Myth, cult and symbols in Śākta Hinduism: A study of the Indian mother goddess [1 ed.] 9004048146, 9789004048140

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Myth, cult and symbols in Śākta Hinduism: A study of the Indian mother goddess [1 ed.]
 9004048146, 9789004048140

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IN SAKTA HINDUISM A Study of the Indian Mother Goddess




E. J. BRILL 1977

BL 1245 4B3 71


ISBN 90 04 04814 6 Copyright 1977 by E. J. Brill, Leit:kn, Netherlands AU rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or translated In any form, by print, photoprint, microfilm, microfiche or any other means without written permission from the publisher. PlUNll!D JN llllLOIUM

To DeAnna, Songhay, and Mark

CONTENTS Preface .




I. Methodological Concerns II. Historical and Traditional Origins : From Ancient to Medieval times .

7 42

III. The Cosmological Structure of Mythical Time : Kili-&kti 100 IV. The Structural Phenomenology of Ritual Time : Kili-POji 181

V. The Eschatological Structure of the Regeneration of Time: Kali-yuga



VI. Conclusion: The Goddess Durga-Kili as a Religious Symbol of Multi-Structural Integration 257 Appendix







PREFACE Durgi-Kili is the theistic manifestation of a widespread concept in Indian religion called Sakt.i, or the religion of "Power". As the "Goddess" (Devi) she is regarded as both Mother of Timelessness and Life and Arbitress of Time and Death. This work proposes to deal with our chosen divinity with respect to three broad yet distinctive categories of religious understanding : cosmology, rituology, and eschatology. It is felt that the use of such traditional categories need not pose any serious general problems; the more specific responsibility does consist, however, in pointing out the peculiar meaning which such terms or systems tend to have in their own cultural-religious environment. The choice of these categories derives from our discovery that there exists in the religious thought and practice connected with this goddeas a remarkable homologous relationship of myth, cult, and symbols. The grist of our thesis, then, is that the foregoing phenomena constitute an integration of structures that provide an almost unique opportunity for significant religious understanding. There have been many treatments of varying aspects of the worship of Durgi-Kili. However, there has apparently been no attempt made, heretofore, to examine this religious phenomenon as a potentially unified structure of thought and expression. Here we are undertaking such a task, focusing upon this goddess as the prototypical image par excellence in the religious tradition of ~akta Hinduism. We are aware, then, that, nominally, Durgi-Kili is merely one manifestation of the Sakt.i phenomenon. To be sure, other nominal and formal types do exist and may have their own ritual peculiarities according to regional differences and religious temperaments. It is more important to recognize, nonetheleas, that there are certain distinctive features in the larger Indian religious tradition that enhance the feasibility of our study (mde Chapter I). For now, at any rate, let us mention one positive contributive factor in all this : that certain basic mythological conceptions elaborated, probably, by a "Great Traditional" (Smirta-) Brahman elite - often in creative religiopolitical tension with popular and/or tribalistic ideas and formshave facilitated our avoidance of phenomenal chaos. Historically, therefore, what may have seemed only a chaos of ideas and forms was



gradually understood amidst non-religious pressures and religious yearnings to be potentially capable of vital "convergences" for the ultimate purpose of creating a cosmos of religious meaning. Not barring real non-religious contexts, after all, it is still the religious meaning with which we are so intimately concerned. Furthermore, for ourselves, the feasibility of this task is home out by our own investigations into three crucial aspects of the problem.

Their aspectual convergence thus concerns itself with mythic structure (i.e., Ki.Ii as Saktic Creatrix), cultic structure (i.e., Kili Puji), and eschatonic structure (i.e., Kali Yuga). We are especially indebted to many scholars, not the least of whom is Sir John Woodroffe whose copious studies and translations of several, especially Tantric, texts from the Sanskrit are indispensable to this endeavour. The suggested presence of a multi-structural unity, such as we propose, owes much to two distinguished scholars, the late Jean Przyluski and Mircea Eliade (now at Chicago). Przyluski intimated the direction of our thesis in philological terms in an original article in the Indian Hisrorical Quarlet'ly, in 1938. He demonstrated highly probable religio-linguistic affinities between such nominals as kali, kala, kalki and other derivatives. Although apparently overcaptivated by cross-cultural generalizations on mostly linguistic grounds, Przyluski's influence upon us continues; that is, we continue to profit from the intra-cultural implications of his basic findings for a better understanding of how language influences religion and culture and vice-versa. Przyluski, of course, did not (neither was it probably his intention to) indicate the relevance of the cultic aspect of the entire problem. Anyone who starts out to study the relationship between religious symbols and human culture without the guidance of Mircea Eliade's works deprives himself of the luxury of a deeper understanding from the very beginning. It is Eliade who maintained in an article in the EraMs-Jahrbuch, in 1951, that there was a structurally justifiable &880ciation between the notions of hila (Time),

the goddess Kili, and the Kali Yuga. Here we shall attempt to show that, at least as a tristructural religious manifestation, the entire phenomenon deserves further examination, historically and phenomenologically. Yet there is also a need to emphasize a third metlwdok>gical component which comes to bear particularly upon the role of the cultus : the puja as an essentially integrative religious complex. This means that a structurological cultic dimension is most vital to the total religious orientation.



In approaching our overall study, therefore, we intend to apply a triangulation of methods to the religious phenomenon. In a word, our aim is to render a reasonably comprehensive historical, phenomenological, and structural exposition and interpretation of Durgi-Kili as part of the Indian "mother-goddess complex" but especially as it is manifested in Bengal. The myths, rites, and festivities in homage to the Goddess occurring in that region of India are already recognized

as collBtituting a veritable stronghold of her adoration. Nevertheless, it is because of the nodal role which certain structuralist criteria tend to play in our presentation that functional-symbolistic correspondences can be made between other regional manifestatioll8 of such worship derived from various field studies. Broadly speaking, our thesis has some retrospective historical significance in terms of the general Motif of the Feminine per seas a cultural-historical reality which characterized parts of the world outside India. The full inter-cultural significance of our study in the light of contemporary (especially American) re-evaluatiollB of the role of woman in modem society cannot now be estimated. At any rate, just as that problem offers no easy solution, it would also seem that no one method of approach could ever hope to encompass the endless potentiality of meanings hidden in the Worship of the Feminine (Principle). In the case of a general mother-goddess motif admirable attempts from various field perspectives have been made by such scholars as E. 0. James, Erich Neumann, Sibylle von Cles-Reden, B. K. Dikshit, and others. With regard to a specific female personification of the Divine of India, there are the works of P. Ghosha, V. R.R. Dikshitar, Ernest A. Payne, Vasudeva S. Agrawal&, and others. Both of these kinds of treatments (general and specific)l tend to display the following disadvantages, not necessarily in themselves, but in the light of our own objectives. In the former cases, however invaluable, the works of these authors reveal clearly the tendency to adopt a delimited methodological approach or ideological stress. Their main difficulty, however, consists in their range and scope as compared to the depth of their relevance in terms of rel,ig1ous understanding. In the latter types of monographic accounts the problem is not so much that of depth of religious understanding but rather range and scope even having to do with a s]Jeeific, religiously understood l

Yide the Bibliography.



phenomenon. Ghosha, for example, renders an indispensable, though still only a liturgical, journal of goddess adoration. Dikshitar's work is essentially a literary-historical approach to his subject but suggest.s no real themic unity. Payne's presentation is conveniently historical, but the author blurs the religious significance of his work by insisting upon the "impermanence" of Saktism; in his treatment, therefore, religious creativity is ultimately subjected to historical eventuality.

Agrawala's work, though precious, is primarily a commentative translation of one major textual glorification of the Goddess. Through this and other articles, however, Agrawala's contribution to our understanding of how several of the cultic motifs are related to classical modes of Indian thought remains substantial. What the foregoing scholars have attempted as legitimate aspect.s of a particular religious phenomenon, we would undertake from a more totalistic perspective. Certainly, this objective does not preclude our awareness, methodologically, that the proposed unified approach, it.self, can never encompass the whole of Indian religious experience and expression. At best, our study would turn out to be but an aspect, too, of that country's broader religious panorama. The ongoing significance of this thesis, nonetheless, will reside in the fact that it contributes to a better understanding of that very larger Indian ocean of religious life. In the pages that follow our "Methodological Concerns", then, we shall be discussing the philosophically abstract and personalistically concrete aspect.s of the Durgi-Kili complex. This will be accomplished largely within a framework of Tantric and Puranic notions of Cosmic (sacred) Time and Terrestrial (sacred) Space. As the dynamics of Sacred History are juxtaposed with the movement.s of historical times and event.s in a specific methodological understanding of religion's inexhaustible potentialities, at least two things should become clearly known. First, that Durgi-Kili as a theistic manifestation can indeed be understood, despite bizarrene88 of form and changes in

historical-cultural milieu. Secondly, that Durgi-Kili reflect.s, also, a universal ontological malaise which can be aptly correlated with "experiences that arise from an irresistible human desire to transcend time and history" (Eliade). Thus in a very real rense this study might be said to amount to a theoretical and practical inquiry into the soteriological dynamics of an Indian religion. The author wishes to acknowledge and to thank the following persons, especially Professors Mircea Eliade, Joseph M. Kitagawa,



Charles H. Long, and Edward C. Dimock, Jr., of the University of Chicago. These scholars are important for the guidance and encouragement they gave during my graduate years and in the formation of this study. Further research was made possible by a post-doctoral fellowship granted by the American Institute of Indian Studies in 1974. It is not feasible to mention, yet gratitude is felt for what seems, all those innumerable templeguides, museum curators, university

librarians and personal friends who were so gracious to Mrs. Beane and me while in India. Among Indian scholars particular thanks are due to Professor S. C. Dube of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study for making library facilities available and arranging consulations with several scholars there. Those scholars are Professors L. P. Singh, S. K. Ghosh, S. Miri, and, especially, S. C. Malik, who read the entire manuscript and made helpful critical observations. Additional thanks should go to Professors D. C. Sircar, and V. Raghavan, as well as B. M. Pande, member of the Archaeological Survey of India, in New Delhi. From such wonderful minds East and West, significant understanding and inspiration were gained concerning many of those inimitable "things Indian".

w. c. BEANE


The literary texts relevant to the thought and worship of the divinity, Durgi-Kili, are vast and complex indeed. The principal reason is that this goddess, as the focus par excellence of a major religious denomination of Hinduism (i.e., the Siktas), can be adequately understood only against the broader, and seemingly abysmal, background of Tantric belief and practice. About this general vogue 1 as a religio-oultural expression there is hardly a dearth of literary material. Thus the Tantric current also provides a dynamic vehicle for for certain aspects of other forms of religious development such as Buddhism and Jainism. No attempt shall be made, therefore, to use aU of the literature probably related to the goddess under study (if, indeed, that were possible !). To be sure, it constitutes no mean task to undertake the present study even with the religious texts that are in fact available to us. Our primary purpose, nonetheless, is to make an attempt to set the goddess Durgi-Kili in some form of structural relief; that is, to make her more intelligible to readers whose conceptual orientation may have barred an adequate understanding and reasonable appreciation of her, specifically, as well as of non-Occidental religious expressions in general. Yet it is also to demonstrate that when one focuses upon the goddess Durgi-Kili as the prototypical image of the worship of Feminine Power (i.e., Sakti), one gains also a better perspective not only of the Tantric vogue itself, but hopefully the larger Indian ocean of religious experience. The vastness and complexity of the religious texts are, again, created by the relevance of many pura!'48 (or ancient traditioD.8) to the study of our divinity. The two principal texts most often quoted in glorification of the goddess are the Mirkai;u;\eya Puril}.a and the ~ Devi-Bhigavata PuriJ}.a. Not to be excluded is another type of epic/ poetry (itiluiaa) such as found in the Mahibhirata. To these must be The lingle word "vogue" does much to auggeet the nature of Tantriam ae a religio· culltwal foroe. Y* Miroea Eliade, Yoga : Jmmorlalily and p,.u.Jom (New York: Pantheon Boob, Inc., 1968), p. 200. For the phenomenon of Tantriam in relation to the Al.ktae. flidc i8fra, "Hiatorioal and Traditional Origins". 1



added the classical Vedic texts, especially the 1,'.tg and the Atharva Vedas, in addition to other sources, for example, the Brihma:r;ias and the Upa~ds. All these and others become pertinent in our search to indicate significant lines of historic-mythic continuity and change between what are probably earlier and later phases of religious literary creativity in Indian thought. Scholars are aware, of course, that there is a host of Tantras not easily available either in Oriental or in Western languages. The reasons are clear and decisive. On the one hand, there is the sheer immensity of materials that would constitute an all-inclusive bibliography of primary and secondary texts. On the other hand, apart from the need for additional contributions by philologists and lndologists, other possibly relevant texts or sources remain difficult to obtain, being either no longer published or else zealously guarded by private hands. Agehananda Bharati (in The Tantric Tradition) tells us quite candidly that "a complete tantric bibliography would make up a book of about seven hundred pages"2. Numerous illustrative excerpts and quotations from some of these "other" scriptures are included, however, in a few of our primary sources. We must hasten to mention here another collective source for the goddess, Durgi-Kili-that is, various Sikta Upa~ads. Also of particular significance for our study is the theistic denominational affiliation between the goddess and the god, Siva. In this regard, it is interesting to notice that Sinha commences his book Sha'/aa Monism: The Cult of Shakt.i 3 with a discussion of Siva (the Destroyer) in Hinduism. We intend in this study to consider the historical and religious sectarian relations, if any, between these two divinities, Durgi-Kali and Siva. For now, at any rate, we merely point out that, besides Sakta tantras, there are also Saiva tantras. Such being the case, there appears to be at once an implicit broadening of the range of texts to be considered. Usually such Sikta and 2aivite tantras are classified as Agama and Nigama, respectively. -...1 The former term typifies the revelation by Siva to the goddess (e.g., - Devi/Durgi/Kili, etc.); the latter term typifying a revelation by the goddess to the god, Siva. Their common traditional structure is that of a dialogue between the two divinities. We shall have more to say • Agehananda Bh&r&ti, TM Tanlric Tradition (London: Hillary Hoiae PubliBhel'll, Ltd., 1965), p. 303. a Jadunath Sinha, Shakia MoniMn: TM Cull of Sha/di (lat ed.; Calcutta : Sinha Publishing Hooee, 1966).



of this remarkable theological relationship as the work proceeds. What we wish to emphasize now is that, though literature characteristic of both aspects of the traditional form will be used here, our study will aim primarily at a strategic phenomenological literary reduction in favour of the more distinctively Sikta texts. Our main objective, then, is to explicate the "realm" of the goddess, Durgi-Kili,in myth, cult, and symbols. Her specific relationship with Siva, as her

mystic spouse, will be taken into account, nonetheless, but in the light of our ultimate purposes. We should mention at this time two important things which have tremendously facilitated our work. The first observation, which has become a source of methodological consolation in this study, is the phenomenon of mythological repetition of words and motifs in many of our sources. Account is to he taken, nevertheless, of mythological "variants" and legendary "cycles" in keeping with the centrality of structure ' in our phenomenology of symbols. At any rate, our work suffers no detraction in breadth and depth in terms of what is available to us for presenting a reasonably comprehensive picture of how the goddess has been symbolized and worshipped by her devotees. The factor of recurrence of ideas and themes, then, is immediately pertinent to our need to be eclectic in the treatment of such materials. Moreover, this is illustrated symhologically in our subsequent discul!Sion of a few of our methodological concerns. We, therefore, point out certain underlying literary motifs which may also be correlated with historico-religious processes that have shaped Indian culture. Some of them are the following: (1) the dai1Xisuram theme: an idea_,. which has long dominated the imagination of Indian thinkers and enthusiasts. Thie feature does much to confirm the existence of continuity and change in the conceptual and practical relations between an earlier Vedo-Brihmar;Uc period and a later Tantric-Puri.r;Uc phase of religious contemplation. (2) The idea of exoteric/esoreric participation r"" in the Divine : here one has to consider the presence of a aeries of mythic and initiatic homologations expressed in thought and action that revolve around the goddess,, as the divine Sakti~ (8) There is also the motif of imitatio dei, which involves in our specific context erotic or sexual acts and gestures conceived as having soteriological value. Finally, there appears an extremely fascinating phenomenon which we might call the multi-morphic motif. Under this may be ' Vidt Chapter I.



subsumed a host of phenomenal ideas and forms of an iconographic, cultio, and theogonic nature. All the foregoing shall be illustrated textually and morphologically in the chapters ahead. Our work is again facilitated by the availability of textual translations, commentaries, and interpretations concerning the Tantric and PuriQic materials, especially by such persons as Agrawala, Avalon (i.e., Woodroffe), Ghosha, Sastri and Ayyangar, and others.

