Some considerations on the tantric path

I decided to put down some matters arising in the discourse with R during the winding train journey.

The following are listed as authoritative tantras by the great trika tantrics:
1) kAmika 2) kiraNa 3) niHshvAsa 4) pauShkara 5) raurava 6) svAyambhuva 7) pArameshvara.
These may be termed the proper shaivAgamas
(some of these contain important details concerning the pa~nchAkShari of mahAdeva, of which another aspirant had made some recent enquiries to me).

The trika tantrics also mention the following tantras, many of which are far more obscure. 1) The rudra yAmala of which only fragments survive and the parAtrishikA is of particular interest to the trika savant abhinava. 2) nirmaryAda tantra- an obscure “left-handed” tantra of which only small fragments are known to practioners 3) kAlikula tantra- the basic doctrine of bhANavi kaulini is expounded here. 4) urmimahA tantra 5) ratna mAlA 6) trishiro-bhairava 7) svachChanda: This enormous saMhitA lays out the path of the highest yoga of prANAyAma and meditation on the praNava, amongst other mantras. 8) siddha-yogeshvarI-mata 9) devI yAmala 10) mR^ityu~Njaya vidya 11) mAlinI vijaya: This tantra appears to have been originally a section of the great siddha-yogeshvarI-mata. abhinavagupta composed a 1500 verse commentary on this text. 12) viGYAna bhairava: The viGYAna bhairava text is considered an upaniShad and the kAshmirian tantric kshemarAja has expounded a commentary on it.

Some of these tantras clearly go under different names. The mR^ityu~Njaya vidya is also known as the netra tantra and expounds the vedic and tantric rituals related to the mR^ityujit vidyA at length. It is a very important tantra that provides the critical mantras that provide defense against mAraNa attacks and from an academic viewpoint the various early lineages of the tantric schools. A major commentary on it is by the great kshemarAja.

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