On the Nature of the Divine Mother or Holy Spirit?
The spiritual Phenomenon called the Divine Mother has always been
deeply interesting to spiritual seekers. Known to sages and saints
throughout history, it is the Divine Mother whom we in the West
address as the Holy Spirit and Mother Nature. In India, Hindus
address Her as Shakti, Maya, Kali, and Durga. She is also known as
Wisdom, Aum, Amen, the Word of God. By whatever name we refer to Her,
She is an actual Entity that exists and can be directly experienced.
In this paper, I present a number of conjectures about Her identity
based on the recorded experiences of these saints and sages.
The Mother’s nature is one of the unfathomable mysteries of life.
Nothing can be said about Her directly or positively. Almost
everything that can be said of Her must be couched in metaphors; She
is described in terms of waves, clouds, lights, fire, voices, music,
though She is none of these. I know of no other way to discuss Her
Her existence preceded language. Therefore it stands to reason that
She operates without recourse to or dependence on words. As I am led
to believe, no amount of intellectual understanding can substitute
for a direct and personal experience of Her.
The subject of the Mother’s identity can be very dense. Even arriving
at the generalities presented here required the matching of many
pieces of a large and complex spiritual puzzle. In the end, all of it
must remain guesswork on my part.
If we mean to follow the case as set out here, we will have to
suspend disbelief, at least until the full argument has been stated.
Every name used in this essay, unless otherwise stated, is a name by
which the Mother has been known to an enlightened master. Towards the
end of the essay, a list of these names is given. Because all refer
to the same Entity, I could have chosen any one of them as
definitive. In fact, I have chosen to follow Sri Ramakrishna’ s
practice and refer to this high power as the “Divine Mother.”
If, after finishing this article, you wish to pursue the subject
further, the best source to turn to is the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna,
the recorded conversations of the Mother’s greatest devotee. While
most sages knew a single facet of the Mother, the Avatar of
Dakshineswar scaled the lofty peaks of enlightenment by several
routes and displayed a sublime, multi-faceted knowledge of the Mother
which offers a standard of comparison for other accounts.
The Mother is neither a female nor a person
To arrive at a notion of the Mother, we must first put aside our
anthropocentric ways of thinking and realize that She is not a
person, and not a female either, but an agency, a power in the
universe which can only be understood as it is.
Avatars and enlightened saints and sages, who refer to the Holy
Father and Divine Mother, find themselves in a position of needing to
speak about entities which are one at the absolute level of existence
and apparently two at the relative. To differentiate between them,
they draw upon a metaphor of gender, as Kabir and Lao Tzu illustrate:
Kabir: “The formless Absolute is my Father, and God with form is my
Lao Tzu: “Nameless indeed is the source of creation [i.e., the
But things have a mother and she has a name.” (2)
Both Kabir and Lao Tzu are differentiating between an absolute realm
where name and form are not to be found and a relative plane where
they are. The former is designated the Father; the latter, the
However, down through the centuries, using the gender metaphor has
given rise to a difficulty. We ordinary people, lacking the knowledge
that accompanies enlightenment, project onto these two high powers
stereotypes and conclusions, likes and dislikes proper to actual
males and females and improper to these genderless sublime entities.
The Divine Mother becomes anthropomorphized into a woman, leading us
to distort Her true nature and enmeshing us in a web of imprisoning
Not a female, the Mother is nonetheless the necessary cause of
gender; not a male, the Father is its sufficient cause. Not a person
Herself, the Mother is the source of personhood; not a person
Himself, the Father is the source of existence itself.
If we truly wish to approach an understanding of Her Nature that may
help us realize Her, we must be vigilant against taking the gender
metaphor farther than its usefulness permits.
The term “Mother” refers to the relative plane of existence; the
term “Father” refers to the absolute
Understanding some basic distinctions about Her will require us to
think in vast terms. Sri Ramakrishna hinted at this to his
devotees: “The macrocosm and microcosm rest in the Mother’s womb. Now
do you see how vast She is?” (3)
One of Sri Ramakrishna’ s translators and biographers, Swami
Nikhilananda, explains: reality has two levels, one of which may be
called the absolute, acosmic, or transcendental level and the other
the relative, cosmic, or phenomenal. (4) It was these two levels of
Reality that saints and sages wished to speak about by using the
metaphor of a cosmic male and female.
According to Swami Nikhilananda, at the phenomenal level, one
perceives the universe of diversity and is aware of one’s own
individual personality or ego, whereas at the transcendental level,
differences merge into an inexplicable non-dual consciousness. Both
these levels of experience are real from their respective
standpoints, though what is perceived at one level may be negated at
the other. (5)
Thus, the Mother, coterminous with this relative plane of existence,
includes all things, all creation, all manifestation, all matter. The
Father, the source of creation, remains ever no-thing, un-created, un-
On the relative plane, the Divine Mother creates all there is,
preserves it for a time, and then dissolves it into the formless
According to the saints and sages we shall hear from, it is the
Mother who operates the world; that is, who creates, preserves, and
destroys everything there is.
As Swami Nikhilananda observes, She is “Procreatrix [cf. Prakriti],
Nature, the Destroyer, the Creator.” (6) His remarks echo ancient
texts. Of Her the Upanishads declared: “Thou art the creator; thou
art the destroyer by thy prowess; and thou art the protector.” (7) In
the Bhagavad-Gita, Sri Krishna addresses Her as Maya.
Maya makes all things: what moves, what is unmoving.
O son of Kunti, that is why the world spins,
Turning its wheel through birth and through destruction. (8)
This knowledge is not privy to Hindus alone. The avatar Zarathustra
taught that the Mother was in sole charge of “the management of the
bodily and spiritual worlds.” (9) Solomon also knew that
Wisdom “operates everything.” (10)
Swami Nikhilananda used various metaphors to suggest how She
She projects the world and again withdraws it. She spins it as the
spider spins its web. She is the Mother of the Universe, identical
with the Brahman of Vedanta, and with the Atman of Yoga. As eternal
Lawgiver, She makes and unmakes laws; it is by Her imperious will
that karma yields its fruit. She ensnares men with illusion and again
releases them from bondage with a look of Her benign eyes. She is the
Supreme Mistress of the cosmic play, and all objects, animate and
inanimate, dance by Her will. Even those who realize the Absolute in
nirvikalpa samadhi are under Her jurisdiction as long as they live on
the relative plane. (11)
She is metaphorically called the Voice in the Wilderness in the Bible
because no law, no principle of organization, no structure can apply
to the formless God. Only the Mother has form; as such She gives
Voice to God and cries in the “wilderness” that the Father is.
The Mother made the body
Having created the universe, the Divine Mother dwells within it, as
King Solomon, an enlightened devotee of the Mother, suggests: “Wisdom
[Solomon’s name for the Divine Mother] … penetrates and permeates
everything that is, every material thing.” (12) Sri Ramakrishna
agrees: “After the creation the Primal Power [the Mother] dwells in
the universe itself. She brings forth this phenomenal world and then
pervades it.” (13) The Avatar of Dakshineswar confided to his
devotees that “the Divine Mother revealed to me that it is She
Herself who has become man.” (14)
She made the five material bodies (or pancha kosas) by which we act
and know. Solomon cryptically comments that: “Wisdom hath builded her
house, she hath hewn her seven pillars.” (15) It is my impression
that the “seven pillars” are the seven chakras. St. Paul too was
referring to Her role as the body’s creator and in-dweller when he
said: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit
of God [the Mother] dwelleth in you?” (16) In Sri Krishna’s
words: “Every human being is essentially a soul [the Child of God or
Atman, one with the Father], covered with a veil of maya [the
Let us pause with this mention of the immortal soul. We now have
three eternal actors in our divine play. We have the Father without
form, the Mother with form, and the immortal soul, their offspring,
which the prophet Amos called “a firebrand plucked out of the
burning.” (19) What is the divine drama in which all three are
If we look at events from the standpoint of the immortal soul, then
it could be said, as I have done elsewhere, (18) that the purpose of
life is enlightenment. The purpose of life is that the undying soul
should travel out from God, into the world, where, after eons of
spiritual evolution and enlightenment, it will learn that it and God
are one. The purpose of life, viewed from the Creator’s standpoint,
is that God should meet God, and, through that meeting, enjoy His own
bliss. (20) The Father created the Mother, who went on to create
trillions of forms – prodigal children, embodied souls – which left
the Father and travelled in the realm of matter, until every form
comes to know itself as God.
