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"It is also important to note that all three of the terms that we will explore—prakrti, sakti, and maya—are grammatically feminine terms."

The Rise of the Goddess in the Hindu Tradition
"It is also important to note that all three of the terms that we will explore—prakrti, sakti, and maya—are grammatically feminine terms. One might argue, therefore, that the association of these principles with female gender rather than male gender is rooted in their linguistic valence. It is evident, however, that no matter what the origin of the association of these principles with femaleness, they are identified clearly in the Puranas as feminine not only in their grammatical values but in their very essences."

"The term prakrti has several meanings, including 'original or primary substance,' 'nature, character,' 'fundamental form, pattern, standard,' 'the original producer of the material world, Nature, ' and ' goddess, the personified will of the Supreme in the creation.' 1 Thomas Coburn observes that the best way to circumscribe the primary meanings of the term is to describe it as ' word that has been used to designate the material world in varying relationships to the divine.'2 Prakrti refers to an abstract, cosmic principle of materiality as well as manifest matter itself. The term sakti, from sak, 'to be able,' means 'power,' 'bility,' 'strength, ' 'energy,' and so forth.3 The term sakti often denotes a cosmic principle of energy that is described as the active dimension of Brahman, the Absolute. As a cosmic principle, sakti both causes creation to come into existence and sustains it.

The presentation of the Goddess as both prakrti and sakti implies that underlying the Brahmanical Hindu understanding of the feminine is some deeper connection between the two. There is in fact yet another principle, maya, that serves to link them. The term maya comes from ma, 'to measure,' and can denote Brahman's creative yet delusive power or the material form that results from the activation of such a power. As the first, maya is often equated with sakti; as the second, with prakrti. Like the other two, maya is often understood to be a cosmic feminine principle, and the use of the term tends to stress the illusory, impermanent, and/or changeable nature of creation in relation to the fully real, eternal, and unchanging nature of the Absolute.

Many scholars have noted the associations between some or all of these principles and female gender in Hindu thought in different contexts. Susan S. Wadley, for example, asserts that in the Hindu tradition 'The female is first of all sakti (energy/power), the energizing principle of the universe. The female is also prakrti (Nature)the undifferentiated Matter of the universe.' 4 Wadley touches upon the link between sakti/prakrti and female gender in mythico-religious and philosophical contexts, but her main concern is the way in which the association of these principles with femaleness is reflected on the social level in the expectations established for the behavior of women. David Kinsley briefly discusses these three principles in relation to the goddess Kali in particular and to the Hindu Great Goddess in general. P. G. Layle looks at the way in which these and other terms are used as epithets of the Goddess in the Devi-Bhagavata Purana, and Coburn does the same with respect to the DeviMahatmya.5 None of these scholars, however, has explored the origins and nature of this symbolic complex across a wide range of scriptures.

The development of these various principles in Brahmanical Hinduism and their association with female gender can be traced historically through the various layers of Brahmanical texts. In the earliest scriptures of the Brahmanical tradition, the Vedas (ca. 1500 B. C. E. -ca. 300 B. C. E. ), different goddesses are linked with materiality and/or power but not in a systematic or normative manner. Rather, there are several narrative and speculative strands that adumbrate such associations but do not articulate them clearly or directly. In the post-Vedic era up to the end of the classical period in India (ca. 300 B. C. E. -ca. sixth century C. E. ), we find an increasing preoccupation with systematic formulations of beliefs and increasingly standardized articulations of cosmic structures and processes as distinct philosophical schools emerge. In this period, a normative conception of the meaning of the term prakrti emerges within the context of Samkhya philosophy. An understanding of sakti as a cosmic power also begins to emerge, although the most elaborate formulation of this notion is fully articulated only in the ninth century and later, when Tantric literature begins to appear. 6 The concept of maya, too, begins to come into its own. These three principles are not identified with any particular goddess or goddesses during this period; in fact, they are not even necessarily conceived to be female in gender.

Toward the end of the classical period and in the postclassical and medieval periods (ca. fifth/sixth century C. E. sixteenth century C. E. ) different conceptual and mythological threads are woven together in the Puranas, and there emerges a notion of a Great Goddess, Devi (Goddess) or Mahadevi (Great Goddess), who is consistently identified as prakrti, sakti, and maya. The symbolic complex that is formulated in these texts participates in the medieval Brahmanical tendency to synthesize divergent elements and represents the confluence of various streams of thought already present in diverse conceptual and narrative environments. Vedic narrative themes in which different goddesses are associated with matter and energy come together with systematic formulations of the principles prakrti, sakti, and maya in later literature, and a new narrative emerges.

