The Four Traditions In Sri Vidya [ February 2006 ]

This is a follow up discussion we had on Devi Bhakta's essay : The Four Traditions in Sri Vidya


Radhakrishnan J

Hi D.B.
Beautifully explained. All these traditions have the sanction of Sastras -- so no question that anyone occidental or oriental can look down with disdain on some of the treaditions, though it's a fact the word Tantra and Tantric evokes bad connotations among the laity. Lalitasahasranama which we consider a part of mantrasastra, meaning, every name of Lalita in the sahasranama is a mantra, proclaims "savya-apasavya margastha, sarvapadvinivarini". both the paths, righthanded and lefthanded with their subdivisions, are sanctioned by Lalita herself and she protects the practitioners from all evils and obstacles. She is also samayachara tatpara. "Pashu, veera, daiva - upasita and upasya" words within this quote are mine.

The unintiated can simply recite Soundaryalahari and Lalitasahasranama sitting in front of a pratima of Devi or Srichakra; in due course the Devi will lead the Sadhaka to proper initiation. Rites are basically for chittashuddhi. It's like clearing the soot from the glass so the light shines forth. Devi is already in the dahara-akasha, she is not to be attained from some extra-terrestrail space, rather only to be re-membered within oneself.

Thanks in deed once again for your exposition which will be useful to many not brought up in the tradition.

Om Namastripurasundari.

Mahahradanatha

Dear DB The task of writing an essay on the different tantric paths is such a complicated matter with so many differing and sometimes opposing viewpoints that do exist, even in the Agamas and Nigamas themselves, if one decides to analyse the current use and misuse of all of the relevant terms, the task becomes overwhelming.

I admire your courage to begin this topic at all and i think it is an excellent essay, but because of the reasons mentioned it can never be complete or flawless because of the widely differing views. The Distinctions are of course not always clear cut. According to my Information vamachara traditions are not centered around fierce deities only.

All kinds of non-fierce deity traditions are (or where present in the past) in the Vamachara besides Sridevi, because some of these sects are nearly extinct this is not so well known. There are worshippers of ucchista Ganapati that are vamacharins founded by Herambasuta, but there exists also vamachara traditions that center around kumara (muruga), vishnu, lakshmi, bala sundari, and Shodasi. Lord jagannatha and Vimala are also worshipped by vaishnava vamacharins. In these Vaishnava traditions of lord jaganath sri yantra is employed. In Puri is the Pitha (holy seat) of those traditions this is mentionend in Rudrayamala and many other tantras. Of course many sadhu traditions are more or less closely related to the vamachara like the Aghori, Kapalika, and Nath panth that do not worship exclusively the fierce forms of Shiva. Adinath the main form of shiva worshipped by Nath Panth for instance is not a fierce form of Shiva, though fierce forms like Kalabhairava are worshipped side by side with bala sundari. Siddhanta Vamachara and Kaulachara is present within these traditions

kochu1tz

I fully agree. But I must say that the traditions like uchishta ganapati still exist.

devi_bhakta

Hi Mahahradanatha

Thank you for your kind comments on the Srividya discussion.

You note: *** The task of writing an essay on the different tantric paths is such a complicated matter with so many differing and sometimes opposing viewpoints [...] even in the Agamas and Nigamas themselves [that ...] the task becomes overwhelming. ***

Agreed. But that's no excuse not to try to explain something in simple, broad terms that will at least give people a place to begin a discussion. In this case, the essay was inspired by observing a person who claimed 14 years of Srividya upasana -- and yet seemed to lack even a rudimentary grasp of what the tradition, leading to total misinterpretation of her own (she claims) guru's position.

It seemed to me, therefore, that a beginner's primer on the subjedct would not be a bad idea.

*** I admire your courage to begin this topic at all and i think it is an excellent essay, but because of the reasons mentioned it can never be complete or flawless because of the widely differing views. *** You can say that elementary and high-school physics courses are "incomplete and flawed" because they mainly concentrate on workaday Newtonian physics ... a theory that -- as Einstein and others have shown -- begins to fall apart as soon as you leave our everyday world, moving to light speed; viewing subatomic or macrocosmic phenomena.

So what does that mean? That we should therefore not bother with teaching high-school physics? No. It is enough to say, "All of this holds true for about 95% of everyday situations. Please note that as physical circumstances become less familiar and more rarified, new, more difficult and exotic refinements and exceptions begin to occur. Those of you interested in such things may pursue them in good time. For now, however, it's important to establish a workable foundation in the familiar, from which you may launch into stranger realms at a later time."

