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    印度教的性力派Shaktism[双语阅读]

    时间:2019-03-12 18:32:51 标签:印度教   性力派

      性力派(梵文:शाक्तं,Śāktaṃ;字面意义为力量之教条或女神之教条)是印度教的一个支派,专于崇拜沙克提或提毗—印度教的圣母—作为绝对的,终极的神格。该派别同湿婆派、毗湿奴派并立为印度教三大派。从湿婆派分化而来的印度教三大派之一。

      崇拜性力女神难近母、时母、吉祥天女、辩才天女等。性力派主要教义为,这些女神从男神那里得到性的力量是宇宙万有创造和诞生的本源。经典是《坦陀罗 》(Tantra),大约与后期《往世书》同期产生,很古老据说有64种很多已经失传,残存的多是7世纪的产物,大约与后期《往世书》同期产生。

      性力派

      性力派 (Sanskrit: Śāktaṃ, शाक्तं; lit., “力量女神的教条”或“教条”)是a 衡量单位 印度教 那聚焦崇拜 Shakti 或 Devi -印度 神的母亲 -作为绝对,最后神性。 它,与一起 Saivism, 毗瑟挐宗派主义和 Smartism印度教四所小学之一。

      性力派认为Devi (lit., “女神”)至尊 婆罗门 本身, “那个没有一秒钟”,与神性、女性或者男性的其他形式,认为仅仅她不同的显示。 在它的哲学和实践细节,性力派类似Saivism。 然而, Shaktas (Sanskrit : Śakta, शक्त性力派的最),实习者,焦点或所有崇拜在Shakti,作为动态女性方面的至尊占卦。 Shiva神性的男性方面,单一地被考虑 卓越和他的崇拜一般被转移到一个辅助角色。[1]

      性力派根击穿深深入印度的史前史。 从女神的最早的已知的出现在印第安旧石器时代的解决超过22,000年前,通过她的崇拜的提炼在 Indus谷文明她的偏蚀在期间 Vedic期间和她的随后复出和扩展在Sanskrit传统,它被建议,在许多方式, “印度传统的历史能看作为再度出现女性”。[2]

      在中它的历史性力派启发了了不起的工作 Sanskrit文学 并且 印度哲学和它继续今天强烈影响普遍的印度教。 性力派被实践在印第安次大陆中和外面,以不计其数的形式,两个 Tantric 并且非Tantric; 然而,它二最大和最可看见的学校是 Srikula或者家庭 Sri最强 南印度和 Kalikula或者家庭 Kali在北和东印度战胜。[3]

      概要

      Shakti和Shiva

      Shaktas设想女神作为至尊神,是波斯菊和能量的来源治理并且控制它。 但“无处在世界的宗教历史上我们遇到这样一个完全地针对女性的系统”。 [4] 性力派的焦点在神女性不暗示男性或中性神性的拒绝; 然而,两个被视为是不活泼的在没有Shakti时。 在Shakta崇拜, Shiva在一个“下等或依赖角色被熔铸作为女神的仆人或看门人”。 Shaktas宣称Shiva是a shava (尸体)没有女神的力量引导他。 这教条在站立在表面上死的Shiva的Kali的图象被强调。 [5]

      如开始 Adi Shankara‘s显耀的Shakta赞美诗, Saundaryalahari (c。 800铈), “Shiva,当团结对Shakti时渗入并且承受宇宙,但[他]不能有活动iota,当从Shakti时离解。 这是基本和根本原则在性力派。“[6]

      Shakti (至尊女神作为力量或能量)在现象波斯菊被认为刺激力量在所有行动之后和存在。 波斯菊即是婆罗门,提供是的所有神的地面不变,无限,内在和卓越的现实的概念。 男性潜在性由女性物力论成为事实,实现在最后被和解入一个的多数女神。 [7]

      着名的史学家v。 R. Ramachandra Dikshitar[8] 因而表达它: “性力派是动态印度教。 性力派优秀在它的Shakti的肯定在作为知觉和Shakti和婆罗门的身分。 简而言之,婆罗门是静态Shakti,并且Shakti是动态婆罗门。“[9] 在宗教艺术,这宇宙动态强大用一半Shakti,一半Shiva神被表达以著名 Ardhanari.[10]

      性力派观看Devi作为来源、精华和物质实际上 一切 在创作,看或未看见,包括Shiva。 的确,在 Devi-Bhagavata Purana一个中央Shakta圣经, Devi宣称:

      “我是明显神性、Unmanifest神性和卓越的神性。 我是 Brahma, Vishnu 并且Shiva,并且 Saraswati, Lakshmi 并且 Parvati. 我是太阳,并且我是星,并且我也是月亮。 我是所有动物和鸟,并且我是outcaste和窃贼。 我是令人恐惧的行为的低人和优秀行为的了不起的人。 我女性,我是马累,并且我中性。“[11]

      宗教学者C。 MacKenzie布朗解释性力派“清楚地坚持,二个性别,女性在宇宙代表统治力量。 如果它真实地是最后的,在最后必须包括两个性别。 男性和女性是神,卓越的现实的方面,在之外去,但仍然包含他们。 Devi,以她的至尊形式作为知觉因而超越性别,但她的卓绝不是除她的内在之外。“[12]

      布朗的分析的确继续, “卓绝和内在的统一性的这肯定构成神的母亲[和她]最后胜利的精华。 它不是,终于,她在男性神是无限地优越-虽则她是那,根据[性力派] -,但宁可她超越她自己的女性自然 Prakriti 没有否认它。“[13]

      协会与Tantra

      性力派的一个广泛被误会的方面是它接近的协会与 密教 -在印度南部建议一切从正统寺庙崇拜,到不可思议和的一个模棱两可,被装载的概念 隐密 实践在北部印度, 被仪式化的性 在西方。[14] 实际上,正不是Tantra的所有的形式是Shaktic本质上,不是性力派的所有的形式是Tantric本质上。[15]

      当规定“Tantra”关于地道印度性力派时使用,它经常提到礼节指南类和-更加宽广地-到女神被聚焦的精神学科神秘的方法学(sadhana)介入 佛经, yantra, nyasa, mudra 并且某些元素的传统 kundalini瑜伽在具有资格的指导下所有实践 宗师 在交付启蒙以后(diksha)和口头指示补充各种各样的书面来源。[16]

      在它的社会互作用, Tantra是“从各种各样的世袭的社会等级和家长式偏见解脱。 妇女或a shudra 在角色有资格起作用[宗师]。 所有妇女被认为显示 Shakti并且他们是尊敬对象和热爱。 谁触犯他们招致了不起的女神的愤怒。 每[男性追求者]必须体会潜在女性仅原则在他自己之内和通过[因而] ‘变得女性’是他给权崇拜至尊生存"[17]

      更加有争议的元素,例如 “五女士” 或 panchamakara使用在某些情况之下由一些Tantric Shakta派别。 然而,这些元素倾向于被过分强调并且由关于地道教条和实践是消息不灵通的评论员sensationalized (友好和敌对)。 而且,甚而在传统之内有宽看法差异关于适当的解释 panchamakara和有些后裔一共拒绝他们。[18]

      总之, Tantric和非Tantric元素的复杂社会和历史相互关系在性力派-和印度教一般-是一极端忧虑的并且nuanced讨论题目。[19] 然而,概括来说:

      “共同描绘密教的想法和实践弥漫古典印度教[和]它是要考虑密教的错误除它的复杂相互关系之外以非Tantric传统。 文艺历史展示那 Vedic-安置 婆罗门 在Shakta密教介入了从发展它的起初阶段,即,从至少第六个世纪。 当Shakta密教也许发起于[前Vedic,土产]时女神崇拜,所有企图疏远Shakta密教从Sanskritic印度传统[...]将带领我们迷路。“[20]

      主要神

      Shaktas在也许接近Devi任何形式的一个浩大的数字。 献身者崇拜的主要Devi形式(即,他们 ishta-devi)能取决于许多因素,包括家庭传统,地方实践,宗师后裔,个人共鸣等等。 逐字地有数以万计女神形式,大多数与特殊寺庙相关,地理特点甚至各自的村庄。 然而,他们全部认为,而是一个至尊女神的不同的方面。[21]

      但是,几个高度普遍的女神形式知道并且被崇拜在印度世界中,并且实际上每个女性神在印度教认为是一个或更多的显示这些“基本的”形式。 普遍的印度教的最响誉的仁慈女神包括:[22]

      Adi Parashakti: 女神作为宇宙的原始,卓越的来源。

      Durga (Amba, Ambika): 女神 Mahadevi至尊神性。

      Sri-Lakshmi: 女神 物质履行(财富、健康、时运、爱、秀丽、生育力等等); 一致(shakti) Vishnu

      Parvati (Gauri, 趾缘蜥类): 精神履行,神的爱的女神; 一致(shakti) Shiva

      Saraswati: 文化履行的女神(知识或教育、音乐、艺术和科学等等); 一致(shakti) Brahma; 辨认与 Saraswati河

      Gayatri: 女神作为佛经的母亲

      Ganga: 女神作为神的河; 辨认与 恒河

      Sita: 女神 Rama‘s一致

      Radha: 女神 Krishna‘s一致

      Sati: 婚姻联系的女神; 原始的一致(shakti) Shiva

      Tantric神

      主要文章: Mahavidyas, Matrikas和 Yogini

      女神小组-例如“九Durgas” (Navadurga), “八Lakshmis” (Ashta-Lakshmi)或“十五Nityas” -是非常共同的在印度教。 但没有小组更好更好比显露性力派的元素 十Mahavidyas (Dasamahavidya). 通过他们, Shaktas在十个不同小平面相信, “一真相感觉; 神的母亲被崇拜并且接近作为十种宇宙个性。“[23] Mahavidyas被认为Tantric本质上和通常被辨认如下:[24]

      Kali: 女神作为时间的宇宙破坏、死亡或者“贪食者” (至尊神 Kalikula 系统)

      Tara: 女神作为指南和保护者或者谁保存

      Lalita-Tripurasundari (Shodashi): 是“美丽在三个世界”的女神(至尊神 Srikula 系统); “Tantric Parvati”

      Bhuvaneshvari: 女神当世界母亲或者身体是波斯菊

      Bhairavi: 剧烈女神

      Chhinnamasta: 自已被杀头的女神

      Dhumavati: 寡妇女神

      Bagalamukhi: 麻痹敌人的女神

      Matangi: Outcaste女神(在 Kalikula 系统); Lalita的总理(在 Srikula 系统); “Tantric Saraswati”

      Kamala: 莲花女神; “Tantric Lakshmi”

      另一个主要女神小组是 Sapta-Matrika (“七个小母亲”), “谁是不同的主要神能量和描述作为协助伟大的Shakta Devi在她的战斗与邪魔”。[25] 根据Bhattacharyya :

      “性力派的成长的重要性[ matrikas 并且 yoginis 在]被带领他们进入更加伟大的突起和和宽分布他们的崇拜的第一千年铈。 [...]原始 Yogini 崇拜由于增加也复兴了被影响七个母亲的崇拜。 在Sanskrit文学 Yoginis 代表了作为乘务员或各种各样的显示 Durga 参与战斗与[各种各样的邪魔]和校长 Yoginis 辨认与 Matrikas."[26]

      历史和哲学发展

      主要文章: 性力派的历史

      性力派起点在史前史薄雾被覆盖。 在印度发掘的最早期的母亲女神小雕像,属于 上部旧石器时代是碳标日期的对大约20,000 BCE。 [27] 数以万计女性小雕像早在c.约会了。 5500 BCE恢复了在 Mehrgarh一最重要 新石器时代 站点在世界考古学。[28] 当精确地重建及时时那么遥远地取消的文明的宗教信仰是不可能的,它根据考古学和人类学证据广泛被相信,伟大 Indus谷文明 大概是现代Shakta宗教的一个直接前辈。[29]

      Indus谷文明慢慢地下降了并且分散了,与其他小组混合的它的人民最终提升 Vedic文明 (c。 1500年- 600 BCE)。 性力派,因为它今天存在从Vedic年龄的文学开始了; 在印度史诗的形成期间促进演变; 在期间,到达了它充分的花 Gupta年龄 (300-700铈)和继续尔后扩展和开发。[30]

      最中央和最举足轻重的文本在性力派是 Devi Mahatmya (亦称 Durga Saptashati, Chandi 或 Chandi道路),组成大约1,600年前。 这里,第一次, “各种各样的神话, cultic和神学元素与不同的女性神性相关在什么被带来了称女神传统的‘结晶。’”[31]

      其他重要文本包括标准 Shakta Upanishads,[32] 并且针对Shakta Puranic文学 例如 Devi Purana 并且 Kalika Purana,[33] Lalita Sahasranama (从 Brahmanda Purana),[34] Devi Gita (从 Devi-Bhagavata Purana),[35] Adi Shankara‘s Saundaryalahari[36] 并且 Tantras.[37]

      最近, Bhattacharyya笔记,性力派有,因此它有在“停止的某些方面是一种宗派宗教的被灌输的主流印度教”,因为它不提出“困难为了任何人能接受它的精华”。[38] 新发展与性力派有关包括诞生 Bharat Mata (“母亲印度”)象征主义、印度女性圣徒的增长的可见性和宗师,[39] 并且“新的”女神的巨大的上升 Santoshi Mata 印第安影片的跟随的发行 Jai Santoshi Maa (“冰雹对满意的母亲”) 1975年。[40] Johnsen注意:

      “今天正10,000年前,女神的图象到处在印度。 您在卡车的边在商店墙壁上将发现他们被绘,被黏贴对出租汽车仪表板, postered。 您经常将看在印度家突出地显示的女神的颜色绘画。 通常图片在墙壁上垂悬高,因此您必须起重机您的脖子落后,查找往她的脚。 [...]在印度,崇拜不是‘崇拜的女神’,它是宗教, [...]非凡精神上和心理地成熟传统。 成千上万人每天转动以衷心思慕对宇宙的母亲。“[41]

      崇拜

      性力派包含实践几乎不尽的品种-从原始泛灵论通过哲学猜想最高位-访问认为是Devi的自然和形式的Shakti的那寻求(神的能量或力量)。[42] 它二最大和最可看见的学校是 Srikula或者家庭 Sri最强 南印度和 Kalikula或者家庭 Kali在北和东印度战胜。[43]