This study fills a gap in the available scholarly literature on the Goddess by exploring the rise of the Great Goddess historically in relation to these three cosmic principles and the ways in which the Goddess is formulated and elevated in Brahmanical Hindu discourse from Vedic times to the late Puranic period. There are five main purposes of this study: (1) to trace the origins and development within the Vedic-Brahmanical tradition of motifs that associate goddesses with materiality and power; (2) to examine the formulation of the principles prakrti, sakti, and maya individually; (3) to illuminate the development of the mutual association of all these elements; (4) to explore the resulting formulation of a Great Goddess characterized specifically as prakrti, sakti, and maya; and (5) to probe the cultural implications of this material with respect to gender issues.

We have referred to these principles as 'cosmic,' but it may not be clear what is meant by this term. Prakrti, sakti, and maya are often portrayed as cosmological principles, that is, structures inherent within creation. But they are also essentially cosmogonic, and they play key roles in the many accounts of creation found throughout the various scriptures constituting the Brahmanical Sanskrit canon. 7 One finds some of the richest descriptions of the nature and function of prakrti, sakti, and maya in the context of these creation accounts. It is in this context also that we often see the assimilation of these principles to one or more goddesses. Apart from the cosmogonic accounts, descriptions of cosmology that mention these principles usually offer rather thin descriptions of their nature and often appear to assume that their cosmogonic functions are understood. This study, then, will focus somewhat heavily on cosmogonies not by design but simply because much of the relevant data is found in the accounts of creation that appear throughout the various texts that constitute the Brahmanical canon.

Apart from questions of data, however, detailing the mechanisms of cosmogony and the resulting cosmology appears to be one of the central concerns of the tradition. Much attention is given to these topics, and one finds a great number and variety of cosmogonic hypotheses and narrative accounts across a broad range of different Brahmanical philosophical and mythological texts. One of the primary reasons for this emphasis on reflection about cosmic processes may be that cosmogony and cosmology in and of themselves are rich and meaningful categories. Cosmogonies describe fundamental categories and forces that are assumed to shape creation; these then help determine the essential nature of the universe, its structure, and the laws that govern it. In proposing to articulate truths about the world, descriptions of cosmogony and cosmology detail the confines within which it is assumed that humans as well as other kinds of beings must function. The centrality of our three principles and the Goddess with whom they are identified in descriptions of cosmogony and cosmology indicates their fundamental importance in Brahmanical Hindu conceptions about reality.

Since the symbolic complex that this study explores is largely related to issues of cosmogony and cosmology, we will focus only on those aspects and functions of the Great Goddess that are most clearly and directly related to such issues. Some may object that the present study does not pay enough attention to the Goddess's important soteriological functions. The Goddess's role as the dispeller of illusion who helps one achieve liberation (moksa) is indeed fundamental to her identity. Yet this role is essentially epistemological, for in such contexts the Goddess's salvific power is related to her identity with spiritual knowledge (vidya) or her ability to grant or lead one to such knowledge. The principles with which this study is concerned, on the other hand, are not primarily epistemological but are, generally speaking, ontological; that is, they are structures that are portrayed as structures of being, not knowing. This study will therefore address the soteriological functions of the Goddess only when they are relevant to the project at hand.

It is also important to note that all three of the terms that we will explore—prakrti, sakti, and maya—are grammatically feminine terms. One might argue, therefore, that the association of these principles with female gender rather than male gender is rooted in their linguistic valence. It is evident, however, that no matter what the origin of the association of these principles with femaleness, they are identified clearly in the Puranas as feminine not only in their grammatical values but in their very essences."

