Kiss of the Yogini







xi to xvi


Titles of Samskr.ta Works



Tantra in Its South Asian Contexts

1 to 26


Origins of the Yogini : Tree-Goddesses & Daimonesses

27 to 66


Blood of the Yogini : Vital & Sexual Fluids

67 to 93


Mouth of the Yogini : Sexual Transactions

94 to 122


Power of the Yogini : Tantrik Actresses

123 to 159


Consort of the Yogini : Siddha Cults

160 to 187


Flight of the Yogini : Tantrik Witches

188 to 218


Sublimation of the Yogini : High Hindu Tantra

219 to 257


Tantra for the New Millennium

258 to 272





xi to xvi

pp. xii-xiii, 273 modern blends of oriental lores

p. xii

"New Age Tantra eclectically blends together Indian erotics (kamas`astra, ratis`astra), erotic art, techniques of massage, Ayurveda, and yoga".

p. xiii

"Abhinavagupta's "packaging" of Tantra as a path to ecstatic, exalted god-consciousness was pitched at a leisured Kashmiri populace whose "bobo" profile was arguably homologous to the demographics of the twentieth- and twenty-first-century New Age seekers ... . The reader is invited to consult the fine work of Hugh Urban [2000; 2003] ... . New Age Tantra is ... a remarkably unimaginative "series of yogic exercises applied to the sexual act ... ."" (Kakar 1982, p. 151)

p. 273, n. 0:11

"The guru-disciple relationship combined with the sexual content of "Tantric sex" ... . On this, see Kramer and Alstad ... (1993), esp. pp. 91-99."

Urban 2000 = Hugh Urban, in :- HISTORY OF RELIGIONS 40(2000):268-304.

Urban 2003 = Hugh Urban : Tantra : Sex, Secrecy ... . Berkeley : U of CA Pr.

Kakar 1982 = Sudhir Kakar : Shamans, Mystics and Doctors. NY : Alfred A. Knopf.

Kramer & Alstad 1993 = Joel Kramer & Diana Alstad : The Guru Papers. Berkeley : Frog Ltd.

p. xiv authenticated transmission of tradition

"For any lineage-based Tantric body of practice (sadhana) to be legitimate in ... traditions, both past and present, its ... root text must be traceable back to an ... original ... . ...

{That is simply because each text is a specific revelation by specific deities, who can recognize such revelation of their own handiwork, and thus will grant benefits to a user of such text.}

Furthermore, the transmission of these teachings must be traceable through an unbroken lineage of gurus and disciples, going back to ... founders."

{This is because the each transmission is authorized by specific deities, who regularly employ the indicated continuity of such transmission as a means of ascertaining the worthiness of praesent-day adepts of receive continuing benefits from said deities.}

{The author (D.G.Wh.) is evidently in disagreement against the more liberal policy of the S`aiva-siddhanta philosophy, namely "to admit the authenticity of purely gnostic gurus (jn~aninah.) who have achieved liberation and deserved authority without being processed by ritual {i.e., without themselves having been initiated into any already-existent lineage of transmission} and who are capable of perpetuating their {i.e., started by themselves} spiritual lineages ... through ... inspiration alone. ... They are said therefore to have received initiation and consecration, but in a higher form, an invisible ritual performed not by a common officiant but by the Powers of S`iva embodied in their consciousness." [with fn. 41 : "see T[antra-]A[loka] 4.40c-50; 13.131c-142b."] (Alexis Sanderson : "The Doctrine of the Malinivijayottaratantra", p. 291. In :- Teun Goudriaan (ed.) : Ritual and Speculation in Early Tantrism. State U of NY Pr, Albany, 1992. pp. 281-312)}

{The spiritual power imparted by deities to the founders of a lineage of transmission may be automatically continuated by such deities without regard to lack of esoteric understandings by praesent-day mortal heirs, if certain mere rudiments of formal continuation of that lineage are superficially (ritualistically) observed. The unfortunate reality of this legalistic situation (much like the doctrine of "imputed righteousness" via empty ritual in formalistic Christianity) is hardly deserving of the lavish praise heaped upon it by the author.}



Titles of Samskr.ta Works


scriptures & their authors


its author

[A-manaska-yoga ('unmindful yoking')

