In the beginning was desire

The film can be seen on my YouTube channel

Text of accompanying booklet:

In the beginning was desire
A poetic film essay in 6 parts

  1. Ushas & Prajapati

The film begins with the beginning of the world. For the evocation of the primordial dawn we go back to the period of the Vedas, the grandiose collection of hymns from early Hinduism, in particular the Rig Veda, which dates from the 13th century BC.

Text (as spoken in the film):

Then was not non-existent nor existent,
There was no realm of air, no sky beyond it.

Death was not then, nor was there aught immortal,
No sign was there, the day’s and night’s divider.

All that existed then was void and formless,
By the great power of warmth was born that unit.

That one thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature,
Apart from it was nothing whatsoever.

Thereafter rose desire in the beginning,
Desire, the primal seed and germ of spirit.

Ushas, goddess of Dawn, girl full of smiles,
Bare your breasts when you shine in the east.

Splendid in hue she has unclosed the portals,
Young and brazen, forward she comes.

Stirring up the world,
Dawn has awakened every living creature.

(Source: hymns from the Rig Veda on creation and on Ushas)

Dawn, the attractive ‘girl full of smiles’, awakens all living beings, inviting each and everyone to a life of joy and creativity. This is shown in the film through the erotic sculptures of women and men as depicted on the Surya temple (13th cent. AD) in Konark, Orissa: the perception of sexual pleasure as expression of the joy of life. Could one interpret the ecstatic delight and loving copulation as a model of the state of eternal bliss to which Hindus and Buddhists alike aspire in final liberation (moksha)?

Text (as spoken in the film):

The Father Prajapati saw the dawn. He saw the beauty of the Daughter rising. The Father desired. This was no longer the heat he lived by, the furnace within that lit up the cavern of the mind. No, this heat was already darting out from his body, licking along Ushas’ soft skin.
Prajapati wrapped himself right around the Daughter, penetrated her, just as she hitherto had nestled in him. For the first time the Father’s phallus opened a path into the darkness of Dawn.
Around them there had never been anything distinct, only now did it seem that an outline began to form. All that could be sensed was the breathing of Prajapati and Ushas, the almost imperceptible movement of their bodies glued together.
Slowly a dark figure detached itself from the shadow, an archer. He bent his bow. The more he bent it, the more the twined bodies were flooded with incandescence. Rudra yelled as he let fly his arrow.
Like a flash Prajapati withdrew from Ushas. The arrow pierced his groin, while his phallus squirted its seed onto the ground. Prajapati’s mouth foamed with anger and pain. On her back, almost imperceptibly, the abandoned Ushas trembled.

(Source: KA, by Roberto Calasso; fragments based on texts from the Rig Veda, and the later Brahmanas and Upanishads)

This mythological story makes us witness to the first act of love in a still young and diffuse world. It is a kind of story –incestuous almost out of necessity- evoking the primordial coupling of heaven and earth, which is common to so many myths about creation.
But then appears Rudra with his bow and arrow, in order to prevent Prajapati from ‘doing what is not done’.
Rudra is the Vedic antecedent of Shiva, who in turn becomes the main character of the film.

  1. Shiva & Parvati

Text (as spoken in the film):

Mahadeva, the primordial god.
Embodying Shiva and Parvati. Male and female.

Shiva is man and Parvati is woman; they are the causes of creation.
All men have Shiva as their soul, and all women are Parvati.

Shiva has the form of the male sign, the lingam, and the Goddess has the form of the female sign, the yoni. The universe, moving and still, has the form of the sign of Shiva and Parvati.

(Source: Brhaddharma Purana, 13th cent. AD)

Standing in front of the impressive sculpted reliefs in the main cave of Elephanta (6th/7th cent. AD) near Mumbai, one feels confronted with the essence of the Hindu worldview. There is Mahadeva, the great god, who unites male (Shiva) and female (Parvati) as the two creative forces of the cosmos. There is Ardhanarishvara, half man (right) and half woman (left), expressing the same idea in one harmonious image. And there is Kalyana-Sundaramurti, Shiva and Parvati as separate individuals, united in marriage.
Without his female half, Shiva is incomplete and deprived of his creative powers. Shiva and Parvati, male and female, are the two poles of one whole, not opposite but complementary, and it is only in union that they can realize themselves in the world.
This worldview, this portrayal of mankind, finds its most pregnant expression in the lingam-and-yoni image, the stylized combination of vagina and erect phallus. It is in this form that Shiva and Parvati are venerated in thousands of temples and shrines all over India.

