VOLUME 1 : Tantraloka means light on Tantra - the 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 so 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.
This Volume consists of three Chapters, namely, 1,2, and 3.
The first Chapter deals with the idea of the Reality as such known as vijnana sattta. Ignorance is the cause worldliness while knowledge is that of liberation; it is not absence of knowledge but absence of it in its integrality. The ultimate object of knowledge is Siva who is of the nature of luminosity and the individual known as jiva is essentially Siva. Consciousness is autonomous in its nature. Luminosity is the basic feature of consciousness. There is the possibility of becoming one with Siva by moving from the earth to Sadasiva by way of assimilation, samavesa.
The second Chapter is concerned with deliberation on the way to Siva-hood via the pathless path. Its pathlessness lies in only the initial step suggested by the teacher with the rest of it to follow automatically. It is the kriya yoga which does not require any path to traverse along and is the path of pure consciousness where any action serves as the means of knowledge.
The third Chapter deals with Sambhavopaya. The objects get reflected clearly in a clean mirror so does the world becomes reflected in the consciousness provided it has become one with Siva. The force of consciousness is considered as inseparably connected with Siva. The relationship of inseparability between Siva and Sakti produces delight which is the cause of appearance of the world.
This work for the first time in English along with Sanskrit texts is a valuable asset for scholars, students and researchers of Philosophy, Yoga, Kashmir Saivism, Saivism, practitioners and general readers.
VOLUME 2 :
Chapter 4 - deals with sakta Upaya - the way to attainment of the Transcendent Reality through the force of Consciousness. According to it, the nature of that Reality namely Bhairava is Consciousness. Kaulika system of practice and philosophy is the way to its entry into which is possible through meditation, yoga, japa, mantra, devotion and samadhi, the state of absorption. Sarnadhi is the state of unification of the object, subject and the process of understanding.
Chapter 5 - deals with Al'Java Upaya. It is the way of attainment of the Transcendent by the jiva with its atomicity. Reflection of the Transcendent in the intellect, prana and body is the way to it. The understanding that the Jiva is essentially Siva Himself relieves the aspirant of the sense of duality. Through expansion of his consciousness so as to become inclusive of the entire universe within him makes him one with Bhairava. By resorting himself to Siva to the core of his being he may get rid of all agitations of his mind.
Chapter 6 - analyses Essence of Time, analysis of the factor of time, kalatattva. It is Consciousness which appears in space as something external. It is the vibration of Consciousness which assumes the form of prana and gets rendered in the shape of objects and events. Apana is the moon while prana is fire. The jiva is the sun which remains the same all the time. Entrance into susumna nerve is liberative. Time is the creative force of Siva resulting in the appearance of the world.
Chapter 7 - is concerned with with the awakening and blooming of the nerve-centres known as cakras. Consciousness is one and the same in all its forms of manifestation including savikalpa and nirvikalpa. Vibration of Consciousness resulting in the movement of prana may get stopped via stoppage of the prana. Shifting from one option to the other results in vibration in Consciousness. The force of kundalini may get awakened through the application of the power of prana.
VOLUME 3 :
Chapter 8: This Chapter deals with the problems of manifestation of Consciousness in terms of space, termed as Desadhva. It talks of the dimension of the solar orb as amounting to something like seventy-two thousand kilometres at the periphery. The distance of the moon is stated as one lakh yojanas from the sun while the planets are said to lie at a distance of two lakh yojanas from the sun. The location of India as Bharata-varsa has been stated as towards the south of the Meru. It is said to comprise a group of nine islands, Jambudvipa being one of them. Kuman has been referred to as Kumara-dvipa. India is regarded as the only country by dwelling in which one may attain liberation. In keeping with the Vedic tradition the deity Rudra has been stated as one and yet as many. Mahavidya, the force of learning and knowledge is said to operate in two forms, matrka and vagisvari. Ida, Pingala and Susumna are said to be most important in the midst of thousands of nerves. Siva is regarded as the autonomous agent of creation, sustenance, dissolution, self-concealment and grace lying at the top of everything and discharging all these functions through the Sakti, Force.
Chapter 9: This Chapter has been termed as Tattvasvarupa Prakasanam seeking to determine the form and nature of the Reality. It starts with deliberation on causality. Mala, malady, is said to be the cause of bondage and worldliness. The pure of heart is said to lie beyond the access of malady. There is a thorough discussion on the concept of vijnanakala, mantresa, etc. There is also a reference to the concept of adrsta as proposed by the Mimansa School of Philosophy. Maya, the power of delusion, is said to be a force of Siva Himself meant for creation of semblance. There is a passing reference to the concept of transference of force, saktipata. The concept of pradhana, Nature, as admitted by the Sankhyas has been discussed at some length. Maya, Kala, Vidya, Raga, Niyati and Kala are regarded as products of the principle of Kala and are said to form the garb around the individual degrading him from Siva-hood to animality (pasu, limited experient).
