Shakti and Shakta

by John Woodroffe | 1929 | 243,591 words

A collection of papers and essays addressing the Śakti aspect of the Śākta school of Hindu philosophy by John Woodroffe, also known as Arthur Avalon....

Chapter IV - Tantra Śāstra and Veda

IN writing this Chapter I have in mind the dispute which some have raised upon the quesiton whether the Āgamas, or some of them, are Vaidik or non-Vaidik.

I do not here deal with the nature and schools of Tantra or Āgama nor with their historical origin. Something has been said on these points in the Introductions to the English translations of Pandit Śiva Candra Vidyāṇava’s Trantratattva. I have also dealt with this subject in the two Chapters, “What are the Tantras and their significance?” and “Śakti and Śākta.” I wish to avoid

repetitions, except so far as is absolutely necessary for the elucidation of the particular subject in hand. On the disputed question whether the Āgamas are Vaidik or nonVaidik I desire to point out that an answer cannot be given unless we keep apart two distinct matters, viz., (1) what was the origin of the Āgamas and (2) what they are now. I am not here, however, dealing with the first or historical question, but with the second so far as the Śākta Āgama is understood. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that (to take a specific example) worship of Kālīand other Devīs by the Śāktas indicates the existence of non-Aryan elements in their Āgama. The question of real importance here, as always, is not as to what were the facts in remote past ages, but what they are now. The answer then is— let it be as you will regarding the origin of the Śākta Āgama; but at present Śākta worship is an integral part of the general Hinduism and as such admits the authority of Veda, accepting, as later explained, every other belief held by the general body of the Hindu people.

In a recent prosecution under Sections 292, 293 of the Indian Penal Code against an accused who had published a Tantra (but who was rightly acquitted), an Indian Deputy Magistrate who had advised the prosecution, and who claimed to be an orthodox Hindu, stated (I am informed) in the witness box, that he could not define what the Tantra Śāstra was, or state whether it was a Hindu scripture of the Kali age, or whether a well-known particular Śāstra shown to him was one of the Tantras. Such ignorance is typical of many at the present time and is a legacy from a vanishing age. How is it that a Śāstra which has had its followers throughout India from the Himālaya (the abode of Śiva and of PārvatīDevī), to Cape Cornorin (a corruption of Kumārī Devī) which ruled for centuries, so that we may speak of a Tāntrik epoch; which even to-day governs the household and temple ritual of every Hindu; how is it that such a Śāstra has fallen into complete neglect and disrepute amongst the larger body of the English-educated community? I remember a time when mention of the Śāstra was only made (I speak of course of the same class) with bated breath; and when any onc who concerned himself therewith became thereby liable to the charge of giving licentious sway to drink and women. The anewer is both a general and particular one. In the finst place the English-educated people of this country were formerly almost exclusively, and later to a considerable extent, under the sway of their English educators. In fact they were in. a sense their creation. They were, and some of them still are, the Mānasaputra of the English. For them what was English and Western was the mode. Hindu religion, philosophy and art were only, it was supposed, for the so-called “uneducated” women and peasants and for native Pandits who, though learned in their futile way, had not received the illuminating advantages of a Western training. In my own time an objection was (I am informed) taken by Indian Fellows of the Calcutta University to the appointment of the learned Pandit Chandrakānta Tarkālaṅkāra to a chair of Indian philosophy on the ground that he was a mere native Pandit. In this case English Fellows and the then Vice-Chancellor opposed this absurd and snobbish objection. When the authority of the English teachers was at its highest, what they taught was law, even though their judgments were, in respect of Indian subjects of which they had but a scant and imperfect knowledge, defective. If they said with, or in anticipation of, one Professor, that the Vedas were “the babbling of a child humanity” and the Brāhmanas “the drivel of madmen,” or with another that the thought of the Upanishads was so “low” that it could not he correctly rendered in the high English langnagethat in “treating of Indian philosophy a writer has to deal with thoughts of a lower order than the thoughts of the every-day life of Europe;” that Smṛti was mere priestly tyranny, the Purāṇas idle legends and the Tantras mere wickedness and debauchery; that Hindu philosophy was (to borrow another English Professor’s language concerning the Sāṅkhya) “with all its folly and fanaticism little better than a chaotic impertinence;” and that Yoga was, according to .the same man of learning, “the fanatical vagaries of theocracy;” that Indian ritual was nothing but superstition, mummery, and idolatry, and (Indian) art, inelegant, monstrous, and grotesque—all this was with readiness accepted as high learning and wisdom, with perhaps here and these an occasional faint, and even apologetic, demur. I recollect in this connection a rather halting, and shamefaced, protest by the late Rajendra Lala Mitra. I do not say that none of these or other adverse criticisms had any ground whatever. There has been imperfection, folly, superstition, wickedness, here as elsewhere. There has been much of it, for example, in the countries whence these critics of India came. It is, however, obvious that such criticisms are so excessive ss to be absurd.

Even when giving an account of Eastern thought the Western is apt to take up a “superior” attitude because he believes himself to be superior. The Bishop of Durham very clearly reveals this sense of superiority (“Christian Aspects of Life” by B. F. Westcott, 176) when after stating that the duty of the Christian missionary was to substitute for “the sterile theism of Islam and the shadowy vagueness of Hindu Philosophy a belief in a living and speaking God” he goes on to point out that “our very advantages” by way of “the consciousness of social and intellectual superiority with which we are filled” and “the national force which sets us as conquerors where we come as evangelists” constitute a danger in the mission field. It is this notion of “superiority” also which prevent a right understanding, and which notwithstanding the facts, insists on charges which, if established, would maintain the reputation for inferiority of the coloured races. It is this reiterated claim to superiority that has hypnotized many persons amongst Eastern races into the belief that the European is, amongst other things, always a safe and learned critic even of their own beliefs and practices.

Rājā Rammohan Roy was the first to take up the cause of his faith, divorcing it from the superstitious accretions which gather around all religions in the course of the ages. The same defence was made in recent times by that man of upstanding courage, SvāmīVivekānanda. Foreign criticism on Indian religion now tends in some quarters to greater comprehension. I say in some quarters; for even in quite recent years English books have been published which would be amazing, were one not aware of the deep ignorance and prejudice which exist on the subject. In one of these books the Hindu religion is described as “a mixture of nightmare nonsense and time-wasting rubbish fulfilling no useful purpose whatever: only adding to the general burden of existence borne by Humanity in its struggle for existence.” In another it is said to be “a weltering chaos of terror, darkness, and uncertainty.” It is a religion without the apprehension of a moral evolution, without definite commandments, without a religious sanction in the sphere of morals, without a moral code and without a God: such so-called God, as there is, being “a mixture of Bacchus, Don Juan and Dick Turpin.” It is there further described as the most material and childishly superstitious animalism that ever masqueraded as idealism; not another path to God but a pit of abomination as far set from God as the mind of man can go; staggering the brain of a rational man; filling his mind with wild contempt for his species and which has only endured “because it has failed.” Except for the purpose of fanatical polemic, one would assume that the endurance of a faith was in some measure the justification of it. It is still more wonderful to learn from this work (“The Light of India” written by Mr. Harold Begbie and published by the Christian Literature Society for India) that out of this weltering chaos of all that is ignominious, immoral and crassly superstitious, come forth men who (in the words of the author) “standing at prayer startle you by their likeness to the pictures of Christ—eyes large, luminous and tranquil—the whole face exquisite with meekness and majestic with spirit.” One marvels how these perfect men arise from such a worthless and indeed putrescent source. This absurd picture was highly coloured in a journalistic spirit and with a purpose. In other cases, faulty criticism is due to supercilious ignorance. As another writer says (the italics are mine) “For an Englishman to get a plain statement of what Brahmanism really means is far from easy. The only wonder is that people who have to live on nine pence a week, who marry when they are ten years old, are prevented from caste life from rising out of what is often, if not always, a degraded state, have any religion at all.” As the Bishop of Peterborough has recently said it is difficult for some to estimate worth in any other terms than £..s. d. It is to be hoped that all such snobbish materialism will be hindered from entrance into this country. These quotations reveal the depths of ignorance and prejudice which still exist. As we are however aware, all English criticism is not as ignorant and prejudiced as these, even though it be often marred by essential error. On the contrary there are an increasing number who appreciate and adopt, or appreciate if they cannot accept, Indian beliefs. Further than this, Eastern thought is having a marked influence on that of the West, though it is not often acknowledged. Many have still the notion that they have nothing to learn in any domain from this hemisphere. After all, what any one else says should not affect the independence of our own judgment. Let others say what they will. We should ourselves determine matters which concern us. The Indian people will do so when they free themselves from that hypnotic magic, which makes them often place blind reliance on the authority of foreigners, who, even when claiming to be scholars, are not always free from bias, religious or racial. Such counsel, though by no means unnecessary to-day, is happily becoming less needed than in the past.

There are, however, still many Indians, particularly those of my own generation, whose English Gurus and their teaching have made them captives. Their mind has been so dominated and moulded to a Western manner of thinking (philosophical, religious, artistic, social and political) that they have scarcely any greater capacity to appreciate their own cultural inheritance than their teachers, be that capacity in any particular case more or less. Some of them care nothing for their Śāstra. Others do not understand it.

The class of whom I speak are, in fact, as I have said, the Mānasaputra of the English in a strict sense of the term. The Indian who has lost his Indian soul must regain it if he would retain that independence in his thought and in the ordering of his life which is the mark of a man, that is of one who seeks Svarājyasiddhi. How can an imitator be on the same level as his original! Rather he must sit as a Chelā at the latter’s feet. Whilst we can all learn something from one another, yet some in this land have yet to learn that their cultural inheritance with all its defects (and none is without such) is yet a noble one; an equal in rank, (to say the least), with those great past civilizations which have moulded the life and thought of the West. All this has been admitted by Indians who have discernment. Such value as my own remarks possess, is due to the fact that I can see and judge from without as an outsider, though (I will admit in one sense) interested observer—interested because I have at heart Indian welfare and that of all others which, as the world now stands, is bound up with it.

