The Graceful Guru – Spiritual Life

The chapter on Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati is but one of nine chapters devoted to women gurus in India and America in “The Graceful Guru.” Karen Pechilis presents thoughtful biographic profiles of each of the women combined with her scholarly yet sensitive analysis of their spiritual paths. In addition to Ma Jaya, Pechilis looks at: Ammachi, Gurumayi, Mother Meera, Shree Maa, Anandamayi Ma, Gauri Ma, Sita Devi, Jayashri Ma, and Karunamayi Ma. Pechilis also examines the phenomena of the emergence of women gurus on the religious scene through the lens of history, Hindu philosophy, women as wives and saints, tantric worship of the divine feminine, and the acceptance of the guru concept in America.Hinduism’s concept of the guru as the embodiment of the divine, as well as being a teacher and role model, is one of its distinct features. Gurus in India in the past have predominantly been men, but recently women have begun to have increased visibility in this role both in India and America. Pechilis has produced a scholarly study of the female gurus, their variety, origins and world-wide popularity. In The Graceful Guru, Pechilis states that “female gurus have a meaningful and noticeable presence in religious life today.” Why? Pechilis’ answer can be found within the title of her book – grace. She speaks of grace both theologically and its aesthetically: as an aspect of the divine and as a feminine ideal. She posits the women’s acceptance as leaders is founded in their successful combination of these two meanings of grace. You’ll enjoy exploring the lives of these extraordinary women with Pechilis in The Graceful Guru. –

  • Papaerback, 272 pages.
  • Published by Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • “The Graceful Guru” provides food for thought into the issue of gender and religious authority.
  • Pechilis biographic portraits of woman as guru are food for a hungry world.

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