These three actors could be called the Transcendental (the Holy
Father), the Phenomenal (the Divine Mother), and the Transcendental
in the Phenomenal (the immortal soul or Child of God). If we alter
their order, we have what Christians call the “Trinity” – the Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost. We explore the Father and Mother in this
article. The immortal soul is the unrealized “Son of God,” (21) the
treasure buried in a field, the Pearl of great price, the Prince of
peace, and the mustard seed that, upon realization, grows into a
great tree. (22) The point at which Christianity and Hinduism
intersect is right here, at exactly this same Trinity, which Hindus
know as Brahman, Atman, and Shakti.
The Divine Mother made the body and the Holy Father hid a fragment of
Himself within its heart (the Child of God), which the Mother has
raised and educated until the divine spark realizes its true
The Mother arises from the Father and merges in Him again.
The Mother arises from the Father and falls back into Him again. She
is like the clouds in the sky; the Father is the sky from which the
clouds emerge and into which they melt again. Sri Ramakrishna tried
to convey Their relationship by using the metaphor of impermanent
waves forming on the ocean of Satchidananda:
These waves [arise] from the Great Ocean and merge again into the
Great Ocean. From the Absolute to the Relative, and from the Relative
to the Absolute. (23)
It has been revealed to me that there exists an Ocean
of “Consciousness” without limit [i.e., the Father]. From it come all
things of the relative plane [i.e., the Mother], and in it they merge
Paramahansa Yogananda also used a wave metaphor to describe the
Mother: “The storm-roar [the Mother] of the sea [the Father] creates
the waves [materiality] – preserves them for some time as larger or
smaller waves — and then dissolves them.” (25)
While the great ocean of consciousness is formless, the waves, which
are a part of it, have form. Nonetheless waves and ocean are
one. “That which has form,” Sri Ramakrishna asserted, “again, is
without form. That which has attributes, again, has no attributes.”
(26) “Water is water whether it is calm or full of waves. The
Absolute alone is the Primordial Energy, which creates, preserves,
and destroys.” (27)
Sri Ramakrishna describes how the relative plane emerges from the
absolute and falls back into it again.
Brahman [the Father] may be compared to an infinite ocean, without
beginning or end. Just as, through intense cold, some portions of the
ocean freeze into ice and formless water appears to have form, so
through intense love of the devotee, Brahman appears to take on form
and personality. But the form melts away again as the Sun of
Knowledge rises. Then the universe [the Mother] also disappears, and
there is seen to be nothing but Brahman. (28)
She is energy, movement, vibration; the Father is an inactive,
According to Swami Nikhilananda, the essence of the Divine Mother is
shakti or energy; in fact, adyashakti or the primordial
energy. “Maya, the mighty weaver of [the mysterious garb of name and
form],” he said, “is none other than Kali, the Divine Mother, She is
the primordial Divine Energy, Sakti.” (29)
What is Shakti and what is Brahman? What is the Mother and what is
the Father? Sri Ramakrishna says the distinction between the two is
the same as distinction between the static and the dynamic:
When inactive He is called Brahman, the Purusha [i.e., the Supreme
Person]. He is called Sakti, or Prakriti [the Primordial Energy],
when engaged in creation, preservation, and destruction. These are
the two aspects of Reality: Purusha and Prakriti. He who is the
Purusha is also the Prakriti. (30)
He equates the static Father with the impersonal God, Nirguna Brahman
(or the Father without attributes), and the dynamic Mother with the
personal God, Saguna Brahman (the Father with attributes):
When the Godhead [the Father] is thought of as creating, preserving,
and destroyinq, It is known as the Personal God, Saguna Brahman, or
the Primal Energy, Adyasakti [the Mother]. Again, when It is thought
of as beyond the three gunas [the three qualities of the phenomenal
world – sattwa, rajas, and thamas, or balance, energy, and sloth],
then It is called the Attributeless Reality, Nirguna Brahman, beyond
speech and thought; this is the Supreme Brahman, Parabrahman. (31)
Sri Ramakrishna revealed the secret meaning behind the statues of
Shakti and Shiva that show Shiva lying recumbent while Shakti dances
on His body.
Kali stands on the bosom of Siva; Siva lies under Her feet like a
corpse; Kali looks at Siva. All this denotes the union of Purusha and
Prakriti. Purusha is inactive; therefore Siva lies on the ground like
a corpse. Prakriti performs all Her activities in conjunction with
Purusha. Thus She creates, preserves, and destroys. (32)
Thus the Father is “immoveable and actionless” (33), a profound
stillness in which we discover Sat-Chit-Ananda, or Being, Awareness,
and Bliss Absolute. The Mother is the movement in this stillness, the
voice in the silence, the primordial, active energy in the eternal
tranquillity of the Father. It is this relationship between the
dynamic and the static that Jesus hinted at when he called the
totality of God “a movement and a rest.” (34)
Bernadette Roberts stressed the Father’s stillness when she called
him “the ‘still-point’ at the center of being.” (35) Lao Tzu
emphasized it when he asserted that: “The Way [the Tao or the Father]
is a Void.” (36)
Empty of name and form, qualities and attributes, and
quintessentially tranquil and still, the Father is in the end
inconceivable. “What Brahman is cannot be described,” declared the
Godman of Dakshineswar. (37) Because ego is subdued for a time upon
attaining the Father, leaving no observer to observe, no thinker to
think, “no one has ever been able to say what Brahman is.” (38)
The essence of the Mother is a universal creative vibration,
symbolized by the sacred syllable ‘Aum,’ which calls matter into
being, sustains it for a while, and then releases it back into the
general dissolution of the Father
Hindus symbolize the primal power – the Mother as vibration or
energy – by the sacred syllable – or rather vibration – ‘Aum.’ Sri
Ramakrishna makes this connection when he equates Aum with the Divine
Mother, exclaiming: “O Mother! O Embodiment of `Om.'” (39)
Paramahansa Yogananda identifies “Aum,” or “Amen,” with the Holy
Spirit: Christians are familiar with the Amen from Revelation: “These
things saith the Amen [the Mother], the faithful and true witness,
the beginning of the creation of God.” (40)
The ancients, not versed in the polished language of modern times,
used “Holy Ghost” and “Word” for Intelligent Cosmic Vibration, which
is the first materialization of God the Father in matter [i.e., the
Mother]. The Hindus speak of this Holy Ghost as the “Aum.” (41)
Holy Ghost, Aum of the Hindus, the Mohammedan Amin, the Christian
Amen, Voice of Many Waters, Word, are the same thing. (42)
Yogananda links “Aum” and the “Holy Ghost” to the primordial energy:
“The Bible refers to Aum as the Holy Ghost or invisible life force
that divinely upholds creation. `What? Know ye not that your body is
the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which we have of God,
and ye are not your own?’ (I Corinthians 6:19.)” (43)
Now we know the Mother, Shakti, the Holy Ghost, as Aum. Aum creates,
preserves and destroys.
The cosmic sound of Aum creates all things as Nebulae, preserves them
in the forms of the present cosmos and worlds, and ultimately will
dissolve all things in the bosom-sea of God. (44)
Nature is an objectification of Aum, the Primal Sound or Vibratory
Sage Vasistha made the same point in the Yoga Vasistha. The form of
his teaching is similar to Sri Ramakrishna’ s, that waves or
vibrations arise out of the Ocean of Sathchidananda.
