Greetings from Arunachala!
As many of you must know by now, the inspiration for my novel — Whip of the Wild God: A Novel of Tantra in Ancient India – partly drew from my growing awareness that what I was studying of Tantra — in its pure form — as a means of exploding consciousness, from finite to infinite, with techniques open to both celibates as well as to couples – had degenerated into a circus that does a terrible disservice to the initial purity and power of this ancient philosophy of liberation. And the beat goes on — I still meet people who flinch at the very mention of Tantra/Tantriks/Tantrikas — so here is a blog post you might like to read…and comment upon.
While much conventional scholarship has designated these women as low-caste “sluts” exploited for ritual purposes, religious scholar Miranda Shaw has unearthed a very different history. Her book Passionate Enlightenment: Women in Tantric Buddhism claims these women were no mere ‘consorts’ but powerful gurus once held “in awe, reverence and obeisance”.
Her book is a biographic treasure trove of Tantric women teachers spanning the Pala Period of India (8th -13th centuries). According to Shaw, their writings and teachings were pivotal to the “central feature of one of most brilliant flowerings of Indian civilization”. So why are their…
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