Śaiva Traditions

Śaiva Traditions

by Gavin Flood

Śaiva traditions are those whose focus is the deity Śiva and a Śaiva is a Hindu who follows the teachings of Śiva (śivaśāsana). These teachings are thought to have been revealed in sacred scriptures and propagated through the generations in traditions of ritual observance and theology. Many Śaivas have also worshipped the Goddess, Śiva’s consort and power (śakti), as the esoteric heart of their religion, and it is often impossible to  meaningfully distinguish between Śaiva and Śākta traditions. Every culture creates its own forms (Castoriadis 1997: 84) and in the following pages I shall discuss the forms that Śaiva traditions produced and hope to convey something of the Śaiva religious imaginaire. This imaginaire is distinctive within the Indic traditions and relates to wider cultural and political history, both insofar as it has corroborated and upheld the values and goals of mainstream orthodox society and in the ways it has challenged those norms. On the one hand the Śaiva imagination has been in line with the instituting power of particular regions, on the other it has brought to life a world that undermines that power through its promotion of a vision of the self that transcends social institutions and political stability. It is this ambiguity that shares many of the wider goals of collective life while eroding those goals through promoting a  subjectivity external to them that is a characteristic of Śaiva traditions. It is in this truly  creative dynamic in which Śaiva values are embedded in social institutions, such as caste and kingship, while simultaneously undermining those values, that the genius of the tradition resides. It is perhaps not a coincidence that this ambiguity is reflected in the ultimate imaginary signification of the tradition, Śiva himself, as the erotic ascetic (O’Flaherty 1981), as family man and vagabond, as form and formless, and as transcendence and immanence.

In this chapter I will focus on early Śaiva traditions, and although I will briefly discuss the fifteenth-century Kerala tradition, I will not venture much past the eleventh century. In effect, largely due to limitations of space I will not deal with developments of Śaivism during most of the last millennium, which includes the Nāth tradition, the traditions of later north India, the Siddha or Cittar tradition in Tamilnadu, nor the Śaiva Vedānta of the Śaṇkarācāryas and their monastic institution (maṭhas). I can only justify this exclusion on the grounds that the important doctrinal foundations and practices are established during the earlier period and the later traditions are rooted in these earlier forms. But it is to the indigenous understanding of what a Śaiva tradition is that we must turn first.

The Idea of a Śaiva Tradition

Recent scholarship has problematized the idea of “tradition,” particularly in the West, arguing that traditions are not unchanging, historical trajectories, but are rather re-formed and adapted to changing political and social circumstances (Heelas 1996; Hobsbawn and Ranger 1983). The past is constructed to suit the identity needs of each generation. While of course it is true that in a south Asian context traditions change and are particularly challenged by modernity (Smith 2002), perhaps more stable social continuity has meant that until recently traditions have changed at a slower rate. There are certainly traditions of vedic practice that have survived historical contingency, such as the Nambudri vedic recitation, which go back possibly thousands of years (Staal 1963). Śaiva ritual practiced today was certainly extant in early medieval sources and worship of Śiva in some form occurs very early in the history of Hindu traditions. While this is too large a topic to enter into here, involving as it does the question of the relation of ritual to wider social and political history, there are clearly continuities of Śaiva practice that reach back into the past. Rather than looking at Śaiva traditions in terms of the western or western-derived categories of “Hinduism” and “religion,” to understand the idea of a Śaiva tradition it is more illuminating to look at indigenous Śaiva classifications.

There is a tension between an externalist understanding that would analyze tradition in terms of history and the way a tradition is constructed in a particular historical circumstance and the indigenous, essentialist understanding of tradition as stemming from a timeless source. This is a large issue and the problem of externalist and internalist discourse is as relevant to Hindu traditions as to Christianity or Islam. While the indigenous view of tradition is clearly legitimate from the insider’s perspective and important more generally, it is often challenged by historical, philological scholarship. Certainly living traditions can accept and absorb the findings of philological scholarship (as Christianity has done) and externalist accounts can function as corrective readings of tradition: text-historical accounts are not necessarily incompatible with religious accounts of revelation. This chapter is written from the perspective of externalist, historical-philological scholarship, but which nevertheless regards indigenous claims about tradition to be important and legitimate. At the very least the  indigenous account of tradition shows how the transmission of knowledge was perceived in a particular social context. It is also not precisely clear what the relation is between Śaiva accounts of tradition, that is, the Śaiva selfdescriptions, and the historical reality of which they are an index. It is therefore important and necessary – particularly in view of the lack of other sources – to begin with the Śaiva concept of tradition. It is largely, but not only, these indigenous self-descriptions that inform my account of the historical trajectory of the traditions, but this account is nevertheless from an external perspective, using the indigenous account to construct a coherent historical narrative.

The Śaiva understanding of tradition has been to see it in terms of a “stream” (srotas) or line of transmission of texts and practices, flowing through the generations from teacher to disciple. Another term used is Śaiva āmnāya, a Śaiva classification associating traditions of scripture with the four directions or a classification of five emanating from the five mouths of Śiva (Padoux 1994: 35–40; Brunner et al. 2000: 200; Dyczkowski 1988: 66–85). Such a tradition is transmitted through textual commentary and exegesis and through the lineage of teachers, the guru santāna or santati. Another term used in Śākta or Kula texts is ovalli, initiatory lineages (six in number) which are “currents of consciousness” (jñānapravāha) flowing from a transcendent source through the founder of the particular lineage (Brunner et al. 2000: 258). The source of such a stream or torrent of transmission in the case of the āmnaya is believed to be Śiva. From him the teachings are generally transmitted to the Goddess and from her through a series of divine and semi-divine intermediaries to the human world, for the kind of knowledge revealed through revelation is adapted to the abilities  of beings to receive it (MVT 1.24). For example, the ninth- or tenth-century root text of the Kashmiri Śaiva tradition, the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra declares itself to be derived from the “mouth of the supreme Lord” (parameśamukha) (MVT 1.7), from where it is transmitted through a series of intermediaries, namely the Lord Pareśa to the Goddess (Devī), thence to her son Kumāra, who in turn transmits the teachings to Brahmā’s four sons who transmit it to the human world (MVT 1.2–4, 14). The tenth-century Kashmiri theologian Abhinavagupta, likewise traces the guru lineage of the esoteric “family” (kula) tradition to the four mythical figures, the Lords Khagendra, Kūrma, Meṣa, and Macchanda, and thence to Śiva (TA 29.29–32; Dyczkowski 1988: 62, 68–9; Goudriaan and Gupta 1981: 5). Similarly, the sage Vasugupta, having received a system of teachings from numerous perfected male and female beings (siddhas and yoginīs) who made his heart pure, received teachings from Śiva who revealed in a dream that they were inscribed upon a stone on the Mahādeva mountain (namely the Śiva Sūtras) (SSV: p. 1). During this transmission process the teachings are believed to become condensed and accessible to the limited understanding of the receivers.

Other examples could be cited, but the point is that tradition in Śaivism is derived from a divine source and is understood in cosmological terms. Indeed, Śaivism could be said to be a cosmological religion in which tradition is not a human construction but is given through a process of transformation through levels of a hierarchical cosmos to the human world. It is the guru who is the embodiment of this tradition and who is the channel of divine grace (anugraha) to the community of disciples. The guru lineage or santāna is therefore an expression of Śiva’s power (śakti) (SSV: p. 60) and the guru, at least in monistic Śaivism, is identified with Śiva as one who liberates beings through bestowing initiation (dīkṣā) and giving power to mantra (mantravīrya) (SN: pp. 52–3). Even in dualistic Śaivism, Śiva enters the guru for the purposes of initiation. The guru becomes the embodiment of tradition, reveals the supreme, liberating truth (tattva) to the disciple (SSV: p. 59) and reveals the structure of the hierarchical cosmos. The Mālinīvijayottara Tantra defines the guru in these terms:

He who knows the meaning of the all the levels of the cosmos (sarva-tattvāni), is the guru equal to me (matsamah.) [i.e. Śiva] who has taught the illumination of the power of mantra (mantravīryaprakāśah.). Men who are touched, spoken to and seen by him with a delighted mind (prītacetasā) are released from sin (pāpa) even in seven lifetimes. (MVT 3.10–11)

Because of this emphasis on tradition as a stream flowing through the generations from a divine source into the guru, the distinctions between Śaiva and Śākta traditions become blurred. Some texts such as the Yoginīhdaya, which forms part of the root text of the Śrī Vidyā cult, are clearly Śākta in orientation. What has becomes known as “Kashmir” Śaivism, a nondualistic tradition developing from at least the ninth century, identifies Śiva with undifferentiated consciousness and also identifies this condition with a form of the Goddess Kālī called Kālasaṃkarṣinī (see below). The more esoteric the Śaiva traditions are, the more there is a tendency to focus upon the Goddess.

The implications of this for understanding not only Śaiva traditions but the wider field of Hinduism are great. Firstly, this understanding of tradition and the emphasis on the guru indicates strong decentralizing processes. While the texts of revelation are important, it is above all the revelation as the living tradition of the guru lineage that animates the tradition and through which the grace of Śiva is believed to flow. Here text becomes performance and the texts’ teachings embodied in the human guru. Secondly this structure which places such great emphasis on the teacher–disciple relationship, allows for a kind of particularism or individualism which is yet impersonal, insofar as tradition is designed to transcend personality or limited sense of ego (ahaṃkāra). It is in this relationship that the transmission of tradition (and the grace of Śiva) occurs. The boundaries of the Śaiva and Śākta traditions are therefore sufficient to ensure transmission through the generations yet are also porous in allowing the influence of other, related traditions. This can be seen by Śaiva theologians quoting from a range of sources and borrowing from different traditions. Abhinavagupta, for example, was initiated into a number of Śaiva systems and the Kashmiri theologian Utpalācārya quotes with approval a text of the Vaiṣṇava Pāñcarātra tradition, the Jayākhyasaṃhitā (Span dīp: pp. 6–7). This is not to say, of course, that the Śaiva theologians regarded all revelation as equal; they did not. Rather each new revelation incorporated the earlier within it at a lower level and so, while a text of a different tradition might be quoted with approval, it is generally only regarded as a truth emanating from the level of the cosmos from which it derives. Later, esoteric teachings transcend the previous revelation.

