Kiss of the Yogini: "Tantric Sex" in Its South Asian Contexts

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University of Chicago Press, Apr 1, 2003 - Religion - 372 pages
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For those who wonder what relation actual Tantric practices bear to the "Tantric sex" currently being marketed so successfully in the West, David Gordon White has a simple answer: there is none. Sweeping away centuries of misunderstandings and misrepresentations, White returns to original texts, images, and ritual practices to reconstruct the history of South Asian Tantra from the medieval period to the present day.

Kiss of the Yogini focuses on what White identifies as the sole truly distinctive feature of South Asian Tantra: sexualized ritual practices, especially as expressed in the medieval Kaula rites. Such practices centered on the exchange of powerful, transformative sexual fluids between male practitioners and wild female bird and animal spirits known as Yoginis. It was only by "drinking" the sexual fluids of the Yoginis that men could enter the family of the supreme godhead and thereby obtain supernatural powers and transform themselves into gods. By focusing on sexual rituals, White resituates South Asian Tantra, in its precolonial form, at the center of religious, social, and political life, arguing that Tantra was the mainstream, and that in many ways it continues to influence contemporary Hinduism, even if reformist misunderstandings relegate it to a marginal position.

Kiss of the Yogini contains White's own translations from over a dozen Tantras that have never before been translated into any European language. It will prove to be the definitive work for persons seeking to understand Tantra and the crucial role it has played in South Asian history, society, culture, and religion.

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Well researched book on the history of tantra Read full review


Tantra in Its South Asian Contexts
The Origins of the Yogini Bird Animal and Tree Goddesses and Demonesses in South Asia
The Blood of the Yogini Vital and Sexual Fluids in South Asian Thought and Practice
The Mouth of the Yogini Sexual Transactions in Tantric Ritual
The Power of the Yogini Tantric Actors in South Asia
The Consort of the Yogini South Asian Siddha Cults and Traditions
The Flight of the Yogini Fueling the Flight of Tantric Witches
The Sublimation of the Yogini The Subordination of the Feminine in High Hindu Tantra
Tantra for the New Millennium

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About the author (2003)

David Gordon White is a professor of religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of Myths of the Dog-Man and The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in Medieval India, both published by the University of Chicago Press, and the editor of Tantra in Practice.

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