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Search for Meaning in Tantric Ritual in the Śaiva Scriptures

Jɪ Tʀ

I ɴʀɪɴ

e question whether ritual is meaning ful or not and if yes, what meaning it can have , keeps haunting various fields of Indian studies. Although it would be impor tant to summarise what conclusions have been reached so far, it would require another paper — or even a book — to give an over vie w of the situation . e aim and scope of the present paper being di erent, I need to skip the general discussion of the problem, in order to concentrate on some aspects of what cer tain Sanskrit texts actually say about Tantric ritual. Never theless , it can be remarked in general that whatever meaning the texts seem to find in the rituals they prescribe, it always necessitates the per former ’s prior knowledge of this meaning . is knowledge then can be of various kinds , such as the recognition of one ’s identity with Śiva or the knowledge of the hidden meaning of ritual elements etc . 1

is ar ticle is dedicated to the memor y of Hélène B ʀɴɴʀ , whose pioneering works on

Śaiva ritual have opened up a ne w field in Indian studies and have ser ved as the most impor tant sources on the subject . A first version of this paper was read at a workshop on Tantric ritual on the 20 th of March, 2004, organised by Prof . Har unaga I ɴ at the South Asia Institue of the University of Pennsylvania , Philadelphia. I am grateful to him and ever ybody present for impor tant comments and criticism, especially for remarks made by Prof . George C ʀɴ and Shaman H ʟʏ . A second, revised French version of the first half of the paper was presented on the 3 rd of May 2004 at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes . I am grateful to Prof. Lyne Bɴ -B ɴ for the invitation and her ver y useful comments. Moreover , I would like to thank Dominic G ʟʟ for his invaluable criticism and suggestions to improve this paper at its final stage. 1 is paper owes much to Alexis Sɴʀɴ ’s ground-breaking ar ticle on Meaning in Tantric Ritual ( Sɴʀɴ 1995). An impor tant par t of that ar ticle is devoted to an analysis of the ways in which Kashmirian exegetes, most impor tantly Abhinavagupta and K semar ā ja

(of the 10th and 11 th centuries AD ), interpreted some aspects of Tantric ritual in an e or t to infuse meaning into or to project some ne w meaning onto its elements. In addition to the philosophy of the Pratyabhijñ ā school , their ultimate exegetical source was the esoteric systems of the Kaula Trika and the Krama, regarded as the highest in a hierarchy of tantric systems . e

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Leaving aside the exegetical interpretations , I shall attempt to give a number of examples taken from Śaiva scriptural sources and to show that cer tain concerns about ritual already appear in these rather unsophisticated texts . 2 ese passages could demonstrate that the exegetes were not the first to raise such questions. While in the majority of cases one can show only that the arguments are similar , in a fe w passages there are more than one reason to suspect that the exegetes made use of some ideas taken directly from these sources. Be as they may borrowings or parallel arguments, these extracts reveal that in spite of great di erences in aims , method, and level of sophistication , the scriptures and their interpreters were often concerned with the same problems, albeit from di erent perspectives . e passages examined will then also show that there is an internal theoretical development within the scriptural tradition of questioning the meaning of ritual action , of searching for meaning in ritual. e examples given for various developments are meant as illustrations and are definitely not exhaustive. All the sources examined here were available to the Kashmirian exegetes of the tenth and eleventh centuries . Among these sources , the Tantrasadbhā va is one that has a special place and impor tance. is text is one of the three sur viving scriptures of the early phase of the Trika tradition, which forms the basis of Abhinavagupta ’s exegesis. 3 Just as another early scripture of the Trika , the Siddhayoge ś varī mata , 4 it concentrates on the attainment of supernatural powers and the cult of yogin ī s and other female spirits associated with it ; but it also discusses some aspects of ritual and

ideas of the Kaula and Krama systems were freely made use of when interpreting the scriptures of other tantric currents. 2 Such investigations would not have been possible without impor tant recent contributions to the study of Śaivism. First, Dominic G ʟʟ ’s critical edition and translation of the Parā khyatantra made this impor tant text available. In many passages , it is only thanks to his e or ts that the text of the codex unicus has become intelligible. His introduction is also a major contribution to the study of the Siddh ā nta . Second, Somdev V has identified and transcribed several early Kaula sources from Nepalese palm leaf manuscripts . I am grateful to him for having made his electronic texts available to me , of which the Kulas ā ra in par ticular has proved ver y impor tant for this paper . He has identified a citation of the Kulas ā ra (fol . 38v)

in K semar ā ja’s Śivas ū travimar ś inī p . 136 and references to the title in Kubjik ā mata 20.67 and

Kulac ū d ā ma ni 1.9. Finally, it is also of great help to scholars of Śaivism that Mark Dʏɪ

made the electronic texts of a number of scriptures accessible on the website of the Muktabodha Indological Research Institute . However , in this ar ticle I make references to my own working edition of par ts of the Tantrasadbh ā va .

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3 See Sɴʀɴ 1988:672. 4 For an edition and translation of most of the text, see Tʀ *1999.

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gives some rather unique interpretations of some of its elements. Many of the quoted passages were then borrowed in a Kaula scripture , the Kubjikā mata , which is heavily indebted to the Trika tradition . 5 e fact that the Kubjikā mata borrows these ver y passages could be of double impor tance. First, it may show how elements of the early Trika became absorbed into the Kaula tradition ; second, it could possibly suggest that these questions about ritual, which were raised in a relatively early phase of the scriptural tradition , may have been a prompt for developments towards the over tly anti-ritualist Kaula systems . However, this mixed nature of the Tantrasadbh āva does not imply that it dates from before the appearance of the Kaula system or its earliest texts . At the present state of research, it would be di cult to establish a relative chronology , especially because many of the early Kaula texts have not sur vived . 6 ere are two possibilities one could assume : either the Tantrasadbh ā va represents a real transition between the yogin ī cults and the Kaula systems, or it was compiled at a date when some early Kaula scriptures were already in existence, thus uniting the two traditions in a relatively late compilation . e latter hypothesis seems more likely , especially in vie w of a similar case , that of the Mā lin ī vijayottara. e Mālin ī vijayottara is the third of the three sur viving scriptures of the early Trika , and just as the Tantrasadbh ā va , it shows influences from di erent Śaiva currents , thus suggesting a compilator y origin and a relatively later date among the early scriptures. 7 e questions about ritual that the texts examined here discuss are of diverse nature. First, I shall examine what general meaning some of the Tantras see in Śaiva ritual . en I shall give a fe w examples of the ways in which they interpret par ticular ritual elements or details. Finally, I shall raise the problem of how par ticular elements can be or can become meaning ful for the ultimate purpose of ritual , and re-examine the question of the meaning fulness .

R ɪʟ ɴ ɪ ʀʟʟ ɴɪɴɢ : ɪʜ ɪɴ ɪɴɪɪɪɴ ɴ

ʙʏɴ

Śaiva initiation confers the right to practise cer tain rituals ( both obligator y and optional) on the initiate and , at the same time , it is the purificator y

5 See Sɴʀɴ 1988:686. and 2002:1. 6 On this problem, see V 2004:XLI . 7 On the syncretic nature of the Mā lin īvijayottara , see V 2004:XXXIX .

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rite that per forms the major par t of his preparation for final release . In its commonest form , which does not produce salvation immediately , initiation purifies the individual soul while leaving cer tain residual impurities , which are then eliminated in the course of time . Among the earliest scriptural sources, all of which prescribe initiation to be per formed with basically the same ritual str ucture , the scriptures of the Siddh ā nta appear to treat the purpose and meaning of initiation much more often than more esoteric schools teaching the cult of Bhairava and Yogin ī s; and there may be a reason for that . 8 Tantras teaching the cult of Bhairava and Yogin ī s concentrate much more on the attainment of supernatural powers and on worldy enjoyments that result from the attainment of such powers , and therefore are less concerned with the meaning of rites that lead to these (for them) obvious results . But the scriptures of the Śaiva Siddh ā nta aim primarily at salvation , 9 which normally happens only at the time of death . erefore, they have probably more reason to argue and demonstrate why and how that (in this life ) invisible result shall come about after considerable time of dedication. As the Tantrasadbh ā va puts it : All teachings say that initiation equals liberation; but liberation is invisible , although it is proven by a visible cause . 10 In fact , envisaging a question about the ver y existence of liberation as such was not inconceivable to the Śaiva tradition :

P ʀ  :

Some hold that this liberation is empty of the existence of all things , since it is when the existence of those has reality that the soul is involved in what characterises sa m s ā ra .