Goraks.a-natha (p. 81)]

As.t.anga-hr.daya ('8-limbed heart')





Jn~ana-ananda Parama-hamsa









S`ilpa Prakas`a

Rama-candra Kula-acara

Tantra-aloka ('loom-lamp')




Tantra in Its South Asian Contexts

1 to 26

1.0 p. 1 modern European and other authors on Tantra

"Michel Strickmann's posthumous Mantras et mandarins : Le Bouddhisme tantrique en Chine ..., in giving an account of the origins of Tantra in East Asia, brings together textual, art historical, and ethnographic data ... . The present volume will continue ... bringing together

text-based Tantric theory and exegesis (that has been the subject of work by ... Woodruffe, Silburn, Padoux, Gnoli, Goudriaan, Gupta, Sanderson, Dyczkowski, Muller-Ortega, Brooks ...),

Tantric imagery ( ... by Dehejia, Desai, Donaldson, Mallmann, and Slusser), and

Tantric practice (... by Kakar, Obeyesekere, Caldwell, Nabokov, etc.)."

1.1 pp. 3-4 popular local deities

p. 3

"These deities, which are multiple ..., often form ... human landscapes ... : ... the ... dead, male

p. 4

and female ancestors, and ghosts, ghouls, and rascally imps ... . ... these multiple (and often feminine) deities are, before all else, angry and hungry, and very often angry because hungry. ... As far back as the time of Pan.ini,

Brahmanic sources have qualified these as laukika devatas (popular deities),


Jain and

Buddhist authors

have termed them vyantara devatas (... as opposed to ... jinas and tirthamkaras),

and devas (... as opposed to ... Buddhas and bodhisattvas), respectively."

1.1 p. 5 proportions of population of who were adhaerents of particular religions (in 19th century)










sect of Nanak


Kabir-panthi or S`iva-narayan.

"most of the pandits in the Bihar and Patna Districts worshiped S`akti as their chosen deity and were "Tantriks.""

1.2 p. 7 Christian Eucharist

"The Christian Eucharist, for example, if taken literally, would reduce that sacrament to a sort of cannibalistic practice of eating the flesh and drinking the blood".

{That is praecisely the way (cannibalism) in which traditional Christian denominations (Catholics, Orthodox, Copts, Nestorians, etc., who all claim a "real praesence" of Jesus Christ in the eucharist) understand the eucharist. The Protestant reformers (beginnning in the 16th century Chr.E.) began the haeresy of denying any such "real praesence"; but, as such, they were going against a consistent 1,500-year-old-tradition.}

{If the author were as inaccurate about the Kaula religion as he is about Christian tradition, this book of his would be quite unreliable historically.}

1.2 pp. 10-11 Kaula worship-ritual

p. 10

"On certain nights of the lunar month ["Full- and new-moon nights, as well as the lunar eighth and fourteenth, according to most sources" (p. 275, n. 1:34)] and solar year, Kaula practitioners would assemble on cremation grounds ... . These gatherings, called "minglings" (melakas, melanas, melapas), involved the [sexual] union of female and male initiates, of Yoginis ... with their heroic (Vira) ... male counterparts".

"At these gatherings the Yoginis would descend from the sky to meet their male consorts awaiting them on the ground. ... the Siddhas ... were able to offer the Yoginis a ... subtle and powerful energy source. This was their semen (virya) ... . The Yoginis, gratified by such ..., would offer their form ... to the Siddhas ... . ... they would offer to them ...

{This could be literally performed by human practitioners if they all astrally projected on that occasion; as is known to have been the case in mediaeval European transvections of witches.} {Usually, no food/drink can be eaten/quaffed by the astral body; astral energies which are concommitant with genital secretions may, however, constitute an exception.}

p. 11

their own sexual discharge, something these male partners would have been as needful as the Yoginis were of male semen."

"It was therefore necessary that male practitioners be "inseminated {this would refer to his sucking out by the man of the woman's Bartholin gland secretions}," ... with the sexual discharge of the Yoginis ... . ... Therefore, the erotico-mystical practice, the "Tantric sex[uality]" practiced by the Kaula practitioners, mainly involved

drinking the "power substances" that were sexual fluids, ... through "mutual oral[genital] congress" or

{These would indeed be "power substances" if the reference be to astral energies of astral bodies rather than mere secretions of the material body.}

through a form of genital sex called vajroli mudra ("urethral sucktion"), by which the male partner was able ... to draw up into himself the sexual discharge of his female partner."

