Ritual for Oneself and Ritual for Others by Alexis Sanderson

August 11, 2017 | Author: YoginiDevi | Category: Tantra, Rituals, Indian Religions, Religious Behaviour And Experience, Religious Faiths
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Alexis Sanderson...




Volume II

Ritual Dynamics and the Science of Ritual

Body, Performance, Agency, and Experience

General Editor Axel Michaels

Including an E-Book-Version in PDF-Format on eD-ROM

Editorial Board Michael Bergunder, Jorg Gengnagel, Alexandra Heidle, Bernd Schneidmiiller, and Udo Simon

Section I Ritual and Agency Edited by Angelos Chaniotis


Section II Ritual, Performance, and Event Edited by Silke Leopold and Hendrik Schulze Section III The Body and Food in Ritual Edited by Eric Venbrux, Thomas Quartier, and Joanna Wojtkowiak Section IV The Varieties of Ritual Experience Edited by Jan Weinhold and Geoffrey Samuel



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Publication of this volume has been made possible by the generous funding of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Cover: The young Louis XIV in the role of Apollo, in the Ballet »Royal de Ie Nuit" by Jean-Baptiste Lully (1653), drawing, after 1653. Original in Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale de France. Picture credits:: »bpk I RMN I Bulloz"

Table of Contents Section I: Ritual and Agency Edited by Angelos Chaniotis Angelos Chaniotis Introduction: Debating Ritual Agency




Alexis Sanderson Ritual for Oneself and Ritual for Others




Thomas Widlok What is the Value of Rituals? Effects of Complexity in Australian Rituals and Beyond Christian Meyer Performing Spirits: Shifting Agencies in Brazilian Umbanda Rituals Bibliografische Information der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek verzeichnet diese Publikarion in der Deutschen Nationalbibliografie; detaillierre bibliografische Daten sind im Internet tiber http://dnb.d-nb.de abrufbar. Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available in the internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de.

For further information about our publishing program consult our website http://www.harrassowitz-verlag.de © Otto Harrassowitz GmbH & Co. KG, Wiesbaden 2010 This work, including all of its parts, is protected by copyright. Any use beyond the limits of copyright law without the permission of the publisher is forbidden and subject to penalty. This applies particularly to reproductions, translations, microfilms and storage and processing in electronic systems. Printed on permanent/durable paper. Printing and binding: Memminger MedienCentrum AG Printed in Germany ISBN 978-3-447-06202-2





Claudia Weber Prescribed Agency - A Contradiction in Terms? Differences between the Tantric adhikara Concept and the Sociological Term of Agency




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Section II: Ritual, Performance, and Event Edited by Silke Leopold and Hendrik Schulze Andrea Taddei Memory, Performance, and Pleasure in Greek Rituals Reinhard Strohm Memories of Ancient Rituals in Early Opera



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Angela Bellia Music and Rite: Representations of Female Figures of Musicians in Greek Sicily (Sixth-Third Centuries B.C.) u






Alexis Sanderson

Ritual for Oneself and Ritual for Others During the early medieval period of the Indic world, from the sixth to the thirteenth centuries, the old ritual order based on the archaic Vedic tradition became progressively complemented and overshadowed by another, developed and propagated by devotees of the god Ğiva. In the first centuries of the Christian era the activities of these theistic sectarians were mostly restricted to brahmin celibate ascetics; but around the beginning of our period we find the first evidence that Ğaivism had developed new forms that had moved beyond these narrow confines to propagate themselves in the broader society, creating in this process a new repertoire of rituals. This new Ğaivism is known in Indian sources as the MantramƘrga or ““Path of Mantras””, as opposed to the purely ascetic ““AtimƘrga”” or ‘‘Path Outside the World’’ of the preceding period. The Indological term Tantric Ğaivism may also be used to refer to it, though I prefer to avoid this expression, because the term Tantric has become contaminated by notions that apply only to certain forms that were mostly outside the mainstream of the MantramƘrga. By the seventh century, the MantramƘrga had emerged into a position of dominance, attracting widespread royal patronage, and from this time onwards exerted a profound influence on all the other religious systems that had to compete with it for patronage: ĞƘktism, Saurism, VaiԕԜavism, Buddhism, Jainism, and the long established Brahmanical substrate. ĞƘktism and Saurism were largely subsumed by Ğaivism as it rose to prominence; and VaiԕԜavism, Buddhism, and Jainism reacted by developing new ritual systems along Ğaiva lines: PañcarƘtra, the Buddhist Mantranaya, and the Jain MantravƘda. The Brahmanical tradition was also deeply influenced, responding to Ğaivism’’s success by incorporating, and to some extent expurgating, forms of Ğaivism in its ever-growing corpus of scriptural texts. The Ğaiva literature, which we are still in the process of discovering, comprises in the first instance a huge body of scriptural compositions from the fifth or sixth century onwards, teaching the procedures for the propitiation of Ğiva and, in more esoteric and transgressive texts, of the god Bhairava and a variety of ferocious goddesses, worshipped either as Bhairava’’s consort or on their own. From the seventh century onwards, but in much greater abundance from the ninth, there emerged a learned tradition of commentaries on what were then the principal works of this scriptural corpus, and this was supplemented by the production of lucid, practical guides, which set out systematically the procedures of ritual, claiming to be rooted


