Why and How to Worship God as the Divine Mother
When I first came to Ananda Sangha, the place where I learned everything I know about yoga and meditation, the class began with a chanting session. It was my very first day in the “Introduction to Meditation” course. When we started chanting, even though my mind was trying to make sense of what was happening, the words flowed naturally through my heart. With the melodious sound of the harmonium, we sang:
“Engrossed is the bee of my mind On the blue lotus feet of my Divine Mother. Engrossed is the bee of my mind On the blue lotus feet of my Divine Mother. Divine Mother, my Divine Mother! Divine Mother, my Divine Mother!”
Despite its beauty, the chant lead me into a state of confusion. “Divine Mother? Blue lotus feet? What does it mean?” I reckoned this confusion was not good before I was about to learn new meditation techniques.
Yet, one part of me accepted it with an open heart. It was as if I’d been doing this for years and years on end. Part of me felt that it was just a perfectly normal way to start a meditation class.
As I grew more on my spiritual path and journeyed into the vast world of yoga and meditation, I learned more about worshipping God as the Divine Mother. Hands down, it’s one of the most wonderful things I’ve come across in my life.
However, I soon realized that this concept is not as familiar to most people. Thus, this is an attempt to explain what Divine Mother means to everyone and how you too can deepen your attunement with God using Her as a channel.
Divine Mother Is Not a Separate Person
The crucial point is that the Divine Mother is not a separate person or reality — it’s the feminine aspect of God. Primordially, God is the impersonal, genderless Spirit that is beyond space-time.
Yet, he created this whole universe by assuming three aspects:
Father: God beyond creation (SAT in Hinduism); Cosmic Consciousness
Son: God in creation (TAT in Hinduism); Christ Consciousness
Holy Ghost: God as vibration, manifesting creation and nature (AUM in Hinduism)
The Holy Ghost is the mother aspect of God. Even in the Hebrew Bible, the gender of the Holy Spirit is female. By manifesting itself as the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost, the motionless Spirit now becomes involved in Creation. Thus, the one transcendental spirit becomes both the Father and the Mother.
How we want to approach God is entirely up to us. You can do so in the form of the Father, the Mother, or the impersonal Spirit (which is a rather difficult path to tread).
In Autobiography of a Yogi (AoY), Yogananda writes,
“A devout Christian sees Jesus; a Hindu beholds Krishna, or the Goddess Kali, or an expanding Light if his worship takes an impersonal turn…. In order to please His beloved devotee, the Lord takes any desired form. If the devotee worships through devotion, he sees God as the Divine Mother. To Jesus, the Father aspect of the Infinite One was appealing beyond other conceptions. The individuality with which the Creator has endowed each of His creatures makes every conceivable and inconceivable demand on the Lord’s versatility!”
Thus, we can choose to worship God as the cosmic Divine Mother who is ever-close, ever-loving, ever-compassionate, and ever-forgiving towards us.
She Is the Comforter
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever — John, 14:16
The Holy Ghost or the AUM vibration is an actual sound that we can hear in deep meditation. Jesus called it the Comforter because when we experience that vibration, we experience the power and presence of God.
It’s unlike anything dogmatic religious theories teach us — God is not someone out there waiting for us to get together on a Sunday morning. She is right inside us, just like a mother. All we have to do is tune into Her presence.
The key characteristic of this vibration is Love — much more than what we humans can imagine. It’s unconditional and eternal. Perhaps the closest thing we experience to this love is the love of a mother for a child.
The moment a baby doesn’t feel good, he cries and is often only comforted in the presence of his mother. Similarly, we all are children of the Divine Mother, and She’s the comforter. Many spiritual aspirants and saints confirm that in Her presence, they melt in the love — all worries float away.
Saints in all religions revere this Cosmic Vibration. Hazrat Inayat Khan writes in [The Music of Life](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/546658.The_Music_of_Life)
“The Qur’an refers to this sound in the words, ‘Be! And all became.’ Moses heard this very sound on Mount Sinai, when in communion with God; and the same word was audible to Christ when absorbed in his heavenly Father in the wilderness. Shiva heard AUM during his Samadhi in the Himalayas. This sound is the source of all revelation to the masters. It is because of this that they know and teach one and the same truth.”
The Heavenly Father and the Divine Mother
Jesus spoke of God as the Father. He gave people an image to wrap their minds around so they could love God personally.
In reality, God is SatChitAnanda. But it’s hard to develop devotion directly to that aspect of God. We need to direct our love towards an image until it becomes impersonal enough to break all identifications.
Jesus promised that their Father would love them and never judge them because he was a spirit of Love and not only of impersonal Law. So where does the image of Divine Mother come into the picture?
