A group Conversation : Shakti the Sex Energy?

Nora
Once I posted a question from a non-Hindu friend who asked me: Why the Hindu goddess appear sexual?. I got reprimanded in public. This person said such question is not fit to be asked in Shakti Sadhana because it is an insult to DEVI. I have been trying to understand this uproar, because in my opinion I didn't see it as an insult ,but a question by an innocent friend who are curious about our Goddess and was just voicing out his honest opinion. It is my believe that instead of us reprimanding him/ or me for trying to be helpful ( cause' I am posting somebody's question ), we should explainto him in a logical and rational matter. As my moderator Kochu1tz himself agrees with me : without asking how will you learn. And that Hindu Goddess and Gods are sexual because there is nothing to be ashamed of in sex.

But this question I am about to post on behalf of a member of a group, is slightly different. Some may find it offensive but to me this question should be in the message board and should be discuss ( if possible ), thus I have decided to make him anonymous.( He did told me that it is okay to use his name but after much thoughts ( the pros and cons ), I have decided otherwise. I hope all of you do forgive me for this ) Kochu1tz too agrees with me, saying "yes indeed it is one of THE MOST interesting questions and we must disabuse peoples' thinking that sex takes you to God and more partners the better!!"

I have made this into a conversation mode as this was discuss with other members of the group over the chat line.

TG : Is Sexual energy the Goddess ?

N : Shakti is the energy, but as Shakta, I never look at her as a sexual energy because she is above all that.

K : Actually I feel sexual energy is ONE OF THE manifestations of Shakthi

D : I think any energy is. To call it sexual energy rather than just energy is a block.

TG : Isnt sexual energy is an aspect of kundalini Shakti. In Red Tantra sex energy is use the boost the kundalini. What I mean is like seeing beyond sex as sex. Seeing it as a cosmic energy rather than gross sex. Associating sex energy as divine, something I have always done.

D: In kundalini yoga, chastity is encouraged so that the energy usually expended on sex (human union) can be raised upward for divine union. In that sense, it's kundalini (a form of Devi) who is moving upward and therefore it's fair to guess that She is the same energy moving downward (i.e. for human sex). But it is not a different energy -- it's all the same Shakti put to different use by the atman. My opinion is that when people get stuck on spiritualizing sex, they are actually failing to spiritualize it. I feel bad actually that DEVI gets stuck with all this. You know, no one asks if Allah is sexual energy or whether Jesus is sexual energy. To me that a pure Shakta, who thinks of DEVI as Purusa as well as Prakriti, has to rise above those associations.

She is one and the other -- unlike Shaivism and Vaishnavism, She doesn't call on us to deny sex or any other material things, pleasureable or otherwise. but we must attempt to dwell in Her spiritual aspects as well, or we've become stuck at the level of Maya and can't clearly see to Her transcendent aspects.

Satish
Nora remarked in her inconversation series She is one and the other -- unlike Shaivism and Vaishnavism, She doesn't call on us to deny sex or any other material things, pleasureable or otherwise.

Namaste,
Is there any proof for the above statement?

Can you please tell me where and how does Shaivismand Vaishnavism deny enjoying material pleasures?

Did somebody write that? If so I would like to knowhow much of Shaivism and Vaishnavism that individual is familair with.

Sankara Menon

I cannot quote line and verse to-day but I remember reading :" where there is bhukthi, there is no mukthi and where there is mukthi there is no bhukthi; only Sri Vidya gives both bhukthi and mukthi".Thats why lalita is said to be "Bhukthi Mukthi pradaayinI" I am just paraphrasing what i remember. I will give the exact verse within a few days. The book has been taken by a friend.

Satish

shrIH
Namaste,
That is just an exaggeration. Such praises are used so as to create an interest in the sadhaka. They are called arthavaada( meaning exaggeration). Such exaggerations are found at the end of many stotras and even in some parts in Vedas, I was told.

If we take Shiva Purana, it has similar statements when speaking about Shaiva mantras and so does any Vaishnava Purana about Vaishnava devatas and mantras.

