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Books > Tantra > Bhatta Ramakantha’s Commentary On The Kiranatantra (Volume I: Chapter 1-6)
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Bhatta Ramakantha’s Commentary On The Kiranatantra (Volume I: Chapter 1-6)
Bhatta Ramakantha’s Commentary On The Kiranatantra (Volume I: Chapter 1-6)
Description
Preface

Though firmly convinced myself of the interest of this text, it is pleas-;:;t to be assured that an edition of it will meet some need, and so I as encouraged by rereading, while still in the throes of proof-reading and compiling the index, the following envoi to Brunner’s analysis of the kirana (1965:327):

Telle est la teneur de ce petit ouvrage. II fourmille
d’indications precieuses mais si désesperement laconiques
qu`elles posent plus de problemes qu’elles n’en résolvent.
Puisque nous ne pouvons songer at retrouver les cinquante mil-lions
de sloka du texte primitif énonce par Siva, et dont celui-cine
serait qu’un resumé tres condense, il nous reste d’espoir de
voir un jour surgir de la nuit un commentaire du Kirana, qui
nous aiderait at lire ce
rayon de lumiere

The Last thirty years have seen a spate of publications concerning them- selves with the Saiva Siddhanta, but this area of studies can still scarcely be called fashionable: indeed the majority of the demonstrably early tantras if the school have not been published. That the early literature is still largely uncharted means that a reader can enjoy the excitement of the discovery of its development at first hand, not mediated through unsatisfactory works} Moreover it is not only in the discovery of the scripture that this pioneering thrill can be enjoyed; this book concerns the thought of one of the most influential thinkers of the Saiva Siddhanta. Ramakantha II shaped and systematized many of its ideas in difficult, but when grasped, satisfyingly rigorous works of sastra. Although his inter-pretations of doctrine were widely adopted by later writers of the Saiva Siddhanta, and although his vigorous and elegant Sanskrit prose works show him to have been unusually learned and clear—thinking, even by the standards of his (exceptional) milieu, there are, to my knowledge, no translations into European languages or studies of his works (with the one exception of the twenty—five verse Nadakarika).

Furthermore there is no tradition of teaching reaching to modern times that has transmitted and expounded the doctrines of the classical Saiva Siddhanta formulated by Ramakantha II. The Tamil—speaking South is the only area of India in which the Saiva Siddhanta still thrives, and here Ramakantha II’s influence appears gradually to have waned. South Indian thinkers fell under two powerful theological influences that have altered fundamentally the character of the Saiva Siddhanta: that of devotional-ism and that of Vedantic Advaita. Neo—Saiddhantik as continued to quote Ramakantha’s ingenious interpretations of particular passages and points of doctrine (such as the concept of karmasamya or iruvinaioppu); but they no longer upheld his tenets on such fundamental issues as the nature of liberation or the workings and implications of initiation. Six centuries after Ramakantha II one thinker, Salivatinivasi Janaprakasaguru of Sri Lanka, attempted to reinstate much of the old Saiddhantika theology of the Kashmirians; but he had to battle hard to present this as consistent with a body of more recent acknowledged scriptures that had since arisen to justify the new theology, and he came to be savagely attacked, in particular for defending the old doctrine (now heresy) that the liberated soul became identical to—while remaining separate from (as opposed to identical with and so merged in)—Siva (sivasamyavada).

Largely forgotten in Kashmir, Ramakantha’s works gradually ceased to be copied in South India too. Thus of the once much quoted Kirana-Vrtti only four lacunose manuscripts appear to survive and there is, as far as I am aware, no modern Saiddhantika scholar well-versed in its teachings, What follows by way of an edition and translation of Bhatta Ramakantha II’s Kiranavrtti is therefore by no means the final word on*3.2 text. It is not only incomplete (only six out of the twelve chapters appear here); it is full of difficulties that may only be resolved (if at all) after further reflection and a great deal more reading, not only of the other works of Bhatta Ramakantha II, of his Kashmirian contemporaries and of other Saiddhantikas, but also of the extant early Siddhantas, so few: of which are published.

