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Liṅgoddhāraḥ - Removing the mark or sign
This is the seventeenth chapter (called Liṅgoddhāraḥ).
This work was written by the great Master Abhinavagupta and is a summary of Tantrāloka. Tantrāloka is the most important and voluminous work of the greatest Trika Master. Abhinavagupta was also the teacher of eminent Kṣemarāja and lived about 975-1025 AD in Kashmir.
This treatise whose name is Tantrasāra is a summarized encyclopedia of Tantra. Since it is a very advanced text in Trika Shaivism, there is no surprise if a neophyte finds it difficult to understand. To start to understand it, the level of the reader must be the one of a real disciple in Trika Shaivism. If this requirement is not met, then there will be a lot of confusion and constant disappointment. Because in spite of my great efforts to explain the things so easily as possible, to study this treatise requires some spiritual caliber. In this system, sometimes it is not possible even to write about certain topics due to the extreme limitation of the words. Because in the end, all this knowledge has to do with 'states', and it is extremely difficult to write about 'states' in a precise way. Abhinavagupta has done his best to accomplish this formidable task of writing about what is superior and intangible. Anyway, despite his incredible skills to carry out this, he is not revealing everything. It is not because he is all the time hiding things from the reader, but because he is sometimes hiding and on other occasions he just cannot write about some extremely subtle topics because of the limitation of the words.
Goal of life is Liberation. Man has searched for freedom always in human history, but according to Trika Shaivism that is not real Liberation. Real Liberation does not mean that your body should be free from some prison and things like that. Real Liberation amounts to attaining His Svātantrya or Absolute Freedom. When the Great Lord's Svātantrya is achieved, then you see unity in all the things, i.e. you stop seeing duality as before. All is forever identified with Svātantrya, with Him, and that is the end of the story called 'you in bondage'. From this point on nothing will get in your way, because if something apparently gets in your way, that is Svātantrya again. This constant awareness of unity in all is real Freedom. There is no other attainment greater than this!
Keeping the above in mind, now read Tantrasāra and experience Supreme Delight, dear Śiva.
Important: All that is in brackets and italicized within the translation has been added by me in order to complete the sense of a particular phrase or sentence. In turn, all that is between double hyphen (--...--) constitutes clarifying further information also added by me.
वैष्णवादिदक्षिणतन्त्रान्तेषु शासनेषु ये स्थितास्तद्गृहीतव्रता वा ये चोत्तमशासनस्था अप्यनधिकृताधरशासनगुरूपसेविनस्ते यदा शक्तिपातेन पारमेश्वरेणोन्मुखीक्रियन्ते तदा तेषामयं विधिः - तत्रैनं कृतोपवासमन्यदिने साधारणमन्त्रपूजितस्य तदीयां चेष्टां श्रावितस्य भगवतोऽग्रे प्रवेशयेत्तत्रास्य व्रतं गृहीत्वाम्भसि क्षिपेत्ततोऽसौ स्नायात्ततः प्रोक्ष्य चरुदन्तकाष्ठाभ्यां संस्कृत्य बद्धनेत्रं प्रवेश्य साधारणेन मन्त्रेण परमेश्वरपूजां कारयेत्। ततः साधारणमन्त्रेण शिवीकृतेऽग्नौ व्रतशुद्धिं कुर्यात्तन्मन्त्रसम्पुटं नाम कृत्वा प्रायश्चित्तं शोधयामीति स्वाहान्तं शतं जुहुयात्। ततोऽपि पूर्णाहुतिर्वौषडन्तेन। ततो व्रतेश्वरमाहूय पूजयित्वा तस्य शिवाज्ञयाकिञ्चित्करस्त्वमस्य भव इति श्रावणां कृत्वा तं तर्पयित्वा विसृज्याग्निं विसृजेदिति लिङ्गोद्धारः। ततोऽस्याधिवासादि प्राग्वत्। दीक्षा यथेच्छम्।
संस्कृत्य दीक्ष्यो यश्च प्राङ्निरतोऽसद्गुरावभूत्॥
Vaiṣṇavādidakṣiṇatantrānteṣu śāsaneṣu ye sthitāstadgṛhītavratā vā ye cottamaśāsanasthā apyanadhikṛtādharaśāsanagurūpasevinaste yadā śaktipātena pārameśvareṇonmukhīkriyante tadā teṣāmayaṁ vidhiḥ - Tatrainaṁ kṛtopavāsamanyadine sādhāraṇamantrapūjitasya tadīyāṁ ceṣṭāṁ śrāvitasya bhagavato'gre praveśayettatrāsya vrataṁ gṛhītvāmbhasi kṣipettato'sau snāyāttataḥ prokṣya carudantakāṣṭhābhyāṁ saṁskṛtya baddhanetraṁ praveśya sādhāraṇena mantreṇa parameśvarapūjāṁ kārayet| Tataḥ sādhāraṇamantreṇa śivīkṛte'gnau vrataśuddhiṁ kuryāttanmantrasampuṭaṁ nāma kṛtvā prāyaścittaṁ śodhayāmīti svāhāntaṁ śataṁ juhuyāt| Tato'pi pūrṇāhutirvauṣaḍantena| Tato vrateśvaramāhūya pūjayitvā tasya śivājñayākiñcitkarastvamasya bhava iti śrāvaṇāṁ kṛtvā taṁ tarpayitvā visṛjyāgniṁ visṛjediti liṅgoddhāraḥ| Tato'syādhivāsādi prāgvat| Dīkṣā yatheccham|