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P ʀ :

If liberation were not real , a means [ to accomplish it] could not reach it , since its nature should be to accomplish a [ really existing ] goal . [ And] who would use

8 On some other questions concerning initiation and liberation in the Siddh ā nta , see

G ʟʟ 2006.

9 is does not mean they do not teach the attainment of supernatural powers ; but their focus is di erent . See Sɴʀɴ 1988. 10 Tantrasadbh ā va (9.236, referring to the various visible signs one is supposed to display

when initiated ): śā sanā n ā m tu sar ve m d ī k s ā mok s o vadanti hi / sa ca mok s as tv ad t as tu s ā dhyate

d

r . s t ahetunā . is argument is less sophisticated than what Sɴʀɴ 1995:24 refers to before

elucidating the theological problem and the answers exegetes have tried to give . ‘ It is only here [i .e. in the obligator y worship of those who seek liberation alone] that it was felt necessar y to formulate explanations of the far from obvious process by which ritual as the manipulation of finite forms and quantities could achieve the infinite and absolute state of liberation .’

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a means [ to such a goal ]? 11

It is also notable that among the demonstrably early scriptures of the Siddh ā nta the texts concerned with the problem of how ritual works and what its meaning is are relatively late . 12 is may be due to the fact that such questions were raised only after the Śaiva Siddh ānta established itself to some extent and it was felt that a some what more solid theoretical defence of the system was needed . Such defence may have also been prompted by the fact that other ( Śaiva ) schools tried to challenge the original ritual system. It is also note wor thy that scriptures other than those of the Siddh ā nta discussing this problem also seem to belong to a relatively later layer of the tradition (such as the Tantrasadbh ā va ). As to the purpose of initiation, it is often brought out in a semantic analysis (nir vacana ), which is frequently cited by the exegetes. 13 In all versions of this

analysis , initiation, d ī k s ā is derived from two verbs : to give , d ā -, and to destroy ,

k s i-. e Parā khyatantra , which has a relatively long discussion of the subject ,

puts it in the following words (15.10):

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It bestows ( d ā - ) Śivahood and destroys (k s i- ) the bonds of the soul — therefore

it is called intiation ( d ī k s ā ), established as such because of the bestowing and

destroying functions. 14

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11 Pratoda uvā ca: sar vā r thabh ā va śū ny ā s ā ke . m . cin muktir ī psitā / yatas tadbhā vasadbh ā ve

pumā n sa ms ā radhar maga h // Prakāś a uvā ca: abhā var ū pay ā mukty ā s ā dhana m na tad āś ritam /

s ā dhyas ā dhanar ū patvā t prayokt ā s ā dhanasya ka h // Parā khya 15.46–47. Translation quoted from

ʟʟ 2004:399. As remarked by G ʟʟ 2004:399 in vie w of the subsequent discussion,

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liberation is questioned . However , the argument could be perhaps that of a śū nyavā din . 12 For the relatively late date of the Mata n˙ gapā rameś vara and the Parā khya , which are used here, see G ʟʟ 1998:lxxiii–lxxiv. As G ʟʟ 2004: lviii concludes , the Parā khya is perhaps the latest of the early listed scriptures of the Siddh ā nta . Among the early Saiddh ā ntika

scriptures , it is only the M r gendra , the Mata n˙ gap ā rameś vara and the Parā khya that have more

is not ver y likely that a par ticular rival ’s conception is referred to when the real existence of

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developed theological discussions (see Goodall 2004: xlviii ). 13 is semantic analysis is mentioned in Sɴʀɴ 1992: 287 and G ʟʟ 2004:386 note 865. For yet more examples and their translations, see Soma ś ambhupaddhati vol. 3, pp. 3–

4. See also Bhairavaman˙ gal ā 257b–d, with a slightly di erent wording : ś ivatva m ca prad īyate /

a ś ivā (?) malak s aya m k r tvā d īk s [ ā ] iti vidh īyate (iti corr . Somdev V : itya MS ).

14 ś ivatvasya prad āna m yat k sapa n a m p āśasa m tate h / tena d īk s ā sam ā khy ā tā tadd ā n ā t k s apa n ā t

sthit ā // For a di erent formulation with the same purpor t , see Mata n˙ ga n˙ gap ā rame ś vara

Kriy ā p ā da 2.2–3b (also referred to in G ʟʟ 2004:389, note 865): d ā na m n ā ma parā k ā th ā

mantrapradhvastakar ma n ā m / pa śor y ā vyaktim ā y ā ti prak n akalu s asya ca // anayo h śā sane siddh ā

dī k sā k s apa nad ānayo h .

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As pointed out above , normally neither of these two aspects of initiation is fully carried out in the rite of initiation itself. For if the initiate was to obtain per fect Śivahood , and if all his bonds that tie him in this world were to be cut, he would cease to live and would become Śiva or Śiva-like immediately. Instead, what initiation bestows is supposed to mature through time, as explained in the same text about the fr uit of initiation :

Its fr uit arises through maturation , just as [ fr uit arises] from sowing seeds in the ground. at fr uit is Śiva-hood, which releases [ from the bonds], [ and ] which is of the nature of bliss . 15

e above cited semantic analysis of the word ‘initiation’ occurs in slightly

di erent forms in other texts . According to these variants , things to be given

and to be destroyed are not exactly the same. e citations below replace the attainment of Śivahood with that of knowledge , and the bonds that are severed

with the impressions of the bound soul or karmic residues obliterated .

Tr ue knowledge is bestowed ( d ī -yate) and the impressions of the bound soul

are destroyed ( k sī -yante ). erefore , because it is associated with bestowing and

destroying, it is called here initiation ( d ī k s ā). 16

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Tr ue knowledge is bestowed and the impression of actions is destroyed . ere- fore , because it is capable of bestowing and destroying, it is called initiation; it is the purification of those who are ready. 17

e variations concerning what is eliminated , whether it is the impressions of the bound soul ( pa ś u ) or actions ( kar ma ) that are destroyed seems less impor tant here . Although being a bound soul implies not only karmic bonds, what is destroyed during the most par t of initiation is karmic impurity . is

m tat sy ā c chivatva m

muktida m phalam, Parākhya 15.45. Translation by G ʟʟ 2004:399.

16 d ī yate jñ ānasadbh ā va h k s ī yante pa ś uvā san ā h / d ā nak s apa n asa m yukt ā d ī k s ā teneha k ī r tit ā,

scripture cited by Jayaratha ad Tantrā loka 1.43 and by K semar ā ja ad Svacchandatantra 5.87,

replacing the second pā da with the singular of the same words.) See also d ī yate parama m jñ ā na m

k sī yate kar mavā san ā , scripture cited by Yogar ā ja ad Param ā r thas ā ra 3.

17 Cited by Bha t a Nā r ā ya naka t ha in his M rgendrav rtti ad M r gendrā gama Kriy ā p ā da 8.1

d īyate jñ ā nasadbh ā va h k sī yate kar mavā san ā / d ā nak s apa n ayog y ā hi d ī k s ā ś uddhi h k r t ā tman ā m.

e first compound is translated more literally as ‘tr ue nature , which is Knowledge ’ ( la nature

vraie , qui est Connaissance) by B ʀɴɴʀ 1985:198.