When the infinite vibrates, the worlds appear to emerge. When it does
not vibrate, the worlds appear to submerge, even as when a firebrand
is whirled fast a circle appears. And when it is held steady, the
circle vanishes. Vibrating or not vibrating, it is the same
everywhere at all times. (46)
Theosophist Annie Besant propagated this view as well:
The source from which a universe proceeds is a manifested Divine
Being, to whom in the modern form of the Ancient Wisdom the name of
Logos, or Word, has been given. The name is drawn from Greek
philosophy, but perfectly expresses the ancient idea, the Word which
emerges from the Silence, the Voice, the sound, by which the worlds
come into being. (47)
Have we any representations of the birth of the Mother? A recent
article in What is Enlightenment? magazine relates a vision of the
author, Maura O’Connor, a student of the Kabbalah. In it she was
taught by a rabbi, Moses de Leon, the following:
Emptiness, what the kabbalists call ayin, exists far beyond concepts
or language. It is like a pure ether that can never be grasped by the
mind. … Emptiness is the ultimate mystery, the secret of the Cause
of Causes, and it brought everything into being. …
I must tell you of the great rabbi, Isaac Luria. Luria was a
visionary like none other: he lived during the fifteenth century in
the holy town of Galilee…. He spent his life ceaselessly
contemplating the source of the universe, the primordial emptiness we
call ayin…. He recognized that in order for the latent divinity of
ayin to manifest its glorious potential for life, a cataclysmic
contraction had to take place. …
Luria understood that the absolute nature of this emptiness meant
that it was so pervasive, nothing else but it could exist. In order
for life to become manifest, a seismic contraction of emptiness in on
itself had to occur, creating a space in which divine emanation was
Following this immense contraction, God’s first cosmic act was the
emission of a single perfect ray of light. This beam pierced through
the void and then expanded in all directions. Think of it as God’s
first breath [“spirit” = “breath”] exhaling into the abyss after eons
of slumber and filling it with His divinity. This is how the universe
was born. (48)
This first perfect ray of Light is the Holy Spirit or Divine Mother.
Its expansion in all directions is the birth of the universe. What we
may be hearing is a vision of the creation of the universe — what
scientists call “the Big Bang.”
Ultimately, She is one with the Father
This Light, this vibration called “Aum,” the Divine Mother, is one
with the vibrationless Father. Patanjali states: “The Word which
expresses [God] is “Om” (49) “Oh, Lord, dweller within,” says
Shankara, ” “Om is your very self.” (50) Or the Upanishads: “Om is
Brahman, both the conditioned [Mother] and the unconditioned
[Father], the personal [Mother] and the impersonal [Father].” (51)
Krishna, speaking as God, declares:
I am …
Om in all the Vedas,
The word that is God. (52)
Three Hindu masters – Swami Yukestwar Giri, Swami Sivananda, and
Paramahansa Ramakrishna explain the relationship between Brahman and
Shakti, or Father and Mother, by using a fire metaphor.
Swami Yukteswar Giri, guru to Paramahansa Yogananda
[The] manifestation of the Word (becoming flesh, the external
material) created this visible world. So the Word, Amen, Aum [the
Mother], being the manifestation of the Eternal Nature of the
Almighty Father or His own Self, is inseparable from and nothing but
God Himself; as the burning power is inseparable from and nothing but
the fire itself. (53)
Just as one cannot separate heat from fire, so also one cannot
separate Sakti [Mother] from Sakta [Father]. Sakti and Sakta are one.
They are inseparable. (54)
Brahman and Sakti are identical. If you accept the one, you must
accept the other. It is like fire and its power to burn. If you see
the fire, you must recognize its power to burn also. … One cannot
think of the Absolute without the Relative, or the Relative without
the Absolute. (55)
“Sakti is Brahman itself,” concludes Swami Sivananda. (56) Sri
Ramaskrishna agrees: “Brahman is Sakti; Sakti is Brahman. They are
not two.” (57) “[Brahman and Sakti] are only two aspects, male and
female, of the same Reality, Existence-Knowledge -Bliss-Absolute. ”
When we speak to the Divine Mother, we are speaking to the Holy
Father. Sri Ramakrishna teaches: “It is Brahman whom I address as
Sakti or Kali.” (59)
She plays a central role in enlightenment
As we have seen, the Mother is portrayed as leading the Sons and
Daughters of God to a final meeting with the Father, in what is the
culminating event of many lives. As Jesus did, so have we all come
from the Father into the world. We are all prodigal children
wandering in the domain of matter (mater, Mother), until we realize
our true nature. Many metaphors are used to suggest how this
realization of true identity happens. The Mother is depicted as
withdrawing Her veil of phenomenal reality and revealing the Father.
She is portrayed as leading the Child of God to the Father.
Hindus, like Swami Sivananda, advise us to beseech the Mother’s help
in our attempts to reach the Father.
It behooves … the aspirant [to] approach the Mother first, so that
She may introduce Her spiritual child to the Father for its
illumination or Self-realization. ” (60)
The knowledge of God as the Child, the Mother, and the Father
constitutes three discrete levels of enlightenment. When we know this
Trinity in full, we have completed the human leg of our journey back
Let us examine the Mother as bringer of enlightenment and object of
There is a passage in Proverbs where the Mother (as “Wisdom”) is
represented as speaking directly. Her words are consistent with what
we’ve learned about Her so far:
Doth not wisdom cry…
The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works
I was set up from everlasting [that is, before time], from the
beginning, or ever the earth was.
When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no
fountains abounding with water.
Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they
that keep my ways. (61)
Why are they blessed who keep Her ways? Because God the Mother will
enlighten those who follow Her commands.
We see evidence of this throughout the Bible, as the Mother
enlightens those who “keep Her ways.” Hebrew kings and prophets were
baptized with the Holy Spirit . Here She brings enlightenment to the
disciples of Jesus upon the Day of Pentecost, after his death.
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all of one
accord in one place.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty
wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it
sat upon each of them.
And they were filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with
other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (62)
Sri Yukteswar explains the significance of this event. “Being
baptized in the sacred stream of Pranava (the Holy Aum vibration)”
the spiritual aspirant “comprehends the “Kingdom of God.” (63)
For many years I believed that Islam recognized only Allah, the
Father. But recently I have found a passage in the Koran which
demonstrates that its author acknowledges the Mother or Holy Spirit
as well. The passage concerns the Holy Spirit enlightening the worthy
in the penultimate experience of illumination, immediately prior to
God-Realization, symbolically preparing the Child of God for meeting
the Father. The Koran says:
Exalted and throned on high, [Allah] lets the Spirit descend at His
behest on those of His servants whom He chooses, that He may warn
them of the day when they shall meet Him. (64)
The Divine Mother or Holy Ghost enlightened the 12th-Century German
saint Hildegard of Bingen, who testified:
When I was forty-two years and seven months old, a burning light of
tremendous brightness coming from heaven poured into my entire mind.
