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Śrāddhadīkṣāprakāśanam - Explaining the initiation into the rite of offering to the dead
This is the nineteenth chapter (called Śrāddhadīkṣāprakāśanam).
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.
अथाधरशासनस्थानां गुर्वन्तानामपि मरणसमनन्तरं मृतोद्धारोदितशक्तिपातयोगादेवान्त्यसंस्काराख्यां दीक्षां कुर्यादूर्ध्वशासनस्थानामपि लुप्तसमयानामकृतप्रायश्चित्तानाम् - इति परमेश्वराज्ञा। तत्र यो मृतोद्धारे विधिरुक्तः स सर्व एव शरीरे कर्तव्यः पूर्णाहुत्या शवशरीरदाहो मूढानां तु प्रतीतिरूढये सप्रत्ययामन्त्येष्टिं क्रियाज्ञानयोगबलात्कुर्यात्तत्र शवशरीरे संहारक्रमेण मन्त्रान्न्यस्य जालक्रमेणाकृष्य रोधनवेधनघट्टनादि कुर्यात् - प्राणसञ्चारक्रमेण हृदि कण्ठे ललाटे चेत्येवं शवशरीरं कम्पते। ततः परमशिवे योजनिकां कृत्वा तद्दहेत्पूर्णाहुत्यान्त्येष्ट्या शुद्धानामन्येषामपि वा श्राद्धदीक्षां त्र्यहं तुर्ये दिने मासि मासि संवत्सरे संवत्सरे कुर्यात्। तत्र होमान्तं विधिं कृत्वा नैवेद्यमेकहस्ते कृत्वा तदीयां वीर्यरूपां शक्तिं भोग्याकारां पशुगतभोग्यशक्तितादात्म्यप्रतिपन्नां ध्यात्वा परमेश्वरे भोक्तर्यर्पयेदित्येवं भोग्यभावे निवृत्ते पतिरेव भवत्यन्त्येष्टिमृतोद्धरणश्राद्धदीक्षाणामन्यतमेनापि यद्यपि कृतार्थता तथापि बुभुक्षोः क्रियाभूयस्त्वं फलभूयस्त्वायेति सर्वमाचरेत्। मुमुक्षोरपि तन्मयीभावसिद्धयेऽयम् जीवतः प्रत्यहमनुष्ठानाभ्यासवत्। तत्त्वज्ञानिनस्तु न कोऽप्ययमन्त्येष्ट्यादिश्राद्धान्तो विधिरुपयोगी - तन्मरणं तद्विद्यासन्तानिनां पर्वदिनं संविदंशपूरणात्तावतः सन्तानस्यैकसंविन्मात्रपरमार्थत्वाज्जीवतो ज्ञानलाभसन्तानदिवसवत्। सर्वत्र चात्र श्राद्धादिविधौ मूर्तियागः प्रधानमिति श्रीसिद्धामतं तद्विधिश्च वक्ष्यते नैमित्तिकप्रकाशने।
अनुग्रहपरः शिवो वशितयानुगृह्णाति यं स एव परमेश्वरीभवति नाम किं वाद्भुतम्।
उपायपरिकल्पना ननु तदीशनामात्रकं विदन्निति न शङ्कते परिमितेऽप्युपाये बुधः॥
Athādharaśāsanasthānāṁ gurvantānāmapi maraṇasamanantaraṁ mṛtoddhāroditaśaktipātayogādevāntyasaṁskārākhyāṁ dīkṣāṁ kuryādūrdhvaśāsanasthānāmapi luptasamayānāmakṛtaprāyaścittānām - Iti parameśvarājñā| Tatra yo mṛtoddhāre vidhiruktaḥ sa sarva eva śarīre kartavyaḥ pūrṇāhutyā śavaśarīradāho mūḍhānāṁ tu pratītirūḍhaye sapratyayāmantyeṣṭiṁ kriyājñānayogabalātkuryāttatra śavaśarīre saṁhārakrameṇa mantrānnyasya jālakrameṇākṛṣya rodhanavedhanaghaṭṭanādi kuryāt - Prāṇasañcārakrameṇa hṛdi kaṇṭhe lalāṭe cetyevaṁ śavaśarīraṁ kampate| Tataḥ paramaśive yojanikāṁ kṛtvā taddahetpūrṇāhutyāntyeṣṭyā śuddhānāmanyeṣāmapi vā śrāddhadīkṣāṁ tryahaṁ turye dine māsi māsi saṁvatsare saṁvatsare kuryāt| Tatra homāntaṁ vidhiṁ kṛtvā naivedyamekahaste kṛtvā tadīyāṁ vīryarūpāṁ śaktiṁ bhogyākārāṁ paśugatabhogyaśaktitādātmyapratipannāṁ dhyātvā parameśvare bhoktaryarpayedityevaṁ bhogyabhāve nivṛtte patireva bhavatyantyeṣṭimṛtoddharaṇaśrāddhadīkṣāṇāmanyatamenāpi yadyapi kṛtārthatā tathāpi bubhukṣoḥ kriyābhūyastvaṁ phalabhūyastvāyeti sarvamācaret| Mumukṣorapi tanmayībhāvasiddhaye'yam jīvataḥ pratyahamanuṣṭhānābhyāsavat| Tattvajñāninastu na ko'pyayamantyeṣṭyādiśrāddhānto vidhirupayogī - Tanmaraṇaṁ tadvidyāsantānināṁ parvadinaṁ saṁvidaṁśapūraṇāttāvataḥ santānasyaikasaṁvinmātraparamārthatvājjīvato jñānalābhasantānadivasavat| Sarvatra cātra śrāddhādividhau mūrtiyāgaḥ pradhānamiti śrīsiddhāmataṁ tadvidhiśca vakṣyate naimittikaprakāśane|
Anugrahaparaḥ śivo vaśitayānugṛhṇāti yaṁ sa eva parameśvarībhavati nāma kiṁ vādbhutam|
Upāyaparikalpanā nanu tadīśanāmātrakaṁ vidanniti na śaṅkate parimite'pyupāye budhaḥ||
Essence of Tantra (tantra-sāraḥ)
Nineteenth (ekonaviṁśam) chapter (āhnikam)
