Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine The Ten Mahavidyas

ISBN-10: 0520204999

ISBN-13: 9780520204997

Edition: 1997

Authors: David R. Kinsley

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Description:

The Hindu pantheon is rich in images of the divine feminine--deities representing a wide range of symbolic, social, and meditative meanings. David Kinsley's new book documents a highly unusual group of ten Hindu tantric goddesses, the Mahavidyas, many of whom are strongly associated with sexuality and violence. What is one to make of a goddess who cuts her own head off, or one who prefers sex with a corpse? The Mahavidyas embody habits, attributes, or identities usually considered repulsive or socially subversive and can be viewed as "antimodels" for women. Yet it is within the context of tantric worship that devotees seek to identify themselves with these forbidding goddesses. The Mahavidyas seem to function as "awakeners"--symbols which help to project one's consciousness beyond the socially acceptable or predictable. Drawing on a broad range of Sanskrit and vernacular texts as well as extensive research in India, including written and oral interpretations of contemporary Hindu practitioners, Kinsley describes the unusual qualities of each of the Mahavidyas and traces the parallels between their underlying themes. Especially valuable are the many rare and fascinating images he presents--each important to grasping the significance of the goddesses. Written in an accessible, engaging style, Kinsley's book provides a comprehensive understanding of the Mahavidyas and is also an overview of Hindu tantric practice.
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Book details

Copyright year: 1997
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 8/18/1997
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 328
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.320
Language: English

Acknowledgments
Introduction
The Mahavidyas as a Group
The Individual Mahavidyas
Kali: The Black Goddess
Tara: The Goddess Who Guides through Troubles
Tripura-sundari: She Who Is Lovely in the Three Worlds
Bhuvanesvari: She Whose Body Is the World
Chinnamasta: The Self-Decapitated Goddess
Bhairavi: The Fierce One
Dhumavati: The Widow Goddess
Bagalamukhi: The Paralyzer
Matangi: The Outcaste Goddess
Kamala: The Lotus Goddess
Concluding Reflections
Notes
Glossary
Bibliography
Index
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