While these traditions maintain a hierarchical structure in the classification of revelation, as we will see, we nevertheless have in the Śaiva understanding of tradition an example of the decentralizing strategies of what we call “Hinduism,” which should make us skeptical of the usefulness of the category in a historical context. While Śaiva authors were keen to make totalizing claims about the universal truth of their teachings, the model of tradition shared by all Śaiva schools is inherently pluralistic in the idea of the guru lineage, while simultaneously being hierarchical in its assumption of a graded cosmos or ontology and a graded teaching. These initiatory lineages have been extremely important in the history of Śaivism and have mostly been associated with groups of texts called Tantra. But there has also been a more general temple Śaivism associated with Smārta brahmanism. As Sanderson has shown, the term Śaiva is technically restricted to an initiate into one of the Śaiva systems, while the term Maheśvara has been used for a brahmin worshipper of Śiva within the Smārta domain (Sanderson 1988b: 660–4). It is Sanderson’s general mapping of these systems in the early medieval period that I follow here (Sanderson 1985; 1988; 1988) although a more complete mapping of the traditions by him, which will revolutionize our understanding of Śaivism and the history of Indian religions more generally, will have to wait (Sanderson, forthcoming). But before we trace this history a few remarks on the earliest indications of reverence for Śiva and the development of Śaiva traditions are necessary.

Early and Purānic Śaivism

Some scholars maintain that the worship of Śiva goes back many thousands of years in the subcontinent to the Indus valley civilization, where steatite seals have been found suggestive of a deity akin to Śiva. The famous “Paśupati” seal shows a seated, perhaps ithyphallic, horned figure surrounded by animals. Sir John Marshall has claimed that this is a prototype of Śiva as the yogin and Paśupati, the Lord of animals (Marshall 1931: 52). But is not clear from the seals that this is a proto-Śiva figure and Asko Parpola has convincingly suggested that the seal is in fact a seated bull, almost identical to figures of seated bulls found on early Elamite seals of ca. 3000–2750 bc (Parpola 1994: 248–50). It may be, of course, that elements of Śiva’s later iconography – such as the crescent moon in his hair – can be traced to this period but unless the Indus Valley script is deciphered, these seals can only be suggestive. There are early textual references to Rudra, arguably a forerunner of Śiva, one of whose epithets is “auspicioius” (Śiva), in the ṚgVeda. Here three hymns are addressed to Rudra, the “roarer’. He is clothed in an animal skin, brown, with a black belly and a red back. Even at this time he is an ambiguous deity who is like a ferocious beast destroying families and livestock, but yet who is also a benevolent healer of disease (ṚgVeda 2.33, 1.43; 1.114). A famous hymn in the ṚgVeda, the hundred names of Rudra (śatarudriya), speaks further of this ambiguous nature, a hymn which is referred to in the Śiva Purāṇa and is still recited in Śiva temples today (Gonda 1979: 75–91).

But it is only with the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad, composed some time prior to the Bhagavad Gītā, that a theism focused upon Rudra-Śiva begins to emerge in the literature. This text is important in marking a link between the earlier monistic Upaniṣads and the later theistic traditions. Here Rudra is elevated from the feral deity on the edges of society to the status of the supreme being as the cause of the cosmos, the magician (māyin) who produces the world through his power (śakti), yet who transcends his creation. He is the Lord who, by his grace (prasāda), liberates the soul from its journey from body to body due to its actions. The seeds of Śaiva theology are here and indeed the terms “guru” and “bhakti” occur for the first time in the text (Śvetāśvatara 6.23), although more than likely this passage is a later interpolation. But certainly the seeds of devotion are implicit in the text’s theism.

The formation of Śaiva traditions as we understand them begins to occur during the period from 200 bc to 100 ad. Apart from the Śvetāśvatara, we have references to a Śaiva devotee, a Śiva-bhāgavata, in the grammarian Patañjali’s commentary on the Pāṇini grammar (Pāṇ, 5.2.76). He describes him as a figure clad in animal skins and carrying an iron lance as a symbol of his god, and there are references to early Śaiva ascetics in the Mahābhārata (Bhandarkar 1983: 165). There are also suggestions of Śiva worship on the coins of Greek, Śaka, and Parthian kings who ruled north India during this period, bearing a bull, a later symbol of Śiva. While little can be inferred from this, it is probable that adoption of Śaiva traditions of some form accompanied the general “Indianization” of the foreign, barbarian (mleccha) rulers (Vallee-Poussin 1936: 239–41).

During the Gupta dynasty (ca. 320–50 ad) the Purāṇas developed along with Smārta brahmin forms of worship (on this see Bühnemann 1988). The Śaiva Purāṇas, most notably the Linga andŚiva Purāṇa, contain standard material on genealogy, caste responsibilities, and cosmology, along with specifically Śaiva topics of installing the symbol (liṅga) of Śiva in temples, descriptions of the forms of Śiva and material on early Śaiva sects. The follower of the puranic religion, the Maheśvara referred to by Śaṇkara (Brahmasūtrabhāṣa 2.2.37), would at death, having led a life of devotion and responsible enactment of social duties, be transported to Śiva’s heaven (Śiva-loka) at the top of the world egg (brahmāṇḍa) and so be liberated. This is the Śaiva equivalent of the Vaiṣṇavaheaven vaikuṇṭha where the puranic Vaiṣṇavawould go at death. Fully orthoprax, the Maheśvara adhered to the Smārta observance of social duties, the varṇāśrama-dharma, performed vedic domestic rites and puranic pūjā, making vegetarian offerings to orthodox forms of Śiva and using vedic mantras. He followed the brahmanical path in an ordered universe in which his place in the cosmos at death was assured, as had been his social position in life (Sanderson forthcoming).

In contrast to the brahmin householder who followed the puranic, Smārta injunctions, a number of other Śaiva groups are listed in the Purāṇas which are on the edges of orthopraxy and are even condemned by some texts. These Śaiva sects are classified in quite complex ways in the Purāṇas and other medieval sources – there are references in Śaṇkara’s and Rāmānuja’s commentaries on the Brahma Sūtra and in Yāmuna among others – but four groups in particular emerge as important. These are the Pāśupata, Lākuliśa, Śaiva, and Kāpalika sects. There are variant names for some of these and they are also subdivided (Lorenzen 1991: 1–12; Dyczkowski 1988: 16–19). While the Purāṇas mention these sects and the later Purāṇas contain material which is derived from the nonvedic revelation of the Tantras, they are often hostile to the nonpuranic Śaiva traditions, partly in reaction to the tantric tradition’s hostility towards the vedic; the Kūrma Purāṇa for instance condemns the Pāśupata system as heretical (Kūrma Purāṇa 1.14.30; 1.20.69; see Dyczkowski 1988: 10–11). A picture therefore emerges of a puranic Śaiva tradition, revering the Vedas, with orthoprax social attitudes, being confronted by renunicate Śaiva traditions, at first the Pāśupata sect who threatened puranic tradition, but later by more extreme groups. These alternative Śaiva sects ranged from ascetics who regarded themselves as being within the vedic fold, namely the Pāśupatas and Saiddhāntikas, to groups who consciously placed themselves outside of that sphere such as the Kāpālikas. It is to these nonpuranic groups that I wish to pay some attention, as it is these groups who have formed the majority Śaiva traditions and who are still extant in the subcontinent.

Non-Puranic Śaivism

Sanderson has shown that we can make a broad distinction between the Vedic, Puranic devotee of Śiva on the one hand and the nonpuranic Śaiva initiate on the other. These latter had undergone an initiation (dīkṣā) into the cults of their affiliation for the purpose of liberation in this life (mukti) and/or obtaining magical power to experience pleasure in higher worlds (bhukti). Within this group a distinction can be made between those Śaivas who follow the outer or higher path (atimārga) and those who follow the path of mantras (mantramārga). The followers of the atimārga sought only liberation, while the followers of the mantramārga sought not only liberation but power and pleasure in higher worlds (Sanderson 1988b: 664–90). Among the groups of the atimārga two are particularly  mportant, the Pāśupatas and a sub-branch, the Lākula, from whom another important sect, the Kālāmukhas, developed.

The Pāśupatas are the oldest named Śaiva group, dating probably from around the second century ad. They are referred to in the Mahābhārata (śantiparvan 349.64), but the earliest surviving text of the group is the Pāśupata Sūtra, pre-tenth century, with a commentary by Kauṇḍinya. This text was regarded as revelation by the Pāśupatas. The myth behind it is that Śiva entered the corpse of a young brahmin that had been cast into a cremation ground and reanimated it as Lakulīśa, the “Lord of the staff,” who then gave out the teachings contained in the text to his four disciples.

