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The Yonitantra

About the Book

The Yonitantra probably belongs to that kind of Tantric literature which gave Tantrism and its concepts a rather bad reputation. According to Sir M. Monier-Williams, 'Tantrism or Saktism, in Hinduism arrived at its last and worst stage of development'. But in present times Tantrism has become rather popular outside the Indian subcontinent, a popularity, however, which is based mainly upon those aspects of Tantrism formerly looked on with so much abhorrence. The Yonitantra particularly deals with that side of Tantrism which seems to appeal most to the average Western adept of Tantric religion.

The text of Yonitantra, based on the microfilms of six MSS, provides information on religious practices with Yonipuja at the centre which most probably are closely connected with similar practices in Kamarupa but which have remained virtually unknown until today.

The editor has added a valuable introduction that deals with the origin of this tantra, Madhavi and Visnu, Visnu and Yoni, the Yonitantra and Kamarupa, the Kulachara and the Yonipuja, and also contains an evaluation of the Yonitantra.

The volume fills an important gap in the study of tantric religion and practices.

About the Author

J.A. Schoterman studied Indo-Iranian Languages and Culture at the State University of Utrecht (The Netherlands). Initially specializing in Vedic literature, he subsequently directed the aim of his studies towards Hindu Tantric Literature, both in India and Nepal. Another aspect of his research constitutes the study of Sanskrit grammar and lexicography in the Indonesian Archipelago.

Preface

The Yonitantra probably belongs to that kind of Tantric Literature, which gave in the last century and for a long period afterwards Tantrism and its concepts a rather bad reputation. As Sir M. Monier- Williams (1877; repro 1951, 86) stated: 'Indeed, Tantrism, or Saktism, in Hinduism arrived at its last and worst stage of development', and (id. p. 90): ' ... the Tantras are generally mere manuals of mysticism, magic, and superstition of the worst and most silly kind'.

The basis for a more justified opinion on Tantric literature and the ideas it conveys, was laid by the studies of Sir John Woodroffe and Arthur Avalon in the first part of this century. Gradually, understanding and knowledge grew with Western scholars, until in present times Tantrism has become rather popular with a large audience outside the Indian Subcontinent- a popularity, however, which is mainly based upon those aspects of Tantrism formerly looked on with so much abhorrence. The Yonitantra fits rather nicely into this pattern, dealing with that side of Tantrism which seems to be the most appealing to the average Western adept of Tantric Religion. Although the contents of the Yonitantra, now for the first time-critically- edited, may even today give rise to controversy, its importance cannot be ignored. The Yonitantra provides information on religious practices which most probably are closely connected with similar practices at Kamarupa, but which have remained virtually unknown until today ref: Bhattacharya, 1971, 16 note 11).

The present edition of the Yonitantra is based upon the microfilms of six MSS (vide: Part II), which were acquired by Dr. G. Chemparathy during his stay in Calcutta (1972) on behalf of the 'Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft'.

To Dr. T. Goudriaan I wish to express my feelings of sincere gratitude for his useful remarks concerning the subject. The Institute For Oriental Languages (Utrecht) has kindly per- mitted me the use of the microfilms and the equipment to read them.

I am very grateful to Mr. A.P. Galestin for his careful correction of my English.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

 







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