TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Cult of Siva .
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my thesis I carry out an extended analyses of the Cult of Siva and the
followers and practices of the sadhu sects following the shaiva lineage
of tantric Hinduism. The thesis consists of four major chapters:
first chapter consists of the detailed description
of my two fieldworks to Northern-India and Nepal, where
I had a chance of meeting with a large number of sadhus. I also give a
brief introduction to Hindu-Buddhist culture in the Himalayan region and
the special cross-cultural Hindu-Buddhist phenomena called Tantrism. I
briefly talk about the differences of Buddhist tantra (Tibetan Buddhism)
and Hindu tantra (Sadhu practice). For detailed reference on my anthropological
field work please follow this link to» Fieldwork.
second chapter deals with Shaivism – the Hindu religious philosophical doctrine concerning the god Siva.
In the first part I give a brief analyses of the development of the cult
of Siva and trace the tantric tradition back to pre-aryan times to the
dravida people of the Indus Civilization. I argue that the tantric tradition
might be older than Vedic Hinduism and constitutes the basic teachings
of both the Puranic Hindu culture and folk religions especially on the
side of fertility cults. I than argue that Indian ascetics, widely known
as sadhus, are the living representatives and followers of the tantric
tradition. I also emphasize that orthodox Hinduism based on the teachings
of the Vedas and represented by the priest cast of brahmins; and non-orthodox
Hinduism based on tantric practice and represented by the cast of sadhus
strongly differ and have their own ways and are entirely two separate
second part of the second chapter deals with the mythic
representations of Siva drawing a complex
picture of the infinitely multiple nature of the deity. I give a short
description of the mythic background of all aspects of Siva starting from
the Vedic representations of Rudra, Agni, Indra, Mahadeva, Mahesvara,
Isvara, Mahesa and Jalamurti to the Brahmanic representations of Siva;
Trilocana, Bhutesvara, Bhairava, Ugra, Ummat, Aghora, Sambhu, Sankara,
Pasupati, Gangadhara, Candrasekhara, Nilakantha, Mahayaogi, Nataraja,
Natesa, Ardhinisvara and Kamesvara. I also talk about the mythic representations
of the various energies (sakti) connected to Siva in forms of his female
consorts, both positive – Devi (Jaganmata, Annapurna, Mata, Amman, etc.),
Sakti, Kamesvari, Sati, Parvati, Haimavati – and negative – Durga (Kotravai,
Elamma), Kali, Kalaratri, Bhajravi, Candi, mahesvari, Camunda and Cinnamasta.
Then I give an enumeration of the forces unfolding from the siva-sakti
intercourse, the children of Siva – Skandha, Kumara, Muruhan, Ganesh and
Ajjappan – and the animal consorts: the cobra (Naga, Mucilinda, Dharanendra,
Ananta, Sesa, Taksaka, Vasuki) and the cow (Nandi).
third part of the second chapter describes briefly the
major philosophical schools and religious movements relating to Shaivism,
looking at their historical background major figures and most important
philosophical doctrines. The schools discussed here are the early monistic
shaivism of Ramanuja and the dualist shaivism of Madhava, the philosophies
of the Kashmir Saiva (Pratyabhijna), the Saiva Siddhanta, the Lingayat
(Vira Saiva) and the Dasnami Sannyasi.
third chapter deals with the ascetic
tradition. In the first part I give
a short introduction to the development of the ascetic tradition as
it can be reconstructed from the Vedas and talk about the wide spread
phenomena of asceticism popular to all religious sects of
. I describe how
difficult it is to distinguish the conceptual differences of early
asceticism and the efforts of categorization. My argument leads to
the clear distinction of the samayin or "right hand path"
and the kaula or "left hand path" tradition in tantric though
and practice. I argue that this tradition is the ground for the Puranic
Hindu concept of Trimurti - the trinity of God: Brahma the Creator,
Visnu the Preserver and Siva the Destroyer. I see the same tradition
in reflected in the beliefs and practices of sadhu sects. Following Dolf Hartsuiker's
line of thought I distinguish the two major trends of vaisnava and
saiva line: sects following Lord Visnu and sects following Lord Siva.
the second part I talk about the Shaiva traditions of the left hand
path and try to reconstruct the picture of the early ascetics and
create my own list of Shaiva sadhu sects giving an enumeration and
short description of the major aspects and doctrines of various sects.
I start with the early sadhu sects - the Pashupata, Kapalika and Kalamukha
sects in detail - and try to distinguish them from other contemporary
ascetic sects like the bhikshu (Buddhist), jaina and ajivika sects. Then
I describe the Natha (Goraknath), the Aghori, the Kalika, the Thug,
the Shakta, the Naga and the Udasin sadhu sects.
third part of the third chapter deals with the lifestyle and practices
of the sadhu sects. I write about the general daily routine of leading
an ascetic way of life and the ideology that lies behind the acts
of sadhana. I then give my own interpretation of Yoga, seeing
it as a complex system of exercises aiming at the final act of liberation.
I distinguish four major disciplines of yoga: Hatha-, Laya-, Raja-
and Tantra-yoga and make an enumeration of various exercises and rituals
practiced by the different sects and place them in the system, claiming
that each particular exercise belongs to a special kind of yoga which
has its own way of achievement... My original intention was to write
about all the exercises practiced by most sadhu sects, but as is a
lifetime's work, I had to narrow the topic down to two types of yoga
- hatha-yoga and tantra-yoga - mainly practiced by most shaiva sects.
considering the hatha-yoga exercises in addition to the traditional
philosophical explanations, I write about how to cleanse the body
(satkarma); about different postures and ways of concentrating (asana
& mudra); about withdrawing the senses (pratyahara); and activating
the subtle energy systems (pranayama & nadicakra). In connection
with the tantra-yoga exercises in addition to the traditional philosophical
explanations, I write about mastering pleasure (sukha bhoga); mastering
ecstasy (cakra-puja & panca-makara); and mastering magical powers
(siddhi). I take some time on writing about the traditional usage
of psychedelic drugs in the sadhu tradition and on the nature of sexual
intercourse as a religious practice.
end the third chapter, I give an anthropological evaluation of the ascetic
tradition. I argue that sadhus are indeed the representatives of universal
principles and are not only acting like living gods, but are also treated
as such by their own cultural environment. I also analyze the phenomenon
in respect to various anthropological views like the totemism of Durkheim
or Marett – where I see sadhus as living totems – or the fetishism of
Brosses – where I see sadhus as living idols of cultic worship – or
the symbolism of Eliade – where I see sadhus as living hierophanies
(emanations of sacredness). Altogether I can only treat the sadhu phenomenon
as the original human effort of becoming one with God and participating
in and acting on its power.
fourth chapter is a short one briefly describing the various aspects
of lingam worship in India. I describe the different forms of lingam worship and the major
centers in India pointing out the relationship to kundalini-yoga and
sadhu mortifications as well as the bhaktanta worship of the lingam.
I talk about how lingam worship is a part of the cult of Siva – how
fertility rites and phallic and vaginal worship relates to the cosmic
dance of Siva-Sakti energies recreating the universe in their passionate