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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tantric Goddesses- Bajrayogini

Sunday, August 9, 2009
The name Bajrayogini suggests a close association with Tantric beliefs. A Bajra (dorje in Tibetan) is the Buddhist thunderbolt symbol that looks a bit like a hollow dumb-bell and vajraya is the name for the Tantric form of Buddhism. Tantric beliefs developed as a synthesis of ancient pre-Hindu religions and new ideas that rejecctedmany orthodox Hindu and buddhist beliefs. Tantric believers hold that endless rebirths on the journey to nirvana can be avoided by incorporating magival rites with all the energies of existence- both good and bad under the strict tutelage of a lama. Sex and sexual imagery play a central role.
Hinduism was initially a patriarchal religion introduced by the Aryan invaders of India and overriding the existing earth goddesses. The development of shaktis or the female consorts joyed tremendous popularity in the Kathmandu valley , sometimes completely overshadowing their male counterparts, especially in Tantric belief. A parallel development is Buddhism produced the female counterparts to the Dhyani Buddhas.
A jogini is the female counterpart to a Bhairab, one of the wrathful forms of Shiva. In other words a jogini is the wrathful form of Shiva's partner Mhadevi (great goddess) wh0 is parwati in a more peaceful manifestation. Among some of Mahadevi's fearsome manifestations are Kali, Durga, Annapurna and Taleju.
So who is Bajrayogini you ask? A Tantric goddess is the simple answer- a unique Nepali goddess possibly combining elements from Hinduism, Buddhism and perhaps even earlier religions.

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