Let me begin by saying that, in reality, there is no religion called “Hinduism.” What we call Sanathana (ancient) Dharma (righteous conduct) is presently referred to as Hinduism. The word “Hindu” was coined by the Mlecchas (“Arabs/Egyptians”) to denote people residing on the eastern side of the river Sindhu (presently referred to as “Sind,” also called “Indus,” hence “Hindu”).
In Sanathana Dharma (“Hinduism”), the concept of the creation of the cosmos goes as follows: Originally the universe was in the shape of an egg, referred to as “Brahma Anda” (Brahma means “universe” and Anda means “egg”). Then the Goddess manifested herself. She is referred to as “Maatha” (“mother”) and “Adi Shakthi” (Adi means “first” and Shakthi means “energy” and “strength” put together). She created a trinity of masculine, named “Brahma,” “Vishnu” and “Maheshwara” (or “Shiva”).
“In Indian religion, the ‘first-manifest’ Goddess is called Maatha or ‘Mother’.”
Maatha entrusted each god of the trinity or trimurti (“three faces”) with an assignment. She entrusted Brahma with the work of creation. She entrusted Vishnu with the work of sustaining the creation. She entrusted the work of destruction of the creation when necessary to Maheshwara.
In order that their assignments are executed efficiently, Maatha created three Goddesses, named “Saraswathi,” “Lakshmi” and “Paarvathy” (also transliterated “Parvati“) She blessed Saraswathi with knowledge, learning and wisdom. She gave her to Brahma and told him, “Keep her on your side.” Brahma took Saraswathi and kept her beside him, as he went about creating the life in the universe.
Maatha blessed Lakshmi with wealth and gave her to Vishnu, telling him, “Keep her in your heart.” Vishnu took her, kept her in his heart, and went about the task of sustaining the life created by Brahma.
Maatha replicated herself in Paarvathy: That is, she blessed her with energy and strength. Maatha gave Paarvathy to Maheshwara and told him, “Make her part of yourself and give her half of your body to her.” Maheshwara took Paarvathy and gave half of his body to her. They both go about their task of destroying the life in the universe as and when required.
Can you see the thread?
First in the creation was the universe in the shape of an egg. Then came the energy. The universe exploded due to the energy. From the energy, the aspects of creation, sustenance and destruction were born.
“In Hinduism, the ‘first manifest’ was a female, and the supreme being is also feminine.”
According to Sanathana Dharma (“Hinduism”), energy, strength, wisdom, and wealth are feminine in form. A man would be full only when united with the feminine. A man would be strong, energetic, wise or wealthy directly in proportion with the woman he is with. In this same regard, the “first manifest” was also feminine, and the supreme being also is feminine.
(Note from Acharya S: This essay by Murali Chemuturi reminds me of the discussion concerning the earliest “face of God” as hypothesized in Southern India: To wit, the Divine Mother who parthenogenetically (“virginally”) gives birth to the universe. See my article “World’s oldest religion honors Mother Goddess and nature.” See also my review of Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity.)
New translations of the Ramayana by Dr. Murali Chemuturi!