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SHAKTISM - Sanatana Dharma

GODDESS '' SHAKTI '' Shaktism (literally - "the doctrine of force" or "the doctrine of the Goddess"...

Shaktism (literally - "the doctrine of force" or "the doctrine of the Goddess") - one of the areas of Hinduism, based on the worship of Shakti or Devi - the Mother Goddess in Hinduism - both absolute and original form of God. Along with Vaishnavism, Shaivism and SMARTISM is one of the four major traditions in Hinduism.

Shaktism characterized by a strong tendency to mysticism. In ancient times, different sects Shaktism practiced ritual orgies, called the faithful to enter into a state of ecstatic union with the universal power of Shakti. Shaktism closely intertwined with Tantra, although not all areas of Shaktism are Tantric, and generally acts version of the Hindu Goddess worship in other religions.

HistoryThe roots of Shaktism go back to antiquity, as the cult of the Mother Goddess, he is apparently a relic of matriarchy. One of the central sacred texts Shaktism is the Devi-Mahatmya. Wrote the text in Sanskrit Rishi Markandeya and it is part of Markandeya Purana, written about 1600 years ago. This text describes the ultimate reality of God as a feminine being.

SchoolsShaktism is divided into many different trends and sects. However, there are two main areas (schools) Shrikula , common in southern India and Kalikula , common in the north and east of the country. Less common Srividya school.

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Shaktism - is one of the three pillars of Hinduism, along with Vaishnavism and Shaivism, the core of which is the cult of the Mother Goddess, the feminine, personified in different guises of Hindu goddesses and, above all, the wife of Shiva, known under the names of Devi, Kali, Durga Parvati, etc.

Shaktism taken in Indology, the code name of flow, which brings together Durgaa system of ritual and mifologicheskihvozzreny, cults and schools associated with the worship of Shakti - a higher power or energy, embodied in the female manifestation of the deity. For Shaktas God - both formless Absolute (Shiva) and the manifestation of the Divine (Shakti), Shakti is worshiped in the images of Parvati, Durga, Kali, Rajarajeswari, Tripurasundari, Tara, Saraswati, Mahalakshmi, Bhairavi, Matangi, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Chhinnamasty and other special attention is paid to the "woman" the manifestation of God, by which eventually reached "masculine" undeveloped.

The origins of these views are related to the archaic cult of the goddess-mother, as well as shamanic ideology. The representations of the goddess as Shakti - true energy through the power of God become particularly popular in the early Middle Ages. Mythological image of the goddess grows to impersonate almighty feminine Dzhaganmatri (Mother of the World), a fully dominant over their spouse without it he is passive, but from it he gets his creative energy. Proponents of Shakti - shaktisty (saktas) perceive it as a creative force and consciousness. Her knowledge they believe the only way to escape from the hardships of life. Saktas based on agama and tantra and perform esoteric rituals associated with yoga practice and psychophysiological training session, sometimes incompatible with brahminical ritual. The purpose of religious practices - internal likening their deity and merge with it. The most important rites of Shakta - Shakti worship in different images and its attributes, the worship of the guru, the recitation of mantras and other sacred formulas, the deity of sacrifice, etc. The main. sacred. texts saktas believe 77 Shakta Agamas which are regarded as tantra. Shaktism is especially popular in southern India, dravidoyazychnom habitat, as well as in Bengal and Assam. Shakta sect traditionally divided into school "right hand" and "left hand." The latter is much more closed, esoteric, their ritual practices associated with the use of the "five M" (panchamakara). Approach the "left hand" (Vamachara) more occult in nature, it is considered by the few. The way of "right hand" (Dakshinachara) is by nature more conservative.

Shakti is almost incalculable range of manifestations: from the active impersonal universal feminine creative principle to a set of specific rural goddesses. Especially popular are its embodiment in the images of Shiva's wife - Durga, Kali, Uma, Parvati, etc. Iconographically goddess is depicted in two main forms: the blessed, in the form of a young, beautiful and charming woman and angry, as the handling-armed demon with bared fangs, red tongue and a necklace of skulls. Symbol of the unity of God with his Shakti - Ardhanari, one being that combines the feminine and masculine, half man, half woman ...

