Tantraloka means light on Tantra - the magnum opus of Abhinavagupta (950-1050 A.D.). Literally Tantra means thread and happens to have been used in one of the earliest usage in the Rgveda (X.53.6) itself in such a deep sense as understanding binding the entire reality together in a single fold of comprehension so beneficial as to transform the human nature of all its baser kind of tendency into the most idealistic form which is known as the divine.
This Volume consists of three Chapters, namely, 1,2, and 3.
The first Chapter deals with the idea of the Reality as such known as vijnana sattta. Ignorance is the cause worldliness while knowledge is that of liberation; it is not absence of knowledge but absence of it in its integrality. The ultimate object of knowledge is Siva who is of the nature of luminosity and the individual known as jiva is essentially Siva. Consciousness is autonomous in its nature. Luminosity is the basic feature of consciousness. There is the possibility of becoming one with Siva by moving from the earth to Sadasiva by way of assimilation, samavesa.
The second Chapter is concerned with deliberation on the way to Siva-hood via the pathless path. Its pathlessness lies in only the initial step suggested by the teacher with the rest of it to follow automatically. It is the kriya yoga which does not require any path to traverse along and is the path of pure consciousness where any action serves as the means of knowledge.
The third Chapter deals with Sambhavopaya. The objects get reflected clearly in a clean mirror so does the world becomes reflected in the consciousness provided it has become one with Siva. The force of consciousness is considered as inseparably connected with Siva. The relationship of inseparability between Siva and Sakti produces delight which is the cause of appearance of the world.
This work for the first time in English along with Sanskrit texts is a valuable asset for scholars, students and researchers of Philosophy, Yoga, Kashmir Saivism, Saivism, practitioners and general readers.
Professor Satya Prakash Singh is a renowned Vedic scholar. He is a Ph.D. of the Banaras Hindu University and D. Litt. of the Aligarh Muslim University; former Chairman of the Department of Sanskrit and Dean, Faculty of Arts, Aligarh Muslim University. He has been an Editorial Fellow in the Centre for Studies in Civilisations, New Delhi also Director of Dharam Hinduja International Centre of Indic Research in Delhi and Director of Vedic Research Centre in New Delhi. He is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards including Ganganath Jha Award of the Uttar Pradesh Sanskrit Academy, Rajaji Literary Award of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Swami Pranavananda Best Book of the Year Award in Psychology, Banbhatta Puraskara of Sanskrit Academy, Uttar Pradesh, besides President of India's Award of Scholar of Eminence.
His publications include: 1. Sri Aurobindo and Whitehead on the Nature of God, 2. Sri Aurobindo, Jung and Vedic Yoga, 3.Upanisadic Symbolism, 4.Vedic Symbolism, 5.Life and Vision of Vedic Seers: Visvamitra, 6. Life and Vision of Vedic Seers: Dirghatamas, 7. Vedic Vision of Consciousness and Reality. 8. Yoga From Confusion to Clarity (5 Volumes); 9. History of Yoga; 10. Life And Vision of Vedic Seer: Kavasa Ailusa; 11. Life And Vision of Vedic Seer: Dadhyan; 12.English Translation of Mahesvarananda's Mahartha-manjari; 13. English Translation of Abhinavagupta's Sri Tantraloka and Other Works (9 volumes).
Swami Maheshvarananda is an accomplished yogin besides being deeply grounded in the study of yogic literature of a variety of shades including Vedic, Tantric, Saiva, Vaisnava and Buddhist. He has been initiated in yoga practically by a reputed yogin while living in his company for quite some time in a sacred cave in western Uttar Pradesh. Co- author of Yoga From Confusion To Clarity (5 volumes); English translations of Mahesvar anand a's Mahartha-manjari and Translation of Abhinavagupta's Sri Tantraloka and Other Works (9 volumes).
Both Advaita Vedanta and Tantra find their origin in the Vedas, but their detailed analysis, commentary and propagation can be traced back to two monumental figures in our spiritual history - Adi Sankaracarya (788-820 AD) from Kerala and Acarya Abhinavagupta (915-1020 AD) from Kashmir. It is significant that we owe our knowledge of these great systems of thought to savants from the very ends of the Indian subcontinent. Kashmir Saivism or Trika Sastra is it unique branch of Indian Philosophy which occupies a very special place in OUT spiritual history. It has produced a large number of great gurus and scholars of which Acarya Abhinavagupta was pre-eminent. The astounding quality of his twelve volumes of his work on Tantra and its tremendous sweep remains a significant milestone in our spiritual tradition. Of his many works, his magnum opus is the massive Tantraloka which is virtually an encyclopedia of tantric knowledge, and locates the teaching in the mouth of Lord Siva Himself.
