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Maithuna in Tantra Shastra and Veda

Maithuna: (Sanskrit) joining; sexual intercourse

All Yajñas [Sanskrit: ritual sacrifices] are based on the idea that Maithunikarana [Sanskrit: performance of sexual union] leads to spiritual happiness. Sexual intercourse is Agnihotra [Sanskrit: healing fire]. Maithunikarana is consecration. They enclose the Sadas secretly, for enclosing is Maithunikarana and therefore it must be done secretly. Bricks (Vishvajyotis) are made because the making of the bricks causes generation. Two Padas or Caranas of an Anushtub verse are read in a detached manner and the two remaining are read together to imitate the manner of sexual union; they do not worship a female Devata, unless she is coupled with a male Deva; they use a couple of Chandas distinguishing the one as male from the other as female and the two are taken together and believed to be the symbol of Maithuna, and by such Maithuna the desired result of ritual is achieved; they believe that the reading of the Ahanasya mantra will confer bliss; they say that the highest and best form of Maithuna is that of Shraddha and Satya, Piety and Truth and this kind of Maithuna in the abstract is directed for Agnihotris [performers of the ritual] who have purified themselves by actual performances and observances in a religious spirit.

They direct the observance and performance of Maithuna as a religious rite or part of a religious rite and they direct that Mantras are to be uttered during the observance of this rite. One of the articles of faith of the Vaidik people therefore was, that sexual union led the way to bliss hereafter and must be performed in a true religious spirit to ensure spiritual welfare; wanton indulgence being severely deprecated. Ida (a woman) said: "If thou wilt make use of me at the sacrifice, then whatever blessing thou shalt invoke through me, shall be granted to thee."

Excerpted from Shakti and Shâkta by Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe) [1918].