The finest enumeration and explication of the Tantric literary deposit and its influence appears to be the work of Mircea Eliade and Agehananda Bharati. A magnificently helpful general source happens to be Volume IV of the Cultural Heritage of India. We should not bring this literary introduction to a close without some remarks about a few texts that are particularly useful for Chapters 111-V of this work. Vastness and complexity apart, a key text for the cosmological dimension of this study is the Briefly, let us say that this text contains an exposition of the unfoldment of the transcendent, noumenal goddess into the immanent, phenomenal multiforms of human experience. For our particular purposes, however, this source needs to be supplemented by other primary texts such as the (Garland of Letters) and other mahiitmyas to the goddess. With regard to the more prominent texts, it is convenient to bear in mind the following elements. First, the role of the goddess as Saktic Creatrix tends, on the one hand, to be merely "affirmed" in one text; and, on the other hand, to be actually "portrayed" in another text. For example, this is the case with the Devi-Mii.hii.tmya portion of the Mii.rkal}.~eya Puri!}.& as well as the Devi-Bhii.gavata Puri!}.&, respectively. Another factor is that the principal texts to be employed tend to betray singular, varying, if not, overlapping conceptualizations of the degree of sovereignty that the goddess has. These conceptualizations may take the form of (a) a type of Vedantie or Upani1Jadio

monism, (b) a deva-asura type of dualism, or even (c) an amazing but discernible multiunism. This last mode is exemplified in the DeviMii.hii.tmya, to be sure, wherein the goddess is all at once the Mahii.mii.yic Ground and Cause of the World and the "Created" and Anthropomorphic Focus of the Energies (tejas) of the Gods. A final textual observation has to do with the historico-phenomenological intentionality of certain cosmologically usable texts. Such texts, it seems, may well have been designed for purposes probably


related to a ritual milieu and/or more didactic ends. Didactically, for,, a "hidden" mythic-intentional or mythic-tendentious quality and affinity are apparently shared by U~s of the Kiliki Purii;ia, ,_, Umi of the Kena Up~d, and Devi of the Saundaryalahari. .,.,,,. The distinctively rituological aspect of our study finds a well-known source in the Mahinirvii;ta Tantra. Bharati tells us that this work is,,... regarded as supremely important among the Saktas of Eastem Bengal. This Tantra is, again, considered an invaluable text for Hindu tantric

dik,a (particularly Chapter X of the work). Other elements of ritual worship are to be found in additional texts that are, fortunately, available to us. Among such texts are the Kiili?J;lava Tantra and at_, least two other works on laya-yoga : the ~at;cakran.iriipai;ta (Investi- - ' gations into the Six Bodily Centers) and the Pidukipaii.caka (the,,.,,.. Fivefold Footstool). Concerning the so-called "left-handed" form of worship of Durgi-Kili, especially, there is the Karpiiridi-Stotra, which is considered to be the most characteristic Tantra of its kind. Other helpful texts will be mentioned in passing as the work proceeds. Incidentally, the commentaries on ritual are quite adequate indeed, we believe, to effect a rituo-structural analysis of the goddess as Sacred Object. Moreover, when we make use of the phrase, "stratifications of symbolic significance", the reference is to comparative levels of thought and worship that concern popular or elite strata; or, again, the exoteric and esoteric modes of cultic liberation. In the eschatological area of our study a few of the texts tend to reveal a peculiar metaphysical co-emphasis; that is, an implicit Ground of Being ( Uf'gntnd) is so often assumed in the texts, irrespective of the intended focus of cosmogonic power under the form of a particular deity. Again, in much of the mythological imagery germane to the activity of the goddess, cosmogony and eschatology are but dual aspects of a single event-the revelation of the cosmos as capable of absolute staticity and relative dynamicity. Cosmos and chaos tend to be so thoroughly intertwined that this fact alone draws special attention to what happens in that milieu where myth and ritual betray a similar kind of cohesive bond. Moreover, it is in the eschatological dimension that we discern another characteristic which has significance for much of Hindu religious thought. It is the presence of an interdenominational adherence (mainly, the Va~i;tavite, Saivite, and ~aktic sects) to a common Weltanschauung, specifically regarding the cyclical "Ages of the World". For example, since Mahapt'aUiya comes to all creatures and



beings, the texts are, therefore, more conspicuously ecumenical in terms of the content and imagery of cosmic dissolution. Thus the V~l)U Pur81)8 and other texts seem to provide rather synoptic pic·torializations of apocalyptic events. Devotees of the goddess, DurgiKali, of course, view her as t'he ojbect of soteriological adoration and advantage, all the more needed to nullify, even more, to transcend the ravages of time and history. In general, let us say that a certain creative use of the foregoing literary treasures will be reflected in our study. However that creativity need not become a source of intellectual distortion - what with the guides we have - but, hopefully, a means to a better understanding of the divinity and the culture we have chosen. Towards this end we intend to study Durga-Kali within and against the dynamic background of sacred tradition and secular history.



Within the realm of the scholarly enterprise there are many obstacles - historical, cultural, and social - which confront the investigator in hie search to understand other peoples. Such barriers to effective inquiry have led researchers in several fields to expect various kinds and degrees of epistemological results in their work. Broadly speaking, one quite optimistic view of what it is to understand another culture, or another religion, places unli.mited confidence in either the rational comprehension or the intuitive perception of the individual. These common extremist attitudes have oftentimes been characterized in turn as positivism or romanticism. Another outlook tends to place its confidence in a limited access to a true picture of what is usually "foreign", but always understood at a second remove. Still another perspective - that which we share - cherishes the possibility that the scholar is capable of bringing multiple talents and sensibilities to his study, while facing the burden of what Joachim Wach calls "hermeneutic circularity" .1 The process is thrust upon us in part by the need to "relook", in depth, at particular religions often in their recurrent manifestations throughout time and space. However, the task has a far more formidable source. It is the fact that the historian of religions has to face, continually, a seemingly unmanageable abundance of data accumulated about religions by ethnologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and other culture-historians. It has thus become a constant challenge within the History of Religions field even to attempt to keep abreast

with developments in all areas. 1 Joachim Wach, "The Meaning and Taak of the History of Religions (Religions• ..n-nschaft)", TM. BiMory of Religiona: Ea«1ya on IM. Problem of Underalanding, ed. Joeeph M. Kitagawa (Eaeaya in Divinity Series", Vol. I; Chicago: University of Chicago Prell, 1967), p. 6. (Kitagawa'• book will be cited hereafter ae Hialory of ReligioM : under.tlandi1'g). • Cf. Miroea Eliade, TM Quue : HiMory and Meaning in Religion (Chicago : University of Chicago Prell, 1969), p. 1. l



In the light of this, perhaps the most important thing to remember about a methodology is its necessarily provisional character. This would seem to apply whether one were thinking in terms of a theoretical or a practical methodology.1 Accretion of knowledge alone, nonetheleas, suggests that a given method of approach to any human phenomenon should never be conceived as the perpetually obvious "other side" of the equation of understanding. This remains true whether one proposes to study either an historic reality or, indeed, a transhistoric (ultimate) reality. It is the latter term which, we feel, designates the fundamental perspective that has to do with religion. It is the human response to an Ultimate Reality,' then, that is the essence of the religious phenomenon. In a very critical sense our reference to the tentativeness of methodologies has special relevance for the Social Sciences in general. It would therefore apply to any particular notion of reality, whether that reality be conceived, for example, as social, economic, political, or other.• With regard to discussions in theory and method within the discipline of the History of Religions, it has, of course, been recognized that we have at least to do with "history" and "religion". Holding these two basic aspects of the field in wholesome and creative tension continues to be one of the major elements of the hermeneutical task. For not only are we at times tempted simply to reduce the one to the other; but the legitimate possibilities of each may also be subjected

I er. J.M. BoohenaJd, Tle Mdhoda of ConlmiporM1J TAuug'/al (Torchbook ed.; New York : Harper and Row, Publiahera, 1968), pp. 9f. 'Cf. Joachim Wach, TM Comparalt~ Slvdy of RelagWnl, ed. Joeeph M. Kitagawa (New York: Columbia Univeraity Preea, 1958), pp. 30·36; alao Kitagawa, Hulory of RelagioM : Undullanda,.g, pp. 40ff. Although religion hu been variooaly defined (Wde Julian Huxley, Beligtcm Willaoul Rttltlalion [Mentor Boob; New York: New American Library, 191S7), pp. 93ff.), we continue to appreciate the Wach-Kitagawa definitive development in terme of both ultimacy and relatedneu. Echoing G. van der Leeuw and othera, a synthetic wiage (i.e., "Ultimate Power") is apparent in Winston L. King, lntrodvdion lo Religion: A P~gical ApproacA (2d ed. rev.; New York : Harper and Row, Publiahen, 1968), pp. 13ff. er. M.ircea Eliade, OD a "11&ered thing", in Pallern.I ift Comparalio~ Religion, tl'&IUI. Roeemary Sheed (Meridian Books; Cleveland : The World Publiahing Co., 1963), p. 11S8. • Yide, for example, the reconstruotive and revaluative diaouaeion in one field in I. C. Jarvie, TIN Rnolt&lion i" .A.nlJtnypology (Gateway ed.; Chicago: Henry &gnery Co., 1969).



to procedures bordering on methodological punam. • We need only to rooall Max Muller's original linguistic claim to have found "the key which was to open all doors". Muller was convinced that only a "master key" could accomplish such a task. To be sure, we need also to remember another scholar's still instructive observation on this very point, which was that "critics are today almost unanimous in recognizing that a [single] key which one uses for all locks is certainly

a false key". 1 Approaches to the study of history per se have not been without similar problems.• It has been especially true, however, with regard to varying field-approaches to the study of religion.• Thus, for example, we are accustomed to hear, among other interesting terms, those such as historicism, phenomenologicalism (or phenomenology), and structuralism. In the case of all such usages and procedures the essential difficulty would seem to reside not in our words so much as in our scholars. Rather than the familiar phrase "omnipotence of thought", it appears to be specifically a question of "omniscience of method". At any rate, the fact remains that such tendencies have sometimes too easily become the romantic "isms" of one school or another. They, therefore, serve no longer as adequate methodological tools 10 or means, particularly, for understanding religion. Ultimately, such methods tend to become ends in themselves which do not inform but confuse, tend to blur rather than clarify. Indeed, within a largely rationalistic • Ma:ic Gluckman, ed., Cloatd and (}ptA Mind.I: The LimiU of NmwJy i" 8oeial .A.nfhropology (Chicago: Aldine Publiahing Co., 19M), esp. pp. 13·19, 168·261, di8CJuleee thia matter in terma that may deeerve ongoing attention. Bia views on a poeitive but "deliberate naivety" in eooial anthropology and in all eciencee are not n~rily to be understood aa tupporting the kind of purism criticized here. Gluck1DAD.'s evaluation emphaaizee mainly the aearoh for legitimate oonfinee oonoerning a single field.approach to a specific problem. Gluckman, then, admits that "if the aepecte which one thinb are relatively independent are in fact interrelated., then oonfining one'• ltudy to a particular aepect leads nowhere in terms of understanding reality" (ibid., p. 161). In the latter cue the echolar would seem alao to support some "deliberate ftOIS· naivety" (anaivety). 7 H. Pinard de la Boullaye, L ' thlM oompMk du rtligiona (Paris : Gabriel Beauchesne, 1922), I, 324, note 1. •Cf. Edward H.Carr, WAal if Hialoryf (Vintage Books ed.; New York: Random Houe, 1967). • Cf. Jan de Vriee, Tht Blvdy of Rdigion : .A. Hi81oriwl .A..l'fWOIJCA, trana. with an introduction by Kees W. Bolle (New York: Haroourt, Brace and World, Inc., 1967). 10 Cf. J . Milton Vinger, Religion, Society, and Ille Individual (New York: The MacmiJ. Ian Co., 1966), pp. 6ff.



modern milieu, the meaning of religion in the study of religions has tended to be reduced, for example, to anthropological, sociological, psychological, or other "realities". These remarks are important because we intend to apply those very terms (i.e., historical, phenomenological, structural) in our effort to suggest a way of understanding better the goddess Durga-Kali as a religious symbol. Yet in our own application of those terms we are aware that in the intellectual process a methodology becomes a type of yoke. It is a paradox. For the very construction of any kind of method implies, first of all, a limitation. But then a method can also be an instrument for helping the scholar to by-pass or supersede certain existing difficulties of the intellectual inquiry. Hence no matter how many descriptive adjectives may be employed, it should be remembered that, ideally, underlying all the enthusiasm for methodological tech.niques is the quest for a profounder understanding of man. Generally, therefore, in this study of a major religious symbol of the Hindu faith, our uses of the term "historical" will tend to be more dynamic than deterministic. 11 Here and there, moreover, one may find evidence of a continuing existential appreciation of the data of religious experience. For we regard this as central to both a philosophical interpretation of religion and a religious interpretation of history. It should be said, nonetheless, that history is not here conceived as simply a record of the absolute spontaneity of human thoughts, words, and deeds. For it appears from various field studies that there may well be determinism in the most effervescent spontaneity, 11 as well as dynamism in the most rampant determinism.11 Yet, on the 11

Cf. Emeet A. Payne, The

Salt:tGa (Calcutta: Wesley Publishing Houll6, 1933).