To the best of my knowledge the present is the first complete English translation of this colossal work rendered by the combined efforts of Professor Satya Prakash Singh and Swami Maheshvarananda with their years of practice of yoga and tantra, philosophy Eastern and Western, psychology Freudian and Jungian, Sanskrit and English. This is evident from dozens of their publications and papers ranging over areas like yoga, history and culture on A.N. Whitehead, C.G. Jung, Veda and the history of yoga, linguistics and many more. It was by virtue of deep understanding that an English translation of such a massive work as the Tantraloka could be accomplished lucidly by these scholars after a lapse of almost a millennium from the time of Abhinavagupta himself. But for Tantraloka, the disciplines of Yoga and Tantra would have remained only a dream in its relationship to philosophy and yoga. Tantraloka, indeed, by virtue of its wide and integrative attempt, would have been lost for ever to the modern world getting diminished to the state of a mere cult instead of opening the doors to the mystery of human psychology and physiology.
It would be inappropriate for me to attempt any kind of description regarding Kashmir Saivism. The great acaryas have left this rich tradition to us and it is now necessary to preserve and transmit it to future generations. The last acarya of Kashmir Saivism, Swami Lakshmanji, with whom I had a very close personal association, passed away a few years ago without nominating any successor. Although many scholars and sadhakas are practicing the Saivism discipline, it seems that the guru-sisya tradition of Kashmir Saivism has come to a close unless a new acarya emerges, which is always possible. Meanwhile, the publication of the major texts of Kashmir Saivism, especially the Tantraloka, is an important pre-requisite for students of this great philosophy in India and around the world.
I warmly congratulate Professor Satya Prakash Singh and Swami Maheshvarananda for undertaking the massive task of translating Abhinavagupta's Tantraloka and other minor works into English. Partial translations are available but, to the best of my knowledge, this is the first time that the entire corpus of Tantraloka is being presented in the original Sanskrit and a lucid English translation, I pay my homage to the great Acarya Abhinavagupta. May Param Siva bestow His blessings on us all, and thereby redeem mankind from the strife and violence that is plaguing the world. Aum Namah Sivaya.
Tantraloka means light on Tantra which literally means thread. This thread, however, happens to have been used in one of its earliest usage in the Rgveda itself in such a deep sense as understanding binding the entire reality together in a single fold of comprehension so beneficial as to transform the human nature of all its baser kind of tendency into the most idealistic form which is known as the divine. The mantra concerned advises wise men as follows:
While spreading the thread for weaving out into a piece of cloth, follow the illumination of the higher light and safeguard the path having been prepared through meditative effort. Weave out the cloth out of the ideas spun in the form of the threads setting them perfectly in an even form and thus become contemplative humans having the prospect of giving birth to the class of divine beings. (Rgveda, X.53.6)
Remarkably enough, this suggestion of the Vedic seer seems to have found out its best recipient in Abhinavagupta and that also in the form of his Tantroloka, as the epitome of wisdom screened out of the Tantras coming out of the mouth of Siva by way of response to the queries of his consort, the Goddess, an embodiment of His own creativity. Very many of the Tantras whose essence has been absorbed in the Tantroloka have disappeared by this time owing to convulsions of history to be not available to us today. On this account, the Tantroloka become all the more important for the humanity as it has embodied in it the invaluable wisdom contained in them by such a genius par excellence as Abhinavagupta, a yogin, tantrika, psychologist, philosopher and aesthetician all combined in him together.
Abhinavagupta's (950-1020 AD) ancestry goes back to Kannauj to a clan of Brahrnanas with Agastya as the name of their lineage. One eminent scholar of this clan named Atrigupta was taken to Kashmir by King Lalitaditya in course of his victory over Yasovarman, the King of Kannauj in 736 A.D. Lalitaditya was not only a great warrior but also a lover of learning. It was out of his love for learning that he took Atrigupta along with him to Kashmir. Kannauj at that time was a great centre of learning as is borne out by their migration to Bengal for conducting certain yajnas by the Sen Dynasty of kings. Atrigupta was provided with a mansion at the bank of the river Vitasta now known as Jhelum in the vicinity of a temple of Siva. This seems to have been done on account of Atrigupta's devotion to this deity. This event belongs to the eighth century AD.
It was in the lineage of Atrigupta that after a few generations was born Varahagupta, He was the grandfather of Abhinavagupta born of his son Narasimhagupta known popularly as Cukhulaka. Narasimhagupta was a highly learned pandit conversant with several branches of learning such as grammar, literature, aesthetics and the system of logic. Abhinava's mother was Vimala who died quite young in the early childhood of Abhinava. Mother being the centre of affection for a child, her demise at that early stage of Abhinava's life caused the renunciation tendency in Abhinava left solely to the care of his father for bringing him up as well as for his education.
