Yogini: The Enlightened Woman
From the book, Yogini, Unfolding the Goddess Within by Shambhavi Chopra
I am Divine Love
In the Bhavani-nama-sahasra (the Thousand Names of the Goddess Bhavani) as beautifully explained by Pandit Jankinath Kaul, "A Yogini is one who is possessed of magical powers.'' Para Shakti, the Supreme Shakti, in the form of Durga is given the name Yogini. She assumes various forms and takes on different divine energies to maintain harmony in the Universe, to combat evil and uphold the good. A woman who gains a transcendental state in sadhana comes back as a celestial Yogini or Bhairavi, a female adept at Yoga. She carries the energy of Durga within her.
A true Yogini is an enlightened woman with exuberant passion, spiritual powers and deep insight. Yoginis communicate a sense of freedom, a sheer mastery in whatever they do. With their compelling gazes, they can hypnotize even a great yogi and are capable of changing their shapes at will. Tantric scholars have written about Yoginis as independent, outspoken, forthright women with a gracefulness of spirit. Without them, yoga can fail in its purpose and remain sterile.
Shakta texts honor both women and the Earth alike as sources of energy, vitality, physical and spiritual well-being. Noting this analogy between a Yogini and the earth, an eleventh-century Tibetan Cakrasamvara commentary states: “Having recognized a Yogini who will delight and transmit energy and power to him, and feeling passionately attracted to her, if the male aspirant does not worship that Yogini, she will not bless the yogi, and spiritual attainments will not arise.'' Miranda Shaw’s book, Passionate Enlightenment, which was introduced to me by Lokesh Chandraji, first exposed the world of the Yogini to me from a Buddhist perspective.
In Hindu thought, the Yogini represents the Yoga Shakti herself, the Kundalini, as well as the resident powers or female deities of the different chakras. The Yogini possesses the power of Yoga herself and can awaken that in others, not only generally but at any point or place in the body or mind. A man's ability to achieve the higher states of Yoga can be facilitated by his association with such a female companion who reflects this energy.