  1. Ganga & Shiva

Parvati, which literally means ‘she who is from the mountains’, is the daughter of Himavat, the personification of the Himalaya. In her elder sister Ganga she has an eternal rival, because Ganga too is intimate with Shiva.

Text (as spoken in the film):

A stream crossed the sky: a stream of souls, of waters, of the dead, of subtle substance. It was the Milky Way.
The flow of the Milky Way headed down to where a mighty corrugation lifted earth to sky. It was the Himalaya.
Thus, flowing down from the mountaintops, the Milky Way became Ganga, Shiva’s lover, and daughter of the king-mountain Himavat.
But if left to themselves, those waters would have flooded the earth. To avoid overwhelming life irremediably, the celestial stream came down on Shiva’s head where he sat motionless, deep in meditation.
The impact shattered the mass of water, which then came down to earth in a thousand small streams. That was Ganga’s body, forever twisting around her lover’s head, streaming over his lips, pouring from his jet-black tresses.

(Source: KA, by Roberto Calasso)

The cultural and religious significance of Ganga for all Hindus can hardly be overemphasized. She is Ganga Mata, Mother Ganges, whose waters are life giving as mother’s milk.
“Even the most hardened atheist of a Hindu will find his heart full of feelings he has never felt before, the first time he reaches the bank of the Ganga”, as a modern Hindi author has said.

Text (subtitles of strophes of a Sanskrit poem, sung in the film):

Your water …
Source of untold good fortune for the entire earth
Over which Shiva rules –the dancing creator of the universe-
Essence of the Vedas and embodied merit of the gods
May your water, beautiful as nectar, avert from us all that is inauspicious.

The stream of your waters …
Once seen it quickly removes
The wretchedness of the poor and the bad deeds of the sinners
Mistress in swiftly cutting down the tree of ignorance
May the stream of your waters assign us boundless prosperity.

This delightful word Ganga …
It is music to one’s ears
The very thought of it makes one’s mind tranquil
When sung it immediately removes sins and the pain of existence
May this delightful word at death echo in the lotus of my mouth.

Your shore …
On which the crows move about filled to their satisfaction
Unaware of the longing for heavenly bliss
Which removes the pain of birth and death of its dwellers
May your shore be steadfast in alleviating our exhaustion.

(Source: “Ganga Lahari”, by Jagannatha, 17th cent. AD)

Shiva Gangadhara: Shiva who carries Ganga in his hair. She is his liquid Shakti: his female life energy. So close is the relationship between the two lovers that Ganga is often called Shiva’s wife. How does Parvati take this?

Text (as spoken in the film):

For thousands of days Shiva was united to Parvati.
Their bodies were twined together, but all at once Shiva noticed that Parvati was cold.
Her eyes were no longer staring into his eyes, but at his tresses.
In the dripping dampness of his hair, she had recognised her elder sister, Ganga, still clinging to Shiva’s body.
Every drop bespoke the delicate swaying of her generous hips.
Parvati thought: ‘So all the time Shiva had me wrapped in his serpentine embraces, he was still carrying Ganga on his head, still dripping with her body’.
Parvati was shot through by an overwhelming jealousy and anger.

(Source: KA, by Roberto Calasso)

4. Kali & Shiva

Kali, ‘the black one’, is Parvati’s alter ego. While Parvati is usually depicted as a loving wife, Kali is portrayed as a bloodthirsty goddess of vengeance. She is the personification of Parvati’s dark and violent side and so she is also called Bhairavi, ‘the terrifying one’, similar to Bhairava, which is Shiva in his terrifying form.
While harmony and equality between the sexes is the ideal, in reality the male and female energies are in a state of intrinsic tension, oscillating around the basic principle of complementarity and mutual dependence. In Kali the ever-looming tendency of male dominance is reversed. Here Shakti, the female energy, is in full command, and it is Shiva’s role to pacify her.

Devotees of Kali often address her as ‘Mother’ to whom they dedicate themselves as children. She is Mahadevi, ‘the great goddess’, who through her being makes them understand the terrifying truth about the world: there is no life without death; there is no creation without destruction. But if one can accept that death is part of life and that life feeds on death, this truth can be transformed into liberating wisdom. Only then moksha (total liberation) can be attained. That is how the well-known Kali devotee Ramprasad could finally exclaim: “My worship is finished now, O Mother, bring down Thy sword”.

