Key Belief: Mutual duality: Yin Yang, Shiva Shakti
“All things carry the yin (femininity)
while embrace the yang (masculinity) Neutralising energy brings them into harmony” – Lao Tzu, Tao Te King
“Only when Shiva and Shakti combine can action, movement and creation arise”
Man hovers between light and darkness, Woman between Darkness and light, When the twain meet, Time stood still in suspended space and stars grasp in silence – Fulan, ‘Yin yang’, New Millenium poems
“Only when Shiva is united with Shakti does he have the power to create” – Soundarya
“Yin and Yang in themselves are of course opposites, so we use Yin and Yang to generalise opposing elements such as up and down, left and right, day and night, water and fire, male and female, inside and outside. But Yin and Yang do not exist in separated and independent forms. Yin and Yang are two faces of a whole, or, it may be said, Yin and Yang join together and combine into a whole” – Jinghan He, Bagua Daoyin: A Unique Branch of Daoist Learning, A Secret Skill of the Palace
“Shiva and Shakti are indistinguishable. They are one. They are the universe. Shiva isn’t masculine. Shakti isn’t feminine. At the core of their mutual penetration the supreme consciousness opens” – Daniel Odier
“The circle that represents the whole divided into Yin (black) and Yang (white) halves-two polar compliments in harmonious balance. The two smaller circles in the centres (the eyes), shaded in the opposite colour, illustrate that within Yin, there is Yamg, and vice versa. Yin and Yang contain within themselves, at their very centres, the seeds of change. The curve dividing them indicates that this change is dynamic and continuous. Each half invades the other half and establishes itself in the centre of its opposite” – Simmone Kuo, ‘Yin Yang in Tai Chi Chuan and Daily Life’
“Shiva represents the unmanifest and Shakti the manifest; Shiva the formless and Shakti the formed; Shiva consciousness and Shakti energy, not only in the cosmos as a whole but in each and every individual. The roots of Shakti are in Shiva” – Swami Nischalananda Saraswati
“Yin is stronger and more abundant than Yang, but Yang is more obvious and active. There is more water on earth than fire, for example, but fire phenomena such as lightning are more exciting and attract more attention. Still, ever since the term Yin/Yang first appeared in China, the word “Yin” has always preceded the word “Yang”, and in Chinese this indicates a position of Yin superiority that long antedates the advent of patriarchy in Chinese society” – Daniel Raed, ‘The Tao of Health, Sex, and Longeivity’
“The all-pervading energy source of existence or Shakti manifests itself as creation. Shakti is the divine mother who gives birth to and nurtures the newborn-whether it is a newborn babies a brand new relationship, a fresh idea, or a magical manifestation. Although Shakti is beyond the boundaries of gender, form or color, we call It Mother because of its mothering and creative qualities” Deepak Chopra
“Yin and Yang are one vital force – the primordial aura” Yang ming Wang, ‘The Philosophy of Yangming Wang’
“The motion of Yin and Yang generates all things in nature” – Meh Jiuzhang and Guo Lei, ‘A General Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine’
“If a person realises his position and stays in his own self, things that are to happen will happen, things that are not to happen will not happen. The Shakti that is in the world, is only one. All these troubles arise if we think we are separate from that Shakti”– Ramana Maharshi
‘Countless words count less than the silent balance between yin and yang’, Lao Tzu, http://topfamousquotes.com/quotes-about-yin-and-yang/
‘Hence the structure we worship- the Shiva Linga and the Yoni is the source of all human life.’ – Prajwal Renukanand, https://www.quora.com/What-exactly-is-the-story-behind-the-Shiva-Linga-in-the-Hindu-mythology/answer/Prajwal-Renukanand#
“Yin and yang, male and female, strong and weak, rigid and tender, heaven and earth, light and darkness, thunder and lightning, cold and warmth, good and evil…the interplay of opposite principles constitutes the universe” – Confucius
“To understand the relationship between the Mother and Father is to deal with the most profound mystical enigma, for the Father is the Father of the Mother and the Mother is the Mother of the Father. Each gives rise to the other, neither exists independent of the other and each is contained within the other. For the Mother in all of her manifestations is only the formless, taking form. It is not a continuum between spirit and matter, between formless and form, it is an identity” Ram Dass
‘There are no greater adversaries than Yin and Yang, because nothing in Heaven nor on Earth escapes them. But it is not Yin and Yang that do this, it is your heart that makes it so” – Zhuang Zhou
“Shiva has many aspects. Sometimes he is called ‘Rudra’, the destroyer, who appears to be more like Shakti in nature (the dissolving aspect). This merely emphasises that the active and the inactive, manifest and unmanifest, are really one and the same” – Swami Nischalananda Saraswati
