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Śiva

(445 words)

Author(s): Gengnagel, Jörg
[English Version] (Sanskrit, »segensreich«), im Veda (Veden) zunächst ein euphemistischer Beiname des Gottes Rudra, wird Ś. in der nachvedischen Zeit zu einem der bedeutendsten hinduistischen Hochgötter. In der hinduistischen Göttertrias (trimūrti) kommt Ś. – neben Brahmā (Brahman) dem Welterzeuger, und Viṣṇu, dem Welterhalter – die Funktion des Zerstörers der Welt zu. In den monotheistischen Formen des Śivaismus übernimmt er diese drei Aktivitäten ebenso wie die Verhüllung des Absoluten in den …

Śakti

(196 words)

Author(s): Gengnagel, Jörg
[English Version] . Im Hinduismus steht der Begriff Ś. (Sanskrit, »Kraft«) für Verkörperungen der weiblichen schöpferischen Kraft. Die große Göttin Devı̄ wird in zahlreichen Erscheinungsformen z.B. als Durgā oder Kālı̄ verehrt. Von Bedeutung sind auch Sarasvatı̄, Pārvatı̄ und Lakṣmı̄, die Gefährtinnen der hinduistischen Hochgötter Brahmā, Śiva und Viṣṇu. In den tantrischen Traditionen (Tantrismus) reicht die Bedeutung der Ś. von der nichtpersonifizierten Schöpferkraft eines männlichen Gottes üb…

Tantra

(245 words)

Author(s): Gengnagel, Jörg
[English Version] (Sanskrit, »Webkette, Gewebe; Lehrbuch«). T. bez. einen praktischen Weg (sādhanā), auf dem rituelle, körperliche (Körpertechniken: III.) und mentale Techniken angewendet werden, um weltl. Genuß (bhukti) und außergewöhnliche Fähigkeiten (siddhi) oder die Befreiung von allen weltl. Bindungen (mukti) zu Lebzeiten zu erlangen. Die Ursprünge des T. liegen im indischen Kulturkreis. Dort bez. T. sowohl eine lit. Gattung rel.-philos. Lehrschriften als auch die dem Tantrismus zugehörige O…

Tantra

(271 words)

Author(s): Gengnagel, Jörg
[German Version] (Sanskrit, “warp, loom; doctrine”). Tantra denotes a practical path ( sādhanā) on which ritual, physical (Body control techniques: III), and mental techniques are used to achieve worldly pleasure ( bhukti) and extraordinary proficiencies ( siddhi), or to be delivered from all worldly ties ( mukti) during one’s lifetime. The roots of tantra lie in the cultural sphere of India. There tantra denotes both a genre of religious and philosophical literature as well as the revelatory literature associated with Tantrism. Elements of tantra are also…

Śaivism

(722 words)

Author(s): Gengnagel, Jörg
[German Version] is a collective term for numerous theistic Hindu sects and traditions that worship Śiva or one of his forms. Its multitude of religious practices and philosophico-esoteric teachings fall into two main groups. In the popular epic forms of Śaivism based on the Purāṇas, Śiva is invoked as the “Great Lord/God” ( Maheśvara, Mahādeva; God, Representations and symbols of: IV, 1) and is usually worshiped as a phalliform liṅga, a practice based on a corpus of orthodox texts ( smārta). The tantric traditions (Tantrism) of sectarian esoteric Śaivism possess a canon o…

Śāktism

(388 words)

Author(s): Gengnagel, Jörg
[German Version] is a tantric form of Hinduism (Tantrism, Tantra) that focuses on the worship of Śakti as a female creative force. Śāktism developed into an independent theological system (God, Representations and symbols of: IV, 2) during the late Middle Ages, alongside the monotheistic forms of Śaivism and Vaiṣṇavism; it is closely related to the non-dualistic ¶ schools of tantric Śaivism. The interplay between the passive male principle and the dynamic female principle in these traditions finds manifold expression in psycho-physiological exercise…

Mantra

(413 words)

Author(s): Gengnagel, Jörg
[German Version] (Sanskrit: “tool of thought”), speech utterances that are recited, murmured, or spoken inwardly as formulas of prayer or invocation. Mantras originated in Indian culture; their meaning and function derive from belief in the power and effectiveness of the spoken word. Alongside mantras stemming from metric passages of the Vedas, Tantric mantras (Tantrism) are characterized by the “seed syllable” ( bīja), significant for its effectiveness. In Tantrism, considerable importance is attached to linguistic-philosophical speculation and ritual use of mantras. Tant…

Śiva

(501 words)

Author(s): Gengnagel, Jörg
[German Version] (Sanskrit, “beneficent”), in the Vedas initially a euphemistic epithet of the god Rudra. In the post-Vedic period, Śiva became one of the most important of the Hindu high gods. In the divine triad ( trimūrti) of the Hindus, alongside Brahmā (Brahman), creator of the world, and Viṣṇu, preserver of the world, Śiva plays the role of destroyer of the world. In the monotheistic forms of Śaivism, he plays all three roles, as well as concealing the absolute in phenomena and revealing grace. Historical evidence of the cult of Śiva goes back to c. 500 bce; interpretations of stea…

