The Saktas - An Introduction and Comparative Study

The Saktas - An Introduction and Comparative Study

Product ID: 12537

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Author: Earnest A Payne
Publisher: Cosmo Publications
Year: 2004
Language: English
Pages: 153
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8129200791


Saktism is one of the phases of Indian religion which has received much condemnation and abuse; it is also one of the phases which has been little studied. This book describes the sect, outlines its practices and considers the rise of Sakta ideas in the religious literature of Hinduism.

Throughout India, and particularly in Bengal, there are hundreds of thousands of Saktas, and they are the product of one of the most important and widespread movements within Hinduism, a movement which, however dark some of its expressions may be, has produced some remarkable types of genuine piety, and a considerable literature.

The three chief characteristics of Saktism are it idea of the Deity as Destroyer, its conception of god as Mother, and its attention to ceremonial. Each of these features can be paralleled in other forms of Hinduism, but nowhere are they so combined and emphasized as in this sect.

The work sakti means energy. Power or Force is conceived as the active principle in the universe, and is personified as a goddess. From the primordial Sakti every other form of activity proceeds. Under many different names its is worshipped as Devi or the Mother.

Saktism is a movement as complex as any within Hinduism. We propose first of all the describe the sect, and to outline its practices; then to consider the rise of Sakta ideas in the religious literature of Hinduism. An attempt will be made to indicate some of the possible causes of its popularity, and the origin of some of its beliefs. The background in Bengal and Assam will then be filled in greater detail, for only with that background in mind are we in a position to understand the fine examples of intense devotion and touching faith to be found among the Saktas.


The Cult of the Goddess
The Goddess and Her Worshippers
The Growth of Sakta Ideas in Hindu Literature
The Tantras
Non-Aryan Influences Favouring Saktism
The Sankhva and Vedanta Philosophies
The Background in Bengal (A)
The Background in Bengal (B)
Some Kindred Religious Phenomena (A)
The Worship of the Numinous
The Mother-Goddesses of the Mediterrranean
Some Kindred Religious Phenomena (B)
The Mystery Religions
The Worship of the Virgin Mary
The Impermanence of Saktism