History Shakta cult goes back centuries. Scientists believe that he was one of the main religions in the Indus Valley Civilization (23-18 cc. BCE). In the ruins of Harappa and other settlements related to this civilization, archaeologists have found many small clay figures of almost naked goddesses, in a complex headdress and frilly belts across his chest. Often portrayed as a female deity sitting on the branches of a tree. It should be noted that this cult was typical not only for the Indus Valley Civilization, but also for almost all the peoples who inhabited the ancient Eurasian continent. A vast area ranging from Spain to Siberia are still going back to the Paleolithic figurines of women, created from stone, bone and clay. These figures are called "Venus" and for all of them characterized by an exaggerated image of childbirth and lactation, while the head and limbs are displayed conditionally. Most archaeologists believe that these were the idols of the Mother Goddess, whose cult in the prehistoric era wore universal. Mother Goddess was the personification of the then people of all nature.

In the era of the spread of farming this cult gets an extra boost. Fertility of women in the representation of the first farmers were magically connected with the fertility of the earth. Earth, soil were likened to a woman sown field - a woman who "has suffered in her womb." The birth of the new heads of grain has been likened to the birth of the child. Therefore, in order to promote good harvests, as well as high fertility, worshiped the Mother Goddess. Likening a woman earth, various magic rituals ancient people tried to connect the power of female fertility of the fields and gardens. These ceremonies can take various forms: a ritual nudity and dancing before the god of rain, plowing fields naked women, erotic dances and ceremonies (Induizm. Jainism. Sikhism, p. 188). Later, along with massive, plump female figures appear several other women's images: for example, a figure with upraised hands to heaven and shapes combined with the altar and the ritual vessel. Perhaps this image priestesses, because many people in ancient times (the Gauls, ancient Germans, and others) cult went mostly women. You can also recall the priestesses of Dionysus in Greece or the Vestal Virgins in ancient Rome. Witchcraft and magic also involved, mostly women.

A typical example of an early farming culture, which was especially inherent in the cult of the Mother Goddess is tripilska culture that existed on the territory of Ukraine, Moldova and Romania. Its heyday came at the end IV - beginning of III millennium BC.
Later, in the early civilizations on the basis of the primitive cult of the Mother Goddess worship arises the great goddesses: Isis - in Egypt, Ishtar - in Mesopotamia, Cybele - in Asia Minor, Aphrodite - in Greece, Venus - in Rome and others. The ancient Slavs was distributed to the cult of women giving birth - goddess of fertility and abundance, the protector of mothers and young children. With the adoption of Christianity in Russia cult births gradually merged with the cult of the Virgin.

Definitely a milestone in the history of the Tantric iconography was the emergence of forms of
Kali, which is a Ardhanarishvarasignificant manifestation of Shakti, somewhere between the Kushan and guptskim periods. The earliest mention of it as one of the seven languages ​​Agni is contained in the Mundaka Upanishad (2.4). But Ashvaghosha, a Buddhist, a former author and Buddhacharita Saundraranandy, described it as a grisly woman (god?), Holding a skull (kapAla), which belong to the army of Mara, tried to avert the Buddha from his meditation. This shows that the Buddhist view on the goddess Kali was filled with some prejudice, but, nevertheless, it's very earliest mention of Kapali connection with the goddess Kali. The famous poet Kalidasa, who wrote in Sanskrit, refers to Cali Kumarasambhave; she wearing ornaments made ​​of skulls, attends the wedding of Shiva and Parvati. In Devi Mahatma most important Shakta and Tantric text, Kali is also referred to as Chamunda (7.18) and as Mahakali (12.37) in these forms it is terrible and destructive aspects of a Higher Power. Devi-Mahatmya, otherwise called Chandi or Durga-patha-saptashati is vital to study the development of Shaktism in the context of Indian history. Basically, it dates from the time of between 5 and 7 cc. n. e., but the lack of any mention of Ganesha and Ganeshani prompts to assume that it was written at a time when Ganesh has not yet been recognized as a Brahmanic deity. Other Brahmin gods like Shiva, Vishnu and Skanda are mentioned in the text, but Ganesh was not included in the scope of orthodoxy, therefore, the text should be dated before the fifth century BC, or the beginning of the fourth or third century. There is no doubt that Devi mahatmya has all the basic features of Tantra - a comprehensive devotion to the Goddess of sacrifice in the fire in her honor, the system of japa (chanting mystical) offerings, which include mention of flesh and admirer of material enjoyment (bhukti) and release (mukti) . The text refers to the triadic form of a Higher Power, which symbolically is based on three elements, it's Tamas (darkness), rajas (shine) and sattva (purity), which are represented by its dimensions, referred to as Tamasi or Yoganidroy, Mahishamardini and Saraswati. These forms, which are referred to in Devi Mahatma symbolize internal movement from the darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge.