The work, though invaluable to our atudy, understanda the Sikta "reality", unfortunately, ae determined largely by the eventualities of history (tlide our Prefaoe, p. xii). 11 Cf. Emil Durkheim, The ElefM711ary Fornu of the Rdigiqtu Life, trana. Joeeph Ward Swain (Paperback ed.; New York : The Free Preea, 1965), esp. pp.246-261. The point is, :paradozic,ally, that, apart from the often unappreciated idea of "a new being" (ibid., p. 249, bottom), the individual ia in a aenae "dominated and carried away [in the ooUeotivity] by some sort of external power". 11 While one should not exaggerate the point, it is interesting to note that even Freud had hie momenta when "death" as the "aim of life" was tempered by an apparently genuine egoio freedom. We owe this insight to R. S. Woodworth, Contemporary Schoola of P#gchology (3d ed.; New York : The Ronald Preee Co., 1964), pp. 286f. See Sigmund Freud's own work, "Analysis Terminable and Interminable", in Compltte PaycJwlogical Worb, ed. Jamee Strachey (London: Hogarth Preee, 1953-), XXIII, 216-253, eep. p. 240. (Though the example seems to aerve our purpose, we are not convinced, unlike Woodworth, that Freud makee any oommitment in the text).



whole, we continue to lend decisive weight to the idea of human freedom and creativity as integral to religion in essence and manifestation. Our insistence upon this derives principally from the fact that historical determinism forever tends to court the notion of inevitability (which, incidentally, betrays its ultimately romantic origins). We are more impressed with a view of human nature which emphasizes an "occaeionalistio" f aotor in the intercourse between history and religion,

man and nature, or history and culture. 14 The crucial object is to recognize that the concern of the historian of religions can never be limited to notions of "what happened" to man. Just as relevant and important - perhaps even more so - remain these factors: (1) to discover what man has "caused" to happen as meaningful event, 16 and (2) to discern how he has religiously understood his own being and salvation in relation to otherwise "uncaused", if not merely given, natural-historical Thus the historicalmindedness reflected in this study will go hand in hand with an attempt to take adequate account of the nature of religion as sui generis and, therefore, not bound by the methods of historicism, or even historiography .17 That distinctively religious dimension involves the quest to penetrate to the heart of the religious phenomenon, while at the same time recognizing its potentially inexhaustible character and meaning. Yet, even if we begin to have confidence that we can understand something of man's religious response to life's given phenomena, what is "history" to the historian of religions in methodological Cf. "A Hiatorioo-Cultural Hypotheaia'', in Miroea Eliade, MytAa, !ht.ama, and My.uriu, trana. Philip Mairet (Torchbook ed.; New York : Harper and Row, Publi11hers, 1967), pp. 176-179, eep. p. 178. 15 Cf. Miroea Eliade, TAt Sacred and tAt P~ofaM, tran.e. Willard Truk (New York and Evanaton : Harper and Row, 1961), pp. 20-60. te Cf. King, Introduction lo RtligWm, pp. ISl-77. H

17 Of ooune, historiciam is not neoeaaarily aynonymona with historiography, the latter being capable of "levels" of undertaking (lliM, for inatanoe, Phil L. Snyder'• edition of euaya and letters of Carl L. Becker, eep. the aeotion, "What is Historiography" T in Detachment and tAt Writing of H"'°"Y [Paperback ed.; New York: Cornell University Pre., 1967), pp. M-78, esp. pp. 75f.). The technical iaeuea involved in historicism are too oomplex to be enoompuaed by this document. For now (oontrary to Carr, Whal S. B"'°"Y f "Canaation in History", pp. 119n-120n) we are not inclined to believe that the historioiatic/hiatorical-minded distinction i11 merely a matter of "pedantic" vocabulary; for auoh terma have real signifiC&Dce when they refer to reductionist attitudes by certain llCholara tow&rda the apecifically religioua phenomenon. Cf. Eliade, TAt Quut, pp. IS0-53 d pauim; Miroea Eliade, lmagu and Sym'bola (New York: Sheed t.nd Ward, 1961), pp. 27-33, 17ln.




We have already said that historians per se have had their share of hermeneutical headaches about the matter. It is important that we mention this problem at the outset-for it is a problem common to all scholars concerned with history. The History of Religions, as a discipline, continues to reappraise itself from within 11 and to endure criticism from without. 19 On the one hand, there are those who - expect historians of religions to act as mere chroniclers of religions; and, on the other, those who continue to remain suspicious of our - role as phenomenologists of religions as compared with theologians of a particular religious faith. With regard, then, to the attitude of the historian of religions to the "historical", it serves our purposes well to call attention to what appears, after all, to be the finest and most succinct statement on the meaning of "history" in the History of Religions. The AMlory of religiooa ia not neoeea&rily the AWtonognJf)Ay of religions. For in writing the history of one or another religion or of a given religious phenomenon (saorifioe among the Semites, the myth of Herakles, and so on) we are not alwaya able to show everything "that happened" in a chronological perspective; we can do so, of oouree, if the documents permit, but we are not obliged to practice hiaforio. gr"'f'Ay in order to claim that we are writing the history of religiooa. The polyvalenoe of the term "history" tO has made it easy for acholars to misunderstand one another here; actually it ia the philoeophical and general meaning of "history" that best suits our particular diacipline. To practice that dieci line is to stud reli ious facts u 11uch, that i11, on their spec" ic plane of manifestation. 21 Thi11 specific plane of manifeatation i11 alwap Ajll.qriml, concrete, exilltential, even if the religiou11 fact.a ma"if...+ecJ .... aet ......,. ll'lielly rec.Juoible to hi11to1!." n


Another related aspect of the problem of history and religious hermeneutics has to do with lace in society. The issue as to whether society should be regarded as the con an /or context


ta Charlee H, Long, "Archaism and HermeneutiOll", in Kitagawa, HMlory of Rtligiona: Underatanding, pp. 67-87; Miroea Eliade, "The History of Religiooa in Retrospect: 1912 and After'', in TM Quul, pp. 12-36. tt Robert Luyeter, "The Study of Myth: Two Approaches", in TM Jovmal of Bible and Religion, XXXIV, No. 3 (July, 1966), 240.


IO er. Johan Huizinga, "A Definit.ion of the Concept of Hi11tory", in Raymond Klibaoaky and H.J. Paton, edll., PAll0¥>pAy and HWtory, The Ern11t Callllirer F811teohrift (Torohbook ed.; New York: Harper and Row, Publishen, 1963), pp. 1·10. 11 er. Eliade, TM Quul, pp. 4-8. tt Mircea Eliade, : Arclaaic TtcAniquu of Ecalaay (New York : Pantheon Books Inc., 1964), p. xvi.



of man's religious life still continues. 28 Our main concern right now, however, is not to question either man's historicity or his socialization. It is, rather, to criticize a certain kind of understanding of "where man is" once he discovers the pervasive ambivalence of the structures of his existence in the world. "All the definitions given up till now of the religious phenomenon have one thing in common : each has its own way of showing that the sacred and the religious life are the

opposite of the profane and the secular life. But as soon as you start to fix limits to the notion of the sacred you come upon difficulties ... both theoretical and practical". 24 The crux of the matter seems to reside not only in "where to look for the evidence" and assemble it, but also in how to grasp the meaning of such phenomena. "The central and the most arduous problem", therefore, "remains, obviously, that of interpretation". But "do those who are making use of ... symbols take all their theoretical implications into account". 15 The question would appear, essentially, to turn about the following reciprocal issues: (a) the interpretation of the structures of man's religious response to symbols in his social world - as part of a specific culture: and (b) the interpretation of the functions of symbolsin ulatian t-0 man's religi011s world as grounded in myth. The resolution of this hermeneutical paradox has not always adequately concerned enough anthropologists or historians of religions, both of whose work is so intimately involved with much common data. The problem continues to be a specific source of methodological tension within the 13 Many iaauee are articulated by variona &eholars in Lonia Schneider, ed., Rtligiofl, Culturt, and Socitly (New York, London, and Sydney: J ohn Wiley and Sona, Inc., 1964); vick Part ill, pp. 51-181, ibid., and Part V, pp. 374-588, ibid. tJide aleo, "A Sociological Theory of Religion" , in Vinger, Religion, Society, and the Individual, pp. 49-72. In the cl&BBical Durkheimian oonception a kind of co-inherence of content and context 11eema to occur. Cf. Gnatav Men&ehing'e articles in Schneider, Religiofl, Culture, and &cidy, pp. 2M-261, 269-273. Joachim Wach (Sociolog-y of Religiofl [Chicago : University

of Chicago Prou, 1957], p. 156, noto 241) aeeurc& ua t hat "lack of conformity, skepticism,

and heresy ae well as &ehiem [are] already in primitive society". Cf. Robert Redfield, TM Primitive World and lta TranafornwJicna (Paperback ed.; New York: Cornell University Preee, 1966), pp. 88, 114-118. Even the "charismatic" leader, however, needs to be accepted aa 81LCh. by hie society or group; tilde Max Weber, On Chamma and lflMi· huiChe) do not exclude 88.()b other". er. Gunther Spa.ltmann, "Authenticity and Experience of Time", in J . M. Kitagawa and C. H. Long, eds., Mytha and Symbola: Slvdiu in Honor of Mirua EliMe (Chicago and London : University of Chicago Preas, 1969), pp. 371·372; J.M. Kitagawa, ed., Untkr8'andingand Believing : ENOya by Joachim WacA{Torchbook ed.; New York: Harper and Row, 1968), Part ill; tNk aleo Gilkey, Naming IAe Wlairlwind, pp. 196-203. er. Van Austin Harvey, The Hiatoriatt and IAe Believer (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1966), Chapa. IV and VII. For a detailed but brief analysis of general problems, Wle Edward Vogt, "Objectivity in Reeearoh in the Sociology of Religion", in Joan Brothers, ed., Reading• in IAe Sociology of Religion (London : Pergamon ~. Ltd., 1967), pp. 116-126. " Yide Joachim Wach, infra, p. 24.



consists in how his scholarly work continues to promote the adoption of a phenomenological attitude (beyond method as mere sawir faire). It is essentially an attitude of phenomenological freedom and humility towards not only the objective data but also the Auman subjects of one's field of inquiry. The individual can thus aspire to apply such an attitude to both his intellectual work and his philosophical life. The fullest, practical implication of van der Leeuw's method of understanding is that it can become a serious existential possibility : a mode of being in the world for the researcher himself.86 This being the case, however, it does not undercut but further substantiates the need for a more complex method of approach to the participants in religions, because even these human subjects of investigation .. cannot be adequately "dislocated" or understood apart from their historical-phenomenal milieux : "times" and "histories". In our overall view, then, a basically phenomenological approach is indispensable to the study of the History of Religions, and, therefore, the method has a type of core role in our present thesis. Generally, however, phenomenology itself is deemed to fall into inadequacy if "overstressed" in terms of a pure phenomenology. For, ultimately, the cost of such methodological purism is a not-so-pure (less wholistic) understanding of a project such as ours, for example. Serious account must after all be taken of those "other" relevant phenomena so intertwined with religious expression-what Joachim Wach refers to as "the conditions-geographical, ethnological, political, culturalwhich have determined the actual course of events in an .. . attempt at a systematization or phenomenological study of socio-religious phenomena". 17 Our application of the term "a.naive~" bears a three-fold relevance to the foregoing considerations. First, it refers to a methodological position which understands the phenomenological "reduction" as basic to objective intellectual inquiry. Secondly, it also acknowledges the inherent limitations of that "reduction" as an epistemological

tool. Our use of the term (anaive~). therefore, also constitutes a charge

11 Cf. Miroea Eliade, Preface to G. van der Leeuw, Sacred and Pro/WM B"""r: TM. Holy ift .frl, tr&na. David E. Green (New York : Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1963), pp. V•iJ:. " Cf. Wilfred Cantwell Smith, "Comparative Religion : Whither-&11d Why" T in Eliade and Kitagawa, Bialorr of ReligioM: MdAodolow, pp. 31-158. 11 Wach. Bo®low of Rdigicm, p. lo.


against the nai"ete 11 of a phenomenology whose principle of reduction, when raised beyond a fundamental to a comprehensive status, becomes itself a reductionistic methodowgy. We have already stated that there is nothing inherently wrong with the making of generalizations (aupra, p. 16). Perhaps what is significant is for scholars to recognize a singular methodological temptation ; that is, the fact that every soientifio methodology, as it appliee itself to the so-called "sciences of the spirit" (Gei8tuwis1efl8chaften), or "the 1human sphere", tends to test its elasticity to the extent that technical insight becomes unwarranted generalization. Thirdly, our own methodology is qualified by the use of a "hermeneutical phenomenology"." Since all historians "interpret", we wish to emphasize that this additional interpretive dimension 70 comprises the following elements considered in this chapter so far (this section and the previous section, "History and Religious Hermeneutics"), as parts of an overall search for historico-religious meaning: (1) the perception of the religious phenomenon in its historical milieu ; (2) the grasping or apprehension of its peculiar form among other forms; and (8) the appreciation of the transhistorical, transformal "reality" which is being symbolized in and through sacred ideas and objects. Our primary concern in these foregoing, cumulative remarks upon ''history", "phenomenology", and reUgion represent an appeal for more scope and depth of methodological concern than the singular search for pure objectivity. For in the Social Sciences and Humanities (perhaps also in sectors of the Natural Sciences) the co-existence of objective and subjective elements is certainly a probability- if not an inevitability. We are convinced that this dual phenomenon, though it is capable of being understood in various ways and degrees of intensity, constitutes both the peril and the prospect of all honest research. But it is a challenge that must be faced with an open mind. It is a task that will continue to demand a response that allows for an "open end" .

.. Cf. Sokolowaki, Tlae Fonnalioft .•. , p. 213 : on Huuer1'1 thought. .. Cf. Spiegelberg, TM PllmorMnological JlooemeN, II, 694ff. 70 I.e., oonoerning "meaning", ill theoretically dieclllled more fully iJifrG, "Structure and Religioue Symboliam", and ill exemplified in the body of thia 1tudy : Chapa. ill,

IV, and V.



