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Tolerance, Exclusivity, Inclusivity,

and Persecution in Indian Religion

During the Early Mediaeval Period


t is generally believed that already in the early mediaeval

period from the fth century of the Christian era onwards, if not earlier,
there existed a single Hindu religion, embracing Vaidika orthopraxy in accordance with primary and secondary Vedic revelation (ruti and Smrti) together

with the sectarian traditions of the worship of Visnu, iva, Dev, and the Sun God

(Srya), to mention only the foremost among the deities that attracted personal
devotion, that is to say, those whose worship is attested not only in countless temples surviving from that period in the Indian subcontinent and much of South
East Asia but also in numerous donative inscriptions and extensive bodies of prescriptive literature. It is also widely believed that this complex unity displays an
exemplary degree of religious tolerance, not only between Vaidikas, Vaisnavas,

aivas, ktas, and Sauras, but also between these and the followers of the other
two major Indian faiths of the age, namely Buddhism and Jainism.1

1. For a survey of the major proponents of this doctrine of the essentially eirenic and tolerant nature
of Hinduism see VERARDI 2011, pp. 4158. (For full bibliographic details see References at the end of this


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One who wishes to challenge the rst of these beliefs might begin by pointing
out that before the advent of Islam India lacked any term even loosely corresponding in its semantic range to that of the modern term Hinduism. Sanskrit sources
dierentiated Vaidika, Vaisnava, aiva, kta, Saura, Buddhist, and Jaina tradi
tions, but they had no name that denotes the rst ve of these as a collective entity
over and against Buddhism and Jainism.2

2. The term Hindu (Arabic and Persian hind), rst used by Muslims to refer to the inhabitants of
Hind, that is to say, the lands east of the Indus river, who had not embraced Islam, does not appear in
any non-Muslim Indian source known to me before the work of the Kashmirian brahmin court historian
rvara, learned in both Sanskrit and Persian, who uses it in the late fteenth century in the Sanskritized form hindukah to refer in the Indo-Islamic manner to those in the population of Kashmir who

were not Muslims (variously called yavanh, mlecchh, turuskh, and mausulh in Kashmirian Sanskrit

sources). He does so in his Zaynatarangin (Jainatarangin), covering the last years of the reign of Sultn

Zayn al-bidn (14591470), and, in the second chapter, the short reign (14701472) of his son and
successor Haydar h, and his Rjatarangin, covering the reign of Hasan h (14721484) and the rst

two years of the reign of Muhammad h (14841486). The passages in these works in which the term

hindukah is found are Zaynatarangin 2.122123: oppression of certain Muslims (yavanh) by Hindus

(hindukh) leading on the Sultns orders to retaliatory oppression of the brahmins (dvijapdanam);

Rjatarangin 1.213ab: Sultn Hasan hs mother Gul Khtn is lamented after her death as one who

had been to the observances of the Hindus like the sun that causes the lotus to open its petals (hindu
kasamcraatapatraraviprabhm); 1.270: some pro-Muslim (mausulavallabhh) merchants who had

observed Hindu customs from birth (janmahindukcrh) slaughter a cow; 2.503507: after the death

of the tolerant Sultn Zayn al-bidn the kingdom became bereft of proper Hindu observance; every

year more of the calendrical rites prescribed in the [Nlamata]purna lapsed; and some merchants,

favouring the Muslims (mausulapriyh), gave up the observances proper for them as Hindus (svoci

tyaktv), slaughtering cows and eating their esh, ashamed of the ways of their
ancestors. For the distinction between rvaras two works, hitherto concealed by their publication
as successive parts of a single Rjatarangin (Kaul 1966), I follow Slaje 2005. The second work begins

with the third chapter of the consolidated edition (Rjatarangin 1.213 as cited here = 3.213 of Kauls

edition). The evidence of rvaras learning in Persian, which after the advent of Muslim rule in Kashmir
in 1339 had replaced Sanskrit as the language of court culture, is his Kvya Kathkautuka, a rendering in
Sanskrit of Abd al-Rahmn Jmis celebrated Persian narrative poem Yusof o Zoleyk of 1483.

There may be an earlier use of the word by a non-Muslim Indian author. I merely report the earliest
uses that I have encountered, these being a century earlier than the earliest occurrences previously
noted, namely those in texts of the Gaud ya Vais n ava tradition, beginning with the Caitanyabhgavata
of Vrrndvanadsa, c. 1545, cited by Halbfass (1988, p. 192) following OConnell (1973). There, as in the
usage of rvara, the term always appears in contexts of conict with, or in opposition to, Islam. I note
also that the term does not occur in the Rjatarangin of rvaras teacher Jonarja, which covers the

history of Kashmir from 1149 to 1459 (the year of his death). When Jonarja refers to the ancestral
religion of his community he uses the language of the insider, terming it sadcrah orthopraxy (773)

and brhmakriy (596) rites prescribed by the Veda, opposing it to the sinful observances of the Mus-


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However, the absence of a name does not entail the absence of a corresponding
concept. There is evidence, as we shall see, that by the end of the rst millennium
of the Christian era the consensus had indeed come to conceptualize a complex
entity corresponding to Hinduism as opposed to Buddhism and Jainism, excluding only certain forms of antinomian kta-aiva observance that could not be
reconciled with basic Vaidika values of ritual purity and the separation of castes.
Conservative authorities continued to rail against this soft-focus Hinduism,
with its blurring of the boundaries between the Vaidika and the non-Vaidika,
well into the second millennium of the Christian era, the Vaidikas insisting that
the prescriptions of the Vaisnava (Pcartrika) and aiva scriptures are in
valid in their entirety, being based on scriptures that are not part of the Veda
or rooted therein (vedamla-),3 the aivas insisting on the absolute superiority of
their own revelations and the ultimate inecacity of those of the Vaidikas and
the Vaisnavas, and the Vaisnavas insisting that they too were Vaidikas in spite of

Vaidika rejection and in keeping with this insistence fervently condemning the
aivas,4 in spite of the fact that the aiva and Vaisnava systems of observance

lims, by which, he says, the kingdom of Kashmir had been deled (kamramandale mlecchadurcrena

dsite [591ab]).

One may ask whether when the term Hindu was introduced following Islamic usage it was used
to refer to Hindus in the modern sense, that is to say, to Hindus as opposed to Buddhists and Jainas, or
was used to cover the followers of all three non-Islamic religions. It is probable that it was used in the
narrower sense, since several centuries earlier the great Khwarezmian scholar Ab Rayhn Moham

mad b. Ahmad Brn (Al-brn, Alberuni) (9731050) clearly distinguishes Hindus and Buddhists in his
Indological magnum opus Ketb tahqq m lel-Hend men maqla maqbla l-aql aw mardla (entitled

India in Sachau s two-volume English translation [1910]); see, e.g., vol. 1 of that translation, p. 7.
3. An outstanding case of this conservative stance is that of Aparditya, a twelfth-century ruler of
North Konkan, who devoted much learned effort to resisting the drift into acceptance of the initiated
aivas in his long comment on Yjavalkyasmrti 1.7, the verse that lists all the valid means of knowing

ones religious duties (dharmapramnni) (vol. 1, pp. 920).

4. The Vaisnava stance has been expounded with great clarity by Ymuna in his gamaprmnya.

According to rvaisnava tradition, his life span was ad 916/171038, a barely credible 121 or 122 years.

Mesquita (1973) has proposed that he lived from 966/7 to 1038. The attempt of Ymuna in South India
to persuade the deeply sceptical Vaidikas that the Bhgavatas are real brahmins reects a wider struggle. For the objections raised by the Vaidikas against the Bhgavatas claim as presented by Ymuna
are found in much the same form about a century earlier in Kashmir in Jayantas topical play gama
dambara, where they appear on the lips of a disgruntled Vaidika officiant (rtvik), who complains bitterly


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have much more in common with each than either has with the Vaidika.5 But the
middle ground saw in aivas and Pcartrika Vaisnavas proper, that is to say,

in those who had taken initiation (dks) into these soteriologies and practised

their special rites, only variants of observance applicable to specic communities

added to the ancient bedrock of Vaidika religion without detriment to the latter;
and this view came, as we shall also see, to be accepted not only by the orthoprax
but also by many, perhaps even most, of the initiated themselves. As for the uninitiated, whose only rite of religious empowerment had been the upanayanam
that qualied a man for Vaidika observance and the recitation of the Veda, they
had themselves long since developed their own modes of Vaidika worship of the
deities of the initiated and integrated them into their daily rites, privileging one
deity as an expression of personal devotion but generally including the others in
a syncretistic approach that, through its daily repetition in countless households,
must have done much to express and nourish this sense of the greater unity that
came to be called Hinduism.
The thinking behind the concept of this as yet unnamed Hinduism is by its
nature more tolerant than the views that we shall see below of the strict adherents
of its competing components. But it is strictly brahmanical: Buddhism and Jainism remain invalid in this thinking.
However, while certain states did at times adopt a hostile attitude towards
these two non-Vaidika faiths, we may surmise that in general it was not politic for
Indian and Southeast Asian governments during the early mediaeval period to
adopt a policy that strongly disadvantaged their Buddhist and, in the case of the
subcontinent, Jaina subjects. As we shall see, this supra-brahmanical perspective,
which I see as an answer to the socio-legal question of what forms of religion the
state should tolerate or support and which are truly beyond the pale of the permissible, also nds its voice in the learned literature of our period. Stopping short

about the attempts of the Bhgavatas to intrude themselves into the brahmin community by pretending to be brahmins themselves (4.3, prose, 4.4, prose).
5. On the intimate connection between the Pacartra and the aiva tradition of the Mantramrga
see Sanderson 2009a, pp. 6170.


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of accepting that all forms of religion are within the law or, rather, that any form
of religion is above the law, since it excludes the most blatant forms of antinomian
observance, it nonetheless requires tolerance of these long-established traditions.
In this perspective it may be said that Indian and Southeast Asian states generally propagated tolerance in matters of religion. But it is not the case that any
of the individual religions that came within the purview of this tolerance were
tolerant by nature. The long-entrenched contrary view, that the Indian religions
were essentially tolerant, cannot reasonably be maintained in the face of the carefully formulated views of the adherents of these Indian traditions and evidence of
sporadic outbreaks of intolerance and persecution. If the religions that ourished
during the early mediaeval period in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia
enjoyed in many regions and periods an enviable degree of peaceful co-existence,
this must be explained not through an argument from essence, which leads inevitably to the overlooking or dismissing of contrary evidence, but in terms of a
balance of inuence in which no one religious tradition was in a position of such
strength that it could rid society of its rivals, a balance of power sustained by the
policy of governments.
Vaidika Exclusivity

Let us now begin by looking at the extremes that reject or contradict this unity.
Any claim that tolerance of religious diversity is at the heart of Hinduism must
overlook the view of the Vaidikas, whose theoreticians atly denied the validity
of any religious practice that was undertaken on the authority of texts lying outside the Veda (vedabhyni), that is to say, outside the Vaidika scriptural corpus
of ruti and such secondary literature (Smrti) as was accepted to derive from it.

