Sacred Sexuality and Shakti Sadhana
[The yoni-lingam from the Shakta perspective]


Lili Masamura
“….so it might be a good idea to stop elaborating on the dynamic of profane sexuality and switch over to that of sacred sexuality, which is an essential dynamic of Shakti sadhana...”

NMadasamy
Contrary to what I am being told, Sacred Sexuality is "not essential, for those who wants to explore that it is there otherwise no"

Lili Masamura
True. It is there for those who want to get to the actual root of the spiritual impulse, which is sexual in nature. We see this in the power of the Shiva Lingam, contained eternally in the Yoni of the Goddess, the Ras-Lila of Krishna with the Gopis, and in His relationship with Radha, and also in the name "Lalita", which translates as "She who ever desires to sport with Her Lord".

NMadasamy
You see Lili, it depends on where you are coming from. Based on your interpretation of her, to you Lalita is just a consort to Shiva. As for us we see her more than just a "consort with desires to sport with her Lord"

According to Guruji Amritananda Saraswati : The Yoni doesn't "contain" the Lingam, the Lingam is Devi's also.

Bhasurananda Natha remarked : She is Energy, satchidananda. She can create another Shiva at Her will. The yoni-lingam, in the Shakta view, is Devi manifesting another Shiva.

Lalita Ambika : Lalita as well as Mother. The Meaning given in the Padma Pr : "transcending all worlds, she sports [lalate ] hence she is called Lalita". "Worlds" means her surrounding lights or deities. "Transcending" being above their abodes in the bindu- place. "sports" shines brilliantly.

The wise say. "The word Lalita has eight meanings, namely brilliancy, manifestation, sweetness, depth, fixity, energy, grace and generosity; these are the eight human qualilties."

The Kama-sastra says : Lalita means erotic actions and also tenderness; as she has all the above mentioned qualities, she is called Lalita. It is said also, "thou art rightly called lalita for thou hast nine divine attendants [ in the Sricakra] and your bow is made of sugar-cane, your arrows are flowers, and everything connected with you is lovely [lalita]" The word lalita according to the SabdArnava means beautiful.

Lalita-Sahasranama with Bhaskararaya's commentary. Translated into English by R. Ananthakrishna Sastry.

Devi Bhakta
"Lalita" means only "She who is playful; she who loves to have fun, to sport."

The "with Her Lord" part is essentially non-Shakta editorial gloss. *lol* It is part of the more mainstream Hindu understanding of Devi as consort -- i.e., as, at best, the taxicab who drops you off at Shiva's feet.

The Shakta view is quite different, as can be gathered from Bhasurananda's remark that Devi is simply Brahman, and "She can create another Shiva at Her will." The yoni-lingam, in the Shakta perspective, is indeed Devi manifesting another Shiva.

Reference to Guruji Amritananda's teaching about the yoni-lingam, to which I'd add (from an unpublished conversation) that the image is rooted in "ancient Sakta fertility cults." According to Amritaji, the yoni-lingam (he was speaking in particular of the image at the center of Devipuram's Kamakhya temple, but the interpretation applies equally to all such images) has an even more esoteric meaning than the one Lili mentions:

"On face value it is the image of a lingam in union with a yoni, the male principle penetrating the female." The deeper esoteric (i.e., initiatory) meaning, however, is that "the lingam is actually emerging from the yoni. In other words, what one is viewing from the exoteric perspective as the God and Goddess in union, is -- from the esoteric perspective -- the Goddess's own lingam."

This teaching, of course, would mirror the Sri Vidya view that the ritual of maithuna, esoteric enough in itself, is actually symbolic of a deeper state of total identification of the Deity within the self.

Incidentally, this would also explain Nora's earlier comment that maithuna is "not essential. For those who wants to explore that it is there; otherwise no." (That's also quoting Bhasura, if I'm not mistaken ;-) ... ). The idea being that, while authentic maithuna is a perfectly acceptable means to the goal, in reality everything you need is already within you.

Kochu
Indeed, as I have said time and again the sexual part in Tantra is far less than the sexual part in an ordinary NORMAL life. Even that is far different from what is now being touted in the west as "Saced Sexuality".