“The waxing and waning movement of yin-yang is absolute and endless. When waxing and waning of yin-yang can be kept within a certain range, degree, and period, it will not be recognized and things will be in a relatively stable state” – Dongpei Hu – ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine: Theory and Principles’
“Together they represent the totality of the whole creation, and the union of the opposites and dualities. In Hinduism, we understand them as Shiva and Shakti, Shivalinga and Ardhanariswara (half male and half female). They represent the coming together of the fundamental polarities that are present in existence, as the soul and they body, consciousness and matter, male and female, positive and negative, and light and darkness. Since ancient times, they have been the most popular symbols of Hinduism and an integral part of Hindu temple hart iconography, spirituality, and ritual worship” – Jayaram V
“Tao gives rise to two opposite reality principles, the dark and the light, yin and yang. From yin comes the receptive feminine principle; from yang comes the creative masculine principle; from yin comes ming, life; from yang hsing or human nature” – Osho, ‘The Secret of Secrets’
“The ‘Kularnava Tantra’ says, “By that which one falls, so one will raise oneself”. Shakti is the mind of each one of us which can either enslave us or free us. She is ‘Maya’, (the creator of illusion), for it is through her power that one fails to see ‘reality’. At the same time it is through the power of Shakti that the world is experienced; through her that Shiva can experience himself. Shakti is para brahman, the absolute, when she becomes a brahman at the time when Shiva and Shakti unite. Endless different forms of Shakti are worshipped in India – ‘Uma’, ‘Gaud’, ‘Durga’ – her forms are infinite, for there is no end to her power and manifestation. Her forms are as numerous as the reflections of the moon. Continually active, creating, sustaining and dissolving everything into Shiva, only to be re-created – this is the unending process of Shakti”- Swami Nischalananda Saraswati,
“The Yin and Yang principles act on one another, affect one another, and keep one another in place” Zhuang Zhou
“Shiva and Shakti as the dual cosmic principles are an intrinsic part of all Yoga, which constitutes a natural process of integration and transformation. Recognition of the cosmic duality leads us into the practice of Yoga, which is their unification. All Yoga is a development of Shiva awareness and Shakti energy, the state of the seer and its energy of seeing, drawing the dual forces from their lower manifestations in the realm of division to their higher reality in pure Oneness” – David Frawley
“Chinese philosophy holds that the flow of “chi” comes from the interaction of the two primary opposing universal forces Yin and Yang. Both forms of energy are necessary for life to exist and Chinese philosophers consider the flow of nature and life to be the constant balancing of the yin and yang energies” – Jackie Allen
“The philosophy of Shiva and Shakti reveals the truth principles (dharmas), energies, and potentials of all creatures and all worlds. It is a system of higher knowledge rooted in the Cosmic Mind”– David Frawley
“Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness. All can know good as good only because there is evil”– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
“Shakti – Tantric title of the Great Goddess. Cosmic Energy. The Tantras say the female principle antedates and includes the male principle and this female principle is the Supreme Divinity. Tantric doctrine says mortal women are life itself, and Goddess-like, because they embody the principle of Shakti. The series of Universes appear and disappear with the opening and shutting of her eyes. (from the Lalita Sahasranamam) Final union with Shakti occurred at the moment of Death, according to Tantric mystics” – http://www.crystalinks.com/indiadieties.html
“Emptiness appears barren
yet is infinite fullness” – Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
“Shakti is the way to Shiva, so Shakti Yoga or union with Shakti takes us to Shiva Yoga or union with Shiva. Shakti Yoga leads us to the state of Shiva awareness, while Shiva Yoga leads us to absorption in the highest Shakti or inherent power of Pure Being itself. As the energy of Shakti unfolds, it will take us to the state of total transformation that is the stillness of Shiva”- David Frawley
“The essential principles of Tai Chi are based on the ancient Chinese philosophy of Taoism, which stresses the natural balance in all things and the need for living in spiritual and physical accord with the patterns of nature. According to this philosophy, everything is composed of two opposite, but entirely complementary, elements of yin and yang, working in a relationship which is in perpetual balance. Tai Chi consists of exercises equally balanced between yin and yang, which is why it is so remarkably effective” – Dr Paul Lam
