This book is about the devotional subcultures which women have always created. Its authors draw their evidence and inspiration from the Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic and Christian traditions of Asia, in particular.
Here we find women as healers, goddesses, saints, gurus, nuns and heretics. One thing these remarkable women all share is their defiance of orthodoxy and fundamentalist interpretations oppressive of women. Instead they have created religious alternatives which appeal profoundly to huge numbers of women. Not that these alternatives, as the authors who have written this book show, are accepted by the mainly male religious establishment. Indeed women’s rejection of patriarchal interpretations of religion and their creative revisioning of religion in their daily spiritual practice can be a very dangerous activity.
In addition to fascinating glimpses of little known aspects of the feminine within the great religions, this book is also a reflection of the newly emerging spirituality of women in Asia as they experience and respond to the political and social injustices they confront.
Part I: Women and Religion: Alternative Perspectives
Introduction: The Last Frontier—Durre Ahmed
The Goddess-Woman Equation in Sakta Tantras—Madhu Khanna
Women in the Catholic Church—Sr. Mary John Mananzan
Women, Psychology, and Religion—Durre Ahmed
Part II: The Hidden Woman and the Feminine
The Forgotten Woman in Anuradhapura: "Her story Replaced by ’History’"—Hema Goonatilake
Mother Victoria Vera Piedad of Brookside, Pila, Laguna, Philippines: A Study of a Mutya Figure—Grace P. Odal
Suprema Isabel Suarez —Sr. Mary John Mananzan
Parallel Worlds of Madhubi MA, ’Nectar mother’: A 20th Century Tantric Saint—Madhu Khanna
’Real’ Men, Naked Women, and the Politics of Paradise: The Archetype of Lal Ded—Durre Ahmed
Part III: Perspectives on Violence
Righteous Violence and Nonviolence: An Inseparable Dyad of Hindu Tradition—Madhu Khanna
Theological Reflections on Violence Against Women: A Catholic Perspective—Sr. Mary John Mananzan
Violence and the Feminine in Islam: A Case Study of the Zikris—Durre Ahmed
from the back cover.