Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Kashmir Saivism

Kashmir Saivism
Cover of a book titled The Trika Saivism of Kashmir by Moti Lal Pandit


Kashmir Saivism also known as Trika tradition encompasses four systems of philosophy: the Pratyabhijna system, the Kula system, the Karma system, and the Spanda system.

Tantric ritual already makes its appearance in the early parts of the Rajatarangini, see for example the mentioning of måtrkacakra, devicakra, right from the earliest times of Kashmiri history; the first ones are said to have been founded by the wife of Jalauka, the alleged son of Asoka.263 But it is not clear in how far Kalhana extrapolates from the usages of his own times in ascribing some of these rites to such early periods. Tantric ritual is also mentioned later on:samaya as a ritual, samayacara 7.279-280. Kalhana, just as Ksemendra, and much earlier, Jayanta Bhatta, does not always speak favorably of Tantric adepts. Kalhana, however, does speaks respectful of Bhatta Kallana, the expounder of Siva Sutras, but he derides the Kaula gurus, probably thinking of those in his time (7.278 ff., 7.295 ff., 7.523, 7.712). Thus, he praises King Yasaskara under whose reign "the Brahman Gurus did not drink spirits while singing their chants" (6.10). This is echoed by the earlier poet, Ksemendra, in his Desopadesa 8,11-13:264
madhupåne krtabuddhih kaulakathånastajåtisamkocah
matsyasaravakahasto gurugrham åyåti diksito bhattah || 11 ||
ghatagalagalagalasabdair galapura bhairavam piban bhattah
samleksyate pravåhe lulhati ivåmbhobharåt khinnah || 12 ||
nitva nikhilam råtrim ksivo våntå savah svalidhåsyam
abhivadanaparisuddham pråtar bhatto 'nyabhattesu || 13 ||

"Alcohol in both hands, resolved, humbled by the loss of caste due to the talk of "Kaula" (about him), with a plate full of fish in his hand, the initiated Bhatta goes to the house of his (Saiva) teacher (11). Busy with gargling sounds, the Bhatta drinks, his throat full of "Bhairava" (recitation) [or: terrible (alcohol)]; in continuity [or: at a "pond"] (alcohol) is licked up; he rolls about, as he holds heavenly water, uneasily. (12) Having spent a whole night (thus), drunken, he has vomited the liquor, his mouth licked by dogs; (but next morning,) completely cleansed, with respectful greetings, he (walks) a Bhatta among the other Bhattas." (13)

Excerpt From-'Brahmans of Kashmir' by Michael Witzel
Read the PDF
* i would like to point out:“Bhatta” is a term still used by Kashmiris to refer a Kashmiri Pandit.*

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