Thus in the ninth or tenth century Medhtithi 6 states in his erudite commentary
on the Manusmrti: 7

6. On the probable date of Medhtithi see Kane 1930, p. 275.

7. Manubhsya, vol. 1, p. 57, ll. 56.


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So all those outside [the Veda], namely the worshippers of the Sun (bhojaka-),8
the followers of the [Vaisnava] Pacartra, the Jainas, the [Buddhist] deniers

of the self (antmavdi-),9 the Pupatas, and the rest, hold that their doctrines
have been authored by exceptional persons or deities who have had direct experience of the truth they teach. They do not claim that their religious practices derive [like ours] from the [eternal and unauthored (apauruseya-)] Veda;

and indeed their teachings contain doctrines that directly contradict it.

Similarly, the seventh-century Mmmsaka Kumrila declares: 10

The texts that may not be drawn on, because they contradict the Veda and
because we can detect their [base] motives, are, we are taught, [the following.
Firstly they are] these well-known works of religion-cum-irreligion rejected by
Vaidikas and accepted [as scriptures] by the Sm khyas, the followers of the

Yoga school, the Pcartrika Vaisnavas, the Pupatas,11 the Buddhists, and

the Jainas. These hide in the shadow cast by a screen of pious observance con-

8. The term bhojakah denotes the Maga or Magabrhmana officiants of the Srya cult (Old Persian

magu-), descendants of Pahlavas who established kingdoms in Northwest India in the rst century bc .
It renders Middle Iranian *bak, one who saves (Scheftelowitz 1933, pp. 305306).
9. I have emended the editions nirgranthnrthavda- to nirgranthntmavdi-, since anrthavda
yields no meaning, while antmavdi- denier of the self yields a meaning fully apposite to the context,
dening Buddhists as it does in terms of the doctrine that most starkly differentiates from them all
other Indian religious traditions.
10. Tantravrttika, vol. 1, pp. 114, ll. 20115, l. 6, on 1.3.34.
11. By the time of Kumrila, an approximate contemporary of the Buddhist Dharmakrti, who was active sometime between c. 550 and 650, the aiva Mantramrga was well enough established to attract
trenchant criticism from the latter. Its earliest scriptural texts go back to the fth to sixth centuries,
inscriptions recording the initiation of kings following its procedures are attested from the seventh
onwards, and epigraphical evidence of its monastic institutions goes back to the late sixth (Sanderson 2013b, pp. 235236). It is extremely improbable, therefore, that Kumrila was familiar only with
the Atimrga and not also with the Mantramrga. I am therefore inclined to think that he is using the
term Pupata here to cover the Pupatas and all subsequent aiva developments up to his time,
understanding it as meaning one who follows what has been taught by Paupati, where Paupati is
to be understood simply as a synonym of iva (see, e.g., Nmalingnusana 1.1.130134). The same
will apply to Medhtithis use of the term Pupata in my preceding citation. Both authors are perhaps


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taining some elements of the Vedas teaching; but their real purpose is to win
social approval, wealth, veneration, and fame. They are contrary to the Veda
and incoherent. The greed and other [vices of their authors] are manifest.
They have been composed on the basis of arguments framed within the limits
of [the means of non-transcendental knowledge, namely] sense-perception,
inference, analogy, and presumption. They are perfumed with the fragrance of
a handful of teachings congruent with ruti and Smr ti, [advocating such vir
tues as] non-violence, truthfulness, self-control, generosity, and compassion;
but [at the same time] they propagate teachings of a quite dierent nature,
teachings that are little more than means of making a living, by demonstrating the occasional successes of a handful of spells and herbs able to counteract
the eects of poison, to subject people, to drive them out, to drive them mad,
and so forth. And [secondly they are] the works even more remote [from the
Veda] (bhyatarni) that prescribe [observances] that are contaminated by

[culturally alien] practices proper to barbarians (mlecchcramira-), such as

eating from a skull-bowl (kabhojana-) and wandering naked (nagnacarana-).12

using what they considered to be the properly Vaidika expression for the teachings of iva, following
Mahbhrata 12.337.59ab: smkhyam yogam pacartram vedh pupatam tath.

12. Here I propose that Kumrila wrote mlecchcramirakabhojananagnacarandi rather the edi
tions reading mlecchcramirakabhojananagncarana, and, as my translation shows, I analyse this

compound as mlecchcramira-kabhojananagnacarandi, taking ka- in the meaning human head,

skull (syn. kaplam) (see, e.g., Abhidhnaratnaml 5.61). In this I am swayed by the testimony of a
parallel discussion in Medhtithi, Manubhsya on 2.6: syt tdr vedakh yasym ayam narsthip

trabhojananagnacarydir upadisto bhavet, There might well be a branch of the Veda [now defunct]

which is such that in it such [practices] as eating from a vessel made from a human skull and wandering
naked might have been prescribed. Jh (1924) did not see the reference to the skull-bowl users here,
dividing the compound as mlecchcramiraka-bhojana-carana and translating it as follows: abso
lutely repugnant practices t for Mlecchas, such as the eating together of many persons, and the like.
Similarly Kataoka 2011, pt 2, p. 351: barbarian customs, i.e. the practice of eating together. Evidently
this eating together renders Kumrilas mirakabhojana-. I argue against this interpretation in detail
in my forthcoming aivism and Brahmanism. Those who ate from a bowl fashioned from a human skull
were the ascetics of the Lkula and Kplika traditions of the Atimrga and, in the Mantramrga and
Kulamrga, persons engaged in the propitiation of Bhairava and/or Cmund/Kl through the prac
tice of the Kplika observance. On the three Mrgas (Ati-, Mantra, and Kula-) see Sanderson 2014.
Kumrilas and Medhtithis wandering naked (nagnacaranam, nagnacary) probably refers to the

practice of wandering Jaina mendicant ascetics. See also Medhtithi on 4.30: The psandinah are the


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Concluding his argument he points out that greed and other such base urges
(lobhdi) are a sucient explanation of the source of all these traditions, and that
they themselves make no claim to be Veda-based (vedamlatvam). So, he says, it is
these that are referred to by Manu when he speaks of followers of forbidden religious
practices (psandinah) and rules that they should not be honoured even with speech: 13

[The householder] should not honour even with speech those who follow
forbidden religious practices,14 those who practice professions forbidden to
their caste, those who practice religion for prot, deceivers, those who reason
[against the teachings of the Vedas], and pious hypocrites.

The context of this prohibition is the behaviour of householders towards uninvited guests (atithih), the respectful feeding of whom is one of their cardinal du
ties. Commenting on this verse Medhtithi says that if a would-be recipient of
food belonging to these prohibited categories arrives at the home, which in our
present context means any follower of the Pacartra or of any one of the aiva
systems, a Buddhist, or a Jaina,15 he is not to be greeted respectfully, nor to receive

red-robed, the naked wanderers, and others, who adopt the insignia [of religious observances] that are
outside [the Veda] (psandino bhyalingino raktapatanagnacarakdayah). The expression red-robed

(raktapatah) is commonly used as a somewhat undignied term for Buddhists in non-Buddhist sources,

as in gamadambara, prose before 1.17 (bho raktapata) and 3.26 (raktapatocchistam), and ankara,

Brahmastrabhsya on 2.2.35, and the pairing of Buddhists and Jainas is standard.
13. Manusmrti 4.30.

14. The term psandin-, often misleadingly translated heretic, is dened as I have translated it here by

Medhtithis gloss on psandam, from which psandin- is formed by the addition of the possessive suffix,

in his commentary on Manusmrti 1.118: psandam pratisiddhavratacary psandam is to practice a for

bidden religious observance and on 5.89: straparitygena bhyadaranrayam narairahkaplarak

tmbardidhranam psandam psandam is to turn ones back on the teachings [of the Veda] and

thereby to carry the skull of a human head, to wear red robes and the like, [practices] that are proper
to religions outside [the Veda]. The term heretic is better reserved to denote professed followers of
a religion whose views or practices reject or are seen as rejecting the established norms of that same
religion. From the Vaidika point of view those it terms psandin- are apostates rather than heretics,

Vaidika observance being seen as the default and all other faiths as arising through its rejection.
15. The South Indian Vaisnava Ymuna cites a text without attribution in his gamaprmnya (p.26,

ll.97) that rules on the authority of Smrti that the term psandam covers the whole range of non-


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the customary enquiries concerning his birth and learning, nor to be oered a
seat and the rest. He may be fed, but only as one feeds untouchables and the like.16
This equation with untouchables is more than rhetorical. For other Smrti

passages tell us that even the sight of such persons is pollutant for the orthoprax,
let alone physical contact: 17
If he comes into physical contact with Buddhists, Pupatas, materialists, deniers [of life after death, the validity of the Veda, and the like], or brahmins
engaged in improper employment, he should bathe fully clothed.

and: 18
If he sees Jainas, Pupatas, Buddhists, Kla[mukha]s, [kta] Kaulas, or
peripatetic [mendicants] he should glance at the sun. If he has come into contact with any of them he should bathe fully clothed.

Likewise a verse from an unidentied Smrti text cited with approval in the

digest-like commentary on the Yjavalkyasmrti attributed to Aparditya, the

twelfth-century ilhra ruler of North Konkan: 19

Vaidika systems: the Vaisnava Pacartra, the aiva [Mantramrga], the Pupata, the Kplika, Bud
dhism, and Jainism.
16. Manubhsya on 4.30: There is certainly no question of respectfully giving them a seat and so
forth. Nor may one even speak to them, saying, for example, Welcome. Please be seated here. One
is allowed to give them food [but only] as one would to untouchables and the like (vapacdivat). Concerning this giving of food the venerable Krsnadvaipyana has taught the following Smrti: One should

not enquire concerning his birth or learning.

17. The Sattrimanmata quoted by Aparditya, Yjavalkyasmrtitk, p. 923.

18. An unnamed Smrti text (smrtyantaram) quoted by Aparditya, Yjavalkyasmrtitk, p. 923.

19. There were two Apardityas among the ilhra kings of North Konkan. The earliest known inscription of Aparditya I is dated in ad 1127 (cii 6:20), and his reign ended in 1148 (cii 6:62). Aparditya II
has dated inscriptions from 1184 to 1197 (cii 6:3032, 63). The last known inscription of his predecessor
Mallikrjuna is dated in 1162 (cii 6:29) and the rst known inscription of his successor Anantadeva II is
dated in 1198 (cii 6:33). Kane has argued (1930, p. 334) that the great commentary on the Yjavalk


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If he sees Kplikas, Pupatas, aivas [of the Mantramrga], or Krukas,20

he should gaze at the sun [in order to purify himself]. If he has come into
physical contact with them he should bathe.21

yasmrti is more probably to be assigned to the rst of these two Apardityas on the grounds that the

work is quoted in the Smrticandrik of Devannabhatta. This is because he dates that work c. 1200