Earlier we alluded to the presence of a largely rationalistic modern milieu in which the religious phenomenon tends to be reduced to the categories of one field "logos" or another. It must be recognized, nonetheless, that field approaches other than the History of Religions have their own valid freedom of inquiry beyond questions pertaining to the adequacy or inadequacy of their methods of research. 1 1 Thus the historian of religions need not be dismayed by this fact of methodological freedom ; in fact, he needs and can welcome the findings of other scholars concerning problems and prospects that require highly specialized investigation. 71 Unfortunately, however, the Vogue of Reason (i.e., the Enlightenment legacy) has not always adequately served the purpose of understanding religious phenomena as much as it has the objects of study in the Natural Sciences. The problem of determining the distinctive meaning of religious ideas and forms has become extremely acute in the minds of scholars in the face of at least three specific developments: (1) the increased awareness of the commonality of much of the date examined and interpreted by several branches of knowledge; (2) the emergence of the History of Religions as a distinctive discipline beyond earlier "Comparative" and "Philological" approaches to the study of religions; and (3) the radical treatment of longtime, vital elements, such as religious myths and symbols, by scholars in the Social Sciences whose methods derive much from the naturo-scientific tradition. It is true, of course, that, due to the influence of both theological and humanistic scholars and writers, our conception of the role of myth in society and culture has not continued to be understood solely in Enlightenment perspectives. 11 71 Cf. J. M. Kitagawa, "The History ofReligiona in Amerioa'', in Eliade and Kitagawa, The Hlalory of Religiona : M e.tlwdology, p. 16 : "It muat be made abundantly clear that

the history of religiona i.e not propoeed u the only valid method of studying religions". 71 Cf. Eliade, "Methodological Remarka ... ",pp. 00£,: "It is not a question, for the historian of religions, of .ubatittlling himaelf for the ~ apuia.liata, that is to say, of mutering their respective philologies.... Bia tuk ia rather to inform himself of the progress made by the specialiste in each of theee areu. 71 See Berdyaev on myth, in Wach, TM Compat'Otift Study of Rtligiona, p. 65. Cf. Amos N. Wilder, Theology and Modem Literature (Cambridge: Harvard University Preas, 1958), pp. 27-37; "A.rt and Theologioal Meaning", in Nathan A. Scott, Jr., TM Nt:to Orpkru (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1964), e&p. pp. 416-418; Miroea Eliade, "Myth and Reality", in Alimation: TM Cultvral Climate of MOfkm Man, ed. Gerald



The relation between religion and culture, generally, and religion and structuralism, specifically (as a method of approach to religion) appears to have reached its controversial apex with the application of the term "structure" to the study of myth in Anthropology.u Vis-a-vis a rationalism which continues to dominate much of Social Science methodologies, it is significant that various scholars (from Rudolf Otto 71 to Mircea Eliade) have insisted upon the aui generis character of religion in their work. There is also reflected in their writings an emphasis upon a philosophical-existentialist dimension which is integral to their approach to religious phenomena. More recently, it is doubtless Eliade's The Sacre.d and the Pro/am 74 and (also what the author still probably considers "the most significant of my books") The Myth of the Eternal Return, 77 in which the distinctiveness of the "Holy", the "Sacred", or the "Religious" is elaborated so clearly within a basically structuralist orientation to the study of religion. History and phenomenology are not foresaken by Eliade ; but in the light of recent developments it has become all the more important for us to distinguish between Eliade's treatment of mythic symbols and the Levi-Straussian type of structuralism. For the aphorism "What's in a name" 1 (or a "term" 1) tends to lose its truistic value as we begin to draw out the comparative methodological implications of these two scholars for our present thesis. Sikea, II (New York: George Braziller, 1964), eep. 761·753; Eliade, .Myllta, l>r«J'IM, au .Mylleriu, pp. 36-38. Cf. Jamee Baird, Iahmad: .d Btwly of t.\e Symbolic .Mode in Primitiftlm (Torohbook ed.; New York: Jarper, 1960), p. 8 el paarim. Yilk aleo Nathan A. Scott, Jr., ''Theology and the Literary Imagination", in hia Adt1ef'rity and mONAL ORIGINS


which we cannot agree remains radical in nature, because of the difference in our disciplinary perspectives. We contend, therefore, that his actual admission, yet hypercritical presentation, of a diversity of interpretive possibilities about specific religious meanings, for example, the Indusian sacred figurines,1" overlooks a very important thing about the nature of religiotu symbols. That is to say, if there is anything that they teach us in general, and especially in India, it is their potential capacity for logical distinctiveness and generality through the phenomenon of modality and multivalence (i.e., conscious or unconscious coalescence of religious meaning) ;111 the scholar's undue concern, therefore, about "the strict sense of the term" (i.e., mother-goddess) not only presumes that it has in fact a universal mono-valent meaning, but disregards the fact that (femino-morphic) artifactual "representatives of the creative and nourishing powers of the earth", "mothers of the gods", "mothers of life", and "parochial goddesses presiding over wind or water, fire or forest", may all constitute symbolic aspects of a perceptual field of human experience and a matrix of religious and symbolic expression; that is, a religious experience, expression, and understanding of the world which suggests a vivid and varied chthonian depth as an eBSential valuation of life. The most important thing to recognize, secondly, is that, when the historical "evidential complicateness" of the religious artifacts is taken into aooount under the added perspective of the phenomenology and the structural study of symbols, something different happens. It is discovered that certain of the Indusian sealings or pictographs suggest a particular kind of religious orientation as the logical context of their original viability. It is our opinion, then, that these (ideogramatic) acenanoa also suggest a legitimate type of Indusian-Hinduist continuity. It remains for us to demonstrate this fact in more specific terms and to generalize upon the type of continuity that we mean. In the meantime let us not forget that, here, we are dealing primarily with no question of KtdturlcTeialehren but with the fact that we are now on Indian acnl. With regard to the Indus Valley, then, we insist that due to geographic homogeneity (notwithstanding the ethnolinguistic diversity) of India, we do not have to argue from one extraprimitin Indian oult reprded u indigenoua' of the nnallpox goddeee SftaJA and her U liaten"; OD other IUOh obeervationa, vile ;,,,,fra. pp. 76, D. 177; p. 76 D. 180; p. 78f. l • Cf. Gonda, C'lla,,,gt. atul con1;,,,,•ilr ;,,. ltulia" Rt.ligior., p. 33. u1 Cf. Eliad.e, "Methodological Remarb ... ", pp. 98f., 106ff'., and Patlo'M i" C°""" f"l'Oliw ReHgioft. pp. 463ff'.



Indian civilization to another (i.e., India itself) in technical terms; but that India as a culture area is conducive to the change and continuity of ideas as well as the presence of what we would call a perennial, undercurrent, religious naturalism as part of its "principle of oonsciousness". 1n It is this religious naturalism whioh has pervaded (and continues to pervade) Indian civilization throughout so much time ;1u and, as we have seen (BUJWa, pp. 44, 48-60) it has not permitted us to leave (as Gonda has done) "the prehistoric 'parallels' on one side".17° For the ancient religious naturalism to which we refer has to do with the presence of a deeply ingrained "terranean awareness" on the part of India's inhabitants. It is reflected in their mythology, their theistic sects, as well as their artistic creactions. This terranean awareness has persisted despite the possibility of the early co-existence or emergence of similar or more daring cosmic visions of man's place in the world.1 71 The continuing relevance of the Earth-Mother/EarthGoddess presentation above, however, is that it goes to the heart of that ancient Indian "awareness"; and the Indus Valley shows irresistible signs of having nourished that same consciousness. Moreover, evidence in the later Hinduist tradition in other times and parts ofIndia substantiate its capacity to effect "successive periodic reincarnation"171 of aspects of that terranean religious syndrome. In the main the particular kind of religious orientation that is evident to us in the Indus Valley (withstanding other beliefs and symbols not evident) has to do with symbols with a collectively impressive ten'anean orientatio. They are, too, (a) lithiconic, 173 (b) therioaffinal or theriomorphic, (c) vegetal, and (d) sacrificial. These symbolic manifestations,11' however, tend to be iconographically interrelated,

118 lit

Cf. Brown, "The Cont.ent of Cultural Continuity in India", p. 434. Cf. Jamee, TM Cull o/ IM Mother Goddua, p. 113: "-the aanctity of the Earth

hu remained a fundamental belief throughout India for all time, and around it the Goddeea cult hu found its eeveral modee of expression". 170 Gonda, Change and Continuity in Indian Religion, p. 33. 111 Vilk ifl/ra, Chap. III. 111 Brown, "The Cont.ent of Cultural Continuity in India", p. '29. We have already noted that the (polf-lnduaian) Devi-Mi.hitmya and the Devibhigavata and Klliki Puril}u "reincamat.e" element.I of agricultural religious symbolism into their imagery alongside of a more ooemioally developed mythology. 178 Aa alao elaewhere: i.e., a atone that i1 an icon (u compared to an ioon of any 1hape which might be made of atone). 11• SVfWG, pp. 48ff.



if not intermingled,17• so that a given seal, disc, or stone may combine all of the previous orientative elements in highly suggestive fashion and, in fact, evoke a highly plausible religious interpretation. They are, therefore, of special interest to us, for, all together, they point up the unwarranted degree of skepticism which Gonda expreBSes about them (as a category). The truth is that, though we do not possess comprehensive 178 knowledge of the Indus Valley religious Weltanschau:ung, there is nothing wrong with making thoughtful inferences about complex scenarios. The latter are not to be assigned the same interpretive value as, for example, the comparatively simple protohistorical of C. L. Fabri. 1 77 There, detailed figures appear but, as Gonda rightly remarks, no contextual meaning can be inferred. The ideograma.tic scenarios, however, in their implicit cultic 111 1111 Cf. Banerjea. Tlae D~ of Hindu IcmwgrapAy, p. 489 : "The nude female figurines very oft.en shown in ... ornamented 'rinptonee' and 'di8C8' are almoet invariably &11110Ciated with plante and vegetation (eometimee with men and animals) ... " 171 D. H. Gordon, TAe PrMt.loNc Background of India• Culture (Bombay: M. D. Deeai, 1958), cited in Gonda, CAange and Continuity in Indian Religion, p. 19, n. 40; pp. 2lf., Ulle8 the term "precise knowledge" while noting ite elightntllB with regard to the nature of Harappin religion; we agree with the dignity that he auigue to "inferenoe from the testimony of acenee depicted on the seale" ; but we prefer to say that we lack "oompreheneive" knowledge - the oombined dramatic quality of the eoenarioe allows only a key interpretation of an aspect of the Harappin religioUB Wellanaclaauung, but, for all that it is, it is a plaUBibly inferred one. 177 Cf. Gonda, CAange and Continuity in Indian Religion, pp. 26f. Gonda ii impre.ed, on the whole, with the echolar's "earlier" and "later" oorreepondenoee. Hie prospective opinion of our few epecific oorreepondenoee and a certain milieu ('1ick infra, pp. 77f.) ii another thing. NonetheltllB we maintain that, juxtaposed with other data from later India, oertain artifact.a point to a type of religiowi orientation which becomes more implicitly an "historical reality". 17S Eliade (Palterna in Comparaliw Religion, p. 324) remarks that there is a "differenoe between a(n) ... Mkogram and a ritual. The formulae for carrying out a rite are not thoee for stating an ideogram, myth or legend. But all of them expreu the eame idea... ."

(The remark'• context ia "terranean" ). Gonda'• remark on "an 'amulet' showing .. .

one tree that has been tom &BWlder", for instance (CAangt and Continuity in India• Religion, pp. 31-32), is an over-simplification of the eeal (infra, p. 77, Point 2), if. in fact, the author has the same in mind. The peculiar impreuion is that the soholar -ms to apply non-religious criteria to data which he has already acknowledged as fundamentally religiowi; moreover, his inaiatenoe upon eoholars' need to "oooupy themselvee with element.a of the material culture, means of subeistenoe, food and drees" (Gonda, CAange and Continuity in Indian Religion, pp. 19f.) in oontrut to a hoet of other "substratum" particulars which he aoourately deecribee u exaggerated (ibid., p. 20) .. . il the claim is made - remains something quite different from the religiowi implications that we cliaoern about a distinctive upeot of the total world·view (whatever it might have been).



complexity are far more convincing. They are re-repre8ented to us by Campbell n• under these rubrics: (1) The Sacrifice, (2) The Goddess of the Tree, (3) The Lord of Beast.s, and (4) The Serpent Power.• .. This scholar (via Marshall) has done little disservice to the f'eligiow significance of these seals. For the cultuc "acts" implicit upon them are are reasonably decipherable, particularly against the general background of the history of religions symbolization . Briefly, let ns take a closer look at not only these symbolic phenomena but also, in conjunction, "other Indian factors" (8tlpt"a, p. 72) which simply cannot be ignored. 111

CC. Campbell, T~ Muu of Ootl, II, U16-170. We are. of ooune. not primarily ooncerned with tbia .. proto-Siva" at thia time. er. Finegan, TM ..4rdaeology of Worlcl &lipnu, I, 127, Yd'. 49. F'megan'a 1111ccinct and effective (lndu.Hinduiat) coneepondmit.ia.I deecription warrant. the phraae "plausible deduction" not .. plawiible guem"; much of the difficulty arille8 merely from the wie of the utM "Siva" at all. H.P. Sullin.n ("A Re-examination of the Origin of the lndm Civili&ation", Bialrback f'd.; Xe..- York: Gf'0811if't aod Dunlap. 195:!1. pp. !:?lfT. For the "temperamental" fans~ and thf' thrust oft ht> "n'n&i.."5&1l ~ ,,( HinduWJi; for ••th't're i9 n,d1iog to indicate" that in tht> pri,>r ptti,~ ~t>.g... ~f,>n.a th'n(.'l'\.'\M'h.ed up«ID by BuJ~m or that ii had ulh!' any intttna.I J,;_ p... 164: ·--r :•ily ~.u:~~::'.:& is ~:ia:!y a~ ....!:\.. . : ~r...r-n··: ~~a..:mON.AL ORIGINS

At any rate, the historioo-struotural aspect of centripetalization of the goddess Durgi-Kili finds a paradigmatic location in Bengal, because it is here that a few crucial religious ideas and mutually enhancing sectarian relations are so demonstratively present. First of all, let us remember the fact (via Renou) that we may not after all be able to determine the earliest historio-genetic details of the Hindu sects. Moreover, our allusion to the critical distinction between historically pre-existent yet non-crystallized and cultieally coherent ingredients should be home in mind. Accordingly, neither the presence of a variety of "Devis" in the Vedas (including the name': "Durgi", or "Kill" in "Vedic" literary extensions, i.e., beyond the Four Vedas) or other "epic" traditions, the reference to epithets and exploits performed by the goddess, iconographic representations of her, nor hymns to the goddess by early poets,111 per se, corroborate by necessity the existence of a Sikta aect. These factors in their collectivity might nevertheless establish both a cult and sect "in the making". Following Renou's theory that in the main the contezt of the l'tgVedic texts is a religious cultw,1111 however, we might postulate that as early as the fourth century onwards there are more or less explicit grounds for maintaining the existence. of an independent goddessoriented cult. For the Devi-Mihitmya or C~c;li-mihitmya narrative, it is noted, "forms the chief background of Bii.ta's Oha~-lataka [and] ... the Ohaf)'f:Hn4Mtmya 11 • celebrates the mighty deeds of the goddess and refers to her daily worship and autumnal festival, while the three hymns contained in it and the hymns from the Harivamu contain the theology of the cult" .110 In a general sense, we can allow that, probably, all three of Hinduism's pre-eminent sects-the V~1.1avas, Saivas, and Saktas-had their constitutive beginnings before the Christian era, in that many of their cultic "constituents" may have existed in nuce in the Vedio E.g., Kilidiea (fifth century) : hi8 "Kumlruambhava"; ~ (eevent.h oentury). VipAy, II, Chapa. VII and VIII, 445-461, 620, 533-541, 566-574; Surendranath Dae Gupta, A Hi#Wry of Indian PhilO«l'phy, I, 429-452, 485-489; Prabhavananda, TM Spiritual Hmtage of India, Chapa. XV and XVI. 111 Cf. Arabinda Baau, "Kashmir Saiviam", in TM Cultural Heritage of India, IV, 79-91; J. Sinha, Shakia Moniam, pp. 1-9, 19-22.