As regards the Tantra Śāstra in particular, greater ignorance prevailed and still exists. Its Vāmācāra practice, however, seemed so peculiar, and its abuses were so talked of, that they captured attention to the exclusion of everything else; the more particularly that this and the rest of the Śāstra is hard to understand. Whilst the Śāstra provides by it’s Ācāras for all types from the lowest to the most advanced, its essential concepts, under whatever aspect they are manifested, and into whatever pattern they are woven, are (as Professor De La Vallee Poussion says of the Buddhist Tantra) of a metaphysical and subtle character. Indeed it is largely because of the subtlety of its principles, together with the difficulties which attend ritual exposition, that the study of the Tantras, notwithstanding the comparative simplicity of their Sanskrit, has been hitherto neglected by Western scholars. Possibly it was thought that the practices mentioned rendered any study of a system, in which they occurred, unnecessary. There was and still is some ground for the adverse criticism which has been passed on it. Nevertheless it was not a just appreciation of the Śāstra as a whole, nor even an accurate judgment in respect of the particular ritual thus singled out for condemnation. Let those condemn this Śāstra who will. That is their affair. But let them first study and understand it.

I have dealt with the subject of the Tantras in several papers. It is only necessary here to say that “the Tantra” as it is called was wrongly considered to be synonymous with the Śākta Tantras; that in respect of the latter the whole attention was given to the Vāmācāra ritual and to magic (Ṣaṭkarma)that this ritual, whatever may in truth be said against it, was not understood; that it was completely ignored that the Tantras contained a remarkable philosophic presentment of religious teaching, profoundly applied in a ritual of psychological worth; and that the Śāstras were also a repertory of the alchemy, medicine, law, religion, art and so forth of their time. It was sufficient to mention the word “Tantra” and there was supposed to be the end of the matter.

I have often been asked why I had undertaken the study of the Tantra Śāstra, and in some English (as opposed to Continental) quarters it has been suggested that my time and labour might be more worthily employed. One answer is this:—Following the track of unmeasured abuse I have always found something good. The present case is no exception. I protest and, have always protested against unjust aspersions upon the Civilization of India and its peoples. If there be what is blameworthy, accuracy requires that criticism should be reduced to its true proportions. Having been all my life a student of the world’s religions and philosophies, I entered upon a particular study of this Śāstra to discover for myself what it taught, and whether it was, as represented, a complete reversal of all other Hindu teaching with which I was acquainted. For it was said to be the cultivation or practice of gluttony, lust, and malevolence (“ferocity, lust, and mummery” as Brian Hodgson called it) which I knew the Indian Śāstra, like all the other religious Scriptures of the world, strictly forbid.

I found that the Śāstra was of high inlportance in the history of Indian religion. The ‘Tantra Śāstra or Āgama is not, as some seem to suppose, a petty Śāstra of no account; one, and an unimportant sample, of the multitudinous manifestations of religion in a country which swarms with every form of religious sect. It is on the contrary with Veda, Smṛti and Puraṇa one of the foremost important Śāstras in India, governing, in various degrees and ways, the temple and household ritual of the whole of India to-day and for centuries past. Those who are so strenuously averse to it, by that very fact recognize and fear its influence. From a historical point of view alone, it is worthy of study as an important part of Indian Culture, whatever be its intrinsic worth. History cannot be written if we exclude from it what we do not personally like. As Terence grandly said:—“We are men and nothing which man has done is alien to us.” There are some things in some of the Tantras and a spirit which they manifest of which their student may not personally approve. But the cause of history is not to be influenced by personal predilections. It is so influenced in fact. There are some who have found in the Śāstra a useful weapon of attack against Indian religion and its tendencies. Should one speak of the heights which Indian spiritual experience has reached, one might be told that the infamous depths to which it had descended in the Tantra Śāstra, the Puṣṭimārga, the Vaiṣṇava Sahajīya and so forth were more certainly established. Did one praise the high morality to be found in Indian Śāstra, it might be admitted that India was not altogether destitute of the light of goodness; but it might be asked, what of the darkness of the Tantra? And so on and so forth. Let us then grapple with and not elude the objection. There was of course something in all this. But such objectors and others had not the will (even if they had the capacity to understand) to give a true presentment of the teachings of the Śāstra. But the interests of fairness require both. Over and above the fact that the Śāstra is an historical fact, it possesses, in some respects, an intrinsic value which justifies its study. Thus it is the storehouse of Indian occultism. This occult side of the Tantras is of scientific importance, the more particularly having regard to the present revived interest in occultist study in the West. “New thought” as it is called and kindred movements are a form of Mantravidyā. Vashīkaraṇam is hypnotism, fascination. There is “Spiritualism” and “Powers” in the Tantras and so forth. For myself, however, the philosophical and religious aspect of the Scripture is more important still. The main question for the generality of men is not “Powers” (Siddhi). Indeed the study of occultism and its practice has its dangers; and the pursuit of these powers is considered an obstacle to the attainment of that true Siddhi which is the end of every Śāstra. A subject of greater interest and value is the remarkable presentation of Vedantic knowledge which the Śākta

Tantra in particular gives (I never properly understood the Vedānta until after I had studied the Tantras) as also the ritual by which it is sought to gain realization (Aparokṣanjñāna). The importance of the Śākta Tantra may be summed up by the statement that it is a Sādhana Śāstra of Advaitavāda. I will develop this last matter in a future paper. I will only say now that the .main question of the day everywhere is how to realize practically the truths of religion, whatever they be. This applies to all, whether Hindu, Mohamedan or Christian. Mere philosophical speculation and talk will avail nothing beyond a clarification of intellect. But, that, we all know, is not enough. It is not what we speculate about but what we are, which counts. The fundamental question is, how to realize (Sākṣātkāra) religious teaching. This is the fruit of Sādhanā alone; whether the form of that Sādhanā be Christian, Hindu, Mohamedan, Buddhist or what else. The chief, Sāhanaśāstra for the orthodox Hindu is the Tantra Śāstra or Āgama in its varying schools. In this fact lies its chief significance, and for Hindus its practical importance. This and the Advaitavāda on which the Śākta ritual rests is in my opinion the main reason why Śākta Darśana or doctrine is worthy of study.

The opinion which I had formed of the Shbtra (?) has been corroborated by several to whom I had introduced the matter. I should like to quote here the last letter I had only a month ago from an Indian friend, both Sanskritist and philosopher (a combination too rare). He says “they (the Tantras) have really thrown before me a flood of new light. So much so, that I really feel as if I have discovered a new world. Much of the mist and haziness has now been cleared away and I find in the Tantras not only a great and subtle philosophy but many of the missing links. in the development of the different systems of Hindu philosophy which I could not discover before but which I have been seeking for, for some years past.” These statements might perhaps lead some to think that the Śāstra teaches something entirely, that is in every respect, new. As regards fundamental doctrines, the Tantra Śāstra (for convenience I confine myself to the Śākta form) teaches much which is to be found in the Advaita Vedānta. Therefore those who think that they will find in the Śāstra some fundamental truths concerning the world which are entirely new will be disillusioned. The observation does not apply to some doctrinal teaching, presentment, methods, and details, to which doubtless my friend’s letter referred. He who has truly understood Indian Śāstras as a whole will recognize, under variety of form and degree of spiritual advancement, the same substance by way of doctrine.

Whilst the Śākta Tantra recognizes, with the four Vedas, the Āgamas and Nigamas, it is now based, as are all other truly Indian Śāstras on Veda. Veda, in the sense of Knowledge, is ultimately Spiritual Experience, namely Cit which Brahman is, and in the one partless infinite Ocean of Which the world, as a limited stress in Consciousness arises. So it is said of the Devī in the Commentary on the Trishatīti:—

Vedāntamahāvākya-janya sākātkāra-rūpa-brahmavidyā.

She is Brahman-knowledge (Brahmavidyā) in the form of direct realization produced by the Vedāntic great saying (Mahāvākya)—that is “Tat tvam asi” (“That thou art”) and all kindred sayings So’ham, (“He I am”), Brahāsmi (“I am Brahman”) and so forth. In other words, Selfknowledge is self-luminous and fundamental and the basis of all other knowledge. Owing to its transcendency it is beyond both prover and proof. It is self-realized (Svānubhava). But Śruti is the source from which this knowledge arises, as Śaṅkara says, by, removing (as also to some extent reason may do) false notions concerning it. It reveals by removing the superincumbent mass of human error. Again, Veda in a primary sense is the world as Idea in the Cosmic Mind of the creating Brahman and includes all forms of knowledge. Thus it is eternal, arising with and as the Saṃskāras at the beginning of every creation. This is the Vedamūrtibrahman. Veda in the secondary sense is the various partial revelations relating to Tattva, Brahman or God, and Dharma, morality, made at different times and places to the several Ṛṣis which are embodied in the four Vedas, Ṛk, Yajus, Sāma and Atharva. Veda is not coextensive therefore with the four Vedas. But are these, even if they be regarded as the “earliest,” the only (to use an English term) revelations? Revelation (Ākāśavāṇī) never ceases. When and wherever there is a true Ṛṣi or Seer there is Revelation. And in this sense the Tantra Śāstra or Āgama claims to be a Revelation. The Śabdabrahmamūrti is Nigamādiśāstramaya: it being said that; Āgama is the Paramātmā of that Mūrti, the four Vedas with their Aṅgas are its Jīvātma; the six philosophies its Indriyas ; the Purāṇas and Upapurāṇas its gross body; Smṛti its hands and other limbs and all other Śāstras are the hairs of its body. In the Heart-lotus are the fifty Tejomayī Mātṛkā. In the pericarp are the Āgamas glittering like millions of suns and moons which are Sarvadharmamaya, Brahmajñānamaya, Sarvasiddhimaya, and Mūrtimān. These were revealed to the Ṛṣis. In fact all Śāstras are said to constitute one great many-millioned collection (Śatakoṭi Saṃhitā) each being particular manifestations to man of the one, essential Veda. From this follows the belief that they do not contradict, but are in agreement with, one another for Truth is one whatever be the degree in which it is received, or the form in which the Seers (Ṛṣis) promulgated it to those whose spiritual sight has not strength enough to discern it directly and for themselves. But how, according to Indian notions, can that which is put forward as a Revelation be shown to be such? The answer is that of Āyurveda. A medicine is a good one if it cures. In the same way a Śāstra is truly such if the Siddhi which it claims to give is gained as the fruit of the practice of its injunctions, according to the competency and under the conditions prescribed. The principle is a practical and widely adopted one. The tree must be judged by its fruit. This principle may, if applied to the general life of to-day, lead to an adverse judgment on some Tāntrik practices. If so, let it be. It is, however, an error to suppose that even such practices as have been condemned, claim to rest on any other basis than Veda. It is by the learned in Tantra Śāstra said to be ignorance (Avidyā) to see a difference between Āgama and Veda.