Like a flame that does not burn but enkindles, it inflamed my entire
heart and my entire breast, just like the sun that warms an object
with its rays. (65)
Following this experience, Hildegard could not stop from singing the
praises of the Holy Spirit or Divine Mother:
Who is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is a Burning Spirit. It
kindles the hearts of humankind. Like tympanum and lyre it plays
them, gathering volumes in the temple of the soul. The Holy Spirit
resurrects and awakens everything that is. (66)
The Mother manifested to Sri Ramakrishna as clouds of consciousness
Suddenly I had the wonderful vision of the Mother and fell down
It was as if houses, doors, temples, and everything else vanished
from my sight, leaving no trace whatsoever. However far and in
whatever direction I looked I saw a continuous succession of
effulgent waves madly rushing at me from all sides, with great speed.
f was caught in the rush, and panting for breath I collapsed,
I did not know what happened then in the external world — how that
day and the next slipped away. But in my heart of hearts there was
flowing a current of intense bliss, never experienced before, and I
had the immediate knowledge of the liqht that was Mother. (69)
And She appeared to Ramakrishna’ s doubting non-dualistic guru
Totapuri, who until that moment refused to accept Her reality:
Suddenly, in one dazzling moment, [Totapuri, saw] on all sides the
presence of the Divine Mother. She is in everything; She is
everything. She is in the water; She is on land. She is the body. She
is the mind. She is pain; She is comfort. She is is life; She is
death. She is everything that one sees, hears, or imagines. She
turns “yea” into “nay”, and “nay” into “yea”. Without Her grace no
embodied being can go beyond Her realm. Man has no free will. He is
not even free to die. Yet, again, beyond the body and mind She
resides in Her Transcendental, Absolute aspect. She is the Brahman
that Totapuri had been worshipping all his life. (70)
She is the kundalini energy in the body and, when that energy rises
from the muladhara chakra to the sahasrara, Shakti is said to merge
with Shiva. This is another way in which the Mother can lead the
aspirant to the Father. Swami Sivananda says: Shakti “leads the
individual from Cakra to Cakra, from plane to plane and unifies him
with Lord Siva in the Sahasrara.” (71)
Sri Ramakrishna and his disciples used to sing a song whose aim was
to invoke the kundalini to rise, so that Shakti would meet Shiva at
Awake, Mother! Awake! How long Thou hast been asleep
In the lotus of the Muladhara!
Fulfil Thy secret function, Mother:
Rise to the thousand-petalled lotus within the head,
Where mighty Siva has His dwelling;
Swiftly pierce the six lotuses
And take away my grief, O Essence of Consciousness! (72)
As each chakra awakens under the influence of our growing
spirituality, the Mother is heard to “knock at the door,” in
Paramahansa Yogananda’s words.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock (sound through Om vibration):
If any man hear my voice (listen to Om), and open the door, I will
come in to him.” (Revelation 3:20). (73)
Many aspirants, prominent among them Franklin Merrell-Wolff and Da
Free John, were led to Brahmajnana (or God-realization attendant upon
the spiritual energy reaching the seventh chakra) by the kundalini.
Here is how Dr. Wolff described it:
The Current is clearly a subtle, fluid-like substance which brings
the sense of well-being already described. Along with It, a more than
earthly Joy suffuses the whole nature. To myself, I called It a
Nectar. Now, I recognize It under several names. It is …
the ‘Soma,’ the ‘Ambrosia of the Gods,’ the ‘Elixir of Life,’
the ‘Water of Life’ of Jesus, and the ‘Baptism of the Spirit’ of St.
Paul. It is more than related to Immortality; in fact it is Identical
with Immortality. (74)
Da Free John called it this “current of immortal joy.” (75) His
energetic experiences with the Divine Energy or the Shakti are
unusual. His process, which ended in God-realization, began one day
I could feel and hear little clicking pulses in the base of my head
and neck, indicating the characteristic Presence of the Mother
The Mother knocks at the door and Da Free John hears Her and invites
Her in. Meditating in a Vedanta Society temple in Hollywood, which he
found to be a very powerful centre of Shakti:
I felt the Shakti appear against my own form. She embraced me, and we
grasped one another in sexual union. We clasped one another in a fire
of cosmic desire, as if to give birth to the universes. Then I felt
the oneness of the Divine Energy and my own Being. There was no
separation at all. The one Being that was my own nature included the
reality that is all manifestation as a single cosmic unity and
The sensations of the embrace were overwhelmingly blissful. It
exceeded any kind of pleasure that a man could acquire. And soon I
ceased to feel myself as a dependent child of the Shakti. I accepted
her as my consort, my loved-one, and I held her forever to my heart.
This proved to be his penultimate experience before God-Realization,
the “harbinger” of the Father. He returned to the temple the next day
but nothing happened. He simply sat in the temple. In a moment, he
became aware of his true nature.
In an instant, I became profoundly and directly aware of what I am.
It was a tacit realization, a direct knowledge in consciousness
itself. It was consciousness itself without the addition of a
communication from any other source. I simply sat there and knew what
I am. I was being what I am. I am Reality, the Self, and Nature and
Support of all things and all beings. I am the One Being, known as
God, Brahman, Atman, the One Mind. (78)
Withdrawing Her veils, moving us onward by her evolutionary coaxings,
teaching us in Her school of matter, liberating us through the rising
of the kundalini – there are many ways that the Mother leads the
prodigal child to the Father.
No other spiritual agency has received the attention She has, under
such a variety of names, and yet has been so little understood
The Divine Mother has been known to sages throughout the centuries,
around the world, in religions from Advaita to Zarathustreanism. But
the myriad names She has been called and the lack of integrated
studies of Her have sometimes proved confusing.
I’d like to summarize the names I’ve found linked to the Mother. I’ve
given one or two references for each use, though many more could have
been given. This list has been derived by starting with undoubted
epithets like “Holy Spirit,” “Divine Mother,” and “Shakti,” and then
noting what other synonymous terms are used by the same enlightened
These are full or partial synonyms for the Divine Mother:
Adyasakti (or Ancient Power) (Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 218 and 460.)
Ahunavairya (Zarathustra in GZ, 8-9.)
Amen (Revelation 3:14; Shankara, CJD, I; Sri Yukteswar Giri, HS, 23
and 24; Paramahansa Yogananda in AY, 237n and 363n and SCC, 1, 17 and
SCC, 2, 22.)
Amin (Paramahansa Yogananda in, 237n.)
Aum or Om (UPAN 50 and 53; Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 299; Sri Yukteswar
Giri, HS, 24; Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 143-4, 237n, 363n, 484, and
487n and SCC, 1, 15-6 and 19 and SCC, 2, 22.)
Breath of God (Job 33:4; Solomon in APO, 191.)
Comforter or Comforter Spirit (Zarathustra in GZ, 217; Jesus in John
14:16 and 14:26 and 15:26; Hildegard of Bingen in IHB, 9; Paramahansa
Yogananda, AY, 144n and 363n and SCC, 1, 19.)
Cosmic Power or Energy (Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 116; Paramahansa
Yogananda, SCC, 2, 22; Swami Sivananda in KYW, 25.)
Cosmic Sound (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 237, SCC, 1, 15 and 17 and
SCC, 2, 22.)
Cosmic Vibration (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 15-6, 17, and 56 and
SCC, 2, 22.)
Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer (UPAN, 37; Zarathustra, GZ, 187,
227 and 240; Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 32, 107, 135, and 653;
Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 15-6.)
Divine Mother (Lao Tzu in WOL, 53, 72, and 105; Paramahansa
Ramakrishna in GSR, 32, 107, 136, 200, and 299; Swami Sivananda
Sarasvati in KYW, 25; Nikhilananda in VIV, 24; Omraam Mikhael
Aivanhov, LAS, 1, 15, 21, 22, and 28; Da Free John in KOL, 132; etc.)
Divine Power (Sister Vandana, NJ, 190-1.)
Durga (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 216.)
Embodiment of Om (Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 299.)
The Fashioner of all things (Solomon in APO, 191.)
Holy Ghost (Jesus in Matthew 12: 31-2; John 14:26 and 20:21-2;
Paramhansa Yogananda, AY, 143-4, 363n, and 487n and SCC, 1, 15-6 and
19 and SCC, 2, 22.)
Holy Spirit (Solomon in APO, 195; Zarathustra, 217 and 227; Luke
Holy Vibration (Paramahansa Yogananda in SCC, 1, 56.)
Hum (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 237n.)