The sexual part of tantra is also a trap those who go in without knowing how to get out are trapped like the flys in the venus fly trap and is consumed.

Hence the need for great caution in that area.

Satish Raja Arigela
The Shakta view is quite different, as can be gathered from Bhasurananda's remark that Devi is simply Brahman, and "She can create another Shiva at Her will." The yoni-lingam, in the Shakta perspective, is indeed Devi manifesting another Shiva.
Above is not necessarily the Shakta view but it is what your acquaintance thinks is the Shakta view.

Half sentences and half readings can be misleading.

1)Kamakala vilasa, commentary on verse 2

"It may be said that as it is not possible for Shiva to create without Shakti nor for Para Shakti without Shiva, how can She be said to be 'the seed.' To meet this it is said that She is the pure mirror in which Shiva experiences Himself."

For verse 4 it is said,

"ParaShiva is the adored Lord ParamaShiva who is mere Prakasha. The mass of His rays is the pure Vimarsha mirror. Vimarsha is the Shakti or movement which is limitless. She is here compared to a mirror because of Her thereby manifesting Herself."

50
"They lead to the conclusion that it is the very merciful Parameshvara, the 'supreme truth' as massive consciousness and bliss and as both Prakasha and Vimarsha who divided His own self into the bindus making Kamakala and became Kama-Kameshvari....."

There are lot more from this work. Guess what ? The text endorses Vamachara and both the author and the commentator are ShriVidya upasakas of great repute.

Let us see another:
Lalita Sahasranama, 53 rd name
"or men worship Devi to reach Siva, hencee she is SivA.", among other meanings.

for 408 he says "Beyond Shiva. Because the position of Shiva depends on Shakti. Or to whom Shiva is the supreme. or She reveals Shiva(to Her devotees)"

There are names where Bhaskararaya gives more importance to Shakti and names where he gives more importance to Shiva. One can go on and on(both texts and sayings of shakta-s - actually scores of references) to show Shiva and Shakti are considered inseperable and non-different.

But didnt Shankaracharya and others say "Shiva is nothing without Shakti..."? True. No doubt about that. The fact is that Shakti will never exist seperate from Shiva, just like it is impossible to think of Sun without Sunlight or of Sunlight without Sun.

Actually some initiates well versed in the lore do not even like the concept of reference to seperate Shaiva and Shakta darshana-s.

Kochu
"bhaja govindam bhaja govindam bhaja Govindam Moodhamate; samprapte sannihite kaale nahi nahi rakshati dukring karane"

A free translation is " do upasana and not hairsplitting debates as the debates will not help you during the last moments"

So sang a great SHAKTA upasaka - the adi Shankara.

The beauty and the difficulty of sanskrit language is that the same sentence can be interpreted in myrid ways. Each one takes the meaning according to his/her level of development and inclinations. For the poor kaulas there is one meaning; there is another for the highly elevated vaideekas; and there is another meaning for somebody who is neither a kaula nor a vaideeka. There is one meaning for each reader thats special to him/her.

In this context the statement of Parasurama "sarwa darshanaanindaa" comes to mind. One shall not find fault with ANY path. (I hope my recollection is correct) (I do not have the books here).

The same book of Parashurama has been interpreted from the pure vaideeka point of view by Rameswara Suri and in it he criticizes Umananda Natha of Nityotsava. Maybe valid - may not be valid. It is an intellectual excercise. Gives another point of view.

But the proof of the pudding is in the eating. No parampara of Rameswara Suri survives (as far as I know) but that through Umananda Natha does survive and thrive. The commentary itself survived because it is ALSO a valid interpretation from the intellectual point of view.

IMHO All points of view must be looked at and like the proverbial Swan; the upasaka must take the milk from the mixture of milk and water and accept the interpretation that is special to THAT upasaka. But, when it comes to "Guru vaakya", the Shishya normally will not question it. There are many areas where commentators have used the words "This is well known"; "as one knows" "must be known from Guru" and the like. The reason is not because the author does not have the knowledge, the time or inclination to pen what is referred to, but they are referring to areas where there are various interpretations and leaves it to one's own Guru to tailor it to the deciple's needs and circumstances.

