In the Hindu tradition we find the oldest, most diverse and continuous history of the Divine Feminine.To write Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine, David Kinsley first steeped himself in goddess lore. In his earlier writings he attempted to interpret the significance of all the central goddesses within Hinduism and show how each illustrated an important human truth. In Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine, Kinsley focuses on a specific group of ten goddesses, collectively called the Mahavidyas. Kinsley first became aware of them in 1968 when he was in Varanasi studying Mother Kali (one of the ten). After years of study and reflection, he now describes a logic he found to this admittedly externally bizarre group which reveals important spiritual truths. Though ten individual goddesses comprise the Mahavidyas, they are often referred to as one. They are a paradox: separate entities and a unique whole, simultaneously. They have in common that each goddess is worshipped with tantric rituals that are strongly individualistic and handed down orally from Guru to initiate. In addition, each goddess corresponds to the Great Goddess as a protector of the cosmic order by slaying demons, whether she is externally viewed as soft and compassionate, or harsh and warrior-like. The aim of Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine is to focus on the meaning of the Mahavidyas both as individual goddesses and as a cohesive group. Kinsley makes no claim this work is either definitive or a conclusive study of the Mahavidyas. He does seek to illuminate these ten goddesses – some of whom are so obscure little is known about their histories – and to encourage and entice future scholars. Along the way he manages to entice his readers as well. –
- Paperback, 289 pages.
- Published by University of California Press, 1997.
- Kinsley’s engaging and accessible style illuminates the Mahavidyas as symbols for projecting one’s consciousness beyond the socially acceptable and predictable. >/li>
- Kinsley discusses the Mahavidyas as a group then reviews each one: Kali, Tara, Tripurna-sundari, Bhuvanesvari, Chinnamasta, Bhairavi, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi, and Kamala.
- Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine contains 41 illustrations.