Kali (Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 107 and 634;
Nikhilananda, “Introduction, ” to GSR, 9-10;
Nikhilananda, “Vivekananda” in VIV, 24; Paramahansa Yogananda, AY,
10, 40n, and 41.)
Kundalini (Swami Sivananda in KYW, 25 and 30; GSR, 182.)
Logos (Annie Besant, AW, 44; Vivekananda in Nikhilananda, VIV, 422.)
Matrix (Lao Tzu in WOL, 105; Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 3.)
Maya (Sri Krishna in BG, 80; Shankara in CJD, 49; Sri Aurobindo, UP,
27; Nikhilananda, HIN, 42-3 and 45; Swami Sivananda in KYW, 26.)
Mother – See Divine Mother.
Mother Nature, Mother of nature (Swami Sivananda in KYW, 26;
Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 10 and 41; Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov, CML,
19; Nikhilananda in GSR, 9-10.)
Mother of the universe (Nikhilananda, “Vivekananda” in VIV, 24.)
Natural Law (Solomon in Proverbs 1:8-9, 3:1, and 6:20; Jesus in
Matthew 12:31-2; St. Paul in Romans 8:2; Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov,
CML, 18-9; Krishnamurti, AFM, 25.)
Nature (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY,40n and 41 and SCC, 1, 33; John
Redtail Freesoul, BI, 11-2.)
Noise of many waters (David in Psalm 93:3-4; Ezekiel 43:1-2.)
Personal God or Saguna Brahman (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 32,
149, 218 and 277.)
Power of God, Power of the Lord (Solomon in APO, 191; Swami Sivananda
in KYW, 25.)
Prakriti/Procreatri x (Sri Krishna in BG, 103, 104, and 106; Sri
Aurobindo, UP, 27; Ramakrishnananda, GDI, 1 and 8: Swami Sivananda in
KYW, 26; Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 32 and123;
Nikhilananda, “Introduction” to GSR, 9-10; Paramahansa Yogananda,
SCC, 1, 33.)
Prana (UPAN , 35-8; Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 484; Swami Sivananda
in KYW, 26.)
Primal Energy, Primal Power (Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 116 and 135;
Swami Sivananda in KYW, 25.)
Primordial/Primal Energy (Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 107 and 242.)
Relative Plane (Sri Ramakrishna, GSR, 653.)
Saguna Brahman See Personal God or Saguna Brahman.
Shakti Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 116; Swami Sivananda in KYW, 25-6.)
Sound-Brahman, Shabda Brahman, or Pranava (PR in GSR, 263; Swami
Vivekananda in Nikhilananda, VIV, 422; Sister Vandana, NJ, 190-1.)
Sound of many waters (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 267-8.)
Sphota (Swami Vivekananda in Nikhilananda, VIV, 422; Usha, RVW, 74.)
Spirit of the Bridegroom (St. John of the Cross, CWSJC, 580.)
Spirit of God, Spirit of the Lord (Genesis 1:2; Exodus 35:31; Isaiah
11:2; Ibn Arabi, KK, 15-6; Paramahansa Yogananda in AY, 142 and 143.)
Spirit of Truth (Jesus in John 14:17.)
Spirit of Wisdom (Zarathushtra, GZ, 13 and 187; Exodus 28:3 and
35:31; Deuteronomy 34:9; Isaiah 11:2; St. Paul in Ephesians 1:15-7.)
Spouse (St. John of the Cross in CWSJC, 75.)
Syama (Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 271.)
Voice in the Silence (Annie Besant, AW, 44; Mabel Collins, LOP, 22.)
Voice of many waters (St. John in Revelation 14:2; Paramahansa
Yogananda in AY, 17n and SCC, 1, 19.)
Voice of one that crieth in the wilderness (Isaiah 40:3.)
Wisdom or Sophia (Zarathustra, GZ, 187 and 227; Solomon in Proverbs
3:19 and 9:1 and APO, 191 and 195; Isaiah 11:2; .Jesus in Matthew
11:19; John of the Cross in CWSJC, 75.)
Witness (St. John in Revelation 3:14 and Paramahansa Yogananda in AY,
143-4 and 237 and SCC, 2, 22.)
Womb of God, Womb of Brahman, womb of wombs; Brahmayoni (Sri Krishna
in BG, 106; Sri Ramakrishna, GSR, 870; Yogeshananda in VSR, 41; Sri
Aurobindo, SOY, 3.)
Word (Hermes, DPH, 8 and 17; Zarathustra in GZ, 8-9; John 1:1 and
1:3; Annie Besant, AW, 44; Sri Yukteswar Giri, HS, 23 and 24;
Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 143-4, 237n, and 363n, SCC, 1, 19 and SCC,
The Mother will always be incomprehensible and Her significance will
One day we shall be able to say with Solomon: “Happy is the man that
findeth wisdom… She is more precious than rubies; and all things
thou canst desire are not to be compared with her.” (79) But though
we merge with Her and reap all the rewards of doings so, we can never
know Her as long as we are human.
Only those who have achieved what Jesus called everlasting life, the
immortality that the experience of vijnana, (80) or stable and
permanent realization, confers reach a high enough vantage point even
to begin to inquire into, let alone understand, Her mystery. Even
then, they can only marvel and say, with Shankara:
[The Mother] is neither being nor non-being, nor a mixture of both.
She is neither divided nor undivided, nor a mixture of both. She is
neither an indivisible whole, nor composed of parts, nor a mixture of
both. She is most strange. Her nature is inexplicable. (81)
On the Nature of the Divine Mother or Holy Spirit?
For full details on these sources, see Bibliography
(1) GSR, 150.
(2) WOL, 53.
(3) GSR, 106.
(4) HIN, 29; VIV, 24.
(5) HIN, 29.
(6) GSR, 9-10.
(7) UPAN, 37.
(8) BG, 80.
(9) GZ, 187.
(10) APO, 192.
(11) GSR, 30.
(12) APO, 191.
(13) GSR, 135.
(14) Ibid., 231.
(15) Proverbs 9:1.
(16) Corinthians 3:16.
(17) BG, 103.
(18) See “The Purpose of Life is Enlightenment” at
http://www.angelfir e.com/space2/ light11/purpose. html.
(19) Amos 4:1.
(20) See “The Divine Plan” at
http://www.angelfir e.com/space2/ light11/divine1. html and “Is There a
Plan to Life?” at http://www.angelfir e.com/space2/ light11/plan. html.
(21) “If you will know yourselves, then you will … know that you
are the sons of the Living Father.” That is, if you were realized,
you would know that you are Sons of God. (Jesus in GATT, 3.)
(22) See “Christianity and Hinduism are One” at
http://www.angelfir e.com/space2/ light11/hinduism 1.html.
(23) GSR, 353.
(24) Ibid., 359.
(25) SCC, 1, 16.
(26) GSR, 271.
(27) Loc. Cit.
(28) Sri Ramakrishna cited in Nikhilananda, “Shankara’s Philosophy of
Non-Dualism, ” CJD, 18-9; cf. GSR, 191.
(29) GSR, 30.
(30) Ibid., 321
(31) Ibid., 218.
(32) Ibid., 271.
(33) Ibid., 104
(34) GATT, 29.
(35) ENS, I0.
(36) WOL, 56.
(37) GSR, 102.
(38) Loc. Cit.
(39) GSR, 299.
(40) Rev. 3:14.
(41) SCC, 1, 16.
(42) Ibid., 19; HS, 24.
(43) AY, 363.
(44) SCC, 1, 16.
(45) AY, 155-6.
(46) CYV, 45.
(47) AW, 44.
(48) Maura O’Connor, “A People’s Revolution of Enlightenment:
Kabbalah,” WIE, Issue 27, Nov.-Feb. 2004, 86-7.
(49) HTKG, 39.
(50) CJD, i.
(51) UPAN, 40.
(52) BG, 71.