My introduction is long, but it has much hitherto unpublished information to present that helps to set the Kirana and the Kiranavrtti in a con-' etc; The introduction first presents new evidence that I have come across;; Sgt Ramakantha II’s spiritual lineage (a solitary manuscript of the workif 3 previously unknown disciple), about his oeuvre (Ramakantha II’s extent works are here arranged in a plausible order of composition, and references to lost works are discussed), about where and when he wrote, and about an influential theological innovation of his expounded in the Kiranavrtti (his resolution of the problem of two conflicting doctrines concerning divine grace). The introduction next attempts to establish which among the many Siddhantas surviving can be proved to be early. I airing the limits of the early canon is necessary because fundamental Changes within the Saiva Siddhanta evidently did not just effect post-scriptural exegetes: tantras of the Saiva Siddhanta were modified, added to or wholly rewritten, often retaining the names of ancient works. After drawing up the small list of extant Siddhantas (most of them as yet unpublished ) that can be proved to predate Ramakantha II, the introduction discusses certain features of their structure, language, and doctrine, with view to attempting a relative chronology of the early canon and locating the Kirsana within it. There follow descriptions of the sources used and methods followed for the constitution of the text.

An edition and translation of the first three out of the six chapters of the Kiranavrtti here presented was submitted as a doctoral thesis at the University of Oxford in November 1995. That thesis, from which this book has expanded, could not have been achieved without an enormous amount of help, Before all others I should like to thank four people in particular: my supervisor, Professor Alexis Sanderson, Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at All Souls College, Oxford, who has been unfailingly generous both with his scant time and with his vast knowledge; Dr. Harunaga Isaacson, who from start to finish has helped and encourage din every way possible and been a tireless proof-reader (though few are marked, his corrections—of major as well as minor flaws—pervade every part of the book); Dr. Jurgen Hanneder, my friend and fellow student of Saivism, whose stimulating company I enormously enjoyed while he was in England editing the Malinivijayavartitka; and Dr. Francois Grimal of the Ecole francaise d’Extreme—Orient, for his remarkable generosity and kindness to me over the last years and because he suggested to me that I study as an allocataire de recherché at the French Institute of Pondicherry, which, apart from its other merits, houses the greatest collection of Saiddhantika manuscripts in the world.

For their kind and generous help in different ways I thank: Professor Albrecht Wezler of the University of Hamburg, who supported this en-terprise and generously placed microfilms of numerous manuscripts at my disposal; Professor Ramanuja Tatacarya; Dr. Anjaneya Sarma, with whom I had a number of enlightening discussions of tricky points of sastra; Dr. S.A.S, Sarma, Mr. T. Ganesan, Mr. Subrahmaniam, Mr. Sivaraja Diksitar. and other staff at the Centre of Indology of the Ecole francaised’ Extreme—Orient and at the French Institute of Pondicherry; Dr. Maria Pia Vivanti, the most recent editor of the Kirana, who encouraged me and procured for me a photocopy of the rare first edition of the Kirana; Dr. Helene Brunner, who kindly pointed out a number of errors when I sent her a copy of the thesis, and with whom I have since enjoyed corresponding; Professor Rafaelle Torella of the University of Rome (La Sapienza) and Dr. Paul Dundas of the University of Edinburgh, who examined the thesis and made many helpful suggestions for improvement; Dr. Gillian Evison and the staff of the Indian Institute Library in Oxford; Dr. Jorg Gengnagel; Dr. Mary Heimann; Dr. Jim Benson; Somdev Vasudeva; Professor S. A. Srinivasan of the University of Hamburg; Professor Richard Gombrich, Boden Professor of Sanskrit at the University of Oxford; Professor Hans Bakker of the University of Groningen Rob Adriaensen Professor Michael Hahn of the University of Marburg Dr. Heeraman Tiwari Alex Watson Isabelle Onains Dr. Godabarisha Mishra of the University of Madras Diwakar Acharya of the University of Kathmandu Ratnadeep Datta my family and other friends.

My doctoral studies at Wolfson college in Oxford (1992-95) were financed by a British Academy Award before which I had the great privilege of spending two less focused years (1990-92) attending lectures on a wide variety of ideological subjects at the University of Hamburg as a Hanseatic Scholar of the Stiftung Freiherr von Stein. An allocation de recherché fromt eh French institute of Pondichery as enabled me to prepare this book for publication.

