Ma's India Blog: Rings of Commitment and Devotion Mas India

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

From the Desk of the Spiritual Explorer Rings, so simply shaped and capable of simple adornment, can carry such a complex and meaningful message. Rings, circular in shape, have often carried astrological and alchemical symbolism as feminine aspects. Rings are also archetypes for timelessness and continuation. In Arthurian and other Celtic legends, we are always told of how rings can become enchanted and contain spells that are long lasting and effective. In current popular cinema, we have only to recollect the tortured story of carrying a ring by humble Hobbits to remind us of not only a benign, but a horrific meaning and purpose that can also be affixed to a ring.

The circle of the ring has always represented undying love and continually renewed vows of a married couple. Today, even as marriage rings are blessed by priests in traditional Christian ceremonies, it is not untypical to hypothesize how rings might have had a pagan origin at one time. Whatever the origin, however, the symbolism of imbuing rings with fidelity, honesty and commitment remain to those who undertake the vows consecrated by these rings.

What does it mean to take a vow to one another in these times? It is interesting to note that vows have changed considerably since women have become freer and more enlightened. However, even as women have stood up and said they were no longer interested in taking vows of obedience, men and women alike are still anxious to affirm the vows of fidelity, commitment and responsibility before embarking upon marriage.

There are also those who have taken religious vows. Christian nuns say that their rings symbolize their marriage to Christ and have taken lifelong vows for that purpose. Other spiritual teachers sometimes give their chelas or disciples a ring to symbolize perhaps a vow of service or renunciation or to more simply, celebrate and commemorate the disciple’s devotion and commitment to not only their teachers, but to the disciple’s service to humanity in this lifetime.

When I first met Ma Jaya, Guru at Kashi Ashram, sometime in the early 70’s, and spent time at her ashram, Ma gave me a slim, gold ring. I never removed it except for a one-time surgery many years later. One day because I had lost some weight, the ring slipped from my finger descending in a pool at the ashram. Desperate to retrieve it, I paid some little 11 year old girl to plumb the depths of the pool. What a happy moment when she found it at the bottom, almost ready to slide into the drain. Interestingly enough, it dovetailed with my own feeling that something was slipping away from me and I needed to make a deeper commitment in my relationship with the ashram and Ma. Sometime shortly after that, I felt the desire to buy a more solid ring. Lucky for me that Ma’s India had a graceful ring with “Ma” inscribed in Sanskrit upon it. I placed it next to the one she had given me. My Ma Ring serves a dual purpose of keeping the slimmer ring in place, but is a reminder of the deeper commitment I then made when I purchased it.

I love the fact that it says Ma. The word Ma is not just our term of affection for Ma. It is a symbol of all the other Ma’s, not only in India, where it is a revered term for those who are holy and mother the world, but a symbol of our responsibility in this lifetime to bear responsibility for others. Even saying the word Ma brings one into a place of feeling for the Divine Mother, She who makes fear and unhappiness recede through the blessing of her Divine Presence. Om Sri Ma, Om Sri Ma!

by: Mas India icon18_email-6720662icon18_edit_allbkg-6964006

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