THE DIVINE FEMININE IN THE THEOLOGIES OF THE HINDU TRADITION: A STUDY IN THE THEOLOGY OF RELIGION

ALFONSO ANTHONY SOLIMENE, Fordham University

Abstract

In this study the theologial concept of the Hindu Divine Feminine is evaluated in the light of Christian faith. Toward this end, its nature and role are investigated in Part One, and the principles for its evaluation are formulated and applied in Part Two.^ An examination of the scriptures, tradition, and theologies of Hinduism shows that the Divine Feminine assumes three overlapping modes: Mother, Consort, and Mother and Consort. These correspond roughly with the (')Sakta-Tantra, Vaisnava, and (')Saiva groups of religions.^ As Mother of the universe and souls, the Divine Feminine is God's power (sakti) and becomes the material cause of creation. Being also his grace-power (anugraha-sakti), it is the redemptrix. As Consort, it is God's perfect image and beloved, the exemplar and mediatrix of souls. As Mother and Consort, the insights of both are united. The Divine Feminine, then, is a complex symbol: about God (his bi-personal oneness), about creation (the work of two personal principles acting as one), and about salvation (the co-principle of creation is the principle of salvation).^ To develop the criteria for evaluating the Divine Feminine, a specific Theology of Religion is offered. Based on Rahner, it is rooted in two central concepts of Christian faith--that God really wills the salvation of all men, and that there is no salvation apart from Christ. Reductively, they mean that human existence is Christ-oriented (whether men know it or not) and that God is unthematically present in man's psyche--which is to say that God has transcendentally revealed Himself prior to all articulated revelation. Extra-Christian revelation and religion (the OT included), then, are legitimate, but provisional, incomplete, and sometimes distorted objectifications of transcendental revelation, whose climax and truth is Christ.^ The evaluation of the Divine Feminine suggests that it is a case of provisional, incomplete, and somewhat aberrant thematization of transcendental revelation about God (His multiple oneness is trinitarian, not binatarian), about creation (there are three, not two, coprinciples, one of which, the Son, God's image and beloved, is creation's reason for being), and about salvation (the Son, coprinciple of creation, is principle of salvation).^

Subject Area

Theology

Recommended Citation

SOLIMENE, ALFONSO ANTHONY, "THE DIVINE FEMININE IN THE THEOLOGIES OF THE HINDU TRADITION: A STUDY IN THE THEOLOGY OF RELIGION" (1982). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8219260.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8219260

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