Ignorant notions prevail on the subject of the relation of the Tantras to Veda and the Vedas. I read some years ago in a Bengali book by a Brahmo author that “the difference was that between Hell and Heaven.” Now on what is such a condemnatory comparison based? It is safe to challenge production of the proof of such an assertion. Let us examine what the Śākta Tantra (to which allusion was made) teaches.

In the first placr “Hell” recognizes “Heaven,” for the Śākta Tantra, as I have said, acknowledged the authority of Veda. All Indian Śāstras do that. If they did not, they would not be Indian Śāstra. The passages on this point are so numerous, and the point itself is so plain that I will only cite a few.

Kulārṇava Tantra says (II. 85, 140, 141) that Kuladharma is based on and inspired by the Truth of Veda. Tasmāt vedātmakam śāstram viddhi kaulātmakam priye. In the same place Śiva cites passages from Śruti in support of His doctrine. The Prapañcasāra and other Tantras cite Vaidika Mahāvākya and Mantras; and as Mantras are a part of Veda, therefore, Meru Tantra says that Tantra is part of Veda (Prāṇatoṣiṇī 70). Niruttara Tantra calls Tantra the Fifth Veda and Kūlācāra is named the fifth Āśrama (ib); that is it follows all others. Matsyasūktamahātantra (XIII) says that the disciple must be pure of soul (Śuddhātmā) and a knower of Veda. He who is devoid of Vaidika-kriyā (Vedakriyā-viva jita) is disqualified (Mahārudrayāmala, I Khaṇḍa, Ch. 15 ; II Khaṇḍa, Ch. 2 ; Prāṇatoṣiṇī 108). Gandharva Tantra (Ch. 2, Prāṇatoṣiṇī 6) says that the Tāntrik Sādhaka must be a believer in Veda (Āstika), ever attached to Brahman, ever speaking of Brahman, living in Brahman and taking shelter with Brahman; which, by the way, is a queer demand to make of those, the supposed object of whose rites is mere debauchery. The Kulārṇava says that there is no knowledge higher than that of Veda and no doctrine equal to Kaula (III. 113, Nahi vedādhikā vidyā na kaula-samadarśanam). Here a distinction is drawn between Veda which is Vidyā and the Kaula teaching which he calls Darshana. See also Mahānirvāṇa Tantra (I. 18, 19; II. 8—15). In Mahānirvāṇa Tantra (III. 72) the Mantra Oṃ saccidekam Brahma is given and in the Prapañcasāra (Ch. XXIX) this (what it calls) “Secret of the. Vedas” is explained.

That the Śākta Tantra claims to be based on Veda admits of no doubt. In fact Kulluka Bhaṭṭa, the celebrated commentator on Manu, says that Śruti is of two kinds, Vaidik and Tāntrik.

Vaidikītāntrīkī chaiva dvividhā śrutiḥ kīrtitā.

It is of course the fact that different sects bandy words upon the point whether they in fact truly interpret Śruti and follow practice conformable to it. Statements are made by opposing schools that certain Śāstras are contrary to Śruti even though they profess to be based thereon. So a citation by Bhāskararāya in the Commentary to V. 76 of the Lalitāsahasranāma speaks of some Tantras as “opposed to Veda” (Vedaviruddhāni). The Vāyu Saṃhitāsays “Shaivāgama is twofold, that which is based on Śruti and that which is not. The former is composed of the essence of Śruti. Śrauta is Svatantra and Itara (v. ante p. 19).

Shaivāgamo’pi dvividhah, śrauto’ śrautaś cha saṃsmrita
Śrutisāramayaḥ śrautaḥsvatantrastvitaro mataḥ.

So again the Bhāgavata or Pañcarātra Āgama has been said to be non-Vaidik. This matter has been discussed by Śaṅkarācārya and Rāmānuja following Yamunācārya.

We must in all cases distinguish between what a school says of itself and what others say of it. In Christianity both Catholicism and Protestantism claim to be based on the Bible and each alleges that the other is a wrong interpretation of it. Each again of the numerous Protestant sects says the same thing of the others.

But is Śākta Tantra contrary to Veda in fact? Let us shortly survey the main points in its doctrine. It teaches that Paramātmā Nirguṇa Śiva is Saccidānanda (Prapañcasāra, Ch. XXIX: Kulārṇava, Ch. I, vv. 6-7). Kulārṇava says “Śiva is the impartite Supreme Brahman, the All-knowing (Sarvajña) Creator of all. He is the Stainless One and the Lord of all. He is One without a second (Advaya). He is Light itself. He changes not, and is without beginning or end. He is attributeless and above the highest. He is Saccidānanda” (I. 6-7. And see the Dhyāna and Pañcaratnastotra in Mahānirvāṇa Tantra III. 50, 59-63). Brahman is Saccidānanda, Eternal (Nitya), Changeless (Nirvikāra), Partless (Niṣkala), Untouched by Māyā (Nirmala), Attributeless (Nirguṇa), Formless (Arūpa), Imperishable (Akṣara), All-spreading like space (Vyomasannibha), self-illuminating (Svayamjyotiḥ), Reality (Tattva) which is beyond mind and speech and is to be approached through spiritual feeling alone (Bhāvanāgamya) (Kulārṇava I. 6-8,; III. 92, 93; IX. 7). Mahānirvāṇa (III. 50, 59-63, 67-68,74; III. 12). In His aspect as the Lord (Īśvara) of all, He is the All-knower (Sarvajña) Lord of all: whose Body is pure Sattva (Shuddhasattvamaya), the Soul of the universe (Vishvātmā) (Mahānirvāṇa I. 61, III. 68). Such definitions simply re-affirm the teaching of Veda. Brahman is That which pervades without limit the Universe (Prapañcasāra XXIX; Mahānirvāṇa III. 33-35) as oil the sesamum seed (Śāradā Tilaka I, Śāktābnandataraṅgi ṇi I, Prāṇatoṣiṇi 13). This Brahman has two-fold aspect as Parabrahma (Nirguṇa, Niṣkala) and Shabdabrahrnan (Saguṇa, Sakala). Sammohana, a highly interesting Tantra, says (Ch. I) that Kubjikā is of two-fold aspect, namely, Niṣkala when She is Chandra-vaktrā, and Sakalā when called Paramukhī. So too is Guhyakālī who as the first is Ekavaktrāmahāpaśupatiśi advaitabhāvasampannā and as the second Daśavaktrā. So the Kulārṇava says Śabdabrahmaparamabrahmabhedena Brahmāno dvaividhyam uktam (Khaṇḍa V, Ullāsa I). The same Tantra says that Sadāśiva is without the bonds (of Māyā) and Jīva is with them (Pāśabaddho bhavej jīvah pāśamuktah Sadāśivahi, IX. 42) upon which the author of the Prāṇatoṣiṇi citing this passage says “thus the identity of Jīva and Śiva is shown (iti Śivajīvayoraikyam uktam). The Śākta Tantra is thus Advaitavāda: for it proclaims that Paramātmā and Jīvātmā are one. So it affirms the “grand words” (Mahāvākya) of Veda—“Tat tvam asi,” “So’ham,” “Brahmāsmi” (Mahānirvāṇa VIII. 264-265, V. 105 Prapañcaṣāra II; identifying Hrīṃ with Kuṇḍalī and Haṃsaḥ and then with So’ham. Yaḥ Sūkṣmaḥ So’ham (ib. XXIV, Jnānārṇava Tantra XXI. 10. As to Brahmāsmi, see Kulārṇava IX. 32 and ib. 41 So’hambhāvena pūjayet). The Mantra “all this is surely Brahman” (Sarvam khalvidam Brahma) is according to the Mahānirvāṇa (VII. 98) the end and aim of Tāntrika Kulācāra, the realization of which saying the Prapañcasāra Tantra describes as the fifth or Supreme State (Ch. XIX)for the identity of Jīvātmā and Paramātmā is Liberation which the Vedāntasāra defines to be Jīvabrahmanoraikyam). Kulārṇava refers to the Advaita of which Śiva speaks (Advaitantu śivenoktam I. 108. See also Mahānirvāṇa II. 33-34; III. 33-35; 50-64; Prapañcasāra II, XIX, XXIX). Gandharva Tantra says that the Sādhaka must be a nondualist (Dvaitahīna). (See Ch. II. ib. Prāṇatoṣiṇi 108; Mahārudrayāmala I Khaṇḍa, Ch. 15; II Khaṇḍa, Ch. 2.) It is useless to multiply quotations on this point of which there is no end. In fact that particular form of worship which has earned the Śākta Tantras ill-fame claims to be a practical application of Advaitavāda. The Sammohana Tantra (Ch. VIII) gives high praise to the philosopher Śaṅkarācārya saying that He was an incarnation of Śiva for the destruction of Buddhism. Kaulācārya is said to properly follow a full knowledge of Vedāntic doctrine. Śiva in the Kulārṇava (I. 110) says “some desire dualism (Dvaita), others nondualism (Advaita) but my truth is beyond both (Dvaitādvaitavivarjita).”