      Srikula : Sri家庭

      Srikula (家庭 Sri)传统(sampradaya)焦点在Devi崇拜以女神的形式 Lalita-Tripurasundari设想作为了不起的女神(Mahadevi). 扎根于一千年克什米尔, Srikula在南印度比第七个世纪没有更晚成为了力量,并且今天是在国家实践的性力派的流行形式的南印度例如 安得拉邦, Karnataka, 喀拉拉, 泰米尔语Nadu 并且泰米尔语 斯里南卡.[44] 女神Sri (或Lakshmi)的Srikula “家庭”,不同于Kalikula,性力派另一所学校,尊敬brahminical传统(尊敬世袭的社会等级和纯净规则)的主流印度传统并且是最强的在南印度。 [45]

      Srikula的最响誉的学校是 Srividya“一Shakta密教的最显要和神学上复杂运动。 它的中央图象, Sri Chakra大概是总计的最著名的视觉图像印度Tantric传统。 或许它的文学和实践比[那]其他Shakta学派系统。“[46]

      Srividya察觉女神如“良性(saumya)和美丽(saundarya) “一个对比到女神的Kalikula的悟性如“害怕(ugra)和恐惧(ghora) “Kali或Durga。 然而,女神的每个方面-恶性或柔和-辨认与Lalita。 [47]

      Sri Chakra 被崇拜当Lalita的微妙的形式,或者作为一张二维图(临时地有时得出作为崇拜仪式一部分; 有时永久板刻在金属)或以三维,金字塔形形式以著名 Sri Meru. 它不是不凡的对发现a Sri Chakra 或 Sri Meru 安装在南印第安寺庙,因为-,因为现代实习者断言- “没有争执这是Devi的最高的形式,并且某些实践可以公开完成。 但什么您在寺庙看见不是 srichakra 崇拜您看见当它私下时完成。“[48]

      Srividya paramparas 可以是更加进一步宽广地被细分入二条小河, Kaula (a vamamarga 实践)和 Samaya (a dakshinamarga 实践)。 Kaula 或 Kaulachara“首先在中央印度出现作为一个连贯礼节系统”在第八个世纪,[49] 并且它的冠军是18世纪哲学家 Bhaskararaya广泛被认为“Shakta哲学最佳的方次数”。[50]

      Samaya 或 Samayacharya 在16世纪评论员, Lakshmidhara的工作发现它的根,并且是“剧烈地严谨的[在它]企图改革Tantric实践用根据高世袭的社会等级带来它的方式 brahmanical 准则。“[51] 许多Samaya实习者明确地,实际上,否认Shakta或Tantric; 然而,溪争辩说,他们的崇拜技术上依然是两个, “即使Samayins将拒绝这个名称”。[52]

      在brahamanic圈子之外, Kaula后裔依然是活和好-,虽然他们的实习者一般喜欢私下崇拜,跟上印度格言, “当公开,是Vaishnava时。 当在朋友之中,是Shaiva。 但私下,总是Shakta。“[53] Samaya-Kaula分裂在印度密教之内指示“老争执”,[54] 并且继续至今苍劲地辩论的一。[55]

      Kalikula : Kali家庭

      Kalikula (家庭 Kali)性力派的形式是最统治的在北和东印度,并且广泛流行 西部孟加拉, Assam, Bihar 并且 Orissa并且部分 马哈拉施特拉 并且 孟加拉国. Kalikula 后裔聚焦在Devi作为智慧的来源(vidya)和解放(moksha). 他们在反对一般站立“他们观看如“过度保守和否认宗教的经验的部分的brahmanic传统””。[56]

      有些学者陈述彻底Kalikula学校拒绝brahminical传统。 [57] 这些看法是难和解以看法的复数在更大的印度传统之内在Kalikula学校外面; 了不起的印度圣徒, Ramakrishna大概,其中一个最著名的崇拜者 Kali出生在传统 婆罗门 家庭和崇拜她作为神的母亲; 此外,他是kalikula学校的没有追随者,而是宁可追随者 smarta advaitic 传统,考虑 Devi 是五个相等的形式之一的神。 [58];[59]

      Kalikula主要神是 Kali, Chandi 并且 Durga. 享受尊敬的其他女神是 Tara 并且所有其他 Mahavidyas 并且地方女神例如 Manasa蛇女神,和 Sitala天花女神-神的母亲的所有被考虑的方面。 [60]

      性力派的二个主要中心在西部孟加拉是 Kalighat 在 加尔各答 并且 Tarapith 在 Birbhum区. 在加尔各答,重点在热爱(bhakti)对女神 Kali:

      她是“保护她的孩子,并且凶猛守卫他们的爱恋的母亲。 她向外吓唬-与黑暗的皮肤、针对性的牙和头骨项链-,但在内部美丽。 她可以保证好重生或伟大的宗教洞察,并且她的崇拜经常是共同的-特别是在节日,例如 Kali Puja 并且 Durga Puja. 崇拜也许介入献身者的联合与或爱女神,她的形式的形象化的沉思,歌颂[她] 佛经祷告在她的图象之前或 yantra和给[]奉献物。“[61]

      在Tarapith, Devi的显示 Tara (“她保存”)或 Ugratara (“剧烈Tara”)是上升的,作为给解放(的女神kaivalyadayini). [...]形式 sadhana 这里执行更多 yogic 并且 tantric 比献身和他们经常介入单独坐在[火葬]地面,围拢由灰和骨头。 有 shamanic 元素联合Tarapith传统,包括‘女神’,驱邪、精神恍惚和控制的占领。“[62]

      所有这样仪式哲学和献身基盘,然而,依然是Devi的弥漫的视觉作为至尊,绝对神性。 如由十九世纪圣徒表达 Ramakrishna其中一个显要人物在现代孟加拉性力派:

      “Kali是婆罗门。 称Brahman的那真正地是Kali。 她是最初能量。 当那能量依然是不活泼时,我称它婆罗门和,当它创造时,蜜饯或者毁坏,我称它Shakti或Kali。 什么您称婆罗门我叫Kali。 婆罗门和Kali不是不同的。 他们是象火和它的力量烧: 如果你认为火你必须认为它的力量烧。 如果你认出Kali你必须也认可婆罗门; 再次,如果你认出婆罗门你必须认可Kali。 婆罗门和它的力量是相同的。 它是对演讲我作为Shakti或Kali的婆罗门。“[63]

      节日

      Shaktas庆祝多数主要印度节日(虽然有时以轻微地不同的重点),并且各种各样的地方,寺庙具体,并且/或者神具体遵守。 [64]

      最重要的Shakta节日是 Navratri (“九夜节日”或者 “Sharad [秋天] Navratri "),与第十天一起,以著名 Dusshera 或 Vijayadashami纪念以各种各样的邪魔的Devi的胜利在 Devi Mahatmya. [65] 在 孟加拉前四天Navaratri庆祝 Durga Puja水牛邪魔指示的杀害 Mahishasura 由 Durga. [66]

      其他Navaratris包括 Vasanta Navaratri (“九夜节”或 Chaitra Navatri) -庆祝在晚春期间到夏天(3月4月)在印度月 Chaitra 并且 Ashada Navaratri(“九夜夏天节日”)在印度月 Ashadha. Srividya后裔庆祝 Vasanta Navaratri 作为女神 Lalita‘s Navratri与Durga的Navratri相对在秋天。 Vaishno Devi 在这个期间,寺庙在Jammu观察它的主要Navaratri庆祝。 [67] Ashada Navaratri 为公猪朝向的女神Varahi,之一的献身者是特别重要的七 Matrikas Devi Mahatmya。[68]