Contents

Prefaceiii
Introduction ix
Bhatta Ramakantha II’s Lineage ix
Bhatta Ramakantha II’s Date xii
Bhatta Ramakantha II’s Works xviii
Bhatta Ramakantha II’s style xxviii
The Kiranavrt xxx
The Extent of the Kiranavrtti xxxii
Why Ramakantha wrote a commentary on the Kirana xxxii
The Krianatantra and its place among other Siddhantas xxxvi
Is a Relative Chronology Possible xlvii
Cross References xlviii
Discrepant lists of the Principles of the Universe li
Doctrinal oddities lvi
The Structure of the Tantras lviii
Aisa Language lxv
The Lists of Twenty eight Siddhantas lxxi
An Assessment of the Internal evidence lxxiii
External evidence for the Kiranatantra’s Date lxxiv
Sources lxxix
The Manuscripts of Bhatta Ramakantha II’s Kiranavrtti lxxix
The Manuscripts of the Tantra lxxxiv
Previous editions of the Tantra ci
Manuscripts of the Tantra not consulted cii
Other Commentaries on the Krianatantra civ
Editorial Policies cxi
A Stemma of the Manuscripts of the Kiranavrtti cxi
The Relationships between the Manuscripts of the Tantra cxvi
Conventions in the Apparatus cxxi
Placing the Verses in the Text of the Commentary cxxiv
Sanskrit Text 1
Chapter One 1
Chapter Two 33
Chapter three 61
Chapter Four 91
Chapter five 111
Chapter six 137
Translation 159
Chapter One 161
Chapter Two 227
Chapter three 261
Chapter Four 301
Chapter five 325
Chapter six 357
Appendix I. Pratikas for the Tantra 395
Appendix II. Colophons in the Manuscripts of the Tantra 399
Appendix III. The Twenty eight Siddhantas 402
Works Consulted 419
Index of Padas in the Tantra 437
Index of Quotation in the Vrtti 451
General Index 455

Bhatta Ramakantha’s Commentary On The Kiranatantra (Volume I: Chapter 1-6)

Item Code:
NAB905
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
1988
ISBN:
00738352
Language:
Sanskrit Text with English Translation
Size:
10.0 inch X 7.0 inch
Pages:
723
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 1.35 Kg
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Preface

Though firmly convinced myself of the interest of this text, it is pleas-;:;t to be assured that an edition of it will meet some need, and so I as encouraged by rereading, while still in the throes of proof-reading and compiling the index, the following envoi to Brunner’s analysis of the kirana (1965:327):

Telle est la teneur de ce petit ouvrage. II fourmille
d’indications precieuses mais si désesperement laconiques
qu`elles posent plus de problemes qu’elles n’en résolvent.
Puisque nous ne pouvons songer at retrouver les cinquante mil-lions
de sloka du texte primitif énonce par Siva, et dont celui-cine
serait qu’un resumé tres condense, il nous reste d’espoir de
voir un jour surgir de la nuit un commentaire du Kirana, qui
nous aiderait at lire ce
rayon de lumiere

The Last thirty years have seen a spate of publications concerning them- selves with the Saiva Siddhanta, but this area of studies can still scarcely be called fashionable: indeed the majority of the demonstrably early tantras if the school have not been published. That the early literature is still largely uncharted means that a reader can enjoy the excitement of the discovery of its development at first hand, not mediated through unsatisfactory works} Moreover it is not only in the discovery of the scripture that this pioneering thrill can be enjoyed; this book concerns the thought of one of the most influential thinkers of the Saiva Siddhanta. Ramakantha II shaped and systematized many of its ideas in difficult, but when grasped, satisfyingly rigorous works of sastra. Although his inter-pretations of doctrine were widely adopted by later writers of the Saiva Siddhanta, and although his vigorous and elegant Sanskrit prose works show him to have been unusually learned and clear—thinking, even by the standards of his (exceptional) milieu, there are, to my knowledge, no translations into European languages or studies of his works (with the one exception of the twenty—five verse Nadakarika).

