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History of the Tantric Religion

History of the Tantric Religion
Item Code: IDC923
Author: N. N. Bhattacharyya
Publisher: Manohar Publishers and Distributors
Language: English
Edition: 1999
ISBN: 8173040257
Pages: 483 With Numerous Diagrams
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 8.9" x 5.9"
weight of the book: 665 gms
From the Jacket

In this book, the author presents in historical outline, the genesis, development and structural analysis of the Tantric tradition in India and its place in the Indian religious and philosophical systems. It studies the different aspects of Tantrism, its vastness and intricacies, its heterogeneous and contradictory element and gives a historical perspective to the conglomeration of ideas and practices through space and time.

After an introduction to the meaning of Tantra, the work outlines the various texts which comprise Tantric literature. The development of Tantrism is traced from pre-Vedic times through the Vedic, post-Vedic, early Buddhist and Jain periods down to the evolution of the concept of Sakti in Indian religious thinking. The sequence is carried forward by a study of the development of Tantric Buddhism in India and Tantric Ideas and practices in medieval religious systems. The 'Lokayata' tradition and its connection with Tantrism and finally the emergence of sophisticated Tantras with Sakta orientation completes this historical study of Tantrism through the ages.

This important work also incorporates a review on Tantric art and a glossary of Tantric technical terms with reference to text, and intermeniaries.

About the Author

As an Indologist, Dr. N. N. Bhattacharyya requires no introduction. He is the author of such well-known works as The Indian Puberty Rites (1968, 1980), Indian Mother Goddess (1970, 1977), History of Cosmogonical Ideas (1971), History of the Sakta Religion (1978, 1996), History of Indian Erotic Literature (1975), Ancient Ritual Indian and their Social Contents (1975, 1996), Jaina Philosophy (1976, 1998), History of Researches of Indian Buddhism (1981), Buddhism in the History of Indian Ideas (1993), Indian Religious Historiography (1996), A Glossary of Indian Religious Terms and concepts (1990), The Geographical Dictionary: Ancient and Early Medieval India (1991) etc.

He has edited R. P. Chanda's Indo Aryan Races and N. C. Bandyopadhyay's Development of Indian Polity. He has also edited Medieval Bhakti Movements in India (1989), Jainism and Prakrit in Ancient and Medieval India (1994), and Encyclopaedia of Ancient Indian Culture (1998).

A retired professor of Calcutta University Dr. Bhattacharyya presided over the Ancient India section of the Indian History Congress in 1992.


Preface to the Second Edition 
Preface to the First Edition

Chapter 1. Introduction
     What is Tantra?
     Veda and Tantra
     The Parallel Tradition
     'Pure knowledge' versus Empirical knowledge
     Tantra and Science
     Tantric Texts on Chemical Science
     Tantric Alchemy and the Concept of Revitalizing the Body
     The Apathy towards Tantra 
     The Other Side
     Tantrism and Hindu Religion

Chapter 2. Tantric Literature 
     The Traditional Classification, Nature, Date, etc
     The Pancaratra Samhitas 
     The Ahirbudhnya Samhita 
     The Laksmitantra
     The Saiva Agamas
     The Nisvasatattva Samhita
     Saiva Tantras in the Far East
     Some Saiva Tantras of the Nepal Collection
     The Buddhist Tantras
     The Guhyasamaja Tantra
     The Manjusrimulakalpa
     The Sadhanamala and the Nispannayogavali
     The Prajnopaya and the Hevajratantra
     The Sakta Tantras
     The Paranandasutra
     The Kularnavatantra
     The Saradatilaka
     The Mahanirvanatantra
     A Few Other Sakta Tantras
     Tantras of Other Religious Sects

Chapter 3. External Influences and Interactions
     Tantrism and the Universal Mother Goddess Cult
     Scholars on Foreign Elements in Tantrism 
     Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism: Background of Chinese Influence
     Taoism and Tantra 
     Vasistha and Cinacara
     The Tara Cults: Its Renovation, Migration and Influence

Chapter 4. The Primitive Substratum
     Vamacara and the Primitive Female-dominated Societies
     Role of Women in Tantric Cults
     Maithuna:  Social Significance of the Sex Rites
     Kha-puspa or Menstural Blood 
     Savasadhana: Concept of Death and Resurrection: Fertility Beliefs
     Madya: The Efficacy of Wine 
     Diksa or Initiation 
     The So-called Black Acts and Miraculous Powers

Chapter 5. Tantrism and the Earlier Forms of Indian Religious system
     Tantrism in Pre-Vedic Religion
     Tantrict Elements in the Vedic Religion
     Tantra in Post-Vedic Though
     Tantric Influence on Early Buddhism and Jainism 
     Tantra and Early Vaisnavism 
     Tantra and the Pasupata Saivism
     Evolution of the Concept of Sakti

Chapter 6. Development of Tantric Buddhism
     Tantric Background of the Buddhist Doctrine of Elements
     The Mahayana: Its Tantric Association
     Tenets of Tantric Buddhism
     Bodhicitta, Prajna and Upaya
     Buddhist and Hindu Tantras: Similarities in Modus Operandi
     The Vajrayana Pantheon 

Chapter 7. Tantric Ideas and Practices in Medieval Religious Systems
     Tantrism and Medieval Vaisnavism
     Tantrism and Southern Saivism
     Tantrism and Virasaivism
     Tantrism and Kasmira Saivism
     Tantrism and Saktism
     The Atimargika Sects: Kapalikas, Kalamukhas, Mattamayuras
     Tantrism and the Ganapatyas
     Tantrism and the Smarta Pancopasana

Chapter 8. Tantrism and the Religion of the Masses: The Lokayata Tradition
     The siddhacaryas: Buddhist Tantric Influence
     Tantrism and the Natha Siddha Tradition
     Sahajayana in the Carya Poems
     Sahajayana and the Female Principle
     The Sahajiya Spirit in Jain Dohas
     The Vaisnava Sahajiyas 
     Tantric and Sahajiya Ideals in Medievel Religious Reform Movements and in the
     Teachings of the Saints
     Sufism and Tantric- Sahajiya Tradition

Chapter 9. The Sophisticated Tantras with Sakta Orientation
     Tantric Substratum of Saktism 
     The Functional Aspect of the Sakta Tantras
     The Satcakra: Conceptual Transformation
     Deities, Mantras and Letters: Their Position in the Cakras
     Employment of the Mantras and Allied Methods
     Yogic Exercises: Awakening of Kundalini
     Use of Chemical Drugs: Rasesvara Darsana
     Vamacara: Its Professed Anti Brahmanism 
     The Sakta-Tantric Deities
     Philosophy of the Sakta Tantras

Chapter 10. Tantric Art: A Review
     The Problem 
     Tantric Architecture: Some Aspects
     Sexual Depictions: Their Tantric Probabilities
     Tantric Icons

Chapter 11. A Glossary of Tantric Technical Terms



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