As regards the aspect of learning, Abhinava has paid glowing tributes to his father in initiating him into all those branches of Sanskrit learning as were mastered by him. With this educational background prepared by his father along with the renunciatory tendency caused by the demise of the mother in early childhood accentuated immense love for learning in Abhinava diverting his mind from enjoyment of the luxuries of life as made available to him ancestrally in the beautiful surrounding of the land at the bank of the mighty Vitasta, particularly close to the temple of Siva with all His cultural background of renunciation and source of wisdom.
With this intellectual and spiritual background Abhinava moved from school to school and teacher to teacher in the quest for real knowledge and wisdom which might quench his thirst for more and more which might be to his full satisfaction. In keeping with this tendency and related action undertaken on his part, he has elucidated his case as a model for disciples of all times to follow the tendency of the black-bee flying from flower to flower in course of its will to find out the flower which might be most satisfactory to its sense of smell. In the land of flowers such as Kashmir, this imagery came not only to be evoked in his mind poetically but found its inculcation in his own educational career' moving from Math to Math and teacher to teacher in the quest for knowledge and understanding.
I. Abhinava's Attitude Towards the Veda
His profundity in various fields of Sanskritic literature is very much reflected in the Tantraloka throughout. Be it logic, grammar, philosophical systems including Sankhya, Yoga, Mimansa, Vedan ta, Vaisesika or Buddhism, he displays thorough understanding of all of them as is evident from their references at various places in the Tantroloka. He is also at home in regard to the Vedic literature as is evident from his reference to the Aitareya Aranyaka in Tantroloka, 111.226 where its author Mahidhara Aitareya has been identified as a manifest form of Siva and as such is said to have taken the world as a form of visarga (:), remission. This viewpoint has formed the backbone of the Saivite equation of the world with sounds of the matrka and malini series of sounds. This is also based on the Aitareya's elaborate statement regarding it where it claims that Vak or sound is as expansive as Brahman and that wherever there is Brahman, there is also the Vak.
His idea of Sakti as the all-encompassing cosmic and extra-cosmic absolute force has very much its prototype in Aditi of the Rgveda who has been described there in the Samhita as the heaven, intermediate space, mother, father and son, as all the creatures, the past, present and future all taken together. This account of her in the Samhita is obviously inclusive of her transcending the limits of space, time and causality and yet manifesting Herself as all-in-all including the conscient and inconscient, gods, goddesses as well as all the creatures of the creation, human, sub-human and superhuman. Her oneness with Vak seems to have been very much based on the Vagambhrni Hymn of the same Samhia where Ambhrni the daughter of sage Ambhrna on the ground of her experience of oneness with Vak as the all-comprehending principle narrates herself as moving in the company of all groups of gods such as Rudras, Vasus and Adityas. She claims to have strung the bow of Rudra for the sake of killing Saru, the great opponent of Brahman the principle of order and integrality behind the diversity and contrariety in the universe and to have entered into the compass of the heaven and earth, in the depth of the sea and thus to have become practically the earth itself creating the background for Abhinava to give utmost importance to it as the most concretised form of the Reality and the initial step of progress to Siva-hood.
Abhinava's entire system of breath-control has its prototype in the Katha Upanisad's idea of the same force particularly under the denomination again of the personified form of Aditi. The Upanisadic verse describes her as to have assumed the form of a diminutive sized deity indwelling the middle-most point of the body and as being worshipped by all gods and motivating the prana to move upward and apana downward. Obviously this account is suggestive of the sage's sadhana of finding out that centre in the human body which is divisive of prana and apana resulting in the upward movement of the combined and refined form of the breath along another channel of nerves known as susumna, though left unnamed here in the verse. This missing point, however, is supplemented by another hymn of the Samhita coming almost at the end of it, that is, Rgveda, X.189. In this hymn of just three verses addressed to Sarparajni as its deity there is an account of a bull of variegated colour moving in the womb of the mother and proceeding to the father from within with the combination of prana and apana assuming the form of Vak. Sarparajni, the queen of serpents as its deity is suggestive of what subsequently came to be named as kundalini, taking the form of Vak with the combination of prana and apana and rising upward towards the Father is obviously indicative of the entire course of the sadhana of awakening of kundalini and rising from the mother, the muladhara cakra as representative of the element of earth in the human body and proceeding to the Father, the ultimate source of creation as Siva. The androgenity of the bull here as a male but elsewhere as a female in the capacity of Vak as in Rgveda I.164.41 is very much suggestive of the same of Siva-Sakti as the points of start and consummation of the kundalini in the context of yogic practice. Siva's representation by His ride the bull and that of Sakti by Vak here as well as in Tantra go to confirm this interpretation to a great extent.
