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Is Brahman androgynous?

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.

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.”



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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