The theological and ritualistic aspects of the Paficaratra system
have attracted scholars for some time past 1 and a number of texts
have been edited 2. Some of these publications are of a high
standard and include illuminating introductions. Amongst these,
Professor F. O. Schrader's Introduction to the Paficaratra still
ranks as the most comprehensive. So far only one Paficaratra text
has been translated into English," but the omission of explanatory
notes on the meaning of special terms detracts from its usefulness
to the layman. In recent years valuable work in this field is being
done by H. Daniel Smith.
The reason why I have chosen to translate the text of the Laksmi
Tantra is because its philosophical pronouncements incorporate
many of the sect's earlier traditions. I shall elaborate on this point
later on. A second reason. is because of its occultism, which throws
light on an aspect of the Paficaratra system that is not dealt with
in any other known text. Since however the size of this book has
grown to phonate alarming, I have here been obliged to refrain
from discussing the interesting topic of ritualistic esoterism.
Before starting on my apologetics, certain preliminary explanations about my method of work are briefly called for. My translation
is based entirely on the Sanskrit text edited by Pandit V. Krishnamacharya and published in the Adyar Library Series, no. 87. I have not
used any manuscript of the Laksmi Tantra. Therefore, whenever I
mention the text o~ the editor's commentary on it, I refer to
Krishnamacharya's edition. Although I have studied the only other
publication of this text, printed in Telugu and published at Mysore
in r888, I have not based my translation upon it since Krishnarnacharya has utilized it in his edition.
I have aimed at accuracy in my translation-often unfortunately
at the expense of style-and when explanation is needed, it is
supplied in a footnote or inserted in parenthesis in the text of my
translation. I have used parenthesis also to distinguish English
words I have used in my translation to make a sentence complete.
However the reader must not expect to find that every Sanskrit
word has been translated consistently by the same English term.
As words. are affected by the context in which they are used, I have
used alternative meanings when and as the sense required. Despite
care, some irregularities may still persist in transcriptions of
Sanskrit words. These are unintentional.
From chapter XXXIII onwards I have not translated the clues
given for constructing the mantras, but have confined myself to
supply the constructed mantras only. My translation of the first
ten verses of chapter XXXIII should, I think, suffice to demon-
strate how the mantras are construed.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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