Text (subtitles of strophes of a Maithili poem, sung in the film):

Triumph to Kali, the Tremendous One, who terrifies the demons.
Companion of Shiva, source of his creative power,
Benevolent by nature, grant us your favours.
Your devotees find protection at your feet.

Day and night your feet dance on the motionless body of Shiva.
In your hair shines the moonstone.
Many demons you have mauled with your mouth,
Many you have spat out like trash.

Jingle jingle tinkle your anklets
Whoosh whoosh swishes your sword through the air.
Vidyapati, the poet, is a slave at your feet,
Do not forget your son, O Mother.
Triumph to Kali, the Tremendous One, who terrifies the demons.

(Source: “Triumph to Bhairavi” (Kali), by Vidyapati, 14th cent. AD)

With Kali we have entered the world of Hindu tantrism, in which Shakti, the dynamic female energy, is considered the dominant force. Both have their origin in the eastern part of India, but while esoteric tantrist practices have largely vanished, devotion to Kali is still very much alive.
In its Buddhist variant though, tantrism has survived in Tibet and it is interesting to see how the iconographic realm of Kali and Shiva has filtered through in Tibetan Buddhism.

5. Samvara & Vajravarahi

Hindu tantrism and Indian Buddhism flourished between the 8th and 12th century AD, both occupying the same geographical space in what is now Bihar and Bengal. Without doubt they have strongly influenced each other and many Hindus, who felt attracted to tantric Buddhism, were converted. Vikramashila, Nalanda, and Odantapuri were big Buddhist monastery complexes, with temples, bustling universities and extensive libraries, attracting students from far and wide. Before its decline and the following complete destruction of its monasteries in the 13th century by Muslim invaders, this form of tantric Buddhism had spread to Tibet and that is how many old Buddhist tantras, sadhanas and mandalas have survived in Tibetan translations.

Text (as spoken in the film):

Let the worshipper think of himself in the centre of the lotus as being Cakrasamvara with four faces, symbolising the four Purified Elements, the four Boundless Wishes, the four Emancipations, and the four Acts.
To symbolise that he does not change from the Immutable Consciousness, the body is of a blue colour.
To show that all the Three Worlds are under his vision and that he knows the Three Times, each face has three eyes.
To show that he knows the twelve Nidanas or chain of causes of existence, he is represented as with twelve hands.
To show that the Perfect Mind is both the Void and Compassion he holds in the upper hands a Vajra and a Bell.
To show that Power and Wisdom are ever in union the first or uppermost two hands embrace his spouse.
To signify that out of his great Compassion he still lives in the world of sentient beings, he treads with his bent left leg the prostrate body of Time –Kalaratri-, who represents the extreme belief of passive Nirvana.
To show that to his great Consciousness there is neither subject nor object, his outstretched right leg treads the figure of the dark destroyer –Bhairava-, who symbolises the extreme belief of eternal worldly existence.
To denote that the fifty letters of the alphabet have been purified, he wears a garland of fifty freshly severed heads.
He embraces Vajravarahi who clings to him and who is red of colour because she is devoted to the service of all sentient beings.
She is three-eyed, crowned with five and garlanded with fifty dried skulls.
To show that she is inseparable from Method, she encircles the body of the deity with her limbs and embraces him.
Appearance, Method and Great Compassion are the Male Deity, whilst the Void, Wisdom, Tranquillity and Great Bliss are the Female Deity.
To show that these two must be in union, they are depicted as in sexual union, touching at all points of contact.

(Source: Shrichakrasambhara Tantra, 8th cent. AD)

Cakrasamvara, the yab-yum image of Samvara and his consort Vajravarahi, is a good example of Hindu influence on Tibetan Buddhism. So numerous are the ideas and attributes derived from the Kali-Shiva iconography, that we can almost call Samvara a Buddhist Shiva in his Bhairava appearance. The fact that Samvara shows his superiority over the Hindu gods by crushing the very same Bhairava under his foot is therefore all the more striking. Another interesting feature is the shift in the role attributed to Shakti. From the dominant active female energy in Hindu tantrism, she now fulfils a more passive role, embodying tranquillity and wisdom.