{If descriptive of behaviour of astral bodies, this may allude to Robert Monroe's experiential account of orgasm undertaken while astrally projected as enveloping with one's vastly expanded astral genitalia the body of the astrally-projected person of opposite gendre whom one may encountre. (Evidently, such an enveloping could involve forcing ("sucking") the whole body of the person of opposite gendre up one's own urethra.)}

{These texts describing astral-body events in just this fashion must surely have been composed by males. Texts composed by females would, instead, state that on her encountring anywhere any astrally projected male, she forcibly sucked his entire body up her urethra, thereupon plying his body as a dildo until she achieved her orgasm, then casually discarding him (who then fled; unless he was immediately seized by another astrally-projected woman praesent, and treated likewise by her, and so on through the whole congregation of projected d.akini-s).}

1.2 p. 12 Yogini temples {such temples would not, however, be normally used by astrally projected d.akini-s, who (as in the case of mediaeval European witches) would have assembled (after arriving thither by transvection) on mountaintops}

"the royal patrons of the Kaula began to commission permanent structures ... . This was the case in central India in particular, where a significant number of Yogini temples were constructed between the eighth and eleventh centuries C.E. Yogini temples ... were circular and roofless constructions : they were hypaethral, open to the heavens, and as such

served as landing fields and launching pads for Yoginis."

{Instead, they could have served as worship-sites for invoking D.aka-s (warlocks) and D.akini-s (witches) by official chaplains.}

1.3 p. 14 "mutual possession"; sites for practice

"in the former ["Tantric"] case, she simply preys upon her human victim (pas`u),

{The meaning of /pas`u/ is not 'victim' but 'domesticated beast, pet animal'; so the implication is not she she "preys upon her human victim", but that she coddles all whom she amy encountre as if they were her personal pets. (Sexual foreplay is also known as "petting".)}

in the latter ["Kaula"], the male partner takes an active role, inducing a sort of "mutual possession" (samaves`a) in a sexual mode.

It is for this reason that Kaula virtuosi practiced in sites most frequently haunted by these semidemonic beings : ... caves, ... deserted buildings, ... remote temples of the Mothers ... ." (Sanderson 1985, p. 201)

Sanderson 1985 = Alexis Sanderson : "Purity and Power". In :- Carrithers et al. (edd.) : The Category of the Person. Cambridge U Pr. pp. 191-216.

1.3 p. 14 cosmic consciousness through orgasm

"later Tantric sexual practice came to be grounded in a theory of transformative aesthetics, in which the experience of orgasm effected a breakthrough from a "contracted" self-consciousness to an expansive "god-consciousness," in which the entire universe came to be experienced" (Sanderson 1995, pp. 22, 25).

{"there is a common feeling which is similar to the bliss of cosmic consciousness. It is sexual orgasm." (THK, p. 296)} {"The Cosmic Aura ... is an orgasmic, fluidic Sensing of Awareness". "Cosmic Consciousness will now begin to impose Itself more and more to the forefront ... of orgasmic Bliss." (SJT)}

Sanderson 1995 = Alexis Sanderson : "Meaning in Tantric Ritual". In :- Blondeau & Schipper (edd.) : Essais sur le Rituel. Louvain : Peeters. pp. 15-95.

THK = Robert Lomas : Turning the Hiram Key. Fair Winds Pr, Gloucester (MA), 2005.

SJT = Brigitte Arora : A Soul's Journey in Time. 2006.

1.3 p. 16 distortions of meaning, forced readings

"Exegetical or scholasticist Tantric works ... constitute ... a hermeneutical transformation ... which often systematically distorts the meaning ... . Prime examples of this are Ks.emaraja's eleventh-century Trika commentary on the Netra Tantra [p. 276, n. 1:54 : "this text of the Netra Tantra itself was originally a work on demonology, onto which was grafted ... a treatise on the god Amr.tes`a ... : Brunner ... (1974), p. 127."], and Abhinavagupta's forced reading of the dualistic principles of the Malinivijayottara Tantra into a nondualist Trika mold in his TA." (Sanderson 1992, pp. 293, 306, 308)

Brunner 1974 = He'le`ne Brunner : "Un Tantra du Nord". BULLETIN OF THE SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES 37:125-97.

