Zitierweise | cite as: Amarasiṃha <6./8. Jhdt. n. Chr.>: Nāmaliṅgānuśāsana (Amarakośa) / übersetzt von Alois Payer <1944 - >. -- 1. Prathamam kāṇḍam. -- 1. svargavargaḥ. -- Anhang 2: Jogendra Nath Bhattacharya [যোগেন্দ্রনাথ ভট্টাচার্য্য] über Śāktas (1896). -- Fassung vom 2017-05-08. -- URL: http://www.payer.de/amarakosa/amara101Anhang2.htm
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Bhattacharya, Jogendra Nath [ভট্টাচার্য্য, যোগেন্দ্রনাথ]: Hindu castes and sects : an exposition of the origin of the Hindu caste system and the bearing of the sects towards each other and toward other religious systems. -- Calcutta : Thacker, Spink, 1896. -- 623 S. -- S. 407 - 413
The religion of the Saktas [śākta] may be regarded as a counterpart of Siva [śiva] worship, for while the latter inculcates the adoration of the male organ of generation, the former attaches greater importance to the worship of the female organ. Some of the Sivites [śaiva] and Saktas [śākta]worship the two organs in a state of combination.
The word Sakti [śakti] literally means 'energy’ or 'power' and, taking into consideration what is said about it in the Tantric scriptures, it seems to be used therein in the sense in which the word power is used in English, when a person is spoken of as a political or spiritual power. Some of the modern exponents of the Hindu religion profess to entertain the view that the Sakti [śakti] of the Tantrics denotes the same things as the terms 'energy’ and ' force’ of Natural Philosophy. Such abuse of scientific terms by men of religion has been common enough in India from a remote period of antiquity.
The essence of the Sakta [śākta] cult is, as stated above, the worship of the female organ of generation. According to a text of the Tantras the best form of Sakti [śakti] worship is to adore a naked woman, and it is said that some Tantrics actually perform their daily service in their private chapels by placing before them a female completely divested of her clothing.
The following are used as substitutes: —
The naked female, the Yantra, and the painted triangle are worshipped only in private services. In public the Tantric offers his adoration to the naked image of a female deity called by various names such as Kali [kālī], Tara [tārā], &c., and usually made to stand erect on the breast of a half-sleeping image of Siva [śiva] in a similar state of nudity. The true nature of such images is not generally known, though it is defined in unmistakable terms in the Dhyan [dhyāna] or formula for contemplating the goddess Kali [kālī](. The popular ideas on the subject are as stated below: —
She (the goddess Kali [kālī]) is represented as a woman, with four arms. In one hand she has a weapon, in another hand the head of the giant she has slain, —with the two others she is encouraging her worshippers. For earrings she has two dead bodies; she wears a necklace of skulls, her only clothing is a garland made of men’s skulls. After her victory over the giants she danced so furiously that the earth trembled beneath her weight. At the request of the gods Siva [śiva] asked her to stop; but, as owing to the excitement, she did not notice him, he lay down among the slain. She continued dancing till she caught sight of her husband under her feet; upon which, in Hindu fashion, she thrust out her tongue to express surprise and regret. —Murdoch on Swami Vivekananda, p. 40.
As a matter of fact, the image of Kali [kālī], that Mr. Murdoch, of the Madras Mission, has attempted to hold up to ridicule in the above passage, is a thing far worse than he has taken it to be. What its real meaning is cannot possibly be explained here. Those inclined to dive into such filth must study the ritual for Kali worship.
The Saktas [śākta] are chiefly householders, and there are very few mendicants among them. They are divided into various classes according to the extent to which they allow drinking, debauchery and slaughter of animals as parts of their ritual.
The classes of Saktas [śākta] best known in the country are the following: —
Some of the Saktas [śākta] perform their worship in exactly the same manner as the Vaishnavas [vaiṣṇava]. They do not offer wine to their goddess, and, to avoid even the semblance of bloodshed, they conduct their ritual without any kind of red flower, or any stuff of blood colour like red sandalwood.
The majority of the respectable Saktas [śākta] are Dakshinacharis [dakṣiṇācārī], and though they do not avoid red flowers and red sandal-wood, they offer neither wine nor flesh meat to the deity.
The number of Bamacharis [vāmācārī] in the country is not very large, and even among those who are so by family custom, the majority are so moderate that, instead of offering wine to their goddess, they use, as its substitute, cocoanut water in a copper vessel, such liquor being, according to the Shastras [śāstra], equivalent to wine, for puja [pūjā] purposes.
The extreme Bamacharis [vāmācārī] offer wine to their goddess, and when it is consecrated they sprinkle it on every kind of cooked and uncooked food brought before her. The quantity actually drunk by the worshipper and his family very seldom exceeds a few drops.
Bamacharis [vāmācārī] of all classes generally offer some kind of sacrifice to their goddess. It is usually a kid. Some offer a large number of kids, with or without a buffalo in addition. In all cases the head of the slaughtered animal is placed before the grim deity with an earthen lamp fed by ghi [ghī] burning above it. In the case of a buffalo being sacrificed, the body is given to the Muchi [mucī] musicians. If the animal sacrificed is a goat, then the body is skinned and chopped, and when the flesh is cooked, it is consecrated again before the goddess. The meat is ultimately served to the invited guests, along with the other delicacies consecrated to the goddess.