These teachings present the Pāśupata as an ascetic somewhat on the edges of orthoprax society, even though such an ascetic had to be a brahmin male who should not speak with low castes nor with women (Pāś Sū1.13). But whereas an ordinary, vedic brahmin would pursue the social norms of adherence to duties regarding caste and stage of life (varṇāśramadharma), the Pāśupata had transcended these responsibilities to a higher or perfected (siddha) fifth stage beyond the vedic fourth stage of renunciation. To achieve this perfection the ascetic undertook a vow or observance (vrata) in three developmental stages. Firstly the Pāśupata should live within the environs of a Śaiva temple, bear the mark (liṅga) of a Pāśupata ascetic, namely the ashes in which he bathes thrice daily, and worship Śiva with song, dance, laughter and mantra repetition. Living on alms, the aspirant (sādhaka) undertakes the development of virtues such as not stealing, celibacy, and not harming creatures by straining water, and so on (Pāś Sū1.2–11 and commentary). He thereby gradually purifies himself and enters the second stage of his practice in which he discards external signs of his observance, leaves the temple, and undertakes various forms of antisocial behavior. These include pretending to be asleep in public places, making his limbs tremble as though he were paralyzed, limping, acting as if mad, and making lewd gestures to young women (Pāś Sū3.12–17). Such practices, the text claims, are doors to the acquisition of merit, for in behaving in this way the ascetic will attract verbal and physical abuse whereby his sin (pāpa) will be passed over to his abusers and their merit (sukṛta) passed over to him (Pāś Sū3.8–9). In the third stage of the practice the sādhaka withdraws from the public eye to a deserted house or cave, lives off alms, and devotes himself to meditation upon the five sacred mantras of Śiva along with the syllable om. (Pāś Sū5.21–4). Through this he unites his soul with Śiva and gains uninterrupted union for a period of six months (Pāś Sū5.9–12). Finally the ascetic withdraws to become a resident in a cremation ground (śmaśāna-vāsī), where he lives on whatever is available (Pāś Sū5.30–2), and dies reaching union with Śiva (rudrasāyujya) and the end of sorrow through his grace (Pāś Sū5.33, 40).

There were more extreme forms of Pāśupata religion. The Lākula ascetic imitated the terrible form of his god Rudra, carrying a cranium begging bowl, a skull-topped staff, a garland of human bones, ash covered, with matted hair or shaved head (Sanderson 1988b: 665–6). This kind of Śaiva had taken the “great vow” (mahāvrata) or penance for killing a Brahmin in the Dharma Śāstras, namely living beyond the pale of vedic society and carrying the skull of his victim for 12 years (Manu 11.73). This practice is reinforced by a myth in which Śiva as the terrible Bhairava decapitates Brahmā’s fifth head with his left-hand thumb, because Brahmā had attempted incest with his daughter. The skull sticks to Bhairava’s hand and he wanders as the beggar Bhikṣāṭana until he reaches Banaras where the skull falls at Kapālamocana, a site of pilgrimage (tīrtha) (Eck 1984: 119). The Lākula sect gave rise to a further subsect, the Kālāmukhas, who were especially dominant in Karnataka during the eleventh to thirteenth centuries. Indeed they were an important group here, attracting donations and political patronage for Kālāmukha temples and monastic centers (maṭhas) (Lorenzen 1991: 97–140). The Kālāmukhas’ in turn probably gave rise to the important Liṅgayat or VīraŚaiva tradition, still extant in Karṇāṭaka, famous for devotional poetry (Ramanujan 1973).

With these groups of the higher path we have the beginnings of a tendency away from orthodox forms of religion and adherence to the vedic social order. Although brahmins within the vedic order, the Pāśupatas believed their teachings to transcend that order. They went beyond the four stages on life’s way (āśrama) into a fifth stage beyond the fourth vedic order, they also saw themselves as being within that order. Similarly, the Kālāmukhas in seemingly rejecting the vedic world, vividly symbolized by their great vow as a consequence of brahminicide, were yet at the center of the social order in Karṇāṭaka, supported by kings, with well-funded centers of practice and learning. The relationship between these groups and the established hierarchy is therefore complex and cannot be seen in terms of a simple rejection of vedic values by a heterodox or excluded community. The issue of the relation of these groups to the wider society and to vedic orthopraxy becomes even more sharply delineated with the traditions of the mantramārga, all of which revered a body of scripture distinct from the Veda, known as the Tantras.

The Tantras

The Tantras are a vast body of literature in Sanskrit, composed mostly between the eighth and eleventh centuries ad, claiming to have the status of revelation and claiming to supercede the Vedas. Some Tantras acknowledged the Vedas while others rejected them. The Tantras were composed in a number of traditions where they are sometimes known by the name of Āgama in the Śaiva Siddhānta and Saṃhitā in the Vaiṣṇava tantric tradition or Pāñcarātra. There are also a very few Jain Tantras, a vast body of Buddhist Tantras, mostly preserved in Tibetan and Chinese translations, and Tantras to the Sun, none of which have survived (Sanderson 1988b: 660–1). As the Buddhist Tantras were translated into Tibetan, so some of the Śaiva Tantras were translated into Tamil and are used as the basis for temple rituals in south India to this day. All of the Śaiva traditions of the mantramārga accept the Tantras, or rather different groups of Tantras, as their textual basis, although some Śaiva traditions have been more closely aligned to orthoprax, brahminical practice than others.

While there are specific traditions and the language of the Tantras is often obscure, partly because these texts would have been accompanied by a living, oral tradition, and partly because they regarded themselves as secret and heavily symbolic, they nevertheless share common features. They are concerned with practice (sādhana) involving ritual and yoga undertaken after initiation (dīkṣā) by a guru, but also contain sections on temple building, architecture, and occasional rites such as funerals. Indeed, each Tantra of the Śaiva Siddhānta theoretically rests on the four “feet” (pāda) of doctrine (the vidyā or jñāna pādas), yoga, ritual (kriyā-pāda), and behavior (cārya-pāda), although most texts do not follow this rather artificial scheme. The majority of the tantric corpus is concerned with ritual of some kind and the texts follow a common ritual structure, as we shall see, for the purposes of attaining liberation and above all, magical power and pleasure in higher worlds. These rituals involve the enacting of elaborate hierarchical cosmologies, are concerned with the divinization of the body, with divine energy or power (śakti), and with possession (āveśa) and exorcism.

We do not yet have a full picture of the groups of ascetics and the social context in which the Tantras originated, although Sanderson’s work on manuscript sources will clarify the picture (Sanderson 1985, 1988, forthcoming). Any statements are therefore preliminary and must remain conjectural and provisional until the publication of Sanderson’s more recent work. The Tantras probably originated with groups of ascetics similar to the Lākula Pāśupatas, on the edges of brahminical society who were supported by low castes, although the low-caste origins of Tantra is contentious as the Tantras are linked to courtly circles and royal power (Sanderson, forthcoming). Cremation ground asceticism is a very old tradition in the subcontinent and meditation on death is an important feature in the meditation practice of early Buddhist monks (e.g. Norman 1973: 123). The Tantras became more popular and tantric images and ideas became pervasive in later Hindu traditions. Although generally distancing themselves from the Tantras, the Purāṇas nevertheless absorb tantric elements (Hazra 1983; Dyczkowski 1988: 8) and tantric ideas and practices become absorbed by the eleventh century into mainstream, brahminical society and courtly circles. The divine power (śakti) of the Goddess becomes identified with the power of the King in different regions such as Vijayanagara. But it is in Kashmir, above all, where we see this process of the brahmanization of tantric ideology and practice. This history has been traced by Sanderson through the sequences of texts and the divisions of the Śaiva tantric canon. It is to this canon and the traditions it expresses that we now turn.

The path of Mantras can be divided into the texts and teachings of the Śaiva Siddhānta on the one hand and the teachings of Bhairava of non-Siddhānta groups on the other. While the former, although accepting 28 “dualist” Tantras, adhered to vedic social practice and made generally vegetarian offerings to a milder form of Śiva known as SadāŚiva, the latter accepted a large body of texts which were often hostile to vedic orthopraxy. This distinction between orthoprax and heteroprax Śaivism is identified in the sources, as Sanderson has shown, as a distinction between traditions of the right (dakṣina), namely the Śaiva Siddhānta, and traditions of the left (vāma), namely the non-Saiddhāntika traditions (Sanderson 1995: p.18). While the Śaiva Siddhānta is a dualistic tradition, maintaining a distinction between the soul and the Lord, the non- Saiddhāntika groups, especially the tradition known as the Trika, are nondualistic, claiming that the self and Śiva are identical. This dualistic and nondualistic distinction also applies to the ritual realm where the Śaiva Siddhānta accepted the vedic distinction between purity and impurity, remaining within the vedic rules of purity, whereas the non-Saiddhāntika rejected this distinction (Sanderson 1995: 17).

These Śaiva, tantric traditions not only permeated the subcontinent but became royal religions, along with Buddhism, in southeast Asia and beyond to Java and Bali during the medieval period. Here kings modeled themselves on south Asian kings, Sanskrit became the sacred language, and Brahmin priests officiated at rites of royal consecration. In Java, for example, there are early Śaiva inscriptions (732 ce) and eighth-century Śaiva temples seemed to have followed ritual patterns found in the subcontinent of bathing the Śiva lin . ga (Dumarçay 1986). In Bali Śaiva temple priests still perform daily rites in which the priest symbolically becomes Śiva through uttering the five-syllabled mantra “homage to Śiva” (namah. Śivāya) (Goudriaan and Hookyas 1971). There are important tantric Buddhist texts of Indonesia, such as the Kuñjarakarṇ adharmakathana, depicting Śaiva elements but in a Buddhist context (Nihom 1994: 119–41).