Furthermore there is no tradition of teaching reaching to modern times that has transmitted and expounded the doctrines of the classical Saiva Siddhanta formulated by Ramakantha II. The Tamil—speaking South is the only area of India in which the Saiva Siddhanta still thrives, and here Ramakantha II’s influence appears gradually to have waned. South Indian thinkers fell under two powerful theological influences that have altered fundamentally the character of the Saiva Siddhanta: that of devotional-ism and that of Vedantic Advaita. Neo—Saiddhantik as continued to quote Ramakantha’s ingenious interpretations of particular passages and points of doctrine (such as the concept of karmasamya or iruvinaioppu); but they no longer upheld his tenets on such fundamental issues as the nature of liberation or the workings and implications of initiation. Six centuries after Ramakantha II one thinker, Salivatinivasi Janaprakasaguru of Sri Lanka, attempted to reinstate much of the old Saiddhantika theology of the Kashmirians; but he had to battle hard to present this as consistent with a body of more recent acknowledged scriptures that had since arisen to justify the new theology, and he came to be savagely attacked, in particular for defending the old doctrine (now heresy) that the liberated soul became identical to—while remaining separate from (as opposed to identical with and so merged in)—Siva (sivasamyavada).

Largely forgotten in Kashmir, Ramakantha’s works gradually ceased to be copied in South India too. Thus of the once much quoted Kirana-Vrtti only four lacunose manuscripts appear to survive and there is, as far as I am aware, no modern Saiddhantika scholar well-versed in its teachings, What follows by way of an edition and translation of Bhatta Ramakantha II’s Kiranavrtti is therefore by no means the final word on*3.2 text. It is not only incomplete (only six out of the twelve chapters appear here); it is full of difficulties that may only be resolved (if at all) after further reflection and a great deal more reading, not only of the other works of Bhatta Ramakantha II, of his Kashmirian contemporaries and of other Saiddhantikas, but also of the extant early Siddhantas, so few: of which are published.

My introduction is long, but it has much hitherto unpublished information to present that helps to set the Kirana and the Kiranavrtti in a con-' etc; The introduction first presents new evidence that I have come across;; Sgt Ramakantha II’s spiritual lineage (a solitary manuscript of the workif 3 previously unknown disciple), about his oeuvre (Ramakantha II’s extent works are here arranged in a plausible order of composition, and references to lost works are discussed), about where and when he wrote, and about an influential theological innovation of his expounded in the Kiranavrtti (his resolution of the problem of two conflicting doctrines concerning divine grace). The introduction next attempts to establish which among the many Siddhantas surviving can be proved to be early. I airing the limits of the early canon is necessary because fundamental Changes within the Saiva Siddhanta evidently did not just effect post-scriptural exegetes: tantras of the Saiva Siddhanta were modified, added to or wholly rewritten, often retaining the names of ancient works. After drawing up the small list of extant Siddhantas (most of them as yet unpublished ) that can be proved to predate Ramakantha II, the introduction discusses certain features of their structure, language, and doctrine, with view to attempting a relative chronology of the early canon and locating the Kirsana within it. There follow descriptions of the sources used and methods followed for the constitution of the text.

An edition and translation of the first three out of the six chapters of the Kiranavrtti here presented was submitted as a doctoral thesis at the University of Oxford in November 1995. That thesis, from which this book has expanded, could not have been achieved without an enormous amount of help, Before all others I should like to thank four people in particular: my supervisor, Professor Alexis Sanderson, Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at All Souls College, Oxford, who has been unfailingly generous both with his scant time and with his vast knowledge; Dr. Harunaga Isaacson, who from start to finish has helped and encourage din every way possible and been a tireless proof-reader (though few are marked, his corrections—of major as well as minor flaws—pervade every part of the book); Dr. Jurgen Hanneder, my friend and fellow student of Saivism, whose stimulating company I enormously enjoyed while he was in England editing the Malinivijayavartitka; and Dr. Francois Grimal of the Ecole francaise d’Extreme—Orient, for his remarkable generosity and kindness to me over the last years and because he suggested to me that I study as an allocataire de recherché at the French Institute of Pondicherry, which, apart from its other merits, houses the greatest collection of Saiddhantika manuscripts in the world.