er. Woodroffe, The



being singularly and coherently important to the cosmological structure of the Siktas. They are these: (1) the idea of Kili-Sakti as a symbol of monadic multivalence, and (2) the idea of Kili-Sakti as a symbol of diadic univalence. The idea of Kili-Sakti as a symbol of monadic multivalence was earlier intimated in the portrayal of the goddess as the Flood of Beauty and Bliss, which envelops the TrimUrti, their Saktis, and all other beings. Moreover, in her distinctive dimension as the "Fourth" Reality, not "next in" but envoloping and "beyond" 61 Time, the contemplation of her divine creativity raises at once the question concerning the Absoluteness and the Relativity of the goddess as Fact (Essence) and Expression (Manifestation). Her divine aseity cannot, therefore, be separated from her cosmogonie activity ; for "inseparability is the key word in Tantrism: inseparability of the absolute and the relative, of the divine and the human, and, by implication, of fact and expression". 68 The goddess, then, is "the Absolute Spiritual Whole (Purna)", as much as she is also "the relative psychophysical whole (maya)".u She is the One who ia pure Being.Conacioumeea-Bli.ea, u Power, who exilt8 in the form of Time and Space and all that ia therein, and who ia the radiant Illumination in all beinga.66

Being both the Abstraction (Incomprehensibility) and the Shape (Personification) of Time, the goddess holds within herself the Power (Sakti) which is also Maya, so that she is known as Mahi-Sakti, Mahimiyi, and Mahikili; the dynamic aspect of the Supreme Time (Parakala) or the Great Time (Mahakal.a) corresponds to her Timeless aseity and Relative time corresponds to her cosmic creativity. Yet her Self-exfoliation is a creative continuum, along which Time comes into being only with the appearance of the heavenly bodies after the underlying constituents of the universe (t.attvas) have evolved. 51 Furthermore, her creativity as cosmic continuum presupposes the supersession of all the ordinary conceptions of the relation between cause and effect. The goddess as the Translogical Whole (Devi) "does

Cf. Woodroffe and Mukhyopadhyaya, Mahamiiya, pp. 6ff. 68 Guenther, "Tantra and Revelation", p. 289. 64 Woodroffe, Salt:Ji and SaJ:la, p. 402. 66 Yoginihfdaya Tantra, quoted ibid., p. 26. M Ibid., p. '°7. 611




not oease to be the oosm.ic cause because it evolves aa the universe its effect". 67 A glance at certain synthetic but varying views regarding Time in monistic (Advaita) cosmology reveals the following possibilities which aid in clarifying the glory of the goddess as Chronic Multi-form: (1) "time is an effect (Ktit'ya) of avidya or Maya like spaoe ... (2) time is not an effect of avidya but is the relation between it and spirit or Brahman ... (3) time [is identifiable] with avidya ... (and, 4) time (is] an aspect (rupti-bheda) of Brahman itself". 51 To begin with, let us note that the goddess as the Personification of Time through maya&kti remains unchanged in her comprehensive quintessence(aaccidananda), and Time as the exfoliation of that quintessence does not constitute a quantitative or qualitative reduction of her Being as emanation." Thus mdya, whose nature as "measure" has lured many to understand it as solely "illusion", becomes more decisively in the Si.kt& Cosmogonio world-view the source of natural phenomenality and/or human deltuion, 10 as well as the redemptive milieu through which the goddess "as Liberatrix" delivers man "from the ignorance of the forms which are of Her making ... ".•1 In her capacity, then, as Mahimiyi (i.e., The Great Measurer), the goddess Durgi-Kili can be not only the Veiler even of the Creator, Suatainer and Deetroyer of the World. But, fund&. damentally, She ia ... the Whole Reality-Power both in It. veiling and revealing, binding and liberating upeot ... .Aa the Supreme Veiler 11 She ii ... Mail-mohi, and u the Supreme Revealer She ia Mahi-vidyi. [Yet] in her upeot of Miyi. She ia, generally, d611Cribed u the veiler, creating and drawing the veil over All particular exietenoea....a

The significant thing to be grasped is that both of these cosmogonio desiderata ("veiling" and "revealing") are integral to the creativity of the goddess, i.e. (Malui-) Wlya and (Malui-) maya are real u aspects Ibid.. p. 408; Woodroffe, TM World Aa Power, pp. 339-366, t'JIP· pp. 360-366; of. ibid., p. 47. Notioe (ibid.) the uae of the term "&ikta Dariana" (.upra, p. 168, n. 48). N M. Hiriyanna, "Advaitio Conception of Time", POOM Orienlalial, IV, N09. 1-11 (April-July, 1939), 47-48. H The tranaoendence-immanenoe problematic ia also noted by Kumarappa, TM Hiftdu Ccmcqticm of Deily, pp. 102-106. Devibhigavata PW'il;la Vl.31.22-61; Gonda, Cltatlge and Continuity in Indian Reltgi p. 156. 111 E.g., Brahmavaivartapu~ XLIII.91-107 (''Kff9A Janm.a Khanda"). 1oa





In the moat specific sense of mythic event and aacred apau, it is Siva's passionate involvement with the goddess, as Sati, which provides the setting for "Death" as pendulously related to "Life"the Sati-Suicide in the Kiliki Puri~ (XIV.1-16.70).11• Moreover, the Sati-Suicide is intimately wrapped up with the legend of Dak,ayajiianilla.11• The story, not without some possible Vedo-Brihmanio roots (~g-Veda X.61.6-7; Aitareya Brihma~a 111.33-34) is found in several literary sources, but it is believed that its "earliest form ... is probably to be traced in the Mahibhirata (XII.282-288) ... "111 In the Mt.hibhlrat. version of the lltory ... the wife of Siva ia only reeponlible for pointing out, to her huaband, Daqa'1 impertinence in dlaregarding the great god ....


In a later "modified version" (the PuriJ,>.as and Kilidisa) the story goes that the mother-godd--. who wu the wife of Sin., wu in the form of &ti one of the daughter. of Daqa Prajlpati. Dakfa wu celebrating a great ...mfice for whioh neither &ti nor Siva wu invited. &ti. however, went to her father'• MOrifice uninvited, but wu greatly inlult«l by Dakfa. Al a reeult of thie iU-trw.tment, &ti ii to have died by yoga or of a broken heart, or u KfJJdila •ye, lbe put. henelf into fire and periabed.U?

It is held as probable by Sircar that the early medieval period saw the engraftment of a "new legend" upon the foregoing narrative, as reflected in later goddeas-oriented texts. Siva, driven "mad" by his inconsolable loes of Sati, destroys the MaM-yajna of Da~. Expreasing a nemesio "fire of anger" so intense that "the Pralaya seemed to threaten the three worlds", Siva's mercy prevailed amidst sorrow, nonethelees ; and the god destroyed only Daqa iu and his sacrifice. The "Deva of Devas" himself, however, "saw that the body of the Intelligent Sati wa.a being burnt in the fire of the Chita. He cried aloud : Oh, my Sati ! Oh My Sati l And taking Her body on His neck, 111 In Zimmer, TM. K-iJtg and tM. Corp«, pp. 28S·298; cf. Bra.hmavaivarta XLil.82·96 ("}{ma Janma Khanda" (. U4 Kllikl Puril,la XVII.l-XIX.13, in Zimmer, TM KiJtg and IM Oorp«, pp. 29&-308. ua Dinee Chandra Sircar, "The Al.kt.a ~", Jotll"ftlJl of tM ROJ!Gl .dftalic B«Mtv of Btf&9Gl, XIV, Part I (1948), 6. 111 Ibid., pp. 6£ 117 Ibid. 111 I .e., aiva "out off hil head and ~ plaoed the head of a goat. brought him back to life and t.hua made the Goda free from all fet.r1" (ibid.). Cf. the "pravargya" motif. in Coomaruwamy, "Angel and Titan: An Eeeay in Vedio Ontology" , pp. 3741f.



began to roam in different countries, like a mad man".111 The aftermath of the "Death" of the godde88 has two mythological variants : (1) the gods Brahma, V~i;iu, and Bani enter Sati's body and divide it into fragments, and (2) V~i;iu, following after the wandering Siva, dismembers SatI's body with his Earlier we alluded to the Digit-Motif of the godde88 as having special significance as far as the feminine dimension of life-forms is concerned: "0 Goddess . .. You have created everything in the garb of a woman and you have wielded the form of a woman through the digits of your digits". 111 Moreover, it was seen that the Gt'ama~throughout the land of India are also divine "digits" or, we might say, "digit-children" of her as Mahikili, the Personification of Time. 111 Between her reality as the Great Godde88 of Time, with her innumerable matda and ammaa, and the human 111 personifications of her own Being, there stand her sacred "spaces" ; these are the pilluu, i.e., "seats", or "sanctuaries of gods", 1" sacred "places" which are believed to provide for the continuity and intensification of the sacred as well as the opportunity for Divine-human intercourse. Apart from the glorious capacity of the goddess for re-theophanization, the prelude to the "creation" of her various pijluu through her redemptive "death" occurs still in indirect relation to the goddess; and that prelude involves divinities who have been touched by her presence but now di.soonsoled by her absence- the "Eclipse" of the goddess. Sacred spaces thus emerge out of the very grief of the gods, particularly Siva's. Indeed the account in the Brah.mavaivartapurii;ia (XLIIl.1-107) con.stitutes an answer to the apparent ultimacy of Death, in that sacred spaces of divine Life-the Presence of the goddess- are made available to persons, laymen and specialists alike, who seek after the saving Truth. For even while Vi_fi;iu seeks to counael the despairing Siva (who has committed the grave error of "for-

DeTibhigavat. J>uri9• VII.30.39ff. llO Eliade, roga, p. 3'7 ; Siroar, ''The Si.kt.a Pi~", pp. 6f. in BrahmavaivartapuriQ& XLlII (p. !tN); npra, p. 167. 111 Yidc ftprcl, P· 187' n. 101. 111 ldeell7, men and women may ahare the "mutual reality" (npra, p. UK) of Aiva and Aakti u "Univalent Being" (nprca, p. Hl3) : men = AiTM - women ... &kt.ii ... Devf. Yi« i•fra, Chap. V. l.M Bhan.ti, "Pilgrimage in the Indian Tradition", pp. 147f., 169; of. Banerjea, TIN~ of HiM• I~. pp. 298f.. 273f. llt



getting,,1" who he ia) through "metaphysical, beneficial, and substantial doctrines,,- a discourse "on Ontology,,- wonders occur.111 Following, then, Siva•s wandering 117 over mountains and valleys, oceans and deserts, lingering at ialands and under trees (e.g., the Banyan Tree; the nyagrodha}11•, a tau 11t (i.e., the "pond of tears,,) i8 created out of the god's tears ; it i8 a place where one dip by a man brings absolution and liberation : "the sins of a hundred births,, and the power to enter "the land of Hari. Again, a shrine is developed out of the tears of Hari and Hara, together (near the nyagrodha), where ascetics may find The p'qhaa par excellence of the goddess derive from the fragmentation (or "dismemberment,,) of Devi Sati after her disconsoling demise. The various parts of her body fall from the realm of the gods and in their scattering became loci 111 of hope for millions ; these loci became the emblematic digits of her "forgiveness ... content. tory . . .,, , as well as h er " peace ... wi'sdom and memory ment .. . v1c [italics mine]° in relation to her devotees.111 The number of these worship centers varies, to be sure, ranging from four mentioned in the Tantras and Purii;ias 10 to fifty-one, even 108 scared spaces, thia last of which may be seen as having a symbolic relation to a

116 Cf. Brahmavaivartap~a XLIII: 34-46, Siva to Vif\la : "O Mapanimo1111 being ... I pray you tell me who you are ... Who ia Satl .I Who am I? ..." ; oonaidering Siva'• oondition, "Lord Harl ... wept ... " For the "primitive" apprehemion of "forgetting", ~ Adolf E . Jenaen, Mytla and Cult AmUt:Aplu (New York : Simon and Sohumr, 1966), pp. Ml-es (of. pp. ~67) ; and ibid., p . m d 141 Bharati, "Pilgrimage in the Indian Tradition' , p. 160. 1'4 Eliade, Yoga, p. 348. 1'1





or plays through the medium of the cosmogony.1 " Her dramatio self-withdrawal and subsequent "dismemberment'', therefore, are events which suggest two further rituo-structural homologations that recall the Hindu past but yet point to a new religious valorization. To begin with, the voluntary dismemberment of the Devi-Sati reminds us of the ancient 1 " Vedo-Brahmanic purufa/prajapati symbolism of the creative sacrifice by the gods.u1 Here with the goddess, however, there appears to be a mythic reveraal of the original structure of the event, in that (1) not only does the goddess-with-aseity allow herself to be created out of the united energies (tejaa) of the gods; but (2) the Vedo-Brihmanic "primeval sacrifice", though it becomes with the goddess a similar event wherein "'her' members fall from 'her"',1" the significance of her act differs at least in these two specific respects : (a) her non-tendentious reappearance on the cosmic scene constitutes a radically new beginning, because "She" is now reve,aled as the IDtimate Reality,1 41 which also lies permanently behind, within, and beyond even the recurrency of the "creation" when understood within the tradition of Trimilrti. •ao The redemptive "activity" of the goddess,u• then, though it constitutes a "return to the primordial unity", to the Samvit of the goddess "before the creation", is her Self-disclosure-and it is new. She is the Magna Oreatriz. To be sure, she is the most Genuine Surprise in the history of Indian revelation and theogony; (b) her creation of the pijhas, therefore, as sacred places of pilgrimage for her worship represents the birth of a "universe"u• of sacred monuments through which deootion to her "is prolonged ... continued ... prevented from

1411 YUlt Saundaryalahari 9b; .ftpr'CI, p. 136, &nd alao of. npra, p. 180 and n. 176. •• Eliade allude. to the extra·Indian antiquity of thia "dWnemberment" motif; f1itk Yoga. p. 3f7. H7 Rig-Veda X.90. HI Cf. Eliade, Yoga, p. 109: " ... when Prajlpat.i created the world, hia membera fell from him ..." . 1'9 Devlbhlpvat.a PuriQa Xll.8.8-93; af. npra. pp. Ul8-l 71. 1IO 8t1pra, pp. 166-16&. w S"'fWG. p. 176. w The idea ia IUgpsted by the preeenoe of the great goddeea at eac.\ and all the .Pfl• together; but aleo by a moet "interesting phenomenon", a peouliar "ioono· graphioal pattern" not.ioed by Bhan.ti in "Pilgrimage in the Indian Tradition", pp. 160· 181 .



ceasing to be".1n These sacred places ( = spaces) thus have the exalted function of assuring the "second birth" or spiritual renew&l. The moral of the &ilctapi#uJ mythology is, ultimately, the broad-hued apotheoeia of the motherland oonoe.ived in the form of energiled oentree for laNric a1Ml yogic ~ or for praoti.eing apeoial med.itAt.tion and lpiritul diloipJine.lM