The Śaiva Siddhānta

The Śaiva Siddhānta forms the fundamental Śaiva system, providing the template for ritual and theology of all other Śaiva groups within the Path of Mantras. The tradition may have originated in Kashmir where it developed a sophisticated theology propagated by theologians such as Sadyojoti, Bhaṭṭa Nārāyanakaṇṭha and his son Bhaṭṭa Rāmakaṇṭha (ca. 950–1000 ad). It spread to the South where the Sanskrit scriptures are complemented with Tamil texts. Here the gnostic, ritual system becomes infused with an emotional devotionalism (bhakti) characteristic of southern Śaiva Siddhānta, through the Tamil poetry of the Śaiva saints or Nāyan ¯ārs. Ritual and devotion are accompanied here by theology in works by Bhojadeva (eleventh century) and AghoraŚiva (twelfth century) (Gengnagel 1996).

The Śaiva Siddhānta is dualistic (dvaita), maintaining a distinction between the self and Śiva and claiming that there are three distinct ontological categories, the Lord (Pati), the self (paśu), and the bond (pāśa). The Lord or Śiva in his form as five-faced SadāŚiva, performs the five acts (pañcaktya) of the creation, maintenance, and destruction of the universe, concealing himself and revealing himself to devotees (Tat Prak 1.7). The self or “beast” (paśu) is eternally distinct from Śiva and bound within the cosmos or “bond” (pāśa), in the cycle of birth and death by impurity (mala), action (karma), and the material substratum of the cosmos (māyā). Śiva performs the five acts for his play (krīḍā) and for the liberation of beings (Tat Prak 6.1). This liberation is attained with the grace (anugraha) of Śiva through initiation (dīkṣā) by a teacher in whose body Śiva has become established (ācāryamūrtistha) (Tat Prak 1.15; Hulin 1980: 115–17). Through initiation and the subsequent actions of daily an occasional rituals per- formed throughout his life, the impurity, which is a substance (dravya) covering the soul, is gradually removed and the aspirant finally achieves liberation a death through the descent of Śiva’s grace (śaktipāta). Once liberated, the soul does not merge with Śiva, because of their ontological distinction, but rather becomes equal to Śiva (Śivatulya), possessing all of Śiva’s powers of omniscience and omnipotence, but remaining eternally distinct (Sanderson 1995: 39–40; Davis 1991: 83–111).

There were two initiations which the Śaiva Siddhāntin would undergo, the lesser initiation into the cult ritual and scriptures (samaya-dīkṣā) and the liberating initiation (nirvāṇa-dīkṣā) ensuring the soul’s final release (Brunner 1975: 411–43). While initiation was open to all classes, it was not open to women who could only participate in Śaiva worship vicariously through the actions of their husbands and so at death rise up to Śiva’s abode (Sanderson 1995: 35–6). The daily ritual acts of the Śaiddhāntika were performed at the junctures of the day (dawn, midday, sunset) and involved the standard tantric ritual structure of the purification of the body through its symbolic destruction (bhūtaśuddhi), the creation of a divine body through imposing mantras upon it (nyāsa), mental or inner worship (antarayāga) in which offerings are made mentally to the deity, in this case SadāŚiva, and external worship in which external pūjā is performed. In the Śaiva Siddhānta, the form of SadāŚiva worshipped is consortless, possessing 5 faces with 3 eyes, 10 arms, holding a trident, and covered in a tiger skin (NeT 9. 19c–25), and in the ĪśānaŚivagurudeva-paddhati is represented as a beautiful sixteen year old youth (ISG 3. 14. 5d), although there is some variation in the objects held in his ten hands (ISG 3. 1–11). This ritual structure is standard, found in both primary scriptures and in ritual manuals such as ĪśānaŚivagurudeva’s and  Somaśambhu’s paddhatis (twelfth century) (SSP 1963, 1968, 1977, 1998; ISG 1988). The ritual structure in these texts is also found outside the Siddhānta, showing that some degree of ritual invariance occurs across the tantric traditions in spite of divergent theologies and deities (Sanderson 1988b: 660–704; Padoux 1990: 330–8; Brunner 1975: xxi–xxii; Flood 2002).

But while the ritual of the Śaiva Siddhāntin is very closely aligned with the normative, vedic rites of the Smārta brahmins (Sanderson 1995: 27–38) and the Saiddhāntika followed a straightforward path of fulfilling dharma along with performing ritual enjoined by his initiation, there was another path that could be followed. This was the path of power and the  enjoyment of pleasure in higher worlds that required a distinct consecration (sādhakābhiṣeka) after the nirvāṇadīkṣā (Brunner 1975). In contrast to one who simply desired liberation at death (mumukṣu), one desiring powers (bubhukṣu), technically referred to as a sādhaka, could take on supererogatory rituals. While this distinction between the mumukṣu and the bubhukṣu does not directly map on to the distinction between the Śaiva Siddhānta followers of the right and the non-Saiddhāntika groups of the left, because the sādhaka path was an option also within the Siddhānta, it is nevertheless the case that the non-Saiddhāntika traditions are more concerned with attaining power in this sense. Indeed, the obtaining of various forms of magical power through the practice of yoga and the performance of rituals for a desired end (kāmya) are  integral to the Tantras. The Svacchanda Tantra, for example, describes rituals for the  Sādhaka to attain the goals of causing the death of enemies (maraṇa), ruining his enemies (uccāṭana), the subjugation of women (vaśikaraṇa), the power of attraction (ākaṣaṇa), and the tranquilising of supernatural forces (śānti) (Sva TUd 9. 46. On these powers see Goudriaan 1978: 251–412) through the worship of a particular ferocious form of the god Svacchanda called Koṭarākṣa or Aghorahṛdaya (Sva TUd 9. 2). For example, the destruction of enemies and subjugation of a desired woman are achieved through establishing their names in a magical diagram (yantra), visualizing the enemy or desired person, and repeating certain mantras (Sva T 9. 65c-70). These kind of rites are an important part of the Tantras of the left often associated with the cremation ground traditions.

Non-Saiddhāntika Śaivism

In contrast to the orthoprax Śaiva Siddhānta, the second major division of the path of Mantras comprises the Bhairava Tantras and their various subdivisions. These texts are concerned with the Śaivas who worshipped a ferocious form of Śiva called Bhairava and which originated in ascetics groups living in cremation grounds. These groups are generally known as Kāpālikas, the “skull-men,” so called because, like the Lākula Pāśupata, they carried a skull-topped staff (khaṭvāṇga) and cranium begging bowl. Unlike the respectable brahmin householder of the Śaiva Siddhānta or Smārta tradition, the Kāpālika ascetic imitated his ferocious deity, covered himself in the ashes from the cremation ground, and propitiated his gods with the impure substances of blood, meat, alcohol, and sexual fluids from intercourse unconstrained by caste restrictions (Sanderson 1985: 200–2). He thereby flaunted impurity rules and went against vedic injunctions. His aim was power through evoking deities in the rites associated with his particular system, especially ferocious goddesses. In Hindu drama the Kāpālika was often lampooned, but his continued existence, although in small numbers, into the present in the form of the Aghorī ascetics of Banaras, bears witness to the power of this tradition (Parry 1994: 251–710).

Within this broad purview of Kāpālika Śaivism or the Śaivism of the left, a number of distinct traditions developed during the early medieval period, especially the Kaula, Krama, and Trika traditions, which form part of the Kula ensemble. These originated in cremation ground asceticism but became incorporated into householder life. As Sanderson has clearly demonstrated, while for the Krama and Kaula there was no conformity to vedic ritual purity, for the Trika there was some conformity for the householder, although transcendence of vedic orthopraxy remained at the tradition’s esoteric heart where transcendence is achieved through transgression (Sanderson 1995: 21–3). But in order to understand the distance of these Śaiva groups from the Siddhānta let us look at the Krama tradition first.

The Krama or “gradation” tradition existed in Kashmir where it is known about through the works of the author Abhinavgupta (ca. 975–1025 ad) and the anonymous  Mahānayaprakāśa (The Illumination of the Great Way) which can be dated between the late tenth and thirteenth centuries. In contrast to the Śaiva Siddhānta in which SadāŚiva is worshipped without a consort, in the Krama system the Goddess is worshipped without a male consort as a form of Kālī (Kālasaṃkarṣiṇī), surrounded by a retinue of 12 identical forms (Sanderson 1988: 197–8). Within the Krama system these forms are identified with emanations of pure consciousness and Abhinavagupta describes the process of the projection of pure consciousness into apparent manifestation as objects of knowledge and its contraction back into itself. The expansion (vikāsa) of the cosmos in manifestation is the contraction (saṃkoca) of consciousness, while conversely the contraction of manifestation becomes the expansion of consciousness (TS 29–30; see also Silburn 1975: 134–90, 193–4). The explanation of existence is to be found in these goddesses who are the impulse (udyoga) for experience, its manifestation (avabhāsana), the tasting of it (carvaṇa), and finally its destruction (vilāpana) (Sp Nir p. 6). In consonance with this idealism, the Krama denied the vedic distinction between purity and impurity in its rituals. Closely associated with the Krama are the Trika and Kaula traditions which merge at the higher levels of their initiatory hierarchy. The Trika is a particularly important form of Śaivism which came to dominate Kashmir, and is generally understood as “Kashmir” Śaivism. This form of Śaivism was absorbed into the householder life in Kashmir and developed a sophisticated theology that became known as the recognition school (pratyabhijñā). It was strongly influential on the Śaivism of the south and on the Goddess tradition of the Śrī Vidyā. The root text of the tradition is the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra, around which text Abhinavagupta centered his monumental exposition, the Tantrāloka (“Light on Tantra”), and two other works, the Tantrasāra (“Essence of Tantra”) and his commentary on the text (Mal Vart, Hanneder 1998). Abhinavagupta claimed that the text is the essence of the nondualist Tantras, although Sanderson has argued that the text itself is in fact dualistic in its orientation (Sanderson 1993: 291–306). Sanderson observes that Abhinavagupta’s basing his teaching on this text shows his desire to ground his idealism in a text that had wide circulation and appeal (Sanderson 1995: 22). This idealism comprised the central claim that all manifestation, including the self, is identical with the pure consciousness (saṃvit, caitanya) of Śiva and to therefore qualify the Saiddhāntika distinction between Lord, self and bond. Liberation is not becoming equal to Śiva, as the Siddhānta believed, but rather the realization of the nondistinction between self and Śiva or Kālī as absolute consciousness.