As regards Rudra-Siva's taking to wine and alternatively to visa, poison as in the context of the contest between gods and demons in course of churning of the ocean, this is very much obvious from Rgveda X.136, giving an account of a clan of contemplators, munis, yellowish in colour, besmearing themselves something malodorous, using air as thread to move forcefully as fast as wind, keeping long hair and drinking poison in the company of Rudra and getting intoxicated by the drink. It is explicit from these details that these munis were a group of Saivites having Rudra as their deity, practising control of breath to the extent of so much expertise as to accomplish such feats as to disappear physically from the scene at times, taking no time in moving from one place to another, keeping long hair, besmearing their bodies with something like ash, caring little to cover their bodies, keeping mute, remaining contemplating, flying in space, moving in the midst of such beings as Apsaras and Gandharvas besides wild animals. As regards the practice of taking to poison, it is interesting to note that in the Viinana Bhairava the word visa has been taken to mean the kundalini in the midst of which on the one side and on the other the practitioner of yoga has been required to move with the help of rarified breath.
In fact, the idea of arousal of the kundalini is very much implicit in the mode of pronunciation of the Vedic mantras themselves. There are mainly three accents in them, namely, udatta, anudatta and svarita. Udatta is kept unmarked in the written text while the anudatta is indicated by the underlining of the syllable concerned and svarita by a stroke at the head of it. In the recitational form, the anudatta is indicated by lowering the hand and udatta by raising it upward while the svarita by a horizontal movement of it in the middle. These movements of the hand are indicative of the lowering of the anudatta, balancing of the svarita and raising upward of the uddatta in the so rarified a form as requiring nothing to indicate to it. As a combined form of udatta and anudutta svarita's notation by the stroke at the head of the syllable is suggestive of rising of the kundalini upward in the form of the combined and rarified form of the breath. The horizontal movement of the hand in its indication is suggestive of the process of combining and balancing the two main breaths as preparatory to its surging upward. It was perhaps in view of this deep significance of the recitation of the mantras discovered in course of the state of samadhi of the seers as are said to have being lying within while seeing them that it has been kept alive deliberately for thousands of years until now in their original form all vicissitudes of history notwithstanding.
Intimately connected with this fact is the pronunciation of the mahavakya so'ham involving the individual's experience of oneness with the Ultimate Reality, i.e., Brahman. This vakya occurs for the first time in the Isa Upanisad at its mantra No. 16 recounting the experience concerned of the great seer Dadhyan Atharvana. It has come to be considered as hamsa mahamantra by Abhinava in Tantraloka XXX.71. Hamsa is an inverted form of so'ham. The hamsa has received its deeper sense from a mantra occurring in Rgveda IV.4O as the last verse of the hymn known as Hamsapadi having become famous not only on account of the pervasiveness of the swan, as the hamsa, literally means, but also on account of its structure of qualification of the hamsa by as many as fifteen adjectives all amounting to showing its pervasiveness in so many forms. It is due to this unique qualification of it that it has come to be adopted in the Katha Upanisad at V.2 exactly as it is except for addition of the word brhat at the ending raising the number of adjectives to sixteen which at various levels has been regarded as indicative of completion and perfection and hence has also been taken as the carrier of the sense of Atman, the Self in all its purity. Hamsa, swan, as a migratory bird due to its spotless white colour, capacity of flight and habit of drinking clean water, etc. has become indicatory of the Self as has been realised by Vedic seers and subsequent sages. This is the semantic aspect of its connotation. The same word in its inverted form so + ham becomes phonetically indicative of the sound produced in course of breathing-in and breathing-out respectively. Equipped with this twofold sense it has come to be elevated to the position of the mahavakya, magnificent statement in the Upanisads. On the analogy of the sound produced in course of breathing-in and breathing-out on the human level it has come to be accepted as the very principle of life obtaining throughout the entire creation and as such as the Ultimate Reality manifesting itself as all the individualities on the same scale. Since breathing is the common criterion of life serving as the basic ground of developing consciousness, regulation of it has come to be accepted as the fundamental principle of spiritual practice. All this significance of the act of breathing and its potentiality of developing into the mainstay of spiritual practice came to be realised during the Vedic period from within the austere practices of the seers of the age leading to get consolidated into the discipline of yoga with its steps of pranayama, breath- control, meditation and samadhi, exclusive absorption, etc. with its by products of the idea of the central nerve susumna, various centres of nerves on different levels of it and the kundalini, etc. as made out here already.
