Neela Bhattacharya Saxena, Absent Mother God of the West: A Kali Lover’s Journey into Christianity and Judaism, New York: Lexington Books, 2015. (HB) 208 pp. ISBN 9781498508056. $ 85.00.It is not often that a non-Western person deeply anchored in her own tradition trains her gaze onto the Western world. In this case the gazer is a Bengali woman scholar, Neela Bhattacharya Saxena, a self-described Kali lover, widely read and a widely traveled pilgrim delightfully free of narrow disciplinary boundaries. This book seeks the Mother God in the west since Her reality is beyond particular mythopoeitic formulations and manifests in profound revelatory personal experiences of initiatory annihilation. It is such personal experiences of Kali’s cosmic and universal reality that convinces Saxena that She cannot possibly be totally absent in the West.In that quest Saxena first explores her own trans-religious positionality, clarifying a mostly ignored overlapping Vajrayana Buddhist and Shakta Hindu genealogy, a legacy of the long lasting Buddhist presence in the eastern states of Odisha, Bengal and Assam. She calls this journey a decolonizing effort since western patriarchal monotheism has deeply affected the way in which the Indic landscape has been understood and lived since colonization. It is also a passionate
Worldviews – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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