A Priest's Guide for the Great Festival Aghorasiva's Mahotsavavidhi
TheMahotsavavidhi, a twelfth-century Sanskrit text, provides detailed guidelines for a Saiva temple priest in performing a nine-day "great festival" for the god Siva. The author, Aghorasiva, is one of the most esteemed and influential authors in the Saiva Siddhanta school, and his lengthy work on ritual procedures,Kriyakramadyotika, (of which theMahotsavavidhiis a part), is by all accounts the Agama work most employed by modern temple priests and pious Saivas in their practice of worship. Richard Davis's translation of this important text is the first translation into a European language of any medieval work on temple festivals. Because the text was intended for an expert audience of working twelfth-century priests, Aghorasiva employs a highly technical idiom. For that reason, Davis annotates his translation extensively with explanations and expansions drawn from other Agama works. There have been numerous studies of temple festivals and processions based on ethnographic observations and on recent historical data, but the historical study of this dramatic religious practice during earlier periods has relied on speculation. Davis's groundbreaking volume will provide a new foundation for the study of the history of South Indian temple festivals as a cultural practice.
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abhiseka accompanied according adorned Agama texts aghora Aghorasiva Ajitagama auspicious banner Bhatt bheri bheri drum black balm brahmamantras Brahman Bull Candesa Ceraman ceremony chariot Chidambaram chief priest Chola circumambulation consecration daily worship Dancing Siva darbha grass deities devotees divine eight final bath fire-rites flag flagpole flowers form of Siva Ganesa ghee Goddess gods honor Indra instruments invokes Janaki Karanagama Kriyakramadyotikd lamps linga Lord lotus mahotsava Mahotsavavidhi mantra Mayamata moon morning musical naksatra Nandin nine-day festival nityapuja oblations offerings officiating priest palanquin pavilion perform pole pots powder pradaksina preceptor present priest procedures procession processional icons protective cord Rauravagama reciting rice rites Rudra Rudraganikas sacrificial Sadasiva Saiva Agamas Saiva ritual Saiva Siddhanta Saiva temple Sakti sanctum silpin Siva-linga Siva-pot Siva's Skanda Somaskanda specifies sprinkles sprouts starting sthandila Tamil tattvas temple festival throne tribute Trident utsava vahanas Vasuki Vedic Vidyesvaras Visnu World-guardians yak-tail fans