(1930, p. 346) on the evidence that it cites Vijnevara and is cited by Hemdri. This would not preclude Devannabhattas having known a work by Aparditya II, but it would, he argues, leave uncomfort

ably little time for the work to have become well enough known to have been cited as an authority.
This is less compelling than it seems, since Hemdri tells us that he wrote while he was a minister of
Mahdeva, the Sena king of Devagiri, who ruled from 1260 to 1271, as Kane himself agrees (1930,
p.357). There is therefore no good reason to date Devannabhatta as early as 1200 on the grounds that

he is cited by Hemdri, and there is therefore no good reason to doubt that the Yjavalkyasmrtitk

was by Aparditya II solely because it was cited by Devannabhatta. However, that the author of that

work was indeed Aparditya I does nd some support in a fact not noted by Kane , namely that the
colophons of that work describe the author simply as the ilhra king rmad-Apardityadeva, which
is as we nd Aparditya I modestly identied in his inscriptions (cii 6:2022 [rmadapardityadeva- or
r-apardityadeva-]). Aparditya II assumed the much grander title of Mahrjdhirja (cii 6:32). A
further point in favour of Aparditya I is that the author of the commentary on the Yjavalkyasmrti is

uncompromising in his rejection of the non-Vaidika religion of the Pcartrikas and aivas, whereas
Aparditya II, as we can see from inscriptions, had one Vyomaiva/Vyomaambhu, an initiated Saiddhntika aiva officiant, as his chief minister (Mahpradhna/Mahmtya), as did his immediate predecessor on the throne, Mallikrjuna (r. c. ad 11551170). See cii 6:29, 30, and 32.
20. The Krukas of this passage are a group closely related to the Lkulas and sometimes take their
place when the totality of aivas is intended, as here, through the listing of their four major types:
Pcrthika Pupatas, Lkulas/Klamukhas, Kplikas, and [Mantramrgic] aivas. Cf. Bhskara on
Brahmastra 2.3.37: tatra mhevar catvrah pupath aivh kplikh kthakasiddhntina ceti;

Vcaspatimira, Bhmat on ankara, Brahmastrabhsya on 2.3.37: aivh pupath krunikasiddhn

tinah kplik ceti. In these two passages the readings kthakasiddhntina and krunikasiddhntina

yield no apposite sense and are both, I propose, corruptions of krukasiddhntina followers of the
Kruka doctrine introduced by later Vaidika scholars unfamiliar with this somewhat obscure aiva
21. Yjavalkyasmrtitk, p. 18. According to Visnudharma 25.7, 25.11cd, and 25.29cd (quoted by

Aparditya, Yjavalkyasmrtitk, p. 171, ll. 18 and 29), purication in these cases requires the power

of the ucisad Mantra: If the learned has spoken with [any of] these persons [following a forbidden

religious practice] he should meditate on Visnu ucisad...If he has seen one he should utter [the Man

tra] om namah ucisad and then glance at the sun...If he has come into physical contact with one the

learned will be puried if he bathes while mentally reciting the ucisad.


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He comments: 22
On the evidence of this further Smr ti [it is established that] the aivas and

other [sectarians mentioned in it, that is to say] those who adhere to bodies
of [non-Vaidika] scripture such as those proclaimed by iva (aivdi), are considered by those fully versed in the injunctions of the three Vedas to be as
pollutant as the basest of untouchables (antyvasyivat) 23 if seen or touched.

It is clear from the discussion in which Aparditya makes this point that for
him, and no doubt for the Smrti in question, the term aiva here refers to all

branches of the Mantramrga, including the Siddhnta, in spite of the latters

relatively innocuous, Veda-congruent observances.
Nor was this vituperative rejection of all religious traditions other than the
Vaidika conned to theory. For Manu goes so far as to exhort kings to put it into
practice by expelling all followers of such religious systems from his kingdom:
[The ruler] should expel from his capital without delay any gamblers, newsmongers, men of violence, men adhering to non-Vaidika religious observances (psand asthn), men engaged in occupations not in keeping with their

caste, and publicans. For if these are present in the kingdom they are like
thieves in disguise for the king. They constantly oppress his virtuous subjects
with their deviant activities.24

22. Yjavalkyasmrtitk, p. 18.

23. The term antyavasy, here rendered the basest of untouchables but literally one who makes his
abode in the lowest [of places], is dened in the Manusmrti as the cremation-ground-dwelling son of a

Candla man born to a Nisda woman, despised even by the other divisions of the excluded (bhynm

api garhitam) (10.39). Bhruci comments in his Manustravivarana: Cremation-ground-dwelling

means working and living therein. This being the case he should be recognized as even more sinful
(ppatarah) than the Candla.

24. Manusmrti 9.2256. In his commentary on this passage Bhruci makes it clear that although Manu

states only that they should be expelled from the capital (purt), the implication is that they should be
exiled from the whole kingdom: He should expel them from the capital. It is implied that these should


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For the Vaidikas, then, there certainly was no Hinduism as dened in our
opening paragraph, since they looked with abhorrence on all systems, including
the Vaisnava Pacartra and the varieties of aivism, that deviated from their

denition of orthopraxy; and, as we have seen, the Manusmrti, far from tolerating

these with indierence, urged the state to banish their adherents. Moreover, it enjoined the orthoprax to avoid dwelling in any place where they were numerous.25
It may be doubted that the Manusmrtis rule of exile was often if ever imple
mented; but the idea that it should be put into eect survived centuries during
which the non-Vaidika systems ourished and aivism among them rose to
become the dominant religion of the era.26 For this survival is gently satirized
in Kashmir around the turn of the ninth and tenth centuries in Jayantas play
gamadambara (Much Ado About Religion). There two Vaidikas an ociant

(rtvik) and an instructor (updhyyah) face the failure of the ultra-orthoprax

camp to persuade the state to revert to a purely Vaidika utopia free of aivas, Pcartrikas, Buddhists, and Jainas. The ocial protest of its champion, the Sntaka Samkarsana, fresh from his long training in the Veda, had met with initial

success. The government of Kashmir had agreed to ban a particularly antinomian
and subversive cult of the Kaula type known as the Black-Shawl Observance
(nlmbaravratam), a measure whose historicity is conrmed by another source.27

be expelled from the whole kingdom too (rstrd apy ete rthato nirvsyh), since the effect of their

banishment from the kingdom [and the capital] is the same.

25. Manusmrti 4.61: He should not live in any kingdom governed by dras, in one full of people who

neglect their religion, in one occupied by communities adhering to non-Vaidika religious observances
(psandigankrnte), or in one beset by the lowest born. Medhtithi gives in clarication of the last the

case of Balkh (bhlkh) in ancient Bactria between the Hindu Kush and the Amu Darya (Oxus), which,

he accurately reports, was beset by people of alien culture(s) (yath bhlk mlecchaih).

26. On the rise of aivism to dominance in early mediaeval India see Sanderson 2009a.
27. That the suppression of the followers of the Black-Shawl Observance was not the theatrical invention of Jayanta but a historical fact is attested by Jayanta himself in his philosophical masterpiece
Nyyamajar. For he writes there (vol. 1, p. 649, l. 4): King ankaravarman, knowing the nature of [true]
religion (dharmatattvajah), banned (nivraym sa) the Black-Shawl Observance, in which uninhibited

couples would indulge in many [indecent] activities (-aniyatastripumsavihitabahucestam) wrapped in

a single black shawl (asitaikapatanivta- em : amitaikapatanivta- Ed.), because he realized that it was

without precedent (aprvam), having been invented (kalpitam) by some libertines. That this was a


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But this led to panic among the aivas in general, who felt that they too might
be driven out. The status quo is restored by the king by summoning Samkarsana,

nding him a wife, favouring him with the (white parasol and other) insignia
of distinction (mnaih),28 a golden llet for his head (pattabandhena),29 and the

honoric r- (rabdena),30 and putting him in charge of the Department for the

variety of Kaula kta-aivism is apparent from the account of it in the gamadambara, where it is

clearly a cult involving unrestrained sexual indulgence and the drinking of intoxicating liquor, only meat
among the Kaulas three Ms (madyam, mmsah, and maithunam; see Tantrloka 29.97100b, quoting

the Yogasamcra) failing to be mentioned here. It is conrmed by the account of the aiva scriptural

canon quoted from the otherwise lost rkanthyasamhit by Taksakavarta in his Nitydisamgraha

paddhati, an account that was the locus classicus for the Kashmirians. For this includes a Nlmbara
in its list of eight Kaula[tantra]s: nlmbaram sutram ca sandhy yoginidmaram | svyambhuvam

siddhamatam gankhyam khecarmatam | astau kauls tv am khyth sadyahpratyayakrakh (Ni

tydisamgrahapaddhati f. 10r1314). Some of these, including Nlmbara, also appear in a list of aiva

scriptures in the Kaula Kularatnoddyota f. 2r2: nlmbaram ca trkhyamgankhyam khecarmatam.

This is not the only report of action against this cult. According to a story about its followers,
the Nlapataprabandha, contained in the Puratnaprabandhasamgraha (p. 19) compiled by the Jaina

scholar Jinavijaya Muni, King Bhoja, the famous Paramra emperor who ruled from Dhr in Mlava
for most of the rst half of the eleventh century (on his date see Sanderson 2014, p. 16, fn. 61), heard
about this cult from his daughter, who told him that she was going to join it. He then invited all of its
adherents, forty-nine couples in all, to assemble in his presence on the pretext that he wished to become their devotee, executed all the men, and sent the women into exile. That they were Kaulas is
evident from a verse that they recite in answer to Bhojas asking them whether they are happy: There
arent rivers owing with wine; there arent mountains made of meat; and the whole world doesnt
consist of women. How [then] can a Nlapata [one of the Black Shawl (cult)] be satised? (na nadyo

madyavhinyo na ca mmsamay nagh | na ca nrmayam vivam katham nlapatah sukh). For this is

a variant of a verse about Kaulism cited by Rjnaka Jayaratha on Tantrloka 15.169c170b: na nadyo
madhuvhinyo na palam parvatopamam | strmayam na jagat sarvam kutah siddhih kulgame.

28. Cf. the Cambodian Sanskrit inscription K. 762 of ad 673, v. 6: sittapatrdisanmnah (Cds 1937

1966, vol. 1, pp. 1215).

29. On the designs of the various llets, also called mukutah, to be worn by the king, the chief queen,

the crown prince, and the general, and as an honour bestowed by the king (prasdapattah), see

Brhatsamhit 48.15. According to that source all are to be made of pure gold (48.4cd).

30. This transforms him from plain Bhatta-Samkarsana into Bhattar-Samkarsana; see gamadam

bara, prose imediately before 3.1: Inhabitants of the capital and country, Bhattar-Samkarsana, at the

command of His Majesty Mahrja ankaravarman, hereby informs you... Other Kashmirians named
with this title are Kallata (author of the Spandakrik), Jayanta (author of the Nyyamajar), Nryana

(author of the Stavacintmani), Nryanakantha (author of the commentary on the Mrgendra), Bilhana

(author of the Vikramnkadevacarita), Bhskara (author of the ivastravrtika), Bhtirja (Guru of


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Protection of Religion (dharmaraksdhikre niyuktah) with authority through

out the kingdom. In this oce he goes forthwith to the hermitage of the ascetic
Bhattraka Dharmaiva, apparently the ocial representative of all the aiva

groups in Kashmir, to reassure him that the aivas will not be further targetted.
The ociant laments:
What a disaster! The way things have turned out is not at all what we envisaged. We imagined that all the religions outside the Veda would be
suppressed and that in this state of aairs the result would be (vedabhyasakalgamatiraskrena) that the whole kingdom would become our efdom

(sarvam asmadbhogyam eva bhuvanam bhavisyatti cintitam). But the outcome

is that the alien religions (bhygamh) are in precisely the same position as

before (yathnysam eva). For [v. 4.1]:

These aivas, Pupatas, Pcartrikas, Sm khyas, Buddhists, Jainas,

and the rest, are all enjoying exactly the same status as before. Damn
the Sntaka [Sam karsana]s useless erudition!