First, this part of the film shows the omnipresence and continuous recitation by Tibetan Buddhists of the mantra ‘Om mani padme Hum’. Then it compares the meaning of ‘mani padme’ (‘the jewel in the lotus’) with the yab-yum position of Samvara and Vajravarahi and similar pairs of gods in sexual union with their consorts. Finally it equates this with the symbolic meaning of the (male) vajra in the (female) bell, two pre-eminent ritual objects of Tibetan Buddhism, and with the Hindu image of the lingam-in-yoni. They are all expressions of one and the same fundamental thought, which is: the reconciliation of opposites, of subject and object, of life and death; the uniting of complementary principles like compassion and wisdom, mind and nature, Shiva and Shakti, male and female; thát is the path to utmost happiness and supreme delight, when time comes to a stand-still and the moment of bliss is everlasting.
The sublime reference to the universally known, deeply human emotion of unspeakable happiness at the moment that two lovers feel the boundary between them dissolve and they temporarily become one, gives the imagery of Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism its great force.

  1. Krishna & Radha

The love between Krishna, the 8th incarnation of Vishnu, and his favourite cowherdess Radha is portrayed in the different arts so true to life, elaborating on all the varying emotions of erotic attraction, sexual desire, jealousy and passionate lovemaking, that one easily gets the impression of enjoying a modern love story. Are we presented here with divine love as a model and inspiration for human love or is it the other way round?

The story of Krishna’s youth is situated in Vrindavan near Mathura, on the banks of the river Yamuna. It is here that he teases and charms the gopis (cowgirls) and that he and Radha yearn so passionately for each other. It still is the centre of present day Radha-Krishna devotion.

Text (as spoken in the film):

“I reach the lonely forest hut where he secretly lies at night.
My trembling eyes search for him as he laughs in a mood of passion.
I shy from him when we meet; he coaxes me with flattering words.
I smile at him tenderly as he loosens the silken cloth on my hips.
I fall on the bed of tender ferns; he lies on my breasts forever.
I embrace him, kiss him; he clings to me drinking my lips.
My eyes close languidly as I feel the flesh quiver on his cheek.
My hair is a tangle of wilted flowers; my breasts bear his nail marks.
Jewel anklets ring at my feet as he reaches the height of passion.
My body falls like a limp vine; Krishna delights in my love.

Thus Jayadeva sings about Radha’s fantasy of making love with Krishna.
Then, suddenly the enchanting sound of a flute penetrates the air.
It is Krishna calling.
Whatever they are doing, all the cowgirls of Vrindavan are roused and furtively set off toward the forest.

Jayadeva’s song evokes the wondrous mystery of Krishna’s sexual play in Vrindavan forest.
Young Krishna revels here as the crowd of charming girls revels in seducing him to play.

When he quickens all things
to create bliss in the world,
his soft dark sinuous lotus limbs
begin the festival of love
and beautiful cowherd girls wildly
wind him in their bodies.

One cowherdess with heavy breasts embraces Krishna lovingly
and celebrates him in a melody of love.
Another simple girl, lured by his wanton quivering look,
meditates intently on the lotus face of Krishna.
He hugs one, he kisses another, he mimics a wilful girl.
In spring young Krishna plays
like erotic mood incarnate.

(Source: Gitagovinda, by Jayadeva, 12th cent. AD)

Then, one night in the forest, Radha’s dream comes true: she and Krishna unite on their ‘bed of tender ferns’.

Text (subtitles of strophes of a Maithili poem, sung in the film):

Her dishevelled hair hides the beauty of her face
Like Rahu, the demon, devouring the curves of the moon.

Exquisite is their union in love:
Radha plays the active part with passion.

Her loose hanging hair moves in gentle waves
Like when the Yamuna mingles with the flow of the Ganges.

Beads of sweat glisten on her beautiful face
As if the god of love has adorned the moon with pearls.

Her dishevelled hair hides the beauty of her face
Like Rahu, the demon, devouring the curves of the moon.

(Source: “Her dishevelled hair”, by Vidyapati, 14th cent. AD)

