Recently I was taken aback by the strong response I received on an image of the Virgin Mary posted on my Facebook page, which has now been removed because of said response. The post was one of many female figures and goddesses that I consider to be like emanations of the Great Goddess Durga, who was being celebrated at the time for Navaratri. Many asked for an explanation for why I posted this image, and this is in part what I responded (I’m posting this here now because the original post has been removed from Facebook, and so with it my response):
I have never claimed, do not now claim, and will never claim to be a Hindu or to to represent Hinduism. I do not regard myself either as a Hindu or a Christian, or for that matter a member of any other religion. I am neither trying to prosyletize for Christianity or for any other religion.
What I have always respected about the religions that have emerged from the Vedas is a breadth of vision that I have found refreshingly welcoming. In the words of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, “One should not think, ‘My religion alone is the right path and other religions are false.’ God can be realized by means of all paths.” In addition to his own sadhana of Bhavatarini Ma Ramakrishna also performed other sadhanas, including practices for Jesus, and even for Islam.
My mentor, the Aghori Vimalananda, also did not regard himself as a Hindu. He was instead fond of saying that he did not believe in sampradaya (sect), he believed instead in sampradaha, burning down everything that prevents your direct perception of Reality. Vimalananda had profound devotion for the Christ, and told me, more than once, that both Jesus and Krishna were avataras of the same rishi. Whether anyone other than he & I believe that is immaterial to me; he believed it, and so do I, and that is enough for me. I am a devotee of Jesus Christ; I am not a sectarian Christian. I did not grow up worshiping Mary as a goddess, as I might have had I been brought up as a Catholic.
My purpose in posting these various images was to show my appreciation for divinity in a variety of Her feminine aspects, in aspects in which I particularly appreciate her. Vimalananda always taught me to respect the Motherhood of God, and all that I was trying to do was to respect that Motherhood. In no way was I trying to suggest that Mary is a Hindu goddess, or anything else of that sort.
Since it was not my intention to insult anyone, Mary has now been removed.
Organized Christianity has much to answer for in its history, and during my time in India I have sadly been exposed to “Christians” who have focused on conversion by any means. Much papa karma has been done in the name of Christianity around the world, which has left deep unhealed wounds, including in India. But I think it is important not to confuse the behavior of some “Christians” with the reality of the Christ.