The Updhyya responds:

My friend, [the Sntaka] has now become the servant of the king, has he not?
And the king is entirely devoted to iva (paramamhevarah). So it is inevi
table that [Sam karsana] should be directing all his thoughts to winning his

favour. For [v. 4.2]:
In the presence of kings their servants habitually do nothing but parrot their commands and being greedy to enhance their positions they
no more distinguish between what is good or bad than echoes.

Abhinavaguptas father), Mukula (teacher of Pratihrendurja), Rmakantha (son of Nryanakantha),

Vmana (=Hrasvantha), ankara (the father of Cakradhara), ankadhara (the Guru of Cakradhara),
itikantha (author of the Kaulastra), ivasvmin (author of the Mahkvya Kapphinbhyudaya), and

Somnanda (author of the ivadrsti).


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The ociant agrees but asks how they can survive as Vaidikas in a society that
under-values them:
It is indeed as you hold, my friend: it is a rare man that in disregard of his
own interests will impartially restrict his thoughts to what is ordained by the
Veda. But how are we to survive [here] when we can support ourselves only by
purely Vaidika services such as performing sacrices for others [in my case]
and teaching the Veda [in yours]?

The Updhyya says:

My friend, we shall live out our future as we have our past, satised with nothing more than a mouthful of food and cloth to cover us.

The real world, it seems, no longer pays more than lip-service to the orthoprax Vaidika position. The non-Vaidika elements have become too strong to be
suppressed, and the Vaidika camp is too weak, and impoverished, to lobby successfully to diminish their power. The king, ankaravarman, is after all a devotee

of iva inclined to be indulgent towards all forms of established religion,31 and his
queen, Sugandh, we are told, favours the Pcartrikas, as does, according to
report, one of the kings functionaries.32
The aivas Inclusivist View of Their
Own and the Vaidikas Religion

As for the aivas, they likewise seem to undermine the unity of Hinduism by
insisting not merely on the validity of their own scriptures but also on their superiority to the Vaidika scriptures and indeed to the scriptures of all non-aiva sys-

31. gamadambara, Act 3, prose between 3.3 and 3.4: For the king, his Majesty ankaravarman

is entirely devoted to iva (paramamhevarah) and shows compassion to all religious disciplines

(sarvramesu ca dayluh).

32. gamadambara, Act 4, prose after 4.4.


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tems. This was already so in the earliest known aiva initiatory system, that of the
Pcrthika Pupatas of the Atimrga, whose ascetic initiates were to see themselves as having severed all ties with the Vaidika religion, leaving behind their
former obligations to the gods and ancestors to focus their devotion on iva/
Rudra alone; 33 and it continued to be so in the Mantramrga, even though this
later form of the religion, in evidence from about 450550 onwards, expanded
the community of the initiated beyond that of ascetics, important though they
continued to be, by opening up initiation to householders, allowing them, indeed
requiring them, to remain in this status after they had received initiation.
It might appear, therefore, that aivism was as much distinct from, and
opposed to, the religion of the Vaidikas as the latter was to the former and as
both were to Buddhism and Jainism. However, while the aivas thought their
scriptures superior to the Vaidikas and the Vaidikas thought their own superior, the two traditions views of each other were not symmetrical, not at least
where the aivas of the Mantramrga were concerned, these alone having left
us adequate evidence of their views on this issue. For while most Vaidika theoreticians during this period condemned the aiva scriptures as false, the aivas
of the Mantramrga held unanimously that the ruti and Smrti of Brahmanism

are universally and uniquely valid in their own sphere, that of prescribing the
conduct and religious observance obligatory for persons in their identity as married and unmarried members of the caste-classes (varnramadharmah), and that

as such they are mans sole means of valid knowledge both of all actions (karma)
that benet and harm the souls destiny in the domain of recurrent incarnation
(samsrah) and of the nature of the consequences of these actions, from the re
wards of the heavens to the tortures of the hells.
Nor did they deny the reality of Brahmanisms goal, that of liberation

33. See, e.g., Kaundinya, Pacrthabhsya on 2.9: This brahmins qualication and obligation to make

offerings to the gods and his ancestors applied [only] before [his initiation]. Therefore he should [now]
withdraw devotion from these gods and ancestors and in place of both x his heart on Mahevara and
worship him and no other. The word ca here [in pitrvac ca] expresses prohibition. It implies that the

reason why he should no longer make offerings to the [other] gods and his ancestors is that they lack
the agency that he used to attribute to them.


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(moksah), oered to those who aspired to escape recurrent incarnation through

knowledge, unmotivated obedience to ritual injunctions, or both. They denied

only that it was ultimate, holding that true, denitive liberation lay beyond it and
could be reached through aivism alone, by undergoing initiation in the presence of the Mandala of iva (ivamandaladks) and then following the aiva ritual

and meditative disciplines, or, in the case of those prevented by incapacity or social responsibilites from taking up those disciplines, notably their royal patrons,
through initiation followed by fervent devotion manifest in support of the aiva
religion and its institutions.
Nor was the validity of the Vaidika scriptures irrelevant to the aivas within
their own world of aiva rites and belief. Indeed Sadyojyotis, who is much the
earliest of the commentators on the aiva scriptures whose works have reached
us he ourished sometime between the second half of the seventh century and
the beginning of the ninth, probably no later than the rst half of the eighth 34
insisted that the defence of the validity of the Vaidika scriptures (ruti and S

is essential to a belief in the validity of the scriptures of the aivas themselves.

He oered two cogent reasons. The rst is that if the Vaidika scriptures were
not the source of valid knowledge in their domain, as the Buddhists and Jains insist,
then aivisms central claim that it frees the initiate from the cosmic hierarchy of the
levels of incarnation would be empty. aivas must believe that the Vaidika scripural
corpus is valid because the initiation rituals prescribed in their scriptures and performed by iva himself through their ociants bring about the progressive freeing
of the soul from a cosmos created and maintained for and by the enactment and consequences of meritorious and demeritorious actions, and these actions, as we have
seen, are held by the aivas to be good and bad on the authority of the Veda alone.
The second reason and it is this that is more weighty in an assessment of
the lived relations between aivism and Vaisika orthopraxy is that the Mantra
mrgas scriptures themselves insist that the rules of the Vaidika socio-religious
order are binding on aiva initiates. aivas were subject to that order at the time

34. See Sanderson 2007a.


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of their initiation, and to the extent that they chose to continue to live within it
after their initiation they were enjoined to continue to adhere to its rules.35
That the aiva scriptures do indeed require this conformity is well illustrated
in the following passage, much cited by the commentators:
So he should not transgress (na langhayet) the practices of his caste-class and
[Vaidika] discipline (varnramcrn) even in thought (manaspi). He should

remain (tist het) in the discipline (rame) in which he was when he was initi
ated into the aiva religion (dksitah ivasane) and [at the same time] main
tain the ordinances of iva (ivadharmam ca playet).36

There is another respect in which the Vaidikas view of aivism and the aivas view of Vaidika religion were asymmetrical. For while the Vaidika tradition
made no attempt to justify its validity in aiva terms, the aivas, in their eagerness to establish themselves in what was by that time a fundamentally brahmanical society, attempted to persuade the orthoprax that the aiva corpus was valid
not only because it recognized the Vaidika ordinances as binding on all including
the aivas themselves but also by attempting to undermine the Vaidikas attacks
on the legitimacy of their religious practices by pointing to the abundant evidence
of the promotion of the worship of Rudra or iva, by then considered one and the
same, that is found both in ruti texts and in the secondary Vaidika scriptures.
Thus in his commentary on the Mrgendratantra the tenth-century Kash
mirian Saiddhntika Bhatta Nryanakant ha cites the presence of such practices

in the traditions of all four Vedas. The passage on which he is commenting is the
narrative introduction to the Tantra.37 In the hermitage of Badar, Bharadvja

35. For this argument see Sadyojyotis, Narevaraparks, 3.7476. I have emended yatnam sarvam

karoti in 74b to yatnam sarvah karoti following Bhatta Rmakanthas paraphrase in his commentary:

sarvena...yatno vidheyah.

36. This passage is cited, for example, by Bhatta Rmakantha, in his commentary on Narevaraparks

3.76. His father, Bhatta Nryanakantha, cites it in his commentary on Mrgendratantra, Vidypada p. 63,

ll. 1315, attributing to the Bhrgavottara, which has not, to my knowledge, survived.
37. Vidypda 1.26.


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and other sages install an image of iva and undertake asceticism before it. The
god Indra comes to the hermitage and asks them why they are not following the
religion of the Veda (codandharmah). They reply that the method of propiti
ating iva with asceticism that they are following is indeed Vaidika and point
out (v. 6) that the Veda contains Mantras whose deity is Rudra and procedures
for causing him to come into ones presence. In his commentary on this verse
Bhatta Nryanakant ha elaborates, citing a six-month-long ascetic procedure for

the summoning of Rudra into the propitiators presence taught in the now lost
Rudrakalpa that was a supplement (Pariista) of the rautastra of the Kt haka

Yajurvedins, the use of the long Yajurvedic litany known as the Eleven Rudras
(rudraikdain samhit), probably its recitation while one inundates the Linga

(rudrbhisekah), a practice still current among the Taittirya Yajurvedins in the

iva temples of South India, sacricial procedures using Mantras and chants of
the Rgveda and Smaveda found in the Rgvidhna and Smavidhna, and proce

dures for the propitiation of Rudra found in the Atharvavedic corpus.

Similarly, in his commentary on Sadyojyotiss Moksakrik Bhatta

Nryanakant has son Bhatta Rmakant ha turns to the corpus of secondary

Vaidika scriptures, arguing that these contain abundant historical evidence that
aivism was accepted by venerable gures of remote antiquity whose standing as
men learned in the Veda is beyond question. He cites the rule that aivas must
remain in their castes and life-disciplines, not transgressing the ordinances of
those institutions even in thought, and then addresses the Vaidikas as follows: 38
So this [teaching of iva] is not a forbidden form of religion (na psand atvam)

even from your point of view [as Vaidikas]. This is because it does not conict
with the Vedas, and because there is [Vaidika] scriptural evidence that it was
accepted by men learned in the Vedas. In the Purnas, the Mahbhrata,

and the like we learn that veta, Upamanyu, and other great sages undertook religious practice within this [teaching of iva]. In the [Mah]bhrata
we learn that Nara, Nryana [=Arjuna and Vsudeva], and Avatthman

38. Moksakrikvrtti on v. 146ab.


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did the same, in the words The god that you [Avatthman] have worshipped
in an anthropomorphic image in every age those two have worshipped in the
Linga, 39 and also that it was by propitiating iva that the Lord Vsudeva
achieved his goal in Suvarnksa, as is related in the verse O Kr sna, you will

be the man most dear to me in the world; and the whole world will turn to
face you [in adoration]. Of this there is no doubt, [and Paraurma received
the axe with which he slew Krtavrya.] 40 Moreover in the Smr tis we have

references to such pious acts for the benet of the public (prto dharmah)

as that of establishing a temple [of iva, as in] He who makes a temple of

iva, built with baked bricks 41 and in pious acts for the benet of the public
one should know [that the reward is] liberation. 42 Then there is the evidence
of our own eyes in the form of the Pr thukevara [of Pr thu], the Rmevara

[of Rma], and [many] other [ivas that have been installed in temples by
exemplary Vaidikas in ancient times]. Furthermore, the Veda conrms the
validity of the teaching of iva in such Upanisads as the vetvatara and in

Mantra-texts such as the Atharvairas. So none of the [three] faults that would
entail the invalidity [of the aiva scripture] from your point of view applies:
there is no disagreement [concerning the omniscience of iva, the creator of
our scriptures], there is no lack of proof [of their validity], and they have not
been adopted by a small minority.43

39. Mahbhrata 7.172.86cd.

40. Mahbhrata 3.82.18; text and translation in brackets suspect at this point.
41. Source not located.
42. Varhapurna 170.33[c]d. The category of pious action termed prtam or prto dharmah com

prises such actions as establishing fountains, wells, step-wells, reservoirs, dams, and gardens, and
planting fruit trees and the like; the installing of deities; and the building and renovation of temples and
monasteries. See, e.g., Varhapurna 168.21; 170.3358.