Sanderson 1992 = Alexis Sanderson : "The Doctrines of the Malinivijayottaratantra." In :- Teun Goudriaan (ed.) : Ritual and Speculation in Early Tantrism. SUNY Pr. pp. 281-312.

1.3 p. 18 the 5 amnaya-s of goddess-cults

"Some time in the eleventh century, ... Kaula traditions were systematized into amnayas ("transmissions"), comprising the cults of the goddesses of the

(1) Trika, named Para, Apara, and Parapara

(the purvamnaya, the "prior" or "eastern transmission");

(2) Kali

(the uttaramnaya, the "higher" or "northern transmission");

(3) Kubjika

(the pas`cimamnaya, the "final" or "western transmission").

Later ... (4) Tripurasundari ...,

the daks.inamnaya ("southern transmission");

still later the Kularn.ava Tantra ... fifth ...,

the urdhvamnaya ("upper {literally 'upright'} transmission")." (Kularn.ava Tantra 3.7b)

1.3 p. 18 the 5 mouths of S`iva

"Kaula sources state that ... five traditions flow from the five mouths of S`iva, evoking either the five-headed Sadas`iva of the S`aivasiddhanta [Dyczkowski 1988, pp. 123-5] or the pan~camukha linga, the five-faced image of S`iva." (e.g., Kula-arn.ava Tantra 3:7a)

Dyczkowski 1988 = Mark C. G. Dyczkowski : The Canon of the S`aivagama and Kubjika Tantras ... . Albany : SUNY Pr.

1.3 p. 19 to be set free from a Yogini who devoureth

"knowing a devouring Yogini's clan was a means of controlling her. In the words of the Netra Tantra [19:80b-81a], "In every case in which someone is 'sealed [in]' or 'nailed [down]' ["by a Yogini ..."] from a given clan (kula) ..., he can only be released from his ills by an offering to the [{divine} leader of] that family."

1.3 pp. 20-1 kula-devi ('clan-goddess') as flower-goddess

p. 20

"many royal Rajput marriages have often involved the adoption by the groom of his bride's kuldevi ..., her "clan" or "lineage goddess.""

p. 21

[quoted from Tambs-Lyche 1997, pp. 61, 271 :] "the place of the kuldevi is central; linking her to the king are her brothers the bards [Caran.a-s], from whose caste the goddess herself is recruited. ... where no state deity ... is found ... the kuldevi, herself a Charani ..., presides."

"the "woman who wears flowers" (puvat.aikkari) in modern-day Tamil rituals : a family's tutelary deity ... is invested and enshrined in the family compound" (Nabokov 2000, pp. 125-50, esp. pp. 144-5).

Tambs-Lyche 1997 = Harald Tambs-Lyche : Power, Profit, and Poetry : traditional society in Kathiawar ... . Delhi : Manohar.

Nabokov 2000 = Isabelle Nabokov : Religion against the Self : an ethnography of Tamil rituals. Oxford U Pr.

1.4 pp. 22-3 the Kaula-jn~ana-nirn.aya; tantrik revivals

p. 22

"A number of sources attribute ... the emergence of the Kaula, to Macchanda (or Matsyendranatha), ... who incorporated the teachings ... of a group called the Yogini Kaula into his Kaulajn~ananirn.aya (KJn~N) ... . ... it is ... a foundational text of the Kaula corpus, and ... it offers the most complete and straighforward descriptions of the Kaula -- mythical origins, specific doctrines and practices ... . ... an edition of this text was published in 1934 by Prabodh Chandra Bagchi on the basis of the sole extant manuscript of the work, held in the Nepal National Archives, which Bagchi dated to the mid-eleventh century. ...

p. 23

On the basis of ... outside references, I prefer to date the KJn~N {its original composition, not the surviving manuscript} to the ninth or tenth century. As such, it is ... earlier than ... core Kaula texts ... . It is far earlier than the core texts of the "Tantric revival" of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries ... . Still later than these are are two other works ... : the sixteenth- to seventeenth-century Yoni Tantra, and the Kaulavalinirn.aya (KAN) of Jn~anananda Paramahamsa, which are representative of a still later Tantric revival which was likely based in eastern India".

