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Shaivism In the Light of Epics, Puranas and Agamas

Shaivism In the Light of Epics, Puranas and Agamas

Specifications

Item Code: IDK392

by N R Bhatt

Hardcover (Edition: 2008)

Indica
ISBN 8186569707

Size: 8.6" X 5.7"
Pages: 634 (21 B/W Illustrations)
Weight of the Book: 908 gms
Price: $45.00   Shipping Free
Viewed times since 9th Dec, 2013

Description

Preface

Indian philosophy provides the profound concept of cit. the school of Saivasiddhanta defines the essence of cit as universal action and knowledge. It conceives an entity which is none else than pure cit and gives it the name Siva, word of neuter gender denoting auspiciousness and purity. Thus is an abstract entity, beyond the grasp of human senses, speech and mind. Truly, the human being is endowed with the same cit of same universal faculty of action and knowledge. The difference between the supreme and the mundane being is achieved by another entity, a universal power of obscuration, to which the figurative name of mala, 'stain', has been given. The supreme Siva is free of mala 'stain', has been given. The supreme Siva is free of mala. The mundane soul is bound by it and undergoes drastic limitations of its faculties of cit: one cognition, one action at one time, accomplished with ever-changing tools of mind and body of limited faculties in a material world, but with a background of consciousness limited to that cognition or action only. Whatever is the cognition, whatever is the action, there is always the same back ground of consciousness. This is the indication of the presence of the fundamental essence of cit, inherent in every individual, partially and temporarily unveiled from the obscuration of mala.

The idea of a pure essence and a bond to impure, limitative matter is a basic component of many currents of Shaivism, the foundation of the quest for liberation of the bond, which characterizes all religious preoccupations. The being made of pure cit, eternally free from mala is God, the bound being is man. In fact, Indian thinkers have often used the same name for both: purusa. That reflects the concept of a fundamental identity of man and God by their common essence of cit, their common faculty of consciousness. Man is the bound purusa, God the eternally unbound purusa. That brings in a relation of a lower being versus a supreme one. The former is called pasu, 'bound soul', the latter Pasupati, 'Lord of bound souls'. This relation commands the religious activity, itself based on awareness of the supreme, devotional attitude, quest of ways of approach, aspiration to liberation from the binding obscuration of consciousness. There are two currents of doctrines about the ways of approaching the supreme, preference being given either to the resource of the knowledge faculty, either to that of action, gnosis versus ritual, both remaining complementary. The school of Saivasiddhanta has given emphasis to the ritual, other schools to gnosis. The site for conducting rituals is of several types: the home of the worshipper in the wake of worldly life, the monastery (matha) of those who opt for a more secluded mode of life, the temple open to all. The temple is the most important and the most original creation of Indian culture. A parent of the royal palace, it is a complex organization of structures adapted to all activities centered on the worshipped deity: purification, consecration, homage, festivities, services for the deity and for the worshippers.

In the religious sphere, the proper name of the Supreme Being is Siva. With this name we enter in the vast world of mythology. The supreme entity, which is formless, is characterized by its propensity to manifest itself in multiple forms, many human forms with supernatural adjuncts, some half way between the formless and the human degree of his manifestation: vyakta, 'manifested'. The medial one is the Linga, the last one is an embodiment in a figure acting heroic feats, offered to the worship of the seekers of liberation.

The core of Shaivism is a vast corpus of philosophical and theological concepts, of myths, of rituals. The present book by Pandit N.R. Bhatt introduces its presentation with the doctrine of Saiva-siddhanta and, after a long narration of numerous myths and an elaborate description of rituals, ends with a list of remarkable temples of south India. Thus it encompasses the whole gamut of the aspects of the religion. This book has a history, which is the life history of its author, and in a way the history of Indological studies of Shaivism. Indology of scientific spirit is born with the nineteenth century, which has been the century of Vedic studies. The twentieth century has opened a new domain in the history and archaeology of Indian religions, with the study of Shaivism and Tantrism. The first half has been that of discovery by pioneers like Bhandarkar, Gopinath Rao, Banerjee, Jouveau-Dubreuil, Hopkins, Marshall, etc. the second half has achieved considerable progress in the knowledge of texts and monuments, by surveys of temples and icons, critical editions of Mahabharata and Ramayana, of Puranas and Agamas. The vast domain of Hinduism, of the limitless literature of Tantras, Saiva or Sakta, as well as Vaisnava, Baudha, etc., of the countless temples, medieval and modern, has been entered for thorough investigation. It is a gaint step and it achieves considerable progress in our knowledge of Indian religions.