Alexis Sanderson

in this or that scripture, but in reality drawing eclectically on various scriptural sources, developing their own standardised procedures, and, to a large extent, shifting the emphasis of those texts, as well as homogenising their content. When I entered this terra incognita in the 1970s, the learned literature of commentary and systematisation was the natural starting point of my investigations, since, for all its shortcomings, it provided the only avenue of access to what was then a largely impenetrable mass of discordant scriptural texts and manuals, a mass which was, in fact, much vaster than I then imagined. Many works which seemed to have been lost, being known only by name or through citations in the learned commentaries, and many others besides, were still awaiting recognition in manuscript collections, principally in the Kathmandu valley, where the climate has been much kinder to palm-leaf than in other parts of the subcontinent, allowing the survival of numerous manuscripts copied in the eleventh to thirteenth centuries, and some from the ninth and tenth. The world of ritual presented in this exegetical literature of commentaries and ritual manuals, which was my starting point and remained the basis of most discussion of Ğaivism until recent years, is one of rituals for personal religious benefit, performed or commissioned for the purpose of salvation at death, conceived not as the attainment of some heaven, but the final cessation of rebirth through the attainment of liberation. The great selling-point of this religion was that it promised that this liberation could be attained effortlessly, by passing through a ceremony of initiation in which Ğiva himself, or Bhairava, or the Goddess, would destroy the soul’’s bonds, acting through the person of an initiated and consecrated officiant, who enacted an elaborate sequence of rites in which the individual was introduced before the MaԜԑala of his initiation deity, freed of his bonds through the offering of many oblations into fire, and then united with his deity through a visualisation in which the officiant drew the candidate’’s soul into his own, and then raised it with his own up the central channel of his vital energy, and out through his cranial aperture to fuse it with the deity. Thereafter, the initiate was bound to observe a discipline which entailed the regular performance of a complex and time-consuming ritual of worship of his initiation deity, at least once a day and ideally thrice, until his death, combined with the regular study of scripture and the performance of yet more elaborate rituals on special occasions, both calendrically fixed and incidental. Here, then, was a religion for which ritual was everything. Ritual performed by an officiant, while one remained a passive presence, would gain one the goal that other systems offered only at the cost of intense asceticism and disengagement from the social world. Thereafter one had only to perform regular rituals of worship until that goal, so far achieved in advance on a subliminal level, became fully manifest simply through the natural process of death. However, since it was initiation itself that guaranteed salvation, the problem of maintaining commitment to this exacting routine between the time of initiation and

