The Tantra with its vast literature embodying intricate ritualistic details occupies a very important place in the religious life of India. It was regarded as top secret to be expounded by the preceptor to the disciple who had been properly initiated. But provision for learning and teaching the subject as was prevalent even in the 19th century appears to have totally gone out of vogue. As such it is rather difficult to penetrate into it and make a correct assessment of its value. A thorough systematic critical and impartial scrutiny is necessary for this purpose. A superficial and partial acquaintance has often led to a good deal of misconception and apparently exaggerated vituperations, Stray attempts which ought to be thankfully acknowledged of a number of scholars have, of course, thrown welcome light on different aspects of the subject. The labours of Sir John Woodroffe (with the pseudonym Arthur Avalon) who besides bringing out independent treatises and translations introduced the Tantrik Texts Series and published handsome editions of important texts were fruitful in drawing the sympathetic attention of the world of scholars to this much maligned and neglected branch of Indian culture. Unfortunately Sir John's work was scarcely successful in creating the desired enthusiasm and it was not seriously followed up. Though no longer held in definite aversion the tantras are still little-known their importance being scarcely appreciated. In these circumstances my aim in the present book has been to give in broad outlines a general idea of the subject with special reference to the literature and practices known in Bengal. It is intended to serve as an introduction to and inducement for wider and more detailed study. And if it provides any encouragement for further work I shall consider my labour amply rewarded.
The book is primarily based on writings originally published in different Oriental Journals and other publications, and since revised and occasionally reshaped. I am deeply indebted to Prof. Anantalal Thakur M.A. of the Mithila Institute of Post-Graduate Research and Sanskrit Learning for preparing the Index and rendering help in various other ways in the midst of his multifarious pre-occupations. I am also thankful to Sri Sibdas Chaudhuri, Librarian of the Asiatic Society for his initiative in making arrangements for the publication of the work and to Sri Sankar Bhattacharya, energetic proprietor of the young publishing firm, the Punthi Puscak, for his interest in the book and for undertaking the responsibility of publishing it. Thanks are also due to the Calcutta Oriental Press for doing the printing work neatly. It is regretted that a number of printing mistakes have crept in.
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
for saving your wish list, viewing past orders, receiving discounts, and lots more...
Email a Friend