Whoever said that Shiva and Shakti are to be separated and worshipped? In this context as i understood the path of Shakta leads to the EXPERIENCING of "Aham Brahmasmi"(I am Brahma); "Tat twam asi"(Thou art That); "ayam aathmaa Brahma"(I am the soul that is Brahma) and "Prajnaanam Brahma"(consciousnesses Brahma). When that is experienced where is the Shiva? Where is the Shakti? Where are you and I? The duality disappears only then. We poor people think Nora is different from Satish who is different from DB. But when we realize the essential unity this differentiation goes. How many of us can claim that experience? Until we get that experience one must wander among the words of the texts like blind men trying to understand what the elephant is (the story is too well known to need repetition). I for one believe that everything emanates from the “Spanda” the pulsation of Shakti and everything gets withdrawn in her.

In this context if books are looked into there is a tendency that each author extols his/her ishta Devata as the Supreme. We have books declaring Shiva, Shakti, Vishnu, Skanda, Subamanya etc. as “Supreme”. Is it that they are all wrong? Not at all!! It is a style of saying that for that upasaka that particular deity form is Brahman that is all.

I have also watched Viashnava Aiyangars averting the eye from Shiva temples (I saw that sight a mere 4 years ago). They consider anything shaiva and ashes as abomination. Are they wrong? No!! They are right in their perspective. So each has his/her perspective and there is no need to impose others’ perspectives.

In short IMHO every one is correct.

As there were interpretations, there will be more in future. One may have read X number of texts but there maybe just one text somewhere where it is interpreted otherwise. so lets not take rigid views. Let all views be expressed.

Satish Raja Arigela
kochu1tz wrote: "bhaja govindam bhaja govindam bhaja Govindam Moodhamate; samprapte sannihite kaale nahi nahi rakshati dukring karane"
Need more be told as to how Acharya spent a major portion of his life. This misunderstanding of Adi Shankara has done much damage especailly after the advent of the Theosophical society and Blavatsky.

Proper study is required along with upasana. That is made clear not only by Adi Shankara but also but other acharya-s not in one but in a number of places.

The beauty and the difficulty of sanskrit language is that the same sentence can be interpreted in myrid ways. Each one takes the meaning according to his/her level of development and inclinations.
It is true that there are various interpretations possible. And there is no need to hide behind that fact, on matters made clear by the elders.

For the poor kaulas there is one meaning; there is another for the highly elevated vaideekas; and there is another meaning for somebody who is neither a kaula nor a vaideeka.
I dont think I need to remind that these are not the only two paths that existed and are existing in India. In this context the statement of Parasurama "sarwa darshanaanindaa" comes to mind. One shall not find fault with ANY path. (I hope my recollection is correct) (I do not have the books here).
True. It is very important. It is best to read and assimilate what is required from everything.

In this context if books are looked into there is a tendency that each author extols his/her ishta Devata as the Supreme. We have books declaring Shiva, Shakti, Vishnu, Skanda, Subamanya etc. as "Supreme". Is it that they are all wrong? Not at all!! It is a style of saying that for that upasaka that particular deity form is Brahman that is all.
That is exactly what I am trying to say. Thank you for elaborating.

I have also watched Viashnava Aiyangars averting the eye from Shiva temples (I saw that sight a mere 4 years ago). They consider anything shaiva and ashes as abomination. Are they wrong? No!! They are right in their perspective. So each has his/her perspective and there is no need to impose others' perspectives.

Actually their own vaishnava agama-s, i.e Pancharatra texts have sentences extolling Ganapati, vagishvari, Kshetrapala etc and even Shiva. It is only those who who did not yet develop well that display tha attitude. There are actually vaishnavas who turned to ShriVidya upasakas etc etc.

pradeep kumar
Bhasurananda Natha remarked : She is Energy, satchidananda. She can create another Shiva at Her will. The yoni-lingam, in the Shakta view, is Devi manifesting another Shiva.
It is usually the unchanging reality behind all changing reality which is given the name ParamaSiva. All beings has this witness consciousness, for someone to will this has to be there. The primordial witness conscious does not have any creator.