Pandit N. Ramachandra Bhatt (born in 1920 in Mudbidri, South Kannara) has been one of the main artisans of this progress. His life has been entirely devoted to research. After his Sanskrit studies in the traditional manner in Tirupati, at the Venkateshvara Sanskrit College, in 1939, he entered the team of researchers of the Adyar Library and Research Centre, which Alain Danielou (1907-1994) joined years later. There, he acquired a good knowledge of the bibliography and theories, sometimes quite speculative, of the pioneers of the history of Shaivism. He worked with Danielou on texts of musicology as well as philosophical and religious texts, Upanisads, Puranas etc. Danielou, during a long stay in India, had elaborated personal views on Indian mythology and religion, which he presented in a book entitled The Myths and Gods of India, Hindu polytheism. N. R. Bhatta could not share the same ideas. He had a deep knowledge of texts and a preference for literality in interpretation. He was too reluctant to speculation to accept Danielou's ideas. In spite of such disagreement, an enduring friendship was established between them.

In 1955, Jean Filliozat, my father, established a French Institute in Pondicherry. He invited Alain Danielou to his Department of Indology to work in the field of Sanskrit musicological text. Danielou came with Pandit N. R. Bhatta, who could be appointed at the same time and to whom Jean Filliozat entrusted the main project of his new institution: to collect manuscripts of Saiva texts of rituals, i.e. Saivagamas, survey the relevant literature and prepare critical editions with translations. A new career started for N.R. Bhatt. In the span of nearly fifty years he built a collection of some fifteen thousand manuscripts from temples and gurukkal families of Tamilnadu. He directed a team of pandits to organize an Agamic library to collate manuscripts. He could publish several major texts of Agamic literature, Rauravagama, Ajitagama etc. thus he has brought to light a large documentation and made accessible a lot of information on Saiva rituals, architecture, organization and iconography of Siva temples. He has constituted a precious tool for researchers of the 21st century, which will be the century of Tantric studies in the history of Indology.

The present book is the result of his full, life-long career in research. It starts with a detailed review of the works and ideas of the pioneers of the first half of the last century. Then, it presents the results of its author's innovative research in the field of Agamas. We have thus a complete survey of the progress achieved in the knowledge of Saivism during the past century. This is not an individualistic view of the religion, a personal interpretation of a chapter of its history. This is a view based on an ancient tradition, a tradition of ritualistic performance and literary composition, which N.R. Bhatt has received from the environment in which he is born and lives. This is a view founded on his advanced erudition, intelligently directed, rooted in his own experience of religious practice as a Brahmin follower of the faith. This is saivism seen from outside and inside. Thus, we have a picture of it which represents authentically the knowledge and the religious feelings of millions of worshippers in this modern world.

To complete the history of this book, I have to tell my link with its author and my participation in its elaboration. In 1956 I began to learn Sanskrit under the guidance of N.R. Bhatt. From the time of the first lesson was born between us a life-long friendship. I have worked with him for many years, especially on Saivasiddhanta works, and we collaborated in the English version of Ajitatantra (IGNCA, Delhi, 2004). A few years after the demise of Jean Filliozat in 1982, Alain Danielous had entrusted to N.R. Bhatt the project of writing a general survey of Saivism. His intention was to have it published in France. I was entrusted to translate the English work into French, then requested to do a few abridgements to comply with the project of a popular edition. Unfortunately the book could not be printed before the demise of Alain Danielou. It was finally published in French in 2000 by Agamat Publisher, under the supervision of Bernard Bouanchaud. The complete original English version is now coming in print, thanks to the initiative of Shri Alvaro Enterria of Indica Books Publishers. He laboured a lot to digitalize and format this long text. May he find here the sincere expression of my hearty gratitude. We extend our thanks to Bernard Bouanchaud who kindly gave the authorization to reproduce tables, charts and photographs from his publication.

Back of the Book

Saivism encompasses all aspects of religion: a philosophy, a theology, a conception of the universe, a current of devotion, a world of myths, elaborate rituals in organized temples, expressions in plastic arts, in poetry, music, dance. Images of Siva of great variety and impressive beauty are countless all over India. To improve our understanding of such a rich and elevated subject, the sources are the Sanskrit texts of Epics, Puranas and Agamas. The present book gives a clear presentation of Saivism through a survey and an erudite reading of this vast literature. The Agamas are the key to the knowledge of temples organization and rituals, the description of which is a unique and original contribution of this work.