Personally, I’ve only found the concept of Divine Mother float amongst the disciples and students of Paramahansa Yogananda, but there are many great saints who taught of this vibration under a different name perchance.
Yogananda bought a new dispensation from God and he spoke of God as the Mother. He said, “Pray to God as Mother because the Mother is closer than the Father.” Even in our limited human experience, we find that the father is usually more intellectual and judging than the mother.
If one leaves his father’s business, for example, or disobeys him, he remains angry at the son for some time. He isn’t exactly all-accepting. But a mother will love her son even if he kills someone.
For a person who grew up in a Hindu family like me, it’s not unusual to worship the Mother aspect of God, in fact (as we’ll see below) there are different aspects of the Mother in Hinduism (and other religions as well).
Even Christians, who seem to worship the Father aspect also are devoted to Virgin Mary, in whom many devotees find a path to Jesus. Yogananda thus taught to worship God as the Divine Mother:
“I myself worship the Mother aspect [of God] especially. For the Mother is closer than the Father. The Father aspect of God represents that part which is aloof from His creation. The Mother is creation itself. Even among mankind, the human father is more disposed than the mother to judge their erring children. The mother always forgives.”
Faces of Divine Mother
Many meditators see Divine Mother in meditation. We hear and read about Her apparitions. But what does She look like? Nayaswami Jayadev beautifully describes the beautiful faces of Divine Mother.
Divine Mother is the AUM — the sacred vibration that manifests all creation. And thus, we can see Her everywhere for as AUM, She’s omnipresent. This is also why we refer to nature as “Mother Nature”.
As we said above, AUM is not just a distant reality. It’s an actual sound that we can hear when we dive deep into meditation. St. Francis of Assisi, on hearing that sound said, said that if the melody has lasted a moment longer, he would’ve melted in the love.
So it is, that the Divine Mother comes to us impersonally in the form of the AUM vibration. That said, there are many personal faces in every religion that represent the same qualities of the Divine Mother.
For Catholics, Mary is the eternal Mother of God. She also, in her compassionate love, is extremely versatile. In Guadalupe, Mexico, for example, She appeared to Juan Diego with a brown face.
In numerous pilgrimage sites, as in the Chartres Cathedral in France, She is now being worshipped in a black form, quite similar to Kali in India. In short, to please the praying heart, Divine Mother assumes countless forms: brown, black, white, Madonna of the rosary, Madonna of the snow, etc.
Yogananda, in AoY, recounts how he worshipped goddess Kali as the Divine Mother:
“Kali represents Mother Nature. She is AUM, the cosmic vibration. In AUM everything exists–all matter, all energy, and the thoughts of all conscious beings. Hence, Her garland of heads, to show that She is invisibly present in all minds.” Her tongue sticks out; she has four arms, all of which are symbols of nature. In an inner vision, She becomes extremely beautiful. After a meditation, Yogananda once exclaimed, “AUM is Divine Mother. AUM Kali! AUM Kali! AUM Kali! Listen: Oh, how beautiful it is! AUM Kali! AUM Kali! AUM Kali!”
Durga, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Paravati, Chamundi, are other aspects of the Divine Mother popular in Hindusim.
Tara, the mother of liberation, is an important goddess in Buddhism. She represents the virtues of success in work and achievements.
She is a meditation deity revered by practitioners of the Tibetan branch of Vajrayana Buddhism to develop certain inner qualities and to understand outer, inner, and secret teachings such as karuṇā (compassion), mettā (loving-kindness), and shunyata (emptiness).
Even though the Muslims worship one God — Allah, the feminine aspect is personified by Fatima, the venerated daughter of Mohammed.
Swami Kriyananda, in his autobiography, *The New Path, *recounts his Guru Yogananda’s passing on. On March 7, 1952, Yogananda was scheduled to attend a banquet at the Biltmore Hotel in honor of the Indian Ambassador, and speak afterward.
Kriyananda was busy recording his Guru’s words with his eyes fixed on his notebook. Suddenly a loud cry broke the beautiful atmosphere Yogananda had created with his words. His body touched the ground as he entered Mahasamadhi — a yogi’s willing and final departure from his body.
As they placed his body on the bed, one by one everyone went and kneeled beside him. Joseph (a disciple) went inside and cried, “Mother! Oh, Mother!” Indeed, the Master, though present in a male body, had been a mother to all of them.
So you see, this is the esoteric aspect and vibration of Divine Mother. Yet, if you can’t accept it, or find it ridiculous, I’ll advise you to let the idea ripen over time. When I was first introduced to this concept, I too had my apprehensions. But over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten my mind around it.
When you learn to live in that reality (something I’m working every day on), there’s a great comfort that comes to you — thus Jesus rightly called it the Comforter.