A Preface to the Earliest Surviving Saiva Tantra

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Nirajan Kafle
  • Paris: 
    École française d'Extrême-Orient
    , September
     555 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


This volume presents the first edition, along with an English translation, of a Sanskrit work of perhaps the seventh century surviving in a single ninth-century Nepalese witness: the Niśvāsamukhatattvasaṃhitā. It would be difficult to exaggerate the usefulness of this primary source for the history of the Śaiva religions. Ostensibly an introduction to the Niśvāsamukhatattvasaṃhitā, it purports to sketch the religious context in which the Mantramārga emerged. In so doing, it provides invaluable help in mapping the contours of the relations between four different traditions of early Śaivism, namely: 1) that of the Pāñcārthika Pāśupatas, 2) that of the Lākulas (here lokātīta), 3) the Mantramārga and 4) pre-Mantramārga "lay" practices. The work is bracketed by a detailed introduction and an appendix presenting material borrowed into the Śivadharmasaṅgraha.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Nirajan Kafle is a researcher of the ERC Sivadharma Project in Naples. He defended his doctorate in Lei-den (2015), where he then joined the NWO project 'From Universe of Viṣṇu to Universe of Śiva'. Previously, he was researcher at the NGMCP (2002-2007, 2011-2014) and the Pondicherry EFEO (2007- 2011, 2014-2016), lecturer at Lumbini University (2012-2014) and Kathmandu University (2007-2008), and local manager of Historical Documents of Nepal (2014).


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