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15 parip ā kā t phala m tasy ā b ī jak sepā d yath ā bhuvi / ā nandalak n a

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could explain why kar mavā san ā appears here as a synonym of paś uvā san ā , even if , strictly speaking, the latter would imply more than karma. e transfer of knowledge instead of Śivahood in some versions is possibly more significant. What can be intended here by ( tr ue ) knowledge is the realisation of one ’s identity or similarity with Śiva , which ultimately leads to Śivahood after some maturation , as the passage above explained . But knowledge may also stand for one of Śiva ’s qualities the initiate shall finally obtain at the time of his liberation : omniscience. 18 is variant leads us to the question of the role of knowledge in Śaiva ritual in general. For it is knowledge of Śaiva doctrine , transmitted in the course of initiation, that can possibly ensure that the per former of the ritual perceives and understands the meaning of what he does. It is often reiterated that one of the major di erences between the dualist Siddh ānta and nondualist schools of Śaivism is that the latter gives more impor tance to knowledge, in the sense that it sees liberation primarily as the knowledge or realisation of one’s identity with Śiva . By contrast , dualist Śaivas maintain that initiation must always involve and depends on external ( i.e. not internal, mentally per formed ) ritual , which removes (most ) impurities in the same way as one removes a cataract from the eye . Now this opposition is cer tainly present in exegetical texts , 19 but it does not imply that knowledge in general is more impor tant for the nondualists . For, as Sɴʀɴ (1995:40– 41) points out, dualist exegetes claim that the practitioner can remove impuri- ties that remain after initiation only if his daily ritual is also a cognitive action. It is never theless tr ue that according to this theor y, knowledge works as a kind of action and not as knowledge . If we turn to the scriptures , some that are qualified as dualist or belonging to the Siddh ā nta lay rather heavy emphasis on the role of knowledge , and it seems they do so much more often than the supposedly nondualist texts of yogin ī cults . ey explain the link between Śivahood and knowledge as follows :

e real nature of Śiva is revealed to the individual so that his knowledge may manifest itself . Enlightened by this knowledge , he will appear as Śiva and he

18 It must also be remarked that the Parā khya perhaps deliberately tranformed the line into a more recognisably Śaiva definition by replacing knowledge with Śivahood and karma with

‘ the bound soul ’ (paś u ). e Mata n˙ gap ā rameś vara also presents a more shaivite version . 19 For the categories of dualist and nondualist in various Tantric senses and in the scriptures as opposed to exegetical sources, see Sɴʀɴ 1992:282 .

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will be Śiva when his body ceases to exist . 20

When one is initiated by a gur u , due to an intense descent of Śiva ’s Power , one becomes omniscient like Śiva, being devoid of limited knowledge; then one is filled with the manifestation of Śivahood and one shall not return to the world of transmigration. 21

He [ the person who has attained Śivahood ] has that tr ue knowledge which is left , all bonds [ having] fallen away it . It is pure, has ever ything as its object and is devoid of all limitations . 22

When ignorance and one’s limited power to act are consumed by the fire of knowledge , then all dispositions of the mind such as passion [ or desire

( abhil ā s a ), egotism ( aha mk ā ra )], together with things beyond this range [ i.e.

anything else produced by ignorance 23 ], will be destroyed immediately . From

that moment , one ’s [ remaining ] karmas are destroyed and one will obtain unlimited Śivahood , visibly and completely. 24

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Knowledge as a power ful instr ument and an impor tant aim appears in contexts other than initiation and the direct attainment of Śivahood . It is also claimed as necessar y for the per formance of any ritual. Ritual and knowledge about what it means are thus inseparably linked , as it is explained in the passage below, using the more general concepts of ‘ action ’ (which implies more specifically ritual action ) and ‘ knowledge ’. 25

Knowledge by itself is not seen to produce results, since , when [objects of desire such as ] women or food are cognised, enjoyment of them is not possible without action. So too action depends on knowledge, for action is necessarily

20 ān ā bhivyaktaye vyakta m ś ivatattvam a n u m prati / vyakto ’ sau ś ivavad bh ā ti ś iva eva

tanuk saye , Mata n˙ gap ārameś varatantra, vidy ā p ā da 26.72.

21 t ī vra ś aktinip ā tena gur u nā d ī k s ito yad ā / sar vajña h sa ś ivo yadvat kiñcijjñatvavivarjita h // ś iva-

tvavyaktisa mp ū r na h sa m s ā r ī na punas tad ā , Kira n atantra 1.21–22ab. For a di erent translation

according to R ā maka . t . ha’s interpretation , see Gʟʟ 1998:215.

m sar vap āś aparicyutam / ś uddha m tat sar vavi saya m sar vop ā dhiba-

hi r tam (Parā khya 15.65) describing tr ue knowledge in the state of Śivahood , along with tr ue

. dispassion, power and dharma . Translation by G ʟʟ 2004.

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23 According to R ā maka . t . ha’s commentar y ad loc .

24 yad ā vidy ā gnin ā plu tā s ā vidy ā kalay ā saha / mad ā dayas tad ā sar ve hy āś ay āś cordhvagocarā h /

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dhva m sam ā y ānti vai k sipra m; tatk nā t k n akar ma n a h / pu mso ’mita m ś ivatva m sy ā t praka m

sar vatomukham ( Mata n˙ gap ā rameś varatantra, vidy ā p ā da 26.75cd–77ab). 25 e context of the following passage is the discussion of the four means ( s ā dhana) one can employ to attain liberation , viz . knowledge ( ā na ), ( ritual) action (kriyā ), yoga and obser vances (car y ā ). e arguments, however , go beyond these specific considerations.

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preceded by knowledge. erefore both knowledge and action come together as the means to attain the fr uit . And car yā [[ obser vances ]] and yoga are taught to be subsidiar y to knowledge and action . 26

According to passages cited above, the transfer of Śaiva knowledge can have several roles after initiation : it reveals and confirms the initiate’s Śivahood , which he will fully obtain after death ; it destroys by itself several negative dispositions of the bound soul (so knowledge has the power to act on the bonds of the bound soul); and Śaiva knowledge is also indispensable in order to per form Śaiva ritual after initiation , which in turn also contributes to the full destr uction of the bonds . But this e ciency of knowledge — as well as ritual action — can only work for those who have the right to per form post-initiator y practices . Women , children , the elderly , the hedonists and other such weak creatures are unable to obey post-initiator y r ules of pratice, and therefore are excluded from ( ritual ) action and knowledge:

And for children and others [ incapable of following the post-initiator y obser- vances of the cult ], He has taught the cleansing of post-initiator y obser vances and such, by which the activities referred to as knowledge and action are therefore excluded for them . 27

e same scripture also raises the question of meaning fulness in another context . It concludes that life-cycle rites and the like are meaning ful only inasmuch as they ensure a social frame work for Śaivas, which is impor tant to show to the outside, non- Śaiva world . 28

Celibacy [ and other obser vances] are for the sake of the [ continued] functioning of social institutions and practices . Other wise Śaivas would be reviled as being without correct practices and without social groupings. ere are no par ticular benefits of those [ practices and so for th to be derived ] from the variety of practices that can be chosen; but still this variety of practices must be

26 kevalatvena na jñā na m d r ś yate phalas ā dhakam // yata h str ībhak s avijñ ā ne tatsukha m na

kriyojjhitam / jñ ā n ā pek s ā kriy āpy eva m jñ ā napū r vā yata h kriy ā // ato jñ ā nakriye dve ’ pi phalo-

p ā yasam ā gate / car y ā yog ā v api proktau citkriy ā nugatā v api ( Parā khya 15.14cd–16). Translation

by G ʟʟ 2004:391–392.

27 b ā l ā dī nā m api prokta m samayā divi ś odhanam / vy ā p ā ro d r kkriy ā khyo ’ to vy ā v r ttas te s u yena

sa h (Parā khya 15.31). Translation by G ʟʟ 2004:395.