      多数Shaktas崇拜在家礼仪Lakshmi在此,跟随Durga Puja的满月夜这也叫 Khojagiri Lakshmi Puja.[69] 另一个节日致力Lakshmi是 Diwali (或 Deepavali; “灯节”)。 主要印度假日Diwali,北部印第安新年,在新月的夜在印度月举行 Kartik (通常10月或11月)。 Shaktas (和许多non-Shaktas)它把另一Lakshmi Puja视为,安置小油灯在他们的家之外和祈祷为了女神能来保佑他们。 [70] Diwali与Kali相符Puja的庆祝,普遍在孟加拉,当一些Shakta传统集中他们的崇拜于Devi作为Kali而不是Devi作为Lakshmi。 [71]

      Jagaddhatri Puja 在Navaratis的前四天庆祝,跟随Kali Puja。 它于Durga Puja是非常相似的在它的细节和遵守,并且是特别普遍的在孟加拉和东印度的其他部分。

      Gauri Puja 在第五天以后执行 Ganesh Chaturthi在期间 Ganesha Puja在西印度,庆祝到来 GauriGanesha的母亲,来带来她的儿子后面家。

      有不同的日期为 Saraswati Puja取决于区域和地方传统。 共同地,在印度月的第五天 Phalguna (1月2月),学生为Saraswati在他们的研究中提供他们的书和乐器并且为她的祝福祈祷。 在印度的有些部分, Saraswati Puja在月Magh庆祝; 在其他,在最后的三天期间 Navratri. [72]

      主要Shakta寺庙节日是 Meenakshi Kalyanam 并且 Ambubachi Mela. Meenakshi Kalyanam 观察Devi的吉利场合( Meenakshi)与Sundareshwara阁下的婚姻(Shiva)在附近被集中 Meenakshi阿曼寺庙 在 Madurai, 泰米尔语Nadu. 它跑12天,计数从阴历月的第二天 Chaitra在4月或。[73] Ambubachi Mela 是女神的逐年月经的庆祝,举行在6月或7月(在季风季节期间)在 Kamakhya寺庙Guwahati, Assam。 以a的形式, Devi这里被崇拜 yoni-象一个红色自然地被设色的弹簧流动的石头。 [74]

      寺庙

      详细信息: Shakti寺庙名单 并且 Shakti Peethas

      有数以万计 Shakti寺庙; 浩大或微小,著名或者阴暗。 而且,不计其数的城市、镇、村庄和地理地标被命名对于各种各样Devi。[75] “在这个浩大的国家,女神的圣洁手段是无数的,并且她的崇拜大众化甚而在印度的地方名字被证明”。[76]

      在不同时候,不同的作家试图组织其中一些入名单“Shakti Peethas"; “Devi的逐字位子”或者更加宽广地, “力量地方”。 编号从任何地方四到51 (在最著名的名单,在发现了 Tantra Cudamani), “ peethas [成为了]中世纪作家的一个普遍的题材,许多谁在制造地名,女神采取了最巨大的自由和他们 bhairavas [一致]。“[77]

      批评和误用

      性力派时常驳回了作为根本几乎不合格作为一种真实的宗教的迷信,黑魔术被骚扰的实践。 特点这样批评是印第安学者发布的这宽边在20年代:

      “Tantras是性力派,辨认所有力量以女性原则本质上和教Shiva和Vishnu的妻子的过度的崇拜的[...]圣经对他们的男性相对物忽视。 [...]它肯定印度的居民的一个浩大的数字在他们的日常生活中被引导由Tantrik教学,并且在奴役到在这些文字反复灌输的总迷信。 并且它可能缺乏地的确被怀疑性力派是印度教到达了在发展它的最坏和最腐败的阶段。“[78]

      这亲切,白色笔记的声明,根据一些外部观察员无知、误解和偏见主要地,并且某些知情人肆无忌惮的实践。 “是在这上下文许多Hindus在印度今天否认Tantra相关性与他们的传统,通过或礼物,辨认什么他们叫 tantra佛经 如非常mumbo超大。“[79]

      更加进一步muddying水, “很多位印第安和西部精神企业家为一位主要美国和欧洲顾客提供‘Tantric性’过去几年。 提出Tantra的整个历史作为成一体,整体‘崇拜销魂’和假设在印第安文化击响了性欲由定义Tantric的那所有,新的年龄Tantra折衷把印第安erotics,按摩技术混合在一起, Ayurveda和瑜伽到唯一被发明的传统[...]里投了在对待‘Tantric性’作为消费品寻找者的有空平民。“[80]

      亦不是它不凡遇到主张印度教Shaiva和Vaishnava学校导致 moksha或者精神解放,而性力派仅仅导致 siddhis (隐密力量)和 bhukti (物质享受) -或,最好(根据一些Shaiva口译员), Shaivism; 例如, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami 阐明,在性力派,强调给予女性由哪些体现男性联合国体现 Parasiva 最后被到达。[81] 这样要求由严肃的神学家在性力派之内驳回:[82]

      “每一[神的母亲的] vidyas [智慧的方面,即。 形式]是a Brahma Vidya [道路向至尊智慧]。 sadhaka 任何这些中的一个[Shakta道路]最后获得,如果他的志向是这样,生活的至尊目的-, [为]体会女神的自我实现和神认识不是与[体会]一.的自已不同。“[83]

      扩展在南亚之外

      性力派实践不再被限制对南亚。 传统Shakta寺庙出现了 东南亚 美洲, 欧洲, 澳洲 并且在别处-一些由非印第安语热心地出席了并且 印第安犹太人散居地 Hindus。 例子在 美国 包括 Kali Mandir 在 Laguna海滩,加利福尼亚;[84] 并且 Sri Rajarajeshwari Peetam,[85] a Srividya Shakta寺庙在农村 仓促,纽约. 仓促寺庙是,实际上,最近主题探索犹太人散居地印度教的“动力学一项深入学术研究”,包括非印地安人的严肃的词条和介入在传统印度宗教实践。[86]

      性力派也成为了一些西部精神寻找者焦点试图修建新的女神被集中的信念。[87] 西部Kali热心者的一项学术研究注意到, “如所有比较文化的宗教移植的历史, Kali devotionalism所显示在西方必须承担它自己的土产形式,如果它是适应它新的环境”。[88] 然而,这些东西方融合可能也提出复杂和令人焦虑的问题 文化专有.