What is finally remarkable about the relation between the mythic event {the &ti-Suicide) and the Birth of Sacred Space (Balctapilha.s) is another thing; that is, the Puru~a/Prajapati "dismemberment" in the Vedo-Brihmanic tradition is now ca.pable of being structurally understood within the aetiology of the p:ijha-motif, so that there is essentially the transformation of anthropocosmic reality into topocosmic reality. 111 Within the cultic realm there are, we stated, certain symbols which may be assimilated to the pi4ha-motif. We shall comment, briefly, upon three of them which may be regarded, too, as symbolic "extensions" of the pilhas and "spatial-digits" of the goddess. A "primitive" example of the "externalization" (infra) of cultic acts in sacred space takes the form of the Atpana, 151 which is a part of the folk art and festival songs of Bengal. As a religious art-form it is found among such peoples as the Oraone of Chota Nagpur, including the Birhors, Kharias, and among the Mundas. The phenomenon involves drawings or paintings that &re made on the ground by girls and women during festive occasions. Ranging in configuration from four to five circles, etc., there are some that make "a square (room) with the representation of two human figures [anthropomorphic divinities 1] inside it with the Sun and the Moon above and below ... "111 Conceived as a type of sacred altar before which the "Kumiris" perform, and prayers and chanting occur, tlb.e Kumiri Vratas last five Eliade, Yoga, p. 109. lM Vuudeva 8 • .Agrawala. StfXJ MaM.dttla : TAe Gf'eal God (Varanaei, India : Veda Academy, 1966), p. 11. 111 Guter, T'Aupta .. ., p . U. 1M Cf. 8. R. Dae, ".AlpanJ. of the KumAri-Vratu of Bengal", Jovl"'Mll o/ l"Ae lftdU.,. Soctdy of Orienlal Arl, XI (1943), 126-132. Alpan& (or .AlipanJ.) have two ola11e9: (1) one in which different kinda of colour are Uled for making a "dry painting"; (2) one in which Pi*b&li is ueed. •white liquid (abtd., p. 126). The magioo-religioua "e:rt.em&li&ation" (tfl/ra, p . 137) in thil ••art meaua that aomething to their heart. desire [the performing "young unmarried girla" ] muat be achieved by the repreeentAt.tion of the desired object" (Dae, "!JpanJ. ... ", p. 132). 111 lbtd., P· 128. 111



years, and the Aipani a:illl8 at (1) the prevention of evils and the "distraction of ... malignant spirits", and (2) the "fulfillment of desires", such as "wealth and plenty".111 Most significantly, the Vrata-A.lpani is associated with the goddess as Laqmi. The proper "images", therefore, include her renown symbol, the lotus, as well as other "lotus creepers". In addition to the astrological symbols already mentioned, "the circles of the A.lpani represent the Universe with its luminaries ... and their presiding deities, givers of light and life" .11• Another cultic-symbolic miniaturization of the living Cosmos (= Devi) may take the form of the mati4ala (i.e., cirole).110 Its assimilation to the topocosmic pijlra begins with its very construction on the gt"OUM, as well as its quare shape with internal circles (concentric or not), the former symbolizing the unity and integrity of the cosmic zones and their "centre" of gravity (i.e., ma1;u; = imago mundi and axis mundi) ; the latter representing the "dimensionalization"H1 of the universe with its "'heavens' or levels" as well as a pantheon : divinities themselves represented in a certain order by images 111 from among whom the Nd.llam receives or finds his i~ (his chosen deity). Eliade understands the maf!4ala to have, basically, two functions : (1) like the labyrinth 111 it "is equivalent to an initiation ritual" ; (2) it "protects", warding off all dangers, enhancing concentration, and the individual "to find his own centre." 1M Importantly, the cultic utilization of the maf!4ala allows for both its "external" and "internal" contemplation. 1" Since the individual's "discovery of the mat'4ala in his own body indicates a desire to identify his 'mystical body' with a microcosm", that "place"u• is, here, in its

1u Ibid., pp. 126, 127, 131. l i t Ibid., p. 129. A ritual diagram uaed among familiee of one group (the Khlriia) ••repreeontA the point. of the oompaee and over the diagram • light i1 plaoed" (ibid., p . 130). Cf. Stella Kramri80h, "Indian Varietiee of Art Ritual", Kitagawa and Long, eda., MylM and Spbol., pp. 23-44, e1p. pp. 38£1'. ieo Eliade, Yoga. pp. 219ff. Cf. John Blofeld, Tlae T°"'"" Al~ o/ Tiki (New. York : E. P. Dutton and Company, loo., 1970}, pp. 9'·99, 102-117. m Svpro, p. 161. 111 Eliade, Po#Wu i• OontpJraliw &ligior&. pp. 372!. lU Ibid., pp. 38lff. lM Eliade, IJJtG9U nd Bpbol., p. 63. 1u Ibid. Cf. Blofeld, Tlae ToNrie JI~ of Tiki, p. 96; Wk Devfbhigavata ~ VU.40.1-31 ("external"); ibid., VII.39.1 ("intern&I" ). 1• Eliade, Iwiagu a1'CI Spbol., p. 63.



initiatic-cosmic totality, "the realm of the Great Goddess" as the Macro-anthropooosm. It is interesting to notice that the "Paasionate Yogi" (Siva) and the Entrancing Goddess (Kili-Sati) in the myths may be brought into interstructural relation with the cultio quest for spiritual liberation through another symbol : the Yantra. Structurally, it is referred to as a "linear paradigm of the ma~".11 7 According to our specific interest here-its rituo-structural phenomenology vis-a-vis the mtimate Reality- the meaning, particularly of its inverse and observe triangles, is clearly stated. The triangle pointing down symbolizee the yom-that ii, the &kt!; the triangle pointing up deaignatee the male principle, Siva; the central point (bind") lignifie. the undifferentiated Brahman. In other word.a. the ycintra ii an exprellion, in terma of linear 1ymbolilm, of the ooemic m.anifeltationa,. beginning with the primordiaJ unity.HI

This implicitly erotic imagery has its place in the triphasal aadhanic perception of "Form", ranging from the "anthropomorphic" (athWa.) to the mental (auqma) and the spiritual (tha para-formal); this last, as the highest contemplation of "the primordial unity", does not perceive the Yoni to be "the generative organ of a woman but ... Kir&l}am or Cause, the Womb of the Universe"'.1u The unity of mythic event and sacred space is, finally, affirmed in the idea that the Ma~/ Yantra symbolic structure represents an attempt on the parl of the devotee of the goddess to achieve both (a.) the assimilation of his (somatic) Self to the Universe through the externalization and/or internalization of such objects; and (b) the ultimate, supraconscious realization that, as the Ma~/ Y antra is the symbolic manifestation of the true form (Soo-Rupa) of the

Universal Goddess, the siidhaka, too, is one with his Self (Atman), the Universe (Vi'11arupa), and the goddess (ViltHitma)-that All is Devi- in a state of Saccidananda.110

m Eliade, Yoga, p. 219. HI Ibid. Yide alto A. Mookerjee, Tantra Arl, p. 79, Plate 52; p. 80; cf. ibid., p. 23, Plate 8. For the llid.\caftic integration of pil1ta and JMffala, oidc Bharat!, TIM Tt1ttlric

Trodilicm. p. 26'. lit


Woodroffe, TaNrarija Ta111ra, pp. 3, 6; npna, pp. 162; 162, n. 75. Woodrotl'e, Tantf'Onija Tantra, p. 4.




The continuity between Cosmic Time and Ritual Time, the correlation between Mythic Event and Sacred Space, cultimates in the practical cultic milieu. It is here that the ultimacy of sacred reality and the intimacy of sacred action combine and create an atmosphere in which myth, cult, and symbols are structured, so that there are aooommodated a variety of experiences and expressions of homage to the goddess Durgi-Kili. On the one hand, the phenomenon of ber worship-ptlj¥m}--that ii, when it mabe the idea of it.a infinity it. own content"'. Vick ibld., pp. 63, 64. IJ07 Ohoaha, Dw.r¢-Puja, pp. 27.30. .,. Pltal : a bfja with MTeral mer.ninp (wide a6icl., Appendix, PP· xnint) ; on. "direotiona", f1idt Diehl. /u"'fMftl aflll PV'JIOM, p. 72 and n.. 2 of that pt1g9. IOI




objeote, i.e. eoent, t.ute, form, and IOUDd, the fin orpne of aotion Tis., the mout.h. the feet and handa, the pudendum. and the organ, and all forma, whether material. mental, or int.elleotual, with tho.e of eelf-ooMOioumeee, eelf.oogitation, or flfJOiam •• ,IOt Conoeive in the right noRril the red mantra, Ra.qi the root of fire, and fill the body with air, while repeating the mantra aixteen timeL Purify the body by burning the male form of liD with the fire ari.aing from the lower part. of the body.110 Theo olo.e the no.e and hold the breath while repeating ai:d y-four timee the mantra. Exht.le the uhee with the breath through the left noetril aooompanied

with 32 rooitall of the maot.ra ...

The cleansing of the inner and outer body finds its structural extension in the rite of Nyaaa,• 11 i.e., "the 'placing' of the hands of the worshipper on different parts of hie body, imagining at the same time that thereby the corresponding parts of the body of his 11,ademta [Durgi-Kihl are being there placed..'111 The nyasas are diverse and will thus be exemplified here with the Jioo-nyasa, whereby "the sidhaka proceeds ... to infuse the body with the life of the Devi"_111 Pl&oing hit hand on hia bee.rt, he aya the "1ham" mantra ("I am He"), thereby identifying himlelf the DevL Then, plaoing the eight Kula-lroJ1cJ•ljnla in their eeveral plaoee, he aya the following mantru : Airp, .Krlrp, Klhp, Yatp, Raql, Laqi, Vaqi, &qi, Hoqi, Sarp, Sarp, HaUJp, Harpaah : the vital &in of the highly bleeeed and aupioioaa Primordial Kil.ill are

here. "lup, etc., the embodied 1pirit of the highly bleeeed and ia pl&oed here". "Alrp, etc., here are all the eenaee of the highly aupioioua and bie.ed Kil.ill;

and lastly, !Up, etc., may the 1peeoh, mind, light, hearing, 1meJJ, and vital ainofthehighly blelled and aupioioue Kl.lill ooming here always abide here in peace and h&ppineee 8vi.b1.•H

The ritual acts of laana, BhUtafuddhi, and Ny&a are structurally homologous, in that, on the one hand, the devotees' consecrated .,. Cf. 110

ftl1l"ll, p . 168, nn. '8-7; t.llO A. Mookerjee, TaMnl ..drl, Plat.e 8, pp. 23, 63. Cf. Woodroffe, Sdft ~ p. 291: "Kundt.linf"; ftde i11fra, Chap. V.


w From the Samkrit root ttp, "to .et or put down" . The term'• broader (plurt.liatio) applioat.ion refen to-~f'. Danielou, Bifldv Pol~ p. 377 : "the oonaeoration of the different part. of the body to diatinot tkiliu with the help of aeed·moftlrcu [italioa mine] ... " (e.g., ~); "deitiea", beaidee one'• i~ who, to be, rem&ina llecNiN. Cf. Diehl, I"*"fMlll cmd ~ pp. 76-80, eep. p. 76. m Woodroffe, ~- afld &!&, p. 291. 111 Wood.roffe, /~lo Tonlra ~ p. 109. IH




"seat" and body become types of pifh,a, the latter a living anthropomorphic mat;a4ala in and upon which other deities may be given "place" and homage for their roles in the polytheistic, poly-functional, and poly-directional cosmos; while, on the other hand, the structural intention of nyasa is that the body in its totality 1 11 is a symbol of the goddess (her "Self"), who encircles and infuses it. All these rites together, therefore, accomplish the goal of "transcending the human condition",111 warding off distractions and "all obstructive spirits", 111 as well as enabling the siidhaka to "spread" (~.e., extend) his awareness of "the All-spreading Immense".11•

Bodhana : pratw-prat~lhii : yajna : 8aktiman In Chapter II we caught a glimpse of the goddeBB in her capacity as a concrete articulation of the Sacred within the realm of the EarthCultus. On the one hand, there was the goddess Kilijai in OriBBa, whose mode of legendary concretion was a stone- the Numinous Lithos-in the capricious waters of Chilka Lake.11 • On the other hand, we saw the goddess under the form of Naoo.patrflca, the "Nine Leaves", in which she might lodge so oompletely that the disengagement of a single twig meant to touch the goddess The further advent of the goddess in the cultic milieu occurs, again, in the form of vegetation symbolism. In the aftermath of preparatory worship, according to the Lll;iga Puri:i;ta, "on the ninth 111 day of the dark fortnight of Asvina the Devi is to be awakened with great pomp and eclat. This is called the Bodhana or the arousing [i.e., awakening]" .111 At any rate, the Kiliki Puri:i;i.a enjoins that the goddess Woodroffe, ~iand Sakla, pp. 282-283; ~ p. 167 and n. 97 of that page. .Eliade, Yoga, p. M. 111 Woodroffe, Introdudiofl lo Tantra ba..tra, p. 98. 111 Woodroffe, Salm au S6.JtMJ, p. 291. llt 8vpro, p. 49. no 8"FtJ, p. 67. Moreover, "at the time ofworahip, each sprout la auppoeed to et.and for a part.ioular form of the godde. : Brahmi91 ia the preeiding deity of the plantain. KlU of, Durgi of laricini, Ki.rtikl ofjoya111i, Aiva of biloa, Raktadanti.kl. of d&lima. &brahita of cwohl, Clmtu}4a ofmdna, Iakpnl of paddy. and Dwgd agai~ o/ llO~ cu a toAole [ltalioe mine)" (C. ChakravarQ. Tiu Tanlnu, p . 99). Yide Ghoeh&, l>t!.rgd-Nj4. pp. 66-88. I l l The time varies : it may ooour on "the lixth day of the wuing moon of Anina'• (Ghoeha, i•/ra), or "the fifth day ... in the evening" (C. Chakrav&rti, TM. Tanlnu, p. 99; Shri Aahok.anath Shut.ri, "Durgi-Piiji", BMraliga-Yidyci. X [19'9). 269). 111 Ghoeha. I>wgO-P~jG, pp. 17-18. 11a fide 111



"is to be awakened on a branch of the Vel [Bel] tree and on a pair of of its fruits". •u Said to be "a great favourite" of the goddess and, according to mantra1, the tree upon which the goddess was formerly invoked "by Brahma for the good of Rama and for kiJJing Ravanna",u• the ceremonial continues : Ozp on the Vel tree u a part of the annual autumnal Durgi-P6ji, I having worahipped the ganapati and other devu invoke and invite Durgl ... Aim for the deetruction of Rivanna and for the 111ooeee of Rima. Brahma had in earlier dayw at an unaeuonable time awakened thee; I al.eo on the even of the lixth lunar day of Aevina. · do aroull6 thee. Indra having 110 arollled thee gained dominion and the heavena ;m therefore do I arome thee with a view to obtain auperhuman dominion and tl'&DIOendental power. Aa the ten-faoed wu deetroyed by Rima ao may I have might to destroy my enemies ... Ozp Sri fruit-tree, thou art alwayw gratifying to Amvikl., thou art bom on the top of mount. Mera, Mandi.ra, Kaili.a, and Himavat, thou art bom on the top of Sn mountain, thou art proeperoua fruit, thou art the dwelling pl&oo of health and proaperity, thou art by me deputed, oh I doet thou go, thou art the likene11 of Durgl I ... oh Sri tree thou art gratifying to ~4iil. I am inviting her for worahip, dost thou give me thy twig.. .