Śakti

(201 words)

Author(s): Gengnagel, Jörg
[German Version] In Hinduism śakti (Sanskrit: “force, power”) stands for various embodiments of the feminine creative force. The great goddess Devī is worshiped in numerous manifestations, for example as Durgā or Kālī. Also important are Sarasvatī, Pārvatī, and Lakṣmī, the consorts of the Hindu high gods Brahmā, Śiva, and Viṣṇu. In the tantric tradition (Tantrism), the meaning of śakti ranges from the impersonal creative power of a male god through the equal status of a female deity associated with a male god to a position of supremacy and dominance…

Śivaismus

(665 words)

Author(s): Gengnagel, Jörg
[English Version] Śivaismus, Sammelbez. zahlreicher hinduistischer theistischer Traditionen und Sekten, die Śiva oder eine seiner Formen verehren. Unter der Vielzahl rel. Praktiken und philos.-esoterischer Lehren lassen sich zwei Bereiche unterscheiden. In den episch-purāṇischen, volksrel. Formen des Ś. wird Śiva als der »Große Gott« (Maheśvara, Mahādeva) angerufen (Gott/Götter/Götterbilder und -symbole: IV.,1.) und zumeist als phallusförmiger Lin˙ga verehrt, die Praxis bezieht sich auf ein Korpu…

Śāktismus

(363 words)

Author(s): Gengnagel, Jörg
[English Version] . Tantrische Form des Hinduismus (Tantrismus, tantra), in der die Verehrung der śakti als weibliche schöpferische Kraft im Zentrum steht. Der Ś. entwickelte sich im späten MA neben den monotheistischen Formen des Śivaismus und Viṣṇuismus zu einem eigenständigen theol. System (Gott/Götter/Götterbilder und -symbole: IV.,2.), das eng verwandt ist mit den nicht-dualistischen Schulen des tantrischen Śivaismus. Das Wechselspiel zw. männlich-ruhendem und weiblich-dynamischen Prinzip f…

Tantra I: Hindu

(1,490 words)

Author(s): Gengnagel, Jörg
Concept 1. Tantra (Skt., ‘woven chain,’ ‘web,’ ‘instruction book’) denotes, in general, a pathway of practices along which ritual, corporeal, and mental techniques are applied, in order to obtain, in one's lifetime, extraordinary capacities ( siddhi) or deliverance from all worldly conditions ( mukti). Elements of the Tantra are found in various religions, as in the Hindu systems of Shivaism, Vishnuism, and Shaktism, as well as in → Buddhism (→ Tantra II). The Tantra, then, is not an independent religion, but an articulation, usually sec…

Mantra

(298 words)

Author(s): Gengnagel, Jörg
The word mantra (Skt., literally, ‘thinking tool’) stands for a multiplicity of formulaic linguistic expressions. In the Indian tradition, ‘mantra’ means, first, both the whole and the individual verses and hymns of the Vedic text-collections. Influenced by originally unwritten or oral traditions, belief in the power of the spoken word and its direct effectiveness is decisive for the meaning and function of the mantras. In the Hindu religions, along with Vedic mantras, mantras of other religious t…

Benares (Banāras, Vārāṇasī)

(1,104 words)

Author(s): Gengnagel, Jörg
1. The northern Indian city of Benares (in Sanskrit, Vārāṇasī), in the federal state of Uttar Pradesh, is one of the most important Hindu places of pilgrimage. With a population of 920,000 (1991), it lies, like so many other Indian cities of pilgrimage, on the bank of a river, the Ganges. The bathing areas in places of pilgrimage, like the places themselves, are called fords ( tīrtha). The fords here favor the transition to other ‘forms of being.’ Benares's eminent status among Indian cities of pilgrimage is a function of its special site on the Ganges. The ri…

Tantrism

(991 words)

Author(s): Gengnagel, Jörg | Kollmar-Paulenz, Karénina
[German Version] I. Definition Elements of Tantrism (from Sanskrit tantra, “warp, loom; doctrine”) are present in various religious symbol systems. In addition to the central role of the goddess or ¶ female power and energy (Śakti), ritual acceptance and initiation ( dīkṣā) into the particular religious tradition by a Tantric master or guru ( ācārya), who embodies a specific succession of teachers, are important. The initiation ritual is usually associated with the replacement of the initiate’s mundane name, the communication of specific Tantric ma…

Tantrismus

(948 words)

Author(s): Gengnagel, Jörg | Kollmar-Paulenz, Karénina
[English Version] I. Zum Begriff Elemente des T. (Sanskrit, tantra, »Webkette, Gewebe; Lehrbuch«) finden sich in unterschiedlichen rel. Symbolsystemen. Neben der zentralen Stellung der Göttin oder der weiblichen Kraft und Energie (śakti) ist die rituelle Aufnahme und Einweihung (dīkṣā) in die jeweilige rel. Tradition durch einen tantrischen Lehrmeister (guru, ācārya), der eine spezifische Lehrsukzession verkörpert, bedeutsam. Das Initiationsritual ist meist mit dem Ablegen des weltl. Namens, der Üb…