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Sri Tantraloka (Set of Five Volumes)

Sri Tantraloka (Set of Five Volumes)
Item Code: NAM466
Author: Prof. Satya Prakash Singh and Swami Maheshvarananda
Publisher: Indian Mind, Varanasi
Language: Sanskrit Text with English Translaton
Edition: 2016
ISBN: 8186117288
Pages: 1652
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
weight of the book: 2.6 kg
About the Book

Volume – I

This Critical Introduction that Saivism and Tantra have their origin in the Vedas from where they derive their source and elaborate on them in detail whether it be consciousness. Grades of consciousness, cakras, kundalini, nadis, aesthestics, reconciliation between the vital and the spiritual as is proposed in Chapter 29 of Tantraloka, yoga, etc. lie embedded in the Vedas. Abhinavagupta in his Tantraloka, III.226 refers of Aitareya where its author Mahidhara Aitareya has been identified as a manifest form of Siva an as such is said to have taken the world as a form of visarga (:) remission (Aitareya Aranyaka III.8). This Introduction removes the cloud of misconception/cobweb that has gathered in the form exclusivity. Sectarian attitude leading to mathika system and ignorance which is inherent in human nature. If human beings overcome this tendency of exclusivity then only the Reality shines forth otherwise they get stuck and are bereft of experiencing the true nature of Reality.

Volume – II

It is the complete English translation of the 37 chapters of Tantraloka of Abhinavagupta with Sanskrit texts. Tantraloka means light on Tantra. Tantraloka is a magnum opus of Abhinavagupta (950-1050 A.D.). Literally Tantra means thread and happens to have been used in one of the earliest usage in the Rgveda (X.53.6) itself in such a deep sense as understanding binding the entire reality together in a single fold of comprehension beneficial as to transform the human nature of all its baser kind of tendency into the most idealistic form which is known as the divine.

Tantraloka sheds light on various topics such as nature of Reality, i.e. Siva and his dynamic force; grades of consciousness, nature of matter, dimensions, initiation, post mortem initiation, reconciliation of the vital spiritual, mantras, reconciliation of scriptures, etc.

About the Author

Professor Satya Prakash Singh is a renowned Vedic scholar-alumni of the Banaras Hindu University; D.Jitt. Of the Aligarh Muslim University; former Chairman of the DeVolume ment of Sanskrit and Dean, Faculty of Arts, Aligarh Muslim University.

Recipient off a number of prestigious awards-Ganganath Jha Award of the Uttar Pradesh Sanskrit Academy, Rajaji Literary Award of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Swami Pranavananda Best Book of the Year Award in Psychology, Bhanabhatta Puraskara of Sanskrit Academy, Uttar Pradesh, President of India's Award of Scholar of Eminence; authored more than 29 books.

Swami Maheshvarananda is an accomplished yogin besides being deeply grounded in the study of yogic literature of a variety of shades including Vedic, Tantric, Saiva, Vaisnava and Buddhist. He was initiated in yoga practically by a reputed yogin while living in his company for quite some time in a sacred cave in Northern India.


Tantra which literally means thread. This thread, however, happens to have been used in one of its earliest usage in the Rgveda itself in such deep sense as understanding binding the entire reality together in a single fold of comprehension so beneficial as to transform the human nature of all its baser kind of tendency into most idealistic form which is known as the divine. The mantra concerned advises wise men as follows:

'While spreading the thread for weaving out into piece of cloth, follow the illumination of the higher light and safeguard the path having been prepared through meditative effort. Weave out the cloth of the ideas spun in the form of the threads setting them perfectly in an even form and thus become contemplative humans having the prospect of giving birth to the class of divine being (Rgveda, X.53.6)

If we study analytically, we find that Tantra is but an extension of Yoga. No doubt Yoga is the greatest gift of In India to mankind and is a gift of Sam magnitude from the Indian side as science is from the Western with this difference, however, that while the fruits of science began to be relished by people at large right from the very beginning, Yoga continued to remain confined only the selected few for aeons. Even while remaining so, it has produced effects quite splendid as a device of brining to the fore man's talent potentialities, as is evident from the creativity of the Vedic seers. Upanisadic sages, poets like Valmiki and Vyasa, sages like Kapila, Adinatha, Mahavira, Buddha, Sanskara and Abhinavagupta.