It is with the pra?&wg4-Hj4, pp. 40, •1. 117 I.e., jW4tMI : life; f"OlifllM : installation; that ii, "the installing of life into the image" (Ats Alp~ I.Ml ...• p. 24). Cf. A. K . Coomaruwamy, Tle Trau/~ of Naive ff& Arl (Cambridge : Harvard Univeniity Prem, 1934), Chap. VII, esp. pp. U57fJ., 163fJ., Rao, 81~ of Hi*'- I~. I. Part I. 26ff. 111 Woodrofle, Salli 4"" Sd.l:fa, p. 288; of. ibid., pp. 346fl'.. 303f. Ill Cf. MahN>i"ll)& Tantra IX.9, 10; of. Gonda. C"ltotsgt. afWl Co..ii,.'"'r its IM.W. &lipm, p. '36; it ia perhape a Bp80ifio injunotiD but without univer9&1 applioaUon. Vicic "Om Hrhp" (itsfra, p . 223); ftFO, p. 217, n. 212. IM



With thy eight.a &ktia • Annihilator of all ~OD.I In unfordable ooean of the world, San me blemed godde.e ... Devi Dwp approach and will Preeenoe in thia vioinity ... Adn.noe, oh goddela ... Then, touching the breut of the idol, the prieet effeote the vivifioation of the idol with the recitation of five Vedio mantru including, for eiample, 1Uoh worda u

. •. iho voioe, iho mind, tho eyet, The een, the noeo, the heart Tue ~on of thia idol forever ... The prieet next recitee another hymn by touching the cheeks : Oxp the live• of theee Be here eetablilhed, Oxp the livee of theee Be here moving, Oxp let theee be deified ...111

The pervasive dynamism which characterizes Hindu cosmology, anthropology, and, now, rituology-in terms of forms of worship, stagea of preparation, and levels of spiritual attunement to the goddess- appliea, again, to the kinds of objects offered to her in sacrifice. It has already been pointed out (in Chapter II) that human sacrifice was indeed a part of her worship ;u1 moreover, according to the Rudhiridhyiya saa portion (i.e., Sanguinary Chapter) of the Kiliki Purii;ia, among the over fifteen types of eligible sacrificial objects, human heads and human blood are considered to bring the greatest pleasure to the goddess. 11 ' Apart from this phenomenon, however, there is the surpassing desirability of "the meat of buffalo and kid a.a

.., Cf. Ghoeh&, Dvr¢.·Nj4, Appendix, pp. !xiii, Jxiv. Ibid., pp. 63, 64. 66. For the ltruotural ooinhereooe of Pr4tta-praltfl"4 and ,allhu u an eeot.erio-yogio ritual extenaion, fttlt Pieter Hendrik Pott, Yo,a GM YG""'4 : TWr l~tota GM TAeir Stpt/tca'ltU for 1Mta1' .ArcAoeolow (The Hague: Martina Nijhoff, 1966), p. 20. '" er. ·~ n . SU; p. m, n. m. •Cf. W. C. Bl&quiere'a trualat.ion of the Rudhiridhyayi in .A.toho ~ (London), V (1807), 371-391. IN Sv,pra, p . 69. Cf. J . Ph. Vogel. ''The Head-offering to the Goddell in Pall&va Sculpture", Bwlldt11 of tlac Scltool of OrWlllal GM Africo11 8'1ultu, VI (1932), 639-Ma, Ill

Platee G-8 •




sacrifice" to The following selected yajna'"1Mntf'a1 (via Ghosha)'" are uttered in the ritual, which ranges from the act of homage to the ck1Jal to the decapitation of the animal with the M.ICf'ed atDOf'd and, finally, a homa in honour of the goddess. Obeerve the animal and recite •..

Om Agni wu an animal, of whom a AOrifioe waa made ... the eame will be thine where Agni ia ... drink thia water


Om Viyu ... Om Stl.rya ... 117 then rivera ("01p Vahirl, Yamunl, Gangi ... ") and ll&a8 (" ... Kawiiki and Mr.hep") are invoked t.o

Approaoh for the abl1'1il'09P'l'OUll Durgi On the head of the animal a light ia plaoed and t.he head with the light ia offered

to the goddea Olp aalutation to t.hia head of a goat with a light on it.

A eanblpa ii again made for offering thia head to the godde11. Ozp. thia head with the light I offer t.o Durgi ...111 141 Cf. Ghoeha, Durgd-Pijii, p. 6G : ''The uorifioe ia taken t.o the oourty&rd of the houee, where a Y·ahaped poet ia fixed. Between the eaorifioial poet and the Devi ia plaoed on a cleaned spot an entire left of plantain under whioh the root Hrllp and the triangulw Y antra are deeoribed'' . ... VicU ~ Tantra VI.116; of. Oppert, cm tM Origiw I~ ••., p. '80. 110 Before thia "a tm&ll quantity of the blood from the eaorif'ioe ..• and a bit of n.h from the tnmk of the beut [are placed in a pot] o&re being taken that no bite of hair be preeent" (Ghoeha, Dwgij Piija. p. &G). •1 Vick Mahlni"iQa Tantra VI.117.



Following a division oC "the blood in the earthen dish into four parts" and its dedication to deities of the four quarters of the world, a prayer to the goddess ensues which has the appearance of comprehending many of the preceding, central aspects of the worship : mythology, expiation, supplication, vindication, and exultation. Orp three-eyed, terrible-faoed. and ekull-wreathed goddeee. thou art tho deatroyer of all uuru, thou holder of sword and olub, oh, destroyer of tho buffalo demon.•• oh Mahlmiyi, oh nppreeaor of tho pride of all daityu, I give thia ll&Orifioo of goat, aooept it, oh beloved of Hara. Oh Kilaritri having reooived thia ll&Orifioo be 1&tilfied. oh MahiUU protect me Devi Chav.Ontr.Deoualy and without restraint, by all beinga ... the d~ ii in 90me eort identified with hum&ll exiatenoe. The perfect JD&D of lnlopga inoarnatee the ooemio norm, and therefore the moral Jaw. He leada an exemplary archetypal eiiltenoe.ID

The intermediate yuga-8, the Treti and the Dvipara, mark critical regressions in which, respectively, men's actions are only aligned to the degrees of three-quarters and one-half of the dharma. The ominous regression is suggested by the shortening duration of these periods. Accordingly, ... in the l:ali pga, the "eril age", on1y a quarter of the dMrmo remaim. The term l:ali ... the die marked with one pip on1y ... ia alao the "toeing throw" (penonified, moreover, u an evil 1pirit) : l:ali aignifiee also "dispute, d.iaoord" and, in general, the moet evil of any groupe of beinga or object.a. In l:ali pga man and 10Ciety rMOb the extreme point of diaint.egration.11 Cf. infra, p. 263. Alan W. Watt., TM Two Ba'lldao/God : The Mytlaof Polanly(New York: George Bruiller, 1963), p. 77. Yilk "The Parade of Ant.a", Brahmavaivart&puriq.a XLVII.IJ0-181 ("~ Janma Khar;i!Ja"), in Zimmer, Myllw and 8ymboll .. ., pp. 3· 11; Devfbhipvata Purir;ia IX.38. • Yilk the worda of Devi to Himalaya in the Bhipvat.igitl in Mah.ibhipvata, cited by Avalon, Princtplu of Tanlra, Il, 31-32. It Cf. Renou, Hindu-.,,., p. 18: " ... there ia no Hindu term corresponding to what we oaU 'religion'. There are 'approaohee' to the 1piritual life; and there ia dAarmo, or 'm.aintenanoe' (in the right path), which ia at onoe norm or law, virtue and meritorioaa action, the order ofthinga tran.aformed into moral obligation - principle which governs all manifeat&tiona of India life" . Ywu ai.o ibid., pp. 62-M. IO Eliade, 1..agu and 8pbolt, P· 63. 11 11





What the Kali- Yuga loses in terms of a diminutive chronological duration it gains in the sense of the cumulative diabolical afflictions that have now begun to plague human life.81 The vision of just a few Purai;ias of the nature of this period becomes a socio-religious analogue of the chronic "death" of a universe about to lie down on the ground of Non-being. (Maitreya): Venerable sir, you are able to give me a description of the nature of the Kali age, in which four-footed virtue suffers

total extinction. (Parasara) : Hear, Maitreya, an account of the nature of the Kali age, respecting which you have inquired, and which is now close at hand ... In the Kali age, Maitreya, men, oorrupted by unbelieven, will refrain from adoring Vishnu, the lord of aacrifioe, the creator and lord of all; and will say, "Of what authority are the Vedu ! what are goda or Brahmana" ! .. . Men will aay, "Who baa a father ! who hae a mother" ! ... Endowed with little Mlllle, men, subject to all IM itafimailiu of miftd, ~ au body, will daily oommit line; and every thing that ii oaloulated to a.fflict beings, vicioWI impure, and wretched, will be generated in the Kali age. (ltalioe mine).aa In that end of the [Kali) Yuga men will be united with heretical 980te; they will strike frWMUhipa for IM lllU of tciOmeft. Thia U. without doubt. (ltalioe mine).*'

In the iron age, there ehall occur epidemioe, famines. droughts, and reool"'1ou. Men 1hall be devoid of virtue, pouuattl of 1~ pot«!'•, iruoible, covetous, and untruthful •... There ehall be a large number of beggan amongst the people; short life, laeaitude, dieeaae, and miaery ah&ll prevail u oomequenoe1 of 1in and ignon.noe• . . . In the iron age, even Mahideva the lord of all beings, the god of godl, 1hall have no divinity to man. (ltalioe mine).16 The people shall steadily deteriorate by adopting a contrary courae o/ li/e.... The people will be unholy, unrighteoWI and oppreeeed with di9'lue and 1rrow; and goaded by failure of rain they will be eager to doetroy oaoh other.... They will 1ubeiat on fruits, roots and leavee of trees, and will be clothed in tattered garments,

Vide Wilaon, The Vilhnu P"rafta, pp. 499.500, for a preaentation of euoh phenomenA. Cf. Woodroffe. Saldi au Sak.ta, p. 276: "'Identification of the Self with the Non-Whole or Partial (Aptimam-~yal4) ii n-..& and the eole eouroe of every miMlry"'. Cf. Harivame& IV.1·7. 11 V~u Puri.Qa VI.I . " YugaPuri.Qa VI, oitedin W.W. Tarn, TM.Grt#ai7'Badriaaftll luia(C.mbridge: At the Univeniity Pre., HUH), pp. 462-ft)6; of. Devigh6gavata PuriJ)a IX.8 : "AU will be addicted to the Vimichi.ra ritual...." Yide ibid. for a oomplete deeoription of the Kali Age. 11 Mukhopadhyaya, TM. K"""4 Puratw, pp. xxiJC. m . IS



barb and Wm, and thue they will wander over the earth in ee&rob of livelihood. (Italic. mine).• Behold ... the age of deltruction ia IO horrible, that during it the olouda never fall on the IUrfaoe of the earth u drope of rain for one hundred yean. The people then find no food for eating, and being oppreeeed by hunger, IMy are comPf]l«l to tal m.e anotAer. Being thue overpowered by what ia wrought by time, the men gradually lead themaelvee to utter deetruot.ion. (Italic. mine).17

Thus we catch a glimpse of the traumata of time under the form of social and religious disintegration. It is as if the threatening involution of the Universe were attempting to swallow up in catastrophic prelude the socio-religious world of man, before nature, too, finally, screams in pain and fatigue for a new birth. But for those who have practised adharma the end is not yet. Time leads to death, but even death might defer to terror : Thoee, who are fallen from an .A.Arama (stage of life), fall into the fire and are eaten by black and variegated oroWI with ironbeab; and (one who ia guilty) of breach (in the performance) of a aaorifice or vow, ia cooked in the hell called SamdaJDM.... All thoee who, out of anger or delight, perform act.a contradictory to the (rules of) oaatee and Aaramu, to go h~ll."

It is the phenomenon of ultimate world-cataBtrophe which, finally, unites the chronological and the socio-religious. Catastrophe and adharmic activity are, therefore, in the Kali-Yuga held in cumulative mutual relation. Hence, on the one hand the Harivam~a can tell us that "in the last cycle will take place great wars, great tumults, great showers, and fears ; know these to be the signs of sinfulness" ;" but, on the other hand, the text tells that "the stars will not be united with proper planets, the quarters will be contrary".'° Moreover, apart from the individual's presumed deviation from the cosmic norm by c~, the depreciation of the macro-chronic superstructure does present "an inescapable feature", i.e., an "impermanence", which makes it appear that "Doom ... is always just around the comer".'1 Here, however, we refer to the fact that the individual seems to become trapped in the "crepuscular decomposition" of a oosmos whose deca.. Mataya Puril',la CCLXXm. 11 Bhipvata Puri9& " Viyu Puril',la CL, cited by Dura, Bttuliu i" tAe Pvrcillie Reeorcl, p. 236. Cf. Devlbhi.gavata Puril',la VIll. 22, 23; IX. 23-36. It Harivam6a IV ("Bhavifya Parva") (trana. Dutt, p. 827). Harivam6a ill.6ff. 41 Cf. Brown, Jin 5,. l.W U•ioerae, p. 86.




dence seems to determine the temporal demoralization of human life. We must not defer to catastrophe, nonetheless, for Eliade would have us consider that there is something "invigorating and C01180ling., in this Indian cosmos; and this means that the yugic theory enables man to develop both a rational understanding of his place in the world, as much as it may challenge him to "understand the precariousness of his human condition and thus facilitate his enfranchisement". u Notwithstanding these remarks, which anticipate our consideration of "the soteriological function of the Kali Yuga",'* one can hardly disagree with the same scholar that this remarkable cyclical cosmology in the Indian tradition marks the "boldest formulation" of the mythof-the-etemal-return. u Though unlike the Iranian conception which "does not repeat itself but will come to an end", both systems share the expectancy that "the world will end by fire and water, pet" pyronm et cataclyamum"." A consummative glance at this eschatological phenomenon (according to the Mahibhirata and the Puri\las) tells us that the horizon will ham into flame, eeven or twelve auna will appear in the heavens and will dry up the aeu and burn the Earth. The &mvart.&ka (the Fire of the Coemio Conflagration) will deetroy the entire Univerae. Then rain will fall in f1ooda for twelve yMn, and the Earth will be aubmerged and mankind deatroyed. ... SittJq on the ooamio make Ae. on the l11lfaoe of the Ooean. Vimu ii aunk in yogio aleep... . And then everything will begin over again-ad in.ft


