Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine: The Ten Mahavidyas
The Hindu pantheon is rich in images of the divine feminine—deities representing a wide range of symbolic, social, and meditative meanings. David Kinsley's new book documents a highly unusual group of ten Hindu tantric goddesses, the Mahavidyas, many of whom are strongly associated with sexuality and violence. What is one to make of a goddess who cuts her own head off, or one who prefers sex with a corpse? The Mahavidyas embody habits, attributes, or identities usually considered repulsive or socially subversive and can be viewed as "antimodels" for women. Yet it is within the context of tantric worship that devotees seek to identify themselves with these forbidding goddesses. The Mahavidyas seem to function as "awakeners"—symbols which help to project one's consciousness beyond the socially acceptable or predictable.
Drawing on a broad range of Sanskrit and vernacular texts as well as extensive research in India, including written and oral interpretations of contemporary Hindu practitioners, Kinsley describes the unusual qualities of each of the Mahavidyas and traces the parallels between their underlying themes. Especially valuable are the many rare and fascinating images he presents—each important to grasping the significance of the goddesses. Written in an accessible, engaging style, Kinsley's book provides a comprehensive understanding of the Mahavidyas and is also an overview of Hindu tantric practice.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
The Mahavidyas and Magical Powers
Other editions - View all
adept appearance aspects associated Auspicious Wisdom avatdras Bagala Bagalamukhi Bhairavi Bhuvanesvari blood body Brahma Buddha Buddhist Calcutta Candala Chinnamasta consciousness consort contemporary context corpse cosmic cosmos creation cremation ground cult death Delhi demons depicted described destruction devotees Dhumavati dhyana Dhydna mantra Diksit Durga epithets evam example female fierce garland goddess gods guna guru hair Hinduism Ibid iconography identified inauspicious India individual Mahavidyas interpretation Kali Kali's KalT Kama Kamala kundalini LaksmT lotus magical powers Mahavidyas male deities mantra Matarigi meditation myth Nirrti offerings panca tattva Parvati polluted Prakrti priest Rati reality represents role sadhaka sakta Sakti SatI says Sdkta Sdkta-pramoda severed heads sexual intercourse siddhis Siva Siva's skulls SodasT sometimes spiritual Sri cakra Srividya story stotra suggest Swami symbol Tantra Sdstra Tantrasdra tantric tantric texts Tantrism Tara Tara's tattva tattva ritual temple theme thousand-name hymn tongue Tripura-sundari Varanasi vidyas Visnu wears worship yoni