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The Parakhyatantra: A Scripture of The Saiva Siddhanta

The Parakhyatantra: A Scripture of The Saiva Siddhanta
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Item Code: NAK822
Author: Dominic Goodall
Publisher: Institut Francais De Pondichery
Language: Sanskrit Text with English Translation
Edition: 2004
Pages: 698
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 10.0 inch x 6.5 inch

About the Book


The rediscovery of a large part of the Parakhyatantra made possible by this edition furnishes one more document of the pre-tenth-century thought-world of the Saiva Siddhanta, a religion that was spread across and beyond the Indian subcontinent at the probable time of this work's composition. For our text dates from the period before the appearance of the most significant body of theological exegesis in the history of the school, namely the writings of the tenth-century Kashmirian lineage of Bhatta Ramakantha A. The addition of the Parakhya to the still small corpus of published early Saiddhantika writings should be a welcome event to the student of classical Indian religions.


What is presented here, however, is not the whole text but only those chapters of it that deal with doctrine and yoga. Those on ritual and other aspects of religious practice were left aside by the unknown compiler responsible for the selection of materials found in the unique codex a beautiful palm-leaf manuscript in minute Nandinagari script and are therefore lost. Many quotations from the text have been located in later literature, and a fully positive apparatus reports the readings of all sources. A diplomatic transcription records features of the manuscript that the apparatus cannot contain (its orthographies, pageand line-breaks, etc.).


A complete English translation the first to' appear of an early siddhantatantra accompanies the Sanskrit text. Copious notes discuss textual difficulties and problems of interpretation. In doing so, they draw on parallels with other Saiddhantika writings, both published and unpublished. The introduction places the Parakhya in its context, gives a resume of the work, characterises its language and concludes with a detailed discussion of the sources and of how they have been used.


About the Author


Dominic Goodall studied Sanskrit at Oxford (BA 1990, DPhil. 1996) and in Hamburg (Habilitation 2002). He is currently head of the Pondicherry Centre of the Ecole francaise d'Extreme-Orient, where he is engaged in editing Saiva texts.




Explanatory remarks about the Saiva Siddhanta and its treatment in modern secondary literature

In my preface to the first volume of the Kiranavrtti (GOODALL 1998), I alluded with approval to the stand taken by ISAACSON in the eighth of his 'Stellingen' submitted with his unpublished thesis (*1995).


Most students of classical India must at some time be made to acknowledge that '[t]he quantity and quality of the secondary literature in many areas of Indian studies is such that bibliographical completeness has become something that is often rather to be avoided than striven for.'


When I came to recast this book to be submitted for a degree to a German university, I realised that such a cavalier dismissal of the secondary literature would be unacceptable. I do not however intend to spead long grazing in these for the most part rather barren pastures; in what follows immediately below, I intend to do no more than show why a certain number of books purportedly about the Saiva Siddhanta are not amply referenced and discussed in the pages that follow.


Many indologists, if they have heard of the Saiva Siddhanta at all, are likely to have been encouraged to suppose it to be a uniquely Tamilian, Vedanta-influenced theological school with its origins in the twelfth century-a school that acknowledged as scripture a body of Sanskrit texts called agamas that prescribed the mode of worship in South Indian Saiva temples, as well as a body of Tamil devotional hymns to Siva but that was really based on a group of fourteen Tamil theological works the Meykanta-cattirankal, almost all of which are supposed to have been written in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. This is, on the whole. the picture we find given in a number of widely disseminated general surveys of 'Hinduism', such as, for example, BROCKINGTON (1992:140-5) and KLOSTERMAIER (1989:253).2 This is in fact a very distorted image, and what is true in it applies only to a largely post-twelfth-century South Indian development of a much older pan-Indian religious school.


