[INDOLOGY] Meaning and Explanation of 'chāyāpuruṣa'

Patrick Olivelle jpo at uts.cc.utexas.edu
Sun Oct 13 15:09:31 EDT 2013


This may have nothing to do with the Tantric use of the term, but chāyāpuruṣa occurs as a measurement, often related to the sundial, in Kauṭilya's Arthaśāstra: 1.19.6-7; 2.20.10, 39 (have notes to these). And on the ability to eliminate one's shadow: 14.3.5-15. The length of a chāyāpuruṣa appears to be 12 aṅgulas.

Patrick



On Oct 13, 2013, at 1:18 PM, Michael Slouber wrote:

> 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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