Tracy Pintchman, The Rise of the Goddess in the Hindu Tradition
State University of New York Press (1994) pp. 3-7

1. Sir Monier Monier-Williams, A Sanskrit-English Dictionary, rev. ed. (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1988), p. 654.
2. Thomas Coburn, Devi-Mahatmya: The Crystallization of the Goddess Tradition (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1984), p. 186.
3. Monier-Williams, Sanskrit-English Dictionary, p. 1044.
4. Susan S. Wadley," Women and the Hindu Tradition," in Women in India: Two Perspectives, edited by Doranne Jacobson and Susan S. Wadley (Columbia, Mo. : South Asia Books, 1977), p. 115.
5. See David Kinsley, The Sword and the Flute: Kali and Krsna; Dark Visions of the Terrible and the Sublime in Hindu Mythology (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1975), pp. 109-114, 133-139, and Hindu Goddesses: Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Tradition (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1986), pp. 133-137; P. G. Layle, Studies in Devi-Bhagavata (Bombay: Popular Prakashan, 1973), pp. 147-169; and Coburn, Devi-Mahatmya, pp. 123-127, 146-153, 180-186.
6. In dating Tantric literature from the ninth century, I am following Teun Goudriaan. Other scholars have argued for earlier dates. For a discussion of the dating of the Tantric literature and a summary of different scholars' views, see Sanjukta Gupta and Teun Goudriaan, Hindu Tantric and Sakta Literature, vol. 2, fasc. 2 of A History of Indian Literature (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrossowitz, 1981), pp. 19-21.
7. The term"cosmology"refers to reflection regarding the page_215 Page 216 general nature and structure of the created universe."Cosmogony," on the other hand, refers to accounts of the act of creation or birth (gonos) of the cosmos itself.

The fulfillment of the promised divine eschatological instruction
“The original meaning of the word ‘apocalypse’, derived from the Greek apokalypsis, is in fact not the cataclysmic end of the world, but an ‘unveiling’, or ‘revelation’, a means whereby one gains insight into the present.” (Kovacs, 2013, 2) An apocalypse (Greek: apokalypsis meaning “an uncovering”) is in religious contexts knowledge or revelation, a disclosure of something hidden, “a vision of heavenly secrets that can make sense of earthly realities.” (Ehrman 2014, 59)
Shri Mataji
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi (1923-2011) was Christian by birth, Hindu by marriage, and Paraclete by duty.
“The Paraclete will come (15:26; 16:7, 8, 13) as Jesus has come into the world (5:43; 16:28; 18:37)... The Paraclete will take the things of Christ (the things that are mine, ek tou emou) and declare them (16:14-15). Bishop Fison describes the humility of the Spirit, 'The true Holy Spirit of God does not advertise Herself: She effaces Herself and advertises Jesus.' ...
It is by the outgoing activity of the Spirit that the divine life communicates itself in and to the creation. The Spirit is God-in-relations. The Paraclete is the divine self-expression which will be and abide with you, and be in you (14:16-17). The Spirit's work is described in terms of utterance: teach you, didasko (14:26), remind you, hypomimnesko (14:26), testify, martyro (15:26), prove wrong, elencho (16:8), guide into truth, hodego (16:13), speak, laleo (16:13, twice), declare, anangello (16:13, 14, 15). The johannine terms describe verbal actions which intend a response in others who will receive (lambano), see (theoreo), or know (ginosko) the Spirit. Such speech-terms link the Spirit with the divine Word. The Spirit's initiatives imply God's personal engagement with humanity. The Spirit comes to be with others; the teaching Spirit implies a community of learners; forgetful persons need a prompter to remind them; one testifies expecting heed to be paid; one speaks and declares in order to be heard. The articulate Spirit is the correlative of the listening, Spirit-informed community.
The final Paraclete passage closes with a threefold repetition of the verb she will declare (anangello), 16:13-15. The Spirit will declare the things that are to come (v.13), and she will declare what is Christ's (vv. 14, 15). The things of Christ are a message that must be heralded...
The intention of the Spirit of truth is the restoration of an alienated, deceived humanity... The teaching role of the Paraclete tends to be remembered as a major emphasis of the Farewell Discourses, yet only 14:26 says She will teach you all things. (Teaching is, however, implied when 16:13-15 says that the Spirit will guide you into all truth, and will speak and declare.) Franz Mussner remarks that the word used in 14:26, didaskein, "means literally 'teach, instruct,' but in John it nearly always means to reveal.” (Stevick 2011, 292-7)
Stephen E. Witmer, Divine instruction in Early Christianity   
F. B. Meyer, Love to the Utmost Robert Kysar, John, the Maverick Gospel 
Danny Mahar, Aramaic Made EZ Lucy Reid, She Changes Everything
David Fleer, Preaching John's Gospel: The World It Imagines Berard L. Marthaler, The Creed: The Apostolic Faith in Contemporary Theology
George Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament In Spirit and Truth, Benny Thettayil
Jesus and His Own: A Commentary on John 13-17 Marianne Meye Thompson, The God of the Gospel of John
Eric Eve, The Jewish Context of Jesus' Miracles D. R. Sadananda, The Johannine Exegesis of God: an exploration into the Johannine understanding of God
Michael Welker, God the Spirit Georg Strecker, Theology of the New Testament
Tricia Gates Brown, Spirit in the writings of John Michael Welker, The work of the Spirit: pneumatology and Pentecostalism
Robert Kysar, Voyages with John: Charting the Fourth Gospel John F. Moloney, The Gospel of John
Harvey Cox, The Future of Faith Robert Kysar, John
Robert E. Picirilli, The Randall House Bible Commentary George Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament 
“The teaching of the Paraclete, as the continuation of Jesus' teaching, must also be understood as the fulfillment of the promise of eschatological divine instruction.”
Stephen E. Witmer, Divine instruction in Early Christianity