      作家和思想家, “著名地 男女平等主义者 并且参加者 新的年龄 被吸引到女神崇拜"的灵性,在新的光探索了Kali。 她被考虑作为囫囵和愈合的“标志,特别是与被抑制的女性力量和性别相关”。 这些新的解释在Kali的印第安背景接近的读书起源于“女权来源,几乎无,其中基地他们的解释”。 “从另一文化进口女神的崇拜是坚硬的: 当在当地文化埋置的深刻的象征意义不是可利用的时,宗教协会和内涵必须是博学,想象或者由直觉知道。“ [89]

      强有力的刺激在西部兴趣之后在性力派上由琳达・ Johnsen,一位普遍的作家在东部灵性建议了,断言性力派的许多中央概念-包括kundalini瑜伽的方面并且女神崇拜-曾经是“共同性对印度, 迦勒底, 希腊语 并且 罗马 文明, “但主要丢失了到西方,并且近和中东,以上升的 Abrahamic宗教:

      “这四巨大古老文明,启示内在力量的运作的知识在一个仅质量数标度生存了在印度。 在印度仅有女神的内在传统忍受。 这是印度教学是很珍贵的原因。 他们提供我们什么的瞥见我们自己的古老智慧一定是。 印地安人保存了我们失去的遗产。 [...]今天它是由找出和恢复生存女神的传统的我们决定。 我们在印度很好会做开始我们的查寻,没有总计的一片刻人类历史有生存女神孩子被忘记他们神的母亲。“[90]Shaktism

      Shaktism (Sanskrit: Śāktaṃ, शाक्तं; lit., "doctrine of power" or "doctrine of the Goddess") is a denomination of Hinduism that focuses worship upon Shakti or Devi – the Hindu Divine Mother – as the absolute, ultimate Godhead. It is, along with Saivism, Vaisnavism, and Smartism, one of the four primary schools of Hinduism.

      Shaktism regards Devi (lit., "the Goddess") as the Supreme Brahman itself, the "one without a second", with all other forms of divinity, female or male, considered to be merely her diverse manifestations. In the details of its philosophy and practice, Shaktism resembles Saivism. However, Shaktas (Sanskrit: Śakta, शक्त), practitioners of Shaktism, focus most or all worship on Shakti, as the dynamic feminine aspect of the Supreme Divine. Shiva, the masculine aspect of divinity, is considered solely transcendent, and his worship is generally relegated to an auxiliary role.[1]

      The roots of Shaktism penetrate deep into India's prehistory. From the Goddess's earliest known appearance in Indian paleolithic settlements more than 22,000 years ago, through the refinement of her cult in the Indus Valley Civilization, her partial eclipse during the Vedic period, and her subsequent resurfacing and expansion in Sanskrit tradition, it has been suggested that, in many ways, "the history of the Hindu tradition can be seen as a reemergence of the feminine."[2]

      Over the course of its history, Shaktism has inspired great works of Sanskrit literature and Hindu philosophy, and it continues to strongly influence popular Hinduism today. Shaktism is practiced throughout the Indian subcontinent and beyond, in countless forms, both Tantric and non-Tantric; however, its two largest and most visible schools are the Srikula, or family of Sri, strongest in South India, and the Kalikula, or family of Kali, which prevails in northern and eastern India.[3]

      Overview

      Shakti and Shiva

      Shaktas conceive the Goddess as the Supreme Deity, who is the source of the cosmos and the energy that governs and controls it. But, "nowhere in the religious history of the world do we come across such a completely female-oriented system." [4] Shaktism's focus on the Divine Feminine does not imply a rejection of Masculine or Neuter divinity; however, both are deemed to be inactive in the absence of Shakti. In Shakta worship, Shiva is cast in an "inferior or dependent role as a servant or gatekeeper of the goddess". Shaktas declare that Shiva would be a shava (corpse) without the power of the goddess to guide him. This doctrine is emphasized in the images of Kali standing on a seemingly dead Shiva. [5]

      As set out in Adi Shankara's renowned Shakta hymn, Saundaryalahari (c. 800 CE), "Shiva when united to Shakti permeates and sustains the Universe, but [he] cannot have an iota of activity when dissociated from Shakti. This is the basic and fundamental tenet in Shaktism."[6]

      Shakti (the Supreme Goddess as Power or Energy) is considered the motivating force behind all action and existence in the phenomenal cosmos. The cosmos itself is Brahman; i.e., the concept of an unchanging, infinite, immanent and transcendent reality that provides the divine ground of all being. Masculine potentiality is actualized by feminine dynamism, embodied in multitudinous goddesses who are ultimately reconciled into one. [7]

      The noted historian V. R. Ramachandra Dikshitar[8] expressed it thus: "Shaktism is dynamic Hinduism. The excellence of Shaktism lies in its affirmation of Shakti as Consciousness and of the identity of Shakti and Brahman. In short, Brahman is static Shakti and Shakti is dynamic Brahman."[9] In religious art, this cosmic dynamic is powerfully expressed in the half-Shakti, half-Shiva deity known as Ardhanari.[10]

      Shaktism views the Devi as the source, essence and substance of virtually everything in creation, seen or unseen, including Shiva. Indeed, in the Devi-Bhagavata Purana, a central Shakta scripture, the Devi declares:

      "I am Manifest Divinity, Unmanifest Divinity, and Transcendent Divinity. I am Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, as well as Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati. I am the Sun and I am the Stars, and I am also the Moon. I am all animals and birds, and I am the outcaste as well, and the thief. I am the low person of dreadful deeds, and the great person of excellent deeds. I am Female, I am Male, and I am Neuter."[11]

      The religious scholar C. MacKenzie Brown explains that Shaktism "clearly insists that, of the two genders, the feminine represents the dominant power in the universe. Yet both genders must be included in the ultimate if it is truly ultimate. The masculine and the feminine are aspects of the divine, transcendent reality, which goes beyond but still encompasses them. Devi, in her supreme form as consciousness thus transcends gender, but her transcendence is not apart from her immanence."[12]

      Brown's analysis continues, "Indeed, this affirmation of the oneness of transcendence and immanence constitutes the very essence of the divine mother [and her] ultimate triumph. It is not, finally, that she is infinitely superior to the male gods – though she is that, according to [Shaktism] – but rather that she transcends her own feminine nature as Prakriti without denying it."[13]

      Association with Tantra

      One widely misunderstood aspect of Shaktism is its close association with Tantrism – an ambiguous, loaded concept that suggests everything from orthodox temple worship in the south of India, to black magic and occult practices in North India, to ritualized sex in the West.[14] In fact, not all forms of Shaktism are Tantric in nature, just as not all forms of Tantra are Shaktic in nature.[15]

      When the term "Tantra" is used in relation to authentic Hindu Shaktism, it most often refers to a class of ritual manuals, and – more broadly – to an esoteric methodology of Goddess-focused spiritual discipline (sadhana) involving mantra, yantra, nyasa, mudra and certain elements of traditional kundalini yoga, all practiced under the guidance of a qualified guru after due initiation (diksha) and oral instruction to supplement various written sources.[16]

      In its social interactions, Tantra is "free from all sorts of caste and patriarchal prejudices. A woman or a shudra is entitled to function in the role of [guru]. All women are regarded as manifestations of Shakti, and hence they are the object of respect and devotion. Whoever offends them incurs the wrath of the great goddess. Every [male aspirant] has to realize the latent Female Principle within himself, and only by [thus] 'becoming female' is he entitled to worship the Supreme Being"[17]

      More controversial elements, such as the "Five Ms" or panchamakara, are employed under certain circumstances by some Tantric Shakta sects. However, these elements tend to be overemphasized and sensationalized by commentators (both friendly and hostile) who are ill-informed regarding authentic doctrine and practice. Moreover, even within the tradition itself there are wide differences of opinion regarding the proper interpretation of the panchamakara, and some lineages reject them altogether.[18]

      In sum, the complex social and historical interrelations of Tantric and non-Tantric elements in Shaktism – and Hinduism in general – are an extremely fraught and nuanced topic of discussion.[19] However, as a general rule:

      "Ideas and practices that collectively characterize Tantrism pervade classical Hinduism [and] it would be an error to consider Tantrism apart from its complex interrelations with non-Tantric traditions. Literary history demonstrates that Vedic-oriented brahmins have been involved in Shakta Tantrism from its incipient stages of development, that is, from at least the sixth century. While Shakta Tantrism may have originated in [pre-Vedic, indigenous] goddess cults, any attempt to distance Shakta Tantrism from the Sanskritic Hindu traditions [...] will lead us astray."[20]

      Principal deities

      Shaktas may approach the Devi in any of a vast number of forms. The primary Devi form worshiped by a devotee (i.e., his or her ishta-devi) can depend on many factors, including family tradition, regional practice, guru lineage, personal resonance and so on. There are literally thousands of goddess forms, many of them associated with particular temples, geographic features or even individual villages. However, they are all considered to be but diverse aspects of the One Supreme Goddess.[21]

      Nonetheless, several highly popular goddess forms are known and worshiped throughout the Hindu world, and virtually every female deity in Hinduism is believed to be a manifestation of one or more of these "basic" forms. The best-known benevolent goddesses of popular Hinduism include:[22]

      Adi Parashakti: The Goddess as Original, Transcendent Source of the Universe.

