Taboo and orthodoxy: Making Tantra respectable in 11th century Kashmir

Loriliai Biernacki, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

This dissertation consists of a translation of the Agamādhikāra of the Īśvara Pratyabhijñā Vivrti Vimarśinī, along with a discussion of the context of the heterodox praxis underlying what was from most standpoints a fairly orthodox text. When examining the notion of ritually induced possession (samāveśa) in the religious context of Kashmir, one finds among contemporary scholars no clear comprehension of the term and widely contradictory views of its meaning and place in the religious praxis in medieval Tantra. After beginning with a treatment of methodological issues, this dissertation specifically addresses the notion of samāveśa from a textual point of view. Complementing this is an analysis of the idea of heterodox ritual praxis within this medieval tantric milieu. The translation of the Āgamādhikāra of the Īśvara Pratyabhijñā Vivrti Vimarśinī deals with the Śaiva Siddhānta system of tattvas which nondualist Kashmir Śaivism inherited and expanded. For Abhinava, the system of tattvas is to a large degree transformed from a cosmological map of the universe into heuristically valuable map of the human psyche. It becomes a classificatory tool for psychological states of human consciousness. The second chapter of the Āgamādhikāra of the Īśvara Pratyabhijñā Vivrti Vimarśinī focuses especially on the five states of consciousness, waking, dream, deep sleep, the Fourth state and the state beyond the Fourth, with an eye towards the soteriological implications of each of these states. In this context Abhinavagupta discusses the notion of samāveśa, assimilating it to the Fourth state and the state beyond the Fourth state.

Subject Area

Religious history

Recommended Citation

Biernacki, Loriliai, "Taboo and orthodoxy: Making Tantra respectable in 11th century Kashmir" (1999). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9953507.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI9953507

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