I’ll keep it as brief as possible.

As previously mentioned, my mother hadn’t the capacity to love me in the way I needed. Though our relationship was never healthy (it was rather co-dependent and I often took on the protective role with her being the one protected), it was one that I cherished deeply. My mom was more akin to a best friend than parent… and she ensured that my biological father was never in the picture (I still don’t know him or why). All of this aside, my mom took up the greatest space in my heart… and did offer me tender moments of care.

When I became an adult, I created boundaries with her and started asking questions to which she had meticulously buried the answers. All of this created a great chasm between us, one that remains open and exposed.

As an escape, I married into a terribly toxic situation. She didn’t attend my wedding. The battle cry had been sounded, and the war between us began. We went for years without speaking to each other. I lost two babies and suffered at the hands of an abusive husband without my living mother by my side.

After the second miscarriage, I felt so very desolate, I couldn’t stand to wake up one more day. I took a bottle of my (then) husbands’ opiates and planned to fall into an eternal sleep. He found me. I survived. I wish I could say that I was grateful to wake up, but I wasn’t. I was angry, especially at God… but, at least this reconnected me to the idea of God.

To be continued...

[1] Road to the Mother Confessions of a Twenty-SomethingKali Worshiper by Swami Ambikananda Saraswati [2] Devi: The Devi Bhagavatam Retold by Ramesh Menon [3] Devi: The Devi Bhagavatam Retold by Ramesh Menon [4] The Path of Practice by Swamini Mayatitananda (Maya Tiwari) Emphasis added [5] A Goddess Among Us by Swami Mangalananda [6] Kali The Black Goddess of Dakshineswar by E. Usha Harding

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