Now (atha), in the case of people remaining in inferior doctrines (adhara-śāsana-sthānām) —even (api) if they are Guru-s (guru-antānām)—, (the Guru) should perform (kuryāt), inmediately after (their) death (maraṇa-samanantaram) —(and) through only a descent of Power arisen for the elevation/redemption/deliverance of the dead (mṛta-uddhāra-udita-śakti-pāta-yogāt eva)—, the initiation (dīkṣām) known as the final purificatory ritual (antya-saṁskāra-ākhyām). (This initiation is to be performed by the Guru) even (api) in the case of people who remained in superior doctrines (ūrdhva-śāsana-sthānām) (but) who lost (their) samaya or ācāra --lit. "established rule of conduct", i.e. these people wandered off their spiritual path-- (lupta-samayānām) (and) did not perform any (rituals of) expiation (akṛta-prāyaścittānām) — This is the command of the Supreme Lord (iti parama-īśvara-ājñā)|
There (tatra), all (saḥ sarvaḥ eva) the ritual (vidhiḥ) which (yaḥ) has been mentioned (uktaḥ) regarding the elevation/redemption/deliverance of the dead (mṛta-uddhāre) must be performed (kartavyaḥ) on the body (śarīre). With the full oblation (pūrṇa-āhutyā), the burning of the corpse (śava-śarīra-dāhaḥ) (is carried out). However (tu), by force of Action, Knowledge and Yoga (kriyā-jñāna-yoga-balāt), (the Guru) should perform (kuryāt) the funeral sacrifice (antyeṣṭim) with conviction (sa-pratyayām) for establishing conviction --i.e. settled belief-- (pratīti-rūḍhaye) among the fools --i.e. the ignorant people under the sway of Māyā-- (mūḍhānām). There (tatra), after placing (nyasya) Mantra-s (mantrān) by the method of dissolution --i.e. from feet to head-- (saṁhāra-krameṇa) on the corpse (śava-śarīre), (the Guru) should draw near --lit. drawing near-- (ākṛṣya) (his soul --i.e. the soul of the person who died--) by the method of the net (jāla-krameṇa). (Next, the Guru) should perform (kuryāt) rodhana --viz. the act of restraining the soul by means of Bindu--, vedhana --viz. the act of penetrating the soul by means of the seed of Śakti--, ghaṭṭana --the act of stirring the soul by means of the trident--, etc. (rodhana-vedhana-ghaṭṭana-ādi). (Next,) through the method of moving the vital energy (prāṇa-sañcāra-krameṇa) (carried out by the Guru) in heart (hṛdi), throat (kaṇṭhe) and (ca) forehead (lalāṭe), the corpse (śava-śarīram) in this way (iti evam) (finally) trembles (kampate)|
After that (tatas), after performing (kṛtvā) the yojanikā --the act of joining-- (yojanikām) with the Supreme Śiva (parama-śive) --i.e. the Guru joins the soul with the Supreme Śiva--, (the Guru) burns (dahet) it --viz. the corpse-- (tad) while performing the full oblation (pūrṇa-āhutyā). In the case of those who have been purified (śuddhānām) by the funeral sacrifice (antyeṣṭyā), or (vā) even (api) in the case of the others --i.e. those who are not been purified by the funeral sacrifice-- (anyeṣām), (the Guru) should perform (kuryāt) initiation into the rite of offering to the dead (śrāddha-dīkṣām) —which lasts three days (tryaham)— on the fourth day (turye dine), every month (māsi māsi), every year (saṁvatsare saṁvatsare)|
There (tatra), after performing (kṛtvā) the ritual (vidhim) ending in homa --i.e. ending in the act of making an oblation into the fire-- (homa-antam), (the Guru) should prepare --lit. preparing-- (kṛtvā) an offering of eatables (naivedyam) in one hand (eka-haste). (Next,) he should meditate --lit. meditating-- (dhyātvā) on that (tadīyām) power (śaktim) —of the nature of virility (vīrya-rūpām)— whose form is the knowable --i.e. the object, Abhinavagupta is speaking about the offering of food in one of the hands of the Guru-- (bhogya-ākārām) (and) which has attained identity with the power of the knowable present in the