On account of the extreme subtlety of the matter and the consequent difficulty in its maintenance at a larger scale, austere pursuits for it began to be replaced during the later period of the Vedic age itself as represented by the Brahmanas by its exteriorised form of karmakanda involving performance of sacrifices, etc. taking the form of the main ideological stream of thinking and practices under the Vedic fold, the austere pursuits were kept alive in secret circles of yogins and Tantriks. While the main stream continued to follow the introverted path of breath-control in the form of the Aranyakas leading to the evolution of the Upanisadic thought and practices of meditation, its offshoot remained concentrated on breath and its neural mechanism resulting in what subsequently became famous in the form of Tantra and kundalini yoga. That Tantra has its root in the Veda itself is evident not only from the prevalence of its elements in the Vedic Samhitas in their denominations such as the Rgveda, Atharvaveda, etc. in the form of reference to nerves, cakras, etc. but also from a holistic reference to it in the form of the essence of it to be integrated and evolved into a system with its possibility of improvement over humanity and even its potentiality to turn into the divine. The mantra as ascribed to its authorship to Saucika reads in translation as follows:
While spreading the thread for weaving out into a piece of cloth, follow the illumination of the higher light and safeguard the path having been prepared through meditative effort. Weave out the cloth out of the ideas spun in the form of the threads setting them perfectly in an even form and thus become contemplative humans having the prospect of giving birth to the class of divine beings.
Use of the word tantu, derived as it is from the root tan, meaning the thread along with its participial form tanvan in the sense of spreading the thread, obviously amounts to convey the sense of origin of the discipline of Tantra herein. The necessity of setting the threads in a perfectly even form so as to weave out the smooth cloth with the help of the light of higher order is certainly reflective of the utmost care and use of the faculty of higher consciousness in setting the threads evenly. Apas, toil, of the singers is clearly suggestive of the effort of the original creators of the mantra bearing the ideas of higher order needing to be set side by side in a manner so as to evolve into a system of thought which may be satisfactorily acceptable to and practicable to its followers. Such is the discipline of Tantra with its emphasis on smoothness of the process of breathing, reduction of its frequency to the extent of its attenuation and even complete stoppage leading to improvement on the human nature and his attainment of the divine with his experience of oneness with Him via any of the yogic devices including the kundalini yoga in particular.
Thus, Tantra is a by-product of the Vedas taking shape of a discipline out of the introvertive tendency of the Vedic thought as different, though only partly, from the sacrificial aspect of it inasmuch as it has tried to confine the cult of sacrifice from its exteriority to interiority in the human body itself. All secret places and acts suggested to be undertaken there in those places have been withdrawn to the human body and its functions. So far as the consideration of it as a growth independent of the Veda is concerned, it has been caused by the psychology of exclusivity behind the formation of disciplines as distinct from one another partly in view of separative emphasis on the particular aspect of the discipline concerned and partly owing to assertion of the egotism of the champions of the disciplines concerned. Another significant factor involved behind this separative tendency of the human mind is the necessity of exclusiveness of concentration. This is particularly true of disciplines concerned with the problem of faith as the religious matters are concerned with. One cannot be faithful to two systems of religious natures at a time maintaining a balance. In order to be concentrated on one, it is necessary for the follower to keep the other relatively in abeyance. Just as two absolutes are not possible for the rational mind, even so more than one deity as the supreme is impossible for the faithful. If the Rgvedic seer Dirghatamas could make the well-known statement that the Reality is but one which has been conceived and named as Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, Suparna, Yama and Matrisvan, he has not displayed his equality of faith towards all of them in any other respect except for their inherence in one Existence known as Sat. The same spirit underlies Abhinava's formulation of all the deities as aspects of Siva as the Lord of consciousness with Sakti as His Force. Under such circumstances, it became necessary for him to make other gods subordinate to Him including even Visnu in spite of the Vedic assertion that while Agni is the lowest amongst gods, Visnu is the highest.
