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
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
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.
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
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
I am very grateful to Mr. A.P. Galestin for his careful correction of my English.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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