*** The Distinctions are of course not always clear cut. ***

Of course. I agree. But my argument remains. A workable intellectual framework is a good place to start, assimilating finer distinctions and exceptions as one's experience grows.

When you begin a course in hatha yoga, a good teacher will always spend a lot of time focusing on form at the outset. Because if you don't spend time on building this strong (albeit boring and unspectacular) foundation, whatever castle you build will be left wobbling precariously on sand.

That is how this 14-year Srividya upasika seemed to me. She was a high building on a wobbly foundation. A sad waste of time because eventually you have to go back to the beginning and build reinforcements to avoid a disasterous collapse. As much as we'd like to think otherwise, there are very few shortcuts in sadhana.

*** According to my Information vamachara traditions are not centered around fierce deities only. ***

Again, I agree. I'd noted as much in my letter to Samathmika, where I stated: "Yes. But please know that the Vamachara paths involve much more than the worship of 'fierce' goddesses. Kaali, Praytangira, Vanadurga, Shoolini, etc. (all of whom are frequently invoked in Guruji Amrita's practice and practice prescriptions), in my opinion can be classified as Vama. Vama is, after all, largely about breaking the traditional taboos; 'fierceness' apart, when one [for example] who is by definition a vegetarian uses meat it is vama."

But in general, your points are well taken and correct.

mahahradanatha

devi_bhakta wrote: Agreed. But that's no excuse not to try to explain something in simple, broad terms that will at least give people a place to begin a discussion. In this case, the essay was inspired by observing a person who claimed 14 years of Srividya upasana -- and yet seemed to lack even a rudimentary grasp of what the tradition, leading to total misinterpretation of her own (she claims) guru's position. It seemed to me, therefore, that a beginner's primer on the subjedct would not be a bad idea.

No not at all and i am glad you decided to take that step.I was really perplexed to hear from you that shri shri Amritanandanatha is her Guru.

Often it is Ignorance that is the cause of mistrust, mistrust again causes fear and often fear causes violence and that again mistrust.

That is why it is very important to make Information available so that ignorance which according to the buddhistis the root cause of suufering is dimished. knowledge trust and Courage is an antidote to violence. knowledge can cause gentleness and trust, that can cause joy and acceptance.

You can say that elementary and high-school physics courses are "incomplete and flawed" because they mainly concentrate on workaday Newtonian physics ... a theory that -- as Einstein and others have shown -- begins to fall apart as soon as you leave our everyday world, moving to light speed; viewing subatomic or macrocosmic phenomena. So what does that mean? That we should therefore not bother with teaching high-school physics? No. It is enough to say, "All of this holds true for about 95% of everyday situations. Please note that as physical circumstances become less familiar and more rarified, new, more difficult and exotic refinements and exceptions begin to occur. Those of you interested in such things may pursue them in good time. For now, however, it's important to establish a workable foundation in the familiar, from which you may launch into stranger realms at a later time."

I do agree on that one and curiously a buddhist teacher told me that his or the buddhas teachings only serve as a raft to cross the river after reaching the other shore it can be safely abondend.

I stated: "Yes. But please know that the Vamachara paths involve much more than the worship of 'fierce' goddesses. Kaali, Praytangira, Vanadurga, Shoolini, etc. (all of whom are frequently invoked in Guruji Amrita's practice and practice prescriptions), in my opinion can be classified as Vama. Vama is, after all, largely about breaking the traditional taboos; 'fierceness' apart, when one [for example] who is by definition a vegetarian uses meat it is vama."

Yes this is my humble opinion also, as little as I have seen of Amritanandanathas Teachings they begin with the Vamamarga and reach into Kaulamarga.

Now that i know that her guru is Amritanadanatha my questions put to her gain in relevance. She already is part of that which she is afraid of even being in contact with. Amazing! But maybe some deeper destiny from past lives is involved. We all have some blind spots, where we refuse to face the facts, but Samatmikas ignorance of the teachings she professes to follow is absurd ,thats why i see some very mysterious reasons for that situaton she is in. I am reminded about that verse from Kularnava Tantra. He who is deluded by your maya sees not while he sees, understands not while he hears, and knows not the truth while he reads - Kularnava Tantra





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