“Jesus therefore predicts that God will later send a human being to Earth to take up the role defined by John .i.e. to be a prophet who hears God's words and repeats his message to man.”
M. Bucaille, The Bible, the Qur'n, and Science

“And when Jesus foreannounced another Comforter, He must have intended a Person as distinct and helpful as He had been.”
F. B. Meyer, Love to the Utmost

“The Paraclete has a twofold function: to communicate Christ to believers and, to put the world on trial.”
Robert Kysar, John The Meverick Gospel

“But She—the Spirit, the Paraclete...—will teach you everything.”
Danny Mahar, Aramaic Made EZ)

“Grammatical nonsense but evidence of the theological desire to defeminize the Divine.”
Lucy Reid, She Changes Everything

“The functions of the Paraclete spelled out in verses 13-15... are all acts of open and bold speaking in the highest degree.”
David Fleer, Preaching John's Gospel

“The reaction of the world to the Paraclete will be much the same as the world's reaction was to Jesus.”
Berard L. Marthaler, The Creed: The Apostolic Faith in Contemporary Theology

Bultmann calls the “coming of the Redeemer an 'eschatological event,' 'the turning-point of the ages.”
G. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament

“The Paraclete equated with the Holy Spirit, is the only mediator of the word of the exalted Christ.”
Benny Thettayil, In Spirit and Truth

“The divine Paraclete, and no lessor agency, must show the world how wrong it was about him who was in the right.”
Daniel B. Stevick , Jesus and His Own: A Commentary on John 13-17

Stephen Smalley asserts that “The Spirit-Paraclete ... in John's Gospel is understood as personal, indeed, as a person.”
Marianne Thompson, The God of the Gospel of John

“The Messiah will come and the great age of salvation will dawn (for the pious).”
Eric Eve, The Jewish context of Jesus' Miracles

“The remembrance is to relive and re-enact the Christ event, to bring about new eschatological decision in time and space.”
Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, The Johannine Exegesis of God

“The Spirit acts in such an international situation as the revealer of 'judgment' on the powers that rule the world.”
Michael Welker, God the Spirit

The Paraclete's “Appearance means that sin, righteousness, and judgment will be revealed.”
Georg Strecker, Theology of the New Testament

“While the Spirit-Paraclete is the true broker, the brokers they rely on are impostors.”
T. G. Brown, Spirit in the writings of John

“The pneumatological activity ... of the Paraclete ... may most helpfully be considered in terms of the salvific working of the hidden Spirit.”
Michael Welker, The work of the Spirit

“The pneuma is the peculiar power by which the word becomes the words of eternal life.”
Robert Kysar, Voyages with John

“The gift of peace, therefore, is intimately associated with the gift of the Spirit-Paraclete.”
Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of John

“This utopian hope, even when modestly expressed, links Jesus and the prophets to a much wider history of human longing.”
Harvey Cox, The Future of Faith

“Because of the presence of the Paraclete in the life of the believer, the blessings of the end-times—the eschaton—are already present.”
Robert Kysar, John

“They are going, by the Holy Spirit's power, to be part of the greatest miracle of all, bringing men to salvation.”
R. Picirilli, The Randall House Bible Commentary

“The Kingdom of God stands as a comprehensive term for all that the messianic salvation included... is something to be sought here and now (Mt. 6:33) and to be received as children receive a gift (Mk. 10:15 = Lk. 18:16-17).”
G. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament

“But today is the day I declare that I am the one who has to save the humanity. I declare I am the one who is Adishakti, who is the Mother of all the Mothers, who is the Primordial Mother, the Shakti, the desire of God, who has incarnated on this Earth to give its meaning to itself; to this creation, to human beings and I am sure through My Love and patience and My powers I am going to achieve it.

