June McDaniel

in Hinduism

ISBN: 9780195399318
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

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The term “Shaktism” refers to worship of the goddess or divine female power in South Asian religions. As Saivism is the English word for the Hindu worship of the god Shiva and Vaishnavism is the English word for the Hindu worship of the god Vishnu and his forms, so Shaktism is the English word for the worship of the Hindu goddess as Shakti. The goddess Shakti (or Devi) represents divine power, and she may be present in sacred places, within the hearts of her devotees, and in her heavenly world. Shaktism may be monotheistic, with one goddess understood as the origin of all other goddesses, or it may be polytheistic, with many goddesses who exist equally. Shaktism may also refer to a cosmic dualism, with Shiva as puruṣa, or ultimate truth, and an emphasis on Shakti as prakṛti, the origin of all creation. A practitioner of Shaktism is a Shakta. The term “Shakti,” from which Shaktism is derived, refers to the goddess or female principle and also means power, strength, force, and capacity. One without Shakti is said to be weak and powerless. While Shaktism is most often found in Hinduism, it sometimes refers to the worship of goddesses in the Buddhist and Jain traditions of South Asia.

Article.  7380 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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