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A stone yoni found in Cát Tiên sanctuary, Lâm Đồng, Vietnam

Yoni (IAST: yoni; Sanskrit:"vulva") is a stylised representation of the goddess Shakti in Hinduism.[1][2] Within Shaivism, the sect dedicated to the god Shiva, the Shakti symbolises his consort. The union of the yoni and lingam represents the eternal process of creation and regeneration and all existence. In art and sculpture, this is represented by a cylinder resting within a spouted dish.

In Indian religions[edit]

Lingam-yoni at the Cát Tiên sanctuary, Lâm Đồng province, Vietnam

The yoni is considered to be an abstract representation of Shakti and Devi, the creative force that moves through the entire universe. In Hindu philosophy, according to tantra, yoni is the origin of life.[3]

In Indian religions according to Vedas and Bhagavad Gita, Yoni is a form of life or a species. There are 8.4 million yonis with Manushya Yoni (human species) as one of them. A human is obtained on the basis of good karma (deeds) before which a human goes through various forms of yonis (for example, insect, fish, deer, monkey, etc.). Bad karma will lead one to be born in rakshasa yoni (evil form). The birth and rebirth (the cycle of life) of a human happen in various yonis. A human who achieves (Mokshya) breaks the cycle of reincarnation and adjoins Brahman.[4]


In Shaktism the yoni is celebrated and worshipped during the Ambubachi Mela, an annual fertility festival held in June, in Assam, India, which celebrates the Earth's menstruation. During Ambubachi, the annual menstruation course of the goddess Kamakhya is worshipped in the Kamakhya Temple. The temple stays closed for three days and then reopens to receive pilgrims and worshippers. It is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the world, attracting millions of visitors each year, particularly for Ambubachi Mela which draws upwards of 100,000 pilgrims per day during the 4-day festival. Darshan at this temple is performed not by sight as in most temples, but by touch. There is a large cleft, a yoni in the bedrock moistened by water flowing upward from an underground spring, generally covered by cloths and ornate chunris, flowers, and red sindoor powder. Devotees and pilgrims offer items for worship directly to the goddess, then touch her and drink water from the spring. They then receive a tilak and prasad by the attending priest. After completing darshan, devotees light lamps and incense outside the temple. Like other temples, worship is not considered complete until the temple is circumambulated clockwise.

A stone yoni with carved Nāga in Jawi temple, East Java, Indonesia.

In archaeology[edit]

Lingam-yonis have been recovered from the archaeological sites at Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, part of the Indus Valley Civilisation.[5][6]

Other uses[edit]

Yoni mudra used in Yoga practice.
  • Yoni Mudra is a principle in meditation used to reduce distraction during the beginning of yoga practice.[7]
  • In the Thai language the medial canthus (the sharp corner of the eye closest to the nose) is referred to as "Yoni Tha" where "Tha" means the eye.
Yoni symbol

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Michael Kimmel, Christine Milrod, Amanda Kennedy. Cultural Encyclopedia of the Penis. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 107. 
  2. ^ "yoni (Hinduism) -- Encyclopaedia Britannica". britannica.com. Retrieved 2014-07-28. 
  3. ^ Jones, Constance; Ryan, James D. (2006). Encyclopedia of hinduism. Infobase publishing. p. 156 & 157. ISBN 0816075646. 
  4. ^ Sivkishen (2015). Kingdom of Shiva. Diamond publishing. p. 426. ISBN 8128830287. 
  5. ^ Constance Jones, James D. Ryan (2006). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Infobase Publishing. p. 516. 
  6. ^ Jyotsna Chawla. The R̥gvedic deities and their iconic forms. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers. p. 185. 
  7. ^ "Practice Pranayama to Access Higher Energies". American Institute of Vedic Studies. 2013-03-27. Retrieved 2017-06-25.