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THE DIVINE COUPLE SHIVA - SHAKTI

In the Tantric cosmology the !hole "ni#erse is $ercei#e% as &eing create%


$enetrate% an% s"staine% &y t!o '"n%amental 'orces !hich are $ermanently
in a $er'ect in%estr"cti&le "nion( These 'orces or "ni#ersal as$ects are calle%
Shi#a an% Sha)ti(
The tra%ition has associate% to these $rinci$les a 'orm res$ecti#ely that o' a
masc"line %eity an% that o' a 'eminine one( Accor%ingly Shi#a re$resents the
constit"ti#e elements o' the "ni#erse !hile Sha)ti is the %ynamic $otency
!hich ma)es these elements come to li'e an% act(
*rom a meta$hysical $oint o' #ie! the %i#ine co"$le Shi#a-Sha)ti
corres$on%s to t!o essential as$ects o' the One+ the masc"line $rinci$le
!hich re$resents the a&i%ing as$ect o' ,o% an% the 'eminine $rinci$le !hich
re$resents Its Energy the *orce !hich acts in the mani'este% !orl% li'e itsel'
consi%ere% at a cosmic le#el(
*rom this $oint o' #ie! Sha)ti re$resents the immanent as$ect o' the Di#ine
that is the act o' acti#e $artici$ation in the act o' creation( -ay&e e.actly this
Tantric #ie! o' the *eminine in creation contri&"te% to the orientation o' the
h"man &eing to!ar%s the acti#e $rinci$les o' the "ni#erse rather than
to!ar%s those o' $"re transcen%ence(
There'ore Shi#a %e/nes the traits s$eci/c to $"re transcen%ence an% is
normally associate% 'rom this $oint o' #ie! to a mani'estation o' Sha)ti !ho
is some!hat terri&le 0s"ch as Kali an% D"rga1 $ersoni/cation o' Her o!n
"ntame% an% limitless mani'estation(
O!ing to the 'act that in a !ay Sha)ti is more accessi&le to the h"man
"n%erstan%ing 0&eca"se this regar%s as$ects o' li'e that are closely relate% to
the h"man con%ition insi%e the creation1 the c"lt o' the ,o%%ess 0DEVI1 has
s$rea% more 'orci&ly(
This c"lt !as com&ine% !ith notions o' the Sham)hya $hiloso$hy an% has
o2ere% the $remises necessary to the later -aya %octrine 'orm"late% &y the
sage Shan)aracharya(
This $ossi&ility o' com&ining o' inter$enetration o' t!o or more notions
&elonging to t!o or more s$irit"al systems is %"e to the 'act that the Hin%"
$hiloso$hical systems are not isolate% close% systems &"t com$le. an%
managea&le %octrines !hich may a%3"st an% may &e "n%erstoo% 'rom
%i2erent $ers$ecti#es(
The Sam)hya $hiloso$hy $rom"lgates a $rimor%ial cosmic %"ality( *rom the
Tantric $ers$ecti#e this 4scheme4 o' creation is trans'orme% in the sense
that the t!o cosmic $rinci$les are consi%ere% "nite% not se$arate%( This is
the '"n%amental %i2erence intro%"ce% &y Tantra &ase% on a conce$tion that
'a#ors the "nity &et!een the t!o $rinci$les o$$ose% in a$$earance &"t
in%issol"&le "nite% in each act o' the creation(
Ne#ertheless Tantrism con'ers to Shi#a an% Sha)ti the 5"alities o' the
'eminine an% masc"line $rinci$les 'rom the Sam)hya $hiloso$hy(
The i%ea o' an act o' 'ertili6ation at the %i#ine $"rely s$irit"al le#el comes to
li'e an% is a%mitte% in the tantric cosmogonic conce$tion "nli)e the Sam)hya
$hiloso$hy( The eternal an% in%estr"cti&le "nion &et!een Shi#a an% Sha)ti
gi#es &irth to the !hole -acrocosm in its sta&le static as$ect as !ell as in
its %ynamic one(
The %i2erent re$resentations in the rich tantric iconogra$hy o&#io"sly
"n%erline the antithetic characteristics o' the t!o $rinci$les %etermining a
more clear "n%erstan%ing(
Th"s on one han% is $resente% the cosmic %ance o' Sha)ti on the lying &o%y
o' Shi#a( On the other han% the t!o %eities are $ict"re% in !hat is calle%
VIPA7ITA--AITHUNA meaning tantric se."al "nion( This se."al "nion is
%i2erent 'rom !hat is "s"ally "n%erstoo% &y this in the !estern tra%itions in
the sense that man is immo&ile !hile the !oman em&racing him ass"mes
an acti#e role %"ring the se."al act(
In concl"sion the Tantrism en#isages the cosmic e#ol"tion as a $olari6ation
!ithin the S"$reme 8eing !hich is ,o% the Unmani'este% A&sol"te in its
t!o '"n%amental as$ects+ static an% )inetic(
Tantra sym&oli6es this as$ect &y com$aring the co"$le Shi#a an% Sha)ti !ith
a see% o' grain 0CHANAKA1( S"ch a see% is ma%e "$ o' t!o hal#es so closely
lin)e% that they seem one an% one single co#er co#ers them( Sym&olically
the t!o hal#es re$resent Shi#a an% Sha)ti the co#er re$resents -aya 0the
cosmic ill"sion1( 9hen the co#er is on the t!o hal#es are se$arate% &"t the
co#er goes o2 !hen the see% is a&o"t to germinate "ni'ying th"s the t!o
hal#es in one(