Even the more specialised survey material presents a rather confused picture of the context of this study, namely the early (i.e. twelfthand pre-twelfth-century), pan-Indian Saiva Siddhanta. After finding little help in GONDA'S Visnuism and Sivaism: A Comparison (1996; reprint from 1970) and nothing but extremely brief and uninvestigative summaries of what was deemed philosophical in a small handful of randomly selected Saiddhantika works offered by DASGUPTA 1955,4 the bewildered indologist reader in search of guidance not unnaturally turns to the Harrassowitz series A History of Indian Literature, in which two books are found t hat cover material belonging to the early Saiva Siddhanta, the second of them without intending to do so: Jan GONDA'S Medieval Religious Literature in Sanskrit (1977) and GOUDRIAAN's and GUPTA'S pioneering Hindu Tantric and Sakta Literature (1981). Any first attempt at taking stock of a large body of largely unpublished literature is likely soon to require revision in the light of new discoveries, and so it is no criticism to say that GOUDRIAAN's work could now be bettered in some areas. At the outset GOUDRIAAN somewhat confounds the unwary by attempting to draw a false distinction between 'Agarnas' on the one hand-which are typically South Indian, or at least preserved only in the South, and which he actually wishes to exclude from his survey-and Tantras on the other, which are typically North Indian and which he sees as his subject (1981:7-9).5 It is true of course that the Siddhantatantras (which correspond to GOUDRIAAN's category 'Agamas') can to an extent be set apart from other Saiva tantras in that they form a coherent well-defined group and intend to teach a single coherent body of doctrines. But, as GOUDRIAAN also recognises (1981:9), they actually share a common background with other Tantric Saiva literature. This GOUDRIAAN later illustrates by treating or mentioning a number of Siddhantatantras transmitted in the North: the Nisvesa (1981:33-6),6 the Sarvajnanottara and the Kalottara (1981:21 and 38-9), the Diksottara (1981:48-9), and the Paremesvere (1981:21). But we cannot expect to find here introductory remarks about the early Saiva Siddhanta, for this was not GOUDRIAAN's subject and he did not recognise these works to belong to it. GONDA'S somewhat earlier account of the 'Sivaite Agama Literature', by contrast, recognisesthat 'the names agama and tantra sometimes alternate' (1977:202) and that some tantras/agamas are found transmitted in the South and the north (1977:165-6 and 202); but it presupposes nevertheless an unhelpful opposition between the Northern and Southern traditions, in particular between a Northern school of non-dualist exegesis and a Southern dualist one, and this leads to confusion." GONDA offers (1977:180-215) a number of resumes of agamas, but they belong to rather different currents of thought, and relation between them are not articulated.


Recent, more specialised treatments in secondary literature of the Saiva Siddhanta tend to be disappointingly weak, by which I mean narrow in the range of sources consulted and poorly argued.? or to be confined to a very particular period and not intended to present historical development" or, because of a current trend in Indian publishing, to be entirely unrevised presentations of very old research, often respectable in its own time, but now plainly long surpassed in many respects. 11 Two 'new' works of the latter category that have recently appeared are ANDIMATH 2001, a wide-ranging and informative thesis submitted, according to its preface, to the University of London in 1930 and now published, alas without revision, seventy-one years later; and Mary LAW'S recent translation (2000) of Hilko Wiardo SCHOMERUS' Der Ceive-Siddhanta: Eine Mystik Indians. Nach den temuliscbexi Quellen bearbeitet und dargestellt. Since so much about the Saiva Siddhanta has been discovered since 1912, every paragraph of the introductory chapter of this latter work, in which SCHOMERUS locates in place and time the tradition he examines, cries out for commentary sadly this new translation offers not one editorial remark.