It is also observed that all system of philosophy, except the materialists, may differ with each other theoretically but there is one thing they in common and i.e. Yoga which they accepted and tailored it in order to fit in their system of thought. In spite of tailoring of it by different philosophical systems, yoga retained its pan-Indian identity and flourished as the background foundation of all of them.

The necessity of writing this Introduction arose because to remove the cloud of misconception or iron out the creases created by many cotemporary scholars who either are not aware of the tradition or are ignoring the hard fact for the sake of exclusivity that Tantras and Saivism diametrically opposite to Hinduism like Islam is to Charistianity and are non-Vedic in origin.

There are also certain scholars who translate the word Tantraloka as Wisdom of Tantra instead of Light on Tantra, the word prakasa, light means shedding light, comment or exposition but it cannot be taken as wisdom because the word wisdom in Sanskrit is called viveka but not prakasa.

Tantra has been reduced to eroticism or hedonism and free sex in the West and to some extent in India and was also propagated by Osho which was quite contrary to what the Vedas, Upanisads and Abhinavagupta (in Chapter 29 of Tantraloka) say. In fact, this approach or method is one of the aspects to experience the Ultimate Reality, which is of the nature of bliss and finally the couples transcend it. This type of sadhana has its seed in the Rgveda, I.27, in the form of dialogues between Lopamudra and her husband Seer Agastya, The purpose behind it is to reconcile the vital and the spiritual. This topic has been discussed in this Introduction as well would be dilated upon in Chapter 29, Secret of Kula System vis-a-vis Abhinavagupta's views.

The introduction has been divided into two Sections. Namely, Volume I and II. The first Section deals with the antiquity of Saivism, Origin, Vedic Saivite, Discovery of Consciousness, consciousness of the unconsciousness, cakras, states of consciousness, etc. from the viewpoint of the Vedas while Section II is a critical analysis of Tantraloka.

I Background And Foundation

Antiquity of Saivism- Yogic Motifs in Indus Seals

Problem of Relationship between the Vedic and Indus Civilisation

Presence of yogic motifs in a number of seals of the Indus civilisation is a tangible evidence to prove the antiquity of yoga in India. As is evident from the carbon fourteen dating, this civilization dates from 2800 B.C. to 1400 B.C. Seals depicting yogic motifs have been found on almost all the seven layers of it. This is sufficient to bear out the fact that yoga was in practice continuously throughout the entire span of time of that civilization. It is also significant to note that the Indus civilization was not confined to the areas along the bank of the Sindhu River. As is evident from excavations conducted after the Volume ition and the consequent loss of Mohan-jo-daro and Harappa in favour of Pakistan, this civilisation had spread over almost the half of northern India and was quite coincident to the Vedic in several respects. As such, now, it gradually creasing to be considered as alien to the Vedic. In the process of revision of the view in regard to the relationship between the Vedic and Indus civilization, the yogic motifs of the seals play a vital role.

Yogik Matifs concerning Asanas

The yogic content of the seals may be classified into three groups representing as many levels of practice. On the lowest level, we have a set terracotta figurines bearing out certain poses of the kind of asanas and mudhras. The most significant feature of these poses and mudras is the erectness of the backbone of the figurine brought in deliberately through the position of legs and hands. The Figurines are the following as indentified by Professor B.B. Lal and published in the Hindu Renaissance in the Makar Sankranti YUgabda 5105

Out of these figurines, 1 to 4 belong to Harappa while 5 to 6 have been excavated from Mahen-jo-daro. In spite of the two sites having been placed from each other, there is considerable affinity among the figurines of them. The affinity lies in the strenuous folding of hands in figurines 3,5 and 6 besides deliberate straightening of the backbone. Figurine 3 is Volume icularly interesting inasmuch as it involves specific position of legs besides hands. Here the legs are folded and requires considerable Sitting in this posture, though a little difficult, facilitates meditation. Figurines 5 and 6, through a little easier in their posture, are quite significant on account of straightness of legs, folding of hands and straightening of the backbone. While figurines 3, 5 and 6 indicate youthfulness of the practitioners, figurines 1,2 and 4 bear out advancement in age and the consequent reclining in the posture and yet continuance of the practice.

