Further notes of the dohA-s of sarahapAda

To continue:
There are some interesting elements in the apabhraMsha dohA-s of saraha discovered by Haraprasada Shastri and Rahula Samkrityayana. These add to the enormously paradoxical nature of the dohA-kosha of saraha, again pointing to the enormous debt of the tAthAgata-s to the kaula systems emerging among the shaiva-s. Let us look at the following:
akkhara-vaNNo parama-guNa-rahio
bhaNai Na jANai e mai kahiao |
so paramesaru kAsu kahijjai
suraa kumArI jima paDivajjai ||

Bereft of sound, color, or the fundamental guNa-s, it cannot be spoken about or known, so I (i.e. saraha) say.
How can the parameshvara be described? Like a girl’s first experience of an orgasm.

Two terms are of note here: 1) This dohA has a rather shaiva ring to it. It goes rather against all primary bauddha concepts to consider the entity beyond the guNa-s who cannot be described or known to be parameshvara. However, this parameshvara can be interpreted within the bauddha framework of a yogin, such as saraha, as representing a heruka deity such as buddhakapAla, hevajra or the chakrasaMvara. But the specific term parameshvara clearly indicates that this doha was acquired without much or any modification from a shaiva source. From iconographic and hagiographic sources its clear that sarahapAda, the euphemistic mahAbrAhmaNa, took on the emblems of the kApAlika type. We also know that the bauddha yogin-s frequented the same great shmashAna-s and pITha-s as those used by the shaiva practitioners of the pAshupata mata, the bhairava srotas, the kula-prakriyA. It was probably in such kShetra-s, the bauddha yogin-s acquired doha-s, along with elements of the charyAgIti-s composed by kaula nAtha-s (e.g. the doha-s of the kaula nAtha-s collected by H.P. Dwivedi). 2) The sexual allegory used in doha is suggestive of the performance of maithuna as per the shaiva kaula ritual. In the kaula ritual the pleasurable activities are aimed at satiating the deities residing in the organs with the ultimately non-dual consciousness being experienced via maithuna, where yogin and the dUtI’s consciousness are one.

Nau aNu Nau paramANu vichintaje
aNavara a bhAvahi phurai surattaje |
bhaNai saraha bhanti eta vimattaje
are NikkolI vujjhai paramatthaje ||

Don’t think it’s the atoms or the fundamental particles; it is the unending orgiastic delight that pervades existence.
saraha says that such [i.e. atomic] false thinking is madness; arrey ! low-born one understand the ultimate reality.

The alliterative effects of saraha are at high point in this dohA. A point of interest is his attack on atomism, which in some ways resembles the attack on atomism by the advaita vedAntin-s. Who are the atomists he is attacking? The atomic ideas could come from nyAya, vaisheShika or even sAMkhya, but the view the particles are fundamental is central to the former two. Given the evidence that shaiva-s, especially those of the atimArga (e.g. the kAlAmukha) and to a degree the saiddhAntika-s were followers of the atomic doctrine, we suspect that this attack is directed towards their theories of existence.

paNDia saala sattha vakkhANai
dehahiM buddha vasanta na jANai |
avaNAgamana Na teNa vikhaNDia
tovi Nilajja bhaNai hauM paNDia ||
The pundit expounds the entire shAstra not knowing that the buddha dwells within his body.
[The cycles of ] coming and going are not shattered by that means but he shamelessly says: “I am a pundit”.

This is not an attack on the Astika brAhmaNa paNDita-s but his own fellow nAstika paNDita-s who taught at the centers like nAlandA and varendrI. In some ways this is reminiscent of a text termed the bhaja govindaM composed by the shaMkarAdvaitin-s of south India influenced by the dattAtreyan ascetic tradition. There the paNinian rules are condemned. The bhaja govindaM is wrongly attributed to AdishaMkara, who unlike the spirit expressed in the text strongly emphasized scholarly tradition. The anti-scholastic tendencies rose among the siddha-s’ compositions (like that of sarahapAda) and diffused among the various ascetic groups before eventually even infecting the medieval shaMkarAdvaita tradition – however, unlike saraha they expressed their anti-scholastic thoughts in elegant Sanskrit.Importantly, the very survival of these doha-s was due their incorporation into the scholarly tradition of the nAstika-s – the doha-s of saraha are preserved as a part of a Sanskrit commentarial tradition represented by the dohA-kosha-pa~njikA. We also know that saraha himself contributed to the scholastic tradition via his commentaries on the yoginI tantra-s such as the buddhakapala tantraM. This is in line with the tAntrika work of other dohA composers, like kR^iShNAcharya’s commentary on the hevajra tantra. This raises the question as to what is the relationship between the tantra commentators and the dohA composers – have they been synonymized even as shaMkara was made the author of the bhaja govindaM and the tAntrika texts like the saundaryalaharI or the prapa~nchasAra? The case of the nAstika AchArya-s appears to be very different from that of the vedAntAchArya – the former do really belong inside the nAstika yoginI tantra tradition. The anti-scholasticism of these AchArya-s appears to reflect their expression after the attainment of the sahaja state in which the other devices seem empty.

Avanta Na dIssai janta Nahi achChanta Na muNiai |
Nittara~Nga paramesuru Nikkala~Nka dhAhijjai ||
You don’t see it coming nor going, you don’t know it when it is there;
parameshvara is without waves, blemishless and [as though] washed clean.

This is dohA is notable again because of its use of the shaiva term parameshvara as in the one mentioned above. The interesting point here is the use of the term “Nittara~Nga”, i.e. without waves – this might be considered along side the idea expressed in the shaiva kaula systems that the body of shiva (the parameshvara) is the “sky of consciousness” in which like in the ocean the universe emerges and ends through the conjunction and disjunction of waves which are the shakti-s (this is clearly expounded in the virUpAkSha pa~nchAshika). This dohA instead seems to insist on the converse trying to present the parameshvara as being free from such waves.

Avai jAi Na chChaDDai tAvahu |
kahiM apuvvA vilAsiNi pAvahu ||
If you do not renounce the coming and going how can you attain the incomparable vilAsinI ?

This verse is particular interesting because it mentions the attainment of vilAsinI. We suspect that this is not just a casual name for the yoginI attained upon renunciation of the saMsAra cycle, but is likely to represent a specific reference to the erotic kaula deity vilAsinI. The vilAsinI-kula system is closely shared by both the Astika-s and nAstika-s. In the nAstika world we encounter the goddess in the vajra-vilAsinI-stotra of the Acharya vibhUtichandra who extensively transmitted his tAntrika lore to the Tibetans after the destruction of the Indian universities by the Moslems. The tAthAgata-s have also incorporated the worship of vilAsinI taught by the early kaula siddha shabara in a vajrified form in the guhya-vajra-vilAsinI sAdhana.

~ by mAnasa-taraMgiNI on September 8, 2011.

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