28 I understand that brahmacar ya here stands metaphorically for practices belonging to life- cycle rites and other rituals, defined and prescribed by Sm r tis and practised by Śaivas and

non-Śaivas alike; but that it does not cover Śaiva initiation and daily ritual. For a di erent

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interpretation, see G ʟʟ 2004:394.

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protected , just as [ the caste hierarchy of ] brahmins and the other castes [ must be respected]. 29

A similar vie w is expressed at one place in another, earlier scripture , 30 which states that any post-initiator y expiation is per formed only to keep up appear- ances. Although the text refers to expiator y or reparator y rites (prā ya ścitta ) in par ticular , which are meant to make up for omissions and faults committed while per forming other ritual actions , it may understand that expiation includes most post-initiator y rites by extension ; and that those initiated do not need any ritual , for they are already liberated. Indeed , apar t from cer tain elements in daily ritual , all other rites were or could be generally considered expiator y . 31

ose who belong to the four var n as, of unmixed origin , and have been purified

by Śaiva initiation are released from all sins , just as those who are absorbed in Śaiva knowledge . 32 [For them,] any [post-initiator y] expiation is taught only to protect common social practice. 33

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Although the passages cited justify the necessity of knowledge including ritual knowledge , and, in one way or other, maintain that at least cer tain post-initiator y rituals and practices are needed , they do not clarify why or in what par ticular way post-initiator y ritual contributes to the destr uction of the remaining bonds or impurities in the course of time . e answer given by the exegetes 34 is that the daily enactment of one ’s trans- formation into Śiva , which is a necessar y par t of all Śaiva worship, gradually contributes to the ultimate tranformation obtained only at death. Although

29 āś ram ā c ā rav r ttyar tha m brahmacar yam iha sthitam / nindy ā h syur anyathā ś aivā nirā c ā rā

nirāś ram ā h // na tatphalaviś e so ’sti v r ttibhedair vikalpitai h / tath ā pi parip ā lyo ’sau v r ttibhedo

dvij ā divat // ( Parā khya 15.28–29). Translation by G ʟʟ 2004:394.

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30 (Pau s kara-)Pā rameś varatantra cited in Gʟʟ 1998:361.

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31 On this idea , deriving from Vedic ritual theor y , see Sɴʀɴ 1995:31 32 e last clause may be understood in two ways. It could mean that those absorbed in Śaiva knowledge are liberated even if they are not of unmixed origin etc. ( is has been followed in the translation.) Or it could have a restrictive sense, i .e. that not only one has to belong to the four varnas, of unmixed origin etc, but also absorbed in Śaiva knowledge in order to be liberated. e grammatical str ucture suggests the former interpretation , but the restrictive meaning could equally have been intended , for the last clause may be added there in this form for metrical reasons.

33 var nina h ś uddhaj ā t īy ā [ h] ś ivad ī k s ā vi ś odhitā h / vimuktā h sar vap ā pebhya h ś ivajñ ā naparāś

ca ye // lokasa mv r ttirak s ā r tha m prā ya ś citta m prak ī r titam ( cited by G ʟʟ 1998:361, who

understands the passage to mean that all post-initiator y obser vances are unnecessar y ).

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34 See Sɴʀɴ 1995:38. and 1992:287.

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exegetes would di er in the interpretation of how exactly this contribution to Śivahood takes place , they would agree on the necessity of daily rites due to this principle. And this enactment of Śivahood is indeed prescribed in all scriptures .

eir principle is often cited in the form of “ śivo bh ūtvā ś iva m yajet ”: becoming

Śiva , one should worship Śiva . 35 While the exegetical understanding seems sensible, I have not found any actual occurrence of such interpretation of the daily ritual in the scriptures . Either it was something too obvious for their authors to state , or it was simply not one of their major concerns . 36 What is never theless quite remarkable is that some early scriptures of the Siddh ānta do question the point and meaning of cer tain rites . Even if these questions are rare and cannot be called typical , they show us that such doubts were not voiced only by anti-ritualist Kaula texts . ese argumentative passages form an impor tant par t of the histor y of ritual interpretations . Another note wor thy element in these arguments is that, at least in some cases , it is accepted that some — or even most — rites are per formed only for the sake of preser ving common social practice, in order to maintain a façade of conformity. Par t of the di erence between the ritualists and the anti-ritualists then is simply that the former want to preser ve this façade , while the latter do not find it necessar y . 37

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35 Another possibility has been proposed by Richard H. Dɪ (1992). He suggests that what is enacted in the course of daily worship is the divine cosmological activities of emission and reabsorption, and that it is — at least par tly — by this enactment of the divine functions that one ’s tranformation is e ected. Examples for reabsorption include the reabsorption of all the levels of the universe ( tattva s of the subtle body ) before worship , and the return of the secondar y

circles of deities into the central one, Śiva , at the end of a p ū j ā . Emission is per formed when the worshipper creates his divine body with mantras , or when he visualises the secondar y circles of deities ( ā vara n a s) around Śiva . Such practice of creating and reabsorbing the universe and the

senses seems to be described in Param ā r thas ā ra 78 as a special kind of mantra recitation ( japa );

but here there may be an allusion to a more esoteric Kaula practice . In Yogar ā ja ’s commentar y ad

loc. (p . 150), °s tisthitisa mh ā rakrame na should be emended to °s t isa m h ā rakrame n a , a reading

found also in the ms. Wilson (238a ) at the Bodleian librar y. 36 It is of course also possible that I have failed to identify this interpretation or a relevant passage in the available corpus, or that a now lost text dealt with it.

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37 is di erence of attitude is also reflected in two similar p ā da s: lokasa m . v r . ttirak s ā r tham (‘in

order to protect common social practice’) in the above citation of the (Pau s kara)Pā rame ś vara as

opposed to lokaprav r ttihetvar the (‘ because of social practice’) in a passage of the Tantrasadbh ā va

quoted below .

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Tʜ ɪɢɴɪɪɴ  ʀɪʟʀ ʟɴ   ʀɪʟ

Another way in which ritual is or can be considered meaning ful is if its con- stitutive elements are meaning ful , in other words, if each of its elements taken separately contribute to the ultimate purpose, whether directly or indirectly . Here, I shall examine four ways in which scriptures attribute meaning to cer tain elements of ritual . e first is the identification of various elements with Śiva , the second is the analysis of the meaning of elements in the immediate ritual context , the third is giving meaning to some elements irrespective of the ritual context in the form of semantic analyses , and the four th is attributing meaning through internalisation of some ritual elements .

Tʜ ɴɪɴɢ  ʟɴ ɪɴ ʀʟɪɴ  Śɪ : ɪɴɪɪɪɴ   ʀ ɪʜ Śɪ

In the course of all Śaiva ritual, various factors of the rite are transformed into Śiva , by infusing mantras into them . is fact has been emphasised by nondualist exegetes in order to a rm that it promotes awareness of one ’s identity with the god , and thus leads to liberation . 38 In fact , the same procedure is seen in all the Tantras and manuals, not only in those of the nondualist school. Moreover, this identification is practised not only in vie w of final liberation , but also to obtain success in this world . Scriptures abound in lists of factors which are thus transformed . e following is just a sample to illustrate the idea in various ritual contexts , from daily ritual to initiation and rites of magic .

One should worship the Lord of gods in an image (li n˙ ge), on a platform , in the fire-pit [ as the sacred fire ] or in the [ practitioner’s] body — thus is it always taught . 39

After the pū j ā per formed in this way on the platform and in the [ purificator y ] chalice , one should worship the Highest Lord in the fire-pit and in one’s own

38 On the nonduality of the factors of action , see Sɴʀɴ 1995:48–49

39 Svā yambhuvas ū trasa mgraha 17.28 ( in the context of daily ritual): p ū jayed atha deve ś a m

n˙ ge vā stha . d . ile ’ pi vā / agniku d e ’thavā dehe nityam eva m prak ī r titam. Here as else where,

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li

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any kind of image in which Śiva is installed . e platform usually implies the ma d . ala drawn

. on it , but other objects can also be placed there. Śiva is made to be born in the fire from the Goddess of speech ( Vā g īś var ī ), and he is identified with the ritual fire in the course of

fire o erings. He is propitiated, and takes par t in the purificator y procedure during initiation.