“There is a supreme experience where Shiva and Shakti no longer exist as separate entities. Some call it ‘Brahman’, others refer to it as being ‘Not this, not this’, meaning that it is inexpressible, while still others say that it is one without a second. This is the state of nirvana, samadhi, perfect oneness, moksha or enlightenment” – Swami Nischalananda Saraswati
“Yin and yang are polar opposites and are found in all things in life. In nature, everything tends toward a natural state of harmony. Likewise, yin and yang are always in total balance. Concepts such as soft, pliant, yielding and feminine are associated with yin, while concepts such as hard, rigid and masculine are associated with yang. Both sides complement each other completely and together form a perfect whole. Things which are perfectly balanced and in harmony are at peace; being at peace leads naturally to longevity. A perfectly harmonised person will show this balance and completeness by his or her tranquillity and peacefulness of mind” – Dr Paul Lam
“Shaivism considers Shiva as the Ultimate Reality while Shaktism considers Devi as the Ultimate Reality. There are many schools of Shaivism comprising the dualist Shaiva Shiddhanta, Shaiva-vishishtadvaita and Shaiva-advaita schools” – Pradip Gangopadhyay
“These two principles represent the primal interplay of opposites in life and in the world – known here as the Tao. They form the dynamism of the Tao, or the way of all things” – http://www.world-religions-professor.com/yinandyang.html
“Shaivism and Shaktism as I understand, are just one and the same. The first shloka of Soundarya Lahari of Sri Shankaracharya is “वः शक्त्यायुक्तो यदि भवति शक्तः प्रभवितुम्” which loosely translates to ‘Shiva gets energy from Shakti and both are equally important for the creation of universe’’ – Kedar Rao
“As the Zhuangzi (Chuang-tzu) claims, “Yin in its highest form is freezing while yang in its highest form is boiling. The chilliness comes from heaven while the warmness comes from the earth. The interaction of these two establishes the (harmony), so it gives birth to things” – Robin R. Wang
“Shiva is Sadchidanandamaya Parabrahman while Shakti is Trigunatmika Parabrahman. Shiva is Purusha while Shakti is Prakriti. Shiva is fire, Shakti is heat. Shiva is water, Shakti is wetness. Shiva is ice, Shakti is coldness. Shiva is word, Shakti is meaning. Shiva is father, Shakti is mother. Without Shakti, Shiva is Shava, an inert corpse; without Shiva, Shakti is Dhumavati, embodiment of inauspicious miseries. When Shiva and Shakti unite in macrocosm, creation takes place; when Shiva (in Sahasrara Chakra) and Shakti (as Kula Kundalini) unite in microcosm, the Jiva attains Moksha/Nirvana. These are the teachings common in both Shaivism and Shaktism” – Kamakala Bhattacarya
Task #2: Analysis
Yin and Yang Key Ideas and Historical Context in Taoism
Historical Context of Taoism:
Taoism is an eastern belief system based on the philosophy of the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, or ‘Laozi’ who lived from 605 to 531 BC and wrote the historical text ‘Tao Te Ching’ (or Daodejing). Lao tzu is regarded as a deity within traditional, religious Taoism (Tao Chaio), and is still respected as the most influential figure of Taoism in Philosophical Taoism (Tao Chia) . However, Lao Tzu cannot be named the founder of Taoism, as he referred to ‘The Tao masters of antiquity’ within the Tao Te Ching. Besides Lao Tzu, ‘The Yellow Emperor’ (Huangdi) (2697 – 2597) and the philosopher Zhuang Zhu (370 – 287) are also regarded as highly influential figures within Taoism . When Lao Tzu was historically remembered to be spreading the word of Taoism, Confucius was also recorded to be spreading the word of Confucianism. These two paralleled belief systems have exchanged favour from various dynasties, however have managed to both stay relevant and practised due to their separate focuses (Taoism focuses on life meaning, Confucianism on social structure)  Both have also existed with Buddhism which received attention within China around 300BC – China adopted Buddhism by integrating Buddhist morals and beliefs with their own folklore and traditions. Due to the similarity between Taoism and Buddhism, and the fluidity/non-doctrinal nature of the two religions, both belief systems became somewhat intertwined. Unlike highly dogmatic religions such as Islam and western evangelical Christianity, Taoism has a much more philosophical presence, and although it has shaped Chinese culture, historically and presently Taoist followers have alwaysbeen very passive and non-forceful in their beliefs, because of their principle of ‘non-action’ (Wu Wei). [4}  Within religious Taoism, a multitude of different deities are worshipped, however there is no penultimate being that Transcends the Tao. Various deities have been made out of the central Taoist philosophers, and have been adopted from ancient folklore and other religions such as Buddhism.  
