DescriptionAbout the Book:
Otto Schrader in 1916 recommended the Lakshmi Tantra for the study of Pancaratra philosophy. Among the vast number of Pancaratra Agamic text the Laksmi Tantra stands out because it deals almost exclusively with Lakshmi, the divine creative impulse, intelligence, potency, potentiality, power, majesty and speech. The focus of the text is on Pancaratra philosophy (including cosmogony) and the practice of yoga based on it, with its attendant Mantra Sastra. It records the earliest Vaisnava speculation on the paradox of a Supreme God who is totally identified with Brahman, the unique and transcendent Conscious Reality, and is at the same time the creator of a dualistic universe which cannot be related to Him. The key to solving this riddle is the Divine Sakti. By dealing with the role of Sakti in the creation and maintenance of the world, and in the saving of devotees who totally rely on God's mercy and benevolence, the Laksmi Tantra succeeds in overcoming sectarian boundaries.
About the Author:
DR. SANJUKTA GUPTA is a leading authority on the early Pancaratra (Vaisnava) cult and sectarian system. She is also a specialist in Hindu Tantra. She has published extensively on these topics. She began her scholarly career with a study in Advaita Vedanta focused on the great sixteenth-century savant Madhusudana Sarasvati. She taught for almost twenty years at the University of Utrecht (Netherlands), and is now teaching, in the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford.
List of abbreviations
List of names of the letters
Introduction to first edition
Introduction to Indian edition
- Introducing the sastra
Benedictory verses; Anasuya requests her husband to explain Laksmi's supremacy; Atri describes how Narada narrated Laksmi's feats to the sages and how Indra asked Laksmi to tell him the secret of her greatness; Atri agrees to enlighten Anasuya.
- The pure creation
Real nature of Vasudeva, the supreme soul, and of Laksmi; description of the six ideal attributes; fourfold nature of the pure creation.
- The three (phenomenal) gunas
Transformation of the ideal attributes into phenomenal gunas; explanation of the pure and impure creation; the role of jiva's karma
- Vyuhas and their saktis
Characteristics of each of the four Vyuhas, their special functions and nature: Narayana's Vyuhantara, Vibhava and Arca emanations; Mahalaksmi's appearance, nature and qualities; emanations of Mahasri, Mahavidya and Mahamaya from Mahalaksmi.
- Evolution of the material world from prakrti
Emergence of the three cosmic divine couples, Rudra etc: evolution of the Samkhya categories; creation of Manus and Manavas.
- The Six kosas of Sakti
Description of these sheaths and of the cosmic realities.
- Tattvas and the Jiva as the object and subject of knowledge.
Jiva the cognizer; nature of the instruments of knowledge; nature of the objects of knowledge.
- The avataras of Laksmi in the six sheaths
Inseparability of Sakti in all Narayana's emanations; Sri's emanations corresponding with all Aniruddha's emanations.
- The exclusive incarnations of Sakti
List of these with mythological background merit of learning about them.
- The three types of God's avataras
The absolute nature of God and its manifestation on the three levels of consciousness, namely susupti, svapna and jagrat.
- Visakhayupa and the Vibhava incarnations.
Nature of the supreme Vyuhas; description of the Visakhayupa and of the Vibhava incarnations; explaining the need for these.
- The fivefold divine functions
Causes of Jiva's suffering; Sakti's five functions; the nature of delusion; the five categories of avidya; classification of other causes of misery; Sakti's three cosmic functions of creation etc.
- The true form of the jiva
The fifth function of Sakti and Jiva's essential nature; Jiva's five functions corresponding with Sakti's.
- The true nature of Sakti (Laksmi)
Sakti's transcendental as well as immanent nature.
- Various methods of attaining ultimate truth
The four ways leading to the realization of truth; details about the first two ways; nature of the first cosmic category prakrti.
- Elaboration of the methods to attain ultimate truth
Details about other cosmic categories; the third and fourth methods.
- The secret method of self-surrender, the fourth method of attaining the highest goal
Definition of the highest goal and the six components of self-surrender.
- The course of mantras and their characteristics
Sabdabrahman's inert condition; the nada, bindu, madhyama and vaikhari states corresponding to the four Vyuhas respectively; emergence of mantras from Sabdabrahman as their source, logos; mantras of Tarika etc.
- The origin of letters
Emergence of the fifteen vowels from kriyasakti; emergence of the twenty-five primary consonants from the Person together with all other cosmic categories; emergence of the four dharanas from the four semi-vowels; existence of the five aspirates in the five Brahmans, i.e., Brahman and the four Vyuhas.
- Explanation of the matrkas
Classification of the letters under each of the four Vyuhas.