limited individual --the limited individual is the person who is dead-- (paśu-gata-bhogya-śakti-tādātmya-pratipannām). (Finally, the Guru) should offer (such a power whose form is the knowable in the dead person) (arpayet) to the Supreme Lord (parama-īśvare) —the Enjoyer (bhoktari)—. Thus (iti evam), when the state of knowable ceases (in the initiated one) (bhogya-bhāve nivṛtte), (he --i.e. the initiated person who has departed from the body--) becomes (bhavati) the Lord Himself (patiḥ eva). Even if (yadi api) by means of one (anyatamena api) of (the many rituals such as) funeral sacrifice, elevation of the dead and initiation into the rite of offering to the dead (antyeṣṭi-mṛta-uddharaṇa-śrāddha-dīkṣāṇām) (there is) accomplishment or success (kṛta-arthatā), even so (tathā api) in the case of someone who desires enjoyment (bubhukṣoḥ) (there is) multitude of activities --or also "rituals"-- (kriyā-bhūyastvam) to attain multitude of fruits (phala-bhūyastvāya). Therefore (iti), (the Guru) should perform (ācaret) all (of them) (sarvam)|
Even (api) in the case of someone desiring Liberation (mumukṣoḥ), this (ayam) (should be performed) like a religious practice (anuṣṭhāna-abhyāsa-vat) every day (prati-aham) of (one's own) life --lit. of someone who is alive-- (jīvataḥ). (What for?) To attain a state of identification with That --i.e. with Śiva-- (tanmayī-bhāva-siddhaye)|
However (tu), in the case of someone who knows the Truth --or "the Supreme Principle"-- (tattva-jñāninaḥ), no (na kaḥ api ayam) ritual (vidhiḥ) beginning with the funeral sacrifice and ending in the rite of offering to the dead (antyeṣṭi-ādi-śrāddha-antaḥ) is useful/appropriate/propitious (upayogī) — His death (tad-maraṇam) (is) a day of festival (parva-dinam) for the ones belonging to the spiritual lineage of his Knowledge (tad-vidyā-santāninām) since it fills the portion of Consciousness --i.e. at the time of the death of a great being, all of his disciples are automatically elevated-- (saṁvid-aṁśa-pūraṇāt). (Why is that happening?) Because such a spiritual lineage is really only one Consciousness (tāvataḥ santānasya eka-saṁvid-mātra-paramārthatvāt). (It is) like the day when an offspring (of this spiritual lineage) --i.e. a disciple-- obtained Knowledge (jñāna-lābha-santāna-divasa-vat) from (that great being when he was) alive (jīvataḥ) --this sentence is difficult to translate because Sanskrit is somewhat confusing; I did my best--|
And (ca) everywhere (sarvatra) in this (group of) ritual(s) such as śrāddha --the rite of offering to the dead--, etc. (atra śrāddha-ādi-vidhau), Mūrtiyāga --sacrifice or worship of the form-- (mūrtiyāgaḥ) (is) the most important thing (pradhānam) according to venerable Siddhāmata (śrī-siddhāmatam). That ritual (tad-viddhiḥ ca) will be described (vakṣyate) in the explanation of the occasional rites (naimittika-prakāśane)|
"He (saḥ eva) whom (yam) Śiva (śivaḥ) —who is devoted to (conferring) Grace (anugraha-paraḥ)— favors (anugṛhṇāti) according to (His) Vaśitā --viz. to His power for subduing someone to His own Will-- (vaśitayā) becomes the Supreme Lord (parama-īśvarī-bhavati) indeed (nāma). There is nothing strange in this --lit. What is possibly the wonder?-- (kim vā adbhutam). The adoption of an upāya or means (upāya-parikalpanā) (is) certainly only His Dominance --i.e. His Will-- (nanu tad-īśanā-mātrakam). Knowing so (vidan iti), a wise person (budhaḥ) does not doubt (na śaṅkate) even (api) with reference to a limited upāya or means (parimite... upāye)"||
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