The three major male manifestations of the Supreme Being in Hinduism are Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. However, Shaktism—a belief system that emphasizes the worship of the feminine principle in all of its diverse forms—has had an impact on each of the major Hindu traditions. The concept of the indispensability of the female principle, which evolved early in both major religions of Nepal, is understood as shakti, or power, in Hindu thought, and prajna, or insight, in Buddhism. Works of art that focus on the divine feminine have only recently been receiving serious attention from scholars, and, despite their common appearance in art, there are still many unanswered questions. For example, very little is known about the iconography and mythologies that surround Siddhalakshmi, a powerful female goddess with multiple faces and arms holding various objects. As the secret practice of the Malla kings, she played a central role in daily rites and was thought to have preserved their rule for centuries.

Hinduism | Buddhism | Ritual Aesthetics | Divine Feminine | Shiva and Family

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