(53) HS, 24.
(54) KYW, 25.
(55) GSR, 134.
(56) KYW, 26.
(57) GSR, 271.
(58) Loc. cit.
(59) Ibid., 734.
(60) KYW, 25.
(61) Proverbs 8:1, 22-4, and 32.
(62) Acts 2:1-4.
(63) HS, 15.
(64) KOR, 160.
(65) IHB, 9.
(66) Loc. cit.
(67) VSR, 13.
(68) Loc. cit.
(69) Loc. cit.
(70) GSR, 31.
(71) KYW, 26.
(72) GSR, 242.
(73) Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons, Number 29, 3.
(74) PTS, 31.
(75) KOL, 157
(76) Ibid., 132.
(77) Ibid., 134.
(78) Ibid., 134-5.
(79) Proverbs 3:13 and 15.
(80) Sri Ramakrishna: “There is a stage beyond even Brahmajnana,
After jnana comes vijnana.” ( GSR, 288.) Ramana Maharshi calls it
turiyatita and sahaja [permanent] nirvikalpa samadhi:
Sahaja [samadhi] is also Nirvikalpa. You are probably meaning
[Kevalya] Nirvikalpa, which is temporary, while the Samadhi lasts.
The Sahaja Nirvikalpa is permanent and in it lies liberation from
rebirths. (GR, 88.)
[The] Heart is the seat of Jnanam as well as of the granthi (knot of
ignorance). It is represented in the physical body by a hole smaller
than the smallest pin-point, which is always shut. When the mind
drops down in Kevalya nirvikalpa [samadhi], it opens but shuts again
after it. When sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi is attained it opens for
good. (GR, 96.)
This is the final goal. (SE, answer to question 40.)
This is the “final goal” in the sense that it frees an individual
from the need to reincarnate in physical matter again, but it is not
the final goal in terms of subsequent enlightenments.
See “Enlightenment is Virtually Endless,” at
http://www.angelfir e.com/space2/ light11/endless. html.
(81) CJD, 49.
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(Abridged) New York: Ramakrishna- Vivekananda Center, 1980; c1942.
GVP: Redfield, L.N., trans. Golden Verses of Pythagoras.
GZ: Greenlees, Duncan, trans. The Gospel of Zarathushtra. Adyar:
Theosophical Publishing House, 1978.
HA Thomas Byrom, trans. Heart of Awareness. A Translation of the
Ashtavakra Gita. Boston and Shaftesbury: Shambala, 1990.
HF: Gregory of Tours, The History of the Franks. Harmondsworth:
HHC: Tzu, Lao. Hua Hu Ching. The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu. trans.
Brian Walker. San Francisco: Harper, 1992.
HIN: Nikhilananda, Swami, Hinduism. lts Meaning for the Liberation of
the Spirit. Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1968.
HOA: Byrom, Thomas, trans., The Heart of Awareness. A Translation of
the Ashtavakra Gita. Boston and Shaftesbury: Shambhala, 1990.
HRG: Da Free John, ed. The Heart of the Ribhu Gita. Los Angeles: Dawn
Horse Press, 1973.
HS: Yukteswar Giri, Swami Sri, The Holy Science. Los Angeles: Self-
Realization Fellowship, 1984.
HSC: White, John, ed., The Highest State of Consciousness. Garden
City: Doubleday, 1972.
HSU: Tobin, Frank, trans. Henry Suso. The Exemplar, with Two German
Sermons. New York and Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1989.
HTKG: Prabhavananda, Swami and Christopher Isherwood, trans., How to
Know God. The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali. New York, etc.: New
American Library, 1969; c1953
IA: Adyashanti, The Impact of Awkenening. Los Gatos: Open Gate
IAT: Frydman, Maurice, trans., I am That. Talks with Sri Nisargadatta
Maharaj. ed. S.S. Dikshit. Durham, NC: Acorn Press, 1973.
IATG: Rajneesh, Bhagwan Shree. I am the Gate. The Meaning of
Initiation and Discipleship. New York, etc.: Harper Colophon, 1977;
IC: Teresa, St., of Avila. Interior Castle. trans. E. Allison Peers.
Garden City: Image Books, 1961.
IHB: Fox, Matthew, Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen. Santa Fe:
ILWL: Fremantle, Anne and Christopher. In Love with Love. 100 of the
Greatest Mystical Poems. New York, etc.: Paulist Press, 1978.
IWL: Collins, Mabel, The Idyll of the White Lotus. Wheaton, IL: Re
Quest, 1974; c1952.
JI: Castaneda, Carlos, Journey to Ixtlan. The Lessons of Don Juan.
New York: Pocket Books, 1972.
JGE: Ramana, Sri, Maharshi, Jewel Garland of Enquiry (Vichara Mani
Malai). Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam, 1996; c1977.
JR: Wiseman, James A., John Ruusbroec. The Spiritual Espousals and
Other Works. New York, etc.: Paulist Press, 1985.
KK: Ibn Arabi, Muhyidden, Kernel of the Kernel. trans. Ismail Hakki
Bursevi. Sherborne: Beshara, n.d..
KOL: Free John, Da, The Knee of Listening. Original Edition.
Clearlake, CA; Dawn Horse Press, 1984; c1973.
KUN: Mookerjee, Ajit. Kundalini. The Arousal of the Inner Energy.
Rochester, VT: Destiny Books, 1989.
KYA: Lutyens, Mary. Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening. New York:
KYF: Lutyens, Mary, Krishnamurti: The Years of Fulfillment. New York:
KYW: Radha, Swami Sivananda. Kundalini Yoga for the West. Spokane:
Timeless Books, 1978.
LA: Philostratus, Life of Apollonius. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books,
LAD: Leadbeater, C.W. The Life After Death and How Theosophy Unveils
It. Adyar: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973; c1912.
LAS: Aivanhov, Omraam Mikhael, Love and Sexuality, Part 1. Frejus
Cedex: Editions Prosveta, 1987.
LBN: …The Living Book of Nature. Frejus: Editions Prosveta, 1984.
LCL: Watson, Burton, trans., The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-Chi
[Rinzai]. A Translation of the Lin-Chi Lu. Boston and London:
LDJB: Hartman, Franz, The Life and Doctrines of Jacob Boehme. London:
Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1891.
LE: Abbot, Justin E., The Life of Eknath. Delhi, etc.: 1983; c1927.
LF: Aivanhov, Omraam Mikhael, Life Force. Freju: Editions Prosveta,
LM: Satyeswarananda Giri, Swami, Lahiri Mahasay. The Father of Kriya
Yoga. San Diego: Sanskrit Classics, 1983.
LMGE: Golas, Thaddeus, The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment. Palo
Alto: 1975; c1971.
LOP: Collins, Mabel, channel. Light on the Path and an Essay on
Karma. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1974. I am under
the impression that the ascended master Collins channelled was the
Master Hilarion. Cf: “Light on the Path was written in 1884. On 8th
November 1884, Mabel met Blavatsky shortly before she returned to
India. Blavatsky herself was late to say that they met on two or
three occasions during the autumn of 1884, always in the presence of
others. Theosophists were thick on the ground in London during that
autumn, and great numbers of them enthusiastically met Blavatsky. It
would have been strange if Mabel hadn’t been amongst them. “Mabel
called on Blavatsky and showed her a couple of pages of the working
manuscript of Light. As far as Blavatsky was concerned the Master
Hilarion had again appeared to Mabel Collins in 1884 and had dictated
to her the conclusion of The Idyll of the White Lotus and the whole
of Light on the Path. Until now Blavatsky hadn’t taken Mabel any more
seriously than any of the other theosophists. But Mabel’s work was
gaining a lot of attention. Blavatsky was quick to ensure that credit
was given to the Masters before Mabel could attribute it
elsewhere. “It was to immediately become a theosophical classic.