Lili Masamura
I personally have found worship of the Shiva Lingam a necessary part of my work with Shakti. I attained to Lalita some time ago...I wrote about it her a while back.I received an initiation into Kurukulla, "Lady of the Iron Hook", the wrathful aspect of Lalita, sometimes referred to as "Red Tara". My initiator was a tulku Lama of the Tibetan Drukpa tradition. Previous to it I had been reading the Lalitasahasranama and meditating on it for months, as well as doing regular Shiva Puja every Monday. How can one worship Shakti without Shiva? They seem different but there is as much difference between them as a triangle turned point down, and then point up. They appear completely different from each other, but are still the same triangle in both cases! Insisting on one instead of the other is to be lost in duality. There is no Mother without a Father somewhere. One can have a preference, certainly, but you will eventually be led along that path that leads to the Other.

Devi Bhakta
This is very nicely expressed, Lili ...

You wrote: "They seem different but there is as much difference between them as a triangle turned point down, and then point up. They appear completely different from each other, but are still the same triangle in both cases! Insisting on one instead of the other is to be lost in duality. There is no Mother without a Father somewhere. One can have a preference, certainly, but you will eventually be led along that path that leads to the Other."

I think a lot of people pay lip service to the equality of Shakti and Shiva. But when you push them into a corner -- as Amritananda did when he made his assertion about the Lingam belonging to Devi -- you get ... well, you get exactly what I got in response to my post citing his teaching: A bunch of scriptural quotations saying that, Gee, actually Shiva is the *real* Ultimate. Equality goes out the window. The responder even goes so far as to not-so-subtly downgrade the teachings of an authentic and recognized Shakta Guru to "what your acquaintance thinks is the Shakta view." You see? The Guru is now a mere "acquaintance" and a wrong-thinking acquaintance at that. And for what? For the "crime" of disagreeing with the responder's shy informant about Sakti's proper place. Very pretty indeed.

But it effectively reveals the fallacy of the lip-service paid to equality, as I believe Amritananda intended it to.

I believe the problem may be at least partially rooted in the philosophical understand of Devi as Shakti, and Shiva as ShaktimAn; Devi as Power, and Shiva as the Holder or Possessor of Power. The possessive case, rendered into English as "of," appears in the classical metaphors routinely trotted out in this arguments, comparing Devi to the inseparable Whiteness [attribute] OF [possessed by] Milk [Shiva]; or the warmth [attribute] of [possessed by] Fire [Shiva]; or the brightness [attribute] of [possessed by] the Sun [Shiva].

There is no doubt in my mind that Shakti and Shiva are One, or the they are two sides of the same coin, so to speak, and ultimately Equal. But Equal means Equal. Thus we may read in the Yoginihridaya Tantra that She is given Shiva's attributes: "Obeisance to She who is Pure Being-Consciousness-Bliss, in the form of Power [key words!]; to She who exists in the form of Time and Space and All that is therein; to She who is the radiant Illumination in all beings."

Woodroffe added, "The communitites of so-called 'TAntrik' worshippers are fivefold according as the cult is of Surya [the Sun], Ganesha, Vishnu, Shiva or Shakti. To the Knower, however, the five named are not distinct Divinities, but different aspects of the One Power or SHAKTI. An instructed Shakti-worshipper is one of the least sectarian of people. S/He can worship in all temples ...

The Shakta is so called because the chosen Deity of his/her worship [Ishta-devata] is SHAKTI, in whose cult, both in doctrine and practice, emphasis is laid on THAT ASPECT OF THE ONE in which it is the Source of Change and, in the form of Time and Space and all objects therein, Change Itself.

The flipping triangle you mentioned expresses the same truth, and your statement that the distinction is ultimately one of preference is spot-on. And all without slagging off any Gurus or disparaging the beliefs of others in the Group -- which places you, in my humble opinion, far above the utterly sectarian bile that was spouting in the previously referenced discussion along this thread.