Ritual for Oneself and Ritual for Others


death was acute. Theoreticians strove to construct theoretical justifications for what appeared to be redundant, and I examined these strategies in 1995 in my study Meaning in Tantric Ritual. The problem was to keep alive a sense that these obligatory rituals have a higher purpose than those of the brahmanical mainstream, which offered as justification for adherence to its own ritual obligations the realistic view that they were to be performed simply out of a sense of duty and adherence to tradition, to avoid the sin of their omission, or, as we might wish to translate this, to maintain one’’s credentials as an observant member of one’’s caste. The most intellectually brilliant of the Ğaiva theoreticans, the ĞƘkta Ğaiva exegetes of Kashmir in the ninth to eleventh centuries, adopted two strategies to this end. One was to read meaning into the rituals in such a way that their performance could be presented as a liturgical contemplation of the reality that would be realised at death, thereby opening up the possibility that an élite among initiates could, through their rituals, experience liberation here and now, without waiting for death; and the other was to support this mystical trend by insisting on the preservation of the transgressive and ecstatic elements of their tradition, such as the consumption of meat and wine and ritualised sexual intercourse as a means of activating an inner aesthetic of transcendence of the inhibited norms of brahmanical life, thereby resisting a welldocumented trend to eliminate these elements as these traditions became routinised. But while these strategies make fascinating and, for some, inspiring reading, they were ultimately doomed to failure. They substituted knowing for doing in the first strategy, allowing the possibility of liberation in life through knowledge alone, and in the second by stressing that the purpose of the transgressive elements of ritual observance was to awaken an inner experience they opened the way to the substitution of non-ritual and non-transgressive means of producing the same effect. In later centuries the brahmins of Kashmir among whom this ĞƘkta Ğaiva tradition had become dominant, duly abandoned all its rituals, thinking Ğaiva but regressing on the level of rites to the received brahmanical traditions of their caste, reverting to the brahmanical duality of doing without knowing and knowing without doing. How, then, one wonders, did Ğaiva ritual survive, as it did, outside this community, whose literature forms such a conspicuous part of high Ğaiva culture? What is it that set that community apart, and how did Ğaiva ritual succeed in exerting such a tremendous influence in early medieval India, affecting all the other religions, when the presentation of ritual in this learned literature with its high soteriological purpose seems to promise a very different trajectory? The purpose of the rest of my address is to propose answers to these questions.

Ritual for Others The difficulty arises from the fact that the élite literature which has formed our natural point of entry into the study of Ğaivism provides an entirely inadequate


Alexis Sanderson

representation of the historical realities of the religion. It privileges the Ğaivism of a social élite conforming to the brahmanical ideal of personal religious self-cultivation, an élite whose social identity was already sufficiently established by its conformity to the brahmanical stratum of its observance, an élite for whom distinctively Ğaiva ritual was a supererogatory adornment, rather than a necessity, and was therefore always in danger of evaporating in favour of a purely devotional or gnostic Ğaiva identity. What kept Ğaivism alive, and enabled it to exert this influence, was ritual for others, as the professional activity of officiants who operated outside the narrow confines of self-cultivation. In the élite literature, the officiant is presented as a spiritual guide acting for the benefit of liberation-seekers. In the broader reality, revealed both by the Ğaiva literature that has been coming to light in recent times and by the epigraphical record, Ğaiva officiants were professional ritualists who, while insisting on the superior spiritual character of their religion, succeeded in modifying its core rituals to create a repertoire of ritual services that made it increasingly attractive to royal patrons. For these officiants, conformity to the post-initiatory discipline, however difficult it may have been to justify theoretically, was a professional necessity. It was the visible, and therefore objective, proof of their qualification to apply modifications and elaborations of these rituals for the benefit of their clients; and it was equally vital for their disciples, who are best seen as officiants in waiting. For them, it was gnosis not ritual that was the supererogatory adornment. A reputation for learning and spiritual insight could greatly heighten the appeal of an officiant to a royal patron, but Gurus who claimed that learning and insight were sufficient were the enemies of their profession. What mattered to these Ğaivas was verifiable qualification, certificates of ritual entitlement bestowed by recognised officiants, rather than spiritual charisma based on unverifiable mystical experience, that threatened to undermine their pre-eminence. In extending their influence by these means, they showed little concern, as we might expect, to maintain the theoretical coherence of the doctrines of their faith, compromising this in several ways as they adapted their rituals to strengthen their hold on society. Accordingly, the traditionalist theoreticians, while no doubt fully aware of these developments, tend to keep them out of the picture that they present, addressing themselves to a learned élite that likewise held itself apart from these changes. They largely conceal from us, therefore, an outstanding example of how inventive and adaptable the propagators of ritual systems can be in the drive to extend the power, wealth, and influence of their faith, a creativity that in this case set in motion waves of competitive innovation in the religions around them that completely changed the character of Indian religion and thence that of Inner Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Far East. None is more striking than the astonishing efflorescence of Tantric Buddhism during this period, which, following the lead of the Ğaivas, developed a system of rituals that eventually died out in India but survives to this day in Nepal, Tibet, Mongolia, and Japan. But the VaiԕԜavas, too, made strenuous

