Friday, 24 February 2017

Why God Ain't a Female?

"If there were a god, it'd be a female and not this old, bearded, robe-wearing, white man, as in so many images. Why not a naked, black, full-breasted woman? That's a failure of the imagination."
 
-Urvashi Butalia, Director, Zubaan Books
 
God, though a concoction of human mind, is an outcome of male imagination. Man made religion and created god excluding woman's participation on both counts. If at all there's some power in the universe, why had it been anthropomorphised in the first place and after the anthropomorphism, why on earth was it made a male force? Isn't it a complete gender bias? Agreed, there're gods and goddesses in Hinduism, but they're actually demi-gods. So even in Hinduism, which's ostensibly free from gender-bias, the 'Adi-purusham' (the omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient god) is a male figure. 'Purusham' clearly indicates the gender of god being a male. Semitic faiths, with their inherent belief in (male) prophets like Moses (Judaism), Muhammad (Islam) and Jesus ( Christianity) further consolidated the idea of god being a man, because all the prophets were men and they had to have a predominantly male perspective on their god, the 'divine father.' Even an 'enlightened' soul like Buddha could not conceptualise god as a feminine force.

In fact, a few scriptures of Thervad Buddhism, practised in Sri Lanka, subtly suggest that he didn't even find Yashodhara worthy of knowing that her husband (Siddharth) left home in search of 'enlightenment'. Rahul Sankrityayan, the famous indologist, who embraced Buddhism, wrote a piece in Bangla in 1959 on this rather disparaging attitude of Buddha towards women. The piece was carried in 'Desh.' That's the reason, he didn't even tell Yashodhara that he was leaving home. It was Anand, his favourite student, who persuaded 'enlightened' Buddha to include women in the monastery and the religious order. Male chauvinism, right from the dawn of human civilization, hasn't allowed women to have their say in any sphere. Hasn't this ever struck you, why there's never been a female Dalai Lama and a woman teerthankar  in Jainism?  "


The most exclusive domain of patriarchal supremacy has been religion and theology with the help of languages, that were evolved by men," observed CG Jung. You invariably get to see, He andHim  for god, never She and Her. This has been going on and very few women in the history of mankind have questioned why god was never thought of as a woman. Religious imageries are reflexions and manifestations of human thinking and collective male mindset. This explains, why priesthood is steadfastly held by only men and there's still no entry of women in this field. Ghalib's contemporary Yas Yagana Changezi very aptly asked, " Mard ka khuda, mard ka hi mazhab / Is imtiyaaz ka kya hai sabab?'' (Man's god, man's religion / What's this disparity's reason?).        

                                                                     ----Sumit Paul

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