NMadasamy
Satyen Rao wrote : The great Sri Ramana Maharishi was asked by visitor "Master there are so many ways to enlightenment and I feel I suit every one of them. Which one I should take?". Sri Ramana simply answered "Go back where you came from".

How right you are. That is what I am doing : going back to the point when this whole discussion begins. To be honest, I have not "graduated" from the yoni-lingam message as yet. I am still stuck with it. All these Maithuna discussion is too much for me.

Let me brings you all back to what devi bhakta wrote [ see shakti sadhana and sacred sexuality] : The Shakta view is quite different, as can be gathered from Bhasurananda's remark that Devi is simply Brahman, and "She can create another Shiva at Her will." The yoni- lingam, in the Shakta perspective, is indeed Devi manifesting another Shiva. Guruji Amritananda's teaching about the yoni-lingam, to which I'd add (from an unpublished conversation) that the image is rooted in "ancient Sakta fertility cults." According to Amritaji, the yoni-lingam (he was speaking in particular of the image at the center of Devipuram's Kamakhya temple, but the interpretation applies equally to all such images) has an even more esoteric meaning than the one Lili mentions: "On face value it is the image of a lingam in union with a yoni, the male principle penetrating the female." The deeper esoteric (i.e.,initiatory) meaning, however, is that "the lingam is actually emerging from the yoni. In other words, what one is viewing from the exoteric perspective as the God and Goddess in union, is -- from the esoteric perspective -- the Goddess's own lingam."

I have spend a lot of time thinking about this. I begin with this question : why do these two great gurus [ I know some may not agree, but in my opinion they are ] says those? What do they see that I don't? That has been my obessesion. Please understand these are just my personal thoughts. I have reservation about sharing it here. My two moderators have been very supportive. And here it goes….

Yes! what do they see that I don't? All these years I am made to believe that the lingam is indeed union with a yoni, until now. I spend the days, analysing the yoni-lingam. Looking at it from all different angle. When I look from the top view, lajjahGauri image comes into my mind.

"Indeed, Her birth/sexual posture unambiguously denotes fertility and reproductive power. This is Devi as the Creatress, as Mother of the Universe, as the Life-Giving Force of Nature, in a bold, uncompromising display of the Divine Feminine Principle."

Then jokingly says to myself : hey isnt this cool. If I go to Sivan temple with husband [ who is a shivite] and when both of us sit infront of the yoni-lingam. He goes Om Nama Shivaaya and he thinks of Lord shiva, and I goes Om Nama ShivaayA and I think of Devi in her creative form? Imagine two people seeing the same image but interprete it differently. If it is really Devi in her creative form, then the story in Lalitopakhyana VI make sense : Manifestation of Lalita Devi [204] The Lalita Parameshwari so manifested, created a male form from within Herself. His name was Kameshwara. [210] She extended Herself in both male and female forms and continued the process of creation.

How can you visualise "Lalita created a male from within Herself", If not the image of Yoni-lingam? If the yoni-lingam is devi in her creative form is correct, I am being asked, when is Devi *not* in her creative stage?

Lili Masamura
According to Amritaji, the yoni-lingam (he was speaking in particular of the image at the center of Devipuram's Kamakhya temple, but the interpretation applies equally to all such images) has an even more esoteric meaning than the one Lili mentions: "On face value it is the image of a lingam in union with a yoni, the male principle penetrating the female." The deeper esoteric (i.e.,initiatory) meaning, however, is that "the lingam is actually emerging from the yoni. In other words, what one is viewing from the exoteric perspective as the God and Goddess in union, is -- from the esoteric perspective -- the Goddess's own lingam."