Ritual for Oneself and Ritual for Others


efforts in this direction, producing an entirely new ritual system closely modelled on the Ğaiva and enshrined in the scriptures of the PañcarƘtra. In a recently published study, entitled The Ğaiva Age, I have set forth the innovations that brought Ğaivism to its position of dominance during the early medieval period, both on the subcontinent and in Southeast Asia, and I have offered an hypothesis that seeks to explain this success, namely that it extended and adapted its ritual repertoire to legitimate, empower, or promote the key elements of the social, political, and economic process that characterises the early medieval period, while at the same time taking steps to integrate itself with the brahmanical substrate in ways that rendered it accessible and acceptable to a far wider constituency, and therefore all the more appealing to rulers in their role as the guardians of the brahmanical social order. I shall end by summarising these innovations.

Initiating the Monarch The first of these key elements is the spread of the monarchical model of government through the emergence of numerous new dynasties at subregional, regional, and supraregional levels. From the seventh century onwards, inscriptions and prescriptive religious texts reveal that Ğaiva Brahmin Gurus were holding the position of royal preceptor (rƘjaguruΗ) in numerous new kingdoms, both on the Indian subcontinent and in Southeast Asia, and in this capacity empowering and legitimating the monarch’’s rule by granting him Ğaiva initiation (ĞivamaΧΕaladưkΙƘ). It might be thought that this would have been an unappealing step for any but the most reclusive and ineffectual of kings, since, as we have seen, after initiation Ğaivas were obliged to adhere to a complex and time-consuming programme of daily and occasional rituals. However, early in the development of the MantramƘrga, the Ğaivas, no doubt in order to extend their recruitment and hence their influence, admitted a category of initiates who, in consideration of the fact that they were incapable of taking on these onerous duties, were exonerated from doing so. The king was considered to qualify for this less arduous route to liberation by reason of his royal obligations. He was therefore required to adhere only to the obligations of an uninitiated devotee of Ğiva, which in his case were principally to support the religion and its institutions, and to sponsor and appear in conspicuous ceremonies in the civic domain. Moreover, according to prescriptive sources, the king’’s initiation was to be followed by a Ğaiva modification of the brahmanical royal consecration ceremony. In this way the monarch was incorporated as a new kind of Ğaiva office-holder: while others were to be consecrated for purely Ğaiva functions, the king was to be consecrated to take up office as the ““head of [the brahmanical social order of] the casteclasses and religious disciplines”” (varΧƘğramaguruΗ), the role already assigned to him by brahmanical prescription.


Alexis Sanderson

As the function of the Ğaiva consecration is modified in this case, so its form, though in general Ğaiva, incorporates distinctive non-Ğaiva elements appropriate to its mundane and brahmanical aspects, such as the inclusion of the royal banners, weapons, and armour in the objects of worship. Just as this brahmanical rite is subsumed within the Ğaiva process of initiation and consecration, so its outcome, the king’’s entitlement to rule as guardian of the brahmanical social order, now entails the additional requirement that he should ensure that the authority of brahmanical prescription be subsumed within, and subordinate to, that of the Ğaiva scriptures, an injunction supported by the promise that, by enforcing this hierarchical relationship, he would guarantee the stability of his rule and kingdom, implying that by neglecting to do so he would bring about their collapse. The Ğaivas also adapted the theory of their ritual practice to enable them to claim that those rulers who underwent their initiation ceremony would be empowered in their efforts to maintain their supremacy and extend it through conquest, a blatant but effective amnesia of the rite’’s purely salvific character. Nor was it only the theory that was adjusted to suit their patrons. The Ğaiva Guru was to close the initiation ceremony by sprinkling the horses, elephants, chariots, and soldiers of the army with the water from the vase of the Weapon-Mantra (astrakalağaΗ), one of the two main vases prepared in the course of the ceremony, ““in order to remove all obstacles and to ensure victory in battle””. They also developed an array of apotropaic, invigorative, and hostile Mantra-rites that could be performed on demand for the benefit of the realm, to promote the success of royal patrons, and to frustrate their enemies. Just as the Guru imbued the king through these ceremonies with the numinous power of Ğivahood in the exercise of his sovereignty, so the Ğaiva rites by which the Guru assumed his office ensured that he, as Ğiva’’s agent among men, was imbued with the numen of royalty. As in the brahmanical consecration of a king, in which the royal astrologer was to provide him with the royal elephant, horse, throne, parasol, fly-whisk, sword, bow, and jewels, so at the time of a Guru’’s consecration he received from his predecessor the non-martial symbols of sovereignty (rƘjƘφgƘni, rƘjacihnƘni), such as the turban, crown, parasol, fly-whisk, elephant, horse, palanquin, and throne. Furthermore, according to the prescriptions of the Ğaiva scriptures, the residence to be built for the Guru by his royal disciple was in many respects similar in its layout to the royal palace. It included, for example, an arsenal for the storage of weapons of war. That Gurus should have needed the means of warfare may surprise those whose expectations are conditioned by the prescriptive literature. But on this point, as on many others, the epigraphical record shows the limitations that that literature imposes. For a twelfth-century inscription from the Kalacuri kingdom in Central India reveals that the activities of the RƘjaguru Kưrtiğiva extended beyond the spiritual to those of a successful military com-