43. These three faults are specied by Kumrila in lokavrttika-Codanstra 133 as reasons for rejecting the Buddhists argument that their claim that the Buddha, the author of their scriptures, was
omniscient is proved by the existence of an unbroken tradition to that effect from his time to the
present. For a detailed discussion of this verse and the three that follow and their interpretation by
Kumrilas commentators see Kataoka 2011, pt. 2, pp. 358366.


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So Mantramrgic aivism, while claiming to transcend Brahmanism by oering true liberation, was nonetheless closely tied to it. It was the Vaidika world
rather than the Buddhist or the Jaina through which aivas rose to salvation; and
on their path thereto they continued to be bound by its rules, adding their aiva
obligations rather than substituting them for the Vaidika. They looked, moreover, to the Vaidika scriptural corpus to provide proof of the validity of their own
scriptures. The evidence adduced as proof is not cogent, since none of it refers to
the specic practices of initiatory aivism; it refers only to forms of propitiation
that had long been part of Vaidika observance. Nonetheless, the attempt reveals
the concern of the Saiddhntikas to be considered valid by the adherents of the
Vaidika tradition that they claimed to rise above.
The Properly aiva Attitude of aivas
Towards Their Vaidika Rites

Now this extension from the purely aiva domain of the ascetic in the Atimrga
into the Vaidika domain of the aiva householder added in the Mantramrga
opened the door to a process of aiva-Vaidika hybridization, in which rites of
both kinds were maintained and co-ordinated without a proper sense of their
distinctness. The aivas theoreticians, aware that this development had the
potential to produce a blurring of the boundary between the two domains
that would undermine the faith of aivas in the independence and supremacy
of aivism, ruled that while initiated aiva householders were thus subject to
two bodies of injunction both the aiva and the Vaidika their attitude
towards adherence to the latter was to dier fundamentally from that of the
Two passages of early Saiddhntika aiva scripture much cited by the commentators clarify this attitude. The rst of these is in the Sarvajnottara. In the
context of its prescription that only persons in two of the four Vaidika disciplines,
those of the unmarried scholar and the married householder, may be consecrated
as aiva ociants, it tells us that the aiva should maintain his Vaidika observances after initiation but without believing that they are fully real. He is to do
them but without subjective commitment. He should not think that by accommodating Vaidika rites beside the aiva he brings about a doubling of the benet


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that he will derive or that if he were to omit them he would damage that benet.
He is to see himself as acting in this regard not for his own advantage but so as
not to undermine through a pointless non-conformity the Vaidika order within
which aivism is embedded.44
The second passage is in the Matangapramevara. This claries the matter
in the language of the Mmms by saying that though the initiate should main
tain his Vaidika duties, here called the mundane observance (laukikcrah), he

must not conceive of them as ancillary elements (angam) of his aiva observances,
which is to say, as elements without which those observances would be incomplete and therefore inecacious.45
The kta-aiva Attitude Towards Vaidika
Observance Among Initiates

The view seen in the Sarvajnottara that the aiva should conform to Vaidika injunction only for the sake of others tended not to be emphasised in the
later Saiddhntika exegetical literature, which seems to be more eager to stress
conformity with Vaidika injunctions than to justify this from a properly aiva
standpoint. But the kta-aiva scholars of such traditions as the Krama and
Trika, whose ritual practice was further distanced from Vaidika norms than
the Saiddhntikas, preserved a strong emphasis on aivisms transcendence,46
even arguing that the true reason for conformity with Vaidika observance was
spiritual immaturity. Thus Abhinavaguptas pupil Ksemarja (. c. 10001050)

asserts that one should continue to perform the Vaidika ritual of venerating the
Juncture of the day (brhm samdhy) before one venerates it in the aiva manner

(aiv samdhy) only so long as ones mind is in thrall to ones constructed social

identity as a member of a caste. In support of this position he cites a passage

from the Saiddhntika Svyambhuvastrasamgraha to the eect that the Vaidika

44. Sarvajnottara, Lingoddhrdiprakarana N f. [34]r5v5; P pp. 9798.

45. Matangapramevara, Carypda 2.27b.

46. See, for example, Abhinavagupta, Tantrloka 4.221c253; 15.162c179b; Partrimikvivarana

p.266, l. 4p. 267, l. 7, edited and translated in Sanderson 2005, pp. 111112.


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ritual of the Juncture is optional but the aiva compulsory. But he leaves out that
part of the passage in which we learn that the option applies only in the case of
ascetics. His reason for doing so is evidently that he wishes the text to support
the view that one should aspire to drop the Vaidika elements of ones ritual programme even if one is not an ascetic, seeing persistence in these as symptoms of
a contracted state of mind that all aivas, householders included, should strive
to transcend.47
Nonetheless, it is unlikely that this kta-aiva view of the accommodation
of Vaidika ritual had a negative impact on the integration of such aivas within
Vaidika society. Ksemarja speaks here of an ideal adjustment within the largely

private domain of the aiva householders daily ritual rather than a wholesale rejection of conformity in the socio-religious domain. And this is in line with other
elements of transcendence that set the aivas engaged in Bhairava and goddess
worship apart from the Saiddhntikas. Thus, for example, when a Saiddhntika
participated in a collective meal with other initiates he was not to sit in a line that
contained persons of a caste other than his own. If he did so he was to do penance,
its severity determined by the degree of the caste dierence, being doubled if the
contaminator was a Vaiya and trebled if he was a dra.48 But according to the
Svacchanda, the principal scripture of the non-Saiddhntika Daksina system of

47. Ksemarja on Svacchanda 2.14c: This veneration of the Juncture (sandhyvandanam) is done with

the Mantras of iva, but rst it is done with the Mantras of [ones] Veda. That is the duty of those in
whom there lingers the deep-seated mentality of identication with the caste that was theirs [before
they entered the casteless caste of Bhairava (bhairavajtih) through initiation] (anivrttaprgjtivsa

naih kryam). The rest should do it with the aiva Mantras [alone], immediately after they have com
pleted the ritual bath. As has been taught [by iva in Svyambhuvastrasamgraha 7.9cd]: He may or

may not do the Vaidika [Sandhy ritual]; but it is compulsory that he should do the aiva. On the early
kta-aiva attitude to caste, and other Vaidika dualities, such as that of the pure and the impure, see
Sanderson 1985, pp. 198205 and endnote 69; Sanderson 2009a, pp. 292297; and Sanderson 2009b.
48. Trilocanaiva, Pryacittasamuccaya p. 25: He should always avoid when eating sitting in the same
line (ekapanktih) as persons of a different caste (bhinnajtibhih). A brahmin who eats unknowingly with

persons of a Ksatriya, Vaiya, or dra caste and abandons his meal in the middle as soon as he realizes

this, should declare this, and then [as his penance] repeat the Aghoramantra ten, twenty, or thirty times
respectively. If he realizes [what he has done only] after the meal has been nished [he should repeat
it] one, two, or three hundred times respectively.


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Bhairava worship, initiates may be arranged in separate rows on such occasions

only according to their rank as initiates. They must never separate themselves in
accordance with the distinctions between the castes in which they were at the time
of their initiation (prgjtih). They must see themselves as having become equal

members of a single caste of Bhairava (bhairavy jtih), and they must know that

if they make any reference to the former caste of an initiate they will be guilty
of a sin that will lead them to hell. In short, says the text, if one wishes to attain
ones goal, be it salvation or Siddhi, one must be free of all caste discrimination
(avivek).49 But there is no suggestion that this transcendence of caste distinctions
should be applied on the socio-religious level in such matters as marriage. The
fact that Abhinavagupta cites the Sarvajnottara with approval for its view of the
necessity of general conformity, and does so even in the context of an argument
that the considerations of relative purity and impurity that dominate Vaidika
behaviour are subjective (pramtrdharmah), makes clear that no such subversive

transcendence was envisaged.50

The same is the point of a Kaula verse cited by the kta-aiva Jayaratha in
this context and also by the Smrta Aparditya, though in that case with the contrary purpose of demonstrating the insincerity of the aivas conformity:
He should be a Kaula in private (antah kaulo), a aiva in outward appearance

(bahih aivo), but a Vaidika in his mundane observances (lokcre tu vaidikah),

keeping the essence [of his religion hidden behind these two outer layers], just
as the coconut fruit [keeps its milk within its esh, which in turn is enclosed
by its hard outer shell].51

49. Svacchanda 4.540546.

50. Tantrloka 4.248251. On Abhinavaguptas doctrine that purity and therefore impurity are subjective and not real properties of things see Sanderson 2013a.
51. Rjnaka Jayaratha, Tantrlokaviveka on 4.251ab. For Apardityas version see Yjavalkya
smrtitk, p. 10, ll. 1213.


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In the same spirit the Trtantra, a text from the later East Indian kta tradition, tells us concerning the orgiastic gathering of kta initiates known as a
circle of Bhairav:
Once the circle of Bhairav has commenced (rabdhe bhairavcakre) all [the
participants, whatever their] caste-classes are the best of brahmins (sarve varn dvijottamh). But as soon as it has ended each returns to his or her separate

station. If a person, being deluded, makes distinctions of caste (jtibhedam...

karoti) within the sacred circle, then without doubt he will fall into a terrible
hell from which it will be hard to escape.52

A aiva-Vaidika Socio-Religious Hierachy

under Royal Authority

The aivas, then, advocated a two-tiered aiva-Vaidika socio-religious system,

with the Vaidika subordinate to the aiva. To achieve this new order they exerted themselves to secure the support of royal patrons, without which no such
aspiration could be realised, and though the details of how they proceeded to this
end in particular cases are mostly inaccessible to us now, epigraphical and other
evidence reveals that they were successful in their endeavour in many parts of the
subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
It is at least clear from their prescriptive literature that they expanded their
ritual repertoire to support this endeavour, by introducing a form of initiation
for rulers that not only promised the benet of liberation at death and, in this
life, the heightening of the initiands temporal power, but also departed radically
from tradition by exonerating the beneciary from all the time-consuming and
arduous ritual duties that were the usual consequence of initiation. A king who
was devoted to iva (paramamhevarah) could receive the prestige of initiation

52. Trtantra quoted in the Sarvollsatantra, p. 80. I conjecture rabdhe for rambhe in the rst


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without any of its inconveniences, being required thereafter only to maintain the
support of the faith that is the duty of any lay (uninitiated) devotee (ivabhaktah,


The Saiddhntikas also developed a aiva version of the royal consecration ritual (rjybhisekah) to be given to a king after he had received this aiva initiation.

