Tracy Sayuki Tiemeier, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA. She teaches and researches in the areas of women and religion, interreligious dialogue, comparative theology, Asian and Asian American theology, and Hindu-Christian studies. Tracy also co-chairs the Los Angeles Hindu-Catholic Dialogue.
When I began my studies of Hinduism, I marveled in a dizzying array of gods and goddesses. While non-Hindus assume that Hinduism is polytheistic because of the multitude of gods and goddesses, the reality is far more interesting and complex. Hinduism really isn’t one religion, but a cluster of them. For some, there is one personal, divine God or Goddess, and all other gods and goddesses are either different forms of the ultimate divine or are lower, created beings (like angels). For others, there is one divine reality, but it isn’t a personal God or Goddess. For them, the different deities illustrate or symbolize different aspects of the divine, but are not themselves the one Ultimate Reality. What all Hindus recognize, however, is that there is one Ultimate, Divine Reality and that that divinity pervades all things. But that divine Oneness is so profound, so deep, so real, that no one image can capture the divine essence. Thus, even as Hindus are more monotheists than polytheists, they resolutely celebrate the multiplicity that inevitably comes when finite humans imagine the infinite divine. Continue reading “Birthing God at the Edges of Life, Death, and Beyond: Reflections on Mary, Motherhood, and Kali Part III By Tracy Sayuki Tiemeier”