Ritual for Oneself and Ritual for Others


mander, who expanded his monarch’’s realm and thereby added to his own through the appropriation of temples in the territories gained. Kings rewarded their Ğaiva Gurus for initiations and other rituals with lavish gifts, most notably with grants of the revenue from designated lands and the donation or construction of monasteries (maΛhaΗ); and this largesse enabled these Gurus to behave like royal patrons themselves, making land-grants to brahmins and founding temples, new settlements, and further monasteries, thus facilitating the expansion of their institutions into new areas. In this way there developed a farreaching network of interconnected seats of Ğaiva learning. Figures at the summit of this clerical hierarchy therefore exercised a transregional authority whose geographical extent was greater than that of any contemporary king. Clearly the Ğaiva RƘjaguru had become a far grander figure than the king’’s brahmanical chaplain, the RƘjapurohita, who was tied to the service of a single king and was unambiguously his subordinate. Yet, it appears that the Ğaivas did not rest with this, but sought also to encroach on the territory of that lesser office. For the Netratantra shows the existence of a new class of Ğaiva officiants who were to function in almost all the areas traditionally reserved for that officiant: the performance of the king’’s recurrent duties to worship the various deities on the days assigned to them, to celebrate the major annual royal festivals of the Indrotsava and MahƘnavamư, to protect the royal family through rites to ward off ills, to restore them to health after illness, to ward off or counter the assaults of dangerous supernaturals, to empower through lustration (nưrƘjanam) the king’’s elephants, horses, and weapons of war, and to protect the king with apotropaic rites before he eats, sleeps, and engages in his regular practice of martial skills. We see here one of several instances in which the Ğaivas used their authority to colonise downwards, producing modifications of their ritual procedures for this purpose. These adapations inevitably entailed loss of status for those that implemented them, but we should understand that this did not affect those of the summit of the clerical hierarchy, the king-like RƘjagurus, but only the humbler clones that extended their authority into domains that those Gurus would not deign to enter.

The Consecration of Royal Temples The second element of the early medieval process that I have in mind is the proliferation of land-owning temples. All but the most ephemeral sovereigns during this period, both in the subcontinent and in Southeast Asia, gave material form to the legitimacy and solidity of their power by building grand temples in which images of their chosen God were installed, animated, named after the king (svanƘmnƘ), and endowed with land and officiants to support their cult. The great majority of these temples enshrined Ğiva, in the form of the LiՉga. The Ğaivas of the MantramƘrga soon extended their operations into this territory too, providing


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the specialised officiants and rituals to establish these Ğivas following MantramƘrgic models, and developing, in the course of time, a secondary body of scriptural authorities, the PratiԕԮhƘtantras, devoted exclusively to this domain.