As regards the unification of gods and goddesses in Siva, that has already been done by Vedic seers, Upanisadic sages, sage Vyasa in the Bhagavadgita and even Yaska, the author of Nirukta if not with reference to Siva in particular, decidedly with reference to Atman and Brahman. Leaving apart the Upanisads and Bhagavadgita even such a sage as Yaska who, in spite of being primarily a linguist, in the seventh chapter of his Nirukta has unambiguously stated that on account of its broadness, the Atman has been prayed to by seers as gods making them as representatives of it in its different aspects making them as interchangeable amongst them on account of their functioning on the common ground of it, they become borne of themselves, of each other and of their action. Even their accessories such as rides and weapons have been suggested as having been carved out of the same. Abhinava as well has followed the suit at least in Tantraloka XV.60 to have identified Lord Siva as the colossus reservoir of water in the form of the Atman having taken a dip wherein the entire universe can attain cleanliness and purity with the prospect of purification of their followers. In verse No. 224 of the same Chapter of the text he has conceived of Him as lying above Brahma in the form of the absolute Brahman which has expanded itself in the form of the world in His various manifestations. Thus, if the Vedic seer has identified the basic stuff of the emergences of everything conscious as well as inconscient in the form of base Existence, the Upanisads, etc. in the form of consciousness including self-consciousness, as the concept of atman implies, Abhinava has understood it in all its triplicity of aspects namely, existence, consciousness and delight as involved in the personality of Siva existing, being aware of His existence and delighting in the eternally stable company of His consort Sakti, For the introduction of the sense of delight to Visnu in His aspects of existence and consciousness while in Vaisnavism there has arisen the necessity of bringing in Laksmi and her substitute Radha from outside, that necessity has become fulfilled automatically by conceiving of His consort His force or Sakti as implicit in His existence, etc. Apart from the sectoral bias quite natural for the maintenance of exclusivity of each and every dispensation of faith and spiritual practice, this invariability of relationship between Siva and Sakti is perhaps one of the fundamental reasons behind Abhinava's declaration of Vaisnavism along with the Veda and Buddhism as a relatively lower kind of religio-spiritual order.
Chapter 4 - deals with sakta Upaya - the way to attainment of the Transcendent Reality through the force of Consciousness. According to it, the nature of that Reality namely Bhairava is Consciousness. Kaulika system of practice and philosophy is the way to its entry into which is possible through meditation, yoga, japa, mantra, devotion and samadhi, the state of absorption. Sarnadhi is the state of unification of the object, subject and the process of understanding.
Chapter 5 - deals with Al'Java Upaya. It is the way of attainment of the Transcendent by the jiva with its atomicity. Reflection of the Transcendent in the intellect, prana and body is the way to it. The understanding that the Jiva is essentially Siva Himself relieves the aspirant of the sense of duality. Through expansion of his consciousness so as to become inclusive of the entire universe within him makes him one with Bhairava. By resorting himself to Siva to the core of his being he may get rid of all agitations of his mind.
Chapter 6 - analyses Essence of Time, analysis of the factor of time, kalatattva. It is Consciousness which appears in space as something external. It is the vibration of Consciousness which assumes the form of prana and gets rendered in the shape of objects and events. Apana is the moon while prana is fire. The jiva is the sun which remains the same all the time. Entrance into susumna nerve is liberative. Time is the creative force of Siva resulting in the appearance of the world.
Chapter 7 - is concerned with with the awakening and blooming of the nerve-centres known as cakras. Consciousness is one and the same in all its forms of manifestation including savikalpa and nirvikalpa. Vibration of Consciousness resulting in the movement of prana may get stopped via stoppage of the prana. Shifting from one option to the other results in vibration in Consciousness. The force of kundalini may get awakened through the application of the power of prana.
Chapter 8: This Chapter deals with the problems of manifestation of Consciousness in terms of space, termed as Desadhva. It talks of the dimension of the solar orb as amounting to something like seventy-two thousand kilometres at the periphery. The distance of the moon is stated as one lakh yojanas from the sun while the planets are said to lie at a distance of two lakh yojanas from the sun. The location of India as Bharata-varsa has been stated as towards the south of the Meru. It is said to comprise a group of nine islands, Jambudvipa being one of them. Kuman has been referred to as Kumara-dvipa. India is regarded as the only country by dwelling in which one may attain liberation. In keeping with the Vedic tradition the deity Rudra has been stated as one and yet as many. Mahavidya, the force of learning and knowledge is said to operate in two forms, matrka and vagisvari. Ida, Pingala and Susumna are said to be most important in the midst of thousands of nerves. Siva is regarded as the autonomous agent of creation, sustenance, dissolution, self-concealment and grace lying at the top of everything and discharging all these functions through the Sakti, Force.
Chapter 9: This Chapter has been termed as Tattvasvarupa Prakasanam seeking to determine the form and nature of the Reality. It starts with deliberation on causality. Mala, malady, is said to be the cause of bondage and worldliness. The pure of heart is said to lie beyond the access of malady. There is a thorough discussion on the concept of vijnanakala, mantresa, etc. There is also a reference to the concept of adrsta as proposed by the Mimansa School of Philosophy. Maya, the power of delusion, is said to be a force of Siva Himself meant for creation of semblance. There is a passing reference to the concept of transference of force, saktipata. The concept of pradhana, Nature, as admitted by the Sankhyas has been discussed at some length. Maya, Kala, Vidya, Raga, Niyati and Kala are regarded as products of the principle of Kala and are said to form the garb around the individual degrading him from Siva-hood to animality (pasu, limited experient).