Glossary

Ardhanarishvara Shiva as half man (right) and half woman (left).
Brahma One of the Hindu Trinity, with Vishnu and Shiva. Creator of the world.
Brahmanas Ancient ritual texts, related to the Vedas, 8th and 7th cent. BC
Bhairava “the tremendous one”, Shiva in his terrifying form.
Bhairavi “the tremendous one”, another name for Kali.
Cakrasamvara “the wheel of supreme bliss”, the deities Samvara and his consort Vajravarahi in sexual union (yab-yum).
Ganga The river Ganges, sister of Parvati, lover of Shiva.
Gangadhara Shiva carrying Ganga on his head.
Himavat Himalaya, father of Parvati and Ganga.
Indra Lord of the cosmic gods.
Kali “the black one”, terrifying alter ego of Parvati, wife of Shiva.
Krishna “the dark one”, eighth incarnation of Vishnu.
lingam Phallus (=Shiva).
Mahadeva “great god”, primordial god, embodying Shiva and Parvati.
Mahadevi “great goddess”, primordial goddess. All goddesses are manifestations of Mahadevi or Devi.
mandala A sacred assembly of deities, often in the form of a symmetrical diagram, symbolic of cosmic forces.
mani padme middle part of the mantra “Om mani padme Hum”. Often translated as: “the jewel in the lotus” (=lingam in yoni).
mantra Sacred formula or incantation in Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism, e.g. “Om”, the primal mantra of cosmic vibration.
moksha Total liberation.
Parvati “daughter of the mountain” (of Himavat), sister of Ganga and wife of Shiva.
Prajapati Progenitor, Lord of creatures. Vedic antecedent of Brahma.
Puranas Collections of Hindu myths, 3rd – 14th cent. AD
Radha One of the gopis (cowgirls). Krishna’s favourite.
Rig Veda “wisdom of the hymns”, the most sacred of the Vedas, collections of hymns from early Hinduism, 13th cent. BC.
Rudra “howler”, the wild god. Vedic antecedent of Shiva.
sadhana Evocation rite, spiritual exercise.
Samvara Tibetan deity, inspired by the Hindu god Shiva.
Shakti Female power or energy, personified as consort of a god, often Shiva.
Shiva “the kind one”. One of the Hindu Trinity, with Brahma and Vishnu. Destroyer of the world. Venerated as creator and destroyer.
Surya The Sun god.
Tantra/tantrism Text/ritual cult of ecstasy, in which sexuality achieves cosmic proportions, in Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism. The Tantras are said to be revealed by Shiva.
Upanishads Ancient Hindu metaphysical texts in the tradition of the Vedas.
Ushas Vedic goddess of Dawn, daughter of Prajapati.
vajra “thunderbolt”, originally the weapon of the Vedic god Indra.
Also: “diamond, jewel” (=mani, male symbol). Together with the bell (female symbol) it is the main ritual object in tantric Buddhism.
Vajravarahi Tibetan deity, consort of Samvara.
Vajrayana Vajra-Buddhism, i.e. Tibetan, tantric Buddhism.
Vishnu One of the Hindu Trinity, with Brahma and Shiva. Preserver of the world.
yab-yum Position of sexual union.
yoni Womb, vagina (=Parvati).

Source material used in the film

Texts (fragments)
Rig Veda (13th cent. BC)
in: Wendy Doniger O’flaherty The Rig Veda
Brhaddharma Purana (13th cent. AD)
in: Wendy Doniger O’flaherty Hindu Myths
Cakrasamvara Tantra (8th cent. AD)
in: Kazi Dawa-Samdup Shrichakrasambhara Tantra
Gitagovinda, by Jayadeva (12th cent. AD)
in: Barbara Stoler Miller The Gitagovinda of Jayadeva
Ka, by Roberto Calasso, 1996

Sculptures
Surya temple (13th cent. AD), Konark
Vaital Deul temple (9th cent. AD), Bhubaneshwar
Elephanta cave (6th/7th cent. AD), Mumbai

Paintings
Popular Kali-posters (20th cent. AD), Kolkatta
Cakrasamvara thanka, by Sonam Tsering (2001),
Norbulingka Institute, Dharamsala

Krishna, Radha and the gopis
Pahari miniature paintings of Krishna, Radha and the gopis (18th cent. AD) from the collections of:
Bharat Kala Bhavan, Varanasi
Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum, Ahmedabad
Rietberg Museum, Zürich

Vocal music (fragments)
Ganga Lahari, by Jagannatha (17th cent. AD),
sung by Dharma Das Budhathoki,
translation by Arlo Griffiths and Harunaga Isaacson
Zambu Chuwo (Song of offerings to the Universe),
sung by monks of Gyuto Tantric University
(CD: Chants Secrets des Lamas Tibetains / Tibetan Tantric Chants, Dewatshang C.DEWA 1)
Triumph to Bhairavi (Kali), sung by Jahawarlal Jha, and
Her dishevelled hair, sung by Ganesh Kant Thakur
by Vidyapati (14th cent. AD), translation by Dick Plukker
(CD: Inde du Nord / North India – Mithila, Chants d’amour de Vidyapati / Mithila, Love songs of Vidyapati, Ocora/Radio France C 580063)