The Naimittikakriynusamdhna of Brahmaambhu, completed in ad938/9,53 the

earliest surviving guide to the Saiddhntika aiva rituals, states that the purpose
of this ceremony is to qualify the king for his oce as the guide and guardian
of the system of the castes and disciplines.54 This is none other than the role assigned to him by purely Vaidika authorities; 55 and accordingly the Mantra recited
at the climax of this empowerment, as the water of consecration is poured, is not
Mantramrgic but rather the long-established verse text of the (royal) consecration Mantra prescribed for this purpose by Varhamihira in the rst half of the
sixth century on the authority of the Older Garga.56 But since it is as an initiated
aiva that the king is to assume this role, it is evident that the socio-religious order entrusted to his care is not just that envisaged by the Vaidika authorities but
rather the expanded religion that comprised both the Vaidika and the aiva traditions. For the aiva literature elsewhere requires him to ensure that the strata
of this complex of injunction are maintained in the proper order of relative authority, with the Vaidika subordinate to the aiva, promising him that to do so

53. Naimittikakriynusamdhna f. 103rv2: On the tenth day of the bright fortnight of the rst month

of autumn in the 860th year of the king of the akas I, disciple of the abbot of Mattamayra, have declared this procedure for initiation that adheres to the teaching of the Dviata[klottara] and should be
given by a Guru to Gurus initiated in his own lineage to terminate his holding of his tenure of office.
54. Naimittikakriynusamdhna f. 74v1 [4.118]: I shall now teach in addition the consecration cere
mony to empower an initiated king as the guide and guardian of the castes and disciplines (varnnm

ramnm ca gurubhvya bhpateh | yo bhisekavidhih so pi procyate dksittmanah). See Sander

son 2009a, p. 255, fn. 593.

55. See Sanderson 2009a, p. 255, fn. 594.
56. See Brhatsamhit 47, especially 47.55c70 Varhamihira himself says only that the Mantra was

taught by the Muni (47.51d: mantro tra munigtah). It is his commentator Bhatta Utpala who in a com

ment on this statement identies the Muni as the Older Garga: munigto munin vrddhagargenoktah.


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will guarantee him a long reign and the prosperity of his kingdom, and implying
thereby that failing to do so will have the opposite consequences.
We see all this clearly enunciated in a passage of the Mohacrottara, one of
a number of as yet unpublished scriptures of the aiva Mantramrga known as
Pratist htantras.57

These texts, as their name indicates, are concerned to regulate the practice
specic to the class of Mantramrgic aiva ociants known as Sthpakas, who
specialized in the installation (pratist h) of temples, their images, and monaster
ies, and in the planning of settlements and royal palaces, and the layout of the
towns around them. After prescribing the proper disposition of the habitations
of the various castes around the palace of an emperor (mahrjdhirjah) it says:

Tradition declares that the king is the protector of his subjects. Therefore it
is right that he should protect the caste communities and ensure that they are
instructed in their duties, each according to its station. The sources that convey these duties are ruti, Smr ti, Purna, and the [aiva] scriptures (gamh).

If the king abides by these he enjoys a long reign. [The correct order of authority in which they should be applied is as follows.] The Vedas [comprising both
ruti and Smr ti] take precedence over the Purnas, and the [aiva] scrip

tures take precedence over the teachings of the Vedas.58 There is the common
[Vaidika authority of ruti, Smr ti, and Purna] (smnyam), and then there

is the special (viesam). The aiva [scriptures] (aivam) are the latter. [So] the

learned should not doubt their authority when they nd that they conict
with [a Vaidika injunction]. The all-knowing [master] should adjudicate each
case objectively [by this criterion]. Given the plurality of scriptural authorities, whenever there is a question as to which of two [conicting] statements
takes precedence, he should adopt that which has been taught by iva. He

57. On the canon of these texts see Sanderson 2014, pp. 2627 and fn. 100.
58. The Vedas here must be understood to include Smrti, that is to say, the Dharmastras, if this

statement is not to contradict the preceding assertion that the (non-aiva) sources of the knowledge
of duty are not only ruti (the Vedas in the narrow sense) and Purna but also Smrti.


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should reconcile the two, whether self-sucient or depending for the understanding of their meaning on [examination in the light of] other sources of the
same kind, related sources, and [, where they fail,] learned exegesis, by applying such modes of reasoning as presumption (arthpattih). Understand this, O

Indra, and thereby attain the ultimate bliss. When the king understands the
duties of religion in this way his realm will always prosper.59

This model, in which the Vaidika ordinances are maintained under the aegis
of aivism, might be suspected to have been more ideal than real were it to rest on
this prescriptive evidence alone. However, it is in harmony with what is conveyed
by the historical records of the period. They certainly do not support a position
that the rise of aivism during these centuries led to a corresponding decline in
the hold of the Vaidika order. On the contrary, they point to a renaissance in that
sphere; and they show that aiva kings were active in promoting it.
A good part of the inscriptions that have come to light from this time consists of thousands of copperplate charters in which kings, including those who
were aiva, have recorded their establishing Vaidika brahmins in their territories
through grants of tax-exempt land, thus fullling one of the principal duties imposed on them by Vaidika scripture, extending the penetration of Vaidika obervance, while facilitating the administration of their territories and promoting
agricultural development.
Further, numerous kings, aivas prominent among them, have been commended during this period, particularly at its beginning, for having imposed the
system of castes and disciplines (varnramadharmah) in their newly established

kingdoms, this frequently being presented as a restoration after a period of decline.

Nor was this promotion of Brahmanism by aiva kings restricted to the socioreligious level. It extended on occasion to the commissioning of the horse sacrice
(Avamedha) and other solemn (rauta) Vaidika rituals. These were associated
with the acquisition and celebration of sovereignty; but their performance was

59. Mohacrottara ff. 21v622r2 (4.275281).


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also a signal of a kings desire to be seen as an exemplary supporter of the Veda,

dedicated to the revival of Vaidika religion in its entirety.
So the epigraphic record indicates that there were numerous aiva kings
throughout our period who fully accepted their role as the guardians of the
Vaidika social order and thus conducted themselves in matters of religion in the
manner envisaged by Brahmaambhu and the Mohacdottara. Indeed, in many

cases their panegyrists have portrayed them as zealous propagators of that order,
praising them for their eorts to reverse the decline in the hold of the Vaidika
order on society.60
The Loss of Transcendence

This double religion, combining the Vaidika religion and aivism under royal
authority, was from the point of view of all aiva theoreticians a two-tiered hierarchy with aivism on top and the Vaidika religion below. The theoreticians
ahistorical and fundamentalist presentation depicts no overlap between the two
levels, no encroachment of one upon the other, or rather it uses theory to outlaw
any such encroachment.
Nonetheless, when we see that the Vaidika domain has been so comprehensively accommodated we are bound to look for evidence of a weakening of the
orthoprax Vaidikas rejection of aivism and also of a commensurate adoption
by aivas themselves of a view of their religion that surrendered the doctrine of
its transcendence. We may well imagine aivas who had abandoned all sense of
their religion as a path above the Vaidika, who saw themselves simply as aivas
by birth, who claimed for their scriptures no more than that they apply to them
as aivas, that there is nothing special about initiation, that it is merely a rite
of passage into ritual activities peculiar to their group, and that these activities
are much like the practices of other groups, Vaisnava and orthoprax Vaidika, of

similar social standing.

60. Space prevents me from setting forth here the epigraphical evidence of the engagement of aiva
kings in these efforts to promote Brahmanism in their kingdoms. It has been presented in detail in my
forthcoming aivism and Brahmanism.


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We do indeed nd evidence of both these developments. The earliest appears on the

Vaidika side near the end of the ninth century in the Nyyamajar of the Kashmirian
philosopher Bhatta Jayanta, minister of king ankaravarman ( 883902) and

author of the gamadambara, the humorous play about the religious tensions of the

day that I have cited above. He states that he undertook the monumental Nyyamajar in order to protect the authority of the Vedas; and this commitment is apparent throughout.61 Yet he argues for the validity of the aiva scriptures: 62
But as for the scriptures that we see which are other than [those of the Vedic
corpus], they too are of two kinds. Some, such as those taught by the Buddha,
are completely at odds with the Veda. But others, such as those taught by iva,
are certainly not, merely teaching optional modes of religious observance that
dier [from those of that corpus]. I declare that of these the scriptures [of
the latter kind, those] taught by iva and [Visnu,] are undoubtedly (tvat)

valid. This is (1) because we nd in the cognitions that they produce none of
the numerous defects that give rise [in other cases] to doubt or refutation,
[and] (2) because we are unable to impute any of the motives such as greed and
delusion that might otherwise explain their creation, since both Smr ti texts

and inference establish that these too were authored by God (vara). For we
nd in them no record of their having come into existence at a specic time
[after the creation]; and we nd in them, as in the Veda, numerous instances
of ekadeasamvdah [, that is to say, of] the verication of claims made in

part [of the corpus, claims which when they have been put to the test and

61. Nyyamajar, vol. 1, p. 7, ll. 69: As for the system of the Nyya taught by Aksapda, it is the cen
tral pillar [that holds up the edice] of all the other branches of learning. This because it is the means of
safeguarding the authority of the Vedas. For if the Vedas have their authority overturned by the false
reasonings authored by false philosophers, the commitment of the pious would slacken. Why then
would they devote themselves to the task of putting its injunctions into practice, a task that among
other things requires great expense and exertion if it is to be accomplished successfully?
62. Nyyamajar-gamaprmnya, ed. Kataoka , p. 152, l. 3 to p. 154, l. 8, corresponding to Nyyama

jar, vol. 1, p. 635, l. 6 to p. 637, l. 2.


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found eective evince condence in the truth of its statements on matters that
must be taken on trust]. So what scope remains for the postulation that they
have some other source [such as human greed or ignorance]? Nor [, unlike the
scriptures of the Buddhists and others,] do they stand in opposition to the
Veda. For they do not abandon participation in the system of the four casteclasses and [four life-disciplines] established by [the ordinances of] the Veda.
The manner [in which we establish the validity] of the injunctions of
Manu and the other [promulgators of secondary scripture] cannot
apply to the aiva scriptural corpus. But that does not entail its invalidity. [For] throughout its texts we nd clear understanding of the
well-known teachings of all the Upanisads pertaining to the ultimate

goal. Moreover, even the foremost of those who have mastered the
Veda, such as Kr snadvaipyana, support the view that the teachings

of the aiva scriptures and [the like] are valid. And he has taught that
this validity also applies to [the corpus of Vaisnava texts called] the

Pacartra. For they too contain nothing that requires us to dismiss

them as devoid of authority.63
Moreover, they contain the declaration that Lord Visnu is their author; and

he is just God himself (vara) [under another name].

Because one beginningless soul with innite power, the wondrous
(kasyacit) cause of the creation of the entire universe, undertakes the
[three] distinct tasks of creating the world, holding it in existence, and
withdrawing it [again at the end of each cycle], it has come to be perceived as [three distinct deities:] Brahm, Visnu, and Rudra.

Furthermore, at various places within the Veda we have the texts Rudra
alone remained. There was no second (eka eva rudro va tasthe na dvityah)

63. He refers to Krsnadvaipyana, alias Vysa, as the author of the Mahbhrata, which does indeed

assert this validity in the Moksadharma provided that one understands the term pupatam to refer in

the meaning that taught by Paupati (following Astdhyy 4.3.101: tena proktam) to aivism in general

rather than specically to the Pupata system. He anachronistically includes under that heading the
Saiddhntika aiva scriptures, and accepts, as some did not, that the passage authorizes not just the
study of these texts but also the enacting of their injunctions.