Whilst the Qin Dynasty was prominent in China in 221-207BCE ‘Schools of Thought’ based on the philosophies of Lao Tzu, Confucius, and Mo Tzu were made illegal in order to assimilate/normalize the legalist philosophy of the government in control at the time. By 207 the Han Dynasty with Emperor Gao gained control, and began to re-incorporate the many philosophical outlooks that were previously illegal, with no school of thought becoming favoured, however some were simply more popular – especially those of Lao Tzu. In this period of prosperous cultivation and law reforms, Taoism (therefore the concept of Yin Yang) flourished. However, once Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty gained government in 156BCE, conservative Confucian values were adopted as the ultimate belief system/way of operations, and Taoist philosophy was shunned to the background.  Taoists became more opposed to the teachings of Confucius, as the ideas of striving for power/government, and ‘unifying’ all peoples perspectives into a norm went against the Taoist ‘principle’ of not having excessive earth-bound goals, especially for power and control . As history progressed the interpretation of the concept of ‘Yin Yang’ became somewhat divided. Confucianism acted more on the masculine, action-oriented focus of ‘Yang’, whereas Taoist followers did not deviate from pursuing the more passive, contemplative path of ‘Yan’.
Key Ideas within Taoism:
There are three main concepts that form the basis of Taoist philosophy: The First Principle, Wu Wei, and Yin Yang. ‘The First Principle’ or ‘Oneness’ is the concept that all nature (including humans) is intrinsically connected by a sort of ever-flowing cosmic force (the Tao)  ‘Wu Wei’ or ‘non-action’ is the belief that all action should flow from and within the moment – that actions should never be over-thought or contrived, because then they would become disconnected from the Tao (oneness)  Yin Yang is the idea of a mutual duality that exists within all things. Every action/form in generation creates an opposite/inverted version of itself – neither the original action/form nor the counter can exist without the other. Within the polarity of darkness there is a spot of light, within the polarity of light there is a spot of darkness. This idea of the coexistence/merging of dualities is physically represented by the ‘Taijitu’ symbol 
Deeper Explanation of Mutual Duality or ‘Yin Yang’ within Taoism:
The very first evidence of ‘Yin’ and ‘Yang’ can be seen on shamanic 1400BCE animal bones. These ancient inscriptions were used to describe night and day: work and rest. The words ‘Yin’ and ‘Yang’ may have been used, yet the idea of their mutual duality was not yet present . Zou Yan (305-240BCE) was a Chinese philosopher and founder of The School of Naturalists, which can translate into ‘Yin Yang Jia’ or ‘Yin Yang School’ . Although there was no direct mention of the Yin Yang in the documents that survived him (he apparently wrote over 100,000 words about Yin Yang ), his philosophy majorly boosted the idea that Yin and Yang are ever-penetrating constantly evident forces by implying that they come before ‘The Five Elements’ (fire, water, metal, earth, wood – another concept of ancient eastern thought)  . According to Chinese mythology Yin and Yang were birthed out of chaos when the universe was created. 
The Yin and Yang forces are completely, undeniably equal. They may be opposites, but are formed on an original sole principle, therefore are constantly part of each other. However, it must be noted that Yin is not Yang, nor vice versa, as Taoist thought highly values clarity, and believes that clarity leads to tranquillity and enlightenment. The white and black tones are obviously contained within themselves, and do not merge into a grey. Grey would represent stagnation and noncommittal – not being sure of decisions or of one’s purpose in life. The shape of the segments is also relevant, as each half has a ‘head’ and a ‘tail’, which give the appearance of movement. This symbolises the constant flow of interchanging energy  .
Shiva and Shakti Key Ideas and Historical Context in Hinduism
Like Taoism, Hinduism has no direct historical founder or date of foundation. There is a theory that Aryans from Russia/Asia invaded North India and attacked the ‘Harappan’ people around the Indus Valley in 1800BCE. According to the Theory both cultures integrated each other’s system of beliefs, and the modernised belief system became what is known today as Hinduism. The cause for this merging of belief systems can be argued due to the similarities in India’s Vedic religion and the Zoroastrianism found in Islam and surrounding areas when compared to Hinduism. However, this theory has little physical evidence to back it up, and was likely created out of the xenophobic idea that Aryan (somewhat pale-skinned) people must’ve been responsible for implementing any esteemed ideas within cultures. A less (possibly) biased theory is that Indo-Aryan people slowly resettled somewhere around the Indus Valley. Although neither theory can be confirmed, it is a wide belief that some sort of Indo-Aryan population influenced the Indus Valley people and belief system  . The primary/original texts of Hinduism are the Upanishads and Vedas. The Vedas were written in Sanskrit around 300BCE, and have four volumes. The author/s is unknown, and irrelevant – as there are no prophets in Hinduism. The text however has been attributed to Brahma, the Hindu God of creation. The Upanishads are a collection of texts known as the ‘last chapters of the Veda’, and have been proven to predate 600BCE. There are a range of texts that were made in the first millennium CE that are also seen as imperative scriptures of Hinduism, such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Puranas.  