Negotiating Tantra and Veda in the <i>Paraśurāma-Kalpa</i> Tradition

Annette Wilke

in Negotiating Rites

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199812295
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919390 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Ritual Studies Series

Negotiating Tantra and Veda in the Paraśurāma-Kalpa Tradition

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Until recently a number of scholars defined the “core” of Tantra as the use of sexual rites and other “unorthodox” practices. This artiles offers a different view by investigating how “tantric” participants represent themselves. The Paraśurāma-Kalpasutra (PKS) is one of the most eminent tantric ritual manuals (c. 16th cent.). Its “continuations” are still being written. The PKS is part of the Śrīvidyā tradition, which has been characterized as “bowlderized Tantra” due to its brahmanized Veda-Smārta associations. Yet the PKS presents itself as “Kaula” (accepting the “five m’s,” e.g. sexual rites) and “Upaniṣad” (but critizing the Veda). This self/representation obviously reflects negotiating processes as to how to define orthodoxy. This chapter focuses on the discourse on sexual rites in the PKS and later elaborations (e.g. Nityotsava, Rāmeśvara’s commentary, Śrīvidyā- Ratnakāra) and analyzes three challenging areas: a) the texts’ own claim of orthodoxy vis-à-vis “mainstream” Hindu orthodoxy, b) the means of “tantric” (sectarian insider) identity formation and empowerment, and c) the negotiation and transformation processes regarding normativity and sexual rites within the PKS tradition itself.

Keywords: Tantra; unorthodox practices; Paraśurāma-Kalpasutra; Śrīvidyā tradition; sexual rites

Chapter.  13958 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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