As an aside:Personally I see Shakta and Srividya systems as seperate things(even though the differences are not that great). I can be wrong here.

Sivadancer

Pranams Satish
Is there a sciptural basis for the idea of arthavaada? If someone just decides that one part of a Veda is an "exagerration," who is to say that ALL of it is also not "exaggeration?"

Childofdevi

Namaste!

In the grand opus of saiva siddhanta, tirumantiram, tirumoolar although a staunchly vaidika supportor, does tell about some vamachara practices. in other saiva streams like aghora and kapalikas, they are blatantly sexual.

Of vaishnavas, the sahajiyas (followers of krishna-radha) used to engage in sexual orgies in the past; in fact then sex was considered to be of a more vaishnava practice than shakta.

But yes Nora, the general stereotype is that shaktas alone permit sex and salvation, others are too reclusive.

Prisni

Satish wrote : Can you please tell me where and how does Shaivism and Vaishnavism deny enjoying material pleasures?

Vaisnavas are not against sex, they are against Maya and what is illusory.

The problem with sex (in the material world) is that it is so attractive and binding that people are willing to give up everything, their spiritual practices, and even themselves for it.

Sex, or lust (kama) is an act of the material body. The bodies are programmed to have a great attraction to sex, and it is almost an automatic function of the bodies to have sex. There is no education, knowledge, or other things needed. It is a kind of animal act to reproduce, even with the human bodies.

Sex is harmless, if it is done like any other act, without attachement and without lust. At least in the tradition I know about, most Vaisnavas were married, had families and children. The problem is not sex in itself, but the motivation.

A problem is that many persons mix up love and sex, thinking they both are the same. Or maybe many think sex is love, and don't know about any other form of love.

The Vaisnava process is a process of developing spiritual life. Meaning developing spritual senses, spiritual feelings, spiritual thinking, and so on. Most conditioned persons have no idea what that is all about. They are completely trapped by the illusion that this material existence, with all the troubles of daily material life, is all there is, and that there is nothing more. But spiritual life, according to the Vaisnava conception, is something else. Something new. Something common people have no idea about.

Sex attraction is taken as a kind of measurement how much that spiritual other thing is developed. If a person thinks that sex life is the best there is, there is nothing else, and can't detach him/herself from it, that person have not developed that other spiritual conciousness.

According to Vaisnava understanding, everything in the material world is patterned on something spiritual. Maybe like a movie is patterned on real existence. Everything that is there in the real existence is there on the movie screen, but what is not on the movie screen is actually not real. It is only two dimensional, it is kind of static, and it goes automatic. The people in the movie are not real people. They are kind of illusory. In the same way, this world is seen as illusory. I kind of movie image of the real existence.

Therefore this existence is considered useless, and an illusion, just like the life on the movie screen is useless and illusory. If someone see a love scene, on the movie, and see sex, and is completely attached to it, thinking that is the best thing there is, that person is really deep in illusion. Real sex is so much more than just watching a movie.

In the same way, if someone thinks this sex life, in this material existence is fantastic, the best there is, and all there is, is also in illusion. Sex life is patterned on something else, something spiritual, and what happens in the material world is just a shadow, an illusion.

A Vaisnava denies the illusion as reality, is trying to develop the vision to see the real thing that this world is patterned on, and think sex life is as useless compared to spiritual feelings, just like a normal person might think that sex life on the movie screen is useless compared to real sex.

Love is a kind of spiritual feeling. Pure love, without contamination of lust. So love without sex, can be one way to start to understand spiritual feelings. Sex without love is pure material lust, useless for spiritual purposes, since it drags down into illusion instead of pulling up.

Ok, I have written many words on this. This is the Vaisnava understanding, or one Vaisnava understanding as I see it. Vaisnavas deal with the sexual energy in the form of sex in the material world mainly by avoiding it. The relationship between Radha and Krishna (which is common by Vaisnavas to worship) is a spiritual relationship, not material. It is not lust. It is the real "sex" that material sex is the shadow of. It can not be understood by the path of material sex. Shakats, as far as I understand, have a little bit different system and a different viewpoint. I don't see that as a contradiction.

