The word 'Sankara' in the Kula tradition of chapter 29 of the Tantr�loka of Abhinavagupta

John Dupuche dupuche at ONE.NET.AU
Mon May 11 19:25:11 UTC 1998

Vidyasankar Sundaresan, on Sunday, 10 May 1998, refers to the quotation
given by Jayaratha in his commentary on the Kula ritual in the
TantrAloka of Abhinavagupta, which reads:
        "Those, however, who have been initiated in the tradition of
S/an.kara and in the tradition of the goddess"
        Vidyasankar Sundaresan raises two questions:

1.      Regarding the meaning of the word S/an.kara. Does it refer to the
Çiva or to some human such as the great Sankaracarya?
        In his commentary following on TantrAloka 29.75, Jayaratha, quotes a
passage which roundly rejects a number of schools."The Siddhånta,
Vais.n.ava, Buddhist, VedAnta and SmArta teachings are to be avoided
diligently indeed, since they are called 'bonded animals'. They avoid
the [divine] presence which comes from contact with wine
(advaita-drava). They turn away from it. They are dead, deprived of
        It is clear, therefore, that Jayaratha, who lived about 1200 CE had a
knowledge of the VedAnta. As a skillful commentator, it is unlikely that
he would have quoted another text - the one we are discussing - which
would give such a high profile to Sankaracarya.
        Jayaratha indeed knows something of the Vedanta but it is uncertain
whether the teachings of Sankaracarya were known in the Kashmir of
Abhinvagupta, two hunded years earlier.
        In short, the reference is to Çiva.

2.      What initiation is being referred to?
        The quote reads: ‘Those, however, who have been initiated in the
tradition of Sankara and in the tradition of the goddess ...  s/An.kare
tantre devItantre ca dIks.itAh.\
        In TantrAloka 4.366d, Abhinava locates the college or mAth.ikA which
derives from the daughter of Trymambaka - i.e. the Kula tradition -
'within the line of Ça*kara', s/An.kare krame.

        Therefore, to conclude, the simplest interpretation is that the text in
question refers to initiation into the Kula tradition which is governed
by the union of S/iva and s/akti, i.e. Akula and Kula.

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