I was the one who was born again and again. But now in my complete form and complete powers I have come on this Earth not only for salvation of human beings, not only for their emancipation, but for granting them the Kingdom of Heaven, the joy, the bliss that your Father wants to bestow upon you.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh
December 2, 1979—London, UK

“I am the one about which Christ has talked... I am the Holy Spirit who has incarnated on this Earth for your realization.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh
New York, USA—September 30, 1981

“Tell all the nations and tell all the people all over the Great Message that the Time of Resurrection is here. Now, at this time, and that you are capable of doing it.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh
Cowley Manor Seminar, UK—July 31, 1982

“This is the transformation that has worked, of which Christ has talked, Mohammed Sahib has talked, everybody has talked about this particular time when people will get transformed.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Chistmas Puja, Ganapatipule, India—25 December 1997

“The Resurrection of Christ has to now be collective Resurrection. This is what is Mahayoga. Has to be the collective Resurrection.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Easter Puja, London, UK—11 April 1982

“Today, Sahaja Yaga has reached the state of Mahayoga, which is en-masse evolution manifested through it. It is this day’s Yuga Dharma. It is the way the Last Judgement is taking place. Announce it to all the seekers of truth, to all the nations of the world, so that nobody misses the blessings of the divine to achieve their meaning, their absolute, their Spirit.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
MAHA AVATAR, ISSUE 1, JUL-SEP 1980 (Date and place unknown)

“The main thing that one has to understand is that the time has come for you to get all that is promised in the scriptures, not only in the Bible but all all the scriptures of the world. The time has come today that you have to become a Christian, a Brahmin, a Pir, through your Kundalini awakening only. There is no other way. And that your Last Judgment is also now.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi

“You see, the Holy Ghost is the Mother. When they say about the Holy Ghost, She is the Mother... Now, the principle of Mother is in every, every scripture — has to be there. Now, the Mother's character is that She is the one who is the Womb, She is the one who is the Mother Earth, and She is the one who nourishes you. She nourishes us. You know that. And this Feminine thing in every human being resides as this Kundalini.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Radio Interview Oct 01 1983—Santa Cruz, USA

“It is the Mother who can awaken the Kundalini, and that the Kundalini is your own Mother. She is the Holy Ghost within you, the Adi Shakti, and She Herself achieves your transformation. By any talk, by any rationality, by anything, it cannot be done.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi

“She is your pure Mother. She is the Mother who is individually with you. Forget your concepts, and forget your identifications. Please try to understand She is your Mother, waiting for ages to give you your real birth. She is the Holy Ghost within you. She has to give you your realization, and She's just waiting and waiting to do it.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Public Program Mar 22 1981—Sydney, Australia

“The Kundalini is your own mother; your individual mother. And She has tape-recorded all your past and your aspirations. Everything! And She rises because She wants to give you your second birth. But She is your individual mother. You don't share Her with anybody else. Yours is a different, somebody else's is different because the tape-recording is different. We say She is the reflection of the Adi Shakti who is called as Holy Ghost in the Bible.”

THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Press Conference July 08 1999—London, UK

The Great Goddess is both wholly transcendent and fully immanent: beyond space and time, she is yet embodied within all existent beings; without form as pure, infinite consciousness (cit) ... She is the universal, cosmic energy known as Sakti, and the psychophysical, guiding force designated as the Kundalini (Serpent Power) resident within each individual. She is eternal, without origin or birth, yet she is born in this world in age after age, to support those who seek her assistance. Precisely to provide comfort and guidance to her devotees, she presents herself in the Devi Gita to reveal the truths leading both to worldly happiness and to the supreme spiritual goals: dwelling in her Jeweled Island and mergence into her own perfect being.” (Brown, 1998, 2)

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