Before being published however, Light was read in draft form to
Sinnett’s group. So although Blavatsky’s claims that she did not see
Light until some time after it was published bear a ring of truth,
the material contained within Light was available and talked about
some months before its publication. Untangling the story of how Light
was written is rather like trying to knit with spaghetti.” (Kim
Farnell, The Many Lives of Mabel Collins,
http://www.katinkah esselink. net/his/farnell3 .html, downloaded 29 June
LOVE: “Mary,” Love. Marina del Rey: De Vorss, n.d.
LOY: Aurobindo, Sri, Letters on Yoga. Three vols. Pondicherry: Sri
Aurobindo Ashram, 1971.
LSR: Anon., Life of Sri Ramakrishna. Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, 1977;
LSTA: Teresa, St., of Avila. The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila.
trans. J.M. Cohen. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1957.
LTSAM: Alexander Lipski, Life and Teaching of Sri Anandamayi Ma,
http://www.cosmicha rmony.com/ Anandamayi Ma:The Bliss Permeated
LWB: Godman, David. Living By the Words of Bhagavan. (Tiruvannamalai:
Sri Annamali Swami Ashram Trust, 1995.
MA: Chaitanya, Brahmachari Amritatma, Mata Amritanandamayi. Life and
Experiences of Devotees. Vallickavu: Mata Amritanandamayi, 1988.
MAS: Douno, Beinsa, The Master Speaks. The Words of the Great
Universal Brotherhood. LA: Sunrise Press, 1976.
ME: Blakney, R.B., trans., Meister Eckhart. A Modern Translation. New
York, etc.: Harper & Row, 1941.
MED: Aurelius, Marcus, Meditations. trans Maxwell Staniforth.
Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972; c1964.
MEQ: Yogananda, Paramanhansa. Man’s Eternal Quest and Other Talks.
Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1976.
MFAS: Bolt, Robert, A Man for all Seasons in Tom Maschler, ed. New
English Dramatists 6. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1963.
MG: Ramana, Sri, Maharshi. Maharshi’s Gospel. Books I and II. Being
Answers of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi to Questions Put to Him by
Devotees. Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam, 1979; c1939.
MJN: Doyle, Brendan, ed., Meditations with Julian of Norwich. Santa
Fe: Bear, 1983.
MLSR: Nagamma, Suri. My Life at Sri Ramanasramam.
MM: Cerminara, Gina, Many Mansions. New York: New American Library,
MOS: Da Free John, The Method of the Siddhas. Middletown, CA: Dawn
Horse Press, 1978.
MS: Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. The Mustard Seed. Discourses on the
Sayings of Jesus taken from the Gospel According to Thomas. New York,
etc.: Harper & Row, 1975.
MSS: Adyashanti, My Secret is Silence. Poetry and Sayings of
Adyashanti. Los Gatos: Open Gate Publishing, 2003.
MT: Pseudo-Dionysius, Theologica Mystica, contained in Anon., The
Cloud of Unknowing trans. Clifton Wolters. Harmondsworth: Penguin
Books, 1978; c1961.
MTHR: Mother Meera
NAG: Chakravarty, Sarat Chandra, Nagmahasaya. A Saintly Householder
Disciplie of Sri Ramakrishna. Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1977.
NAM: Singh, Kirpal. Naam or Word. Delhi: Ruhani Satsang, 1972.
NJ: Vandana, Sister. Nama Japa (The Prayer of the Name). Bombay:
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1984.
NP: Nirmala, Nothing Personal: Seeing Beyond the Illusion of a
NRAT: Tenko-San, Ittoen, A New Road to Ancient Truth. trans. Marie
Beuseville Byles. London: Allen and Unwin, 1969.
OE: Thompson, Berthold Madhukar, The Odyssey of Enlightenment. San
Rafael: Wisdom Editions, 2003.
PCWO: Merell-Wolff, Franklin, Philosophy of Consciousness without an
Object. Reflections on the Nature of Transcendental Consciousness.
New York: Julian Press, 1973.
PFD: Lembek, Ruth, A Passion for the Divine. A Record of Intimate
Experiences. ed. Ida Lennard. Marina del Rey: DeVorss, 1979.
PE: Rajneesh, Bhagawan Shree. The Psychology of the Esoteric. ed. Ma
Satya Bharti. New York, etc.: Harper & Row, 1973
PN: Tolle, Eckhart. The Power of Now. Vancouver: Namaste Publishing,
PNS1: Roberts, Bernadette. Path to No-Self. Boston and London:
PNS2: Roberts, Bernadette. “The Path to No-Self” in Stephan Bodian,
ed. Timeless Visions, Healing Voices. Freedom, CA: Crossing Press,
PP: Huxley, Aldous, The Perennial Philosophy. New York, etc.: Harper
and Row, 1970; c1944.
PPG: Lawrence, Brother, The Practice of the Presence of God. Mount
Vernon, NY: Peter Pauper Press, 1963.
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Dutton, n.d.; c1927 .
PROPH: Gibran, Kahlil, The Prophet. New York: Knopf. 1970.
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Cross. New York: New Directions, 1972; c1968.
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Sri Ramana Kshetra, 1997, 77.
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Record of Transformation in Consciousness. New York: Julian Press,
PWTT : Wade, Gladys I., ed., The Poetical Works of Thomas Trahearne.
New York: Cooper Square, 1965.
PZ: Chang, G.C.C., The Practice of Zen. New York: Harper & Row, 1959.
QM: White Eagle, The Quiet Mind. Liss, England: White Eagle Trust,
RA: Arthur Osbourne, Ramana Arunachala.
RAM: Budhananda, Swami, Ramprasad. The Melodious Mystic. New Delhi:
Ramakrishna Mission, 1982.
REP: Plato, The Republic. trans. F.M. Cornford. New York and London:
Oxford University Press, 1965; c1945
RHD: Isherwood, Christopher. Ramakrishna and His Disciples. New York:
Simon and Schuster, 1965; c1959..
RVW: Usha, Brahmacharini. A Ramakrishna- Vedanta Wordbook. Hollywood:
Vedanta Press, 1971; c1962.
SA: Philip, Brother, Secret of the Andes. London: Neville Spearman,
SAO: P.G. Bowen, The Sayings of the Ancient One. London: Rider, n.d.
SBA: Naylor, W., ed. Silver Birch Anthology. London: Spiritualist
Press, 1974; c1955.
SBSS: Sahukar, Mani. Sai Baba: The Saint of Shirdi. Bombay: Somiay
SC: Law, William, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life.
Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1955.
SCC: Yogananda, Paramanhansa. The Second Coming of Christ. Three
vols. Dallas: Amrita Foundation, 1979-86.
SD: Blavatsky, Helena P. The Secret Doctrine. The Synthesis of
Science, Religion and Philosophy. Volume 1. Cosmogenesis. Volume II.
Anthropogenesis. London: 1888.
SD(A): Blavatsky, Helena P. An Abridgement of the Secret Doctrine.
Ed. Elizabeth Preston and Christmas Humphreys. Wheaton, Ill:
Theosophical Publishing House, 1968.
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SDF: Ward, Benedicta, trans., The Sayings of the Desert Fathers.
London and Oxford: Mowbray Books, 1981.
SE: Ramana Maharshi, Self-Enquiry. Trans. T.M.P. Mahadevan.
http://www.realizat ion.org/page/ namedoc0/ self/self_ 0.htm Downloaded 1
SETH: Robert, Jane, Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul.
New York, etc.: Bantam Books, 1974.
SGS: Vivishananda, Swami, The Saga of a Great Soul. Glimpses into the
Life and Work of Mahapurush Maharaj Swami Shivananda, a Great
Disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1986.
SHI: Prabhavananda, Swami, The Spiritual Heritage of India. Madras:
Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1981.
