God As Mother

I have been reading God As Mother: A Feminine Theology in India, by Cheever Mackenzie Brown, and I am about half way through it. It is a fascinating study of the Brahmavaivarta Purana (BVP) in which I found many theological points I resonate with, so much so that I have now ordered the whole BVP.

Some of the important points Brown points out are:
•The extant BVP contains both ancient and more recent writings. It is quite different from an earlier version of the BVP. It seems to be a 15th-16th century work.
•“It seems closely related to both the Vallabha and Caitanya schools…Nimbarkite influence can hardly be ruled out in a work that attempts to embrace several points of view…there is not one theology in our Purana, but rather a number of theological strands: popular, Tantric, Saivite, Vaishnavite and others.” pp 37-38
•“Puranas were publicly sung or recited, and in the process underwent constant revision and recreation or elaboration.” p 10
•Radha is married to Krishna by Brahma and so their love is not illicit. Radha’s position is quite comparable to Krishna’s. “It has eroticized the Krishna legend, largely by the introduction of Radha, and goes far beyond the mystical erotic tendencies of the Bhagavat Purana.” p 36

These and many other points show that the BVP is a valuable work which provides an alternative vision of Radha Krishna from that of the more often relied upon Bhagavat Purana. When different visions of a myth which have developed over time exist and are recognized, they allow room for the creation of yet another vision adapted to current time and circumstance.

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