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.
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 (
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)
Preface 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
From Mantramārga Back to Atimārga: Atimārga as a Self-referential Term Peter Bisschop
Why Are the Skull-Bearers (Kāpālikas) Called Soma? Judit Törzsök
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
Further Thoughts on Rāmakaṇṭha’s Relationship to Earlier Positions in the Buddhist-Brāhmaṇical Ātman Debate Alex Watson
Some Hitherto Unknown Fragments of Utpaladeva’s Vivṛti (II): Against the Existence of External Objects Isabelle Ratié
Alchemical Metaphors for Spiritual Transformation in Abhinavagupta’s Īśvarapratyabhijñāvimarśinī and Īśvarapratyabhijñāvivṛtivimarśinī Christopher D. Wallis
On Vāgīśvarakīrti’s Influence in Kashmir and among the Khmer Péter-Dániel Szántó
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
Not to Worry, Vasiṣṭha Will Sort It Out: The Role of the Purohita in the Raghuvaṃśa Csaba Dezső
Buddhism, Kingship and the Protection of the State: The Suvarṇaprabhāsottamasūtra and Dhāraṇī Literature Gergely Hidas
Adapting Śaiva Tantric Initiation for Exoteric Circles: The Case of the Lokadharmiṇī Dīkṣā and Its History in Early Medieval Sources Nina Mirnig
Innovation and Social Change in the Vale of Kashmir, circa 900–1250 C.E. John Nemec
Toward a History of the Navarātra, the Autumnal Festival of the Goddess Bihani Sarkar
Part 4 Mantra, Ritual, and Yoga
Śārikā’s Mantra Jürgen Hanneder
The Kāmasiddhistuti of King Vatsarāja Diwakar Acharya
The Lotus Garland (padmamālā) and Cord of Power (śaktitantu): The Brahmayāmala’s Integration of Inner and Outer Ritual Shaman Hatley
The Amṛtasiddhi: Haṭhayoga’s Tantric Buddhist Source Text James Mallinson
A Sexual Ritual with Māyā in Matsyendrasaṃhitā 40 Csaba Kiss
Haṭhayoga’s Floruit on the Eve of Colonialism Jason Birch
Part 5 Art and Architecture
The Early Śaiva Maṭha: Form and Function Libbie Mills
The Kriyāsaṃgrahapañjikā of Kuladatta and Its Parallels in the Śaiva Pratiṣṭhātantras Ryugen Tanemura
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
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.