2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Social Science

Amma and Women: Reinterpreting the Hindu Mother Goddess
Michael J. Kremer
Dr. Lloyd Pflueger, Faculty Mentor

The relevance of feminism within the mother goddess archetype found in the Hindu tradition has recently become a major topic of concern for Western feminists as well as Hindu women. Women in both cultures have criticized as well as praised the Hindu mother goddess tradition and the Devi Mahatmya. Some women believe these symbols, texts, and ideas can be used to empower women while others believe they only further support the traditional patriarchal society in place. In this way, I see the Devi Mahatmya, shakti, and the mother goddess archetype as living texts and ideas which are constantly being reinterpreted by contemporaries. Amma, a popular Hindu saint, has supported empowerment of women through discourse and social action. I argue that Amma and her organization demonstrate a reinterpretation of the Devi Mahatmya, mother goddess symbol, and abstract notion of shakti, to empowering not only the mother goddess but women as well.

Keywords: Devi Mahatmya, Amma, Shakti, women, empowerment, goddess, living text, Hindu tradition

Topic(s):Philosophy & Religion

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 64-3
Location: OP 2111
Time: 3:15 pm

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