      Durga (Amba, Ambika): The Goddess as Mahadevi, Supreme Divinity.

      Sri-Lakshmi: The Goddess of Material Fulfillment (wealth, health, fortune, love, beauty, fertility, etc.); consort (shakti) of Vishnu

      Parvati (Gauri, Uma): The Goddess of Spiritual Fulfillment, Divine Love; consort (shakti) of Shiva

      Saraswati: The Goddess of Cultural Fulfillment (knowledge/education, music, arts and sciences, etc.); consort (shakti) of Brahma; identified with the Saraswati River

      Gayatri: The Goddess as Mother of Mantras

      Ganga: The Goddess as Divine River; identified with the Ganges River

      Sita: The Goddess as Rama's consort

      Radha: The Goddess as Krishna's consort

      Sati: The Goddess of Marital Relations; original consort (shakti) of Shiva

      Tantric deities

      Main articles: Mahavidyas, Matrikas, and Yogini

      Goddess groups – such as the "Nine Durgas" (Navadurga), "Eight Lakshmis" (Ashta-Lakshmi) or the "Fifteen Nityas" – are very common in Hinduism. But no group better reveals the elements of Shaktism better than the Ten Mahavidyas (Dasamahavidya). Through them, Shaktas believe, "the one Truth is sensed in ten different facets; the Divine Mother is adored and approached as ten cosmic personalities."[23] The Mahavidyas are considered Tantric in nature, and are usually identified as:[24]

      Kali: The Goddess as Cosmic Destruction, Death or "Devourer of Time" (Supreme Deity of Kalikula systems)

      Tara: The Goddess as Guide and Protector, or Who Saves

      Lalita-Tripurasundari (Shodashi): The Goddess Who is "Beautiful in the Three Worlds" (Supreme Deity of Srikula systems); the "Tantric Parvati"

      Bhuvaneshvari: The Goddess as World Mother, or Whose Body is the Cosmos

      Bhairavi: The Fierce Goddess

      Chhinnamasta: The Self-Decapitated Goddess

      Dhumavati: The Widow Goddess

      Bagalamukhi: The Goddess Who Paralyzes Enemies

      Matangi: The Outcaste Goddess (in Kalikula systems); the Prime Minister of Lalita (in Srikula systems); the "Tantric Saraswati"

      Kamala: The Lotus Goddess; the "Tantric Lakshmi"

      Another major goddess group is the Sapta-Matrika ("Seven Little Mothers"), "who are the energies of different major gods, and described as assisting the great Shakta Devi in her fight with demons."[25] According to Bhattacharyya:

      "The growing importance of Shaktism [of the matrikas and yoginis in the first millennium CE] brought them into greater prominence and distributed their cult far and wide. [...] The primitive Yogini cult was also revived on account of the increasing influenced of the cult of the Seven Mothers. In Sanskrit literature the Yoginis have been represented as the attendants or various manifestations of Durga engaged in fighting with [various demons], and the principal Yoginis are identified with the Matrikas."[26]

      Historical and philosophical development

      Main article: History of Shaktism

      The beginnings of Shaktism are shrouded in the mists of prehistory. The earliest Mother Goddess figurine unearthed in India, belonging to the Upper Paleolithic, has been carbon-dated to approximately 20,000 BCE. [27] Thousands of female statuettes dated as early as c. 5500 BCE have been recovered at Mehrgarh, one of the most important Neolithic sites in world archaeology.[28] While it is impossible to precisely reconstruct the religious beliefs of a civilization so distantly removed in time, it is widely believed, based on archaeological and anthropological evidence, that the great Indus Valley Civilization is probably a direct predecessor of the modern Shakta religion.[29]

      As the Indus Valley Civilization slowly declined and dispersed, its peoples mixed with other groups to eventually give rise to Vedic Civilization (c. 1500 - 600 BCE). Shaktism as it exists today began with the literature of the Vedic Age; further evolved during the formative period of the Hindu epics; reached its full flower during the Gupta Age (300-700 CE), and continued to expand and develop thereafter.[30]

      The most central and pivotal text in Shaktism is the Devi Mahatmya (also known as the Durga Saptashati, Chandi or Chandi-Path), composed some 1,600 years ago. Here, for the first time, "the various mythic, cultic and theological elements relating to diverse female divinities were brought together in what has been called the 'crystallization of the Goddess tradition.'"[31]

      Other important texts include the canonical Shakta Upanishads,[32] as well as Shakta-oriented Puranic literature such as the Devi Purana and Kalika Purana,[33] the Lalita Sahasranama (from the Brahmanda Purana),[34] the Devi Gita (from the Devi-Bhagavata Purana),[35] Adi Shankara's Saundaryalahari[36] and the Tantras.[37]

      In recent times, Bhattacharyya notes, Shaktism has so infused mainstream Hinduism that it has in certain respects "ceased to be a sectarian religion," in that it presents "no difficulty for anyone to accept its essence."[38] Recent developments related to Shaktism include the emergence of Bharat Mata ("Mother India") symbolism, the increasing visibility of Hindu female saints and gurus,[39] and the prodigious rise of the "new" goddess Santoshi Mata following release of the Indian film Jai Santoshi Maa ("Hail to the Mother of Satisfaction") in 1975.[40] As Johnsen notes:

      "Today just as 10,000 years ago, images of the Goddess are everywhere in India. You'll find them painted on the sides of trucks, pasted to the dashboards of taxis, postered on the walls of shops. You'll often see a color painting of the Goddess prominently displayed in Hindu homes. Usually the picture is hung high on the wall so you have to crane your neck backward, looking up toward her feet. [...] In India, Goddess worship is not a 'cult,' it's a religion, [...] an extraordinarily spiritually and psychologically mature tradition. Millions of people turn every day with heartfelt yearning to the Mother of the Universe."[41]

      Worship

      Shaktism encompasses a nearly endless variety of practices – from primitive animism through philosophical speculation of the highest order – that seek to access the Shakti (Divine Energy or Power) that is believed to be both the Devi's nature and form.[42] Its two largest and most visible schools are the Srikula, or family of Sri, strongest in South India, and the Kalikula, or family of Kali, which prevails in northern and eastern India.[43]