The Temple Priesthood The involvement of the Ğaivas of the MantramƘrga in the temple cult, covered in early Ğaiva scriptural sources and all the early manuals up to at least the twelfth century, does not extend beyond the performing of the rituals necessary to initiate the cult by consecrating the images and the temples that house them. The texts are silent on the nature of the worship that would be performed before those images once the Ğaiva Guru had completed his task. It would appear, therefore, that the temple worship was in the hands of officiants of a different kind. However, the texts lagged behind reality in this regard. For at some point, well before the Ğaiva literature was prepared to admit this fact, there had appeared yet another class of MantramƘrgic officiants, working as the priests that performed the regular rituals in the Ğaiva temples, a function that entailed a serious loss of status in the eyes of orthodox brahmins, who considered any brahmin who derived his living from serving as a priest to have fallen from the caste of his birth.

The Consecration of Palaces, Settlements, and Irrigation Works The early Ğaiva PratiԕԮhƘtantras show that the authority of the Ğaiva SthƘpaka, the officiant who specialises in the installation of images and the consecration of temples, extended to the creation of the palaces of their royal patrons. They prescribe the layout of the royal palace in detail, and the design includes a section of the palace for teachers of the Ğaiva MantramƘrga. Moreover, the layout of the palace taught in these PratiԕԮhƘtantras is only part of the layout for an urban settlement to be established by the king around the palace, complete with markets and segregated areas for the dwellings of the various castes and artisans, with instructions for the size and plan of these dwellings determined by caste status. Thus, we find the Ğaivas involving themselves in what I consider to be the third key element of the medieval process, namely the creation of numerous new urban settlements from above. The epigraphical record demonstrates that any king of substance felt it incumbent upon him to demonstrate his sovereignty, not only by the building of temples, but also by the creation of new urban settlements (puram), which, like the deities he established, were generally named after him. The creation of new settlements entailed the provision of the means of irrigation. Rituals for the consecration (pratiΙΛhƘ) of wells (kǍpaΗ), step-wells (vƘpư), and reservoirs small (puΙkariΧư) and large (taΕƘgaΗ), were already provided by the

Ritual for Oneself and Ritual for Others


brahmanical tradition. There is no trace of irrigation rituals in the early Ğaiva scriptures, including the PratiԕԮhƘtantras. But in due course Ğaiva officiants, seeking to add this important domain to their ritual repertoire, produced their own versions.

Social Inclusivity The last respect in which I believe that the Ğaiva MantramƘrga can be seen to have played an active role in the historical process is that of the assimilation of the communities that were caught up in the extension of the reach of the state that characterises this period. For the Ğaivas opened initiation to candidates from all four casteclasses, thus enabling the integration of powerful agriculturalist communities classed as ĞǍdra, that were often dominant in the countryside, and providing a means of articulating a social unity that transcended, at least in certain contexts and to a greater or lesser extent, the rigid mutual exclusions of the brahmanical social order. Moreover, the non-SaiddhƘntika traditions of the worship of Bhairavas and the Goddess, while perfectly adapted to support kings in the aggressive or punitive aspect of their function, also served as the means of assimilating the local deitycults of the territories being drawn within this Ğaiva-brahmanical culture through the expansion of state-formation at the subregional level; and while the SaiddhƘntikas came to initiate only members of those communities classed as ĞǍdra who had already been assimilated by brahmanical culture to the extent that they had abjured alcohol, the ĞƘkta Ğaivas had no such reservations, opening initiation even to those that brahmanism considered untouchable.

The Integration of Brahmanism Finally, while extending its influence beyond the confines of the orthodox brahmanical world, the Ğaivism of the MantramƘrga sought to guard itself against dissociation from that world. It elaborated an inclusivist model of revelation that ranked other religious systems as stages of an ascent to liberation in Ğaivism, the religion of the king manifest in his initiation, his consecration, and his royal temples, thus mirroring and validating the incorporative structure of the state’’s power. But though it thereby asserted, especially in its ĞƘkta forms, the limited nature of the brahmanical observance that formed the lowest level and broad base of this hierarchy, it was careful to insist not only that the brahmanical scriptures that govern this observance are exclusively valid in their own domain, but also that their injunctions are as binding on Ğaivas after their initiation as they were before it, if they remained in that domain as active members of society. Ğaiva ascetics were allowed a degree of choice in this matter, at least in theory, but householders were not. The religion of the Ğaivas, then, was not Ğaivism alone, but rather Ğaivism and