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and Visnu strode out over [all] this (idam visnur vi cakrame); and means of

union with these [deities], [that is to say] methods for their propitiation, are
certainly enjoined in the Veda too. As for the methods taught in the aiva
scriptures and the Pacartra, they are certainly dierent; but this does not
amount to an [invalidating] contradiction of the Veda, because these [various]
methods [Vaidika, aiva, and Pcartrika] are alternatives from which one
is free to choose. So these two [bodies of scripture, the aiva and the Pacartra,] are not invalid, because they have been composed by a competent
authority [namely God himself] and because they do not contradict the Veda.

Here, then, is a view that has accepted much of the Saiddhntikas own argument for the validity of their scriptures, namely (1) the evidence of compliance
with Vaidika ordinances, a feature that Jayanta takes to dierentiate them markedly from such teachings as those of the Veda-rivalling Buddhists, which, as he
claims shortly after the passage quoted here, actually forbid adherence to to these
ordinances; 64 and (2) that of validation by the Vaidika scriptures themselves. Indeed it appears, if Cakradharas commentary on the Nyyamajar expresses a
widely held view, that in this aspect the Naiyyika defense of the aiva scriptures
had actually attempted to strengthen the case made by the aivas themselves
by claiming that even the ceremony of aiva initiation (dks), the centrepiece of

the Mantramrgas bid to be considered superior to the religion of the Veda and
for this very reason one of the principal grounds for its rejection by the theoreticians of Vaidika orthopraxy, has been validated by the unquestionable evidence
of Vaidika scripture.65

64. Nyyamajar-gamaprmnya, p. 154, l. 31 to p. 155, l. 1: For in the case of the teachings of the

Buddha their being outside the Veda is fully manifest, since they stress that one should avoid behaving
in keeping with the duties imposed by the caste in which one was born. Jayanta refers to the Buddhists
and others as Veda-rivalling, p. 197 [156], l. 6: vedaspardhino bauddhdayo niseddhavyh.

65. Cakradhara, Nyyamajargranthibhanga, p. 379, ll. 2123: Showing in the Dnadharma [of the
ntiparvan of the Mahbhrata] that Upamanyu taught Krsna the dks taught in those teachings he

has made this validity of the aiva scriptures clear. He has in mind here Mahbhrata 13.15.4ab: And
on the eighth day I was duly initiated (dksito ham yathvidhi) by that learned brahmin. This is in fact a

spurious argument, since Dks here is not aiva initiation but [a period of] ascetic restraint (syn. vra


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A signicant part of the Saiddhntika defense of their system is lacking here,

namely Sadyojyotiss argument that the aiva scriptures presuppose the validity
of the Veda to the extent that aivism collapses if that presupposition is not defended, which is to say that for the aivas the proof of the validity of scripture
(gamaprmnyam) must of necessity encompass both the aiva and the Vaidika

corpora. Evidently that is because the acceptance of this argument is incompatible with even the most tolerant Vaidika view, since it is inseparably connected
with the doctrine that aivism is superior to the faith of the Veda, accepting the
validity of the Veda in its sphere only because it needs to believe that its initiation
is liberating the soul from real bonds.
It is in the same spirit, I propose, that Jayanta puts forward here the vague
and inaccurate claim that the teachings of the aiva scriptures are consistent with
those of the Vaidika Upanisads.

This in short is a view that accommodates the religion of the aivas but overlooks what makes that religion unique in their own estimation, choosing not to see
the respects in which the teachings of the aivas dier from those of the Vaisnava

and Vaidika traditions in matters of metaphysics and soteriology, even though

some of these positions bear strongly on their sense of identity and purpose. The
price of recognition, then, is that the aivas must accept a watered-down version
of themselves, one in which they are no longer the inheritors of a uniquely ecacious vehicle of salvation, but subscribers to an ecumenism that argues that there
is but one god with many forms and names teaching various paths that lead to
the same goal. They are invited in other words to see themselves as just another
equipolent component of the complex that would come to be called Hinduism.
We might be tempted to see this view of aivism as idiosyncratic. It certainly
does not seem to to be found in the work of any other Vaidika authority of this

tam), a common usage in that text; see, e.g., 2.16.13c: emaciated because of his Dks (dkskratanuh);

5.118.7abc: having reduced her body with various kinds of fasting, with Dkss, and restraints (upav

sai ca vividhair dksbhir niyamais tath | tmano laghutm krtv); and 13.130.50ab: having observed

the Dks for twelve years (crtv dvdaa varsni dksm).


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period.66 However, Jayanta himself blocks this line of thought by stating categorically that his position is that of the greater society (mahjanah), which he denes

as all who live in ryadea within the boundaries of the system of the four casteclasses and four life-disciplines in accordance with the ordinances of the Veda; 67
it is the consensus of this community which for him constitutes the true arbiter
of orthopraxy and therefore of scriptural validity; and this community, he says,
currently accepts as valid not only the Vedas and the secondary Vaidika scriptures that follow in their wake, but also such other scriptural corpora as are not
in opposition to the Vedas, namely the aiva and the Pacartra.68

66. It has been claimed by Svm Yogndrnanda, the editor of the Nyyabhsana, that the validity of the

aiva scriptures was also defended by its author Bhsarvaja (. c. 900), Jayantas near-contemporary
and fellow-Naiyyika (Introduction, p. 19: aivagranthnm prmnyam pratanoti). But this is based on

a misunderstanding of Nyyabhsana, p. 402, ll. 610. The form and terms of Bhsarvajas argument

in this passage are in fact largely lifted from the Buddhist Dharmakrtis auto-commentary on 1.246 of
his Pramnavrttika. Bhsarvaja, like Dharmakrti admits that aiva Mantras, like any other Mantras,

produce supernatural effects (siddhih). But he neither states nor implies that the scriptures that teach

them are valid.

67. The term ryadea the territory of the ryas in this context does not denote a particular region
of India. Rather it refers to all regions within which the system of the four caste-classes and disciplines
has been established, as opposed to mlecchadeah, the territory of the barbarians, where it has not.

Consider, for example, Abhinavagupta, Tantrasra, p. 133: as the regions of the ryas are for the adherents of the religion and the regions of the barbarians are for those outside it (ryade iva dhr
miknm mlecchade iva adhrmiknm); and Nyyamajar vol. 1, p. 595, ll. 1112: Or rather the [true]

meaning of words is that established in ryadea. Any other meaning, accepted by the barbarians, is
certainly to be disregarded (athav ryadeaprasiddha eva abdnm arthah. itaras tu mlecchajana

sammato ndaranya eva). This distinction between rya and Mleccha is cultural rather than racial.

The term mlecchabhsh languages of the barbarians refers not only to foreign languages, such as

those of Indias aka and Hna invaders, but also to the Dravidian and other non-Indo-Aryan languages

of the subcontinent. But the regions in which these languages were spoken were not mlecchadeh

where the system of the four caste-classes and disciplines had been established, as was the case in the
Dravidian-language regions during our period, at least in the nuclear regions of the various states that
ourished there. Abhinavagupta, we may presume, did not consider the brahmins of the Tamil region
who were his contemporaries to be Mlecchas bereft of religion.
68. Nyyamajar-gamaprmnya, p. 156, ll. 1415: By the greater society (mahjanah) I mean this

population established in ryadea comprising all those within the four caste-classes and the four
life-disciplines; p. 197 (156), ll. 14: Only when [a body of scripture] has the support of general acceptance by the orthoprax consensus can one say without difficulty that it is the teaching of a trustworthy source; and the orthoprax consensus recognizes as valid (1) the Vedas, (2) the Purnas and


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I see no reason to doubt the accuracy of this report of the current state of belief
in the Vaidika community. Jayanta oers no statistics, as he himself admits; 69 but
this would have been a very weak argument indeed if the evidence adduced were
manifestly contrary to what his audience could see for themselves. It is more reasonable to think that Jayanta is simply attempting to move Vaidika doctrine forward
from its long-established theoretical position on the subject of the non-Vaidika
traditions to take account of a change that had occurred in the lived relationship
between the orthoprax and both aivism and Pcartrika Vaisnavism in the cen
turies since the emergence and development of the Mantramrga.
As for what he means to include under the rubric of the valid aiva scriptures,
it is clear, though not explicit, that he has in mind only the Saiddhntika form of
the Mantramrga. For elsewhere he strongly condemns those forms of religion
whose practices violate Vaidika norms of purity and permitted conduct. Thus,
after arguing for the validity of the aiva scriptures, to which he refers without
dierentiation simply as aiva,70 he turns to those forms of religion that he judges
to be invalid. After dismissing Buddhism, he attacks the obscure Samsramo
Dharmastras that follow their lead, and (3) some scriptures [namely those of the aiva canon and
the Pacartra] that are not in contradiction with the Vedas, but not those, such as that taught by the
Buddha, which do contradict them.
69. Debating the matter with an imaginary Buddhist, Jayanta has told him that Buddhism is invalid because it is not accepted by the greater society (mahjanah). The Buddhist then asks rhetorically, What

is this greater society; what is its form; where is it located; how big is its population; and what are
its customs? and adds that in any case the Buddhists have their own greater society consisting of
their own co-religionists. Jayanta then admits that he has no physical or quantitative data concerning
this greater society. He cannot describe the physical appearance of its members or their total number (kras tu tasya kdrah pnipdam kdram irogrvam v kyat tasya samkhyeti purusalaksanni

ganayitum na jnmah). But he does know that its values are pervasive, to the extent that the Buddhists

themselves are unable to escape them, since they too avoid untouchables, and those (the kta aivas)
who indulge in orgiastic rites do so covertly, not fully believing in the rightness of their transgressive
actions; see Nyyamajar-gamaprmnya, p. 156, l. 8 to p. 157, l. 10. For the Buddhist prohibition

against the ordination of untouchables see Gunaprabhas commentary on Vinayastra-Pravrajyvastu,

p. 151: One should not ordain as monks chariot-makers, tanners, Candlas, Pukkaas, and the like (na

rathakra[carmakra]candlapukkaatadvidhn pravrjayet).

70. Nyyamajar-gamaprmnya, p. 139, ll. 910: purnetihsadharmstrni v aivapupatapa

cartrabauddhrhatdni v. tatra aivdni nirpayisymah; p. 152, l. 5: aivdivat; l. 8: aivdygam

nmprmnyam; p. 153, l. 6: aivapacartrayoh.


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cakas (Those who Free Souls from Samsra [by killing them in order to end their

suering]),71 and then goes on to say: 72

How can anyone bring himself even to mention the question of the validity
of those systems whose rites are dominated by engagement in the forbidden?

which his commentator Cakradhara takes, no doubt correctly, to be an allusion

to the Bhairava aivism of the Right Stream (daksinasrotah), since to illustrate

Jayantas point he quotes a verse that declares that the impurities of the body are
considered pure in that system.73 Then, condemning the relativistic argument that
no system should be judged by any standards other than its own, Jayanta states: 74
As for those others, who practice various impermissible forms of post-
initiatory observance (dks) that [claim to] transcend inhibiting duality

(nirvikalpa-) through such means as eating the impure and having sexual intercourse with forbidden partners, [they evidently lack the strength of their
professed conviction, because] they do not do these things openly but act in
secret, shying away from the majority that abides by the rules that govern
the four caste-classes and life-disciplines. For if their faith in their scriptures
is so free of doubt why do they put their teachings into practice like thieves
[avoiding detection].