      Srikula: Family of Sri

      The Srikula (family of Sri) tradition (sampradaya) focuses worship on Devi in the form of the goddess Lalita-Tripurasundari, who conceived as the great Goddess (Mahadevi). Rooted in first-millennium Kashmir, Srikula became a force in South India no later than the seventh century, and is today the prevalent form of Shaktism practiced in states of South India such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Tamil Sri Lanka.[44] The Srikula "family of the Goddess Sri (or Lakshmi)," , unlike Kalikula, the other school of Shaktism, respects the brahminical tradition (a mainstream Hindu tradition which respects caste and purity rules) and is strongest in South India. [45]

      The Srikula's best-known school is Srividya, "one of Shakta Tantrism's most influential and theologically sophisticated movements. Its central image, the Sri Chakra, is probably the most famous visual image in all of Hindu Tantric tradition. Its literature and practice is perhaps more systematic than [that of] any other Shakta sect."[46]

      Srividya perceives the Goddess as "benign (saumya) and beautiful (saundarya)", a contrast to Kalikula's perception of the Goddess as "terrifying (ugra) and horrifying (ghora)" Kali or Durga. However, every aspect of the Goddess - malignant or gentle - is identified with Lalita. [47]

      The Sri Chakra is worshiped as Lalita's subtle form, either as a two-dimensional diagram (sometimes drawn temporarily as part of the worship ritual; sometimes a permanent engraving in metal) or in the three-dimensional, pyramidal form known as the Sri Meru. It is not uncommon to find a Sri Chakra or Sri Meru installed in South Indian temples, because – as modern practitioners assert – "there is no disputing that this is the highest form of Devi and that some of the practice can be done openly. But what you see in the temples is not the srichakra worship you see when it is done privately."[48]

      The Srividya paramparas can be further broadly subdivided into two streams, the Kaula (a vamamarga practice) and the Samaya (a dakshinamarga practice). The Kaula or Kaulachara, "first appeared as a coherent ritual system" in the eighth century in central India,[49] and its champion is the 18th century philosopher Bhaskararaya, who is widely considered "the best exponent of Shakta philosophy."[50]

      The Samaya or Samayacharya finds its roots in the works of a 16th century commentator, Lakshmidhara, and is "fiercely puritanical [in its] attempts to reform Tantric practice in ways that bring it in line with high-caste brahmanical norms."[51] Many Samaya practitioners, in fact, explicitly deny being either Shakta or Tantric; however, Brooks argues that their cult remains technically both, "even if Samayins would reject this appellation."[52]

      Outside brahamanic circles, Kaula lineages remain alive and well – though their practitioners generally prefer to worship in private, in keeping with the Hindu adage, "When in public, be a Vaishnava. When among friends, be a Shaiva. But in private, always be a Shakta."[53] The Samaya-Kaula division marks "an old dispute within Hindu Tantrism,"[54] and one that continues to be vigorously debated to this day.[55]

      Kalikula: Family of Kali

      The Kalikula (family of Kali) form of Shaktism is most dominant in northern and eastern India, and is most widely prevalent in West Bengal, Assam, Bihar and Orissa, as well as parts of Maharashtra and Bangladesh. Kalikula lineages focus upon the Devi as the source of wisdom (vidya) and liberation (moksha). They generally stand "in opposition to the brahmanic tradition," which they view as "overly conservative and denying the experiential part of religion."[56]

      Some scholars state outright that the Kalikula school rejects brahminical tradition. [57] These views are difficult to reconcile with the plurality of views within the larger Hindu tradition outside of the Kalikula school; the great Hindu saint, Ramakrishna, probably, one of the most famous worshippers of Kali, was born in a traditional brahmin family, and worshipped Her as the Divine Mother; furthermore, he was not a follower of the kalikula school, but rather an adherent of the smarta advaitic tradition, which considers Devi to be one of the five equal forms of the Divine. [58];[59]

      The main deities of Kalikula are Kali, Chandi and Durga. Other goddesses that enjoy veneration are Tara and the all other Mahavidyas as well as regional goddesses such as Manasa, the snake goddess, and Sitala, the smallpox goddess - all considered aspects of the Divine Mother. [60]

      Two major centers of Shaktism in West Bengal are Kalighat in Calcutta and Tarapith in Birbhum district. In Calcutta, emphasis is on devotion (bhakti) to the goddess as Kali:

      She is "the loving mother who protects her children and whose fierceness guards them. She is outwardly frightening – with dark skin, pointed teeth, and a necklace of skulls – but inwardly beautiful. She can guarantee a good rebirth or great religious insight, and her worship is often communal – especially at festivals, such as Kali Puja and Durga Puja. Worship may involve contemplation of the devotee's union with or love of the goddess, visualization of her form, chanting [of her] mantras, prayer before her image or yantra, and giving [of] offerings."[61]

      At Tarapith, Devi's manifestation as Tara ("She Who Saves") or Ugratara ("Fierce Tara") is ascendant, as the goddess who gives liberation (kaivalyadayini). [...] The forms of sadhana performed here are more yogic and tantric than devotional, and they often involve sitting alone at the [cremation] ground, surrounded by ash and bone. There are shamanic elements associated with the Tarapith tradition, including 'conquest of the goddess', exorcism, trance, and control of spirits."[62]

      The philosophical and devotional underpinning of all such ritual, however, remains a pervasive vision of the Devi as supreme, absolute divinity. As expressed by the nineteenth-century saint Ramakrishna, one of the most influential figures in modern Bengali Shaktism:

      "Kali is none other than Brahman. That which is called Brahman is really Kali. She is the Primal Energy. When that Energy remains inactive, I call It Brahman, and when It creates, preserves, or destroys, I call It Shakti or Kali. What you call Brahman I call Kali. Brahman and Kali are not different. They are like fire and its power to burn: if one thinks of fire one must think of its power to burn. If one recognizes Kali one must also recognize Brahman; again, if one recognizes Brahman one must recognize Kali. Brahman and Its Power are identical. It is Brahman whom I address as Shakti or Kali."[63]

      Festivals

      Shaktas celebrate most major Hindu festivals (albeit sometimes with a slightly different emphasis), as well as a wide variety of local, temple-specific, and/or deity-specific observances. [64]

      The most important Shakta festival is Navratri (The "Festival of Nine Nights", or "Sharad [Autumn] Navratri"), which together with the tenth day, known as Dusshera or Vijayadashami, commemorates the Devi's victory over various demons in the Devi Mahatmya. [65] In Bengal, the last four days of Navaratri are celebrated as Durga Puja, marking slaying of buffalo-demon Mahishasura by Durga. [66]

      Other Navaratris include Vasanta Navaratri ("The Spring Festival of Nine Nights" or Chaitra Navatri) - celebrated during late spring to summer (March-April) in the Hindu month of Chaitra and Ashada Navaratri("The Summer Festival of Nine Nights") in the Hindu month Ashadha. Srividya lineages celebrate Vasanta Navaratri as goddess Lalita's Navratri as opposed to Durga's Navratri in the autumn. The Vaishno Devi temple in Jammu observes its major Navaratri celebration during this period. [67] Ashada Navaratri is particularly important for devotees of the boar-headed goddess Varahi, one of the seven Matrikas of the Devi Mahatmya.[68]

      Most Shaktas worship Lakshmi ceremonially at home on this, the full moon night following Durga Puja this is also called as Khojagiri Lakshmi Puja.[69] Another festival dedicated to Lakshmi is Diwali (or Deepavali; the "Festival of Lights"). The major Hindu holiday of Diwali, the North Indian New Year, is held on the night of the new moon in the Hindu month of Kartik (usually October or November). Shaktas (and many non-Shaktas) consider it as another Lakshmi Puja, placing small oil lamps outside their homes and praying for the goddess to come and bless them. [70] Diwali coincides with the celebration of Kali Puja, popular in Bengal, with some Shakta traditions focusing their worship on Devi as Kali rather than Devi as Lakshmi. [71]

      Jagaddhatri Puja is celebrated on the last four days of the Navaratis, following Kali Puja. It is very similar to Durga Puja in its details and observance, and is especially popular in Bengal and some other parts of Eastern India.