‘ Body ’ signifies the practitioner’s own body , transformed into Śiva by the appropriate mantras.

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n˙ ga probably does not denote the well-known phallic representation of Śiva , but may mean

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body. 40

If one worships Him properly on one ’s hand , on the platform, in an idol ( li n˙ ge ),

on the ma . d . ala , in the rice-o ering, in the water [ of the purificator y chalice ], one shall obtain the fr uit of initiation. 41

One should visualise Rā va na with the Sword [Kha dgar ā va n a, a manifestation

of Śiva ] together with his Female Mantra-companions in one ’s body, in an idol ,

in the middle of the sacrificial fire and on a platform. 42

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While these identifications explain the raison d ’être of the major factors of Śaiva worship , they do not attribute meaning to smaller elements and minor details of the ritual , nor do they explain why cer tain minor actions are per formed .

Tʜ ɴɪɴɢ  ʟɴ ɪɴ ʀʟɪɴ  ʜ ʜʀ, ɪɴ ʜ ɪɪ ʀɪʟ ɴ

A cer tain number of elements which are not identified or identifiable with Śiva can gain significance because they fit into a longer ritual sequence whose final aim is the preparation of one of the factors identified with Śiva . In these cases ,

40 Tantrasadbh āva 9.119 (in the context of initiation ): eva m sa m p ū jayitvā tu stha d ile kala ś e

tath ā / ku de . c ā tma ś ar ī re ca p ū jayet parameś varam. 41 Svacchandatantra 3.31cd–32ab (in the context of initiation ): svahaste stha . d . ile lin˙ ge

ma . d . ale car uke tath ā / jale c ā gnau ca sa mp ū jya samyag d ī k sā phala m labhet. Śiva worshipped

on one ’s hand means the so-called Śivahasta or ‘ Śiva ’s hand ’. e gur u ritually places the appropriate mantras on his right hand , which is thus tranformed into Śiva . He then puts his hand ceremonially on the initiand’s head, thus transferring Śiva ’s power onto him. See e .g. Soma ś ambhupaddhati 3 p . 97. As B ʀɴɴʀ explains in note 245 on p . 98 ., this gesture may have been the most impor tant moment of initiation at an earlier date . Tantras teaching goddess worship call this hand the Śaktihasta ‘ the hand of Śiva’s power ’ and prescribe the transformation of the left hand, instead of the right one . See e .g. Brahmay ā mala 38.3–5 (187r 3). e purificator y elements, fire and water , are also worshipped as Śiva , just as the rice-o ering made to Him .

42 Kriy ā k ā lagu nottara fol. 57 v (for the attainment of supernatural powers ): ā tmadehe tathā

n d . ile / dhyā yet kha dge ś vara m deva m (dhyā yet em : dhy ā yeta ) vidy ā mantrais

tu ā v r ta m. In the context of the attainment of supernatural powers, it may be significant that

li n˙ ge agnimadhye ca stha

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the male deity is not invoked on his own in the usual loci of worship , but accompanied by a host of goddesses or demonesses. In various Tantras of di erent branches (e.g. the Svacchandatantra ,

the Kriyā k ālagu n ottara, the Matan˙ gap ā rameś vara , and the Siddhayoge ś var ī mata ), the same

phenomen can be obser ved quite often . When the deities are invoked to bestow supernatural

powers, they are often accompanied by a larger circle of deities, which usually includes additional female deities. For some more details and references , see Tʀ 2003:203 .

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the link of the par ticular element with the rest is quite obvious and does not need any clarification. I shall give two examples of such contextually required or justified rites . e first is the case of hand-gestures, mudrā s. By simple analogy , they are associated with cer tain ritual acts which are reinforced or even per formed by them. A text confirms that they are to be shown to complete

the ritual action ( p ū ra nā ya kriy āvidhe h M r gendra Kriy ā p āda 3.26d ). us , the

presence of four di erent mudrā s are justified by the actions they per form, as in

the following passage : the invocation of the deity is accompanied by the hand gesture of Invocation , then the god is installed with gesture of Establishing, greeted with the gesture of Homage and retained with the mudrā of Blocking. 43

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One should invoke the mantra-body [ of Śiva ] following the sequence of cre-

ation, 44 star ting from the end of the mantra [ i .e. from the point situated twelve

inches above the head according to Nār ā ya n aka t

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n h a], creating the ancillar y-

mantras of He Who Has the Radiance of the Rising Sun . is is to be done with the gesture of Invocation . en one should establish Him in a suppor t made of His powers 45 with the gesture of Establishing, and after receiving Him with the gesture of Homage, one should make him stay there with the Blocking gesture . 46

43 It is note wor thy that the commentator, Nā r ā ya naka t ha, does not seem happy with this

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straightfor ward explanation of how the gestures function . erefore, he gives a general semantic

analysis of the word, which is based on another passage of the same text :

seal (mudrayanti) the numerous obstacles [ i .e. demons] that could have found some occasion [to inter fere with the rite]; the gestures do not let them free, that is why they are called

mudrā s. ( labdh

M r gendra Kriy ā pā da 5.2 ab, whence this derivation comes . I come back to this nir vacana below.

44 is is normally done by identifying five sections of the body with five large segments of the universe , five par ts of Śiva ’s fivefold mantra and five Śaiva ancillar y mantras , star ting from the uppermost of each (the downward movement representing creation, the way in which the created object is fur ther and fur ther away from its source , the creator). e equivalences can slightly di er in various Tantras. For two examples , see Soma ś ambhupaddhati vol. 3, Pl . III , IV and V.

the gestures ( mudrā)

ā vakāś a m vighnaugha m mudrayanti na tu svā tantr ya m kur vantī ti mudrā h). Cf.

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45 e word śā ktavigraha refers to the term vidy ā m ū r ti or ‘ female mantra body’ according to

Nā r ā ya n aka . t ha ad loc. (nirli n˙ g ā da d ā k ā rā vidy ā m ū r ti h ): Śiva’s body made up of his mantras,

having no par ticular visual representation apar t from being arranged ver tically. See B ʀɴɴʀ

1985:48.

gendra Kriy āp ā da 3.12cd–14ab: m ū r tā v ā vā hana m kur y ā n mantrā nt ā t s tivar tman ā //

navā rkatejaso ’n˙ g āni vidh ā yā vā hamudray ā / sth ā pany ā sthā pana m kur y ā c ch ā ktavigrahasa mś raye //

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pra naty ā sa mnidh īk rtya nir udhy ā d rodhamudray ā . For an illustration of how to per form the

hand gestures, see e .g. Soma ś ambhupaddhati vol . 1, Pl . I , keeping in mind that Tantras can

slightly di er on this subject .

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Another, di erent kind of example of how ritual elements depend on each other and form a sequence could be the various rites per formed around the fire- pit, which is identified with Śiva . Śiva is in fact born there from the goddess of

speech, Vāg īśvar ī , whose presence implies a whole series of rites . A small house

is symbolically created for her with sacred kuś a grass ; she is protected behind

a cur tain visualised around her , and before she conceives she is ritually given

a bracelet to be tied on her right wrist so that she should have a male child .

us , a major factor in Śaiva ritual, the fire identified with Śiva , justifies and necessitates a chain of minor rites . It is, however , never questioned why just

exactly these actions are needed to establish Śiva in the fire . 47 e concatenation of minor rites is something one can obser ve in various contexts . But just as the association of mudrā s with the corresponding ritual actions are too obvious to point out, so too the ways is which minor ritual items are linked to each other are left unexplained. Rather than stating such trivial matters , the scriptures devote their attention to more complex associations of ritual and meaning . Why is Śiva worshipped in such and such forms ? What is the purpose of carr ying attributes such as the sword ? What is the point of per forming ritual in prescribed places , at crossroads , on the top of a mountain etc ? What is the actual role of consor ts in ritual? e scriptures do attempt to provide answers to such questions. However , it must be remarked that in most cases , the replies they give are not the more or less obvious ones we would expect them to say . In several examples below, instead of o ering straightfor ward explanations, some texts develop what could be called an exegetical discourse on each subject. And in so doing , they sometimes anticipate their own , later , exegesis by writers such as Abhinavagupta and K semar ā ja. Indeed, it seems that

some of these texts are the first to write the exegesis of their own tradition .