Some things are "forbidden" for small children. For example, to play with knives, and to play with fire. But are those things forbidden because some big God has decided that it is sinful for small children to play with knifes and with fire? No, those things are forbidden because the child does not know how to handle those things, and there is a very big chance that the child will hur itself, and others if using them. Not until the child grow up, and mature enough to understand that you can cut yourself on a knife, and that fire burns, is the child "allowed" to use those things. Some naughty child might play with fire anyway, not caring for useless restrictions and do something really nasty like burning down a house. I have witnessed a big barn full of hay burning down, just because some naughty boy "played" with fire, thinking it was a usless restriction that grown up put on him.

So in a similar way, there are rules and restrictions put on those who want to thread religious paths. Those rules and not there just out of wims, but since before one knows how to handle "dangerous" things, it is almost impossible to not hurt oneself and others using them. Therefore they are forbidden. A naughty person, not liking restrictions, might do such a thing anyway, with the result that (s)he will most likely hurt her/himself very severely spiritually.

A child might still use the knife, under strict supervision of a grown up, and then use it a special, almost ritualistic way. And that way tame the danger of the sharp knife and get used to it and do something useful with it.

Sex is often "forbidden". I see that as a cautious rule. That before one know how and why sex is forbidden, one is almost sure to hurt oneself on it, and is completely unable to use it for spiritual uplifting. As long as one does not know how it is dangerous, one is quite certain not to be mature enough to use it. So better stay off from it (for spiritual purposes).

There might be rituals, where sex is used for spiritual purposes, but with a strict ritual and under "adult" supervision, just like a knife can be used by a child, when used in a very specific "ritual" way and under supervision by an adult. Just note that such rituals should not be performed if they are not known to 100% and without supervision of someone. A child can use a knife ritually, but if something is slightly wrong in the ritual, the child might cut off a finger or something. The knife is only harmless as long as the ritual is performed correctly to 100% and there is adult supervision to correct any mistakes.

Frank Martin

On a 'lighter note' one is reminded of the story of the ChristianMonks who lived in cloister. Their seva was to copy ancient texts by hand and the monastery had been at this task for centuries. Each time they finshed the ancient text then would send out the copy that they had just copied from and start again from the one they just had finished. One day a new administrator came and upon examining the process pointed out to the vicar that at some point in time someone could have made 'an error' in transliteration. The vicar went to the basement of the monastery where the originals had been stored untouched for centuries. Hours later there was a death-rattling cry form the basement. The monks all went running and found the vicar gasping for breath and in shock. Upon inquiring as to the problem he pointed to a page of the ancient text and uttered his final words, 'the word is celebrate'.

On a more serious note I have always been taught that part of the yogic process is 'urdhvareta' the upward flow of the seminal fluid. So perhaps we can add this aspect to this discussion.

Sadaashiva
Is there a sciptural basis for the idea of arthavaada? If someone just decides that one part of a Veda is an "exagerration," who is to say that ALL of it is also not "exaggeration?"Yes. The concept of arthavada arises from the scriptures itself.

I meant to convey that it s not a concept outside of scriptures.

There is a way to decide what is exaggeration and what is not

probably somewhere in the mImAMsa shAshtra..but I do not know how they do it.

Another way to decide if something may be exaggeration is to compare with other scriptures of same status. if they say something very different or something opposite, then both cannot be true(or one should be false then, right? which one?), and the scripture does not contradict itself so they are attributed arthavaada.

Childofdevi

Frank wrote: "On a more serious note i have always been taught that part of the yogic process is 'urdhvareta' the upward flow of the seminal fluid. So perhaps we can add this aspect to this discussion. namaste frank!

I have always experienced currents that go up and down my spine, sometimes these are under my conscious control, sometimes not...the thing is I have never been able to get this current that originates at the base chakra to fully enter into my head.