      Gauri Puja is performed on the fifth day after Ganesh Chaturthi, during Ganesha Puja in Western India, to celebrate the arrival of Gauri, Mother of Ganesha, to come and bring her son back home.

      There are variant dates for Saraswati Puja, depending upon region and local tradition. Commonly, on the fifth day of the Hindu month of Phalguna (January-February), students offer their books and musical instruments to Saraswati and pray for her blessings in their studies. In some parts of India, Saraswati Puja is celebrated in the month of Magh; in others, during the final three days of Navratri. [72]

      Major Shakta temple festivals are Meenakshi Kalyanam and Ambubachi Mela. Meenakshi Kalyanam observes the auspicious occasion of Devi's (as Meenakshi) marriage to Lord Sundareshwara (Shiva) is centered around the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. It runs for 12 days, counting from the second day of the lunar month of Chaitra, in April or May.[73] Ambubachi Mela is a celebration of the yearly menstruation of the goddess, held in June/July (during the monsoon season) at Kamakhya Temple, Guwahati, Assam. Here the Devi is worshiped in the form of a yoni-like stone over which a naturally red-tinted spring flows. [74]

      Temples

      Further information: List of Shakti Temples and Shakti Peethas

      There are thousands of Shakti temples; vast or tiny, famous or obscure. Moreover, countless cities, towns, villages and geographic landmarks are named for various forms of the Devi.[75] "In this vast country, holy resorts of the goddess are innumerable and the popularity of her cult is proved even in the place-names of India."[76]

      At various times, different writers have attempted to organize some of these into lists of "Shakti Peethas"; literally "Seats of the Devi", or more broadly, "Places of Power". Numbering anywhere from four to 51 (in the most famous list, found in the Tantra Cudamani), "the peethas [became] a popular theme of the medieval writers, many of whom took the greatest liberty in fabricating the place names, the goddesses and their bhairavas [consorts]."[77]

      Criticism and misuse

      Shaktism has at times been dismissed as a superstitious, black magic-infested practice that hardly qualifies as a true religion at all. Typical of such criticism is this broadside issued by an Indian scholar in the 1920s:

      "The Tantras are the bible of Shaktism, [...] identifying all Force with the female principle in nature and teaching an undue adoration of the wives of Shiva and Vishnu to the neglect of their male counterparts. [...] It is certain that a vast number of the inhabitants of India are guided in their daily life by Tantrik teaching, and are in bondage to the gross superstitions inculcated in these writings. And indeed it can scarcely be doubted that Shaktism is Hinduism arrived at its worst and most corrupt stage of development."[78]

      Statements of this kind, White notes, are based principally on the ignorance, misunderstanding and prejudice of some outside observers, as well as the unscrupulous practices of certain insiders. "It is in this context that many Hindus in India today deny the relevance of Tantra to their tradition, past or present, identifying what they call tantra-mantra as so much mumbo-jumbo."[79]

      Further muddying the waters, "a number of Indian and Western spiritual entrepreneurs have been offering 'Tantric Sex' to a mainly American and European clientele for the past several decades. Presenting the entire history of Tantra as a unified, monolithic 'cult of ecstasy' and assuming that all that has smacked of eroticism in Indian culture is by definition Tantric, New Age Tantra eclectically blends together Indian erotics, techniques of massage, Ayurveda, and yoga into a single invented tradition [...] pitched at a leisured populace of seekers who treat 'Tantric sex' as a consumer product."[80]

      Nor is it uncommon to encounter assertions that the Shaiva and Vaishnava schools of Hinduism lead to moksha, or spiritual liberation, whereas Shaktism leads merely to siddhis (occult powers) and bhukti (material enjoyments) – or, at best (according to some Shaiva interpreters), to Shaivism; for example, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami has stated that in Shaktism, emphasis is given to the feminine manifest by which the masculine Un-manifest Parasiva is ultimately reached.[81] Such claims are dismissed by serious theologians within Shaktism:[82]

      "Each of the [Divine Mother's] vidyas [aspects of wisdom, i.e. forms] is a Brahma Vidya [path to Supreme Wisdom]. The sadhaka of any one of these [Shakta paths] attains ultimately, if his aspiration is such, the supreme purpose of life – self-realisation and God-realisation, [for] realising the Goddess is not different from [realising] one's self."[83]

      Expansion beyond South Asia

      The practice of Shaktism is no longer confined to South Asia. Traditional Shakta temples have sprung up across Southeast Asia, the Americas, Europe, Australia and elsewhere – some enthusiastically attended by non-Indian as well as Indian diaspora Hindus. Examples in the United States include the Kali Mandir in Laguna Beach, California;[84] and Sri Rajarajeshwari Peetam,[85] a Srividya Shakta temple in rural Rush, New York. The Rush temple was, in fact, recently the subject an in-depth academic study exploring the "dynamics of diaspora Hinduism," including the serious entry and involvement of non-Indians in traditional Hindu religious practice.[86]

      Shaktism has also become a focus of some Western spiritual seekers attempting to construct new Goddess-centered faiths.[87] An academic study of Western Kali enthusiasts noted that, "as shown in the histories of all cross-cultural religious transplants, Kali devotionalism in the West must take on its own indigenous forms if it is to adapt to its new environment."[88] However, these East-West fusions can also raise complex and troubling issues of cultural appropriation.

      Writers and thinkers, "notably feminists and participants in New Age spirituality who are attracted to goddess worship", have explored Kali in new light. She is considered as a "symbol of wholeness and healing, associated especially with repressed female power and sexuality." These new interpretations have originated from "feminist sources,almost none of which base their interpretations on a close reading of Kali's Indian background". "It is hard to import the worship of a goddess from another culture: religious associations and connotations have to be learned, imagined or intuited when the deep symbolic meanings embedded in the native culture are not available." [89]

      A powerful motivation behind Western interest in Shaktism has been suggested by Linda Johnsen, a popular writer on Eastern spirituality, who asserts that many central concepts of Shaktism – including aspects of kundalini yoga as well as goddess worship – were once "common to the Hindu, Chaldean, Greek and Roman civilizations," but were largely lost to the West, as well as the Near and Middle East, with the rise of the Abrahamic religions:

      "Of these four great ancient civilizations, working knowledge of the inner forces of enlightenment has survived on a mass scale only in India. Only in India has the inner tradition of the Goddess endured. This is the reason the teachings of India are so precious. They offer us a glimpse of what our own ancient wisdom must have been. The Indians have preserved our lost heritage. [...] Today it is up to us to locate and restore the tradition of the living Goddess. We would do well to begin our search in India, where for not one moment in all of human history have the children of the living Goddess forgotten their Divine Mother."[90]

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