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Tʜ ɴɪɴɢ  ʟɴ ɴ ʜɪʀ ɴ  : ɴɪ ɴʟʏ

In analysing less evident and more hidden links between ritual and meaning,

the scriptures often turn to a traditional exegetical device : semantic analysis (nir vacana ). e nir vacana of deity names is a device through which the ex- egetes, most notably Abhinavagupta and K s emar ā ja, often encoded additional,

more esoteric meaning into their cult. But in this too , there are some scriptural

antecedents , even if their analyses are far from being as learned and complex as the exegetical ones. Moreover , the aim of the scriptures is obviously not the

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47 For the sequence, see e .g. Svacchandatantra 2.183 .

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same as that of the exegetes in that they do not tr y to infuse the system of the Krama into them; these nir vacanas are attempts to fit all details into the ritual and doctrinal complex and thus to enrich their meaning. One such semantic analysis appears in an unpublished anti-ritualist Kaula text , the Kulas ā ra . 48 Interestingly , it concerns the name of Bhairava , a favourite object of analysis in the Kashmirian exegetical literature . is well-known name describing a frightening form of Śiva denotes ‘ the Terrifying One’ and derives

in fact from the adjective bh ī r u , which comes from the verb bh ī - ‘ to be afraid .’ 49 Abhinavagupta and K semar ā ja propose several complex exegetical analyses of

the word. According to one one of them, the name is derived from an aggregate

of three verbs : bh r -, r u- and vam- . e first verb ‘ to hold , to nourish’ expresses

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that Bhairava holds and nourishes the world while he himself is held and nourished by the universe in which he is manifest . e second verb, r u- ‘to roar ’, shows that Bhairava manifests the world as sound within himself . e third verb vam- in the sense ‘ to vomit ’ or ‘ to emit ’ refers to the fact that he emits

or creates the universe , even if it is ultimately identical with him . e three verbs

thus reflect the three divine functions , maintenance ( sthiti with bh r - ), retraction

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or resorption of the world into the god ( sa m h ā ra with r u-) and creation ( s t i

with vam- ). 50 e analysis of the Kulasā ra is much simpler , deriving the name

from only one verbal root. But it agrees with K semar āja and Abhinavagupta

in making it come from the verb bh r -, to hold, in the sense that he holds or

nourishes the universe and / or that he manifests himself as the universe .

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bharita m tena cāś e m . akalpanakal ā dikam

. By Him ever ything is maintained / nourished / filled up , from the internal

power of creation onwards . 51

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48 For a summar y of Kaula doctrines, see Sɴʀɴ 1988.

49 bh ī +Kr u according to Pā n ini 3.2.174. bhiya h kr u-klukan-au Kr u and KlukaN are k r t

(nominal) suxes one can add only to the verb bh ī - .

50 Summar y of Sɴʀɴ 1995:62–63, who analyses K s emar ā ja’s interpretation in his

commentar y on Svacchandatantra 1.4 ab with the help of the Tantrā loka, and points out, among other things, that the explanation of the r u- element requires more exegetical e or t. See also

Tantrāloka 1.96–100. For a detailed discussion of this topic , see the excellent analysis given in

K ʜʀ 1998:55–97.

51 e meaning of the word akalpanakal ā is not clear to me . Lit . ‘ kal ā of non-fashioning’, it could denote a section of the Śaiva universe called śā ntikal ā, the second one from above corresponding to the ver y beginning of creation; or it could stand for the highest level of pure non-creation. It could also mean ‘ limited power to act’ ( one of the senses of kal ā itself), which is the first evolute of m āy ā or the plurality of creation, paving the way for other levels ( tattva )

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ere is another line in the same text , which most probably also contains a semantic analysis, echoing nir vacana s well-known from Kashmirian exegesis. 52 Since the text is ver y fragmentar y here , one cannot be sure what it is really about. e context is about Śiva’s power , śakti , in any case, which suggests that the derivation concerns the goddess K ā l ī , but as she does not appear else where in the text , this remains only a possibility .

kal ā [ m] kalayate s ā tu k ā lasa m grahak ā raka [ ā (?)] (fol. 4r)

. She creates the Kal ā(s) [ i.e. the five levels of the universe (?); or : limited power

to act(?)] and she withdraws time (k ā la ) [ therefore she is called K ā l ī ]

h/

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ese nir vacana s are not restricted to the texts of the more esoteric Kaula branch , although they are definitely less ubiquitous else where . One example is

to be found in the Kriy ā k ā lagu nottara , a text mainly concerned with exorcism

and snake-charms. In one of its longer sections , the text prescribes the worship

of a god called Kha d gar āva n a (‘Sword-Rā va na’) and his female attendants.

Kha d gar ā va n a is a R ā va n a-like form of Śiva , mostly invoked to chase away evil

spirits who possess people . e Kriyā k ā lagu n ottara tells us that once Śiva created

five mantras in order to kill the demon Kā lanemi. As it was a furious form of Śiva that created the mantras to fight the demon , his roar or cr y ( rā va) became

the mantra-deity Kha d gar ā va n a. ( e stor y is told by Śiva in the first person

singular to the goddess .)

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mantrā s tv ete saha vidyai[r] ni . r . t ā mama dehata h /

krodhe ( krodhe em : krodha ) krodhe ś varo j ā to rā ve vai kha dgarā va na[ h ] //

And these mantras , together with their female mantras , were created from my

body. Krodhe śvara (‘Lord of Wrath’) was born from my wrath (krodha ) and Kha dgar ā va na from my roar ( rā va ). 53

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e derivation of R ā va n a from r u- ‘to roar’ is of course a common one ,

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but the context created around it also explains why he is not a devotee (as he

is in the R ā m ā ya n a ), but an embodiment of Śiva . It is also possible , although

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of the universal creation . Or this ‘ natural’ kal ā could also stand for divine energy, ś akti . In any case, in most possible interpretations, it appears to denote the first step towards creation. 52 For examples and their analysis, see Sɴʀɴ 1995:64. 53 Note that vidy ā is treated as an -a stem noun and the locative is used for the ablative .

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by no means provable, that through this derivation some association is created between Kha d gar ā va n a and Śiva in the form of Rudra. 54

Another semantic analyis, more closely related to ritual action , is to be

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found in a scripture of the Siddh ā nta . It explains that hand gestures, mudrā s, instead of simply repeating and confirming the ritual action in gestual language

( as one would think from the examples given above ), are employed to seal

or paralyse (mudrayanti ) demons called ‘impeders ’ or ‘ obstacles’, who could

spoil the rite or make it unsuccessful . e derivation also makes use of the fact that mudrā is a feminine noun: ‘Since they paralyse ( mudra n ā t) the horde of

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obstacles, these Female Powers belonging to Śiva are called gestures (mudrā )’. 55 Fur thermore, objects or substances used in ritual are also given additional significance through nir vacana . us , again the Kulas āra , derives the name of one of the impure o erings , rice beer (surā ), from the word ‘ god ’ ( sura ), while

another word for alcohol (vā r u nī ) is identified with the nectar of immor tality :

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k s ī rā bdhimadhyamathan ā [d] vyaktitvasamup ā gat ā

avasth ā vā r u n ī jñey ā surai h p ī t ā surā sm r tā h ( fol. 78r–78v)

Alcohol is called vā r u n ī [in the sense of ‘ coming from or belonging to the god

of the ocean, Var u na’] because it was produced as such from the churning of the

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milk ocean . 56 Rice beer is called surā because it was dr unk by the gods (surai h ).

