Chapter

Tantric and Yogic Shaktism Knowledge of the Goddess's Ways

June McDaniel

in Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls

Published in print August 2004 | ISBN: 9780195167900
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849970 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195167900.003.0003
Tantric and Yogic Shaktism Knowledge of the Goddess's Ways

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This chapter discusses Bengali Shakta tantra. Bengali Shakta tantra is marked by the use of death imagery, seeking the goddess at the cremation ground, having her symbolism bound up by the use of skulls and ash from funeral pyres, and the goddess's dance upon her prone husband, Shiva, who appears as a corpse. Although Shakta tantra in other areas of India may emphasize sexual ritual as a spiritual path, Bengali Shakta tantra emphasizes death, power, transcendence, and supernatural knowledge, gained by the tantrika who overcomes his fear and fights the ghosts of the burning ground to overcome his human limitations and become a spiritual hero. The chapter then discusses the two types of tantra—folk tantra and classical tantra. It details Shakta tantric ritual, women and Shakta tantra, the tantric ritual of shava-sadhana, and experiences of Shakta tantrikas.

Keywords: Bengali Shakta tantra; goddess worship; death imagery; folk tantra; classic tantra; tantric yogas

Chapter.  38478 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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