To show that this realization is the overall goal of practice (sādhana), Abhinavagupta adopted the Trika pantheon of three goddesses, Parā, Parāparā, and Aparā, from where the tradition derives its name, showing that they are all manifestations of consciousness. Consciousness is at the esoteric heart of the Trika which Abhinavagupta identified with the Krama Goddess Kālasaṃkarṣinī, and this rejection of dualism at a theological level is reflected in the rejection of the dualism of purity and impurity at a ritual level. Abhinavagupta distinguished between two ritual systems, the normative rite of the Trika householder (the tantra-prakriyā) and the optional esoteric rites which flaunted vedic purity rules (the kula-prakriyā). The former was enjoined on the Trika initiate and involved the worship and internalization of a ritual diagram in the form of a trident (triśūlābja-maṇḍala) whose prongs were identified with the three goddesses stemming from pure consciousness of the fourth goddess Kālasaṃkarṣinī (Sanderson 1988). This normative Trika rite followed the pattern of Saiddhāntika daily worship. But for the suitable person (adhikārin) the supererogatory rite of the kula-prakriyā was possible in order to achieve gradual perfection (siddhikrama) which would otherwise take thousands of years with floods of mantras (TA 29.1–3). This rite involved making offerings of meat, wine and sex (TA 29.97–8), ritually anathema to the orthoprax brahmin, with a partner or “messenger” (dūtī) who was regarded as the sādhaka’s “door” (dvāra) to realizing the wonder (camatkāra) of pure consciousness (TA 29.115b–117; Silburn 1988: 219; Flood 2002: 281–301). The sādhaka and his ritual partner thereby recapitulated the union (yāmala) of Śiva and his female power or Śakti and the pleasure of their union reflected the universal joy (jagadānanda) of liberation. The deities in these esoteric levels of the Trika and Krama demanded to be appeased by impure substances, such as offerings which included drops of the five substances, urine, semen, menstrual blood, faeces, and phlegm, along with other substances polluting to the brahmin such as garlic and onions (Sanderson 1995: 82). The Trika goddesses were so powerful that they must be placated with offerings of blood and alcohol, only after which could ordinary offerings of flowers and incense be made (TA 26.51c–53b from Sanderson 1995: 81). The secret Kula rites were available only to the Trika initiate who would also maintain outward, vedic responsibilities. Thus Abhinavagupta could say that the Trika initiate should be internally a Kaula (i.e. a practitioner of the secret rite), externally a Śaiva and vedic in his social practice (TAV 3: 27, 277–8 from Sanderson 1985: 205).

The Trika was very successful in Kashmir and its theologians succeeded in making their interpretation of the scriptures predominant. With Moslem invasion in the eleventh century the tradition became greatly eroded, but there is still a Śaiva householder tradition in  Kashmir (Madan 1987) and until recently a living representative of the Recognition school in Swami Lakshman Joo. But while the Trika and Krama schools were important within ascetic and intellectual circles, the majority of Śaivas followed less demanding forms of religion in the popular cults of Śiva.

Popular Śaivism

Alongside the Trika was the popular worship of Śiva in the Kashmir valley as continued to the present, and is closely connected with the cult of the Lord of the eye (Netranātha) found in the Netra Tantra. Both of these texts show concerns with special rites of protection, exorcism and rites for a desired goal (kāmya) such as the destruction of enemies or seduction of a desired person. While both the Netra and Svacchanda cults conformed to the ritual purity of the Śaiva Siddhānta, the latter contained the worship of impure forms of the deity. The majority of all Śaivas were probably followers of these cults rather than the more esoteric and demanding Trika and Krama (Sanderson 1995: 22–3). Although popular, these texts present quite complex systems of visualization (Brunner 1974) and their deities as emanations of Netranātha tend to be ferocious, a characteristic of the Kāpālika cults. The Netra Tantra, although the text itself has connections with royalty, also bears witness to popular possession and exorcism rites which were probably pervasive among lower social levels. Indeed, one of the main tasks of the orthoprax brahmin was to prevent possession. These “demons” (bhūta) and powerful female deities or “mothers” (mātṛ) enter through the “hole” (chidra) of the shadow of impure men and women whose behaviour is bad  (durācāra), and who have neglected their ritual obligations, so causing the evil eye (dṛṣipāta) to fall upon them (NT 19. 34, 45–6).

The classification of possessing beings in the sources is a fascinating example of the way in which cosmological taxonomies link in to Śaiva cosmological structures. The Netra Tantra and the Kashmiri Śaiva theologian Kemarāja’s commentary list several classes of being who possess and who must be appeased through different ritual offerings. These beings include a class of female deities called “mothers” (mātṛ), the “removers” (vināyakas), “demon-grabbers” (bhūtagraha), and others (NT 19. 55–80 and commentary), who are classified in a broader scheme depending upon their motives for possession. Thus there are those desirous of meat offerings (balikāma), those desirous of sexual pleasure (bhoktukāma) and those desiring to harm and kill (hantukāma) (N TUd 168). These malevolent powers are within the cosmic hierarchy assumed by the Śaiva systems. They exist within a family (kula) of powers with a deity at the head and are indeed, particles or fragments (aṃśa) of that higher being. Through appeasing the Lord of the family of the possessor, the possessor leaves the possessed person (NT 19.80b–81a). For example, if possessed by the Vināyakas, one worships their Lord Vighneśa (i.e. Gaṇeśa), offering him sweetmeat, meat, and plenty of alcohol (NT 19. 63–5). Or if possessed by the innumerable mothers (māt) who desire to do harm, then one should perform worship (prapūjayet) for the great mothers (mahāmāt), namely the famous seven or eight goddesses Brahmī, Maheśvarī and so on, from whose wombs they have originated (NT 19. 55–6). The lower beings in the hierarchy are emanations or particles of the higher. Once the higher being is appeased with offerings of flowers, rice, and the four kinds of meat from domestic and wild, aquatic and flying animals (N TUd 9. 59–61a, p. 166), then also are the lower manifestations.

While the Netra Tantra is from the north, similar concerns are shown in the Śaiva Siddhānta ritual treatise, probably composed in Kerala, the ĪśānaŚivagurudeva-addhati. This is the only Saiddhāntika text that I am aware of vacchandabhairava. His cult,  xpressed in the Svacchandabhairava Tantra, has that deals  with possession and exorcism and  contains a typology of supernatural beings, although the Kerala medical text the   antrasārasaṃgraha knows the same typology (TSS 12. 9–11). The text has eighteen  types (ISG 2. 42.1) of powers who can possess, although the typology is different from that of the northern text. ĪśānaŚivagurudeva does classify them broadly into those desiring sexual pleasure (ratikāma) and those wanting to kill (hantukāma). These beings are everywhere, in rivers, gardens, mountains, lakes, empty places, cremation grounds and in temples (ISG 2. 42. 3b–4). The text goes on the describe the kinds of people these beings attack, usually people on the social margins or in vulnerable situations; for example, children, those alone in the night, those whose wealth has been lost, those wishing to die, and those separated from their loved ones. But especially vulnerable are women when naked, who have bathed after menstruation, who are filled with passion, intoxicated, pregnant, or prostitutes (ISG 2. 42. 5b–8). That is, possession happens to those who are or are potentially outside of social control, as women’s sexuality was perceived to be by the male oriented Śaiva Brahmanism. Indeed, women’s sexuality was a threat to brahmanical order because, according to the Pāśupata Sūtra, it is beyond the control of the scriptures (Pāś Sū 9, comm. p. 66). The ĪśānaŚivagurudeva-paddhati also makes clear that possession is caste-related. Thus there are demons who specifically possess Brahmins (brahmarākṣasa), warriors (kṣatriyagraha), and so on (ISG 2. 42.26–9), and one of the symptoms of possession is somebody from one caste taking on the roles or pretending to perform the duties of another.

There are specific cures or rituals to enact a cure, prescribed in the text. For example, the exorcist should nail the tuft of the possessed person to a tree and the bhūta will then go (ISG 2. 43. 3) or he should make an ersatz body of the possessor and pierce it with sharp sticks (ISG 2. 43. 11–12), and so on. All of these rites involve the use of mantras, ritual diagrams, and offerings, such as the substitute blood (raktatoya) so common in Kerala rites (ISG. 2. 43. 28–30). The construction and use of mantras is a striking feature of this tradition and for exorcising especially powerful beings, the text gives distorted or garbled mantras (ISG 2. 43. 83). In dealing with local, possessing deities, the text also thereby express the concerns of those in lower social strata. Not only do the texts articulate the dominant ideology, they also express divergent voices which can be heard in the places dealing with possession and which can be read in terms of social protest (Lewis 1971).

