Shakti (shŭkˈtē) [key] [Skt., = power], in Hinduism, name given to the female consorts of male deities. The Shakti personifies the dynamic, manifesting energy that creates the universe, while the male god represents the static, unmanifest aspect of the divine reality. The concept is related to that of prakriti in Samkhya metaphysics (see Hindu philosophy and of maya in Vedanta philosophy. The idea of Shakti is prominent in Tantra where the Kundalini energy (see yoga) is regarded as a goddess, and the theme of male-female polarity is developed. The term Shakti is often used to refer to the spiritual partner or consort of a spiritual master, a relationship often without the emotional and sexual components of ordinary marriage.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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