Once when I was studying to be a shisya under satguru sivasubramuniya swami, I was following a period of strict celibacy (gurudeva requires this of all his sishyas); under some circumstances which I cannot speak out, gurudeva blessed me with oordhvaretas, that is the seminal energy fully entered the head-this I could maintain only for 2 days. and during those 2 days, I had a photographic memory, meaning that if I quickly glanced through the pages of a book, everything could be recalled quickly;my comprehension rate increased 100 fold and during the period, I was full of such boundless energy and needed very little sleep. I have been trying to recapture this experience ever since but have never been successful.the closest that I can get is with vigorous hatha yoga (the headstand for 1/2 hour is the best).

Can anyone help me out here?

oordhvaretas is the most powerful way of self-improvement-certainly there is nothing as powerful as the sexual energy, if this can be directed as one desires, then there is nothing that the individual cannot achieve(this is agreed upon by no less a personage than napolean hill himself, the father of the science of success in the west).

anand supraath

Very often, I am asked if I believe in the existence of God. I cannot and should not say that there is no God, because if I do, I will be hurting the sentiments of a lot of people.

I think God lives within us. God is a very powerful thought that inspires us - a power one wants to experience. When you stand in front of an idol and seek solace and peace then God gives you solace and peace. You pray and you achieve what you want.

Belief is very important. The voice from within is very crucial. It's not that one should set out on a journey to find or seek the power that brings one peace. You can't ever be certain to find it in a temple, a mosque, a church or a gurudwara. You have to find it within. I do not visit religious places and I do not follow such rituals. I think it's a superstition to look for God in idols.

In my film Guide, the protagonist, Raju, is an atheist. He tries to steal prasad when there is a severe draught in the area and he is fasting to appease the rain Gods. It is the faith that the villagers put in him and his fast unto death that pricks his conscience and stops Raju from stealing prasad. For the villagers, it is Raju who brings rain. And even though he dies in the end, he becomes immortal for the villagers who believed in him.

I strongly believe that one needs to listen to that inner voice and have a strong conscience. We are intelligent enough to discriminate the good from the bad. We must try not to hurt anybody and live peacefully.(As told to Divya Vasisht)

shivaks51

A long post ... if you have the patience to read till the end ...

The conscious intellect perceives the world through the five physical senses. In this it sees the sun, the moon, the landscape, rivers and forests, people and institutions built around people - families, societies and nations. This is the first step. Then he leverages knowledge and the powers of reasoning to deduce what lies behind the physical world. Some "sees" the laws of physics and mathematics, he deduces the "reason" behind seemingly magical events likes thunder and lightning, heat and cold, health and disease. Others delve into the depths of the mind and seek similar explanations for the behaviour of individuals and collectives.

There are others, and it is these others who are the most interesting to us, go even further. Pushing past the limitations of the five physical senses as well as the limitations imposed by rational inquiry, they explore the uncharted terrain that lies beyond what can be described as the physical landscape or the mental mindscape. These are mystics who have access to dimensions beyond those described in time and space.

But the images that they perceive remain with them and them alone. They cannot bring these images back and show them to - or share them with - others who have not yet acquired the ability to perceive them. Or if they do, the images get distorted beyond recognition and are reduced to representations that may serve as a pointer to what it seeks to represent. Consider ..

* If a three-dimensional sphere is represented on a two dimensional paper, it either looks like a circle or suffers from the errors that are inevitable in cartographic projections.

* A photograph of an event that extends in time, for example the cascade of a waterfall, presents a representative snapshot without conveying the sense of time.

* A person who is blind from birth cannot perceive the beauty of a rainbow or the sunset just as one who is tone deaf cannot appreciate the nuances of musical raaga.

* An illiterate person cannot understand the news as it appears in a newspaper. He sees it as a series of alphabetic symbols separated by punctuation marks and white space.

* One who is not trained in mathematics and physics cannot appreciate the significance or rather "beauty" of the Theory of Relativity. He sees the representation as a series of funny symbols.

A fortunate few acquires the ability to perceive the reality behind the representation through various exercises, exertions and perhaps by grace of the reality that is being sought to be seen.

But whatever is it that they see is something that gets grossly distorted when it is brought back and represented in terms of the symbols and images that are used in the "normal" world of conscious intellects.

