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Eight-week course starts January 6, 2024


"I am the sovereign queen of the whole universe, the giver of wealth. Knowing Brahman, I am the first among those for whom sacrifice is performed. I am worshipped in many places or in all parts of the universe."

~ Devi Shuktam (verse 3) from Rig Vega

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Course Description 


The Mother Goddess was worshiped in Her myriad forms by much of the ancient world. With the development of the monolithic forms of monotheism, goddess worship has been largely destroyed, suppressed, forbidden, replaced, masked, or forgotten. In India goddess worship has continued unbroken since ancient times. In this eight-week course we will explore the development of goddess worship in India, including its past and current expressions in the lives and practices of Her devotees throughout the world. Our approach to these subjects will be traditional, yet informed by contemporary scholarship and responsive to modern challenges. While this is not a class on “how to worship” the Goddess, our focus at RKS is always the practical applications of religious thought and philosophies to the active spiritual lives of our students. Emphasis is given to personal spiritual development, cultural authenticity, and the service of God in the world.

Class Structure

This course consists of eight modules, one module per week. Materials for this course will be a combination of original content (live webinars, recordings and writings by the instructor) and curated content (PDFs of articles, essays and selections from books and journals, readings from textbooks, and links to online videos and articles). 

Each Saturday students will gain access to the new module’s study material. This will include a 90+ minute video-lectures by Swami Bhajanananda, per-recorded at the ashram dhuni (fire altar), as well as supplementary reading from saints and scholars, Sanskrit verses to learn, visual aids and graphics, and other study material.   


Every Thursday evening from 7pm – 8:30pm (PST) there will be a live Zoom meeting for questions and discussion with the instructor and fellow students. Recordings of these Zoom meetings will be posted within a few hours of the live meetings for those who could not attend the live broadcast.   See Course Calendar>>



Students will have access to dedicated Google Classroom course page (for announcements, handouts, study questions, discussions with fellow students and faculty, and turning in assignments), as well a student group page, and online office hours with the instructor.


(Students will continues to be able to access and review all course material, including lectures, readings, and Zoom recordings, for twelve months after the end of the course.)

Class Size

To preserve the atmosphere of a gurukulam, we aim to keep classes small, personal, and intimate.


Tuition for this course is $350.


Students requesting financial assistance may be considered for discounted tuition or a full scholarship, supported by donations from fellow students and seminary patrons. If you are able, please consider contributing to the RKS Scholarship Fund so that no sincere student is denied spiritual education due to limited finances.


If you are an enrolled RKS student and wish to register for this course, please email the Registrar at and they will contact you with details on tuition and accessing class-meetings and material.  If you have not yet been admitted as an RKS student, please fill out the application form to begin the process.


By participating in any program or course given by Ramakrishna Seminary, students consent to our Terms and Conditions Agreement.



Course Instructor

Rev. Dr. Swami Bhajanananda Saraswati is  a Hindu monk, priest, educator, and Dean of the Seminary with more than twenty-eight years of experience in presenting the teachings and practices of Sanatana Dharma, Indian philosophy, Tantric rituals, and the Hindu devotional schools.


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Suggested Textbook

The textbook for this course, Hindu Goddesses: Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Tradition by David R. Kinsley should be easily available from online booksellers. A pdf of this book will be made available as a free download for students.

Course Reader

The instructor has created a 320-page spiral-bound Course Reader containing the course’s supplementary readings. This Course Reader is optional, as all materials will also be accessible and downloadable on the module pages. The reader is available for a donation of $40, to help cover the cost of printing and shiping.

A required course for the Certificate in Hindu Studies and Diploma in Applied Theology programs. (This course can also be taken independently of our Certificate or Diploma programs.)

Accessing Course Modules 
Click on the module links below to access online meetings, supportive materials, and assignments.
(Access restricted to enrolled students)


Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 0f Copyright Act in 1976, allowance is made for “Fair Use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use. All rights and credit go directly to its rightful owners. No copyright infringement intended. Fair Use Definition: Fair use is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, research or scholarship. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citations or incorporation of copyrighted material in anther author’s world under a four-factor balancing test.  All opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Kali Mandir or Ramakrishna Seminary.


January 6 - January 12, 2024



Access Module 1

Available January 6th


January 13 - January 19, 2024


SOURCES OF KNOWLEDGE ~ The Scriptural and Oral Traditions of Shaktism


Access Module 2

Available January13th


January 20 - January 26, 2024


ADORING THE MOTHERS ~ Goddess Worship in Popular & Folk Hinduism


Access Module 3

Available January 20st


January 27 - February 2, 2024


RE-MEMBERING THE GODDESS ~ Pilgrimage and the Śakti Pīṭhams


Access Module 4

Available January 27th


February 3 - February 9, 2024


DEVĪ ~ Goddesses of the Hindu Pantheon


Access Module 5

Available February 3th

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February 10 - February 16, 2024


THE TANTRIC GODDESS ~ Yantra, Mantra and Tantra in Esoteric Hinduism


Access Module 6

Available February 10th


February 17 - February 23, 2024


THE DARK GODDESS ~ Kālī and Her Symbolism


Access Module 7

Available February 17th

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February 24 - February 29, 2024


MY MOTHER ~ Sri Ramakrishna and the Motherhood of God


Access Module 8

Available February 24th

Attendance/Participation                      50%

Class assignments                                    50%


Passing grade for Seminary Credit        70% and above

Evaluation of Student Performance



This 3-unit course is worth 3 Seminary Credits, and can be taken for either Credit or No Credit. Students not taking the course to earn Seminary Credits are not required to turn in written assignments or a final paper, but are expected to participate in online lectures and discussions and keep up with assigned readings and other materials. Students who are taking this course for Seminary Credits are expected to attend weekly online lectures and discussions. If students must miss a live lecture, they are expected to watch the recording of the session and to participate in the discussion forum.


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