For all of my Goddess friends... Read this brief exerpt and smile on the inside!
From Daughters of the Goddess
The Women Saints of India
By Linda Johnsen
“India has produced more saints per capita than any other culture in history, it seems,”
I mention to the pandit between bites of chapatti. “There are hundreds of them, Maharashi, Paramahansa Yogananda. Why aren’t there any Indian women saints?
Pandit Rajmani looks up in surprise. We are having dinner Indian style, seated crosslegged around a white tablecloth nearby spread over the living room floor. “There
Are thousands of lady saints in India. You think because there are no books about them, they do not exist.”
The pandit’s wife is watching us from the kitchen door, ready to descend with ladles full of curry should any empty space appear on our thin, stainless steel plates. Following Indian custom, she will not eat until her guests are finished. I want to respect the norms of her culture, but frankly this makes me extremely uncomfortable.
If you go to the Himalayas you will find many bhairavis, female yogis who live in the caves and forests doing penance. But most of the women saints remain with their families, purifying themselves by serving others. Every morning before their family awakens they sit before the altars in their homes, worshipping and praying. They don’t care for name and fame. Even the people in the next village do not know who they are. In your country you believe that no one can be a saint unless they give seminars.”
I have not touched my yogurt; I can’t figure out how to eat it with my fingers. I watch Rajmani stir a handful of fragrant basmati rice into his yogurt, and pop the dripping ball of grain into his mouth.
“ You have heard of Agastya?” he continues. I nod, recognizing the name of the legendary Vedic brahmarishi (God-realized seer). “He was a great sage, one of the greatest that has lived. And yet he felt that his realization was incomplete. He wanted to be initiated in Sri Vidya, the supreme secret knowledge of the Goddess. He had heard that there was a master of this tradition in a province far away, and one day he set out to find him. In those days travelling was done by foot, so it took many months to reach this man. But when he reached there the master told him, “Sorry, I cannot initiate you. Actually, you are already more advanced than I am. The only one qualified to teach you is my own guru, the founder of this lineage.”
“Agastya became very excited. ‘Where can I find this great guru?’ he asked. The master told him the name of the province where his guru lived. Agastya was shocked. ‘But that’s my province!’ he said. It made him ashamed to learn that such a great teacher was living nearby and he had never noticed. He had thousands of students himself; it never occurred to him that a teacher greater than himself might live in the same region.
“Then the master told him the name of the village where his guru lived. ‘But that’s my village!’ Agastya said. He was even more embarrassed. And then the master described the house where his guru lived. ‘But that’s my house!’ Agastya said. Agastya was a short man, but now he felt two inches tall. Finally the master told him the name of his guru, the fully realized supreme master Lopamudra. But that’s my WIFE!’ Agastya cried.” Rajmani laughs and winks at Mira, still standing in the doorway with her pot of curry. Her eyes twinkle…
For the LOVE... Is there anything else?