Abhinavagupta: Tantraaloka 29

hanneder hanneder at MUENCHEN.ORG
Tue Mar 10 12:59:06 UTC 1998

Topic:  John Dupuche's question about Tantraaloka, chapter 29

I cannot claim to have read much of this aahnika, but I would like to draw
attention to one passage in Jayaratha's commentary on TA 29.13 about the
necessity to drink alcohol at every ritual session. For while the
wide-spread concept of Kaulas being libertines and trying to transcend the
social and religious boundaries of their time (caste, purity etc.) fits into
a rather modern Western slot, Jayaratha quotes unnamed and unidentified
(?) sources that display a more ritualistic and perhaps MImAMsA-like spirit:

madyamAMsAdhivAsena mukhaM 'sUnyaM yadA bhavet|
tadA pa'sutvaM AyAti prAya'scittaM samAcaret|| (Tantraalokaviveka on 29.13)

(Jayaratha adds that sadA (in "pibet sadA" in TA 29.12) refers to the time of

Another quotation stipulates that the best option is to drink always, next
comes the practice to drink only on Parvan-days, the least is to drink once
a month, beyond that one becomes a Pa'su.

(The Sanskrit is too enjoyable to be ommited:

uttamaM tu sadA pAnaM bhavet parvasu madhyamam|
adhamaM mAsamAtre.na mAsAd UrdhvaM pa'sur bhavet||

That this is to be taken literally is indicated by Jayaratha who says that
this applies only to aapatkaale (prohibition etc.), that means, under normal
circumstances no such laxity is allowed!

This does not at all tally with the notion about free-spirited Kaulas, it
rather seems that not freedom from the rules that forbid alcohol
etc.---which would not have to be demonstrated daily---but repeated,
ritualised infrigement of the rules is necessary.
   Perhaps someone has found similar discussions in other texts?

Another question: Did you find mss. for this chapter?

Juergen Hanneder

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list