The idea of the Goddess with a lingam I have mentioned before; I spoke of the Ardhanarishvara (The Lord Who is half Female) who could also be equally Ardhanarishvari (The Goddess who is half Male. I also once visualized the form of the Yoni-Lingam as viewed from the inside..the Lingam power filling the Yoni, and manifestation radiating from it all around. If we insist on the order of emanation as conferring authority, then the Goddess must be regarded as secondary, since there must be power in order to have manifestation, but if one sees all this without getting entangled in the "me first" dynamic, there is no difference between them. A husband and wife are supposed to be regarded as one being, it is only here in the plane of Maya with our false notions of female impurity and inferiority that makes all this God-Goddess business so emotionally charged with illusory baggage. Once one can get past these notions, which have no validity whatever on the subtle planes, one can make progress and stop splitting hairs about this and that. Getting entangled in theological minutiae is the curse of spiritual progress everywhere. When it is said "one must become as a little child" to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, it means to not clutter up one's psyche with things that have nothing to do with getting to the goal, but to "keep it simple". This is why I myself have dropped the study of nearly all texts, and stick mainly to devotional methods; it was getting too damn confusing! The Master Vimalananda said "When people ask what sect I belong to I tell them "I do not believe in "sampradaya" (sect); I believe in "sampradaha" (incineration). Burn down whatever is getting in the way of your inner perceptions!"

If the yoni-lingam is devi in her creative form is correct, I am being asked, when is Devi *not* in her creative stage?

When She is in Her Destructive stage!!!

"The flames of Thy mouths devour all the worlds. Thy glory fills the whole universe. But how terrible Thy splendours burn! B-G, Ch. 11, v.30

Mary Ann
I don't understand this - are you saying that the female/feminine has no power unto itself? So, the male has to come first, because male is power? Or are you saying that that is how male/female symbolism is commonly understood? This is why I think that it's pointless to genderize creative energy, and human qualities. I agree with your saying the Ard. can be half God/half woman and half Goddess/half man. In fact, even if it was half woman, half Goddess, or half man/half God, since Woman and Goddess contain Man and God, and vice versa, each pairing would still represent a whole, which is why traditional ideas of marriage, or pairing, being only between a man and a woman, fail. If all qualities reside within all people there is no necessity to put oeople in male-female couples all the time. The couple is within each person. And the fact that we do still ascribe certain power(s) or qualities to one or the other gender is what does a disservice to the whole of each of us. Because after the Ardhanareshwari is reached comes full realization, free of gender and quality-typing. For me, Shakti Sadhana helps to re- balance these energies rather than reinforcing the stereotyping of qualities.

NMadasamy
A shy correspondence sent me this.

"It seems your contemplation of the yoni lingam is ultimately a recognition of the creative principle permeating all."

It is my personal believe that creativity itself is Divine in nature. Where does creativity comes from in the first place? Any act of creation is Divine in nature.

"Also, that you have experienced the difference of the two views (Shaivite and Shakta) while accompanying your husband to his temple."

But isn't this natural. Yes! We are husband and wife, but we are two separate individuals each with their own likes and dislikes. To say that we don't, I think we are not being practical. What I experiences is nothing new. You have the same image [ not necessarily the yoni- lingam ] and you take 2 people both of the same belief, and they too will give you two different interpretation. So who is right and who is wrong? Spiritual experience is something very personal.

"This may be too personal, but are you two able to be united ultimately in your spiritual understandings,or are you divided by your different ways of seeing the same image(s)? And does it matter? And if it does matter, in what way(s) does it matter?"

I think eventually we are united in our spiritual understandings. Also what do you understand by spiritual understanding. Both accepts the other as we are and we try not to impose our beliefs on each other. Because I am shakta that doesn't mean I should not go to a shivite temple and the same goes for him. There should not be any barrier. In fact sometimes we remind each other of our religious obligations. Isn't that what it should be?.

This is not something our guruji Amritananda and Bhasurananda Natha imagine from thin air or at their whims and fancy. There are scriptures evidence since people here are so obsess with scriptures quotation. What I am doing is to point out : yes! They are there. And yes! Yes! There are so many more out there that we know not of. We should just brush new ideas away and say: they are utterly nonsense.

That is precisely I did when I am being told about this yoni-lingam. I started my journey by asking : What did these two gurus see that I don't? Everything begins with a question and with the desire to find the answers that will eventually brings us to the truth.



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