By the 400sBCE Hinduism had spread over the subcontinent of India, owing to migration – as forced/coerced conversion was (and isn’t) a belief within Hinduism. Until Islam gained control of India in the 7th century BCE, Hinduism grew and adopted practises and beliefs from Buddhism and Jainism. Deity worship, temple construction, and vegetarianism bloomed . Due to the extensive deity worship in Hinduism, early on in the formation of the religion different ‘sects’ emerged that honoured different Gods. It must be noted that although there are many Gods within Hinduism (polytheistic), there is no ultimate God that has total power, as all gods were created as personifications of facets of ‘Brahman’ – a metaphysical idea that is the ultimate, transcendental creative force . One of these sects is Shaktism, where the followers worship the Goddess Shakti, who is the personification of Feminine energy. A potent belief in this section of Hinduism is that through various practises the follower will awaken ‘Shakti Kundalini’ which manifests itself as a snake at the bottom of the spine. The snake usually lies coiled, but once awakened it travels up the spine and unities with the god Shiva (personification of male energy), then a great euphoria is reached  . Another of the sects is Shaivism. Followers worship the male god Shiva, who personifies male energy, and is also part of a trio of the main Hindu Gods. These Gods are Brahma (universe creator), Vishnu (universe conserver), and Shakti (universe destroyer), and are all detrimental to the creation and re-creation of the universe . Shiva is considered ‘pure,’ and the exposer of truths by destruction of mystification. His powerful forces are calmed/moderated because of his Shakti (also referred to as Parvati). Shaivism has historically been the most popular of the Hindu sects, however recently Vaishnavism (worship of Vishnu) and Smartism (worship of all deities, non-sectarian, take more philosophical approach, can be compared to Tao Chia)  .
Key Ideas within Hinduism:
Throughout all strains of Hinduism there are core beliefs that persist. Also like Taoism, Hinduism is not a strict, conforming religion – it is viewed by followers as an ever-existent philosophical truth. It is accepted within the religion that there are different ways to practise the truth – to reach Nirvana. This therefore makes it a somewhat peaceful religion, as certain paths of action are not enforced. However, this depends on the strain of practise, as some strains very strictly believe ‘Dharma’ (life duty) must be followed diligently. There are three states of being according to Hindu Philosophy: Matter (physical), soul, and god (Parmatma). Different strains focus on different states . Hindus believe every being on earth has a soul (including animals), and all souls are connected to the ultimate soul: Parmatma. To become an enlightened soul one has to become rid of all their bad karma, and only accumulate positive karma . Literally translating to ‘actions’, karma is the idea that doing deeds that cause negative effects will bring negative effects to the soul, and doing deeds that cause positive effects will bring positive effects to the soul. To become released of negative effects on the soul, one must do positive deeds . This idea can be explored more in the next belief: Reincarnation. In Hinduism (and many other religions – Buddhism, Jainism), it is believed that once one’s body dies, the soul transfers to another body in order to continue the karmic path (Samsara) . To comprehend the vast religion more simply, Hindu beliefs can be summed up in three main categories. Dharma –religious, moral, virtuous living, Karma –(as aforementioned), and Moksha (Nirvana) –transcending painful physical existence, making it to ‘heaven’. Although philosophical concept of Shiva and Shakti has not been mentioned, the idea of mutual duality through Shiva and Shakti has constantly existed within Hinduism, even though the concept has not been stressed at all as much as in Taoism.
Deeper Explanation of Mutual Duality or ‘Shiva and Shakti’ within Hinduism:
Ardhanarshvara is the name of the deity of the united ‘Shiva Shakti’ dieties/energies. The idea of this unification of feminine and masculine energies arose within the Puranas, and became most pronounced in the Gupta era (320 – 550CE). The idea of the ‘hermaphroditic’ being was inspired by stories from the Kushan Empire and Ancient Greece’s ‘Hermaphroditus’ and ‘Agdistis’ . Although the worship of this deity (and it’s concept of the merging of dualistic forces to become one in order to create the universe and peace) never became majorly adopted, symbols exist all over Hinduism which represent this idea of the mutual duality. Unlike Taoism, Hinduism divulged the abstract idea of ‘mutual duality’ in deep sexual metaphor, most likely to make the comprehension easier for followers of the religion. ‘Lingam and Yoni’ are genital symbols (lingam = phallic, yoni = vulvic) that are used as the physical, sculptural representation of the female and male polarities of ‘god’ energy, and are seen and worshiped in all temples of Shiva . Although Shiva and Shakti are supposed to be equal, inseparable parts of the whole, Shiva is honoured more. During creation Shakti is formed by Shiva, and is pulled back into him when creation ends. According to Shaivism Shiva has a sort of innate ‘Shakti’ he employs when creating, but the two gods are firmly separate beings, even if they spurted from the same ‘Brahman’ (source existence). Contradictorily, Shaktism believes that Shakti is the supreme creative force, and Shiva lies within her as an inert ‘onlooker’ type being, only activated when she unites with him. Unlike Yin and Yang, direct polarities such as dark and light, active and static cannot be applied to Shiva and Shakti – possibly because, even though they do represent masculine and feminine, neither deity is seen in Hinduism to embrace either stereotype. However, a sort of ‘all-encompassing’ belief about each deity’s qualities well describes how Hinduism views their qualities and relationship: “SHIVA symbolises consciousness, the masculine principle. SHAKTI symbolises the feminine principle, the activating power and energy.” 