The Śaiva cults of possession and exorcism are an important aspect of the tradition which show links between religion, healing and social comment. Possession is linked to the diagnosis of disease and the prescription of mantras; the mantravāda in Kerala, for example, is related to the Ayurveda. Indeed, it is these aspects of tradition which, while being local in origin, have traveled to other areas. The Śaiva exorcist deity Khaḍgarāvan. a, for example, in the text of the Kumāra Tantra, while originating in the north, became popular in Tibet and southeast Asia (Filliozat 1937). Where these topics are dealt with we move away from the ordered world of temple and domestic ritual, into a world of the lower levels of the supernatural order and so of lower levels of the social order. But although the ĪśānaŚivagurudeva-paddhati is concerned with possession and exorcism, most of the text is devoted to the more usual concerns of the Śaiva Siddhānta, its temple ritual and deities.

The Southern Śaiva Siddhānta

By the eleventh century Śaiva Siddhānta had faded in Kashmir but developed in  Tamilnadu, where it exists to the present time. Here in the south the dualist tradition merged with the Tamil devotionalism of the 63 Śaiva saints, the Nāyaṉars. Śaivism took on a distinctive flavor and the Sanskritic ritualism and theology of the northern tradition combined with Tamil poetry and devotion to produce a distinctively southern Śaiva religious imaginaire. This devotional poetry is still sung in temples throughout South India. It was in the south that Śaivism had royal patronage in the CōĪa dynasty (ca. 870–1280 ad), with the great Śaiva temples at Cidamabaram, Tanjvur, Darasuram, and Gangaikondacolapuram thriving, and the famous CōĪa bronzes developed. At Cidamabram, for example, wealthy donors’ inscriptions made in the temple walls show how the temple supported and legitimized royal power in the region (Younger 1995: 125–58). This power was not centralized as in a modern state, but pervaded through a segmented hierarchy, whose basic unit was the locality or ṭu (Stein 1980). But even here where Śaivism became aligned with an ideology of royal power and the king was thought to embody the power (śakti) of the Lord, Śaivism not only upheld vedic norms, but simultaneously undermined them in a devotionalism where the devotee transcends his birth to fall in love with his Lord. It is these two aspects of Śaiva Siddhānta in the south that I wish to briefly examine.

Tamilnadu developed an extensive temple culture in which large, regional temples became not only places of worship, but centers of political power and also great centers of learning. In Tamilnadu a distinctive sense of the sacredness of place and temple buildings develops (Shulman 1980). Perhaps this is nowhere seen more vividly than in the temple city of Cidambaram, the “sky of consciousness,” where Śiva is installed, not as in all other Śiva temples in the aniconic form of the liṅga, but as the dancing Śiva (Naṭarāja). Here he is installed along with a bronze icon of his consort Śivakāmasundarī, and in contrast to fixed icons, is paraded on festival occasions (Smith 1996: 10). Like other Śaiva temples, Cidambaram had a group of texts associated with it, extolling its virtues and narrating its mythology, namely the twelfth-century Cidambara Mahātmya along with four sthalaPurāṇas, a Tamil translation of the former text and Umāpati Śivācārya’s hymn of praise to Naṭarāja (Smith 1996: 8–9). Through these texts and the popular imagination, Cidambaram became incorporated into the sacred geography of Tamilnadu.

Although the Śaiva Siddhānta has been the predominant form of theology and ritual in southern Śaivism, and Cidambaram was an important center for this theology, the temple and its rites are not sectarian in a strict sense. Indeed, the community of Brahmins who perform six daily rituals to Naṭarāja claim that they follow vedic practice rather than tantric or āgamic. They thereby differentiate themselves from the hereditary priests at other Śaiva Siddhānta temples, the arccakaṇs, who follow the tantric or āgamaic rites of the texts we have discussed. The Dīkṣitas (Tamil Dīṭcitars), as they are called, are an endogamous community, who perform rites accompanied by Smārta Brahmins or Aiyars who are qualified to perform recitation of the Vedas (Younger 1995: 133–24). These rites are quite elaborate and involve the performance of pūjā to a crystal liṅga transported out from the inner sanctum of the bronze Naṭarāja to an outer porch where ablutions are made over it (abhiṣeka). It is then returned to the inner shrine and pūjā to the icon of Naṭarāja himself is performed, involving the offering of lights (dīpa), sound, and, at certain times of the day, food (naivedya). During one of the evening pūjās low caste singers, the Ōtuvārs, sing Tamil devotional hymns before the icon, as they do elsewhere throughout Tamilnadu.

While Tamil Śaivism is strongly associated with royal power and the upholding of orthoprax values, as we can see at Cidambaram, it simultaneously undermines those values through its emphasis on popular devotion. We can see this in the context when a caste of singers, the Ōtuvārs, sing hymns to the icon of Śiva and during the great festival when the icons of Nāṭarāja and his consort are paraded through the streets by Vēḷāḷas, outside of brahmanical control (Younger 1995: 60–3). In one sense festival transgression of formal boundaries can serve to reinforce those boundaries but in another sense the carnival disrupts hierarchy and in it we can hear voices otherwise occluded. Indeed, it is these other voices that are articulated in much of the devotional poetry of the Nāyaṉars, which partly developed against the oppression of the lower castes in the feudalism of the southern kingdoms.

The Nāyaṉars were often low caste themselves, composing love songs to Śiva in his icons at different temples. In the love or bhakti presented in these Tamil sources what is important is the direct, unmediated relationship between the devotee and the Lord in which the devotee can become mad (piccu, uṉmatta) with devotion. The texts of the Nāyaṉars are incorporated into the canon of the southern Śaiva Siddhānta, the Tirumurai, which also contains Śaiva Siddhānta Śāstras in Tamil (Zvelebil 1975; Peterson 1991: 52–9). Among the Nāyaṉars represented, the most famous is Māṇikkavācakar dated by tradition to the fifth century, who composed the “sacred verses” (Tiruvācakam) and whose 20-verse hymn, the Tiruvempāvai, is still recited in temples today. Māṇikkavācakar is the most revered saint of Tamil Śaivism. He was a court official in Madurai but retired to a life of meditation at Cidamabaram where, tradition maintains, he entered the inner sanctum never to return and merged with his god (Younger 1995: 194–201). Other texts are also recited by the Ōtuvārs, particularly the later Tēvāram (Peterson 1991). The following is an example from the NāyaṉAr Appar, who expresses a devotional sentiment specific to place, to the particular temple in which Śiva dwells:

When I think of the skullbearer

who wears a wreath of flowers in his hair,

the Lord with the white moon who likes to live

in Veṇṇis ancient city,

a flood of ambrosia

wells up in my tongue.

                                                        (Peterson 1991: 210)

This kind of devotionalism, so typical of the bhakti movement, spread from Tamilnadu to neighbouring Karnataka where the Liṅgayat or VīraŚaiva sect were founded by Basava (ca. 1106–67 ad), although there was some continuity with the Kālāmukha sect (see above). As in Tamilnadu this form of Śaivism is highly devotional and the bhakti movement instigated by Basava was against asceticism (as would have been practiced by the Kālāmukhas), against caste, and against formal, temple worship, preferring instead an immediate relationship between devotee and Lord symbolised by a small liṅga worn around the neck. As in Tamilnadu, beautiful devotional poetry was composed in Kanada to Śiva and his forms (Ramanujan 1973). The fusion of bhakti with tantric ritual as occurred in the Tamil Śaiva Siddhānta and Liṅgayats of Karnataka has provided a rich mix that gave expression to both a popular religiosity and to formal, brahmanical, tantric ritual. There is a fusion of the two in that the personal religion of bhakti becomes formalized and incorporated into temple ritual structure. Śaiva Siddhānta temple ritual found its way into Kerala where the Nambudri Brahmins, akin to the Tamil accakaṇs, developed a distinctive form of temple Tantrism based on a fifteenth century Tantrasumuccaya (“Compendium of Tantra”) by Cenasnambudri, although some families use the ĪśānaŚivagurudevapaddhati (Freeman 1997). This tradition is not strictly Śaiva, but rather a synthesis of traditions focusing on the temple worship of Śiva, Viṣṇu, Gaṇeśa, Devī, and low-caste regional goddesses.

In the Śaiva Siddhānta of the south and in the related Kerala Tantrism, we see traditions which formally align themselves with adherence to vedic worship and social mores (varṇāśrama-dharma) but which in practice perform worship according to the Tantras. The southern tradition absorbed lower-caste devotion and succeeded in all but eradicating the ascetical traditions of Buddhism and Jainism from the region and successfully aligned the tantric tradition with the vedic. This alignment is achieved in ritual where the Śaiva Siddhānta and Kerala traditions absorb vedic elements into the tantric ritual structure that then forms a common pattern in both temple and private cults. Having taken this survey of Śaiva history so far, it is to the patterns of Śaiva practice that we must now turn.

Śaiva Temple Ritual

While personal yoga and private ritual for both liberation and power must not be forgotten in Śaiva traditions, it is the ritual life of the temple that provides its wider social coherence. The Śaiva Siddhānta is the basic ritual and theological structure to which the other tantric traditions respond and build. Many of the Śaiva Siddhānta Tantras and manuals are concerned with temple ritual, such as the Rauravottarāgama, while others, such as the Mr. gendra, are not concerned with temples but rather with personal practice under the direction of a teacher. The Rauravottara describes various styles of temple, the rites for the installation of the temple, and for the installation of deities within it (pratiṣṭhā). The deities of the directions (diṇmūrti) are first established and then others may be installed in the vicinity of the central shrine, namely the gods Gaṇeśa, Dakṣiṇāmūrti, Viṣṇu, Brahmā, and Durgā. Finally the liṅga is installed as the central icon of Śiva. The liṅga is regarded as the highest, undifferentiated (niṣkala) form of Śiva in contrast to the anthropomorphic form which is differentiated (sakala). The liṅga with a face or faces is a mixture of both (sakalaniṣkala) (Davis 1991: 121–2).