The Motif of the Yogin in the Sambhavi Mudra

Another class of yogic motif is formed by a bust in steatite with eyes half closed, a talisman worn around the head, another around the right arm, with a shawl worn above the left shoulder and below the right arm, with the head clean-shaved and the beard well trimmed. It is evident from details that the bust represents a special type of person who had to deal things than normal. The posture with half-closed eyes is known in the yogic tradition as sambhavi mudra. The individual sitting in this posture of eyes is supposed to maintain perfect balance which makes them unbalanced in getting adjusted in life. Sambhavi mudra is the yogic practice meant for restoration of the balance. Shaving of head is suggestive of the sense of renunciation while trimming of beard indicates due care for the physical appearance. Both, thus, combined are supportive of the philosophy of life sought to be inculcated through the practice of sambhavi mudra. The talisman tied around head and arm may be taken to have been meant for facilitating success in this arduous task of maintaining balance so as to lead a successful life outwardly and pursue one's higher goal inwardly. Decoration of the shawl worn around the bust in the aforesaid manner is also indicative of the same balanced state of things. In view of these features of it, the bust can be taken neither as that of a deity nor that of a religious teacher, as Mr. Madho Sarup Vats, one of the Indus excavators, has suggested.' As is obvious from different depictions of Pasupati, had this bust been representative of a certain deity, it would have been adorned with some sort of a headgear. As regards the idea of the religious teacher, that is something post-Buddhist when religion began to be treated as a matter of preaching and teaching. Earlier, it was a matter of spiritual sadhana and sacrificial performance. On account of the sambhavi mudra, the bust concerned looks much more meditative than anything else.