Advaitavedānta is the whole day and life of the Śākta Sādhaka. On waking at dawn (Brahmamūhurta) he sits on his bed and meditates “I am the Devī and none other.

I am Brahman who is beyond all grief. I am a form of Saccidānanda whose true nature is eternal Liberation.”

Ahaṃ Devī na chānyo’smi, Brahmaivāham na shokabhāk,
Saccidānandarūpo’ham nityamuktasvabhāvavān.

At noon again seated in Pūjāsana at time of Bhūtaśuddhi he meditates on the dissolution of the Tattvas in Paramātmā. Seeing no difference between Paramātmā and Jīvātmāhe affirms Sā’ham “I am She.” Again in the evening after ritual duties he a ffirms himself to be the Akhilātmā and Saccidānanda, and having so thought he sleeps. Similarly (I may here interpose) in the Buddhist Tantra—the Sādhaka on rising in the state of Devadeha (hLayi-sku) imagines that the double drums are sounding in the heavens proclaiming the Mantras of the 24 Vīras (dPahvo), and regards all things around him as constituting the Maṇḍala of himself as Buddha Vajrasattva. When about to sleep he again imagines his body to be that of Buddha Vajrasattva and then merges himself into the tranquil state of the Void (Śūyatā).

Gandharva Tantra says “having saluted the Guru as directed and thought ‘So’ham’ the wise Sādhaka the performer of the rite should ponder the unity of Jīva and Brahman.”

Gurūn natvā vidhānena so’ham iti purodhasaḥ
Aikyam saṃbhāvayed dhīmān jīvasya Brahmaṇo’pi cha.

Kālī Tantra says “Having meditated in this way, a Sādhaka should worship Devī as his own Ātmā, thinking I am Brahman.” Kubjikā Tantra says (Devī is called Kubjikā because She is Kuṇḍalī) “A Sādhaka should meditate on his own Self as one and the same with Her” (Tayā sahitam ātmānam ekībhūtam vichintayet): and so on.

The cardinal doctrine of these Śākta Tantras is that of Śakti,whether in its Svarūpa (that is, as It is in Itself) as Cidrūpiṇi the Parāprakṛti of Paramātmā (Mahānirvāṇa IV. 10) or as Māyā and Prakṛti (see as to the latter the great Hymn to Prakṛti in Prapañcasāra, Ch. XI). Śakti as the KubjikāTantra says (Ch. I) is Consciousness (Caitanyarūpiṇi) and Bliss (Ānandarūpiṇi). She is at the same time support of (Guṇāśrayā) and composed of the Guṇas (Guṇamayī). Māyā is however explained from the standpoint of Sādhanā, the Tantra Śāstra being a Sādhana Śāstra, and not according to the Māyāvāda, that is; transcendental standpoint, of Śaṅkara.

What is there in the great Devī Sūkta of the Ṛgveda (Maṇḍala X, Sūkta 125) which the Śākta Tantra does not teach? The Ṛṣi of this revelation was a woman the daughter of Ṛṣi Ambhṛṇa. It was fitting that a woman should proclaim the Divine Motherhood. Her Hymn says “I am the Sovereign Queen the Treasury of all treasures; the chief of all objects of worship whose all-pervading Self all Devatās manifest; whose birthplace is in the midst of the causal waters: who breathing forth gives form to all created worlds and yet extends beyond them, so vast am I in greatness.” (The full Hymn is translated in the French Edition of A. and E. Avalon’s “Hymns to the Goddess.” Bossard Paris.)

It is useless to cite quotations to show that the Śākta Tantra accepts the doctrine of Karma which as the Kulārṇava (IX. 125) says Jīva cannot give up until he renounces the fruit of it; an infinite number of universes, and their transitoriness (Mahānirvāṇa III. 7), the plurality of worlds, Heaven and Hell, the seven Lokas, the Devas and Devīs, who as the Kulachūḍāmaṇi Nigama (following the DevīSūkta) says (Ch. I) are but parts of the great Śakti (Śāktānandataraṅgiṇī III). Being Advaitavāda, Mokṣa the state of Liberation and so forth is Paramātmā. It accepts Smṛti and Purāṇas; the Mahānirvāṇa and other Tantras saying that they are the governing Śāstras of the Tretā and Dvāpara ages respectively, as Tantra is that of the Kaliyuga. So the Tārāpradīpa (Ch. I) says that in the Kaliyuga the Tāntrika and not the Vaidika Dharma is to be followed. It is said that in Satya, Veda was undivided. In Dvāpara, Kṛṣṇadvaipāyana separated it into four parts. In Satya, Vaidika Upāsanā was Pradhāna, that is, prevailed; Sādhakas worshipping Indra for wealth, children and the like; though Niṣkāma Ṛṣis adored the Sarvaśaktimān (Devīsūkta is Advaitasiddhipūrṇa). In Tretā, worship according to Smṛti prevailed. It was then that Vaśiṣṭha is said to have done Sādhanā of Brahmavidyā according to Chīnācārakrama. Though in the Dvāpara there was both Smṛti and Purāṇa, rites were generally performed according to the Purāṇas. There was also then, as always, worshippers of the Pūraṇaśaktimahāvidyā. At the end of Dvāpara and beginning of the Kali age the Tantra Śāstra was taught to men. Then the ten Saṃskāras, Śrāddha and Antyeṣṭikriyā were, as they are now, performed according to the Vaidikadharma: Āśramācāra according to Dāyabhāga and other Smṛti Texts; Vratas according to Purāṇa; Dīkṣā and Upāsanā of Brahman with Śakti, and various kinds of Yoga Sādhanā, according to the Āgama which is divided into three parts Tantra (Sattvaguṇa), Yāmala (Rajoguṇa), and Ḍāmara (Tamoguṇa). There were 64 Tantras for each of the three divisions Ashvakrāntā, Rathakrāntā, Viṣṇukrāntā.

Such is a Tāntrik tradition concerning the Ages and their appropriate Scriptures. Whether this tradition has any historical basis still awaits inquiry, which is rendered difficult by the fact that many Tantras have been lost and others destroyed by those inimical to them. It is sufficient for my purpose to merely state what is the belief; that purpose being to show that the Tantra Śāstra recognizes, and claims not to be in conflict with, Veda or any other recognized Śāstra. It accepts the six Philosophies (Darśana) which Śiva says are the six limbs of Kula and parts of His body, saying that he who severs them severs His limbs (Kulārṇava II. 84, 84-85). The meaning of this is that the Six Philosophies and the Six Minds, as all else, are parts of His body. It accepts the Śabda doctrine of Mīmāṃsā subject to certain modifications to meet its doctrine of Śakti. It, in common with the Śaiva Tantra, accepts the doctrine of the 36 Tattvas, and Ṣaḍadhvā[Tattva, Kalā, Bhuvana, Varṇa, Pada, Mantra; see my “Garland of Letters”]. This is an elaboration in detail which explains the origin of the Puruṣa and Prakṛti Tattvas of the Sāṅkhya. These are shown to be twin facets of the One and the “development” of Shakti into Puruṣa-Prakṛti Tattva, is shown. These Tattvas include the ordinary 24, Prakṛti with its Guṇas to Pṛthivī. It accepts the doctrine of the three bodies (causal, subtle, gross) and the three states (Jāgrat, Svapna, Suṣupti) in their individual and collective aspects. It follows the mode of evolution (Pariṇāma) of Sāṅkhya in so far as the development of Jīva is concerned, as also an Ābhāsa, in the nature of Vivartta, “from Fire to Fire” in the Pure Creation. Its exposition of the body includes the five Prāṇas, the seven Dhātus, the Doṣas (Vāyu, Pitta, Kapha) and so forth (Prapañcasāra II). On the ritual side it contains the commonly accepted ritual of present-day Hinduism; Mantra, Yantra, Pratimā, Liṅga, Śālagrāma, Nyāsa, Japa, Pūjā,

Stotra, Kavacha, Dhyāna and so forth, as well as the Vaidik

rites which are the ten Saṃskāras, Homa and the like. Most of the commonly accepted ritual of the day is Tāntrik. It accepts Yoga in all its forms Mantra, Haṭha, Laya, Jñāna; and is in particular distinguished by its practice of Laya or Kuṇḍali-yoga and other Haṭha processes.

Therefore not only is the authority of the Veda acknowledged along with the Āgamas, Nigamas and Tantras but there is not a single doctrine or practice, amongst those hitherto mentioned, which is either not generally held, or which has not the adherence of large numbers of Indian worshippers. It accepts all the notions common to Hinduism as a whole. Nor is there a single doctrine previously mentioned which is contrary to Veda, that is on the assumption of the truth of Advaitavāda. For of course it is open to Dualists and Viśiṣṭādvaitins to say that its Monistic interpretation of Vedānta is not a true exposition of Vaidik truth. No Śākta will however say that. Subject to this, I do not know of anything which it omits and should have included, or states contrary to the tenor of Vaidik doctrine. If there be anything I shall be obliged, as a student of the Śāstra, to any one who will call my attention to it. The Śāstra has not, therefore, up to this point shown itself as a “Hell” in opposition to the Vaidik “Heaven.”

