Encountering the (Divine) Mother in Hindu and Christian Hymns

in Religion and the Arts
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Abstract

In Divine Mother, Blessed Mother, the book from which the following excerpts are drawn, I ask about what Christians are to do with the invitation and the powers of sacred Hindu hymns addressed to the Divine Mother, Divine Consort, the Supreme Goddess, particularly in relation to the tradition of Mary available to Catholicism. The book's third chapter explores how texts from the Tantric tradition, such as the Saundarya Lahari, can assist in awakening our Catholic religious and inter-religious imaginations. In the passages excerpted below, I approach this question by setting my reflections on the Saundarya Lahari ("Flood of Bliss, Flood of Beauty") side-by-side with my reading of the Stabat Mater, a medieval hymn to Mary ("Flood of Sorrow, Flood of Love"). Since my reading of the Saundarya Lahari cannot be reproduced here in full, due to spatial restrictions, I refer the reader to the book itself for a more detailed exegesis of the Hindu hymn.

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