Sixty-Four Yoginis: Cult, Icon and Goddesses
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Associate Professor, Department of Ancient History, Culture and Archaeology, University of Allahabad
This book examines different layers of complex phenomena related to the Yoginis based on rigorous fieldwork in the hitherto untraversed terrain where the Yoginis have their abode. Well supplemented with a rich collection of photographs, it offers valuable insights for researchers in the fields of religion, myth, culture, history, and gender studies respectively. It identifies the Yoginis of the temple, of the Puranas, of the tantric texts, of folklore, and, finally, of the Yogini Kaula. Variously portrayed as malevolent goddesses, deities of tantric rituals, and yoginis of flesh and blood, they are seen as the sixty-four forms of the goddess and the sixty-four embraces of Shiva and Shakti. Abandoned temples, stretching from Banda in Uttar Pradesh to Bolangir in Odisha, were once witness to the evolution of the mysterious cult of these goddesses. This book deciphers the complex forms of these Yoginis by engaging with the subject historically, aesthetically, theologically and anthropologically.
‘…the book adds to the available resources on the subject and to a certain extent advances some thought-provoking ideas…’
Pranshu Samadarshi, Frontline