The eschatological affirmation of those who worship the goddess remains, nonetheless, that even "he whose place of moving was the waters" ( = NiriyaQa = VifJQU) is another "name" (nama) and "form" (ropa) of the goddess. The very place of her birth( = manifestation)" is the waters upon which VilJQU rests. Ultimately, it is "the Goddess [who] is the principle and origin of the gods and the universe". u Phenomenologically, as we said before, she compels us to bypass even the traditional creator of the world (i.e., Brahma)." Indeed, "'it was I who, in the beginning, created the father of this world' (aham ""~ u Eliade, C~ and Hialory, p. ll8. "Ibid. " Ibid., p. ll2. " Ibid., p. 126• .. Eliade, J/yll a7Ml R«alily, pp. 61-62. Bt1pra, p. 1G9. u El.iade, Yoga, p. 860 ; npro, p. 6tl, n. 77. 41 8t1pro, pp. 1,9, USO• 47




pitaram a.aya mtldl&anr'.'° In other words, it is possible to contemplate that there is a real oosmological-rituological homologation not only between the goddess and the Primeval Ocean, but also between ~ and Kundalini. We shall again refer (infra, "The Regenerative Power of the Goddess" ) to this divinity who in essence awakens her "Self'' in men who, like V~i.iu, have fallen asleep. For now, it suffices to add that it is the goddess Durgi-Kili whom "men worship ... as Niriyana"; it is she "who saves from the ocean of Hell", as much as it is she who is the "allayer of grief", and the "giver of knowledge... 11 ... She it ii who m&intaine the world. .,/ And ahe, again, it la who, in the form of Fire, deetro111 the whole univene at the end of the age. [KIJlgni-rilpioJ]U THE SoTERIOLOGICAL EXCELLENCE 0.1' THE KALI-YUGA

The de-ontogenetic picture of the cosmos and the human condition in the Puri.711as, doubtless, reaches its nadir during the period of the Kali-Yuga. This yuga, therefore, represents the beginning and the end of the radical ontological polarization of the perfect d.harmio age (= Krta Yuga) and a " time" of rampant spiritual and social evil. It is mythologically appropriate to recognize this "time" as that during which the Aauric powers of the universe commence to gain ascendancy over the powers of "right-order" (rta) and "right action" (dlaarma).11 Rituologically, however, this age also points to the reversal of the preponderance of tamasic thought, words, and deeds which govern the dispositions of persons dispersed amidst the phenomenal world. And, eschatologically-particularly at this period- the mythic and the cultic converge in this broad "moment" of Time(= KaJi Yuga), taking the shape of opportunity for Liberation (Mukti) but alongside the disadvantageous fact of the brevil,y of tAu "time" in the broadest perspective (i.e., a caturyuga or maM.-yuga, not to mention a Kalpa). When one considers the apparent chronic megalomania which is reflected in the Hindu cosmological cycles, the question arises concerning the persistent adherence of persons to such a scheme. It would IO

61 H

Eliade, yoga, p. :MIO. Tantrul.ra ("Bhalravistot.ra"), cited in B .T.T .o .• pp. 27-28. Ibid., p. 27; Devfbhigavata Puri.9a ILi; of. npra, p. 230.

"8. Red.babiahnan, Tltc Hiu• Yw of Li/• (Paporblok ed.; Now York: Tho M.aomilJan Co•• lllM), p. !56.



seem to be a religious contemplation com~letely heteronomous to the soteriologioal hunger of the human spirit. be sure, many religions have recognized the element of threat in the phenomenon of Time; indeed, it tends to be so much a part of man's con.sciousness, bringing change and mortality, that the 8880Ciation in Hinduism of the theological ambivalence of the goddess Durgi-Kili (and/or Siva) with phenomenal Time (Kala) constitutes a significant religious evaluation of historical existence." Brandon notices, however, that in the face of Time as Death (i.e., Mrtyu =Kala) the human response may take the form of (a) holding off such an event as long as possible; or (b) seeking to command some form of salvation from its terrors.u It is true, of course, that death alone cannot be maintained as the key raison d'etre for homo religioBUS. Nonetheless, if death be understood in a complex sense,68 tb.e threat of death as Time may symbolize the total existential encounter of human beings with the ultimate meaning of all the experiential phenomena of life.Jlt is significant, therefore, that the principal rationale of the Yugic Rotations cannot be separated from that same spiritual quest for ultimate deliverance.


Tho important point for us to noto ie that tho lndiula, iD magnifying ovor moro audaoioully the duration and the numbers of the ooemio oyolee, bad a IOleriologicol ai•

'" .new.... the lndir.n wu in a eenae obliged lo nd a tDGy ol&I of thia ooemio rotation and theee infinito tranamigratfona. (Italic:. mine.)17

The mythological confirmation of the soteriologioal excellence of the Dark Age" occurs in the answer of the Ur-sage, Vyisa, to his inquirers concerning the possibility of gaining meritorious deliverance at this "time" : Excellent. ia the Kali Age I The fruit of penance, of continence, of silent prayer, and the like, praoti-1 in the Krita age for ton yeara, in the Treta for one year, in the Dvapara for a month, ii obtained in the K.U age in a day and night; therefore did I exclaim. "Excellent, ii the Kali age" I ... In the Kali age a man diaplaya the moet exaltod virtue by every

Cf. S. G. F. Brandon, HUkwy, Ti~, alld Drily : A HUloncal alld Oomparmiw Study of tM Ocmupliml of Tinu in Rtligimu Tbght and Pradiu (Manobeetor : Manohea· ter Univermty Prem, 1966), pp. 1-10, 36-37; Zimmer, MytM alld Symbola ... , p. 211 ; of. ibid., p. 22. " Brandon, Hiatory. Tinu, and Deily, p. 11. le I.e., Eliade, Ootmo1 alld Hiatory, p. 117: " ... historical oatutrophee ... the progrea· aive decadence of humanity, biologically, 1100iologioall1, ethically, and 1piritu&lly". &7 Eliade, Imagu a1'rew religion. There, too, however, scholars have sought to find some basis of structural synthesis for a variety of potentially overlapping but ordinarily assorted rites." Thus, according to clarsanic tradition and Indological scholarship, the term atk,a has multiple and, often, interrelated meanings.11 Our present interest in this phenomenon, nonetheless, is not inconsistent with an understanding of its basic intention as an introductory preparation for one's entering upon the performance of a more distinctive sacramental rite (e.g., ioma-yajna). We would emphasize, however, as fundamental to the dik,ii, soteriologically conceived,11 the desire on the part of the postulant (~a) to have "access to the deepest zones of sacrality ... a more complete participation in the sacred .. !'" H is, perhaps, the conviction that a profounder religious experience 8, pp. 7•-76. "' Supra, p . 24lf. ; tiidt allO Gonda. Olta,.ge cmtl Oonti'llv.ity in. 1Mta1l Religion, pp. 316, 398f., .Wlf., •11 ·•13, •30ff., •35f.; of. ibid., pp. 391, •38ff. 11 Gonda, Oltange GM OomiRvity i" I Mia" Religion, pp. 334, 336. " CC. Hubert and Mauu, Bacrifia, pp. 16ff., where the ritee are atruoturally reduoed to four fundamental typee. Using variou.a 10uroea, including Tantrio text.a (the latter about whoee originl and oiroloe of wie little ia known), D. J. Hoem ("Initiation in Later Hinduism Aooording to Tantrio Texta", Iftlmwlionol A~ /M IM Hialory of Religiona, Vol. X : lnittalion, ed. C. J . Bleeker [Leiden: E. J . Brill, 1963), pp. 71-80) suggeata variety (ibid., pp. 7M.) and 1ynthetio reduction (ibid., p. 79) : "the aamaya- and fliml(Mldik,.S it ii olear ... are a mllt.ure of ... different kinda of tlil,.S ... " (tiide ibid., pp. 76·79); the oomplexity of the rituala (ibid., p . 76) d08I not preolude, however, a lilt of "four dflttia" whioh oorn9p0nd to advanaing atagee of epirituality (ibid., p. 79). '7 Gonda, Oltange aftd COftliflv.ity iJ& lMian Rtligion, pp. 318f. ; on theoriee of ite origin. tiidt ibid., pp. UOff. ; of. A. Buu, "Diqi", in Bleeker, 1'"'1a&m, p. 81. 19 Dlkfi (A. Buu, "Dlq&", p. 80) may 1&rve other, mor& profane, enda, e.g., "to obtain wealth, to gain 1uperiority over enemiee" , eto. et Miro&& Eliade, Ritu GM Symboll of lflittalima : TM M~ of Birll aftd Rebtrll, tn.m. Willard R. Truk (Torohboot ed.; Now York: Barpor a11d Row, Pu\>Ulhon, 1963). pp. 10. and U Mfr. II



of the goddeu was available to certain persona'° that also encouraged the claim of it as both an indispensable prelude to Liberation (Mokfa)" as well as a quest requiring a guro, or spiritual teacher." Following Hoens, then, the more significant soteriological conception.a underlying the dikfd are these: (1) the act or acts of purification (a basic step in all Hindu rites)," (2) the idea of a new creation (or new birth), and (3) the hope of attaining the sphere of a deity "-here : the goddeu. Before making a few important rituo-stru.ctural observations concerning paths of lddhana among the Sikta schools, we call attention to these salient elements in the Guru-S~ya relation :n (a) the act of mutual examination or observation by master and pupil; (b) the guru's establishment of his own self-divinization : that he has prataalakti (= Saktimin) ;" (c) the giving of the mantra of the I~ to the pupil; (d) the guru's transmission of spiritual power to the pupil (= Saktipata) ;•1 (e) the pupil's entreating of the master to grant that hie aadhana will be successful.•• In a word, one might say that, religiously, dik,a refers to that initiatic ~ "which gives a knowledge of things divine and destroys all that leads to a fall"." Inherent in these sacred actions (including the foregoing remarks on the "advent of the Goddess") is a pervasive atmosphere of blakti : "mystical devotion", "fervent love", or "deep loving adoration" of the goddeu. 100 Moreover, there is present an intense dimension of to Gonda, Change a"'1 COftlinvity i• lfl4ian Rdigto,., p. (36; in the oue of the defec. tive, oide ibid., p. 443; of. ibid., pp. 446f. : the Gaut&mJya.Tantra'1 oriteria. t1 Cf. A. Buu, "Dlqi", p. 82. t1 KullrQava Tantra XIV (Pandit ed., p. 101); Gonda, CAaftg« a,.,d Ctntlirwily i• btaio• RdiP,,., p. "2 : "Without the dikfi, TantrUt authoritiee hold, japa of the mantra, ptljl and other ritual acte are uaele81". Yide abo i"4., p. '"· On the /IMGlc guru, vidt Avalon, Principlu of TaNN. II, 73ff. ta Stvpra, p. 214. " Hoene, "Initiation in Later Hinduism ... ". p . 80. " Ibid., pp. 73·7'; Kulln;iava Tantra XIII (Pandit ed., pp. 87-100). N Woodroffe, lnlrodv.ctioft lo Talllnl Sa.Ira, p. 69: of. t"4., pp. 66{• .., KullrQ&va Tantra XIV (Pandit ed., p. 10.): "The di8oiple reoeivee the Graoe according to the impaoi of the Shakti, .a.ilipdla; where there iii no impact of Mlti, there ii no fulfillment". t1 Cf. Gonda, alld COftlinvuy t• lfl4io• Rtligioft, p. 4". " A. B. GhOlb, "The Spirit and Culture of the Taotru", TA. C""1inal Htrilafc of J,.,dio, IV, W . Cf. the "etymological explanatfoo", in Gonda, CAaftg« 4"" CoM•Wr i• lfl4io• &lliP,,., p. 319. loo Cf. Ellade, Yogi.a, p. 348; J . N. Banerjee, in Morgan, TAt RtltP,,. of CAt Hifl4tU, pp. 49f., 406 (GIOll&l'Y); of. Devlbhlpvata ~ VII.37.1-37: N. al.lo Edward



yoga (e.g., dlayana),101 which comes into fuller fruition in the course of the tliqita'a endeavours to reach a state of success or perfection (ftdd!i).101 In this regard Woodroffe says that "when a man is 8iddha in Sidhana he becomes qualified for yoga, and when he is Siddha in Yoga he attains Perfect Experience. Yoga is thus the pl'Oce88 whereby man is raised from Limited to Perfect Experience".1oa

Aoara Dak,i~ku!&4alini-+ Vamacara:


...the eoul It.ruck by drk,a attain{•) to Shivahood. With all karma burnt oat by dikf(I, all bonda of Maya 1evered, attaining to the npreme end of Jnana, aeedle11, •he beoomee Shiva. •'eeeda of aonuWN' Goae ii the lhudrahood of a lhudn. the brahmanhood of a brdlamatta; there obtainl no diatinotion of eute where ie the effect of dikfl'i ... .. . all japa, puja and like aotivitiea by thoee who are not initiat.od are fruitleea like the Med aown on rooJc.lM

It is significantly expressed in these stanzas that there is in the Tantric tradition a radical distinction "between the initiated and the uninitiated", as well as "a sharp division between an esoteric and an exoteric doctrine" .10r. This means that the Tantric sectarian democracy mentioned earlier 10• is qualified by the thought that pan-caste eligibility remains inseparable from the need to experience the 'J"OCUI of a different aacralization. Moreover, as we also indicated, the distinction is more properly one of the specific rationale of the use (rather than the non-use) of concrete elements, insofar as even the we of such elements as "japa, puja and like activities" becomes itself, within an C. Dimook, Jr., "Doctrine and Praotioe Among the Vaifv.avu of Bengal", in Singer, Krialuia: MylM R~ and A~, pp. 46-ISI. The widening lignifioanoe and reoo111"18 to the path (mclrgG) of Ma.In in modern Indian urban culture ii ngpted by Singer, Tradilioftal India, pp. 146-148. 101 Cf. Karparidi.Stotra 17 and Avalon'• n. 3; Kulir\lava Tantra IX (Pandit ed., p. 61): "And of yoga, d.\¢-, meditation, ia an important limb" ; Ghoah&, Dwg4Nj4, p. 3". lOI Gonda, CAa1'gt. and Cmtlit11'ily i1' India" Religiml, p. "41 ; ef. ibid., p. «4 ; Oppert, Oil tAr. Origiftal l~ ... , p. IS42; 91p. Avalon, K~i 8"14ra, p. l• : "The SiddhaKaula ia beyond all rules". Ult Woodroffe, So.l:ei and Scllta, p. 300. Cf. Eliade, "Coanioal Homology and Yoga", pp. 193f. For "yoga" and ita OODltituent element.. f1ide Ellade, Y ogG, pp. '7ff. lCN KDJl.r\i,an Tantra XIV (Pandit ed., pp. 108-109). 106 Gonda, C'ltoflft au COtlli,.•ifr in luiafl Religiofl, p. '39; n.yra, pp. 3 and 37f. lot B"fl"J, p . 1'6.



esoteric frame of reference, something more 10'-indeed- "something other" (mpra, p. 181) than what they appear to the uninitiated.toe The two Sikta acaras 10• which represent two traditional soteriological orientations, granting variation of nominal classification,110 are, as before (supra, p. 139 n.), the "Right-hand" (.Dal:fituiocira) and the "Left-hand" (Vamarora). We are told, however, that such designations are not precise : dak,i1,lijcara, actually meaning "favourable,,, and mmcio