Shakti

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Shakti

(shŭk`tē) [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 philosophyHindu philosophy,
the philosophical speculations and systems of India that have their roots in Hinduism. Characteristics

Hindu philosophy began in the period of the Upanishads (900–500 B.C.
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 and of mayamaya
, in Hinduism, term used in the Veda to mean magic or supernatural power. In Mahayana Buddhism it acquires the meaning of illusion or unreality. The term is pivotal in the Vedanta system of Shankara, where it signifies the world as a cosmic illusion and also the power that
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 in VedantaVedanta
, one of the six classical systems of Indian philosophy. The term "Vedanta" has the literal meaning "the end of the Veda" and refers both to the teaching of the Upanishads, which constitute the last section of the Veda, and to the knowledge of its ultimate meaning.
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 philosophy. The idea of Shakti is prominent in TantraTantra
, in both Hinduism and Buddhism, esoteric tradition of ritual and yoga known for elaborate use of mantra, or symbolic speech, and mandala, or symbolic diagrams; the importance of female deities, or Shakti; cremation-ground practices such as meditation on corpses; and,
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 where the Kundalini energy (see yogayoga
[Skt.,=union], general term for spiritual disciplines in Hinduism, Buddhism, and throughout S Asia that are directed toward attaining higher consciousness and liberation from ignorance, suffering, and rebirth.
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) 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.