There are different kinds of liṅga for different kinds of temple, and an elaborate typology is offered in the Rauravottara (Rau A ch. 15). Abhinavagupta offers an esoteric interpretation of the liṅga as being unmanifest where it is equated with absolute consciousness or the “supreme heart of tranquility” (viśrāntihdayamparam), manifest-unmanifest (vyaktāvyakta) when identified with the body, and manifest (vyakta) as an outer symbol (TA 5 117a). It is with the outer symbol and its worship that the Śaiva Siddhāna is mainly concerned. Having made the icon of wood, metal or stone, the eyes are opened and the icon is purified by being  immersed in water, the altar (vedikā) constructed, firepits (kuṇḍa) placed around it, the deity invoked in the icon, the icon bathed (abhiśeka), priests honored and brahmins fed (Bhatt 1982: cxii). Daily rites are thereafter performed involving bathing the icon (abhiṣeka), its decoration, the offering of vegetarian food (naivedya) to the accompaniment of ringing bells, the vision (darśana) of the deity for devotees, and the offering of light (dīpa).

Daily domestic rites of the Śaiva Siddhānta initiate involve a similar pattern of making offering to a liṅga. This will involve the tantric pattern of the devotee bathing, purifying the body through its symbolic destruction (bhūtaśuddhi), re-creating a divine body through the imposition of mantras (nyāsa), mental worship (antara/mānasa-yāga), followed by external worship (bahya-yāga) with offerings into the fire pit (Davis 1991: 51–60; 148–62. For a complete account of daily ritual see SSP vol. 1, 1963 and Brunner-Lachaux’s introduction). As we have seen, the initiate into the tantric systems of the “left,” while conforming to orthodox society, after his initiation undertook worship of the trident maṇḍala in his imagination (Sanderson 1985) and made offerings of impure substances in the Kaula system (kula prakriyā). But even within the Śaiva Siddhānta there are varying levels of commitment and expectation. The texts speak of four kinds of devotee: the samyin who has simply undergone the basic initiation or samāya dīkṣā discussed above; the putraka, who has also undergone the nirvāṇa-dīkṣā; the ācārya who can perform initiations and has undergone a special consecration called the ācāryābhiṣeka; and the sādhaka who desires to follow the path of power and has undergone the sādhakābhiṣeka (see Brunner 1975). The Mataṇgapārameśvarāgama says that the samayin should serve his teacher in order to eventually be granted liberation, the putraka should be detached with eveness of behavior, and serve his teacher, his god, and the sacred fire, while the sādhaka is an ascetic (tapasvin) whose consciousness is one-pointed in his repetition of mantra to attain his goal. The ācārya must teach and so cannot spend too much time on his practice of repetition and meditation (Mat.Caryāpāda 4. 2–17). Although this is a schematic structure, it does have some bearing on the social world, although the sādhaka, as Brunner has observed, is a “personnage oubliée” in modern India. Private practice is nevertheless still important on the Śaiva path and not only ritual, but yoga and meditation are a part of this.

Private Yoga

While it is often not meaningful to draw a hard distinction between private ritual and yoga, there are nevertheless practices beyond the basic daily ritual structure that can be undertaken. Many dualistic Tantras have sections on yoga (the yogapāda), often virtually identical to the yoga of Patañjali, and some Śaiva Siddhānta texts are devoted to yoga, such as Jñānaprakāśa’s Śivayogaratna (Michaël l 1975). But in nondualistic Śaivism there is a particular emphasis on various kinds of yoga practice beyond the ritual obligations of the initiate. These practices are categorized into four methods or ways (upāya): the “non-means” or the pathless path (anupāya), the divine means (śaṃbhāvopāya), the way of energy (śāktopāya), and the individual means (āṇavopāya) (see Dyczkowski 1987: 163–218). This structure, the oldest description of which is in the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra where they are called “immersions” or “possessions” (samāveśa) (MVT 2.21–3), was used by the monistic Śaivas Abhinavagupta and Kṣemarāja as a lens through which to view the earlier tradition. Thus Kṣemarāja uses the scheme as a way of organizing the Śiva Sūtras. The classification of the three upāyas relates to the three perceived human and divine faculties of desire or will (icchā), cognition (jñāna), and action (krīyā). Thus the śaṃbhāvopāya is linked to desire or will as the sudden upsurge of emotion and instinct that shatters thought construction, thereby enabling the adept to perceive the nonduality of consciousness. This can be achieved through extreme situations of fear or through inducing pain by scratching the arm with a sharp instrument (VB 93), through the arising of sexual desire (VB 41, 73) and so on. Abhinavagupta even says that thought-shattering energy (vīrya) can arise in the heart upon seeing a loved one unexpectedly (PTV p. 16). In fact any emotional situation is potentially transformative.

The śāktopāya, in contrast to the śāmbhava, which is without thought construction (nirvikalpa), is achieved by using the faculty of cognition. By focusing on a pure thought construction (śuddhavikalpa) that corresponds to a true state of affairs, such as “I am Śiva” or “I am omnipresent” (VB 104), the mind is gradually purified until the truth of the claim is existentially realized.

In contrast to the śāktopāya which develops a pure thought unsupported by any practices external to it, the āṇavopāya develops thought supported by external phenomena, namely mantra, meditation on the body, and external objects. The āṇavopāya also includes yoga practices. Mālinīvijayottara Tantra defines the individual means as being supported by the breath, postures, visualization, the rotation of syllables (varṇa) in the breath, and focusing on an external place. Abhinavagupta says this external place refers to the body, breath, and external ritual objects such as the ritual area, the ritual diagram (maṇḍala), the chalice for offerings (pātra), the rosary, and flowers (MVT 2.21; TS p. 45). All external ritual, mantra practice and meditation on the breath are supports of consciousness and means of purifying it to realize the nondistinction between the self and Śiva for the monistic Śaiva. Within the āṇavopāya is also the practice of Kuṇḍalinī yoga. The Goddess Kuṇḍalinī is the power (śakti) dwelling within the body at the base of a central channel thought to pervade it, who, once awakened, rises up through this vertical axis of power to the crown of the head, whereupon the yogi awakens to the truth of his identity with Śiva (Silburn 1988). As she rises, she pierces various centers of power (cakra) located along the body’s axis. These centers became codified as six or seven (including the thousand-petaled lotus at the crown) and pervade later Hinduism although there is a fluidity in the earlier texts; the system of six being probably originally peculiar to a tradition focused on the goddess Kubjikā (Sanderson 1985: 164). The āṇavopāya therefore develops the faculty of action (kriyā) rather than cognition or will.

While the Mālinīvijayottara says that the ways are identical as to goal but differ as to method (MVT 2.25a), Abhinavagupta and his commentator Jayaratha claim that the upāyas form a graded hierarchy (TA 13. 157, upāyayogakramatā), with the individual means at the bottom and the nonmeans at the top. But Abhinavagupta also observes elsewhere that because of his extreme monism, there cannot really be any hierarchical gradation; any hierarchy (uttaratva) contains the delusion of dualism (PTV p. 8). This idea is reflected in the last method, which is no method. The anupāya is the realization of the nonduality of self and Śiva that is a sudden realization, because the path and the goal are the same. This realization without any method (other than the guru who is not a method) is understood as an intense descent of power (śaktipāta) and realization that consciousness was never bound. From this nondual perspective, the very idea of a path, which implies a journey from one place to another, is erroneous. Even the idea of a descent of power is problematic in this context. Abhinavagupta writes in an eloquent passage:

The supreme Lord is the essence of his own light and our own self. By what means then is he to be achieved? Due to his own light he cannot be known. Due to his eternity his essence cannot be attained. Due to the non-existence of a covering, there cannot be the cessation of a covering (of consciousness). What then is the means? If it is distinct then it cannot be accomplished. Therefore the totality is a single reality of consciousness only, undivided by time, unlimited by space, unclouded by constraints, unobstructed by forms, unsignified by word, and unmanifested by means of knowledge. (TS pp. 8–9)

Because there is only the reality of pure consciousness in this tradition, a practice cannot lead to a goal that implies a distinction between self and object of attainment. The web of paths (upāyajāla) cannot illumine Śiva (TS p. 9). The monistic Śaivism of Kashmir regarded this as its highest truth. If there is one reality only, there can be no distinction between knower (vedaka) and object of knowledge (vedya) and nothing which is impure (SSV p. 8). Abhinavagupta is certainly aware of this problematic. If the lord is equidistant from all points does it make sense to also claim that he crowns a hierarchy? But while the tradition claimed this nondual awareness to be the supreme realization, the tradition nevertheless cultivated an elaborate ritual structure and sought to defeat its opponents, the dualist Saiddhāntikas and the Buddhists, in theology.

Śaiva Theology

Śaivism developed a sophisticated theology articulated in commentaries on its sacred texts. The Śaiva Siddhānta’s most important theologians in its early years were Sadyojoti (eighth century), Bhaṭṭa Rāmakaṇṭha (ca. 950–1000 ad), and Bhojadeva (eleventh century). These theologians through their textual hermeneutics argued for a dualism regarding the self and Lord which the nondualist theologians of the Pratyabhijñā attempted to refute. There was rigorous debate between these two theologies, although the monists succeeded in supplanting the Siddhānta in Kashmir. Debate focused particularly on two issues: the first was the nature of the self, the second was the nature of matter, both of which had consequences for practice.

