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The Creative Feminine has been given two remarkable names in Hindu religious philosophy: Chinmayee and Mrinmayee. Chinmayee, derived from the two words chit and mayee, means one whose essence is consciousness and no other than consciousness. Mrinmayee, on the other hand, means the earthly woman. It is derived from the words mrit and mayee, mrit meaning the earth. Being made of mrit makes it mortal, subject to time, subject to form, generation, duration and further evolution or transformation. The twin concepts have given rise to questions like the possibility and nature of pure consciousness and embodied consciousness, how the two are related and if any one of the two takes precedence over the other in terms of being, becoming and spiritual worth. The divine feminine that the Hindus worship in many forms is acknowledged to be expressions of the same energy, but does being trapped in form make it vulnerable to errors and imperfections? Does it make the deity less worship-worthy? An analysis of the seemingly polarized concepts of Chinmayee and Mrinmoyee as portrayals of the divine feminine can lead us contemplate better how the Hindu mind has sought to realize the intricate relationship between form and matter, the eternal and the transient, the particular and the universal and finally, between being and becoming. It may also shed some light on the impact of embodiment on male/female polarizations and connections. Is acquiring form an essential step in the process of evolution of life and consciousness? Is it an aid or an obstacle in the gaining of mukti or the prized freedom often seen as emancipation from Maya?


Karabi Sen, PhD, is a retired professor and head of the Department of philosophy at Burdwan University in India. After moving to the United States, she taught as an adjunct faculty at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She has also worked as a resource specialist for Modesto City Schools, Modesto, California and currently works as a Reader for Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey. She lives in California and India