If Nirguna Brahman is really genderless, then why it's shakti (maya) is considered feminine, while the non-shakti part is considered masculine? Doesn't that make IT an androgynous being?

It is usually thought by us that just because most of us haven't completely realized its true nature, we end up perceiving IT as a being having gender, but its not only us ordinary folks but even the self realized jnanis hold onto the belief that one half of brahman is masculine and the other half is feminine ... Even the Kashmiri Shaivites, if im not wrong, say that shiva is nirguna, nirakara brahman who's masculine in nature while its shakti is feminine.

I mean if Brahman is really nirguna then shouldn't IT be devoid of these male & female halves or aspects?

If its really nirguna (genderless) then IT should be more like the void that buddhists meditate on. The void in my opinion is the perfect example of nirguna, nirakara incomprehensible absolute.

  • When Cosmic manifestation happens, happens from dual energies of Para Shiva/para shakti. That's why Kundalini Shakti is far away from Shiva in Sahasra. When they become one, its neither male nor female - beyond the gender! – Parabrahman Jyoti Dec 2 '18 at 2:48
  • As far as I remember, concepts like shakti, maya (as we understand it presently in advaitic context), prakrti are not present in the earliest upanishads. Brahman alone is both the material and instrumental cause. That is the purest vedantic position. – user16581 Mar 16 '19 at 19:13
  • @Akshay S please use proper English! Your post is hardly readable! – Wikash_ Mar 16 '19 at 21:11
  • Brahman is mentioned in the Upanisads as neither male nor female, but not androgynous either. Hence, Brahman is simultaneously gendered and non-gendered. – Charlie Mar 16 '19 at 22:18
  • @Wikash_hindu Say you cant understand. Others have understood well what I conveyed!!! – Parabrahman Jyoti Mar 17 '19 at 2:50

Shakti is Brahman, as long as one doesn't realize God, one sees male and female aspect.

Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna / Volume 1 / The Festival At Panihati:

GOVINDA: "Revered sir, why does the Divine Mother have a black complexion?"7

Sri Ramakrishna: "You see Her as black because you are far away from Her. Go near and you will find Her devoid of all colour. The water of a lake appears black from a distance. Go near and take the water in your hand, and you will see that it has no colour at all. Similarly, the sky looks blue from a distance. But look at the atmosphere near you; it has no colour. The nearer you come to God, the more you will realize that He has neither name nor form. If you move away from the Divine Mother, you will find Her blue, like the grass-flower. Is Syama male or female? A man once saw the image of the Divine Mother wearing a sacred thread. He said to the worshipper: 'What? You have put the sacred thread on the Mother's neck!' The worshipper said: 'Brother, I see that you have truly known the Mother. But I have not yet been able to find out whether She is male or female; that is why I have put the sacred thread on Her image. That which is Syama is also Brahman. That which has form, again, is without form. That which has attributes, again, has no attributes. Brahman is Sakti; Sakti is Brahman. They are not two. These are only two aspects, male and female, of the same Reality, Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute."

  • Right, but why two aspects of male&female. Why not no aspect at all like the void buddhists meditate on? You said that bcoz we are far away from realizing its true nature we see the genders, but its not only us ordinary folks but even the self realized ones have said that one half of brahman is masculine and the other half feminine ... Even the Kashmiri Shaivites, if im not wrong, say that shiva is nirguna, nirakara brahman who's purusha in nature while its shakti is feminine ... What makes the former male and the latter female in the eyes of the jnanis, is my question. – The Crimson Universe Dec 1 '18 at 14:54
  • @TheCrimsonUniverse correct me if I understood things wrong. I think male and female is symbolic here for Will and potential respectively. – yashC Dec 1 '18 at 15:00
  • @TheCrimsonUniverse Jnanis do not see any gender, you can see in the above quote by Sri Ramakrishna, he has explained by giving a lot of examples like Divine Mother doesn't have black complexion, it's only because we are seeing from far away, if we come closer and close, i.e spiritual progress, we will find that Shakti is neither black nor female. – Chinmay Sarupria Dec 1 '18 at 15:11
  • like Divine Mother doesn't have black complexion, it's only because we are seeing from far away, -- This is actually a Mahanirvana Tantram verse wht Sri Ramakrishna has experienced/realized. @ChinmaySarupria – Rickross Dec 1 '18 at 15:20
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    @TheCrimsonUniverse I dont have an answer to that yet – yashC Dec 1 '18 at 17:17

Yes, Brahman is Androgynous, but he/she does not have desire of opposite sex, because He is complete in himself and is spiritual consciousness,hence he is called Purna(complete) Purusha Paramatma(Supersoul).