Some of the Bamacharis [vāmācārī] do not offer any animal, and instead of slaughtering kids and buffaloes, as they are required to do by their Shastras [śāstra], they cut with due ceremony a pumpkin, a cocoanut or a sugarcane. This substitution may in some cases be due to compassion for the poor animals, but is generally owing to the superstitious fear entertained by all Hindus as to the result that must follow the executioner’s failing to sever the head of the animal at one stroke. The sacrifice of an animal before a goddess is an occasion of great rejoicing to some young folks; but to the votary, it is a sore trial. As a preliminary, special services are held supplicating the goddess that the ceremony might pass off without any hitch. Even at the time of the sacrifice, when the arena before the puja [pūjā] hall is filled with the shouts of the bye-standers, and the discordant music of the village Muchi [mucī] band, the head of the house may be found standing in one corner muttering prayers with an air of deep devotion, if not actually with tears.
If, in spite of such prayers and supplications, the wrath of the deity is indicated by the failure of the executioner to make a clean cut through the neck of the animal by his first stroke, then the whole family is thrown into a deep gloom by the apprehension of a great catastrophe within the year following. Like the inmates of a sinking ship, they await in terrible agony the Divine visitation. The fear thus engendered gives rise to a plentiful harvest of expiatory ceremonies which benefit the priests. If a death or other misfortune happen to the family in the course of the year, it is attributed by all to the hitch in the sacrifice at the preceding puja [pūjā]. If no such disaster happen, the priest has all the credit. After such an occurrence the family generally determine never to offer sacrifices again; and in this way the slaughter of animals, as a part of puja [pūjā] ceremonies in private houses, is becoming more and more rare.
The Shastras [śāstra] of the Sakti [śakti] worshippers recommend homicide before their goddesses as the best and most acceptable offering. But there are texts also which interdict such fiendish demonstration of piety; and as the killing of a human being, for puja [pūjā] purposes, might serve as a dangerous precedent, and recoil one day upon the priests themselves, the practice has never prevailed to any considerable extent in India. It is recommended in the Shastras [śāstra] only to make the votary ready to offer a goat, the flesh of which is an acceptable luxury to the Tantric Brahmans. See p. 88, ante.
The Bamacharis [vāmācārī] slaughter kids and buffaloes openly; but even their most zealous bigots do not offer wine publicly.
The Kowls [kaula] or Extreme Saktas [śākta] themselves conceal as much as possible their habit of indulging in intoxicating drinks. Their very Shastras [śāstra] enjoin hypocrisy, it being laid down therein that they must conduct themselves as Sivites [śaiva] and Vishnuvites [vaiṣṇava] in public. In actual practice some of the Kowls and Bamacharis [vāmācārī] are sometimes found in a tipsy condition.
The Kowls usually betray their cult by painting their foreheads with vermilion dissolved in oil. The tint of blood being their favourite colour, they wear either scarlet silk, or cotton cloth dyed with ochre.
The mark on the forehead of a Bamachari consists of three transverse lines painted with the charcoal of the sacred fire, dissolved in ghi.
The Dakhinacharis [dakṣiṇācārī] have generally an Urdhapundra [ūrdhva-puṇḍra], or perpendicular streak, in the central part of the forehead, the colouring material being either a paste of sandal-wood, or a solution in ghi of charcoal obtained from a Hom [homa] fire.
All classes of Saktas [śākta] wear a necklace of Rudraksha [rudrakṣa] seeds like the Sivites [śaiva].
The extreme Kowls [kaula] are almost quite as fiendish as the Aghoris [aghorī], though in public they appear to be more clean and respectable in their habits. The Kowls do not eat carrion or ordure. It is, however, said of them that, in the hope of attaining supernatural powers, some of them practise what they call Sava Sadhan [śava-sādhana], or devotional exercise with a dead body. But, as the ceremony must be held at midnight, and at a burial or cremation yard far removed from the habitations of men, very few have, it is supposed, the hardihood to undertake it. The belief that those who undertake it, and fail to go through the programme to the end, become insane from that moment, also serves to deter novices, and to heighten the glory of those who claim to have accomplished the feat.
The Kowls [kaula] are, however, well-known to be in the habit of holding those bacchanalian orgies which are spoken of in their Shastras [śāstra] as Bhairavichakra [bhairavī-cakra-sādhana and Lata Sadhan. These ceremonies are of such a beastly character that it is impossible even to think of them without horror. It is impossible in this book to give their details. Suffice it to state that they admit such females as are available for the purpose, and begin with the exhibition of every form of indecency that both the males and females are capable of. In the beginning some so-called religious rites are also seriously performed which, to any ordinary man, must appear highly comic. What follows may well be imagined, and, strange to say, that all this passes under the name of religion.
The Tantric cult prevails to a greater extent in Bengal [বঙ্গ], Behar [बिहार] and Assam [অসম] than perhaps in any other part of India. In Southern India, the Hindus are either Sivites [śaiva] or Vishnuvites [vaiṣṇava]. In the North-Western parts of India, the majority of the Brahmans are either Sivites or Vishnuvites. The few Saktas [śākta] that there are in North-Western India are generally of an extreme type not usually to be found in any other part of India. In the Maharatta [मराठा] country the Karhadis [कर्हाडे], who are the only Saktas [śākta], are generally now of a moderate type. Among the higher Sudra [śūdra] castes the Kayasthas [kāyastha] are generally extreme Saktas [śākta] in Upper India, and moderate Saktas [śākta] in Bengal. The Baniyas [baniyā] are generally Vishnuvites [vaiṣṇava] throughout India. The Tantric religion is a modern institution, but it is certainly more ancient than the Vishnuvite sects.
About the motive that brought such a horrible religion as that of the Tantrics into existence, the good and respectable Brahmans say that it was devised by the gods for bringing about the destruction of the oppressors of men. There is a great deal of truth in this view. To me it seems that the Tantric cult was invented partly to justify the habit of drinking which prevailed among the Brahmans even after the prohibition of it by their great law-givers, but chiefly to enable the Brahmanical courtiers of the beastly kings to compete with the secular courtiers in the struggle for becoming favourites, and causing the ruin of their royal masters.
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