Love and Death Among the Gods

I love that the Hindus have a temple to the yoni. In the dominant religion of my country, not only is the yoni not mentioned, most would like to pretend it doesn’t exist. In fact, it’s so taboo, that we had to make Jesus’ mother into a virgin.

But, on a hill in Guwahati in the state of Assam sits The Kamakhaya Temple where long ago Sati’s yoni fell to earth.  And, really, doesn’t it make more sense to honor that part of us that is closest to the life source than deny it?

So if you’re wondering, as I did, how Sati’s yoni ended up on a hill in Guwahati, the story is this. The goddess, Sati, killed herself by throwing herself onto a puja fire at a ceremony because her father, Daksha, insulted her husband, Lord Shiva. When Shiva learned of his wife’s death, he flew into a rage, replaced Daksha’s head with that of a goat, grabbed his burnt wife from the fire and began dancing with her corpse. Shiva’s rage was so intense that it took several gods to calm him down and in the process, Sati’s body was cut into 51 parts that fell all over India. Her yoni ended up in Guwahati.

I’ve also read that there are 108 sites of Sati’s body parts, so who knows. At a small Durga (another manifestation of Sati) temple in the Jainita Hills I was told that her left thigh landed there. I was also told it didn’t. Sati’s body parts are everywhere and no where.

But her yoni seems to be pretty well established in Guwahati. The temple is a major pilgrimage place with a path that leads down into a dark cave where the symbolic yoni is guarded by priests, covered in red cloth and garlands of flowers strewn over it.

The pilgrims seemed impatient for their blessings and mostly I felt carried along in the crowd with a lot of pressure to get the praying done and move on to the next holy rock.

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2 thoughts on “Love and Death Among the Gods

  1. Isn’t that typical of the religious… even when given an opportunity to contemplate and worship the yoni, there they go, getting into line for a bit of luck, or a blessing… but I love them all the same.

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