Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions

Essays in Honour of Alexis G.J.S. Sanderson


Academic study of the tantric traditions has blossomed in recent decades, in no small measure thanks to the magisterial contributions of Alexis G. J. S. Sanderson, until 2015 Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at Oxford University. This collection of essays honours him and touches several fields of Indology that he has helped to shape (or, in the case of the Śaiva religions, revolutionised): the history, ritual, and philosophies of tantric Buddhism, Śaivism and Vaiṣṇavism; religious art and architecture; and Sanskrit belles lettres. Grateful former students, joined by other experts influenced by his scholarship, here offer papers that make significant contributions to our understanding of the cultural, religious, political, and intellectual histories of premodern South and Southeast Asia.

Contributors are: Peter Bisschop, Judit Törzsök, Alex Watson, Isabelle Ratié, Christopher Wallis, Péter-Dániel Szántó, Srilata Raman, Csaba Dezső, Gergely Hidas, Nina Mirnig, John Nemec, Bihani Sarkar, Jürgen Hanneder, Diwakar Acharya, James Mallinson, Csaba Kiss, Jason Birch, Elizabeth Mills, Ryugen Tanemura, Anthony Tribe, and Parul Dave-Mukherji.
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Dominic Goodall studied under Alexis Sanderson at Oxford (doctorate 1996), joined the École Française d’Extrême-Orient (2000), and is now head of its Pondicherry Centre. He has published editions and translations of Śaiva works, Sanskrit poetry and Cambodian inscriptions. He is joint-editor, with Marion Rastelli, of the Vienna dictionary of tantric terminology (Tāntrikābhidhānakośa).
Shaman Hatley studied under Harunaga Isaacson at the University of Pennsylvania (doctorate 2007), taught at Concordia University until 2015, and is now Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston. His research mainly concerns Tantric Śaivism, yoga, and medieval goddess cults, and his publications include The Brahmayāmalatantra or Picumata, vol. I, (Pondicherry, 2018).
Harunaga Isaacson, PhD in Sanskrit (University of Leiden, 1995), was a post-doctoral research fellow at Oxford University (1995 to 2000), and held positions at Hamburg University (2000-2002) and the University of Pennsylvania (2002- 2006) before joining Hamburg University as Professor of Classical Indology in 2006. His main research areas are South Asian tantric traditions, especially Vajrayāna Buddhism; classical Sanskrit poetry; Indian philosophy; Purāṇic literature; and manuscript studies.
Srilata Raman studied with Alexis Sanderson between the years 1986-1988, taking her M.Phil under his supervision at Oxford University. She is currently Associate Professor of Hinduism at the University of Toronto and specializes on the textual history of Tamil religion in both its Sanskrit and Tamil iterations, focusing on specific figures in both the Śrīvaiṣṇava and Tamil Śaiva traditions between the 12-14th and the 18-19th centuries.
'To sum up, this is an extraordinary volume on a wide range of subjects. A sizable portion of these essays are of major significance to their respective areas,and all have something worthwhile to offer the study of Indian history. It is a fitting tribute to the brilliant life and work of Alexis Sanderson.
Michael Slouber, Western Washington University, Indo-Iranian Journal (2021)
'There is much to appreciate in this book. In brief: it makes a key chapter of the Śivadharmaśāstra accessible for diverse readers through a transparent critical edition and a clear annotated translation; it introduces the reader not just to this text, but to the active scholarly subfield investigating the corpus of early lay Śaiva literature commonly known as the Śivadharma; and it reflects on the methodological principles guiding a philological approach to this corpus. Notably, the book is available as an Open Access ebook thanks to the generosity of the J. Gonda Fund Foundation.' - Hamsa Stainton, McGill University JAOS, 141.4 (2021)
List of Figures and Tables
Notes on Contributors
A Note on Alexis Sanderson and Indology
Dominic Goodall and Harunaga Isaacson
Bibliography of the Published Works of Alexis G.J.S. Sanderson


Part 1 Early Śaivism

1 From Mantramārga Back to Atimārga: Atimārga as a Self-referential Term
Peter Bisschop

2 Why Are the Skull-Bearers (Kāpālikas) Called Soma?
Judit Törzsök

3 Dressing for Power: On vrata, caryā, and vidyāvrata in the Early Mantramārga, and on the Structure of the Guhyasūtra of the Niśvāsatattvasaṃhitā
Dominic Goodall

Part 2 Exegetical and Philosophical Traditions

4 Further Thoughts on Rāmakaṇṭha’s Relationship to Earlier Positions in the Buddhist-Brāhmaṇical Ātman Debate
Alex Watson

5 Some Hitherto Unknown Fragments of Utpaladeva’s Vivṛti (II): Against the Existence of External Objects
Isabelle Ratié

6 Alchemical Metaphors for Spiritual Transformation in Abhinavagupta’s Īśvarapratyabhijñāvimarśinī and Īśvarapratyabhijñāvivṛtivimarśinī
Christopher D. Wallis

7 On Vāgīśvarakīrti’s Influence in Kashmir and among the Khmer
Péter-Dániel Szántó

8 Reflections on the King of Ascetics (Yatirāja): Rāmānuja in the Devotional Poetry of Vedānta Deśika
Srilata Raman

Part 3 Religion, the State, and Social History

9 Not to Worry, Vasiṣṭha Will Sort It Out: The Role of the Purohita in the Raghuvaṃśa
Csaba Dezső

10 Buddhism, Kingship and the Protection of the State: The Suvarṇaprabhāsottamasūtra and Dhāraṇī Literature
Gergely Hidas

11 Adapting Śaiva Tantric Initiation for Exoteric Circles: The Case of the Lokadharmiṇī Dīkṣā and Its History in Early Medieval Sources
Nina Mirnig

12 Innovation and Social Change in the Vale of Kashmir, circa 900–1250 C.E.
John Nemec

13 Toward a History of the Navarātra, the Autumnal Festival of the Goddess
Bihani Sarkar

Part 4 Mantra, Ritual, and Yoga

14 Śārikā’s Mantra
Jürgen Hanneder

15 The Kāmasiddhistuti of King Vatsarāja
Diwakar Acharya

16 The Lotus Garland (padmamālā) and Cord of Power (śaktitantu): The Brahmayāmala’s Integration of Inner and Outer Ritual
Shaman Hatley

17 The Amṛtasiddhi: Haṭhayoga’s Tantric Buddhist Source Text
James Mallinson

18 A Sexual Ritual with Māyā in Matsyendrasaṃhitā 40
Csaba Kiss

19 Haṭhayoga’s Floruit on the Eve of Colonialism
Jason Birch

Part 5 Art and Architecture

20 The Early Śaiva Maṭha: Form and Function
Libbie Mills

21 The Kriyāsaṃgrahapañjikā of Kuladatta and Its Parallels in the Śaiva Pratiṣṭhātantras
Ryugen Tanemura

22 Mañjuśrī as Ādibuddha: The Identity of an Eight-Armed Form of Mañjuśrī Found in Early Western Himalayan Buddhist Art in the Light of Three Nāmasaṃgīti-Related Texts
Anthony Tribe

23 Life and Afterlife of Sādṛśya: Revisiting the Citrasūtra through the Nationalism-Naturalism Debate in Indian Art History
Parul Dave-Mukherji

Anyone interested in Asia’s tantric traditions, philosophy and religion in premodern India, Sanskrit, and Indology. The book will be essential reading to specialists and advanced students of Śaivism and Tantric Buddhism.
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