Which is why we have fantastic images of gods and goddesses and descriptions of their supernatural powers.

So let us try to see or conjecture the nature of the reality - the face of the divine - by extrapolating from the distorted representation that is available to us. This is like ..

* Understanding the nature of a sphere by looking at its circular representation together with the shadow that is also portrayed along and "using" our knowledge of the third dimension.

* Understanding the Theory of Relativity by looking at the greek symbols and "using" our knowledge of other branches of mathematics and physics.

It is our premise that there is one and only one Reality and that the observer and the observed is a part of a self similar pattern that pervades every possible dimension of space, time and other as yet undefined dimensions.

The part sees itself as a part of the whole as long it is deficient in knowledge inputs. As it becomes aware of more and more facts - as its "ignorance" decreases - it acquires a clearer and clearer picture of the whole .... And this is where it proceeds towards convergence.

It is as if a small balloon is being blown up inside a far larger balloon. As the smaller balloon expands with knowledge, the patterns on its surface become more and more similar to the patterns on the surface of the larger balloon. A three-dimensional balloon with knowledge being represented as patterns on its quasi-two-dimensional surface is of course a poor "representation" of the true phenomenon. We need to extrapolate it to an N dimensional balloon expanding with the knowledge represented on its quasi-[N-1] dimensional "surface".

At the point of convergence, often referred to as revelation or samadhi, the smaller balloon becomes as large as the bigger, outer balloon, and the patterns on the two match exactly with each other. That is yoga, the union of the individual with the universal. The nature of the seeker is identical to the nature of the that that is being sought. tat tvam asi ... shivoham !

That is nice. The small balloon that has become large enough to converge with the big balloon is very happy - it is in a state of absolute bliss. But what about the rest of us ? the other smaller balloons, that are still trying to inflate ourselves with knowledge but have still many years - or lives - to go ? What is the face of the divine - albeit the distorted representation of the face - that we see ? We see the representations that the enlightened ones have condescended to show towards us. And we interpret these representations in terms of the concepts and symbols that are available to us through our understanding of the physical world.

* We see the circle that represents the glowing sun and try to interpret it in terms of the yellow fruit that we call an orange.
* We read the musical scores of Beethoven and Bach and try to relate them to the flickering oscilloscopes of a physics laboratory.
* We believe - or rather we do not doubt - that Einstein is right in his Theory of Relativity ... if it was wrong, then other scientists would have disproved him .... But we have to be satisfied with staring at the series of greek letters on the printed page.
So we grab this image of birth and death and hope and pray that it is indeed a reasonable representation of what others who are more advanced than us have perceived. And in this we are perhaps lucky. Those who have seen the real image have assured us that Reality is indeed self-similar and a part of the picture has quite a bit of similarity with the whole. Hence we feel reasonably safe to represent the ultimate Reality in terms of a continuous timeline of birth and death ... or rather creation and destruction.

From this perspective, the image of Kali on top of Shiva is very appropriate.

This image of Kali - standing on top of Shiva and wearing ornaments of human organs is one of the most enigmatic if not the most controversial images that has come down to us from the dawn of recorded history. In fact it is one of the most powerful representations of the creation of the universe. Shiva represents the absolute and undifferentiated Reality - the Brahman, without form and without shape. When it desires to project itself in a physical form, this desire takes the form of the creative principle, the power of Shakti.

The act of creation is represented in the one and only primordial creative process known to man - the act of sexual union. The naked image of Kali poised on top of Shiva is actually an image of the act of sex with the woman on top, controlling and guiding the creative process or the translation of the intangible truth into its sensible form in the physical world. The icon of the female represents the burning desire of the Absolute to reveal itself and the act of sex - the process of creation - is the reason for the existence of the world.

This stark image of wanton desire is too difficult for most people to handle in a social and family environment. Hence adepts who have perceived this representation have tried to sanitise the image through stylistic adaptations.