Goddess Kali or Dakshinakali depicted as a nude woman with tousled hair standing on the body of Shiva. The body color of dark clouds of Kali, she has three eyes, and she wears earrings in the form of dead bodies of children and a garland of skulls. She holds a Sri Yantrasword and a human head in two arms, two hands, she gives other signs of welcome and blessing. Dark blue color of her body symbolizes infinity of cosmic energy it mahanirgunarupy (devoid purest qualities of the image), that is the space itself. This color also characterizes it as sarvatattvatmika (which includes all the elements and colors). She is naked, because above all the illusory power, it Cali, because it manages and creates the future. Dead and powerless Shiva under her feet represents the Nirguna Brahman (outside of qualities or attributes). Her three eyes are the three sources of light, ie the sun, moon and fire. Her earrings are terrible Dharma and Adharma and her garland of skulls is fifty letters of the Sanskrit alphabet (varna-small), symbolized by the Shabd-Brahman (Union, leading to higher rest). Necklace of severed human hands around the waist reflects the exhaustion of karma or the end of all things. It gives protection and presents gifts to the word of knowledge, which she keeps in the upper left arm, and destroys the animal instincts, symbolized by a severed human head, which she keeps in the bottom left hand. A variety of weapons that keep Shakta deity, including Tara symbolizes liberation (mukti), at which it breaks all the shackles of attachment (Pasha). Because that Kali is the embodiment of destruction, it contains only the Yantra Shakti triangles or triangle top to bottom. Her yantra no triangles Shiva (facing up), because it does not symbolize creation. In contrast, the Sri Yantra contains five Shakti Tricon (Shakti triangles) and four Shiva Trikona (triangle of Shiva), meaning creation.

By around the 8th century in the Shakta Tantra is also included in Kundalini yoga. According to the basic concept of kundalini yoga, Supreme Power of the universe is present in the human body, which is in a static or dormant. The sole purpose is to awaken the kundalini tantric and cause a rise in the body through a variety of practices. Such attitudes are unequivocal expression in the Devi Purana (10.9.7-8) Saundaryalahari Shankaracharya (9.10) and Malatimadhave (5.1) Bhavabhuti. In this latter text also talking about the doctrine of Niassa (cleansing of the body through the recitation of mantras) (5.21) (23). Biggest yantra in the tradition of Tantric Shakta is the Sri Yantra.

The last important milestone in the development of tantric Shaktism was the inclusion of the most important goddesses in class ten Mahavidyas. This happened after the Tara Shakta pantheon in eastern India around the 12th century. Ten Mahavidya is Kali, Tara, Shodashi (Sundari), Bhubaneswar, Tripura Bhairavi, Matangi, Bhairavi, Matangi, Bagan, Chhinnamasta, Dhumavati and Kamala (Lakshmi), they are identified with the ten avatars of Vishnu. Kali, Tara, Chhinnamasta and Dhumavati associated with kalikuloy remaining goddess associated with shrikuloy. In shaktism are two main forms: "Sri Kula" the family of the goddess 'Sri', ie Lakshmi, and "Kalikula", ie family of Kali. Sri Kula respects the brahminical tradition, it is prevalent mainly in the south of India, Kali-kula rejects her, and extended to the north and east India. Higher Mother revered equally by representatives of both directions, but for the initiation of devotees need to follow one of them, though both ultimately lead to the same goal.

Spiritual practices like Shaktism shayvistskim but saktas attach greater importance to the energy of God (the action force, and there is a potential or hidden), mantras (mystical formula that sounds) and yantras (graphic images of the Divine Energy, which is the Lord Himself), and seek cover the apparent opposites, see in their manifestations of a single-Divine: male-female, absolute-relative, pleasure-pain, cause-effect, the mind-body.
Indologists Western scholars are four main forms of Shaktism: People's shamanism, yoga, tantra, devotion, bhakti, and universalism.

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