I was perfectly content admiring the depictions of Christ in just about every section of Western European history in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Each one was beautiful to me, and I took a moment to give attention to each piece. When I began to walk down a hall filled with images of Hindu gods, I did not have the same reaction. I thought they were boring, portraying the same four armed goddesses over and over again. As if struck with lightning, I suddenly realized how hypocritical that was!
I would feel indignant if someone looked at the medieval crucifixes and thought they were uninteresting because it was the same image of a man on a cross, but I was completely refusing to connect with the Hindu art because they weren’t my culture. To think the gods of another culture are boring without making an effort to understand them disrespects what they mean to the people who hold it as a symbol intrinsic to their faith and culture. Even if I do not agree or even understand the images, it does not mean that they are any less worthy of dignity and respect.
The goddess I got to know is the goddess of abundance, Vasudhara; her name means “holding the treasure”, because in her arms she holds symbols of knowledge, teaching, and fertility. These are virtues that both Hindu and Christian culture can agree are treasures worth asking a deity for an abundance of.