What are the roles of the female deities in Hinduism

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Rationale and Preliminary Research

The Hindu faith is one of many, such as Buddhism, that acknowledge and worship female deities. The Hindu deities have distinct and complex personalities, yet they are often viewed as aspects of the same Ultimate Reality called Brahman. It has been said that there are more than 330 million deities in Hinduism, therefore in some ways Hinduism is a polytheistic religion.

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However, calling Hinduism a polytheistic religion with an unknown and unnamed number of gods would be incorrect. Many Hindus view the religion as monotheistic with only one supreme being who is formless and impersonal. All other gods and goddesses are simply manifestations of Brahman. These different deities provide guidance and help with many different aspects of everyday life. The Trimurti, similar to Christianity, is seeing the gods as three different divine figures. They are Shiva (the destroyer), Vishnu (the preserver), and Brahma (the creator of all reality). Male deities are more commonly worshiped due to the patriarchal society in India. Female deities are said to be the other half of the male deities but are not as heavily worshiped. It is the object of this paper to address the question, what are the roles of the female deities in Hinduism?.

Worship of male deities more than female deities is partially due to the patriarchal society of India as well as the portrayal of the female deities’ powers. Hinduism is heavily influenced by the society as a whole, reflecting the views of the culture. Therefore, the roles that the female deities hold are a reflection on how the society views women as a whole.

For my research, I consulted papers, lectures, and interviews regarding the role of female deities and women in Hinduism. Sources consulted include the lectures from the Great Courses Lecture Series by Professor Mark W. Muesse, Rhodes College, which provide information on the roles of the Goddesses and her Devotees. It gives a view of how the female deities are perceived in the Indian culture, as well as the roles they take. To understand how female deities, impact the everyday life of a Hindu, I interviewed Mutherjee Subir. I also referenced a paper by Susan Wadley on “Women and the Hindu Tradition” that explores the degeneration of women’s treatment in Hindu history. I will also be using the Hindu law books,

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