How the Key Ideas of the Theme of ‘Mutual Duality’ Compare and Differ within Taoism and Hinduism, and Their Patterns and History:
As seen in the paragraphs above, although both belief systems developed more structured followings around the same time (300BCE) due to their vital texts being created, the concept of mutual duality grew very differently within Taoism and Hinduism. Taoism made the belief that all opposing things had some sort of integral and undeniable connection a vital part of the belief system. This ‘Yin Yang’ concept grew so widely adopted that Confucianism picked it up and integrated the concept into their beliefs also. In contrast, Hinduism convoluted the concept by expressing it through elaborate mythical stories of deities and drama . Due to the ‘epic’ tradition in which Hinduism spread their sole concepts, the growth and development of the ‘Shiva Shakti’ somewhat stalled. However, recently as modern technology has accelerated the communication of cultural beliefs around the world, Hindus are paying more attention to the mutual duality of Shiva and Shakti, especially within Tantric Yoga .
Although the dualities can be related to feminine and masculine principles, within both religions neither duality is said to completely encompass the stereotype or sexuality of its ‘gender’, despite this, Hinduism has a large emphasis on the sexual interpretation of Shiva and Shakti energies. Their physical depictions of the dualities is always considerably sexual, as seen in the images on each side. The sexualisation of the concept of mutual duality is due to Hinduisms open relationship with sex – although celibacy is valued, much emphasis is put on the importance of sex (as it creates life)  Although sex is not a concept stressed within Taoism, the importance of sex in relation to Yin and Yang energies has always been evident, as Taoist tradition believes that Yin (feminine energy) and Yang (masculine energy) represent heaven and earth, therefore the combining of these energies brings one closer to creation . However, both religions also use physical non-sexual, movement to balance energies. In Taoism, this exercise exists as Tai Chi: ‘The essential principles of Tai Chi are based on the ancient Chinese philosophy of Taoism, which stresses the natural balance in all things and the need for living in spiritual and physical accord with the patterns of nature. According to this philosophy, everything is composed of two opposite, but entirely complementary, elements of yin and yang, working in a relationship which is in perpetual balance. Tai Chi consists of exercises equally balanced between yin and yang, which is why it is so remarkably effective.’ – Dr Paul Lam.  And in Hinduism, this exists as many forms of Yoga: ‘Shiva and Shakti as the dual cosmic principles are an intrinsic part of all Yoga, which constitutes a natural process of integration and transformation. Recognition of the cosmic duality leads us into the practice of Yoga, which is their unification. All Yoga is a development of Shiva awareness and Shakti energy, the state of the seer and its energy of seeing, drawing the dual forces from their lower manifestations in the realm of division to their higher reality in pure Oneness.’ – David Frawley. 
Patterns and limitations of sources in ‘Ying Yang’ and ‘Shiva Shakti’
Despite the changes experienced in both religions’ practises and beliefs throughout history, a simple pattern has been observed: Despite the amount of emphasis put on one of the two dualities, eventually and overall, it is acknowledged that there is an existence which encompasses the two dualities, yet also transcends them. ‘There is a supreme experience where Shiva and Shakti no longer exist as separate entities. Some call it ‘Brahman’, others refer to it as being ‘Not this, not this’, meaning that it is inexpressible, while still others say that it is one without a second. This is the state of nirvana, samadhi, perfect oneness, moksha or enlightenment.’  ‘These two principles represent the primal interplay of opposites in life and in the world – known here as the Tao. They form the dynamism of the Tao, or the way of all things.’  The concepts of ‘Brahman’ and the ‘Tao’, although both deeply evident since the conceptions of their religions, become underappreciated and disregarded depending on the version/strain of the religions being practised, and when. In Hinduism, this respect for the ultimate source of creation, the ‘Brahman’ differs depending on the sub-sect (Shaktism, Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Smartism). Over the history of Hinduism, popularity of certain strains has ebbed and flowed, which in turn has resulted in the ebb and flow of the popularity of certain beliefs. In Taoism, a pattern very similar has occurred – however instead of different strains of Taoism practise being the reason for the fall and flux of certain beliefs (especially the balancing of the yin yang principles), other Chinese philosophies/schools of thought have competed with Taoism all throughout its history, and therefore altered the popularity and interpretation of many beliefs.
