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The Return of the Mother Paperback – Bargain Price, April 4, 1995

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From Library Journal

Harvey, who has studied under Hindu, Tibetan Buddhist, and Christian spiritual teachers and written several translations-interpretations of the Sufi mystical poet Rumi, has been a spokesperson for Mother Meera, an Indian woman whose followers believe she is an avatar (divine manifestation). But Harvey has broken with her and renounced the idea of spiritual gurus. In this book, he discusses manifestations of the Divine Mother or feminine principle in Hindu, Sufi, Buddhist, and Christian teachings. He believes the next 20 years will determine the fate of life on earth and that "a new spiritual age is potentially dawning for which the divine could be present intimately, normally, consciously, in all things and activities...through the grace of the Mother." Recommended for those with eclectic spiritual and environmental interests.?Carolyn M. Craft, Longwood Coll., Farmville, Va.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Andrew Harvey is a renowned writer, lecturer, and teacher. An Englishman born in India, Harvey was educated at Oxford, and at twenty-one became the youngest fellow in the history of All Soul’s College. In 1977, he returned to India and began a lifelong spiritual quest, studying and practicing Hindu mysticism at the ashram of Sri Aurobindo, with Tibetan Buddhist teacher Thuksey Rinpoche, and with the Christian mystic Bede Griffiths. Returning to teach and write in Europe and America, Harvey continued his explorations with extensive study in Eastern and Western mystical literature.

Harvey is the author of two spiritual autobiographies, A Journey in Ladakh (1983) and Hidden Journey: A Spiritual Awakening (1991). His interpretation and translations of the work of the twelfth-century Sufi mystical poet Rumi have appeared in Love’s Fire (1988), Speaking Flame (1989), and The Way of Passion: A Celebration of Rumi (Frog, LTD., 1994). He co-edited the bestselling Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche (1991), and is co-author (with Mark Matousek) of Dialogues with a Modern Mystic (1994).

Andrew Harvey lives in San Francisco with his husband, photographer and writer Eryk Hanut, and teaches at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He travels regularly in North America, Europe, and India to study, teach, and write.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 493 pages
  • Publisher: Frog Books (April 4, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883319072
  • ASIN: B004JZX1F8
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,271,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Williams on January 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
In contrast to the first review in this section, I think that Harvey's 'The Return of the Mother' is a truly extraordinary book. It is certainly not just a 'series of excuses' for the author's lifestyle - the whole point of Harvey's vision of the maternal aspect of God is that She passionately combines and unifies the personal, immanent and sexual with the vast stillness and calm of Her transcendent being. She can be felt and apprehended in the most intimate areas of life, working and transforming. If you want a synopsis of the Eternal Feminine in world religions, get Anne Baring's 'The Myth of the Goddess' or (for a Jungian approach) get Erich Neumann's 'The Great Mother.' Harvey's book is a passionate - though deeply deeply learned - description of the need for spiritual awkening through the Feminine, dissolving outworn dualities. I cannot pretend that this book is easy going; every page is crammed with challenging insights, all is Harvey's beautifully lucid prose. Only one whose spiritual journey has taken him from 'tortured aesthete' to religious visionary could come up with the astonishing, extravagant description of the destructive aspect of the Mother as 'Callas-Kali, who runs at the heart of illusion with a knife.'
Furthermore I don't pretend to fully understand this book, but its message is urgent, inspiring and beautiful. And yes, personal.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Heidi M. Hawkins on June 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
Andrew Harvey took on an ambitious project with this book-an attempt to integrate a variety of religious traditions in their viewpoint of the Divine Mother. Mostly, the book focuses on individual practitioners of various traditions. The tragedy of the loss of the role of the Mother in spiritual traditions is exemplified by the fact that these practitioners are men.
Harvey brings in viewpoints from Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism and Taoism with good effect. His attempts at Australian Aboriginal beliefs are less effective, with his sources being too far removed from Aboriginals themselves. His writing on other religious traditions has the immediacy of direct experience and years of study which his writing on Aborigines lacks. Perhaps Harvey could use a field trip to Australia. He also makes numerous references to other indigenous tribal cultures, but fails to explain what it is exactly that he finds so admirable about their way of embracing the Mother.
Harvey's primary argument, that we should all approach the Divine directly rather than through gurus is obviously a backlash against his own experience with a guru-a relationship he has clearly become disenchanted with. His disillusionment with gurus threatens to overshadow the book, but ultimately does not. His point is well taken, though most people need teachers and books to guide them to a direct relationship with the Divine. The irony, of course, is that we don't need books like Harvey's if we approach the Divine directly. If we don't need teachers to show us the way, we don't need books to do so either! Harvey urges us not to deify our teachers, and to learn from his experience.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amaranth on August 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
"The Return of the Mother" is a fascinating tome from Andrew Harvey (Heart Yoga: The Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism,The Essential Gay Mystics) He weaves his spiritual journey away from a Hindu guru named Mother Meera along with Sufism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and his own take on Christianity. He talks about growing up in India and his Indian nurse, his meeting with Eryk Hanut his longtime lover, and his break with Mother Meera, who claimed she could make him heterosexual. Andrew&Eryk find closure in a wedding ceremony of sorts with flowers at a Marian apparition site in France. Since this book is from 1995, Andrew has early traces of his The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism Andrew Harvey breaks from other New Age writers in that he's wary of the New Age movement, he condemns the occult, acknowledges the existence of suffering, and says yes, sometimes violence is justified (in other words, just war theory) in self-defense. His chapter on Rumi is all about the importance of suffering to the spiritual journey.

Andrew Harvey lives within paradox. He constantly celebrates the union of masculine&feminine, yin&yang, Shiva&Shakti.... while he is in a partnership with another man. Like the gay mystics Toby Johnson (
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mayflower Girl on October 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For the past year or so, I've been longing for Mother God. It's lead me to read a wide variety of works on the subject--from Sue Monk Kidd's "Dance of the Dissident Daughter," Joseph Campbell's "In All Her Names," Patricia Monaghan's "The Goddess Path," Monica Sjoo's "The Great Cosmic Mother," Timothy Freke's "Jesus and the Lost Goddess," and others. Hands down, Andrew Harvey's book is the one that resonated with me and spoke to my soul.

I have to admit I wasn't familiar with the Hindu masters Ramakrishna or Aurobindo--and yet, it didn't matter. I really appreciate how Harvey looks at Hinduism, Islam (Sufism), Christianity, and Buddhism to understand Mother God as well as to point out that the need for her is universal. I'm not sure why he left out Judaism, but perhaps he is simply not as familiar with the use of Shekinah to represent the divine feminism in Judaism.

The bits about his breaking with Mother Meera really didn't mean a lot to me--and honestly, I didn't find they detracted from the book. My guess is as this book was written soon after the break, it was a very painful time for him. I'm not familiar with her, so it didn't really matter to me--although I do know of people who have been hurt by gurus and other religious leaders, so simply pray that he has healed and moved on.
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