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Brahmanism, a fact borne out not only by their literature, but also by biographical data and the epigraphic record of the activities of Ğaiva kings. Moreover, the determination of the Ğaivism of the MantramƘrga to be fully embedded in the brahmanical tradition is manifest not only in this rule that initiates should maintain their brahmanical obligations, but also in the fact that they extended their own ritual repertoire in order to bring it into greater congruence with the brahmanical. To this end, they created a Ğaiva ritual of cremation and a series of rituals to mirror the numerous brahmanical postmortuary rituals in which the deceased receives offerings first as a hungry ghost (pretakriyƘ) and then in ĞrƘddha rituals as an ancestor, after his incorporation with the immediate ascendants of his patriline (sapiΧΕưkaraΧam). It is clear that the creators of these additions were motivated by nothing but the desire to be seen to conform to the norms of brahmanical society, once they had moved to extend recruitment beyond the inevitably restricted circle of ascetics into the more numerous ranks of married householders. After all, these rituals, and especially the ĞrƘddhas, make no sense in strictly Ğaiva terms, since initiates are held to attain liberation as soon as they leave their bodies, and therefore should require no ceremonies designed to ensure their well-being after death. This accommodation of Brahmanism no doubt gave Ğaivism a distinct advantage over those religions, such as Jainism and Buddhism, that had denied outright the authority of the brahmanical scriptures, and there can be little doubt that this would greatly have increased its acceptability in the eyes of kings, who could thus draw on the power of the new religion to sanctify their rule and enhance their might –– the former predominantly through the SiddhƘnta, the latter predominantly through the Ğakta Ğaiva systems –– while at the same time maintaining their legitimacy in their ancient role as the protectors of the brahmanical social order.

Conclusions As Ğaivism advanced by developing these strategies, it achieved a transregional organisation and a consequent standardisation of its rituals and doctrines; and this transregional uniformity, I propose, would have heightened its appeal to kings by enabling it more easily to be perceived as a transcendent means of legitimation, empowerment, and the integration of regional traditions, as an essential part of a pan-Indian socio-religious order that each kingdom sought to exemplify. It was by virtue of its great success in attracting royal patronage that it came to exert such a pervasive influence on the religions around it; and it was also on the basis of this success that it could construct the impressive edifice of a literature that, in its focus on ritual for oneself, is almost entirely silent about these vital but less elevated rituals for others, with the consequence that scholars who have at-

Ritual for Oneself and Ritual for Others


tempted to read this literature have mostly neglected to look in and beyond it for evidence of the factors that enabled and sustained this high-cultural efflorescence.1

1 Most of the arguments presented here in outline have been presented by me in detail elsewhere, cf. the bibliography.


Alexis Sanderson

References Sanderson, Alexis 1995. ““Meaning in Tantric Ritual””. In: Anne-Marie Blondeau & Kristofer Schipper (eds.). Essais sur le Rituel III: Colloque du Centenaire de la Section des Sciences religieuses de l’’ École Pratique des Hautes Études. LouvainParis: Peeters: 15––95. —— 2003––2004. ““The ŠŠaiva Religion Among the Khmers (Part I)””. Bulletin de l’’École française d’’Extrême-Orient 90––91: 352––464. —— 2004. ““Religion and the State: Ğaiva Officiants in the Territory of the Brahmanical Royal Chaplain with an Appendix on the Provenance and Date of the Netratantra””. Indo-Iranian Journal 47: 229––300. —— 2007a. ““Swami Lakshman Joo and His Place in the Kashmirian Ğaiva Tradition””. In: Bettina Bäumer & Sarla Kumar (eds.). SaΥvidullƘsaΗ. New Delhi: D.K. Printworld: 93––126. —— 2007b. ““The Ğaiva Exegesis of Kashmir””. In: Dominic Goodall & André Padoux (eds.). Mélanges tantriques à la mémoire d’’Hélène Brunner. Pondicherry: Institut français d’’Indologie / École française d’’Extrême-Orient: 231––442; 551––582. —— 2009. ““The Ğaiva Age: The Rise and Dominance of Ğaivism During the Early Medieval Period””. In: Shingo Einoo (ed.). Genesis and Development of Tantrism. Tokyo: University of Tokyo: 41––349.

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