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In this context , it is also notable that the Kulas ā ra justifies impure o erings such as alcohol and meat by pointing out that some vedic rites also require them: the Sautr ā ma n ī involves drinking surā (rice beer ), and the A ś vamedha

for instance necessitates the killing of a horse : sautrā ma nya m surā pā na m

a śvamedhe tu cāś va m vai evam ā dipa śor vadha m ( fol. 70r ). ese lines are echoed

in some similar arguments in Abhinavagupta’s Tantrā loka . In the following

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54 Ru-dra meaning ‘ r unning about ( dra- ) and roaring ( r u- )’ is a common interpretation recorded in dictionaries. For the name Rudra being separated into Ru-dra, see K s emar ā ja on

Netratantra 16.64 a glossing sar vator udra h with samastar ugdrā va n ā d r udra h . Rudra is explained

by him here as ‘ annihilating (drā va na ) pain (r uj- )’. For yet another interpretations, see his

commentar y on Svacchandatantra 1.42 ( vol. 1, p . 36.).

55 vighnaughamudra nā n mudrā h kathyante hara ś aktaya h , M r gendra Kriy ā p ā da 5.2 ab. For

some more sophisticated derivation in the exegetical literature , see e.g. K s emar ā ja ad Ne-

tratantra 7.33, explaining the word as ‘ bestowal ( rā - n a ) of happiness ( mud-a )’, ‘ releasing (mu-

c ) [from bonds] and destroying ( drā va n a ) [ duality]’ and as ‘ sealing (mudra n a ) the power

(dra-vi na ) of supreme consciousness’: mudo har s asya rā n ā t p āś amocanabhedadrā va n ā tmatvā t

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parasa mviddravi n amudra n ā c ca .

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56 e meaning of the word avasth ā here is not clear to me . It may be understood to form a

compound with the preceding word .

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passages, in addition to adducing the above examples of the Kulas āra, Abhi- navagupta also justifies the prescription of a female par tner ( d ū t ī ) in tantric rites by referring to the vedic injunction according to which a wife ( patn ī) is needed to per form the rites .

Surā is pure for the sacrificer in the Sautr ā ma n ī sacrifice, while it is impure [ lit .

‘ contrar y’] for others. 57 [

treated as equals , the Brahmasatra requires the o ering of alcohol, and one also

o ers the marrow, intestines and the hear t [ of animals]. is has been taught

even in the scriptures of bound souls [ i.e. in non- Śaiva scriptures ] by the Lord . 58

ere is no sacrifice without a wife, the gods are all

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Cult objects do not escape from this scriptural exegesis either . e esoteric

Kaulajñ ā nanir n aya 59 (3.10cd .) for instance gives the following, rather wide-

spread, 60 derivation of the word li n˙ ga , standing here probably for ‘symbol ’ or

‘ idol ’.

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tena li n˙ ga m tu vikhy ā ta m yatra l ī na m carā caram

us it is called li n˙ ga , because [lit . ‘ in which ’] the world of moving and non-

moving creatures dissolve ( l ī n-am ) in it. 61

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Many other occurrences of semantic analysis in the scriptures could be enumerated to demonstrate the various ways and fields in which it was applied as an exegetical tool; and many of these occurrences would be similar to the above cited examples in that the explanations they give would be general, i.e. independant of the par ticular ritual context in which the object of analysis is used . However , it also happens that the nir vacana is applied not only to explain,

57 sautrā ma ny ā m surā hotu h ś uddh ā nyasya vipar yaya h , Tantrā loka 4.246ab .

58 na patny ā ca vinā y ā ga h sar vadaivatatulyat ā // surā hutir brahmasatre vap ā ntrah r dayā huti h /

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p āś ave sv api śā stre s u tad adar ś i maheś inā, Tantrā loka 15.172cd–173.

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59 is text, of which an eleventh centur y manuscript sur vives , probably dates from the 9 th or 10th centur y C.E. For the dating of the manuscript, see e.g. Bɢʜɪ 1934. A discussion of the dating will be found in Shaman H ʟʏ ’s thesis , which is in preparation at the University

of Pennsylvania , Philadelphia .

60 One of the earliest occurrences of this derivation may be in the commentar y of Kau d . inya on Pāś upatasū tra 1.6: l īyan ā l li n˙ gan ā c ca li n˙ gam . For closer parallels, see Ni ś vā sa Guhyas ū tra 1.100 katha m l īyej jagat sar va m lin˙ ge caiva carā caram and Mā lin īvijayottara 18.3 yajed ā dhy ā -

tmika m li n˙ ga m yatra l ī na m carā caram / bahirli n˙ gasya lin˙ gatvam anen ā dhi thita m yata h . I am

grateful to Dominic G ʟʟ for pointing out these parallels in an email message of the 26 th

of August, 2006.

61 e idea seems to be this : li m / laya m gacchatī ti li n˙ gam , where li- would stand for layam

or l ī natvam , dissolution, and ga- for gacchati, to go .

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but to create a ne w form of ritual . In most of such cases , the old form of ritual

is reinterpreted and transformed from external rite into an internal, mental or

yogic one . While semantic analysis is not the only way of internalising ritual,

it is a ver y common one in the Kaula scriptures.

Tʜ ɴɪɴɢ  ʟɴ ɴ ʜɪʀ ɴ  : ɪɴʀɴʟɪɪɴ

e internalisation of several elements of external ritual was an impor tant development in the histor y of Śaiva tantrism , and it has been amply analysed in the literature on the Kaula branch . Here I simply intend to show that this transformation of external into internal or mentally per formed ritual was at least par tly the result of the attempt to infuse more meaning into ritual, and that this quest for meaning is clearly discernible in some scriptural passages. An impor tant element of internalisation in the Kaula cults was of course their esoteric interpretation of the word Kula , which , instead of denoting Yogin ī lineages, came to mean the body , consisting of various internal powers ( internal

Yogin ī s or Śaktis). 62 But their interpretative élan went fur ther than that . In what follows , I shall give examples of some more unusual internalisations through interpretation . e examples are mainly taken from the Tantrasadbh ā va, which

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not a purely Kaula scripture of the Trika; but the passages on internalisation

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cite have all been borrowed in a Kaula text , the Kubjikā mata. 63 e first set of examples concerns the attributes a practitioner ( s ādhaka)

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supposed to carr y during his vidy āvrata. e vidy ā vrata, lit . ‘ obser vance of

the female mantra’, was an obligator y preliminar y obser vance to propitiate mantras before making use of them , i .e. before invoking them to help in the

attainment of supernatural powers . Various such obser vances are prescribed in

di erent texts. e practitioner must usually wear cer tain clothes , carr y cer tain

objects, and wander around reciting a par ticular mantra . Sometimes excentric behaviour is also prescribed , reminiscent of p āśupata practices. 64 When the Tantrasadbh ā va comes to the discussion of this topic , it lists a number of at-

tributes prescribed for the practitioner to carr y during his wanderings . For each object, the text gives an esoteric interpretation , by which the attribute, usually

a

weapon commonly carried by a deity, is enriched with esoteric meaning and

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thus said to lead to final liberation . In each case, the interpretation takes the

62 On a summar y of the changes in the Kaula cult, see Sɴʀɴ 1988:679. 63 ese borrowings have been pointed out in Sɴʀɴ 2002. 64 See e .g. chapter 10 of the Siddhayoge ś var īmata .