For the Saiddhāntikas the self is quite distinct from the Lord and from matter. The self is in fact trapped or bound by matter from which it must break free through its own efforts, but ultimately through the grace of Śiva, whereupon it will achieve equality with him and not be reborn again. In his Nareśvaraparīkṣa Sadyojoti argues against his theological rivals to establish this position regarding the self. The self is the knower and actor who experiences the fruits of his action (Nar 1.2) and is constituted by cognition itself. The self knows sense objects (he uses the typical Sanskrit expression “such as blue and so on”) as distinct, and does not perceive an undifferentiated field (Nar 1.13). He thereby argues against the monists from a pragmatic perspective of common experience as well as against the Buddhist view that there is no self but only a series of momentary perceptions. Sadyojoti also goes on the argue, against the Mīṃāmsā, for the authorship of the Veda by the Lord, arguing that the Veda is a sound which is a product and so must be produced from one whose knowledge transcends the human for it takes effort for us to understand it (Nar 3.76). This view of the self as distinct is constantly refuted by the nondualists of the Pratyabhijñā who systematically present a nondual interpretation of sacred scripture and argue their position in independent treatises. Perhaps the best introduction to this theology is Kṣemarāja’s Pratyabhijṇāhdaya (“the Essence” or “Heart of Recognition”), a commentary on his own verses arguing against other theological positions.

Apart from the nature of the self and its relation to the divine, the second major area of disagreement between the Śaiva Siddhānta and the Pratyabhijṇāwas over the status of matter or rather the substrate of matter, māyā. Both regard māyā as that which constitutes the cosmos. In the higher levels or pure creation of the cosmic hierarchy, comprising a number of levels or tattvas, it is called, by the Saiddhāntikas, mahāmāyā or the “drop” (bindu), while in the lower or impure creation it is called māyā. For the Siddhānta māyā is an eternal substance (dravya) as real as the self and the Lord, upon whom the Lord acts through his regent Ananta and other higher beings (the Vidyeśvaras) to create the cosmos. Māyā is thus the material cause of the universe (upadānakāraṇa) whereas Śiva is only the efficient cause (nimittakāraṇa). For the Pratyabhijṇā, by contrast, māyā is not a substance, but is a manifestation of pure consciousness or is, indeed, identical with pure consciousness. The consequences of these doctrines were the theological justification of their practices. For the Siddhānta liberation is the removal of impure substance from the self which, because it is a substance, can only be done through action (i.e. ritual action). For the Pratyabhijṇā liberation is not the removal of substance but the recognition of the self ’s identity with the absolute, and so is the highest knowledge and not action (see Sanderson 1992: 282–7).

The methods whereby these doctrines were established were generally through commentary on sacred texts. The doctrinal neutrality of some texts was such that they lent themselves to both dualistic and monistic interpretations. Much of the language of these texts is in bad Sanskrit and the commentators, such as Kṣemarāja on the Svacchanda Tantra and Bhaṭṭa Rāmakaṇṭha on the Kiranṇa Tantra,excused this “language of the Lord” (aiśa) as a kind of disruption of language due its sacredness (Goodall 1998: lxv–lxxi). Through their commentaries the Śaiva theologians clarified the doctines of their own schools by drawing upon a full apparatus of techniques open to Indian philosophical analysis. For example, as Sanderson and Kahrs have shown, Abhinavagupta and Kṣemarāja use a method called nirvacana, an interpretive device whereby the name of a thing is analysed into its component parts to reveal its true nature (Sanderson 1995: 59–65). Through this method Kṣemarāja inteprets the names of deities and their mantras in an esoteric sense, thereby linking language and metaphysics. For example, Kahrs cites Kṣemarāja’s analysis of the term “Bhairava” in his commentary on the Svacchanda Tantra to embrace a variety of meanings, such as he who is the inner nature of yogins, who destroys transmigratory existence and so on. In this way monistic doctrines could be injected into the text if they were not there already.


This survey of Śaiva history, practice and doctrine, shows the diversity of the traditions. Yet it also shows a distinctive religious imaginaire that sets Śaivism apart from other Indic traditions. I have focused on what I would regard as the most important developments, but this treatment is not, of course, exhaustive or even comprehensive. For example, there is a fascinating history of groups of yogis known as Nāths or Siddhas which has been strongly influenced by Śaivism and a rich history of Śaiva tradition in Southeast Asia (see White 1996). Until the last thirty years or so Śaivism was often only given cursory treatment in the

history of Indic religions. This was partly due to scholarly ignorance of these traditions and partly due to not taking seriously their major sources, namely the Tantras. The situation has changed with groups of scholars working on this material, particularly in Pondichery, Oxford, Paris, and Rome. In Pondichery the Centre d’Indologie has continued to edit and publish Tantras of the Śaiva Siddhānta and scholarly interest in Śaivism exists at many major centers of learning. The study of Śaivism has contributed to our wider understanding of Hindu traditions in showing the importance of nonvedic, tantric tradition and the incoherence of the term “Hinduism” in a historical context.

As regards Śaivism itself, the Śaiva Siddhānta still provides the ritual template of temple worship in the South and is a form of Śaivism that has come to America in a new form as the Church of the Śaiva Siddhānta. The nondualistic Śaiva traditions have been eroded over time, although the Pratyabhijñā still has some followers and has become a tradition in the west, where it has influenced a number of contemporary groups, particularly Siddha Yoga and the Nityananda Institute of Swami Cetanananda. The image of Śiva is now deeply embedded as a cross-cultural icon. It remains to be seen the extent to which traditional forms of Śaivism will be eroded in India and to what extent it will be transformed in the global, new religious context.

Abbreviations and Primary Texts

ISG ĪśānaŚivagurudevapaddhati, ed. Ganapati Sastri, 4 vols. Trivandrum Sanskrit Series, 1920–5.

Kir T Bhaṭṭa Rāmakaṇṭha’s Commentary of the Kiraṇatantra, ed. D. Goodall, vol. 1: chs. 1–6. Pondichery: École Française d’Extrême Orient, 1998.

KSTS Kashmir Series of Texts and Studies.

Kur P Kūrma Purāṇa, Sri Ahibhusan Bhattacharya et al. (eds. and trans.). Varanasi: All India Kashi Raj Trust, 1972.

Mat Mataṇgapārameśvarāgama (Kriyāpāda, Yogapāda et Caryāpāda) avec le commentaire

de Bhaṭṭa Rāmakaṇṭha. Pondichery: Institut Français d’Indologie, 1982.

MVT Mālinīvijayottara Tantra, ed. M. S. Kaul (Srinagar: KSTS 37, 1922).

MVTvart Mālinīvijavārtikā, ed. M. S. Kaul. Srinagar: KSTS 31, 1921. Ed. with an English trans. by J. Hanneder, Abhinavagupta’s Philosophy of Revelation: An Edition and Annotated Translation of Mālinīślokavārttika I, 1–399. Groningen Oriental Series, 1999.

Nar Nareśvaraparīkṣa of Sadyojoti with Commentary by Ramakantha, ed. M. K. Shastri. Srinagar:  KSTS 45, 1926.

NT Netra Tantra. See N TUd

N TUd Netratantram: Srimatksemarajaviracitodyotakhyavyakhyopetam, ed. Vrajavallabha Dviveda. Delhi: Parimala Publications, 1995.

Pāṇ Astadhyayi of Panini, Katre, Sumitra M. (trans.). Delhi: MLBD, 1989.

Pāś Sū Pāśupata-Sūtras with Pañcārthabhāṣya of Kaundinya, ed. R. A. Sastri. Trivandrum Sanskrit Series, 143, 1940.

PH Pratyabhijñāhdaya by Kṣemarāja, ed. J. C. Chatterji. Srinagar: KSTS 3, 1911.

PTV Pararātriṃśikāvivarana by Abhinavagupta, ed. M. S. Kaul. Srinagar: KSTS 18, 1918.

Rau A Rauravottarāgama, ed. N. R. Bhatt. Pondichery: Institut Français d’Indologie, 1983.

Span dīp The Spandapradīpikā, a Commentary on the Spandakārikā by Utpalācārya, ed.

Sp Nir Spandanirṇaya by Kṣemarāja, ed. and trans. M. S. Kaul. Srinagar: KSTS, 42, 1925.

SSP Somaśambhupaddhati, ed. and trans. H. Brunner-Lachaux, 4 vols. Pondichery: Institut Français d’Indologie, 1963, 1968, 1977, 1998.

SSV Śivasūtravimarśinī by Kṣemarāja, ed. J. C. Chatterjee. New Delhi: Biblioteca Orientalia, 1990 [1911].

Sva T Svacchandabhairava Tantra with uddyota by Kṣemarāja, 4 vols. Delhi: Sanskrit Gian Sansthan, 1986.

Sva TUd Svacchanda Tantra Uddyota

SVT Śvetāsvataropaniṣad, trans. P. Olivelle, Upaniṣads. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.

TA Tantrāloka by Abhinavagupta, eds. R. C. Dwivedi and N. Rastogi, 8 vols. Delhi: MLBD, 1987. French trans. and commentary on chs. 1–5 by L. Silburn and A. Padoux Abhinavagupta – La Lumière sur les Tantras: chapitres 1 à 5 du Tantrāloka. Publications de l’Institut de Civilisation Indienne Fasc. 66. Paris: de Boccard, 1998.

Tat Prak Tattvaprakāśa by Bhojadeva with tātparyadīpikā by Śrīkumāra. Trivandrum Sanskrit Series, 68, 1920.

TS Tantrasāra by Abhinavagupta, ed. M. M. R. Sastri. Delhi: Bani Prakashan, 1982.

TSS Tantrasārasaṃ graha by Nārāyaṇa with commentary, ed. M. Duraiswami Aiyangar. Madras: Government Oriental Library, 1950.

VB Vijñānabhairava Tantra with commentaries of Kṣemarāja and Śivopādhyāya, ed. M. R. Sastri. Srinagar: KSTS 8, 1918.

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