The celibate vedantists led by Shankaracharya have sought refuge in the geometric forms of the Sri Yantra. That abstract diagram bypasses the overt sexuality of the sexual act by through five downward pointing triangles - that stand for Shakti, the woman on top - superimposed on four upward pointing triangles that represent the erection of the otherwise inert Shiva.
Those who are a little less inhabited, have retained the familiar icons of man and woman but have diluted the impact by having Kali stand on her beloved Shiva. However there are quite a few extant images that show Shiva, even in this state, having a massive erection - a throwback to the original image of the sexual union. Also most hymns of Kali have a fleeting reference to her preference for viparit rataturang - the reverse sexual position with the woman on top.

Creation - and its representation as sexual union - is ofcourse just half the story. The world is in a state of flux as it goes through cycles of creation and destruction.

That is why we have the image of simultaneous creation and destruction. We see Kali in her lurid form, dripping blood and gore as she goes about her task of destruction even as she is participation in the creative process of sexual union. Not only does she the tangible objects of the physical world, there are images where she is shown destroying herself - in fact the world that she represents. The most telling image that portrays this is found in the representation of the Chinnamasta - where she chops off her own head and drinks her own blood to rejuvenate herself.

This recursive image of creation and destruction, the act of giving birth and the act of killing is perhaps the closest representation of the process through which the world that we know exists in the space-time continuum.

Kalika Putra

Shakti the sex energy? THE FOOLISH PERSPECTIVE

Sexual energy, is lust mixed with the physical nature of orgasm both are ASURI in nature; when tantras speak of sexual union it is when the Kundalinireached the anahata since it covers the whole anahata like a vagina to a penis hence this is known as sexual in nature.

I wouldn't analyse Devi in the form; it is perverted since (I presume) you would claim her to be your mother; would you think like this about yourmother?

Devi deserves and commands higher respect then even your maternal mother since her wrath and love are both extreme, if you choose to see her as wife then and even then such things are not to be talked about as you would keep even this nature of your wife to your self.

The is the general rule of Hinduism; it is hypocritical to call her motherand then delve into things like yoni tantra. It is highly offensive; so much so this can be classified as partial Devi ninda.

Nora

I think I could understand Kalika Putra concern and calls it a foolish perspective. He is not wrong if you look at his perspective. Most children from what I know, always think their parent especially their mothers as being asexual. Its very difficult to accept it when somebody says that your mother is sexual. The same reaction we got when in the previous group we featured lajjah Gauri as our goddess as the week. Several people voice their "reserveness" to our Devi Bhakta several times. To some it is like putting the naked picture of your mother up there for others to see. They find it offensive. Are they wrong? No I don't think so. They are justified to express their concern. We need to be sensitive in future, that is what I learn from the whole experience.

Kalika Putra remarked : "as far as 'bad' mothers are concerned , they do exist ! just like bad 'children' do exist, and Adi Shakti16 replied :" but it is a vicious circle bad mothers bring forth bad kids and bad kids in turn make bad mothers"

Right as you are, Adi Shakthi16 but we need to break that vicious circle. Just like poverty and illiteracy, we need to break it only then we can advance, otherwise we are stuck forever. Things just don't happen out of the blue. A mother don't just wake up in the morning and suddenly have this urge to kill her children. It is a cumulative of whole event. We need to look at all these in a holistic way. Its all cause and effect.

jaimaa1008

hi all

This topic has always increased the energy of the masses since a long time and this is when even "tantrics" take up arms against the "asuri", base"and "crude" form of tantra,but it is forgotten that it is this that differentiates tantra from others paths and it was the original tantra and all the pratinidhi forms or substitutions came later.

It is one thing to use substitutes for the panca tattva and another to treat the pancatattvas as symbols for something "spiritual" to to say that sex represents the union of kundalini with siva in the sahasrara or in the anahata and or dahara or whatever. So if everything just signifies something else-n then why tantra? Not that the rest of hinduism was not overtly sexual to begin with what about the satapata brahmana which says "the joyous embrace of the man and woman is the agnihotra sacrifice".