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Ardhnarishshvara(Fusion of Shiva/Brahman and Shakti/Maya/Vishnu is the true form of Brahman )

As per Bhagwat Geeta

ye tv aksaram anirdesyam avyaktam paryupasate sarvatra-gam acintyam ca kuta-stham acalam dhruvam sanniyamyendriya-gramam sarvatra sama-buddhayah te prapnuvanti mam eva sarva-bhuta-hite ratah

But those who fully worship the unmanifested, that which lies beyond the perception of the senses, the all-pervading, inconceivable, fixed, and immovable-the impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth-by controlling the various senses and being equally disposed to everyone, such persons, engaged in the welfare of all, at last achieve Me i.e. Nirakaar Brahman Purusha.

Explained in Upanishads

In the beginning this was Self alone, in the shape of a person (Puruṣa). He looking around saw nothing but his Self (Atman). He first said, "This is I", therefore he became I by name.

—Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.1

Higher than the senses, stand the objects of senses. Higher than objects of senses, stands mind. Higher than mind, stands intellect. Higher than intellect, stands the great self/soul. Higher than the great self, stands Avyaktam. Higher than Avyaktam, stands Purusha. Higher than this, there is nothing. He is the final goal and the highest point. In all beings, dwells this Purusha, as Atman (soul), invisible, concealed. He is only seen by the keenest thought, by the sublest of those thinkers who see into the subtle.

—Katha Upanishad 3.10-13

Even, science has proofed today that man has XY sex chromosomes while a woman has XX chromosomes and man's gametes actually control the gender of child. God created man in his own image(androgynes XY chromosomes) and woman in the image of his left half Shakti(XX chromosomes).

Ramakrishna regarded the Supreme Being to be both Personal and Impersonal, active and inactive:

When I think of the Supreme Being as inactive - neither creating nor preserving nor destroying - I call Him Brahman or Purusha, the Impersonal God. When I think of Him as active - creating, preserving and destroying - I call Him Sakti or Maya or Prakriti, the Personal God. But the distinction between them does not mean a difference. The Personal and Impersonal are the same thing, like milk and its whiteness, the diamond and its lustre, the snake and its wriggling motion. It is impossible to conceive of the one without the other. The Divine Mother and Brahman are one

Kabir Das used to say: 'God with form is my Mother, the formless God my Father. Whom should I blame? Whom should I adore? The two sides of the scales are even.' During the day-time Haladhari used to meditate on God with form, and at night on the formless God. Whichever attitude you adopt, you will certainly realize God if you have firm faith. You may believe in God with form or in God without form, but your faith must be sincere and whole-hearted."

Swami Vivekananda

Is there any sex-distinction in the Atman (Self)? Out with the differentiation between man and woman—all is Atman! Give up the identification with the body, and stand up!

Worship of society and popular opinion is idolatry. The soul has no sex, no country, no place, no time.


Brahman is both Purusha and Prakriti and is pure spiritual cosmic consciousness, hence he himself is Brahmanchari/celibate.

"shudhama poapvidham" "He is bodyless and pure." [Yajurveda 40:8] i.e. Nirakaar Brahman Purusha

Ramakrishna taught that the primal bondage in human life is Kama-Kanchana (lust and gold). When speaking to men, Ramakrishna warned them against kamini-kanchana, or "women and gold" Only a perfect Bramhamchari alone can understand Purusha/Brahman and attain Kaivalya.

  • There's no such thing that is higher than the self (nirguna nirakara brahman) ... Purusha is anthropomorphic (saguna) and is inferior to nirakara brahman. – The Crimson Universe Mar 17 '19 at 9:56
  • Do you even understand, what you wrote? Purusha himself is the Formless Infinite Omnipresent Omniscient Brahman/Abraham/Father/Cosmic Consciousness. – Manu Kumar Mar 17 '19 at 12:16

In addition to the answer already given,

  1. Brahman is a neuter-gender word in sanskrit. In the Isha-Upanishad, it is referred to as

A-kAyam, meaning bodiless.

The Svetasvatara-Upanishad says

naiva stri na pumaAn esha na cha eva ayam napunsakah, meaning its neither male nor female nor neuter-gendered.

  1. The Shakti or Maya are considered feminine in sanskrit. But Its not feminine in any real sense, as no gender can exist of something which is essentially formless:

na iyam yoshit na pumAn na shaNdo na jadah smritah (Navaratneswara-vachana in Tantra-Tattva.)

As per Tantra therefore Shakti also does not have any gender,

but Shakti fulfills all desires like the wish-fulfilling plant ('kalpa-latA) and so is referred to as female.

Ragahava-Bhatta too is of the same opinion.

Gandharva-Tantra also says:

yadApi lingatrayabachyA..tathApi samata-Akankha-kalpaballi parashaktishbdabAchA.

So all are of the same opinion that neither Brahman nor Shakti has any gender and referred to as male or female for different reasons.

Reference:Sastramulak Bharatiya Shaktisadhana, Upendrakumar Das, RMIC, vol.1, page 336-7.

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