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Abhinavagupta: The Kula Ritual, As Elaborated in Chapter 29 of the Tantraloka

Abhinavagupta: The Kula Ritual, As Elaborated in Chapter 29 of the Tantraloka (Used)

by Dupuche, John R

Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass

Binding: Hardcover with dust jacket

Book ID: 9788120819795, 8120819799


Abhinavagupta, a leading figure in Kashmir Saivism, is increasingly being recognized as one of the chief contributors to the evolution of Indian thought. In his encyclopaedic work, the Tantraloka, 'Light on the Tantras', he describes the various tantras of his day and places at their apex the most extreme of them, the Kula ritual, which proposes the use of wine and meat and intercourse with women of the lower castes.

Is Abhinavagupta's esteem of the Kula ritual just the shadow side of genius, an aberration best forgotten? This work is a translation - the first into English of any chapter of the Tantraloka of Abhinavagupa's version of the Kuala ritual. It also provides a translation - the first into any language - of Jayaratha's indispensable commentary. It shows the structure of the text, which is not a confused mass of codes and activities but is articulated as finely as an Indian temple. The translation is accompanied by a commentary, the appendices, including glossary and index of words.

The Kula ritual leads the practitioner to ever more exalted stages of the mantra finally to reach the highest level of consciousness, the experience of mantravyapti, the 'pervasion of the mantra'. The person who knows this pervasion knows that he is Bhairava. The supreme mantra of consciousness is none other than the mantra SAUH, the supreme goddess Para, which expresses both the supreme reality and all manifested reality. In this way Abhinavagupta breaks down the dualism between sacred and profane, ritual and ordinary life so that the Kula practitioner is liberated while alive, his every act is worship and his every word is mantra.

John R. Dupuche is a priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne. He is a member of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission of the Archdiocese and chair of its interfaith sub-committee and is involved with the Muslim Catholic Working Party. He is a member of the Australian Commission of Monastic Interfaith Dialogue and a director of the East-West Meditation Foundation. He is Chair of the Victorian Council of Churches Faith and Order Commission and an Honorary Research Associate at the Centre for Studies in Religion and Theology at Monash University. He conducts retreats and meditations in addition to his usual pastoral responsibilities.

He is particularly interested in the interface between Christianity and Kashmir Saivism.

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