[INDOLOGY] Meaning and Explanation of 'chāyāpuruṣa'

Michael Slouber Michael.Slouber at wwu.edu
Sun Oct 13 14:18:10 EDT 2013


Dear Mrinal,

I understand 'chāyāpuruṣa' to mean just what it sounds like: the shadow person.  Numerous tantric and tantric-derived texts discuss prognostications based on watching subtle changes in one's shadow on a clear and sunny day.  The IFP's paper transcripts include a chāyāpuruṣalakṣaṇa (#T0620), which is available from Muktabodha's portal and might be helpful.  Consider also this clear passage from the Yogamārgaprakāśikā of Yugaladāsa (typed by Péter-Dániel Szántó):

	[atha chāyāpuruṣasya vidhānam] 

śuddhātape svadehasya pratibimbaṃ vilokayet | 
bhūmau dṛṣṭvā tathā khe ca pratīkopāsanāṃ caret || 9 ||
yogī samabhyasen nityaṃ svapratīkaṃ yathāvidhi | 
tena vijñāyate sarvaṃ lābhālābhau bhavābhavau || 10 ||
śiraś chinnaṃ tathā kampas tadā mṛtyur bhaved dhruvam | 
yadā na dṛśyate bāhur bhrātṛhānis tu jāyate || 11 ||
samastāni ca hy aṅgāni svapratīkena paśyati | 
tat sarvaṃ ca vijānīyāt tasya hānir na saṃśayaḥ || 12 ||
yaḥ karoti sadābhyāsaṃ guptācāreṇa mānuṣaḥ | 
īśatvaṃ nātra saṃdehaḥ ṣaṇmāsena ca labhyate || 13 ||
vivāhe gamane caiva kāle ca maraṇe tathā | 
avaśyam eva kartavyaṃ yogibhis tadupāsanam || 14 ||

This appears to be similar to the techniques found in early Tantric texts such as Svacchanda Tantra 7.268, etc. So I would understand chāyāpuruṣopadeśapariśīlanena to be one who is skilled in interpreting the communications of the shadow person.

Hope this helps,

Michael

––
Michael Slouber
Visiting Assistant Professor of South Asia
Department of Liberal Studies
Western Washington University

On Oct 13, 2013, at 10:44 AM, Mrinal Kaul wrote:

> Dear Indologists,
> 
> I have been trying to find out the meaning of 'chāyāpuruṣa' in the context of Tāntric texts. Monier Williams simply says 'Puruṣa in the form of a shadow' and Apte does not mention it. How do I understand the expressions like chāyāpuruṣopadeśavidbhiḥ (Tantrāloka-viveka-3.5ab) or chāyāpuruṣopadeśapariśīlanena (Īśvarapratyabhijñā-vivṛti-vimarśinī, Vol.1, p. 159) or chāyāpuruṣaparīkṣāyāmityarthāt (Svacchandatantra-udyota 7.267)? Who are considered to be the learned people in the teachings of chāyāpuruṣa (chāyāpuruṣa-vid) ? I should be grateful if someone can guide me to the right sources or throw some light on 'chāyāpuruṣa'. You can also write to me off-list. Thanks very much in advance.
> 
> Best wishes.
> 
> Mrinal Kaul
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