As will be clear from the numerous testimonia that appear in the apparatus to the text, the Parakhya or Saurabheya-tantra was once a valued authority, much quoted both by writers of the period of the early pan-Indian Saiva Siddhanta, i.e. up to and including Aghorasiva, and also by thinkers of various of the subsequent South Indian strands of development that go by the name of the Saiva Siddhanta. It is curious, therefore, that there seems to survive only one incomplete manuscript of the text,48 ,transmitting patalas 1-6 and 14-15. The codex in which it is written hereafter MY I continue to use the siglum to which I assigned it for my edition of the Kirene, GOODALL 1998) is of unique importance to our understanding of the early Saiva Siddhanta because it is also the codex unicus for much of the Rauravasutrasangraha,49 which, as I have argued in my introduction to the Kiranavrtti, is the only part of the printed Raurava early enough to have been known to the lineage of Bhatta Ramakantha A, and it is the only manuscript known to me which transmits the complete text of the Svayambhuvasutrasangraha with the chapters in the correct order (i.e. that preserved in the fragmentary Nepalese palm-leaf manuscript) and unmixed with other (later) chapters, as we find in most South Indian manuscripts. 50 (Although the Mysore edition does not make clear that it is based on MY, the errors and gaps therein show that it must be.) Furthermore the codex's text of the Kirene is the closest among those of all the manuscripts known to me to the text that Ramakantha had before him-closer even than the text of the manuscripts that also transmit Ramakantha's commentary.


It is true that quotations from the text are not especially common in t he works of Saiddhantikas up to and including Aghorasiva-e-Ramakantha quotes it by name only once (ad Matarigavidyapada 12:25-27b, pp. 347-). Narayanakantha only twice (ad Mrgendravidyapada 2:7, p.58 and ad Mrgendravidyapada 11:11, p.231), and thus Aghorasiva too, who in his works on doctrine rarely quotes an authority that has not previously been quoted by these important forbears, refers to it infrequently (ad Nadakarika 12, Bhogakarika 100c-101b (untraced in MY), and without attribution ad Tattvatrayanirnaya 6, Tattvaprakasa 25,44-5, Ratnatrayapariksa 30ab and Ratnatrayapariksa 180c-182b).


Is it conceivable that the text's being taught by Prakasa rather than by a form of Siva himself diminished the authoritativeness of the Parakhya in the eyes of some? A passage from Ksemaraja's Svacchandatantroddyota (ad 1O:516c-517b quoted in fn. 604 on p. 309 below) suggests this, but it seems likely that Ksemaraja takes such a position there merely because he wishes to find a reason for upholding a teaching of the Svacchanda against assertions of the Msgendra and the Parakhya. Judging from the number and range of its quotations, particularly in South Indian works, the Mrgendra's importance in the Saiddhantika exegetical tradition seems to have been huge in spite of its being a redaction by Indra rather than Siva's words.


Whatever be the reason for their relative paucity, these few early Saiddhantika attestations, taken together with the very substantial quotations that appear in the tenth chapter of Ksemaraja's Svacchandatantroddyota, serve to prove that this Parakhya is an early work. Thus it may join the tiny list of surviving demonstrably early listed Siddhantas the Kirana; the Nisvasa; the Rauravasutrasangraha, the Svayambhuvasatrasangraha, the [Pauskara-] Paramesvara. For although it does not figure in the standardized South Indian list that Bhatt tabulates in his introduction to the first volume of the Raurava, it appears at the end of a number of early versions of the list of twenty-eight primary scriptures, namely those of the Paramesvara, the Srikanthiya, the Kirana and that which prefaces the Jnanapancasika recension of the Kalottara.


Two early Parakhyatantras?

Our Parakhya does not, however, appear to be the same as that quoted in the Brhatkalottara. Professor SANDERSON has kindly furnished me with his preliminary edition (*1996b) of the sivabhedapatala and the tantrotpattivyakhyapatala which purport to give the mula-or adi-sutras of the twenty-eight root scriptures. The Parakhya is last on the list, and its sutra, and a brief commentary thereon, read as follows (verses 92-5b, f. 55T, lines 2-5):