SHN: A.F. Price and Wong Mou-Lam, trans. The Diamond Sutra and the
Sutra of Hui Neng. Berkeley: Shamballa, 1969.
SHOW: Julian of Norwich, Showings. trans. Edmund Colledge and James
Walsh. New York, etc.: Paulist Press, 1978.
SHW: Michael J. Eastcott, The Spiritual Hierarchy of the World.
Tunbridge Wells: Sundial House, 1973.
SI: Sri Ramana Maharshi, Spiritual Instruction of Bhagavan Sri Ramana
Maharshi. Eighth Edition. Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam, 1974.)
SJA: Bhagwat, Ramchandra Kesha, Sri Jnanadeva’s Amritanubhava with
Changadeva Pasashti. Madras; Samata Books, 1985.
SK: Nikhilananda, Swami, Shankara’s Self-Knowledge. Madras, 1967.
SM: Adyashanti, interview in John J. Prendergast, Peter Fenner, and
Sheila Krystal, eds., The Sacred Mirror: Nondual Wisdom and
Psychotherapy. as excerpted at http://www.nonduali ty.com/hl1967. htm,
downloaded 11 March 2006.)
SMSLS: Karnath, M. Subbaraya. Sri Maharshi: A Short Life-Sketch.
Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasaramam, 1986.
SOH: Paul Ferrini, Silence of the Heart. South Deerfield, MA:
Heartways Press, 1996.
SOL: Anon., Solitude. Bombay: Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, 1987.
SOY: Aurobindo, Sri. The Synthesis of Yoga. Pondicherry: Sri
Aurobindo Ashram, 1983.
SPKR : Lutyens, Mary, ed. The Second Penguin Krishnamurti Reader.
Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970.
SR: Paramahansa Yogananda. The Science of Religion. Los Angeles: Self-
Realization Fellowship, 1982.
SRBP: Smaranananda, Swami, Sri Ramakrishna. A Biography in Pictures.
Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, 1981.
SRFL: Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons. Los Angeles: Self-
Realization Fellowship. [Covered many years.]
SRG: Ganapathi, Vasistha, ed., Sri Ramana Gita. Tiruvannamalai: Sri
SRGM: Saradananda, Swami, Sri Ramakrishna, the Great Master. Madras,
Sri Ramakrishna Math, 2 vols, 1979-83.
SRPG: Anon., Sri Ramakrishna. The Power and the Glory. Madras: Sri
Ramakrishna Math, 1985.
SRR: Subbaramayya, G.V. Sri Ramana Reminiscences. Tiruvannamalai: Sri
Ramanasramam, 1994; c1967.
SRRM: Arunachala, Sadhu (A.W. Chadwick), A Sadhu’s Reminiscences of
Ramana Maharshi. Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam, 1961.
ST: Ritajananda, Swami, Swami Turiyananda. Madras: Sri Ramakrishna
STJ: Meyer, Marvin W., The Secret Teachings of Jesus. New York;
Random House, 1986.
STRM: Anon., The Spiritual Teaching of Sri Ramana Maharshi. Berkeley
and London: Shambala, 1972.
SW: William H. Gilman, ed., Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1965
SWAM: Ramachandran, U.S. Swami Satchidananda (A Thumbnail Sketch).
Andandashram: Anandashram, 1991.
SY: Yogananda, Paramahansa, Sayings of Paramahansa Yogananda. Los
Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1980.
TA: Maria Pia Giudici, The Angels. Spiritual and Exegetical Notes.
New York: Alba House, 1993.
TSRM: Osborne, Arthur. The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi. N.d.,
TCB: Burtt, Edwin A., ed., The Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha.
New York and Toronto: New American Library, 1955.
TE: Stephen Bodian, “Adyashanti Interview: The Taboo of
Enlightenment. ” From http://nonduality. com/hl1892. htm, downloaded 11
TG: Walsh, Neale Donald. Tomorrow’s God. Our Greatest Spiritual
Challenge. New York, etc.: Atria Books, 2004.
TGML : Hoffman, Bengt, trans., The Theologia Germanicus of Martin
Luther. New York, etc.: Paulist Press, 1980.
TGYM: Evans-Wentz, W.Y.Tibet’s Great Yogi Milarepa. A Biography from
the Tibetan. London, etc.: Oxford University Press, 1951.
TLWG: Chetananda, Swami. They Lived with God. Life Stories of Some
Devotees of Sri Ramakrishna. St. Louis: Vedanta Society of St. Louis,
TMY: Aiyer, N.A. Narayana, The Technique of Maha Yoga (Self-Enguiry) .
Madras: Ramanakendra, n.d..
TRM: Osborne, Arthur, comp., The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi. York
Beach, ME: Weiser, 1996.
TR: Maharshi, Ramana. Truth Revealed. Sad-Vidya. Tiruvannamalai: Sri
TSY: Osho, The Sacred Yes. Initiation Talkes Between Master and
Disciple. Rajneeshpuram: Ma Anand Sheela, 1983.
TSV Anon., Teachings of Swami Vivekananda. Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama,
TT: Leadbeater, Charles W. A Textbook of Theosophy. 1912. A Guetnberg
Project eBook. (Downloaded from
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TTT: Adyashanti, The Truest Thing. Audiotape.
TVHV: Roberts, Bernadette, “The Path to No-Self” in Stephan Bodian,
ed. Timeless Visions, Healing Voices. Freedom, CA: Crossing Press,
TWSRM: Venkatramiah, Munagala. Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi.
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Upanishads. Breath of the Eternal. New York and Scarborough: New
American Library, 1957; c1948
VMM: Isherwood, Christopher, ed., Vedanta for Modern Man. New York:
Collier Books, 1962; c1945.
VOS: Blavatsky, Helena P., The Voice of the Silence. Wheaton, etc.:
Theosophical Publishing House, 1970.
VRE: James, William, The Varieties of Religious Experience. A Study
in Human Nature. London and Glascow: Collins, 1960.
VSR: Yogeshananda, Swami, The Visions of Sri Ramakrishna. Madras: Sri
Ramakrishna Math, 1980.
VYW: Nikhilananda, Swami, trans., Vivekananda: The Yogas and Other
Works. New York: Ramakrishna- Vivekananda Center, 1953.
WAI: Cohen, Andrew. Who am I & How Shall I Live? Lenox: Moksha Press,
WB: Franklin Merrell-Wolff, “The Wedge of Buddhahood,” Unpublished
Lecture, 17 June 1980.”
WBT: Rahula, Walpole, What the Buddha Taught. New York: Grove Press,
WHO: Anon., Who Am I? The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.
Sarasota, FL: Ramana Publications, 1990.
WIE: Cohen, Andrew and students. What is Enlightenment? Magazine.
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WIEN: White, John, ed., What is Enlightenment? Los Angeles: Tarcher,
WOG: Douno, Beinsa. The Wellspring of Good. Downloaded from
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New York, etc.: Avon, 1975.
WOPG: Conway, Timothy. Women of Power and Grace. Nine Astonishing,
Inspiring Luminaries of Our Time. Santa Barbara: The Wake Up Press.
WP: Grant, Joan, Winged Pharaoh. New York: Avon, 1956.
WR: Geismar, Maxwell, ed., The Whitman Reader. New York: Pocket Book,
WS: Anon., The Way of the Servant. London: John M. Watkins, 1918.
WSEW: Anon., Women Saints East and West. Hollywood: Vedanta Press,
WTC: Boehme, Jacob, The Way to Christ. trans. Peter Erb. New York,
etc.: Paulist Press, 1978.
WWE: White Eagle, Wisdom from White Eagle. Liss: White Eagle
Publishing Trust, 1983.
ZFZB: Reps, Paul, comp., Zen Flesh, Zen Bones. A Collection of Zen
and Pre-Zen Writings. Doubleday: Anchor, n.d..
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Berkeley: Asian Humanities Press, 1989.
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