When taking limitations of sources into hand, it must be acknowledged that both Taoism and Hinduism are, at their core, philosophies open to be interpreted by whomever. Neither religion has a set core text nor core deity that dictates the rules and agendas of the religion. Due to this ‘free’ nature both religions embrace – incongruities and contradictions can be found. However, due to the fact that the stories and teachings of these religions are intended for spiritual and philosophical use, differences of facts can only be seen as a small, cosmetic hindrance. The most major issue within both religions regarding what sources to trust is the issue of the source of the religion(s). Both religions claim that before their teachings emerged, an eternal truth did exist. For Taoism, this truth is the Tao, for Hinduism, this truth is Brahman. These truths existed before events such as cultural migration and assimilation of other religions. Due to the deeply philosophical nature of the (primary source) ancient teachings of Yin and Yang, Shakti and Shiva, no writing or teaching can truly be examined as ‘untrustworthy’ or ‘inaccurate’, as these aspects lie in the perception and judgment of the practitioners.
Task #3: Conclusions
Conclusion #1: The Taoist Idea of ‘Yin Yang’, and the Hindu Idea of ‘Shiva Shakti’, are at their core, the exact same principle.
Essentially, the two aspects of mutual duality I have analysed within Taoism and Hinduism are one in the same. The concepts of ‘Yin Yang’ and ‘Shiva Shakti’ may be expressed in vastly different ways between each religion, however, once examined the core principles of both theories are inseparable. Due to the fact that both theories are transcendental in nature, they can be compared in infinite ways.
Within the development of the cultures of Taoism and Hinduism, the concept of mutual duality suffered much bombardment from literal interpretations and challenging religious strains. In Hinduism two sects arose ‘Shaivism’ and ‘Shaktism’. Shaivism followed the path of the personified ‘Shiva’, masculine deity, and Shaktism followed the path of the personified ‘Shakti’, feminine deity. This divide, although peaceful, corroded the principles behind the idea of an equal mutual duality. Therefore, it also partly corroded the entire idea of MUTUAL duality, coexistence. Either Shakti (and all principles relating to Shakti) was honoured, or Shiva (and all principles relating to Shiva) was honoured. For a long time, in traditional, non-philosophical Hinduism, the connection between all dualities in nature was ignored or misinterpreted. Now due to more liberal, philosophical interpretation of Hinduism, the theory of mutual duality has gained popularity and appreciation.
Taoism, and it’s direct, unambiguous approach to mutual duality held up much stronger throughout history. Restrictive, puritan Confucianism competed with Taoism for the favour of many dynasties, and in result permanently imprinted Chinese culture with superficial social conventions. Despite this, the concept of ‘Yin Yang’ persisted throughout all popular belief strains, mainly because it had been a philosophy (of sorts) long before Confucianism, and possibly even Taoism emerged.
Thankfully, modern philosophers and religious authorities have in the past century bridged the gap between ‘Yin and Yang’ and ‘Shiva and Shakti’. The energies behind these dualities both have ever-evolving, constantly flowing relationships with each other. One energy cannot exist without the other energy. One energy cannot be greater than the other energy. If it is thought that either energy can exist by itself, or can be greater and more important/powerful than the other energy, then the whole, expansive concept of the primarily MUTUAL dualities is not being paid full attention to. In the case of favouritism and partiality, only a segment of the picture is being seen. The quotes below explain the modern grasp on mutual duality between ‘Shiva and Shakti’ and ‘Yin and Yang’.
“Shiva and Shakti are indistinguishable. They are one. They are the universe. Shiva isn’t masculine. Shakti isn’t feminine. At the core of their mutual penetration the supreme consciousness opens.” (Daniel Odier), 
“Yin and Yang in themselves are of course opposites, so we use Yin and Yang to generalise opposing elements such as up and down, left and right, day and night, water and fire, male and female, inside and outside. But Yin and Yang do not exist in separated and independent forms. Yin and Yang are two faces of a whole, or, it may be said, Yin and Yang join together and combine into a whole.” (Jinghan He, Bagua Daoyin: ‘A Unique Branch of Daoist Learning, A Secret Skill of the Palace’) 
Conclusion #2: The Taoist Idea of ‘Yin Yang’, and the Hindu Idea of ‘Shiva Shakti’, although displaying many similarities, are in this day vastly divided.
