Debashish Banerji, PhD, is Haridas Chaudhuri Professor of Indian Philosophies and Cultures and Chairman of the East West Psychology Department at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. He is author of Seven Quartets of Becoming: A Transformative Yoga Psychology Based on the Diaries of Sri Aurobindo and also The Alternate Nation of Abanindranath Tagore, a book about his great grandfather. He edited an anthology about his great uncle, Rabindranath Tagore in the Twenty-First Century. With Robert McDermott, he has coedited an anthology titled Philo-Sophia: Wisdom Goddess Traditions.
Whereas goddess worship has been almost entirely suppressed in the West, it has always been recognized and largely accepted in India, where it is frequently associated with tantric traditions. The fierce goddess, Kali, is a form of the deity that often seems demonic to westerners. Debashish explains the symbolism associated with her. Darkness can be seen as a preparation for rebirth. The city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) was originally dedicated to the worship of Kali, from which its name is derived. Today, the Durga Puja is the dominant religious festival in Kolkata. The goddess Durga combines the fierce aspects of Kali with the refined, nurturing aspects of goddesses such as Saraswati and Lakshmi.
(Recorded on November 26, 2021)
Published on February 7, 2022