Worship of the phallus as a symbol of creative energy has been central to virtually every world culture, and strong traditions of phallic art exist through- out India, Egypt, Greece, and Northern Europe. Yet we in the West, hampered by modern taboos, have been unable to see this most fundamental of symbols for what it is-the image of the creator in mankind. Alain Daniela, the fore- authority on the art and spirituality of India and the classical world, here unveils the religious impulse underlying art that at first seems purely erotic.
THE PHALLUS surveys a wide range of art, myth, and cultural customs, examining phallic amulets of Neolithic man, standing stones of Europe, the mukha lingam of India. The obelisks of Rome and Egypt, and other repre- sentations of male fertility. Daniela shows the primal role played by ithy- phallic gods in such diverse mythologies as those of the Celts (Cernunnos, the Horned God), Greeks (Pan, Hermes, Priapus), and Hindus (Ardhanarishvara, the androgyne). He also explores the cults of Shiva and Dionysus in their role of bringing men into communion with the creative forces of life. It is in this capacity-as a manifestation of the creator, a source of bliss and transcend- dence-that the phallus has its most powerful role in human symbolism. And, Danielou argues, if we are to maintain our link to the divine, it must assume this symbolic role again.
Profusely illustrated with some of the world's finest examples of phallic art, THE PHALLUS celebrates the expression of the masculine in the religious traditions of East and West.
About the Author
Dancer, musician, and scholar, Alain Danielou (1907 -1994) wrote more than thirty books about the philosophy, religion, and art of India and the Mediterranean. Following a series of successful careers, Danielou settled in India and spent fifteen years in the study of Sanskrit, philosophy, and music. After numerous university appointments in India, he returned in 1963 to Europe, where he established the Institute of Comparative Music Studies. Daniela’s other books include THE COMPLETE KAMA SUTRA; GODS OF LOVE AND ECSTASY; THE MYTHS AND GODS OF INDIA; and VIRTUE,SUCCESS, PLEASURE, AND LIBERATION.
It is only when the penis [upastha] stands up straight that it emits se- men, the source of life. It is then called the phallus [lingam] and has been considered, since earliest prehistory, the image of the creative principle, a symbol of the process by which the Supreme Being pro- creates the Universe.
This is not a case of a symbol plucked at random but the recognition of the continuity of the process that links all the various levels of manifestation, according to cosmological theory. The phallus is really the image of the creator in mankind, and we rediscover the worship of it at the origin of every religion.
A source of pleasure, the phallus evokes divine bliss, the Being of Joy. Within the microcosm of the living being it represents the pro- genitor, which is always present in its work. Contempt for this sacred emblem, as well as degradation and de- basement of it, pushes man from the divine reality. It provokes the anger of the gods and leads to the decline of the species. The man who scorns the very symbol of the life principle abandons his kind to the powers of death.
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