But it may be said that I have omitted the main thing which gives it its bad and un-Vaidik character namely the ill-famed Pañcatattva or worship with meat, wine, fish, grain and woman. I have also omitted the magic to be found in some of the Śāstras.

The latter may be first shortly dealt with. Magic is not peculiar to the Tantras. It is to be found in plenty in the Atharvaveda. In fact the definition of Abhichāra is “the Karma described in the Tantras and Atharvaveda.” Abhichāra is magical process with intent to destroy or injure. It is Hiṃsā-karma, or act injurious to others. There is nothing anti-Vaidik then in Magic. I may, however, here also point out that there is nothing wrong in Magic (Ṣaṭkarma) per se. As with so many other things it is the use or abuse of it which makes it right or wrong. If a man kills, by Māraṇa Karma, a rival in his business to get rid of competition and to succeed to his clients’ custom, he commits a very grave sin—one of the most grievous of sins. Suppose, however, that a man saw a tiger stalking a child, or a dacoit about to slay it for its golden ornament; his killing of the tiger or dacoit would, if necessary for the safety of the child, be a justifiable act. Magic, is however, likely to be abused and has in fact been abused by some of the Tāntriks. I think this is the most serious charge established against them. For evil magic which proceeds from malevolence is a greater crime than any abuse of natural appetite. But in this, as in other matters, we must distinguish between what the Śāstra says and the practices of its followers. The injunction laid upon the Sādhaka is that he “should do good to other beings as if they were his own self.”

Ātmavat sarvabhūtebhyo hitam kuryāt kuleśvari
(Kulārṇava Tantra XII. 63).

In the Kulārṇava Saṃhitā (a different and far inferior work to the Tantra of that name) Śiva recites some horrible rites with the flesh of rat and bat; with the soiled linen of a Chaṇḍāla woman, with the shroud of a corpse, and so forth; and then he says “My heart trembles (hṛdayam kampate mama), my limbs tremble (gātrāṇi mama kampante), my mouth is dry oh Pārvatī! (mukham śuṣyate Pārvatī!) Oh gentle one my mind is all disturbed (kṣobho me jāyate bhadre). What more shall I say? Conceal it (Na vaktavyam) conceal it, conceal it.” He then says:—“In the Kali age Sādhakas are generally greedy of money. Having done greatly sinful acts they destroy living beings. For them there is neither Guru nor Rudra, nor Thee nor Sādhikā. My dear life! they are ready to do acts for the destruction of men. Therefore it is wrong to reveal these matters, oh Devī. I have told Thee out of affection for Thee, being greatly pleased by Thy kisses and embrace. But it should be as carefully concealed by Thee as thine own secret body. Oh Pārvatī! all this is greatly sinful and a very bad Yoga. (Mahāpātakayuktam tat kuyogo’yam udāhṛtah.)”

Kalikāle sādhakāstu prāyasho dhanalolupāḥ
Mahākṛtyām vidhāyaiva prāṇinām badhabhāginaḥ
Na gurur nāpi Rudro vā naiva tvam naiva sādhikā
Mahāpraṇiuināśāya samarthaḥ prāṇavallabhe
Etat prakāshanam devi doṣāya parikalpyate
Snehena tava deveshi chumbanāliṅganaistathā
Santuṣyaiva mayādevi sarvam etat prakāśitam
Tvayā gopyam prayatnena svayoniriva Pārvati
Mahāpātaka-yuktam tat kuyogo’yam udāhṛtaḥ.

“None of these things are ever to be done by Thee Oh Daughter of the Mountain (Saruathā naim kartayas tvayāParvatanandini). Whoever does so, incurs the sin of destroying Me. I destroy all such, as does fire, dry grass. Of a surety such incur the sin of slaying a Brāhmaṇa. All such incur the sin of slaying a Brāhmaṇa.”

Sarvathā naiva kartavyas tvayā Parvatanandini
Badhabhāk mama deveśi kṛtyāmimām samācharet
Tasya sarvam harāmyāśu vahniḥ śuṣkatṛṇam yathā
Avyarthām brahmahatyāncha brahmahatyām sa vindati.

When therefore we condemn the sin of evil magic it is necessary to remember both such teaching as is contained in this quotation, and the practice of those of good life who follow the Śāstra. To do so is to be both fair and accurate. There is nothing, in any event, in the point that the magical contents of the Tantra Śāstra make it contrary to Veda. Those who bring such a charge must also prefer it against the Atharvaveda.

As a matter of fact Magic is common to all early religions. It has been practised, though condemned, in Christian Europe. It is not necessary to go back to the old witchcraft trials. There are some who protest against its recrudescence to-day. It has been well observed that there are two significant facts about occultism, namely its catholicity (it is to be found in all lands and ages) and its amazing power of recuperation after it has been supposed to have been disproved as mere “superstition.” Even some quarter of a century ago (I am quoting from the same author) there were probably not a score of people in London (and those kept their preoccupation to themselves) who had any interest at all in the subject except from a purely antiquarian standpoint. Magic was dismissed by practically al educated men as something too evidently foolish and nonsensical to deserve attention or inquiry. In recent years the position has been reversed in the West, and complaint is again made of the revival of witchcraft and occultism to-day. The reason of this is that modern scientific investigation has established the objectivity of some leading phenomena of occultism. For instance a little more than a century or so ago it was still believed that a parson ceuld inflict physical injury on another by means other than physical. And this is what is to be found in that portion of the Tantra Śāstras which deal with the Ṣaṭkarma. Witches confessed to having committed this crime and were punished therefor. At a later date the witchcraft trials were held to be evidence of the superstition both of the accused and accusers. Yet psychology now allows the principle that Thought is itself a Force, and that by Thought alone, properly directed, without any known physical means the thought of another, and hence his whole condition, can be affected. By physical means I mean direct physical means, for occultism may, and does avail, itself of physical means to stimulate and intsnsify the force and direction of thought. This is the meaning of the magic rituals which have been so much ridiculed. Why is black the colour of Māraṇa Karma? Because that colour incites and maintains and emphasizes the will to kill. So Hypnotism (Vashīkaraṇam), as an instance of the exercise of the Power of Thought, makes use of gestures, rotatory instruments and so forth.

The Magician having a firm faith in his (or her) power (for faith in occultism as in Religion is essential) surrounds himself with every incentive to concentrated, prolonged and (in malevolent magic), malevolent thought. A figure or other object such as part of the clothing, hair, nails and so forth of the victim represents the person to be attacked by magic. This serves as the ‘immediate object’ on which the magical thought is expended. The Magician is helped by this and similar aids to a state of fixed and malignant attention which is rendered intense by action taken on the substituted object. It is not of course the injuries done to this object which are the direct cause of injury to the person attacked, but the thought of the magician of which these injuries are a materialization. There is thus present the circumstances which a modern psychologist would demand for success in a telepathic experiment. As the witchcraft trials show, the victim is first affected in thought and then in body by the malignant thought thus focused upon him. Sometimes no apparent means are employed, as in a case reported to me by a friend of mine as occurring in a Bombay Hotel when a man well-known in India for his “Powers” (Siddhi) drove away, by the power of his thought only, a party of persons sitting at a neighbouring table whose presence was greatly distasteful to one of his companions. This, if the effect of magical power, was an instance of what the Tantras call Uccāṭana. In all cases the general principle is the same, namely the setting in motion and direction of powerful thought by appropriate means.

This is the view of .those who give what may called a psychological explanation of these phenomena. These would hold that the magical symbolisms are without inherent force but work according to race and individual characteristics on the mind which does the rest. Others believe that there is an inherent power in Symbolism itself, that the “Symbol” is not merely such but an actual expression of, and instrument by which, certain occult laws are brought into play. In other words the power of “Symbolism” derives not merely from the effect which it may have on particular minds likely to be affected by it but from iterelf as a law external to human thought. Some again (and Indian magicians amongst others) believe in the presence and aid of discarnate personalities (such as the unclean Piśāchas) given in the carrying out of occult operations. Similarly it is commonly held by some that where so-called “spiritualistic” phenomena are real and not fraudulent (as they sometimes are) the action is not that of the dead but of Infernal Spirits simulating them and misleading men to their ruin. Occultism in the sense of a belief in, and claim to be able to use, a certain range of forces which may be called preternatural, has the adherence not only of savage and barbarous people (who always believe in it) but also of an increasing number of “civilized” Londoners, Berliners, Americans, Parisians and other Western peoples. They differ in all else but they are united in this. Even what most would regard as downright superstition still abundantly flourishes in the West. Witness the hundreds of thousands of “touchwood” figures and the like sent to the troops in the recent war, the horror of sitting 13 to a table, and so on. In fact, from the earliest ages, magic has gone hand-in-hand with religion, and if for short periods the former has been thought to be dead it always rises again. Is this, as some say, the mark of the inherent silly credulity of mankind, or does the fact show that there is something in the claims which occultism has made in all ages? India (I do not speak of the Englisheducated community which shares in the rise and fall of English opinion) has always believed in occultism and some of the Tantra Śāstras are repertories of its ritual. Magic and superstition proper exist in this country but are also to be found in the West. The same remark applies to every depreciatory criticism passed upon the Indian people. Some have thought that occultism is the sign both of savagery and barbarism on the one hand and of decadent civilization on the other. In India it has always existed and still exists. It has been well said that there is but one mental attitude impossible to the educated man, namely blank incredulity with regard to the whole subject. There has been, and is, a change of attitude due to an increase of psychological knowledge and scientific investigation into objective facts. Certain reconciliations have been suggested, bringing together the ancient beliefs, which sometimes exist in crude and ignorant forms. These reconciliations may be regarded as insufficiently borne out by the evidence. On the other hand a proposed reconciliation may be accepted as one that on the whole seems to meet the claims made by the oocultist on one side and the scientific psychologist on the other. But in the present state of knowledge it is no longer possible to reject both claims as evidently absurd. Men of approved scientific position have, notwithstanding the ridicule and scientific bigotry to which they have been exposed, considered the facts to be worthy of their investigation. And on the psychological side. successive and continuou discoveries are being made which corroborate ancient beliefs in substance, though they are not always in consonance with the mode in which those beliefs were expressed. We must face the fact that (with Religion) Occultism is in some form or another a widely diffused belief of humanity. All however will be agreed in holding that malevolent Magic is a great Sin. In leaving the subject of Magic I may here add that modern psychology and its data afford remarkable corroboration of some other lndian beliefs such as that Thought is a Force, and that its operation is in a field of Consciousness which is wider than that of which the mind is ordinarily aware. We may note also the aid which is derived from the establishment of dual and multiple personalities in understanding how it may be possible that in one unity there may be yet varying aspects.