For their kind and generous help in different ways I thank: Professor Albrecht Wezler of the University of Hamburg, who supported this en-terprise and generously placed microfilms of numerous manuscripts at my disposal; Professor Ramanuja Tatacarya; Dr. Anjaneya Sarma, with whom I had a number of enlightening discussions of tricky points of sastra; Dr. S.A.S, Sarma, Mr. T. Ganesan, Mr. Subrahmaniam, Mr. Sivaraja Diksitar. and other staff at the Centre of Indology of the Ecole francaised’ Extreme—Orient and at the French Institute of Pondicherry; Dr. Maria Pia Vivanti, the most recent editor of the Kirana, who encouraged me and procured for me a photocopy of the rare first edition of the Kirana; Dr. Helene Brunner, who kindly pointed out a number of errors when I sent her a copy of the thesis, and with whom I have since enjoyed corresponding; Professor Rafaelle Torella of the University of Rome (La Sapienza) and Dr. Paul Dundas of the University of Edinburgh, who examined the thesis and made many helpful suggestions for improvement; Dr. Gillian Evison and the staff of the Indian Institute Library in Oxford; Dr. Jorg Gengnagel; Dr. Mary Heimann; Dr. Jim Benson; Somdev Vasudeva; Professor S. A. Srinivasan of the University of Hamburg; Professor Richard Gombrich, Boden Professor of Sanskrit at the University of Oxford; Professor Hans Bakker of the University of Groningen Rob Adriaensen Professor Michael Hahn of the University of Marburg Dr. Heeraman Tiwari Alex Watson Isabelle Onains Dr. Godabarisha Mishra of the University of Madras Diwakar Acharya of the University of Kathmandu Ratnadeep Datta my family and other friends.

My doctoral studies at Wolfson college in Oxford (1992-95) were financed by a British Academy Award before which I had the great privilege of spending two less focused years (1990-92) attending lectures on a wide variety of ideological subjects at the University of Hamburg as a Hanseatic Scholar of the Stiftung Freiherr von Stein. An allocation de recherché fromt eh French institute of Pondichery as enabled me to prepare this book for publication.

Contents

Prefaceiii
Introduction ix
Bhatta Ramakantha II’s Lineage ix
Bhatta Ramakantha II’s Date xii
Bhatta Ramakantha II’s Works xviii
Bhatta Ramakantha II’s style xxviii
The Kiranavrt xxx
The Extent of the Kiranavrtti xxxii
Why Ramakantha wrote a commentary on the Kirana xxxii
The Krianatantra and its place among other Siddhantas xxxvi
Is a Relative Chronology Possible xlvii
Cross References xlviii
Discrepant lists of the Principles of the Universe li
Doctrinal oddities lvi
The Structure of the Tantras lviii
Aisa Language lxv
The Lists of Twenty eight Siddhantas lxxi
An Assessment of the Internal evidence lxxiii
External evidence for the Kiranatantra’s Date lxxiv
Sources lxxix
The Manuscripts of Bhatta Ramakantha II’s Kiranavrtti lxxix
The Manuscripts of the Tantra lxxxiv
Previous editions of the Tantra ci
Manuscripts of the Tantra not consulted cii
Other Commentaries on the Krianatantra civ
Editorial Policies cxi
A Stemma of the Manuscripts of the Kiranavrtti cxi
The Relationships between the Manuscripts of the Tantra cxvi
Conventions in the Apparatus cxxi
Placing the Verses in the Text of the Commentary cxxiv
Sanskrit Text 1
Chapter One 1
Chapter Two 33
Chapter three 61
Chapter Four 91
Chapter five 111
Chapter six 137
Translation 159
Chapter One 161
Chapter Two 227
Chapter three 261
Chapter Four 301
Chapter five 325
Chapter six 357
Appendix I. Pratikas for the Tantra 395
Appendix II. Colophons in the Manuscripts of the Tantra 399
Appendix III. The Twenty eight Siddhantas 402
Works Consulted 419
Index of Padas in the Tantra 437
Index of Quotation in the Vrtti 451
General Index 455
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