The distinguihing feature of tantra is its insistance on the divinity of "everything" and its non dual nature if everything is divine and one then any method can be used to remove the veils that prevent one from seeing/experienceing it.it is this perspectivce which differentiates tantra from the other religious practices. hence the oft quoted "yaireva pathanam sthirevva siddih"(that whcih leads to ones downfall can also lead to achievement/attainment ). since nature=prakriti=shakti and because everything is shakti sex is also divine,one of the most divine aspect in the universe and it is only perversity induced by a fake moralizing religiosity. if one denies sex one is simultaneously denying the creative principle and hence shakti as mother too.

And what is wrong with "material/impure/mere sex/lust" isnt that a major form of energy probably the only form for a lot of us common folkand if it can be sacrlaised with awareness and a ritual frame work and can be used to reach the divine what is wrong with it. so starting with the premise that all of "us" are caught up in lust and the material plane of existence( by the way there is no other plane of existence unless you have realized the"one".)is it ok for me tobe eating drinking and having sex and pretending to have a spiritual life but not right for me to see the divine in everything.it it the very fact that its not easy for us to ssee the divine in these "five" which makes it an excellent path because it breaks dow the thousands of years of conditioning and bring one face to face with onself "naked and hece face to face with the divine"mother". or father .or oneself. or the universe. or god.

Do you have a problem with that ?

shivaks51

Kali : Mother and Lover

Kali is viewed, or rather worshipped, as the Divine Mother by large sections of the community of devotees. Numerous references to Ma Kali -- or her other manifestations like Tara, Matangi, Tripureshwari etc -- are found scattered in hymns, prayers, songs and other symbols of devotion.

However, there is another perspective, where Kali is viewed as a wife -- of Shiva -- and references to this point of view are fewer and very often esoteric and stylised. For example we have images of her standing on top of Shiva who is explicitly aroused and erect. The big question is that which perspective is correct or rather more appropriate. From the point of view of correctness, it is very obvious that both must be correct. One cannot be a mother unless she has been a wife or lover. But on the other hand, one can argue that both are incorrect. To understand how both could be incorrect, one needs to observe that both these attributes -- that of a mother and that of a lover -- have been imposed on the Divine by the limitations of the human intellect.

Divinity is beyond form and shape, but to visualise her during our worship, we ascribe attributes that we are familiar with. What is her real nature ? I wish I knew but since I really do not, I shall fall back on the description that Ramakrishna used when he was asked by his wife(?) Sarada ... what exactly did SHE mean to HIM ? Ramakrishna replied that she was his Anandamoyee .. a delightfully vague turn of phrase but perhaps that was the closest he could come since he was bound by the limitations of grammar and language.

The next question is which perspective is more appropriate ? Should one view the Devi as the asexual mother or as a sexual lover ? ....

The Hindu way of life is inclusive enough to encompass almost every point of view. In fact we say that Truth is one, but wise men refer to it by different names. Hence if there are two points of view there is no need to start a bitter battle between the two camps. Let each one take his or her own path towards the Anandamoyee.

However the majority of Hindus view the Divine as their mother, perhaps because a mother image is easier to relate to when we are asking for boons, help or guidance. We rush to the mother to seek solace in times of trouble and sorrow. For this majority, it may be an affront to portray her -- their mother -- in the nude or engaged in sexual union. If we believe in the principle of the greatest good for the greatest number, we should desist from disturbing their sentiments.

But that does not invalidate the other perspective, that of a sexually active Devi. From a philosophical perspective, the sexuality of the Devi is critical for the world to exist. Shiva represents the inert potentiality of the universe. Devi represents the personification of the desire of the inert potential to manifest itself, to create the world. Without her active participation -- represented as sexual participation -- the world as we know it would cease to exist.

As the adept moves ahead with his sadhana, as his knowledge/wisdom increases and the fog of Maya become more and more transparent, the sadhak begins to identify himself more and more with Shiva -- the fundamental principle. As Shiva, he sees the Devi -- no more as a mother, but as a wife and lover. He sees her as one who gives form and shape to his amorphous desire to create, or procreate.

These are the ones who view the Devi as Lover and fortunately for the rest, they do this in the privacy of their own esoteric practices. Hence society at large -- especially those of us who view the Devi as their mother -- is not disturbed !



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