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Tantra, Gods and Reality

To: alt.magick.tantra,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.religion.tantra
From: Lucky Mojo Curio Company 
Subject: Re: Tantra, Gods and Reality (was Kali, Durga, Parvati ...)
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 1999 12:53:11 -0800

MeloraTika wrote:

>cat wrote:
> 
> >Ganesha is usually depicted as ungainly and stout.
> 
> > Are you
> >seriously claiming that Brahma "wants to" appear aged and Ganesha 
> >"wants to" appear obese and that they have instructed hagiographers 
> >to depict them thus?
> 
>     I don't think Ganesh was considered depicted as "ungainly" or 
> "obese." Those words are from modern biases in our current society.  
> Men and women have at different times and in different places been 
> preferred certain ways: larger, smaller, more muscular, etc.
>      I have rather found Ganesha to be a form of fullness, abundance, 
> revelry, and earthiness.  Which is reflected perfectly in the rounded 
> belly.  It bespeaks enjoyment and seems a bit more realistic for a 
> materialization in a humanoid form.  Not every god needs to have the 
> body of Brendan Frasier...errr, Adonis.

I agree that Ganesh exemplifies abundance, enjoyment, and earthiness. . 

You missed my point, though -- Tzimon was saying that FEMALE Hindu
goddeesses are slim and young in Indian culture because they "can be any
age they want to be." If that is the case, either we are left to believe
that 

     (a) Ganesh is wise enough to know that weight doesn't count, and
Brahma (the white-haired god) is wise enough to know that age doesn't
matter, but the goddesses are veritable youth-culture fashion slaves (!) 

or we can speculate that 

     (b) Tzimon is overlooking the very important fact that HUMAN BEINGS
create images of their deities and they choose the gods' and goddesses'
appearances according to the same cultural norms of beauty by which they
judge their own citizenry. Thus, in India, female youth is extolled --
so much so that until recently it was the norm for high-caste men to
marry little girls as young as 5 years old -- and it is a matter of
record that the youngest females giving birth among humans have been the
many Indian girls of 8 or 9 who have born children. Meanwhile, in Indian
culture, older women, especially widows, were left without homes. Many
of them must beg for a living because until it was outlawed, (only in
this century) widows expected to KILL themselves when their husbands
died. This was called committing Suti (or suttee, or sati -- spellings
vary) and was derived from the story of the goddess Sati who killed
herself when her husband, the god Siva, was insulted  by not being
invited to a party her father was holding for all the sentient beings in
the universe. 

I was arguing for point (b) -- that Hindu GODDESSES are most often young
and slender because that's the way members of Indian culture prefer
their WOMEN to look. 

To be fair, there is one widow-goddess in India. However, she is not an
"auspicious" or "popular" goddess like the cute pin-up queens such as
Lakshmi, Parvati, Durga, Sarasvati, Gauri, Sita, Rati, and the rest. She
is one of the group of 10 Mahavidyas -- mostly frightening or aversive
aspects of the goddess Parvati who are particularly important iin
tantrism. She is depicted as a sad-faced middle-aged woman drssed in
black and riding on a black bird.

To put the Hindu culture in perspective, compare and contrast the wide
variety of body types found in the terra cotta statues of goddesses from
neolithic Old Europe (the region along the Adriatic, up the Danube, and 
around the Mediterranean): There are the slender and graceful "bird
goddeses" of Cucutumi, the stout and muscular "seated goddesses" of
Malta, the thin and bony "stiff nude goddesses" of the Clyclades, the
softly rounded and bear-masked "nursing goddesses" of Yugoslavia, the
extremely obese "mother goddesses" of Willendorf, the wasp-waisted
"snake goddesses" of Crete...and on and on. To me this indicates that
the neolithic people who created these images of their deities were far
more open than we are (or than Hindu culture is) to the REALITY of
physical body-type variation in women and that they were willing to
apotheosize or celebrate virtually all of the differing passages in a
woman's life. 

To gender-invert your statement above, the neolithic people of Old
Europe realized that "not every goddess needs to have the body of Pamela
Lee Anderson ... errr, Aprodite." 

Why this knowledge has been lost to more literate and "advanced"
cultures such as those of India and the United States is beyond me. I
look around and i see "neolithic goddesses" in almost every woman on the
street, no matter what her age, body type, or race. For me, therefore,
the neolithic conception of divine female beauty most closely approaches
the kind of universality i expect in a "universal" religion. 

cat

catherine yronwode ------------------------  mailto:cat@luckymojo.com
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