This Volume has four Chapters, namely, 10, 11, 12 and 13. Chapter 10 is devoted to the analysis and enumeration of the basic essences of the system known as the path of tattvas, tattvadhvan. Siva has been determined here as prakasa ghana, sheer consciousness and hence luminous. Necessity of combination of the viewpoints of Kumarila and Prabhakar in regard to knowability of the object. Knowability and existence as correlated with each other. Definition of sakala and jnanakala, etc. Concept of mantra, mantresvara and mantra- mahesvara as forces of Siva of the nature of will, knowledge and action. Elimination of breath moments, tutis, in increasing the clarity of consciousness. There is no space for graduality in consciousness. Idea of sarvato-bhadra yogin. Features of the four states of consciousness. Chapter 11 deals with the position of time in the state of Siva being all-in-all. The number of basic essences of the system are thirty-eight including Siva Himself. Consciousness is the creatrix of the creation. It is self- luminous. It, indeed, is the space of consciousness, cid vyoma. It lies in transcendence of all the qualities of perceptibility, including smell, taste, heat, touch and sound. Elements of approach adhavan, to the Reality are nine, namely, prakrti, purusa, yati, kala, maya, vidya, lsa, Sadasiva and Siva. The alphabet is treated as the companion of consciousness. Chapter 12 is known as Anavopaya - Transformation of Individual to Siva-hood. It deals with the problem of transformation or rather restoration of the atomised individual into or to Siva. The way to this end is the offering of every event and object to Siva by way of devotion to Him culminating in his oneness with Him with all His boundlessness, eternity, purity of consciousness and the creative will, understanding and forcefulness. Chapter 13 is devoted to the idea of Saktipata, Descent of the Force of Consciousness. Ignorance is not total absence of knowledge. It is rather travesty of knowledge. Descent of Force is the state when the inhibitive force of ignorance gets eliminated by the ingression of the rays of knowledge of Siva. It is the homogeneous nature of action which on the will of Siva forms the ground for the descent of the Force of consciousness. Virtues like renunciation, etc. have little to do in this respect.
This Volume includes Chapters 14 and 15 both discuss the process of initiation. Chapter 14 is devo,ted to delibera!ion on the rite as prescribed in the Sastra. Role of Siva in the world lies in His five functions with relationship to it, namely, creation, sustenance, dissolution, concealment and grace. Body needs ~o be considered as a means to attainment of Siva-hood. Those who lurk for siddhis have lost the real goal in the fog of misunderstanding. Rising above the earth known as utkranti amounts to transcend its allurements and not flying in the air. Genuine initiation is only one which leads the disciple to attainment of Siva-hood, Chapter 15 is concerned with the procedure of initiation as prevailing in the non-dualistic Saivism, Initiation amounts to acquisition of full understanding of the system. The teacher needs to probe prior to conducting the process whether the disciple aspires for enjoyment or liberation or both. If the student be poor, the teacher needs to provide the expenses of initiation from his own side or arrange to accomplish it by means of use of only the grass known as durva. The candidate of initiation needs to take bath and put on clean dress as preparatory to enter into the procedure. Bathing with water would be considered as representing the bath from the side of the next element (i.e., water), that in sun and clean and cool air as symbolic of fire and air while that in illumination of consciousness as representative of space and consciousness itself. So would be the case with regard to mind and intellect. There are eight basic elements of creation and the modes of corresponding baths for getting cleansed as preparatory for initiation. Ascription of the two orders of the alphabet known as matrka and malini to the body of the candidate amounts to ingression of Siva and Sakti. Dik, direction, is a mere adjunct and not real. Space gets divided into them as per the locus of the disciple. Deities like Indra, Agni, Varuna, etc. are aspects of Siva, who is sheer consciousness in its pure form. Siva, indeed, is the brilliance of self- consciousness whose reflection is the expanse of the universe. Khecari mudra is known as such on account of the aspirant's movement in the space of consciousness and experience of delight therein
This Volume contains 12 chapters.
Chapter 16 deliberates on Teacher's Acts During Initiation.
Chapter 17 deals with the rite of initiation beginning from that of birth. The teacher needs to tie to the hand, throat and crest three threads tripled representing the individual, Sakti and Siva.
Chapter 18 is a summary of the statements regarding initiation as delivered by Siva and other sastras including the Kirana.
Chapter 19 deals with the procedure of initiation meant for immediate liberation. This initiation is meant for those who are close to death. The purpose behind it is to lessen the pang of death.
Chapter 20 is related to the process of Initiation of the Ignorant.
Chapter 21 topic is initiation in absentia and is meant for those who had died uninitiated, were young, women, incapacitated, idle or kings.
Chapter 22 is devoted to the account of the rite known as lingoddharana, raising the emblem of Siva.
Chapter 23 deals with rite of sacred bath.
