Tag Archives: shaiva

The Kaumāra cycle in the Skandapurāṇa’s Śaṃkara-saṃhitā

Many khaṇḍa-s, māhātmya-s and saṃhitā-s attach themselves to the sprawling “Mega-Skandapurāṇa”. We use this term to distinguish it from the “Ur-Skandapurāṇa”, which was first published by Bhaṭṭārāi in the late 1980s and is now known to survive as three related … Continue reading

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Some notes on the Indo-European aspects of the Anatolian tradition

Prolegomenon This section is primarily for students of the old religion who approach it from the Indo-Aryan direction and tend to be less aware of the West Asian material. The Anatolian branch of “Indo-European” (in quotes because this appellation becomes … Continue reading

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On the rise of the mātṛkā-s and the goddess Cāmuṇḍā

The roots of the mātṛkā-s in the śruti and the Kaumāra tradition The standard list of 7/8 goddesses known as the mātṛkā-s is a hallmark feature of the classical religion: Brāhmī, Māheśvarī, Kaumārī, Vaiṣṇavī, Vārāhī, Indrāṇī, Cāmuṇḍā, sometimes with the … Continue reading

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The strange case of the Āpastamba sprite

This is the second of the two stories that arose from incidents during the visit of Yaśaśravas, Somakhya’s cousin. With the autumnal vacations, Somakhya was having a good time with his visiting cousin, giving him lectures on the theory and … Continue reading

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Matters of religion: the lesson by the lake

Sharvamanyu was with his preceptors Somakhya on Lootika on the shore of a lake in the midst of the mountains on a full moon night. It was the cremation ground for a lineage of Vs, who had historically specialized in … Continue reading

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The minimal triangle circumscribing a semicircle

Consider a fixed semicircle with center at and radius . Let be the isosceles triangle which circumscribes it (Figure 1). Figure 1 What will be the characteristics of the minimal form of the said triangle, i.e. triangle with minimum perimeter, … Continue reading

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Pearl necklaces for Maheśvara

Śrīpati’s pearl necklace for Maheśvara The brāhmaṇa Śrīpati of the Kāśyapa clan was a soothsayer from Rohiṇīkhaṇḍa, which is in the modern Buldhana district of Maharashtra state. Somewhere between 1030 to 1050 CE he composed several works on mathematics, astronomy … Continue reading

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Śiva-gaṇa-s and Andhakāsura-vadha in the Vāmana-purāṇa

On Twitter, one of our acquaintances going by the name @GhorAngirasa had a discussion on the significance of the number 66 in śaiva tradition. That reminded us of an unfinished article where we had noted this number in the context … Continue reading

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A rambling talk on the śaiva mantra tradition

A rambling talk we had given on the śaiva tradition. Talking is easier but less precise than writing. So please be aware of the insufficiency that goes with the domain of any talk while perusing this material. Part 1; Introduction to … Continue reading

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Śarabha vidhi

The account of this rite continues from the prefatory narrative. Lootika: “There are several ways in which Rudra is worshipped as Śarabha conceived as the great dinosaur. We shall follow the way which is appropriate for us brāhmaṇa-s who observe … Continue reading

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A note on lost Śaiva centers: consideration of examples from Magadha and Vaṅga

To be read in conjunction with this handout: Harihara in the Indosphere One of the poorly understood but immensely important facets of Hindu history is the role of the saiddhāntika Śaiva-s in the cultural unification of the Indosphere within the … Continue reading

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Rudra’s portion of the ritual offering, the Kaṭha Āraṇyaka and the Atharvaśiras: a brief journey through early śaiva thought

A version of this article was published first at India Facts There is a persistent motif of the deva Rudra (Śiva) being originally refused ritual offerings of the yajña to which the other deva-s were entitled. Rudra eventually acquires his … Continue reading

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The dance of the bhairava

bhairava on a cadaver from Nepal netrAku~nchana-sAraNa-krama-kR^ita-pravyakta-naktaM dino dik-chakrAnta-visarpi-sallari-saTA-bhArAvaruddhAmbaraH | hasta-nyasta-kapAla-kandara-darI-muktAbhra-dhArAH pibann unmukta-dhvani-bhinna-karNa-kuharaH kravyAd ayaM nR^ityati || netra= eye; Aku~nchana= closing; sAraNa= opening; krama= periodic; kR^ita= act; pravyakta= manifest; naktaM= night; dinaH= day; dik= direction; chakra= circle; anta= ends; [dikchakrAnta= … Continue reading

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The erotic, the warlike and the imperial in the tantra age

The primary paurANika text of the shrI-kula tradition is the famed lalitopAkhyAnam, which is tagged to the brahmANDa purANam. The text describes the exploits of the central deity of the shrI-kula system, tripurasundarI, who is simultaneously praised as simultaneously erotic: … Continue reading

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Some comments of on the vyapohana stava and its pantheon

The vyapohana stava is an important saiddhAntika purificatory incantation. It may be compared with other works composed by deshika-s of the Urdhvasrotas such as: 1) the vyomavApistava of the Kashmirian commentator bhaTTa rAmakANTha-II; 2) the shiva-pUjA-stava of j~nAnashambhu, a scholar … Continue reading

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Some notes on the shaiva temple celebrations and an excursus on the fishing, diving and hunting festivals of rudra

An integral aspect of the life of the post-Vedic Hindu community was participation in the temple celebrations. It was considered highly beneficial in the tAntrika tradition, both to the individual and the community, and helps explain the basic premises of … Continue reading

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The mAtR^ikA krama

The worship of the mAtR^ikA-s lies at the root of the kaula system. We have earlier discussed the links of the mAtR^ikA worship with the kaumAra system. The presence of female deities, later explicitly termed mAtR^ikA-s or yoginI-s, in the … Continue reading

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A narrative on the kAlAmukha-s: implications for the bhairava-srotas

We had earlier briefly considered the kAlAmukha-s on these pages. While once prominent in both the north and south of the country, their last occurrences are recorded only in the south (though they clearly acknowledge their connections to the northern … Continue reading

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The “paurANic” element of the pashchimAmnAya

In the days after the fierce battle of dvAdashAnta, after we had overthrown the kR^ityAstra that struck us, we were resting in the city of the karnATa-s. There while meditating on the aghora mantra we experienced that connection with samayA … Continue reading

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