Saṁskṛtya dīkṣyo yaśca prāṅnirato'sadgurāvabhūt||
Essence of Tantra (tantra-sāraḥ)
Seventeenth (saptadaśam) chapter (āhnikam)
(There are aspirants) who (ye) remain (sthitāḥ) in doctrines (śāsaneṣu) which start with the vaiṣṇava-s and end with the right-hand Tantra (vaiṣṇava-ādi-dakṣiṇa-tantra-anteṣu) or (vā) who have taken vows in those (doctrines) (tad-gṛhīta-vratāḥ). And (ca) (there are also aspirants) who (ye), though (api) remaining in the highest doctrine --i.e. in Trika Shaivism-- (uttama-śāsana-sthāḥ), serve unauthorized Guru-s of an inferior doctrine (anadhikṛta-adhara-śāsana-guru-upasevinaḥ). When (yadā) they (te) are made inclined (to receive Grace) (unmukhī-kriyante) through a descent of Power (śakti-pātena) carried out by the Supreme Lord (pārama-īśvareṇa), then (tadā) this (ayam) (is) the method (vidhiḥ): There (tatra), the next day --lit. the other day-- (anya-dine), (the Guru) brings (praveśayet) him --i.e. the aspirant whose mark must be removed-- (enam) —who has been fasting (the previous day) (kṛta-upavāsam)— before --i.e. in front of-- (agre) the Lord (bhagavataḥ) —who is worshiped with a generic Mantra (sādhāraṇa-mantra-pūjitasya) (and) who is informed of (śrāvitasya) his --viz. of the aspirant-- (tadīyām) behavior --or also "action"-- (ceṣṭām). There (tatra), after grabbing (gṛhītvā) his (asya) vow --i.e. his previous vow with the inferior doctrine, etc.-- (vratam) (in his imagination,) he should throw (kṣipet) (it) into water (ambhasi). After that (tatas), he --the aspirant-- (asau) should take a bath (snāyāt). Next (tatas), he is sprinkled (with water) --lit. sprinkling-- (prokṣya). (Then) he is purified --lit. purifying-- (saṁskṛtya) by the "caru" --i.e. an oblation made up with boiled rice or barley and clarified butter-- and the tooth-stick (caru-danta-kāṣṭhābhyām). (Subsequently,) after causing (him) to enter (praveśya) blindfolded (baddha-netram), (the Guru) should make (him) perform (kārayet) the worship of the Supreme Lord (parama-īśvara-pūjām) by a generic Mantra (sādhāraṇena mantreṇa)|
Afterward (tatas), he should perform (kuryāt) the purification of the vow (vrata-śuddhim) in the fire which has been transformed into Śiva (śivī-kṛte agnau) by means of a generic Mantra (sādhāraṇa-mantreṇa). After making (kṛtvā) (his own) name (nāma) a hemisphere of that Mantra (tad-mantra-sampuṭam) --this translation is literal, its meaning being "After inserting his own name before and after that Mantra", like two hemispheres covering the Mantra--, he should offer oblations (juhuyāt) one hundred (times) (śatam) (while he repeats:) "I purify (śodhayāmi) (his) expiation (prāyaścittam... iti)", ending in "svāhā" (svāhā-antam) --i.e. he should say "his name + prāyaścittaṁ śodhayāmi + svāhā + his name"; if I understood rightly as Abhinavagupta is confusing--|
Even (api) after (all) that (tatas), (there should be) a full oblation (pūrṇa-āhutiḥ) (with the same Mantra but) ending in vauṣaṭ (vauṣaṭ-antena)|
Then (tatas), after invoking and worshiping (āhūya pūjayitvā) the lord of the vows (vrata-īśvaram), (the Guru) should make him --i.e. the lord of the vows-- hear (tasya... śrāvaṇām) (this:) "By Śiva's command (śiva-ājñayā), become (tvam... bhava) in his case (asya) a doer of nothing (akiñcid-karaḥ... iti)!" --all in all, "By Śiva's command, do not do anything to him!"--. After satisfying and leaving (tarpayitvā visṛjya) him --viz. the lord of the vows-- (tam), (the Guru) should (also) leave (visṛjet) the fire (agnim). This is the removal of the mark or sign (iti liṅga-uddhāraḥ)|
Next (tatas), (there is) his --of the person whose mark or sign was removed-- (asya) consecration, etc. (adhivāsa-ādi) like before (prāk-vat)|
The initiation (dīkṣā) (will then proceed) as wished (by the Guru) (yathā-iccham)|
"Even (api) someone remaining in an inferior (doctrine) (adhara-sthaḥ), whose mind is strongly impelled by the Power of the Lord (gāḍha-īśa-śakti-prerita-mānasaḥ), and (ca) who (yaḥ) was (abhūt) previously devoted (prāk-nirataḥ) to a false Guru (asat-gurau), is to be initiated (dīkṣyaḥ) after having been purified (saṁskṛtya)"||
TRANSLATION IS COMPLETELY FINISHED BUT THERE IS NO POLISHING YET
This document was conceived by Gabriel Pradīpaka, one of the two founders of this site, and spiritual guru conversant with Sanskrit language and Trika philosophy.
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