The Series:feminism in indian culture
the origins of a tradition
shakthi worship and philosophy
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in a culture of such reverence for the feminine, you bet you can find at least a small cult to salute the yoni!
the yoni yantra, basically a triangle, represents the mother goddess, and indicates the cosmic womb, and hence the source of life. the yoni is considered the doorway to understanding the mysteries of the universe. in ritualism, this gets represented as sculptures of the goddess lying with her legs spread, or standing with her feet apart so that worshippers may stand at the yonic entrance and symbolically drink the yoni tattva (her menstrual blood) to assimilate it as the sublime essence of the world.
the goddess with her yoni shown for worship, and a lotus budding from her neck to signify creation
the yoni tantra divides the yoni into 10 parts, each of which is considered a manifestation of the divine feminine (devi). also, (interestingly!) in shaktha philosophy, menstrual blood is considered sacred, and menstruating women are revered. during her periods, a woman's body consciousness being keener, she experiences a drawing in of energy and feelings to a deeper level of consciousness. it is believed that during her periods, the different rhythms that set in in her body are more closely related to those of nature. since the body is considered a microcosm of the universe, understanding and praying to the feminine is a way of understanding and revering the divine.
the yoni is often compared to a lotus. just as the flower remains pristine despite the water and mosses surrounding it, the yoni is believed to be pure, no matter how many times it menstruates or engages in intercourse. also, as water represents consciousness, and the flower (yoni) is rooted in consciousness, it is said to support all life and creation. while this is a slightly off-beat view, popular religion also depicts several gods and goddesses as being seated on lotuses.
radha and krishna seated on a lotus
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what ive written of the tantric and shaktha schools is the bare essentials of their philosophy. imho, they started out with a good concept but later got carried away, so im sticking to what appeals and makes sense to me!
also since i dont want to get into religion proper, fascinating as they are, im skipping the kali and durga female archetypes and the fantastic tales about them (with much regret!). but please do read that mookerjee book - 'tis the nicest ive come across so far on this subject... especially if youre a woman, gosh, its awesome reading! :D