Tantric Teachings of the Kālikā Purāṇa


At a lonely place, in a remote hermitage somewhere in the Himālaya, the god Śiva is teaching Tantric worship to his humiliated sons, who want to regain their divine status: “You should worship the goddess Mahāmāyā Kālikā”. Remarkable are his ‘talks’ about preliminary rituals, mudrās, and animal as well as human sacrifice. The Tantric Teachings form the inner core of the Kālikā Purāna, i.e. ‘Old Stories about Kālikā’, composed by a learned Brāhmin about a thousand years ago in Kāmarūpa (Assam). Careful listening to the text has been my first priority when presenting the relevant passages in text and translation.

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Karel R. van Kooij, Ph.D. (Utrecht 1972), is Professor Emeritus of Leiden University, The Netherlands. He published on Indology, Hindu and Buddhist Iconography, and restarted the Annual Bibliography of Indian Archaeology (ABIA), now on line (Brill).

1 Date, Environment and Narrative Structure
 1 A Neglected Manuscript
 2 A Sacrificial Site in Kathmandu
 3 Speakers, Audiences, Locations
 4 Summary and Conclusions

2 Preliminaries
 1 Preparation (puraścaraṇa)
 2 Purification (bhūtaśuddhi), Cosmic Throne (yogapīṭha)
 3 Yoga Body, cakra System
 4 Devotion (bhakti)
 5 ‘Left’ and ‘Right Method’ (vāmabhāva, dakṣiṇabhāva)

3 Ritual Behaviour
 1 Reverence (namaskāra)
 2 Gesture (mudrā)
 3 Sitting Posture (āsana)
 4 Seat (āsana)

4 Mantra
 1 Selection of the Right mantra (mantrasiddhi)
 2 Application on the Body (nyāsa)
 3 Harnessing (kavaca)
 4 Device (yantra)

5 Blood-Chapter
 1 Gift of the Tribute (balidāna)
 2 Animal and Human Sacrifice
 3 Human Sacrifice in Nepal

6 Pantheon
 1 Contexts
 2 Iconology

General Index
Specialists in Sanskrit and Indian Tantrism, Indologists, and historians of religion