- Paperback: 743 pages
- Publisher: Dover Pubns (June 1, 1978)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0486236455
- ISBN-13: 978-0486236452
- Package Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.3 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,020,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Shakti and Shakta Paperback – June 1, 1978
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Sir John Woodroffe, who wrote under the pseudonym of Arthur Avalon, was a Western scholar in the best traditions who brought important Hindu texts and teachings to the West, including the clasic work on Kundalina yoga, The Serpent Power.
In Shakti and Shakta, Woodroffe explores the teachings of the "Bharata Dharma," the common thread of tradition that links Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, as they relate to the divine feminine, expressed as "Shakti" or power in contrast to "Shiva" or unchanging consciousness.
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According to John Woodroffe, the foremost scholar on Tantra, and translator of its greatest works (including the Mahanirvana Tantra):
" The Indian Tantras, which are numerous, constitute the Scripture (Shastra) of the Kaliyuga, and as such are the voluminous source of present and practical orthodox "Hinduism." The Tantra Shastra is, in fact, and whatever be its historical origin, a development of the Vaidika Karmakanda, promulgated to meet the needs of that age. Shiva says: "For the benefit of men of the Kali age, men bereft of energy and dependent for existence on the food they eat, the Kaula doctrine, O auspicious one! is given" (Chap. IX., verse 12). To the Tantra we must therefore look if we would understand aright both ritual, yoga, and sadhana of all kinds, as also the general principles of which these practices are but the objective expression." (Introduction to Sir John Woodroffe's translation of "Mahanirvana Tantra.")
An additional note would be that those reading this and other related Hindu Tantras avoid trying to practice them without a 'sadguru' (True Teacher). Within the tantras themselves it is constantly stressed that while Tantra is a continuation of the Vedic tradition and necessary for this time, practice requires that the student have a Guru from whom to learn. American sensationalist sex-mongerers don't know the least thing about what Tantra really comprises, like that its many verses, throughout its shastras (especially the Hindu Agamas and Tantras) are triple-layered in meaning, and thus take what Tantrik experts term a gross, subtle and ultimate meaning. For this reason, while commentary by scholars is valuable, the guidance of a guru for actual practice is indispensable.