IBackground And Foundation15
Antiquity of Saivism - Yogic Motifs in Indus Seals15
Problem of Relationship between the Vedic and Indus Civilisation15
Yogic Motifs concerning Asanas16
The Motif of the Yogic in the Sambhavi Mudra17
Yogic message of the Pasupati Seal18
Resemblance between the Pasupati Seal and the content of Vedic Mantras21
Corroboration by the Yajurvedic Evidence27
Secret of the Ten Rudras32
Vedic Origin of Saivism35
Siva as the Auspicious aspect of Rudra37
Discovery of Siva by Upanisadic Sage through Meditation38
Equivalence of Macrocosm and Microcosm as the basis of Yogic Sadhana in Saivism41
Siva and Mahadeva43
Meaning of Tryambaka44
Nadis and Cakras in Saivism as a Vedic Heritage50
Vedic Saivites53
Yogic Epistemology58
Psychology of Yoga77
Consciousness as the Essence of the Universe79
Consciousness and Self-Consciousness79
Concentricity and Expansiveness of Consciousness81
Luminosity of Consciousness81
Creativity of Consciousness85
Consciousness and Physical Energy85
Rta and Consciousness88
Cause of Gradation in Consciousness89
Consciousness and the Purusa96
States of Consciousness98
The Fourth State of Consciousness and its Numinousness100
Purpose Behind the Dyamics of Consciousness101
Consciousness of the Unconscious104
Encounter with the Unconscious107
Sense of Guilt and its Remedy110
Daiva Manas as an Antidote to the Problems of the Unconscious114
Primacy of Prana over Senses and Mind120
Convertibility of Prana into Consciousness122
Consciousness and the Instinct for Possession124
Discovery of the Way to Consciousness127
Interrelationship of Yak. Manas and Prana131
Method to Access Yak133
Analysis of Yak, Prana, Manas and Kundalini133
Yoga as the Foundation of Tantra140
Origin of Yoga140
Yoga of Madhu- Vidya or Yoga of Harmony148
Yoga of Mental and Physical Transformation151
Yoga of Transformation by Prana154
Transformation via Tapas or Tapoyoga158
Vaisvanara Vidya165
Yoga of Dahara Vidya - Yoga of Ingression from Finitude to Infinitude172
Yoga of Unification of Heart and Head178
Yoga of Agni as Atman183
Yogic Experience of Supramental Consciousness184
Yoga of Reconciliation between the Vital and the Spirituality200
Discovery of So'ham or Hamsa mantra208
Maya-Bheda - Yoga of Transcending Maya214
Aesthetic Joy as the Foretaste of the Delight of Brahman224
Soma as the Symbol of Aesthetic Rapture227
Relationship between Aesthetic Joy and Spiritual Bliss230
Bhakti Rasa as the connecting link between Aesthetic Joy and Delight of Yogic Experience237
Aesthetic Joy as the Foretaste of the Delight of Yogic Experience248
Yoga of Spectacular Attainments254
IICritical Analysis of Abhinavagupta's Sri Tantraloka260
Background of Abhinavagupta261
Abhi pta nava's Attitude Towards the Veda263
Abhinavagupta's Critique of the Veda272
Reflection of Plato's Allegory of the Cave280
Abhinava and Immanuel Kant281
Abhinava and A.N. Whitehead282
Abhinava, Freud and lung285
Jung's Collective Unconscious versus Abhinava's Cidakasa289
Abhinava and the Bhagavadgita290
Abhinava versus Patanjali291
Abhinava versus Sankara292
Abhinava versus Sri Aurobindo294
Abhinava versus Mahavatara Baba295
Abhinava on Consciousness300
Kundalini and the Christian Legend of Snake304
Hypnosis versus Samarasibhava between the Teacher and the Taught as the point of culmination of the Process of Initiation308
Integralism of Abhinavagupta as an Antidote to the Modern Sensualism309
Heresy Popular in Kashmir related to Abhinavagupta's vanishing in the cave311
Volume - 2
Summary of the Contents of the Volume7
Chapter - 1Difference Between Consciousness and Reality Apparent to the Onlooker15
Chapter - 2Deliberation on The Highest Goal of Life83
Chapter - 3Method of Expositing Oneself to Sambhu95
Chapter - 4Sakta Upaya151
Chapter - 5Anava Upaya205
Chapter - 6Essence of Time237
Chapter - 7Origin of Cakras and Process of Arousal289
Volume - 3
Summary of the Contents of the Volume7
Chapter - 8Desadhva - Manifesttion of Consciousness in Terms of Space13
Chapter - 9Exposition on the Constituent Elements of the Reality97
Chapter - 10Tattvadhvan - Analysis of Basic Essences of the Path of Tattvas161
Chapter - 11Deliberation on Tiem and Kala225
Chapter - 12Anavopaya - transformation of Individual to Siva-hood249
Chapter - 13Deliberation on the Descent of the Force of Consciousness - Saktipata255
Volume - 4
Summary of the Contents of this Volume7
Chapter - 14Deliberation on the Rite as prescribed in the Sastra17
Chapter - 15Detailed Deliberation on the Process of Initiation27
Chapter - 16Deliberation on Teacher's Acts during Initiation149
Chapter - 17Rites of Initiation beginning from Birth211
Chapter - 18Abridged form of Initiation prescribed by Lord Siva235
Chapter - 19Initiation for immediate Liberation239
Chapter - 20Process of Initiation of the Ignorant251
Chapter - 21Initiation in Absentia (Paroksa Diksa)255
Chapter - 22Initiation in raising the Emblem of Siva (Lingoddharana Diksa)267
Chapter - 23Rites of Sacred Bath277
Chapter - 24Deliberation on Post-Mortem Initiation299
Chapter - 25Post-Mortem Rite according to Trika System305
Chapter -26Duties and Conduct of an Aspirant311
Volume - 5
Summary of the Contents of this Volume7
Chapter - 27Mode of Worship of the Emblem (Linga-Puja)21
Chapter - 28Deliberation On Incidental Rites And Celebrations (Naimittika)33
Chapter - 29Secret of Kula System115
Chapter - 30Mantras Applicable to Trika System of Worship189
Chapter - 31Deliberation on Mandalas225
Chapter - 32Mudra251
Chapter - 33Unification of Divine Forces365
Sample Pages

Volume -I

Volume - II

Volume - III

Volume - IV

Volume -V

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