The second charge is the alleged Avaidik character of the secret Pañcatattva Sādhanā, with wine, flesh and woman, its alleged immorality of principle, and the evil lives of those who practise it. I am not in the present paper dealing in full with this subjectnot that I intend by any means to shirk it; but it is more appropriately the subject of consideration in future Chapters on the subject of Śākta Tāntrik Sādhana of which it forms a part. What I wish to say now is only this:—We must distinguish in the first place between a principle and its application. A principle may be perfectly right and sound and yet a supposed application may not be an application in fact; or if there be an application, the latter may violate some other moral or physical law, or be dangerous and inexpedient as leading to abuse. I will show later that the principle involved is one which is claimed to be in conformity with Vaidik truth, and to be in fact recognized in varying forms by all classes of Hindus. Some do so dualistically. The Śādhanā of the Śākta Tantra is, whether right or wrong, an application of the principles of Advaitavāda and in its full form should not, it is said, be entered upon until after Vedāntic principles have been mastered. For this reason Kauladharma has been called the fifth Āśrama. Secondly I wish to point out that this ritual with wine and meat is not as some suppose a new thing; something introduced by the Śākta Tāntriks. On the contrary it is very old and has sanction in Vaidik practice as will appear from the authorities cited in the Appendix to this Chapter. So much is this so, that a Tāntrik Sādhu discussing the matter with a Bengali friend of mine said of himself, as a follower of this ritual, that he was a Hindu and that those who were opposed to it were Jainas. What he meant, and what seems to be the fact, is that the present-day general prohibition against the use of wine, and the generally prevalent avoidance, or limitation of an animal diet, are due to the influence of Jainism and Buddhism which arose after, and in opposition to, Vaidik usage. Their influence is most marked of course in Vaiṣṇavism but has not been without effect elsewhere. When we examine ancient Vaidik usage we find that meat, fish and Mudrā (the latter in the form of Purodāsha) were consumed, and intoxicating liquor (in the form of Soma) was drunk, in the Vaidik Yajñas. We also discover some Vaidik rites in which there was Maithuna. This I have dealt with in my article on “Śakti and Śākta.”

The abovementioned facts show in my opinion that there is ground for the doctrine of the Tāntrikas that it is a mark of ignorance (Avidyā) to sever Veda and Tantra. My conclusion is not however a counsel to follow this nor to any other particular form of ritual. I am only concerned to state the facts. I may, however, here add two observations.

From an outside point of view (for I do not here deal with the subject otherwise) we must consider the age in which a particular Śāstra was produced and consequently the conditions of the time, the then state of society, its moral arid spiritual development and so forth. To understand some rites in the past history of this and other countries one must seek, in lieu of surface explanations, their occult eignificance in the history of the human race; and the mind must cast itself back into the ages whence it has emerged, by the aid of those traces which it still bears in the depths of its being of that which outwardly expressed itself in ancient custom.

Take for instance the rite of human sacrifice which the Kālikalpalatā says that the Rājā alone may perform (Rājā naravalim dadāyennā yo’pi prameśvari) but in which, as the Tantrasāra states, no Brāhmaṇa may participate (Brāhmaṇānāṃ naravalidāne nādhikāraḥ). Such an animal sacrifice is not peculiarly “Tāntrik” but an instance of the survival of a rite widely spread in the ancient world; older than the day when Jehovah bade Abraham sacrifice his son (Gen. XXII) and that on which Sunaḥsepa (Aitareya Brāhmaṇa VII, 3) like Isaāc was released. Reference, it is true, is made to this sacrifice in the Śāstras, but save as some rare exception (I myself judged a case in Court some years ago) it does not exist to-day and the vast mass of men do not wish to see it revived. The Cakra ritual similarly is either disappearing or becoming in spirit transformed where there had been abuse.

What is of primary value in the Tantra Śāstra are certain principles with which I have dealt, elsewhere, and with which I deal again in part in this and the following lectures. The application of these principles in ritual is a question of form. All form is a passing thing. In the shape of ritual its validity is limited to place and time. As so limited, it will continue so long as it serves a useful purpose and meets the needs of the age, and the degree of its spiritual advancement, or that of any particular body of men who practise it; otherwise it will disappear, whilst the foundations of Vedānta on which it rests may remain. In the same way it is said that we ourselves come and go with our merits and demerits, but that the Spirit ever abides beyond both good and evil.


Note to Chapter IV:

The following note as to Tantra Śāstra and Veda was kindly prepared for me at my request by Sj. Braja Lal Mukheji, M.A.:—

My purpose in this paper is not to give to the public any pre-conceived opinion, but is simply to put together certain facts which will enable it to form a correct opinion on the subject.

These facts have been collected from sources as to the authenticity .of which there is no doubt. There is no dispute that most of these works disclose the state of Vaidik society prior to the 6th century B.C. and that at the time when the said works were composed the Vaidik rituals were being observed and performed. Certain elements which have been assumed to be non-Vaidik, appear in the said works or at least in many of them, and they have been summarily disposed of by some scholars as supplementary (Pariśiśta), or interpolations (Prakṣipta). The theory ‘that these portions are interpolations is based on the assumption that the said elements are non-Vaidik or post-Vaidik and also on the assumption that at the times when the said works were composed, the Anuśtup-chhandah was not known; and that therefore, those portions of the said works which appear, in Anustubh, must be later interpolations. We need not go into the propriety of these assumptions in this paper; but suffice it to say, that the first assumption simply begs the question, and the second one is not of any importance in connection with the subject of this paper; inasmuch as, the statements made in the Anustubh portions are corroborated by earlier authorities as to whose antiquity there is no question, and in any case, the fact that the statements have been made are proof of earlier usage or custom.

Vaidik sacrifices are divided into three classes: (1) Pākayajñas, (2) Haviryajñas and (3) Soma sacrifices; and there are sub-divisions under each of the said classes. The Soma sacrifices are classed under three heads according to the number of days required for performance, viz., Ekāha, Ahina and Satra. Ekāha sacrifices are those which are performed in one day by three Savanas, exactly as in the Jagaddhātrī Pūjā; Ahina sacrifices are performed from two to eleven days and Satras are performed during a long period, the minimum number of days required being thirteen and the maximum being a thousand years. The twelve-day sacrifices are arranged as a separate class. The principal Somayajñas are (1) Agnishtoma, (2) Atyagnishtoma, (3) Ukthyah, (4) Shodaśī, (5) Vājapeyah, (6) Atirātrah, (7) Āptoryāma. The Ishtis or Haviryajñas are also principally seven in number, namely, (1) Agnyādheyam, (2) Agnihotram, (3) Darsha-paurnamāsa, (4) Chāturmāsyam, (5) Āgrayaneshti, (6) Niruddhapashubandha, and (7) Sautrbmani. The Pākayajñas are also seven in number, namely, (1) Ashtakā, (2) Pārvanam, (3) Srādham, (4) Srāvani, (5) Āgrahāyani, (6) Chaitri and (7) Āśvayuji. The last seven are to be performed with the help of the Grihya fire and are described in the Grihya works. The others are described in the Srauta works.

Whatever be the difference among these Yajñas in regard to the number of stomas or stotras and the Sāmans to be sung and the Kapālas, Grahas, or the number and nature of sacrifices or as to other particulars, there are some ideas which prevail in all of them. All Yajñas are based on the idea that Mithunīkarana leads to spiritual happiness. Sexual intercourse is Agnihotra (S. B. XI. 6. 2. 10). Mithunīkarana is consecration (S. B. 111. 2. 1. 2, etc.) They enclose the Sadas secretly, for enclosing is Mithunīkarana and therefore it must be done secretly (S. B. IV. 6, 7, 9 and 10). Bricks (Vishvajyotis) are made ,because the making of the bricks causes generation (S. B. VI. 6.3. 5). Two Pādas or Charanas of an Anuśtubh verse are read in a detached manner and the two remaining are read together to imitate the manner d sexual union (A. B. II. 6. 3); they do not worship a female Devatā unless she is coupled with a male Deva (A. B. III. 5. 4); they use a couple of Chhandas distinguishing the one as male from the other as female and the two are taken together and believed to be the symbol of Maithuna, end by such Maithuna the desired result of a ritual is achieved (A. B, V. 3. 1); they believe that the reading of the Āhanasyāmantra (S. S. S. XII. 24. 1-10; A. V. XX. 136) will confer bliss (A. B. VI. 5. 10); they say that the highest and best form of Maithuna is that of Śraddhāand Satya, Piety and Truth (A. B. VII. 2. 9) and this kind of Maithuna in the abstract is directed for. Agnihotrīs who have purified themselves by actual performances and observances in a religious spirit.

