Auspicious Wisdom: The Texts and Traditions of Srividya Sakta Tantrism in South India

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SUNY Press, 1992 - Religion - 301 pages
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Rooting itself in Kashmir Shaivism, Srividya became a force in South India no later than the seventh century, and eventually supplanted the Trika as the dominant Tantric tradition in Kashmir. This is the first comprehensive study of the texts and traditions of this influential school of goddess-centered, Sakta, Tantrism. Centering on the goddess's three manifestations--the beneficent deity Lalita Tripurasundari, her mantra, and the visually striking sricakra--Srividya creates a systematic esoteric discipline that combines elements of the yogas of knowledge, of devotion, and of ritual. Utilizing canonical works, historical commentaires, and the interpretive insights of living practitioners, this book explores the theological and ritual theories that form the basis for Srividya practice and offers new methods for critical and comparative studies of esoteric Hinduism.
 

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Contents

KULA TANTRISM AND ŚRĪVIDYĀ TRADITION
11
GODDESS WORSHIP IN THE ŚRĪKULA TANTRAS
16
ŚRĪVIDYĀ WITHIN AND BEYOND KULA TANTRISM
18
EARLIEST HISTORICAL EVIDENCE FOR ŚRĪVIDYĀ IN TAMIL LITERATURE
29
ŚRĪVIDYĀ IN TEXT AND HISTORY
37
THE ŚRĪKULA TANTRAS AND OTHER EARLY SOURCES
38
GAUḌAPĀDA ŚAṄKARA AND THE ŚĀṄKARA TRADITION
43
RITUAL SOURCE BOOKS TREATISES AND LATER TRADITION
50
THE ŚRĪVIDYĀ APPENDED TO OTHER MANTRAS
103
TRIPURĀ UPANIŞAD HĀDI AND KĀDI VIDYĀ
104
THE SIXTEEN SYLLABLE FORM OF THE ŚRĪVIDYĀ
107
THE MEANING OF THE VIDYĀ INITIATION AND OTHER MANTRAS
108
SECRECY AND THE ARTICULATION OF THE MANTRA
111
ŚRĪCAKRA THE TRANSCENDENT ASPECT OF DEVĪ
115
CREATION AS THE FORM OF GOD
121
THE ŚRĪCAKRA DEITIES
123

REGIONAL AND VERNACULAR SOURCES OF ŚRĪVIDYĀ AND FURTHER REMARKS ON THE CONCEPT OF AUTHORITY AND SCRIPTURE
56
THE GODDESS LALITĀ MAHĀTRIPURASUNDARĪ THE STHŪLA ASPECT
59
THE MAKING OF A GREAT GODDESS
60
THE ICONOGRAPHIC AND MYTHIC LALITĀ IN SOUTH INDIAN TEMPLES
71
THE ESOTERIC INTERPRETATION OF LALITĀS IMAGE AND MYTHOLOGY
74
THE ŚRĪVIDYĀ MANTRA ŚRĪVIDYĀ
81
INTERPRETING THE CANON OF SIGNS
82
MYTHICAL AND HISTORICAL DERIVATION OF THE ŚRĪVIDYĀ
86
KĀDI AND HĀDI VIDYĀS
89
THE ŚRĪVIDYĀ ŚĀKTA SPECULATIONS AND TRIADIC SYMBOLISM
90
THE ŚRĪVIDYĀ VEDIC GĀYATRĪ AND VEDIC TRADITIONS
92
ESOTERIC MEANINGS OF THE ŚRĪVIDYĀ
97
INTERPRETING TANTRIC RITUAL
147
ACQUIRING POWER BY EXPLOITING INCONGRUITY
149
THE FIVEFOLD STRUCTURE OF ŚRĪVIDYĀ RITUAL
151
TANTRIC SCHOLARSHIP AND MODES OF COMPARISON
162
TANTRIC AND NONTANTRIC WORLDS OF CONVERGENCE AND DISJUNCTURE
166
CONVERGENT AND UTOPIC MAPS OF THE WORLD
167
RITUAL STRATEGIES AND OBJECTIVES
173
THE RELIGIOUS VIRTUOSI
183
APPENDIX OF DIAGRAMS
189
NOTES
201
BIBLIOGRAPHY
257
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Page xix - Ritual is a means of performing the way things ought to be in conscious tension to the way things are in such a way that this ritualized perfection is recollected in the ordinary, uncontrolled, course of things.
Page xvii - We seem to have an infallible paradigm of identity in the identity of a thing with itself. I feel like saying: "Here at any rate there can't be a variety of interpretations. If you are seeing a thing you are seeing identity too".

About the author (1992)

Douglas Renfrew Brooks is Assistant Professor of Religion and Director of Asian Studies, University of Rochester. Brook's textual and historical investigations of Sakta tantrism are augmented by extensive field work and experience among contemporary practitioners. He is also the author of The Secret of the Three Cities: An Introduction to Hindu Sakta Tantrism.

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