Friday, February 20, 2004
"Hope springs eternal in the human breast." -- Alexander Pope
It is up to each culture of humanity to choose the meaning and symbolism they will ascribe to various elements that remain consistent throughout the ages -- for example, long-term elements of nature and humanity, such as rain, clouds, sun, love, relationships, physical bodies with all their accoutrements, mother, father, earth, and so on. One culture may consider our sun as a God, while another sees it as a big battery in the sky. One culture or subculture may worship our earth and her lands as a Divine gift of love and trust that must be revered and protected, while another may see the same earth as little more than potential drilling sites for oil. In some cultures, the woman's breast is a symbol of the Divine Mother, from whom all of us have been born, and who nourishes our lives -- a soothing bringer of mother's milk, which has been empowered by the beating heart beneath that breast. In another culture, the breast may be seen as a blasphemous monstrosity that can be examined and relished only in the most private and hidden of circumstances. Clearly, our modern society's deep spiritual reverance for this natural symbol of life has become corrupted to a great degree by myriad conflicting and manipulative enterprises, from diverse religious doctrines to advertising agencies, to the Howard Stern Show.
For some reason, our culture has cast some repressed sexual confusion upon our collective notion of a woman's breast. A large percentage of our species has spent months, or even years, sucking madly on a breast for our very life nourishment as the most dependent of creatures, a human baby. Then, as a few years go by, we are told that such things must be covered up and hidden, to be viewed only on the pages of "bad" magazines. Of course, men's breasts can be uncovered and walked -- or jogged -- all over the place, but the woman's breast -- giver of life -- can practically bring down a media empire if it dare be shown on network television. Just imagine how much easier life would be for our blessed mothers if they could simply nourish their children when necessary without having to worry about offending others or being charged with "indecent exposure." Why not look at this subject with a fresh eye, and see if it might be worthwhile to reconsider some of our group concepts about this widely accepted inequality between the breasts of males and females? If we all have taken form in these human bodies -- if in fact, as many sages have suggested, God Himself (or Herself) has taken form in and as us in these temples of human bodies, then why create such negative and belittling views of these beloved temples?
Now, I'm not suggesting that this somewhat violent flavored act of Justin and Janet's dramatic breast reveal was springing from a particularly enlightened place -- that's for the participants to contemplate and decide. However, I did find it intriguing to see such a massive hullabaloo swirling above all the other newsworthy events of post-Superbowl week 2004. Of course, the news media want to offer what people will be most interested in watching, and a breast -- while clearly a terrible thing to many commentators -- was nonetheless a good thing for them to spend hours upon hours nuzzling up to, so to speak, while hashing out every possible detail with other news pundits. Thank God for the Daily Show, which brilliantly addressed the issue.
Watch this clip from the Daily Show in their segment called "The Teat Offensive": http://www.comedycentral.com/mp/play.php?reposid=/multimedia/tds/stewart/jon_8095.html
Here you can listen to a Sanskrit group chant with drums that glorifies and celebrates the Divine Mother. If you want to sing along, here are the Sanskrit words:
Jai Ma, Jai Ma, Jagadishwari Jai Ma
Jagadishwari Maheshwari Bhuvaneshwari, Jai Ma
Jai Ma, Jai Ma, Jagadishwari Jai Ma
Jai means glory, and Ma obviously represents the Divine Mother. Ishwari means goddess or female Lord. So this chant has the flavor of, "Glory to you, Divine Mother, You are the Goddess of this earth, the great Goddess of all worlds."
Play the chant here in streaming realplayer: Jai Ma, Jagadishwari Jai Ma
Listen to more chanting and devotional singing here.
More spiritual social commentary soon coming. . .