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To: alt.magick.tantra,alt.religion.tantra,
From: mdhjwh 
Subject: Re: Saddhu-Masochist
Date: Wed, 08 Mar 2000 10:22:33 +1100

catherine yronwode wrote:>One of the things about tantra yoga -- and Hindu
asceticsm in general that has always alarmed me has been its open inclusion of
self-mutilation, <

The Roman Catholic Church has a long and ignoble tradition in such matters.
To this day religious festivals in Italy and Spain involve self mutilation.

In Plati in 1970 I was sickend to witness a cerimony (that I am told has a
connection to the halloween rituals of the US.) 'Penitents' run from house to
house knocking loudly on the front door. When the occupant opens up the
"penitant'slashes his legs and arms with broken glass until the door step is 
drenched in blood . He is then given a religious token and money by the

The ritual involves complex and ancient (propably pre-christian) elements such
specific meanings derived from the patern of blood splatter and the number of 
knocks required to have the occupants open the door.

I am inclinded to think of enforced celebacy in the roman Churhc as a form
of involuntary castration that has resulted in endless cases of sexual
mollestation of innocent parishioners and their children. At least the Hindu
practitionors removed the bilogical evidence (origin?) of sexuality , whereas
Christianity has indulged in a totaly hypocritical form of mental castration.

> (witness Richard Avedon's recent portfolio
of photos in the New Yorker magazine, including a man whose penis was
stretched out like a rope by the weight of stones attached to it)<

You need not go to India to witness such acts. Extreem acts of this type of 
sado - masochism are popular entertainments in New York gay saunas.
And they arn't even vaguely interested in religious, magickal or ritual
My suspicion is that over the millenia many have been attracted to extream
religio/sexual practices as an outlet for already  damaged sexuality.
I suspect this is a chicken and the egg question we may never solve.

John H  (genital-lover that i am also ) ;-0

From: (Alexander Maclennan)
Newsgroups: alt.magick.tantra,alt.religion.tantra,
Subject: Re: Saddhu-Masochist
Date: Wed, 08 Mar 2000 20:36:24 GMT
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"Aarohana"  wrote:


> Specifically, the practice in Tantric tradition consists of certain
> yogins who tie heavy weights to the end of the penis, gradually
> stretching it over time to the point where erection is no longer
> possible.  The name of the procedure escapes me at the moment.  It is
> not a castration, per se (I'm not familiar with any school which

> advocates castration... nor circumcision for that matter), and results
> in no recorded overall harm to the individual who undertakes the
> procedure.  There's no blood, so there's not even a chance of infection.
>  It's a sort of anti-Viagra (note:  in Sanskrit, the word "Vyagra" means
> "tiger"... so this could be "avyagra", "not the tiger" :)

The sadhus who mutilate the penis are called caralingis, I think.   I
don`t think they are tantrics at all but ascetics but not certain of
this.   They are a caste of snakecharmers, appropriately enough.   At
one time it was customary to pierce the phallus and then drag a chain
about.   The ascetics of India are concerned with acquiting spiritual
power and in the legends can be so successful at this that they can
threaten the power of the of gods.  Hence all the lying on beds of
thorns or between fires, holding arms up till they wither, standing
continuously for years and so forth.   Castration is the province of
the Hijras, who regard themseves as an ascetic sect and have the whole
external genitalia removed and afterwards dress as women, live in
groups under a guru and attend weddings to dance and bring fertility
and good luck.   Many also are male prostitutes.  They are not

The great classical ascetic tantric sect was the Kapalikas, who
followed the penance prescribed for a brahmanicide, going naked, using
a skull as a begging bowl, slashing bits of themselves off and so
forth.   Their successors are probably the aghoris who retain the
skull bowl and live off garbage on the cremation ground, some eating
bits of the corpses and covering themselves with the cremation ashes.  
Some claim to live on excrement and urine only.  Ramakrishna was
initiated in this sect and tended to go into samadhi in the latrine. 

Practically all of these odd practices can be found in a non religious
context in the West and one wonders whether Hindustan has found a
religious niche for people whose urges would otherwise bring them into
conflict with the majority, an approach with I for one would find
profoundly humane. 


Alexander MacLennan

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