01 March, 2021

God’s Marital Status

Is celibacy or singleness a prerequisite to seek an ideal world? It’s another matter that marital pleasures are fine for temple deities with their consorts.

Illustration by Devdutt Pattanaik
God’s Marital Status

Sex is a natural reality. Marriage is a cultural requirement. And celibacy is simply an assumption. We have to keep these three ideas in mind while exploring the mythology of singlehood. In most mythologies around the world, the sky copulates with the earth to give rise to all living creatures. The firstborn, usually male, separates the two, and establishes dominion over the earth. We find this theme in Greek, Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Vedic and even Maori mythology.

However, monotheistic mythologies have a problem with this theme. For, it suggests that creation needs two entities, not just the one. So while polytheistic mythologies are comfortable with the idea of a Father-God and a Mother-­Goddess, monotheistic mythologies have just one God, who is either neutralised as ‘beyond gender’ or sexualised as ‘andro­gynous’, the great He-She.

The dominant monotheistic religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—of the world have taken the neutral route, though the singular God they refer to as creator is invariably refe­rred to...

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