VOLUME 4 : This Volume has four Chapters, namely, 10, 11, 12 and 13. Chapter 10 is devoted to the analysis and enumeration of the basic essences of the system known as the path of tattvas, tattvadhvan. Siva has been determined here as prakasa ghana, sheer consciousness and hence luminous. Necessity of combination of the viewpoints of Kumarila and Prabhakar in regard to knowability of the object. Knowability and existence as correlated with each other. Definition of sakala and jnanakala, etc. Concept of mantra, mantresvara and mantra- mahesvara as forces of Siva of the nature of will, knowledge and action. Elimination of breath moments, tutis, in increasing the clarity of consciousness. There is no space for graduality in consciousness. Idea of sarvato-bhadra yogin. Features of the four states of consciousness. Chapter 11 deals with the position of time in the state of Siva being all-in-all. The number of basic essences of the system are thirty-eight including Siva Himself. Consciousness is the creatrix of the creation. It is self- luminous. It, indeed, is the space of consciousness, cid vyoma. It lies in transcendence of all the qualities of perceptibility, including smell, taste, heat, touch and sound. Elements of approach adhavan, to the Reality are nine, namely, prakrti, purusa, yati, kala, maya, vidya, lsa, Sadasiva and Siva. The alphabet is treated as the companion of consciousness. Chapter 12 is known as Anavopaya - Transformation of Individual to Siva-hood. It deals with the problem of transformation or rather restoration of the atomised individual into or to Siva. The way to this end is the offering of every event and object to Siva by way of devotion to Him culminating in his oneness with Him with all His boundlessness, eternity, purity of consciousness and the creative will, understanding and forcefulness. Chapter 13 is devoted to the idea of Saktipata, Descent of the Force of Consciousness. Ignorance is not total absence of knowledge. It is rather travesty of knowledge. Descent of Force is the state when the inhibitive force of ignorance gets eliminated by the ingression of the rays of knowledge of Siva. It is the homogeneous nature of action which on the will of Siva forms the ground for the descent of the Force of consciousness. Virtues like renunciation, etc. have little to do in this respect.
VOLUME 5 : This Volume includes Chapters 14 and 15 both discuss the process of initiation. Chapter 14 is devo,ted to delibera!ion on the rite as prescribed in the Sastra. Role of Siva in the world lies in His five functions with relationship to it, namely, creation, sustenance, dissolution, concealment and grace. Body needs ~o be considered as a means to attainment of Siva-hood. Those who lurk for siddhis have lost the real goal in the fog of misunderstanding. Rising above the earth known as utkranti amounts to transcend its allurements and not flying in the air. Genuine initiation is only one which leads the disciple to attainment of Siva-hood, Chapter 15 is concerned with the procedure of initiation as prevailing in the non-dualistic Saivism, Initiation amounts to acquisition of full understanding of the system. The teacher needs to probe prior to conducting the process whether the disciple aspires for enjoyment or liberation or both. If the student be poor, the teacher needs to provide the expenses of initiation from his own side or arrange to accomplish it by means of use of only the grass known as durva. The candidate of initiation needs to take bath and put on clean dress as preparatory to enter into the procedure. Bathing with water would be considered as representing the bath from the side of the next element (i.e., water), that in sun and clean and cool air as symbolic of fire and air while that in illumination of consciousness as representative of space and consciousness itself. So would be the case with regard to mind and intellect. There are eight basic elements of creation and the modes of corresponding baths for getting cleansed as preparatory for initiation. Ascription of the two orders of the alphabet known as matrka and malini to the body of the candidate amounts to ingression of Siva and Sakti. Dik, direction, is a mere adjunct and not real. Space gets divided into them as per the locus of the disciple. Deities like Indra, Agni, Varuna, etc. are aspects of Siva, who is sheer consciousness in its pure form. Siva, indeed, is the brilliance of self- consciousness whose reflection is the expanse of the universe. Khecari mudra is known as such on account of the aspirant's movement in the space of consciousness and experience of delight therein
VOLUME 6 : This Volume contains 12 chapters.
Chapter 16 deliberates on Teacher's Acts During Initiation.
Chapter 17 deals with the rite of initiation beginning from that of birth. The teacher needs to tie to the hand, throat and crest three threads tripled representing the individual, Sakti and Siva.
Chapter 18 is a summary of the statements regarding initiation as delivered by Siva and other sastras including the Kirana.
Chapter 19 deals with the procedure of initiation meant for immediate liberation. This initiation is meant for those who are close to death. The purpose behind it is to lessen the pang of death.