This sutra appears nowhere in what MY transmits of the Parakhya and, although it is possible that it occurred in one of the chapters that was not copied, this is unlikely, firstly because adisutras, as the name tells us, occur at or towards the beginning of a work and we seem to have what must have been intended to be the beginning of our Parakhya preserved in MY, and secondly that beginning contains a plausible mulasutra (1:4 or 1:5 or both).57 It is possible then that the Brhatkalottara knew another Parakhya, and this is suggested by another passage in the same tantrotpattivyakhyapatala in which divisions of the twenty-eight fundamental scriptures are listed (verses 16-30b, f.51, line 6-52, line 1). In the last half-verse of this passage the Parakhya is said to be two-fold:



This last half-verse may mean then that the redactor(s) of the Brhatkalottara knew of two parts of a Parakhya or of two independent works, one known as the Saurabheya and the other as the Parakhya. The adisutra it quotes must then be assumed to belong to the one not preserved in MY. As a source of information about the canon the Brhatkalottara must, however, be used with caution: very little of the material in these patalas can be verified (only the adisutras of the Rauravasutrasangraha, the Kirsne, and the Svayambhuvasutrasangraha can be found in surviving works) and some of the information does not fit as neatly as might be hoped. Furthermore the solution is not entirely satisfactory because Saurabheya seems elsewhere to be used as an alternative name for our Parakhya (see p. cvai).


If we are to make sense of what the Brhatkalottara tells us, we might assume that what transmits is the upabheda of the Parakhya that the Brhatkalottara calls Saurabheya, since that name Saurabheya can be argued to be appropriate to it, as we shall see below, and thus both names can be used of it. The lost work from which the untraced ad isiltra is quoted might then be the upabheda of the Parakhya which the Brhatkalottara actually calls Parakhya.


As for the appropriateness of the name Saurabheya, I quote SANDERSON’S suggestion (GOODALL 1998:lxv, fn. 156):


The interlocutors of the Parakhya are Prakasa (the sun) and a certain Pratoda, who can be identified with Vasistha. because this information is given when a passage from the Parakhya is quoted in Taksakavarta's digest (f.40v, line 15): pratodo bhagavan vasispha uvaca .... This connection with Vasistha may explain the Parakhya's other name: since Vasistha is closely associated in mythology with Surabhi, the 'cow of plenty' produced at the churning of the ocean, Professor SANDERSON proposes (in a letter of 2.ix.96) that Saurabheya means 'taught to Saurabha', Saurabha denoting Vasistha.








Explanatory remarks about the Saiva Siddhanta and its treatment in modern secondary literature



The Parakhyatantra and its place in the Saiddhantika canon


Two early Parakhyatantras?


Relative chronology


Excursus upon the Raurava and the Rau-ravasatrasangraha


Dates and the Saiva canon


The sources and the date of the Parakhya


Excursus upon the Pauskaras


Parallels with other Siddhantatantras


The lost commentary


A resume of the text


Chapter 1. The soul


Chapter 2. The Lord


Chapter 3. Scripture and the pure universe


Chapter 4. The evolutes of primal matter


Chapter 5. The cosmos


Chapter 6. Mantras


Chapter 14. Yoga


Chapter 15. Liberation and the means to it attainment


The language of the Parakhyatantra


Some remarks on the treatment of metre


Does the Parakhya tell us anything new?


The nature of this edition


Sources for the constitution of the text


The Mysore Manuscript




Deviant orthography








Transcription conventions


Other editorial conventions


Independent testimonia


Sanskrit Text


Chapter One, pasupadarthavicara


Chapter Two, patipadarthavicara


Chapter Three, vidyapadarthavicara


Chapter Four, yonipederthevices (karyasrstih)


Chapter Five, yonipadartthavicara 2 (bhuvanani)


Chapter Six, mantravicara


Chapter Fourteen, yoga


Chapter Fifteen, muktipadartha




Chapter One


Chapter Two


Chapter Three


Chapter Four


Chapter Five


Chapter Six


Chapter Fourteen


Chapter Fifteen


Appendix I. Quotations not found in the manuscript


Appendix II. Diplomatic Transcription


Appendix III. Sataratnollekhini ad sutra


Appendix IV. Measurements


Works Consulted


Index of Padas


General Index


Resume francais



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