Due to the vast amount of fable and convoluted symbolism woven throughout all aspects of the Hindu faith, the concepts of Taoism’s ‘Yin Yang’, and Hinduism’s ‘Shiva Shakti’, although incorporating many of the same fundamental ideas, are in this day too divided in nature to be considered truly similar ideas.
Taoism’s ‘Yin Yang’ idea of mutual duality is broad and all-encompassing. The theory incorporates all of nature’s opposing concepts and links them together under the theory that all opposing ideas must be two parts of the whole idea. “All things carry the yin (femininity) while embrace the yang (masculinity) Neutralising energy brings them into harmony” (Lao Tzu, Tao Te King) . This law of total, non-discriminatory inclusiveness of mutual dualities is a major characteristic that has brought the ‘Yin Yang’ concept into popularity within modern metaphysical beliefs. Since the incredibly ancient conception of the idea, through its teaching within Chinese schools of thought, up until the modern day integration of it into various spiritual practises, it has maintained its vital core principles robustly. This new-age adoption of the idea proves that the theory is incredibly pure and healthy, and has an underlying, ever existing truth with deep spiritual resonance.
Hinduism’s ‘Shiva Shakti’ theory of mutual duality has mystified, contradictory principles. Although modern-day metaphysical and spiritual interpretation of the idea grounds it’s concepts as all-encompassing and parallel to Yin Yang, the strict and religious version of the theory is still much more commonly believed. The Hindu religion’s traditional view of Shiva and Shakti varies in innumerable ways, as different sects of the religion apply different characteristics to each polarized personification. However, to condense the traditional theories into a palatable idea, ‘Shiva and Shakti’ principles can be seen as so: There are two opposites, that when joined together in complete unity creation is made possible. However, instead of the two principles being honoured as two parts of an inseparable whole, each principle is honoured by its own mass of followers. In each of these groups (Shaivism and Shaktism) the opposing principle is given attention, yet is considered somewhat dormant and unimportant. According to Shaivism Shiva has a sort of innate ‘Shakti’ he employs when creating, but the two gods are firmly separate beings, even if they spurted from the same ‘Brahman’ (source existence). Contradictorily, Shaktism believes that Shakti is the supreme creative force, and Shiva lies within her as an inert ‘onlooker’ type being, only activated when she unites with him.
Unlike Yin and Yang, direct polarities such as dark and light, active and static cannot be applied to Shiva and Shakti because their religious ties implant each polarity with such specific, yet ambiguous qualities: ‘Shakti – Tantric title of the Great Goddess. Cosmic Energy. The Tantras say the female principle antedates and includes the male principle and this female principle is the Supreme Divinity.’ ((from the Lalita Sahasranamam) Final union with Shakti occurred at the moment of Death, according to Tantric mystics.’)  Stated here, Shakti is obviously favoured. ‘Shiva consciousness and Shakti energy, not only in the cosmos as a whole but in each and every individual. The roots of Shakti are in Shiva’ (Swami Nischalananda Saraswati)  (and) ‘As the energy of Shakti unfolds, it will take us to the state of total transformation that is the stillness of Shiva.’ (David Frawley) . In these two quotes, instead of Shakti being considered the source divinity, Shiva is stated as the source/core. Although from a non-religious, purely philosophical standpoint the ‘Shiva and Shakti’ concept can be seen as a twin almost to the ‘Yin Yang’ concept, one must realise that the ‘Shiva Shakti’ concept arose from religion. Therefore it was not born as a philosophical idea allowed to be debated and ruminated on by modern philosophical viewpoints. In comparison, when tracing back the roots of ‘Yin Yang’, the idea was always a philosophical concept, not a religious concept. The idea was spread to enlighten people, to aid them in creating a balanced life. It was created to be interpreted in infinite ways, therefore it can be considered a very free, accessible, non-subjective idea. The Idea of ‘Shiva Shakti’ was built using deeply amphibological imagery, and as the idea grew in popularity, instead of becoming clearer and more defined (like Yin Yang), it grew multiple contradicting elements.
Conclusively, the ideas of ‘Yin Yang’ and ‘Shiva Shakti’ are incomparable because ‘Yin Yang’ came from Philosophy, and was adopted by Taoism. Whereas the idea of ‘Shiva Shakti’ came primarily from the religion of Hinduism. This means that although similarities exist between the religious concept of ‘Shiva Shakti’ and the philosophical concept of ‘Yin Yang’, they cannot be viewed as ultimately the same because that would strip the ‘Shiva Shakti’ concept of its original religious ties. (These ties exist in the personification of the idea into deities, and most importantly the convoluted stories