Instrumental music (fragments)
Vilayat Khan (sitar), raag Maand Bhairav
(CD: “Dhyaan”, Chhanda Dhara SNCD70895)
Frances-Marie Uitti (6-string cello), KO-THA, by Giacinto Scelsi and Frances-Marie Uitti (CD: Giacinto Scelsi, ETCETERA KTC 1136)
Hariprasad Chaurasia (flute), Pahadi Dhun (CD: Nimbus Records NI 5469)
Ravikiran (chitraveena), raga Lalitha (CD: Chhanda Dhara SNCD71194)

Selected Bibliography

John Alphonso-Karkala, editor
An Anthology of Indian Literature
Penguin Books 1971

B. Bhattacharya, editor
Nispannayogavalli of Mahapandita Abhayakaragupta
(Description of 26 Mandalas, including innumerable deities of the Tantra cult)
Gaekwad Oriental Series no. 109, Baroda 1949

B. Bhattacharya, editor
Sadhanamala, vol.II
(Describes the procedure for visualising some 312 deities in intense
meditation)
Gaekwad Oriental Series no. 41, Baroda 1968

Deben Bhattacharya, translated by
Love Songs of Vidyapati
George Allen & Unwin Ltd. 1963

Roberto Calasso
Ka
Translation by Tim Parks. Vintage 1999

Mahadev Chakravarti
The concept of Rudra-Shiva through the ages
Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi 1994

Nirad C. Chaudhuri
Hinduism. A Religion to Live By
Oxford University Press 1979

Ananda K. Coomaraswamy
The Dance of Shiva. On Indian Art and Culture
The Noonday Press 1971

Alain Daniélou
La Sculpture Erotique Hindoue
Editions Buchet/Chastel, Paris 1973

Alain Daniélou
Shiva et Dionysos. La Religion de la Nature et de l’Eros
Fayard 1979

Kazi Dawa-Samdup, editor and translator
Shrichakrasambhara Tantra. A Buddhist Tantra
Tantrik Texts, vol. VII, London/Calcutta 1919

Joseph M. Dye
Ways to Shiva. Life and ritual in Hindu India
Philadelphia Museum of Art 1980

Wendy Doniger O’flaherty, editor
Hindu Myths. A Source Book translated from the Sanskrit
Penguin Books 1975

Wendy Doniger O’flaherty, selected, translated and annotated by
The Rig Veda. An Anthology
Penguin Books 1981

Charles Genoud
La Non-Histoire d’une Illusion. Méditations sur le Bouddhisme
Tantrique Tibétain
Olizane, Genève 1994

J. Gonda
Vishnuism and Shivaism. A Comparison
Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers 1996

B.N. Goswamy und Eberhard Fischer
Pahari-Meister. Höfische Malerei aus den Bergen Nord-Indiens
Museum Rietberg, Zürich 1990

David Kinsley
Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine. The Ten Mahhavidyas
Motilal Banarsidass 1998

David Kinsley
Hindu Goddesses. Vision of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu
Religious Tradition
Motilal Banarsidass 1987

Stephen M. Kossak and Jane Casey Singer
Sacred Visions. Early Paintings from Central Tibet
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 1998

Stella Kramrish
The Presence of Shiva
Motilal Banarsidass 1988

T.S. Maxwell
The Gods of Asia. Image, Text, and Meaning
Oxford University Press 1997

Ajit Mookerjee
Kali. The Feminine Force
Thames and Hudson 1988

Ajit Mookerjee and Madhu Khanna
The Tantric Way. Art, Science, Ritual
Thames and Hudson 1977

Philip Rawson
The Art of Tantra
Thames and Hudson 1973

Hans Wolfgang Schumann
Buddhistische Bilderwelt
Eugen Diederichs Verlag 1986

David L. Snellgrove
Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. Indian Buddhists and Their Tibetan Successors
Serindia Publications, London 1987

Barbara Stoler Miller, editor and translator
The Gitagovinda of Jayadeva. Love Song of the Dark Lord
Motilal Banarsidass 1977

John Stratton Hawley and Donna Marie Wulff, editors
Devi. Goddesses of India
Motilal Banarsidass 1998

R.C. Zaehner
Hinduism
Oxford University Press 1966

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