Chapter 24 is devolved to deliberation on the post- mortem initiation.
Chapter 25 deals with the post-mortem rite according to Trika system.
Chapter 26 is devoted to determination of the rest of the duties of an aspirant of redemption as well as enjoyment particularly in the form of oblation apart to the fire.
Chapter 27 deals with the mode of worship of the emblem, Linga-Piqa.
This Volume contains two Chapters.
Chapter 28 deals with occasional and incidental rites as well as celebrations, naimittika. Such occasions have been enumerated in Tantrasara as some twenty-three. Meeting with yoginis and siddhas on such festive occasions proves eventually fruitful. In the choice of occasion for celebration, date is more important than any part of that date. Feeding of the man of real knowledge is equivalent to feeding the entire class of him. While the entire world is the food, Siva is its eater. Those who develop aspiration for Siva, have the prospect of becoming one with Him. For one who has become one with Siva, there is no difference at all in bearing the entire universe as his body or being completely rid of it.
Chapter 29 is devoted to deliberation on the system of worship in keeping with the provisions of the Kula School. The external world should be seen as illuminated by one's own consciousness and hence needs to be worshipped as such. Here is a reference to the Kulesvari Devi who assumes the form of the Great Mother both higher and lower. Siva is her hero. She needs to be worshipped in her conjugal relationship with Siva and gods as sparks emanating from her. Regarding oneself as the sacred seat of Lord Siva and hence as in dwelt by Sakti in the cakras, she should be assigned seats in it by way of according worship to her. The aspirant needs to think of himself continuously that he is nothing but a sheer conglomeration of Forces of Consciousness. There is a reference to formation of the six-sided triangle born of the result of putting two triangles one on the other and as quite favourite of yoginis. The child born of such a mating of the male and the female in which they become replete with the supramental delight, is sure to remain redeemed even while alive. He is known as yoginibhidi a child born of a yogini. The act of procreation has been characterised as the most primeval form of sacrifice. The human body is the best emblem of Siva contain as it does the three tridents first in the form of that of the void as the abode of the three goddesses known as parii, pariiparii and aparii, second in the form of breasts and the navel and the third in the form of the genitals. Besides that, it is also the abode of gods in the form of cakras functioning under the rulership of the Self.
This Volume contains eight Chapters, namely 30, 31,32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 as well as translation of 13 minor works of Abhinavagupta as appendices. Chapter 30 deals with mantras applicable to Trika system of worship. Chapter 31 is devoted to the process of formation of the circle, mandala. It speaks of sacrifice known as Diimara. Chapter 32 deals with the system of mudrti. Mudra is that which accords delight to the poser concerned. Khecari is the main amongst the mudriis. Chapter 33 is concerned with the experience of the aspirant's oneness with the whole of the world. Chapter 34 indicates to the way of entry into Siva-hood which is the essential nature of the individual. Chapter 35 deals with the problem of concordance of all scriptural provisions on a certain point. Chapter 36 is devoted to the tracing of the tradition of Saivism. Chapter 37 is the last one of the entire enterprise which is addressed to his supreme Lord Siva with the prayer that it is by virtue of His stimulation that the work has reached this end and that therefore it is He Himself who is prayed for giving solace to all those who may go through it.
This Volume contains Glossary of technical words of Tantric terminology and Important Kashmir Savism Texts with English translation, which would be helpful for general readers and researchers as well as sincere practitioners. Literally Tantra means thread and happens to have been used in one of the earliest usage in the Rgveda (X.53.6) itself in such a deep sense as understanding binding the entire reality together in a single fold of comprehension so beneficial as to transform the human nature of all its baser kind of tendency into the most idealistic form which is known as the divine.
Tantric literatures are difficult texts and many words are in twilight language, sandhya bhasa. This volume is specially created for the understanding of meaning of such words for the benefit of general readers, practitioners, students, researchers, scholars and teachers. Also included in this Volume IX are English translations of the following Kashmir Savism Sanskrit texts:
l.Meditation methods from Sri Malinivijayottara Tantra; 2. Vijiuina Bhairva; s.s« Svacchanda Tantra, Chapter VII (Selected verses); 4.Sri Netra Tantra, Chapters VII and VIII (Selected verses); 5. Siva Sutra. Finally, we conclude with the definition and vision of Tantra from the Rgveda. WhiLe spreading the thread for weaving out into a piece of cloth, follow the illumination of the higher light and safeguard the path having been prepared through meditative effort. Weave out the cloth out of the ideas spun in the form of the threads setting them perfectLy in an even form and thus become contemplative humans having the prospect of giving birth to the class of divine beings.
We hope that this work which took us almost three years to accomplish would be appreciated and accepted by the readers.
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