They direct the observance and performance of Maithuna as a religious rite or part of a religious rite (L.S.S. IV. 3. 17; K.S.S. XIII. 42; T.A. IV. 7. 5; X. 62, 7; A.A. I. 2. 4. 10; V. 1. 6. 13; G.G.S. II. 5. 6, 9, 10; S.G.S. I. 19. 2-6; K.G.S. I. 4. 16; H.G.S. I. 24. 3; Ap. G.S. III. 8. 10; P.G.S. I. 11. 7Ap. S.S. V. 25. 11; Tan. Br. VIII. 7. 12; Chh. Up. 11. 13. 1-2) and they direct that Mantras are to be uttered during the observance of this rite (Br. D. V. 90; VIII. 82; R.V. V. 82. 4; R.V. X. 85. 37; R.V. Kh. 30. l Rik P. II. 16. 1-8; As. S.S. VIII. 3. 28; G.B. VI. 15). One of the articles of faith of the Vaidik people therefore was, that. sexual union led the way to bliss hereafter and must be performed in a true religious spirit to ensure spiritual welfarewanton indulgence being severaly deprecated. Idā (a woman) said:—“if thou wilt make use of me at the sacrifice, then whatever bIessing thou shah invoke through me, shall be granted to thee.” (S.B. 1. 8.—1. 9., etc.)

The Vaidik people parformed their Somayajñas and Haviryajñas which included the Sautrāmani, with libations and drinks of intoxicating liquor (L.S.S. V. 4, 11; K.S.S. XIX. 1,etc.; S.S.S. XV.15; XIV. 13. 4; S.B. V. 1. 2. 12; V. 1. 5,28; XII. 7. 3. 14, etc.; XII. 8. 1, etc.; XII. 8. 2. 21, 22; V. 5. 4. 10, etc.; XII. 7. 3. 8; Ap. S.S. XVIII. 1. 9). Surāpurifies the sacrificer whilst itself is purified (S.B. XII. 8. 1. 16). Ṛṣi Kakshivh sings the praises of Surā (R.V. I. 116. 7). It is said to be a desirable thing (R.V. X. 107. 9; VIII. 2. 12). They prefer Soma, the sweet drink. Soma is Paramāhutih (S.B. VI. 6. 3. 7); it is the nectar of immortality (S.B. IX. 4. 4. 8). They deprecate and punish the wanton use of intoxicating liquor (Ap. Dh. S. I. 25. 3; Ga. Dh. S. XXIII. 10; Va. Dh. S. XX. 19; Ba. Dh. S. II. 1. 18, etc.; S.V.B. I. 5). They direct the use of Surāand Soma for attainment of happiness and prescribe the manner and purpose of drinking the same; they prescribe the measure and number of drinks to be offered or taken at a sacrifice (S.B. V. 1. 2. 9, etc., V. 5. 4), and they add that a breach of these rules destroys the efficacy of the rite. They offer libations of Surā to the Fathers (A.B. III. 1. 6; S.B. V. 5. 4. 27, etc.). They offer Surā to the Aświns (R.V.B. I. 44). They offer Surā to Vināyaka’s mother (Yag. I. 288). During the performance of a sacrifice, the priests and the householder sit together; they all touch their cups, and raise them to their mouths, all the while reciting proper Mantras addressed to Devas (A.B. VI. 3. 1) and then they drink (A.B. VII. 5. 7).

The Vaidik people used to offer to their Devatās at their sacrifices animal and vegetable food. The vegetable substances are Tandula, Piśtaka, Phalīkarana, Purodāśa, Odana, Yavāgūh, Prithuka, Lāja, Dhāna and Saktu, and the\ animal food was Payah, Dadhi, Ājyam, Āmikṣā Vājinam, Vapā, Māṃsam, Lohitam, Pashurasah; the principal of these being Dhāna, Karambha, Paribāha, Purodāśa and Payasyā (A.B. II. 3. 6). Indeed it would not be incorrect to say that no Vaidik rite can be performed without these offeringsthe forms and the mode of preparation and the number of cakes to be offered, differing in each case (A.B. I. 1. 1; II. 1-9; II. 3.5; II. 3-6; S.B. I. 2. 2; L.S.S. V. 4. 1, etc.; Ap. S.S. XII. 3. 12; XII. 4. 9. 14; K.S.S. V, 309; Tait. Br. III. 2. 6, etc.). They offer animal sacrifices (Kat. S.S. Chap. VI; S.B. III. 6. 4; III. 8. 1 ; V. 1. 3. 2. 14; V. 3. 1. 10; VI. 2. 2. 15. Kāṇḍa XIII; As. G.S. I. 11; P.G.S. III. 11; G.G.S. III. 10. 18 ; Kh. G.S. III. 4; H.G.S. II. 15), which include the horse, goats, sheep, oxen (Tait. Br. 11. 8. 1, etc.) and human beings (Tait. Br. III. 4. 1). They believe that by psrforrning animal sacrifices, the sacrificer ransoms himself (S.B. XI. 7. 1. 3; A.B. II. 1. 3) or wins all these worlds (Ap. S.S. VII. 1. 1). The animal is the sacrificer himself (A.B. II. 2. 1). They direct by special rules, in what manner the animal should be killed, cut and offered (A.B. II. 6; S.B. III. 8. 1. 15). They were aware that wanton killing of animals was wrong (A.B. II. 1. 7) and believed that offering animal sacrifices to the Devatās, was one of the means whereby bliss hereafter could be attained (Ba. Dh. S. II. 4. 23). And it was only for certain Yajñas that animals could be slain (Va. Dh. S. IV. 5-8S.G.S. 11. 16 ; 1 Ba.S.S. IV). Wanton killing of animals was very severely punished (Ap. Dh. S. I. 25. 13-26; Ga. Dh. S. XXII. 18, etc.; Va. Dh. S. 18. 23, etc.; Ba. Dh. S. I. 19. 6).

The Vaidik paople from the time of the earliest Yajñas severely deprecated lust of any kind whatsoever; and they allowed Maithuna, Māṃsa, Madya and Mudrā for religious purposes only and as offerings to the Devas. The Cakra sittings of the Tāntriks (M. N. T. Ch. VI) have unmistakable similarities with the Vājapeya and Sautrhani (S.B. V; K.S.S. XIV; A.B. III. 4.3 ; S.B. XII. 7. 1, etc.; K.S.S. XIX) and even the manner of drinking in company has been preserved as will appear from the references given above.

When performing Yajña in company, the members of the company become Brāhmaṇas and there is no distinction of caste (A.B. VII. 4. 1).

The worship in both Vaidik and Tbntrik rites begins with Āchamana, which is a form of ablution, in which certain parts of the bocly are touched with water. In this respect, the Vaidik and the Tāntrik practices are exactly similar (G.G.S. I. 2. 5; Tait. A. II. 11M.N.T. Chap. V). They purify themselves by uttering some mantras as Bijas while contemplating the Deities of certain parts of their bodies and touching such parts with their fingers (A.A. III.2. 1. 2; III. 2. 5. 2; R.V.B. II. 16). They contemplate each Deva through his or her particular Mantras (R.V. III. 62. 10) which will be found collected in the Parishishta to the Taittirīa Āranyaka. They make use of certain sounds for removing unclean spirits, e.g., Khat. Phat. Hum. (T.A. IV. 27; S.V.St. I. 2. 1; I. 1. 3; Aranyagāna VI. 1-8IV.2.19; S.B.I. 5. 2. 18; I. 3. 3. 14; I. 7. 2. 11-14; I. 7. 2. 41; XI. 2. 2. 3 and ; M.N.T. Chap. III) and for other purposes (A.B. II. 3. 6). They attribute a Deity to each letter in a Mantra (A.B. II. 5. 5).

They make gestures with their fingers as part of their religious rites (S.B. III. 1. 3. 25; III. 4. 3. 2) and locate the Devatās of particular sounds in particular parts of their bodies (P.S. 54, 56; K.S.S. VII. 71, 73). They perform their baths as a means of and with the view of pleasing their Devas (G. Sn. S. and M.N.T.) and in performing the Āchamana they sacrifice unto themselves conceiving that they are part and parcel of the Great Brahma (T.A. X. i). They worship the Great Brahma thrice daily, such worship being called Sandhyā-bandanā or Āhnika-kriyā, twilight prayers or daily rites. How and when the forms of Vaidik Sandhyā now practised by Vaidikas commenced has not yet been ascertained hut, there is no doubt that prior to the time when the Taittirīya Āranyaka was composed the practice existed in its present form. It will be remembered that it is only in that work that we find the Sandhyā-mantras recorded. The practice of Prāṇāyāma and Tarpana to Ṛṣis, Fathers, and Devas also existed before Baudhāyana. This practice of Vaidik Sandhyā worship should be compared with the Tāntrik mode, to gain an insight into the relationship of the Vedaa and the Tantrss.

In the Yajñas, the Vaidik people principally worshipped (1) Sarasvatī (S.B. II. 5. 4. 6; III. 1. 4. 9; III. 9. 1. 7; V. 2. 2. 14; V. 3. 5. 8; V. 4. 5. 7; V. 5. 2. 7) t o whom animals are sacrificed (S.B. III. 9. 1. 7; V. 5. 4. 1; XII. 7. 2. 3) and who is the same as Vāk or Vāgdevī who became a lioness and went over to the Devatās, on their undertaking that to her offerings should be made before they were made to Agni (S.B. III. 5. 1. 21) and who bestows food (S.B. XII. 8. 2. 16); (2) Mahādeva or Mahesha, another form of Agni, in all his eight forms (S.B. VI. 1. 3. 10 et seq.); (3) Rudra, (4) Viṣṇu, (5) Vināyaka (Ganeśa), (6) Skanda (Kārtikeya) (S.V.B. I. 4. 31 et seq.); (7) the Liṅgam or Phallus (T.A. X. 17) on whom they meditated during the daily Sandhyā worship and who is the same as Śambhu riding on a bull, (8) Śiva (S.V.B. I. 2. 2). They also worshipped (9) the cow whom they called Bhagavatī (A.B. V. 5. 2) and also (10) Indra, Varuna, Agni, Soma, Rudra, Pushan, the Aświns, Sūirya and some other Deities. For purposes of attaining eternal bliss they worshipped Rātridevī (S.V.B. III. 8) and this Rātridevī is described as a girl growing into womanhood who bestows happiness. She has long and flowing hair, has in her hand a noose. If she is pleased, then all other Devas ere pleased. She being pleased offers boons, but the worshipper must reject the same and then he will gain freedom from re-birth. This is the worship of Rātri; it requires no fasting and must be performed at night. The Mantras to be recited, is the Rātri Sūkta which commences with Rātrir bakhyad (Ṛg Veda X. 127. 1) to be followed by āratri pārthivam rajas.