This very readable and reliable work contains an amazing quantity of information, carefully referenced at every step, and is likely to be of the greatest utility to researchers in history of religion, medieval to modern, as well as to the general reader interested in Saivism.

Pandit N. Ramachandra Bhatt has devoted his whole life to research and bring to light Saivagama literature. His view of Saivism is thus based on the ancient tradition of ritualistic performance and literary composition, founded on his advanced erudition, intelligently directed, rooted in his own experience of religious practice as a Brahmini follower of the faith. This is Saivism seen from outside and inside, a picture representing authentically the knowledge and the religious feelings of millions of worshippers in this modern world.

Contents

Table of Figures7
Abbreviations9
Preface by Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat11
Foreword. Contribution of the Saiva Agamas to Saivism17
Chapter I.Introduction43
Chapter II.A Survey of the Early History of Saivism59
1The Mohenjodaro-Harappa period59
2The Rgvedic Period70
3Rudra in the Atharvaveda76
4Rudra in the Yajurveda 79
5Rudra in the Brahmanas83
6Rudra in the Upanisads86
7Rudra in the Sutras91
Chapter III.The Decline and Fall of the Vedic Gods. The Rise of the Hindu Trinity of Gods97
1The Evolution of Ancient Vedic Religion 97
2The Epics and the Rise of Brahma, Visnu and Siva114
3The Puranas and the Individualization of the Three Gods129
Chapter IVSiva in the Light of Puranic Mythology147
Puranic Names of Siva196
Chapter V.The Linga and the Images of Siva211
1.Sadasivamurti 256; 2. Lingodbhavamurti257
3.Gangadharamurti 260; 4. Tripurantakamurti 261;
5.Kalyanasundaramurti 262; 6. Ardhanarisvaramurti 263;
7.Gajari 265; 8. Kesavardhamurti or Hariharamurti 267;
9.Bhaksatana 268; 10. Simhaghnamurti or Sarabhamurti270
11.Kalantakamurti 270; 12. Kamari 272;
13.Bhairavamurti or Andhakari, Brahmasiraschedakamurti 272;
14.Virabhadramurti 274; 15. Kiratamurti 275; 16. Jalandharari 276;
17.Ekapadatrimurti 277; 18 Cakradanamurti 278;
19.Visapaharanamurti 278; 20. Brahmasiraschedakamurti 279;
21.Ravananugrahamurti 280; 22. Candesvaranugrahamurti 280;
23.Umamahesvaramurti 282; 24. Somaskandamurti 284;
25.Candrasekharamurti 285; 26. Vrsarudhamurti 286;
27.Natarajamurti or Nrttamurti 288; 28. Daksinamurti 292.
Chapter VI. Forms of Siva Worship and Ritual in the South 309
1Yajna 318; 2. Tapas 324; 3. Tirthas 335; 4. Stotra 340; 5. Dhyana 344; 6. Vratas 347; 7. Puja; 7. 348; 8 Mantra 356; 9 Yantras and Mandalas 360; 10. Kundas 362; 11. Mudras 372; 12. Karsana 374; 13. Utsavas 398; 14. Prayascitta 402.
An excursus on the Saiva Rituals as practiced at present 407
A note on the important Saiva vratas433
Chapter VII.The Ancillary Cults457
Sakti 461; Ganesa 476; Karttikeya 486; Nandin 496;
Other Ancillary Deities: Visnu 498; Brahma 498; Candesvara 499;
Surya and Candra 499; Bhairava 501; Jyestha 501; Navagraha 501;
The Devotees of Siva, Sivabhakta 502
APPENDICES:
1.A Brief Account of a Few Works Mentioned in this Work505
2.Siva and his Ancillary Deities as Depicted in the Ancient Tamil Works509
3.Some Puranic Episodes Relating to Siva Mentioned in the Tevaram Texts513
4.The Puranas and the South517
5.Temples Building in South India519
6.Saiva Temples in South India521
7.Construction of Images562
8.Saiva Tirthas567
Bibliography611
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Customer Comments

  • Can I be shaivaist? We have Shaivaist center in Zlatar Bistrica, Croatia! I'm woman, but I was sannyasi and sib. shaman in my previous life! Regards from Zagreb, Croatia. Namaste. Om Namah Shivaya.
    - Jasminka
    17th Aug 2012
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