1.4 pp. 23-6 contents of the Kaula-jn~ana-nirn.aya

p. 23

[KJn~N 16:11a-14b :] "I am Bhairava ...; ... I constantly protect the ordered universe; therefore I am the Orderer (vidhatr.)"

"Following this, Bhairava presents a list of six other names by which he is known ... : ... Vis`vapada, Vicitra, S`vetapada, Bhr.n.gapada, Bhat.t.araka-Bhat.t.apada, and Rurupada." (KJn~N 16:15a-20a)

p. 24

[KJn~N 16:22a :] "I inhabit Moon Island in my nonmanifest (avyaktam) form."

"deities who transmitted the Kaula gnosis are enumerated : the Goddess told it to ... Skanda and`a; Nandin told it to ... Mahakala; and Jaya told it to ... Vijaya" (KJn~N 16:39a-40b, 44b-46a).

p. 279, n. 1:117

"A similar line of transmission is detailed in KJn~N 22.1b-3a : Harasiddhi, Vinayaka, Skanda, Mahakala, the Yogini Kalika, Nandi, Bhat.t.aka, Dron.aka, Vijaya".

p. 24

Also mentioned ... are the Harasiddhi deities ... . Finally, the text gives special precedence to "the Yogini named Kalika ... ." [Kaula-jn~ana-nirn.aya 16:40b, 46a] Here, the reference to Kalika may be to ... the important Kashmir-based ... Kali-Krama ("Sequence of Kalis")".

[KJn~N 16:41a-43b :] "That [the nonmanifest godhead] is clanless (akula) ... and at the end of cosmic age [everything] dwells inside ... an individual seed (jiva {sic : read "bija"?}) ... of a tree ... . ... [But] steeped in nescience (ajn~anam), [creatures fall into] the condition of the brutish ... (pas`u)."

p. 25

[KJn~N 16:46b-48b :] "From Mahakaula [arose] the Siddha Kaula; from Siddha Kaula the Fish-Belly. It was uttered ... upon each of ... the four ages (yugas).

In the first [age] ... to the Kaula;

in the second to ... Mahat;

in the third, to ... Siddhamr.ta [and]

in the Kali [age] to the Fish-Belly."

"A passage from the twenty-first chapter of the KJn~N gives a ... list of ... stages or phases in a creation process : these are the Sr.s.t.ikaula ("... Emission ..."), Mahakaula, Timiri ... ("... Darkness"), Siddhamr.ta ... {'perfect ambrosia'}, Matakaula ("... Mothers"), S`aktibhedakaula ("... Divisions of Goddesses"), Urmikaula ("... the Serpent" {sic : /urmi/ is actually 'wave' or (figuratively) 'wave of pain or of grief'; never 'serpent'}) -- which constitute "the coming together of the Jn~anakaula of the four yugas" --

as well as the Siddhes`vara ... ("...

p. 26

the Lord of Perfected Beings"), the Vajrasambhavakaula ("... Generated from Lightning"), and the Meghaja-kaula ("Rainwater ..."), "which issued, long ago and far away ... ."" (Kaula-jn~ana-nirn.aya 21:5a-7b)

1.4 pp. 25, 279 Yogini temples

p. 25

"in the medieval Yogini temples ... depictions of the consumption of animal and human flesh by human "witches" and ghouls are legion."

p. 279, n. 1:119

"standing skeletal males figured on the pedestals of certain Yoginis at Bheraghat, ... in a heightened state of sexual excitement, ... may simply be early Hindu {Kaula} versions of the common Buddhist Tantric {Vajra-yana} sprites, known as citipatis, figured together with Yogini-type females on Buddhist {Vajra-yana} edifices {temples} in present-day Nepal and Bhutan."


David Gordon White : Kiss of the Yogini : "tantric sex" in its south Asian contexts. U of Chicago Pr, 2003.