The Ṛg-Vidhāna-Brāhmaṇa (IV. 19) which follows the Sāma-Vidhāna-Brahma ṇa declares that the Rātri Sūkta must be recited; the worship must be performed as a Sthālipāka Yajña. Rātri is substantially the same with, but in form different from, Vāgdevī; and they are sometimes worshipped as one and the same (Tait Br. 11.4. 6. 10 et seq.). The Rātri Sūkta describes her as black (R.V. X. 127. 2-3). The portion of the Rātri Sūkta which is included in the Khila portion of the Ṛg-Veda (R.V. Kh. 25) calls Rātri Devī by the name of Durgāand this Mantra appears in Taittirīya Āranyaka (X. 1). She is described here, as the bearer of oblations; therefore, she is the same as Agni (fire) and as such she has tongues which are named as follows: (1) Kālī, (2) Karālī, (3) Manojabā, (4) Sulohitā, (5) Sudhūmravarnā, (6) Sphulingini, (7) Śuchismitā and these tongues loll out and by these tongues offerings are received (Grihya-Saṅgraha I. 13. 14). The Brihad-devatā mentions that Aditi, Vāk, Sarasvatī and Durgāare the same (II. 79).

In conformity with the Vaidik syatem the Tāntrik system of worship acknowledges that Oṃ is the supreme Bīja (A.B. VII. 3. 6; II. 1. 2; V. 5. 7; A.A. II. 3. 8; Chh. Up. I. 1. 1 et seq.T.A. VII. 8; X. 63. 21 et seq.; Shakatāyana, p. 106 (Oppart); Pānini VIII. 2. 87; Br. D. II. 127, 133; G.B. IX. 1. 24; I. 1. 17. 19; M.N.T. II. 32) and they also acknowledge and use the Hinkāra of the Vedas pronounced Hum (S.B. I. 4. 1. 2; IX. 1. 2. 3. 4; A.B. III. 2. 12; L.S.S. I. 10. 25; I. 1. 27II. 1. 4; IV. 3. 22). The rules and practice of Ācharnana, and the bath are exactly the same as will be found on a comparison of chapter V of the Mahānirvāṇa Tantra with the Snānasūtra of Gobhila. The Tantras prefer to use single compounds instead of long sentences to express an idea and form one letter Mantras very much according to the Vaidik method. We also find the practice of Nyāsa and Śuddhi foreshadowed in the Vedas as has been already mentioned. (See also S.B. VII. 5. 2. 12). The principal Devī of the Veda is Sarasvatī, who is called Nagna in the Nighantu, expressing nudeness, and also referring to that age of a woman when womanhood has not expressed itself. If we again, take these ideas with that of the Sāma-Vidhāna-Brāhmaṇa, we have the almost complete form of a Devī who is called at the present day by the name of Kālī. Another Devī whose worship is very popular at the present day is Durgā, who has a lion for her carrier. It will have been observed, that Vāch turned herself into a lion, and after earnest solicitations went over to the Devas; and therefore, Vāch and the lion are identically the same. We have already given references which show that Vāch and Durgā were the same; and these facts explain how Durgā has a lion to carry her. The worship of Rātri is to be performed at night and therefore the worship of Kālī must be a night performance; and therefore, must partake of all the features of a night performance; and these elements must be sought for in the Vaidik Atirātra. The Atirātra is a performance of three Paryāyas or rounds of four Stotras and Śāstras in each and at the end of each libations are offered, followed by drinking of Soma. The same rules and practices as in the Atirātra are substantially followed in the worship of the Devī Kālī, bhāng being very largely used under the name of Vijayā and Amrita. It will be remembered that the Devī of the Atirātra is Sarasvatī. The principal male Devatā of the Tantras is Mahādeva named also Śiva, Maheśa, Śambhu, Soma and also in a different aspect Rudra. Rudra and Mahādeva are admittedly Vaidik gods. Rudra is described as having bows and arrows and has hundred heads and thousand eyes (S.B. IV. 1. 1. 6; Yajur Veda III. 27). Mahādeva is Mahān devah, the great God (S.B. VI. 1. 3. 16). It appears that the Mantras of the different aspects of Mahādeva, which are even now used by Tāntrikas, were known and used by the Vaidik people. I cannot, however, trace the name Maheśa in Vaidik literature. Śiva can be identified with Rudra Suśeva, who is a kind god (S.B. V. 4. 4. 12). Mahādeva (Soma) is clad in a tiger skin which can be traced in Vaidik literature (S.B. V. 3. 5. 3 ; V. 4. 1. 11). Rudra is black, in the Tantras as well as in the Vedas. He is the same as Manyu with a Devī on each side of him (S.B. IX. 1. 1. 6 ; XI. 6. 1. 12 and 13). In this connection, we must not fail to note some of the attributes of Vaidik Nirritti. Nirritti is black and is a terrible Devī and punishes those who do not offer Soma to her. She is the Devī of misfortunes and removes all misfortune. She is the genetrix and she is fond of the cremation ground (S.B. VII. 2. 1; A.B. IV. 2. 4).

The Tantras direct the worship also of Ganeśa, Kārtika and Viṣṇu, for whose worship the Sāma-Vidhāna-Brāhmaṇa prescribes the singing of certain Sāmans, known as the Vināyaka Saṃhitā (S.V. 4. 5. 3. 3), Skanda-Saṃhitā (S. V. 3. 2. 1. 4) and the Viṣṇu -Saṃhitā (S. V. 3. 1. 3. 9) respectively.

The Tantras also direct the use of certain figures which are called Yantras. These may be of various kinds and forms and may be used for various purposes. One of these which is constantly used, is a triangle within a square (M.N.T. Chap. V) and this can be traced to the rules for the preparation of the Agnikṣetra, or the Fire Altar of the Vaidik people (S.B. VI. 1. 1. 6). Another curious circumstance in connection with the altar is, that both in the Vaidik and the Tāntrik ritual, the heads of five animals are used in its preparation (S.B. VI. 2. 1. 5-8). The worship of the Liṅgam is foreshadowed by the Vaidik Deity Viṣṇu Sipiviśta (R.V. VII. 1001, etc.; Nirukta V. 2. 2) and the serpent which twines round Devas or Devīs is foreshadowed by the Sarparājnī, the Serpent Queen (S.B. IV. 6. 9. 17) who is the same as Vāch.

The facts collected here will, it is hoped, enable impartial readers to come to a definite conclusion as to the relationship of the Vaidik to the Tāntrik ritual.



A.A. = Aitareya, Āranyaka.
A.B.= Aitareya Brāhmaṇa.
As. S.S. = Āśvalāyana Śrauta Sūtra.
Ap. S.S. = Āpastamba Śrauta Sūtra.
Ap. Dh. S. = Āpastamba Dharma Sūtra.
Ap. G.S. = Āpastamba Grihya Sūitra.
A.V. = Atharva Veda.
Ba. Dh. S. = Baudhāyana Dharma Sūtra.
Ba. S.S. = Baudhāyana Śrauta Sūtra.
Br. D. = Brihaddevatā (Calcutta edition).
Chh. Up. = Chhāndatra Upaniṣad.
Ga. Dh. S. = Gautama Dharma Sūtra.
G.B. = Gopatha Brāhmaṇa.
G.G.S. = Gobhila Grihya Sūtra.
G. Sn. S. = Gobhila Snāna Sūtra.
H.G.S. = Hiranyakeśīua Grihya Sūtra.
K.S.S. = Kātyāyana Śrauta Sūtra.
Kh. G.S. = Khādira Grihya Sūtra.
L.S.S. = Lātyāyana Srauta Sūtra.
M.N.T. = Mahānirvāṇa Tantta.
N.S. = Nāradīya Śikṣā.
Ngh. = Nighantu.
Nir. = Nirukta.
P.S. = Pāninīya Śikṣā.
P.G.S. = Parāśara Grihya Sūtra.
R.V.= Ṛg Veda.
R.V.B. = Ṛg Vidhana Brāhmaṇa.
Rik. P. = RikPariśiṣṭa.
R.V.Kh. = Ṛg Veda Khila.
S.B. = Ṣatapatha Brāhmaṇa.
S.G.S. = Sānkhyāyana Grihya Sūtra.
S.V.B. = Sāma Vidhāna Brāhmaṇa.
S.V.St. = Sāma Veda Stobha portion.
S.V. = Sāma Veda.
S.S.S. = Sankhyāyana Śrauta Sūtra.
T.A. = Taittirīya Āranyaka.
Tait. Br. = Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa.
Tan. Br. = Tāndya Brāhmaṇa.
Vs. Dh. S. = Vashishtha Dharma Sūtra.
Yag. = Yājñavalkya.

Let's grow together!

I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased sources, definitions and images. Your donation direclty influences the quality and quantity of knowledge, wisdom and spiritual insight the world is exposed to.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: