The Development of Śaivism in Koṭīvarṣa, North Bengal, with Special Reference to the Koṭīvarṣa-Māhātmya in the Skandapurāṇa

In: Indo-Iranian Journal
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  • 1 Kyoto University

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Koṭīvarṣa/Koṭivarṣa, alias Devīkoṭa and Śoṇitapura, in North Bengal is known to be one of the early centres of Tantric Śaivism. In this paper, the history of Śaivism at the site up to the twelfth century will be examined, using textual, archaeological and epigraphical sources, of which the two recensions of the Skandapurāṇa are the main material. The study reveals a strong local tradition of goddess worship throughout the period. The site was subsumed under Śaivism possibly by the fourth century; thereafter, diverse streams of Tantric Śaivism—goddess-oriented followers of the Yāmala scriptures and the orthodox Saiddhāntikas—took hold there in different periods and interacted with the local tradition of goddess worship.

  • 25

    Couture (2003) analyses the episode in detail, comparing the three versions. His paper is very useful for the study of this episode that contains many textual problems, but one of his concluding remarks, that the goddess Koṭavī is a Vaiṣṇava goddess, is not well verified by the evidence in the episode.

  • 37

    Hatley 2007, 200–211.

  • 38

    Ibid., 211. For evidence that leads to this conclusion, see ibid., 211–228.

  • 39

    Ibid., 202, 210.

  • 45

    Hatley 2007, 194.

  • 46

    Hatley 2012, 108.

  • 47

    See Schmiedchen 2007, 361f., for the copper-plate inscriptions that record some land grants to the Atharvavedin Brahmins in the Pāla period. An account of the transmission or revelation of the Brahmayāmala scripture, narrated in its first chapter, may be relevant to this element. This account incorporates twenty-eight individuals from various castes and regions, of which four are Ātharvaṇa Brahmins; these four are all disciples of Padmabhairava and three of them come from Madhyadeśa (Hatley 2007, 228–232, Table 4.8). The narrative cannot be read as historical data, but it points to some connection between this scripture and the Atharvavedins who come from Madhyadeśa.

  • 53

    Ghosh 2010 and Bhattacharya 2010. For the other image found in Dogachia in Nadia District, see Goswami 1996 and Bhattacharya 2010. The name Mūrtiśiva is inscribed on the pedestal of the Dogachia statue.

  • 56

    Melzer 2009, 142. She concludes thus on the grounds that ‘The provenance of at least 24 Cāmuṇḍā images can be traced to this region. Numerous other Cāmuṇḍā sculptures were also found in the nearby districts of Rajshahi, Naogaon, and Bogra in Bangladesh.’

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