Goddess Traditions in Tantric Hinduism

Goddess Traditions in Tantric Hinduism : History, Practice and Doctrine

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Hinduism cannot be understood without the Great Goddess and the goddess-orientated Sakta traditions. The Goddess pervades Hinduism at all levels, from aniconic village deities to high-caste pan-Hindu goddesses to esoteric, tantric goddesses. Nevertheless, the highly influential tantric forms of South Asian goddess worship have only recently begun to draw scholarly attention. This book addresses the increasing interest in the Great Goddess and the tantric traditions of India by exploring the history, doctrine and practices of the Sakta tantric traditions. The highly influential tantric forms of South Asian goddess worship form a major part of what is known as 'Saktism', and is often considered one of the major branches of Hinduism next to Saivism, Vaisnavism and Smartism. Saktism is, however, less clearly defined than the other major branches, and the book looks at the texts of the Sakta traditions that constitute the primary sources for gaining insights into the Sakta religious imaginative, ritual practices and history. It provides an historical exploration of distinctive Indian ways of imagining God as Goddess, and surveys the important origins and developments within Sakta history, practice and doctrine in its diversity. Bringing together contributions from some of the foremost scholars in the field of tantric studies, the book provides a platform for the continued research into Hindu goddesses, yoga, and tantra for those interested in understanding the religion and culture in South Asia.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 198 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 12.7mm | 430g
  • Taylor & Francis Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 6 black & white illustrations, 2 black & white tables, 4 black & white halftones, 2 black & white line drawings
  • 1138823341
  • 9781138823341

About Bjarne Wernicke Olesen

Bjarne Wernicke Olesen is a Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, UK, and a teacher of classical South Asian languages and religions at Aarhus University, Denmark.show more

Table of contents

Foreword Gavin Flood Introduction Bjarne Wernicke Olesen 1. Sakti in Early Tantric Saivism: Historical Observations on Goddesses, Cosmology, and Ritual in the Nisvasatattvasamhita Shaman Hatley 2. The (Un)Dreadful Goddess: Aghori in Early Sakta Tantras Judit Torzsok 3. Varieties of Melaka in the Jayadrathayamala: Some Reflections on the Terms Hatha and Priya Olga Serbaeva 4. Snakebite Goddesses in the Siakta Traditions: Roots and Incorporations of Tvarita, Kurukulla, and Bherunodoa Michael Slouber 5. The Candali as Sakti: Untouchable Women in Some Tantric Texts Mikael Aktor 6. Saktism and Hathayoga James Mallinson 7. Saktism, Polity and Society in Medieval Malabar Rich Freemanshow more