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form of a semantic analysis , and the text introduces this passage as a paribh ā s ā

or explanation of technical terms . Here are three weapons of the long list :

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vā m ā jye t h ā tath ā raudr ī icch ā ā nakriy ā tmik ā [ h ] /

triśū la m tripatha m khy ā ta m tri ś aktim anup ū r vaś a h //

e godesses Vā m ā, Jye t h ā and Raudr ī are of the nature of Will, Knowledge

and Action . us the trident is known to be made of these three goddesses, of

three spheres / roads , in due order . 65

khar ū pā vyomagā śā ntā nir mal ā a t ate priye /

khe taka m tena nā ma m tu dvā da śā nte vyavasthitam //

ere is [ a Female Power ] which has the form of space ( kha), moves in space,

is calm and pure while erring ( a tate), o my beloved ; therefore , she is called the

shield ( khe t aka), which is established at twelve inches above the head . 66

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kar tar ī ā na ś aktis tu yena p āśā ñ chinatty asau /

s ā kal ā param ā s ū k s m ā mantrā nā . m . bodhanī parā //

kar tar ī kar t r r ū pe n a jñā tavy ā s ā dhakena tu /

e scissors / knife is the Power of Knowledge by which one cuts the bonds [ of the soul ]. It is an extremely subtle element, which is the supreme awakener of mantras. us it is to be known as the per former [ of initiation / ritual ] by the practitioner. 67

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ese semantic analyses do not simply explain or justify why these objects should be carried by the practitioner ; they transform them into his internal powers he must master in order to proceed in his obser vance. e object becomes a metaphor for a Female Power (Śakti ) in his body, and thus the whole rite is internalised . e external obser vance is transformed into a yogic practice. e last interpretation concerning the kar tarī ( scissors or knife) is interest-

ing also in that it gives us a parallel to K s emar ā ja’s exegesis on an attribute of

Svacchandabhairava , the sword . For in his commentar y on Svacchandatantra

2.90, K s emar āja identifies the sword of the deity with the Power of Knowledge

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65 Tantrasadbh āva 9.107cd–108ab = Kubjik ā mata 25.134. e word tripatha can denote a group of three worlds or spheres (such as ā tmatattva , vidy ā tattva and ś ivatattva in the Śaiva context) or a place where three roads meet, which could also be understood to refer to the three goddesses metaphorically. e equivalence of the trident and the goddesses is also established through the homonymy of the word ś akti ‘ female power ’ and ‘ spike / prong ’. ( N .B. Ever y noun is transformed into the neuter in the second line.) 66 i.e. khe a t ate — iti khe t akam. Tantrasadbhā va 9.108ab–109cd = Kubjik ā mata 25.135.

(Nā man is thematised.)

67 I.e. kar t r r ū pe na pāśā ñ chinatt īti kar tar ī. Tantrasadbhā va 9.111–112ab = Kubjik ā mata

25.137cd–138.

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( ā na ś akti ) and calls it the instr ument with which the bonds of the soul are

cut — a role quite similar to that of the kar tarī in the Tantrasadbh ā va. 68 In the same chapter of the Tantrasadbh āva , another set of equivalences concerns the places where the pracitioner is to go during his mantra obser vance. In fact, the list of places given also corresponds to the lists given in many Śaiva Tantras, which recommend them for the per formance of any ritual , for daily worship as well as for intiation . e enumeration includes mainly abandoned places , such as abandoned mansions, the top of a mountain , forests etc . and places which are traditionally thought of as invested with magic proper ties such as the confluence of rivers or crossroads . e cremation gound is also mentioned of course . e primar y reason for preferring these places must have been twofold : since they were abandoned, invested with magic power , they were par ticularly auspicious for tantric rites to obtain supernatural powers ; and since they were far or hidden places , the rites could remain secret and well protected from the uninitiated . Although these reasons seem obvious and understandable enough , the appropriateness of these places would be di cult to justify sote- riologically . However, through their reinterpretation , the Tantrasadbh ā va gives them par ticular significance for the individual practitioner and his practice. e following examples are metaphorical understandings of two such places:

‘ the top of the mountain ’ and ‘ crossroads’:

e mountain is the mouth of the preceptor, and one should rely on / cling to the tip of his mouth. us is the mountain top [ in Tantras ] known metaphorically, o Goddess worshipped by the gods . 69

Oh Goddess, the crossroads is that of the goddesses Vā m ā , Jye t h ā , Raudrik ā together with Ambik ā — the individual soul roams there / in them. 70

s

In this way , the places prescribed for ritual lose their primar y association with external rites and magic. ey are transformed into sources of knowledge and internal sources of power . Names of consor ts (d ū t īs) in ritual , the Mother , Sister and Daughter

( three nouns which are also used as simple synonyms of Yogin ī ) are similarly

68 is is not meant to suggest that K s emar ā ja borrows from this scripture, for in both cases,

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the word lends itself to the derivation mentioned quite easily .

69 Tantrasadbh ā va 9.45cd–46ab, Kubjik ā mata 25.74: par vata m gur uvaktra m tu tasy ā gram

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avalambayet / par vat āgra m sm r ta m tantre par y ā ye n a surā rcite ( tantre TSB : tena KMT).

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70 Tantrasadbh ā va 9.46cd–47ab: catu s patha m bhaved devi vā m ā jye th . ā tu raudrik ā / ambik ā y ā

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samā yukt ā -m- a t ana m pudgalasya tu ; citation almost identical with Kubjik ā mata 25.75.

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reinterpreted ; and their function and impor tance are again explained through semantic derivations.

m ā teva sa m sthitā ś aktir jagato yonir ū pi n ī //

atotpanna m samasta m hi vā n˙ maya m sacarā cara m /

tena m ā teti vikhy ā t ā may ā te parame ś vari //

udbhavasth ā duhit¯ r tu duhanā jagatasya tu /

duhit¯ r tu dvitī y ā tu bhagin ī tu tathocyate //

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bhagar ū pā parā s ūk s m ā utpann ā s ā tman ā saha /

yathā gnis tejas ā nityam an ā n ā tve vyavasthita h //

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tadvad eva hi c ā tmasth ā bhaginī bhagar ū pi n ī /

svaya mj ā t ā mah ā sū k s m ā n ā nyatkenaiva nir mit ā //

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e female Power is established as the Mother, she is the matrix of the world. Ever ything moving and non-moving, made of speech , is born from her . ere-

fore I call her Mother, great goddess. e Daughter ( duhit r ) is established in the

origin [ of the world], she provides the world with desired objects (duhan ā ). 71

us the Daughter is the second [ type of female power], now I explain the Sister

( bhagin ī). She is extremely subtle in the form of the female organ ( bhaga), born

together with the individual soul . Just as fire is always inseparable from its heat , so too the Sister , in the form the female organ, is within the individual soul . She is born of herself , is highly subtle, and is not constr ucted by anyone or anything else. 72

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In a more elaborate way , the sacred places ( pī t has) are also internalised,

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star ting with the confluence of the Ga n˙ gā and the Yamun ā , Pray ā ga, in the

navel , thus tranforming the external geography of pelegrination into an internal one . Both the Tantrasadbh ā va and the Kubjik ā mata a rm that the internal places are more impor tant , and that external ones are prescribed only to comply with worldy conventions. 73 e Kubjik āmata then adds yet another set of equivalences, whereby it identifies various par ts of a house with the sacred

centres . us , Pray ā ga is placed in the middle of the house for instance, A t ahā sa

in the fire-place ( cullī ), Dev ī ko ta in the grinding stone ( ghara t a) etc .

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71 e word meant is probably dohan ā, which has both a primar y and a metaphorical

meaning. What is intended is probably the metaphorical one, but with reference to the verbal root duh-, ‘to milk ’, which the text connects with duhit r -.

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72 e extract, in strongly Tantric Sanskrit, comes from the beginning of the passage in question (Tantrasadbh ā va 9.132cd–136), which has been some what shor tened in the version of the Kubjik ā mata (25.158–160).

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