- Analysis of the structure of a manta and the qualities looked for in a preceptor and in a disciple
- Description of Laksmi's mantra-form
The six sonic stages of creation; the mantra-course, pada-course and bhuvana-course; attainment of the highest goal through mantras; the grading of mantras.
- Description of matrka
How to construct a matrka-pitha and distribute the letters on it; placing the letters on the body of matrka; worship of matrka; the seven bijas.
- The structure of taraka with its parts and the method of initiation in the practice of meditation
Construction of taraka and its nature as the source of all names and forms; anganyasa; laya-yoga; purascarana; efficacy; prasada-mantra; samjna, astra, paramatman, pada and vyapaka mantras.
- Tara- and Anutara-mantras
Names of letters; synonyms for Tara.
- Elucidation of the seven vidyas, viz. tara, Tara, Anutara, vagbhava, kama, Sarasvati and Mahalaksmi-bijas.
- Duties of an adept
Hrllekha-mantra, its efficacy and five forms; teaching a disciple this mantra and his subsequent duties.
- Daily duties of an adept
Abhigamana; upadana; ijya; svadhyaya; yoga; importance of following this routine.
- Distinction between kriyasakti and bhutisakti, otherwise called Agni and Soma respectively
Kriyasakti as Surya, as Agni, as Soma, as Sudarsana; Sudarsana's bija and pinda.
- The two aspects of Sakti, viz. Soma and Surya, and further elucidation of the Sudarsana-mantra
- The Sudarsana (kriyasakti)
Sudarsana's efficacy; his Gayatri-mantra, mudra, grasanamantra and dhyana.
- Tarika in the three states of existence, viz. the gross, the subtle and the absolute states.
- Anga, upanga and other mantras
Mautras of Tarika's anga, upanga, alamkara, astra, adhara, adharesa, avyaktapadmamandala and cidbhasana; mantras of the ksetresas; mantras of Ganesa and others.
- The hand postures and method of ritualistic bath
Appropriate times for mudras; mudras of Mahasri, Sakti yoni, Laksmi, Kirti, Jaya and Maya; of angas and upangas; of alamkaras; of Ananta; of prthivi; of ksirarnava; of dharma etc.; of the three dhamans; of cidbhasana; of ksetresa etc., of Sri-bija; of Jaya and Vijaya; of Yamuna; of Samkhanidhi and Padmanidhi; of Ganesa; of Vagisvari; of guru; of pitaras; of siddhas; of varabhaya; of Visvaksena; of avahana and visarjana; of kamadhenu; three modes of bathing.
- The purification of the body (Bhutasuddhi)
Gradual involution of the body and its emergence from its sources; mantra-nyasa.
- Description of the images and the process of the mental sacrifice
Visualization of inner seats of Sakti; the Purusa-sukta and the Sri-sukta; the mental sacrifice.
- External sacrifice (construction of the platform for worship; mandala of nine lotuses)
Preliminary preparation, collection and consecration of the requisites for worship; visualization of God's retinue.
- External worship, Further details with a description of some lesser deities
Layayaga; objects offered to the goddess; visualization of the Supreme Couple on the lotus.
- Various requisites for external worship
Six forms of worship; rules concerning the repetition of mantras; description of a rosary.
- The daily duties of an adept
The rosary; mantra-repetition; significance of the bell; details of sacrifice including subsequent duties, anuyaga.
- The initiation and abhiseka ceremonies.
Meaning of diksa, its variations and the rite itself.
- The rite of purascarana, the ritual worship of the mantra of Tarika
- Different methods of worshipping the mantra of Tarika
Dhyanas of Tarika placed on main parts of the body; on the five elements comprising the body; Tarika envisaged as knowledge and its object; as located in the thirty-two lotuses of the inner body; visualizing All as merged in Laksmi-Narayana; regulations for Yogins; methods for controlling one's mind.
- Revealing the secret mantras of the Tarika group
- Revelation of Sri's various manifestations
Mantras of the first four primary manifestations; retinues of Laksmi, Kirti, Jaya and Maya; their mudras.
- Mode of worshipping the Laksmi-mantra and results obtained.
- Mode of worshipping the Kirti-mantra and results obtained.
- Mode of worshipping the Jaya-mantra and results obtained.
- Mode of worshipping Maya-mantra and results obtained. Pratistha of an image of Laksmi Narayana.
- The Power of the Sri-sukta.
Application of the Sri-sukta; constructing a mantra by using each noun mentioned in the hymn; its efficacy; prapatti efficacy of the Laksmi-mantra.
- A brief summary of the Cosmogony
- The mantras
- Summarizing ritual performances
- Bhutasuddhi and Anganyasa
- A Yogin's vision of his inner body
- Summary of the four states of sound and conclusion.
Diagram III, IV and V at the end of the Book
Index of terms
Index of mantras