Chapter 20 is related to the process of Initiation of the Ignorant.
Chapter 21 topic is initiation in absentia and is meant for those who had died uninitiated, were young, women, incapacitated, idle or kings.
Chapter 22 is devoted to the account of the rite known as lingoddharana, raising the emblem of Siva.
Chapter 23 deals with rite of sacred bath.
Chapter 24 is devolved to deliberation on the post- mortem initiation.
Chapter 25 deals with the post-mortem rite according to Trika system.
Chapter 26 is devoted to determination of the rest of the duties of an aspirant of redemption as well as enjoyment particularly in the form of oblation apart to the fire.
Chapter 27 deals with the mode of worship of the emblem, Linga-Piqa.
VOLUME 7 : This Volume contains two Chapters.
Chapter 28 deals with occasional and incidental rites as well as celebrations, naimittika. Such occasions have been enumerated in Tantrasara as some twenty-three. Meeting with yoginis and siddhas on such festive occasions proves eventually fruitful. In the choice of occasion for celebration, date is more important than any part of that date. Feeding of the man of real knowledge is equivalent to feeding the entire class of him. While the entire world is the food, Siva is its eater. Those who develop aspiration for Siva, have the prospect of becoming one with Him. For one who has become one with Siva, there is no difference at all in bearing the entire universe as his body or being completely rid of it.
Chapter 29 is devoted to deliberation on the system of worship in keeping with the provisions of the Kula School. The external world should be seen as illuminated by one's own consciousness and hence needs to be worshipped as such. Here is a reference to the Kulesvari Devi who assumes the form of the Great Mother both higher and lower. Siva is her hero. She needs to be worshipped in her conjugal relationship with Siva and gods as sparks emanating from her. Regarding oneself as the sacred seat of Lord Siva and hence as in dwelt by Sakti in the cakras, she should be assigned seats in it by way of according worship to her. The aspirant needs to think of himself continuously that he is nothing but a sheer conglomeration of Forces of Consciousness. There is a reference to formation of the six-sided triangle born of the result of putting two triangles one on the other and as quite favourite of yoginis. The child born of such a mating of the male and the female in which they become replete with the supramental delight, is sure to remain redeemed even while alive. He is known as yoginibhidi a child born of a yogini. The act of procreation has been characterised as the most primeval form of sacrifice. The human body is the best emblem of Siva contain as it does the three tridents first in the form of that of the void as the abode of the three goddesses known as parii, pariiparii and aparii, second in the form of breasts and the navel and the third in the form of the genitals. Besides that, it is also the abode of gods in the form of cakras functioning under the rulership of the Self.
VOLUME 8 : This Volume contains eight Chapters, namely 30, 31,32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 as well as translation of 13 minor works of Abhinavagupta as appendices. Chapter 30 deals with mantras applicable to Trika system of worship. Chapter 31 is devoted to the process of formation of the circle, mandala. It speaks of sacrifice known as Diimara. Chapter 32 deals with the system of mudrti. Mudra is that which accords delight to the poser concerned. Khecari is the main amongst the mudriis. Chapter 33 is concerned with the experience of the aspirant's oneness with the whole of the world. Chapter 34 indicates to the way of entry into Siva-hood which is the essential nature of the individual. Chapter 35 deals with the problem of concordance of all scriptural provisions on a certain point. Chapter 36 is devoted to the tracing of the tradition of Saivism. Chapter 37 is the last one of the entire enterprise which is addressed to his supreme Lord Siva with the prayer that it is by virtue of His stimulation that the work has reached this end and that therefore it is He Himself who is prayed for giving solace to all those who may go through it.
VOLUME 9 : This Volume contains Glossary of technical words of Tantric terminology and Important Kashmir Savism Texts with English translation, which would be helpful for general readers and researchers as well as sincere practitioners. 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 so 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.
Tantric literatures are difficult texts and many words are in twilight language, sandhya bhasa. This volume is specially created for the understanding of meaning of such words for the benefit of general readers, practitioners, students, researchers, scholars and teachers. Also included in this Volume IX are English translations of the following Kashmir Savism Sanskrit texts: 1.Meditation methods from Sri Malinivijayottara Tantra; 2. Vijiuina Bhairva; s.s« Svacchanda Tantra, Chapter VII (Selected verses); 4.Sri Netra Tantra, Chapters VII and VIII (Selected verses); 5. Siva Sutra. Finally, we conclude with the definition and vision of Tantra from the Rgveda. WhiLe spreading the thread for weaving out into a piece of cloth, follow the illumination of the higher light and safeguard the path having been prepared through meditative effort. Weave out the cloth out 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 beings.
We hope that this work which took us almost three years to accomplish would be appreciated and accepted by the readers.