Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online

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(1,048 words)

The Sanskrit term yoni means the womb or on a more physical level the female genitalia, in particular ­vagina and uterus. Material representations focus on the shape of the vulva as pars pro toto. As in most cultures, male and female genitalia have been symbols of fertility and procreation in an immediate sense. However, Hindu theology and philosophy have developed the symbolism of the yoni further; it does not primarily or exclusively serve as an allusion to the physical realities but on an abstract level represents prakṛti, the active force of creation as such and the womb of t…

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Frenger, Marion, “Yoni”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, Editor-in-Chief Associate Editors Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 23 October 2021 <>
First published online: 2018

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