Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Fri Apr 2 23:34:17 UTC 1999

In a message dated 4/2/99 4:03:48 PM Central Standard Time, cln4 at COLUMBIA.EDU

> I'm looking for information in general about the use
>  and significance of pots in Hinduism, in tantra, mythology, and ritual.

In explaining the term kulAlikAmnAya for one of the Tantric traditions, J. A.
Schoterman  (The SaTsAhasra saMhitA, 1982, p.8)  says,  "The pot manufactured
by the potter is an important daily utensil, but next to this the pot is
often regarded as devI Herself or Her local manifestation. In many Indian
villages devI is simply represented with an earthen pot (cf. Whitehead 1921:
37ff.; Index s.v.). In view of the foregoing it is understandable that the
potter may have gained an important position in a Tantric context. In Tantric
ritual the pot is often a central feature as a representation of the womb and
by that of the Mother (cf. Przyluski 1950: 122; Neumann 1963: 132; 162).
During Tantric rituals and ceremonies devI is born again in the pot for the
duration of the ritual. For this reason the pot is filled with liquor or
water (cf. 3, 21-23 Notes; devI upaniSad 3: mama yonir apsv anta samudre),
and to symbolize the union of devI with Her male consort a white thread
(=sukra, 'semen virile') is knotted around it (cf. 3, 22d)." For a supporter
of Tantric concepts the potter himself is closely related to four out of the
five elements which constitute human life (mahAbhUtas): earth (pRthivI),
water (Apas), fire (tejas) and wind (vAyu)."

S. Palaniappan

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