Here he attacks what can only be kta-aiva traditions of the Kaula type.
For the use of the term nirvikalpa- in the special sense that we see here, namely
free of doubt, free of inhibition, or free of duality, in the sense of being free of dis-

71. On the Samsramocakas and the Thags see Halbfass 1983, pp. 1015.

72. Nyyamajar-gamaprmnya, p. 155, ll. 56.

73. Nyyamajargranthibhanga, vol. 1, p. 380, ll. 2226): Without a doubt, for Sdhakas in the Bhairava
system faeces, urine, fat, and blood are pure. Cf. Sanderson 2005, pp. 110114, fn. 63 on the ve nectars (pacmrtam).

74. Nyyamajar-gamaprmnya, p. 157, ll. 710.


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crimination between the permitted and the forbidden, is a hallmark of the kta-
leaning non-Saiddhntika and Kaula literature.75 Moreover, the passage brings
to mind others in the Kashmirian literature of this period which use the same
idiom in describing the activities of the Kaulas, such as the satirist Ksemendras

description of women in the initiatory circle of a ctional Kaula Guru: 76

Once initiated by that libertine Guru [and Guru of libertines] (jragurun)

those beauties would make love with all and sundry, faithfully adhering to the
non-dualistic observance (nirvikalpavrate sthith).

and of a caste-promiscuous Kaula orgy as a symptom of the degeneration of society that will herald the descent of Kalkin, Visnus tenth Avatra: 77

[At that time] the Gurus teach that liberation is attained in a circle gathering
with dyers of cloth, weavers, tanners, cremation-ground attendants (kplika-), and other such persons of the service-castes (-ilpibhih), by drinking

[wine] from a single vessel with them and holding an ecstatic orgy of non-
dualistic/indiscriminate (nirvikalpa-) love-making.78

and the historian Kalhanas comments on Pramadakant ha, the Guru of the

Kashmirian king Kalaa (r. ad 10631089): 79

75. See, e.g., Bhairavamangal f. 15r67: nirvikalpo viank ca *pacmrtam (corr.: pacmrtas

Cod.) upharet; and Matasra f. 62v13: bhaginbhrtaraih srdham isyaih prveva dksitaih || tata

cakropacrena bhaksayeta anaih anaih | mukhn mukhena samprya nirvikalpena cetas || tatah

prakslya hastau ca alin siddhim icchat | bhakty viuddhay yukto pjayet paramevaram.

76. Narmaml 2.54.

77. Davatracarita 10.26.
78. For the use of the term kplikah in the meaning cremation-ground attendant ( Kashmiri kwuj)

see Sanderson 2009a, p. 294, fn. 699.

79. Rjatarangin 7.277278.


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The Guru, by teaching forbidden [religious] practices to that [king], who was
already wicked by nature, abolished in him all consciousness of the distinction
between permitted and forbidden sexual partners, and he himself engaged
in sexual intercourse without inhibition even with his own daughter. What
greater evidence of the freedom from duality (gatavikalpatvam) 80 achieved by
this Guru could I provide?

Bhat t a Rmakant ha IIs aivas without Pride of Transcendence

Having established that Jayantas view of Saiddhntika aivism as a valid from of

religion is unlikely to have been a minority view in the general Vaidika population
outside aiva circles, we must wonder whether it is likely that this view could
have been as general as he says it was in the absence of aivas who subscribed to
it themselves.
There are indeed indications that an ideologically emasculated aivism of the
kind outlined by Jayanta did exist and therefore that the great Kashmirian Naiyyika was indeed expressing the view of an already established segment of the aivas themselves. Furthermore, we may suspect that this had become the majority
view among them, and that the learned theories of the aiva theologians, which
demonstrate how aivism is superior to the Vaidika religion, how its rituals and
meditations work on an altogether higher level and its doctrines penetrate far beyond the reach of its rival, were not so much articulations of established, common
belief as fundamentalist attempts to revitalize and recover a tradition that was fast
losing a sense of its original calling. Thus Bhatta Rmakant ha, writing in the tenth

century, when Saiddhntika learning in Kashmir was at its height, tells us that one
of his reasons for writing his commentary on the Saiddhntika scripture Matanga
pramevara was to counteract attempts to draw the understanding of the text
into the Vaidika domain, by going back to the foundational doctrines of Sadyojyotis and Brhaspati and sweeping away what he saw as the inauthentic interpre
tations of the Siddhnta that had developed since the time of these two founding

80. This expression gatavikalpatvam equals nirvikalpatvam, i.e., being nirvikalpah.


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fathers of Saiddhntika exegesis.81 And he conrms that this loss of identity was
well advanced when he targets for criticism the view of some at least of his aiva
co-religionists that the execution of their regular rituals of worship was merely
the fullment of a duty, with no higher purpose than conformity to scriptural
injunction, which is to say, the view of aivas who had abandoned a properly aiva
perspective and substituted that of the Mmmsaka theorists of Vaidika ritual: 82

Now, for what purpose do we do [our obligatory aiva] rituals, time-xed and
[incidental]? Some say that our engagement in these is entirely without purpose, [that we do them simply] because they are enjoined [by our scriptures],
just as the Mmm sakas [hold with regard to their own obligatory rituals].

That is not correct; because [the two cases, the Vaidika and aiva,] are dierent. For the [Mmm sakas] hold that [their] scriptures are valid because they

are not the product of any conscious being [but are an eternal self-existent
body of injunctions that minds can perceive but have not created]. So they
may well formulate such a view. But in our system [our scriptures are held
to be valid] as the work of all-knowing [God]. So how can [we believe that]
he could teach something that has no purpose? Or rather, if he does so then
he must be comparable to an imbecile or madman and therefore, being non-
omniscient, not worthy of our regard, with the undesired consequence that
our scriptures would be invalid.83

81. See Matangapramevaravrtti, Vidypda, Mangala vv. 2 and 4 (2 = Moksakrikvrtti, Mangala v.1).

For the theses, supported by these verses, (1) that Bhatta Rmakantha saw his mission as that of re

turning the Siddhnta to its original purity, freeing it from orthoprax Vaidika and kta inuences, and
(2) that the success of his mission explains the long period of time between the works of Sadyojyotis
and Brhaspati, c. ad 650750, and the next surviving works, from tenth-century Kashmir, see Sanderson 2007a. Instead of the editions gurnm api tau vandyau in 2c the Kashmirian manuscript of the

Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (P) reads gurnm agrato vandyau (not reported in Sanderson

2007a), which I judge to be preferable, both in sense and as the lectio difficilior, that is to say, the reading
less readily explained as a corruption of the other.
82. Matangapramevaravrtti, introduction to Kriypda 3.100c101 (p. 66, ll. 36).

83. For what the Kashmirian Saiddhntika scholars advocated as the correct view of the superior
purpose of the daily, periodic, and incidental rituals of worship required of Saiddhntika initiates see
Sanderson 1995, pp. 3843.


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Apardityas aivas by Birth

A comparable situation is revealed by Aparditya, the ilhra king of North

Konkan, writing in the early twelfth century, through one of the aiva arguments
for acceptability that he puts up to refute in in his commentary on Yjavalkya
smrti. The aiva is made to argue that since the adherents of the Vaidika religion

hold that the injunctive force of the Veda is directed only to specic, restricted
classes of persons, they can have no reason to deny that the aiva scriptures are
valid for aivas as members of a similar community of birth, which suggests that
its members, when asked why they engage in their special aiva rituals, would
have responded like Georg Bhlers aiva brahmin informants in Kashmir in 1875
that they attached no special importance to them but did them because this was
the long-established custom of their community.84 Aparditya responds by attacking the very notion that it is possible to be a aiva by birth (jty), to be, as it
were, a member of a caste of aivas.
He does so in the course of his commentary on 1.7, which details the means
that enable men to know their religious duty (dharmamlam) namely ruti,
Smrti, observable orthopraxy (sadcrah), and, within the limits set by these,

mental satisfaction, enabling one, for example, to decide that one is now ready
to end a course of ascetic observance, and personal preference, in such matters
as choosing the time at which to perform some pious action taking this opportunity to examine the objection that this list wrongly omits the aiva, Pupata,
Pcartrika, and other (unspecied) scriptural corpora.
The initial proposition is that these corpora have as good a claim as the Vaidika to be accepted, because they too are eternal revelation, and that therefore
the highest good will be attained by enacting their injunctions. Aparditya then
counters by insisting that this cannot apply to orthoprax Vaidikas, because the
aiva scriptures teach that the Vaidika rites are inecacious when they say, as we
have seen, that these rituals are enjoined on aivas not because of their ecacity
but because by doing them in addition to their aiva rites aivas will ingratiate

84. See Bhler 1877, p. 24, and the discussion of the view that he reports in Sanderson 1995, pp. 3738,
and 2007b, pp. 110112.


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themselves with those who, in the aiva perspective, are not yet ready for the
higher system.85
He next addresses a passage from the Devpurna that condemns to torture

in hell those who despise either the teaching of iva or the Vedas, and a passage
from the Yogayjavalkya 86 which includes the teachings of Paupati (pupatam) in a list of those that one is forbidden to challenge with logical argument.
He argues that these passages merely prohibit condemnation and permit study
and do not allow the inference that one is also permitted to put their injunctions
into practice; 87 and he provides several reasons that block that inference, the most
signicant of which is perhaps that if a person were to take aiva initiation, as
he would have to do if he intended to enact the aiva injunctions, he would be
punished with hell, according to the aiva scriptures, if he had a Vaidika rddha
ceremony performed for him.88 The unstated point of this, I propose, is that he
thereby provides a refutation of the aivas claim that their scriptures are acceptable because they require their initiates to adhere rigidly to Vaidika regulations
and so are not contrary to the Veda (vedaviruddha-). For while it is true that they
were enjoined to undergo all the Vaidika rites of qualication (samskrh) prior to

their initiation, namely up to upanayanam or marriage, following the procedures

laid down in the Grhyastra of their branch of the Veda, one major rite of passage

remained, namely cremation (antyestih), and the various rites of oerings to the

deceased thereafter. For these the aivas developed their own rituals and it was
these that had to be followed in the case of the initiated.89

85. Yjavalkyasmrtitk, vol. 1, p. 10, ll. 1416.

86. A variant of Mahbhrata 12.337.59.
87. Yjavalkyasmrtitk, vol. 1, p. 10, l. 23 to p. 11, l. 5.

88. Yjavalkyasmrtitk, vol. 1, p. 11, ll. 79.

89. See Sanderson 1995, pp. 3132; and Mirnig 2009. The anonymous ritual manuals used by aiva
officiants in Kashmir for cremation and the post-mortuary rddha ceremonies are of two kinds. In
one the aiva procedures alone are given. In the other we nd both the Vaidika and the aiva, the
two proceeding in tandem from phase to phase with the Vaidika element always preceding the aiva.
This hybrid, which is not envisaged in the aiva Paddhatis of pan-Indian authority, is likely to have
been introduced precisely out of anxiety that omitting the Vaidika procedures might have a negative


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It is at this point that he moves on to address the proposition that the aiva
scriptures are valid as ordinances for the aivas as members of a distinct community entered at birth: 90
Can it not be conceded that just as the Vedas and [Smr tis] apply to only

certain specic persons [dened by their birth] so the aiva and other [non-
Vaidika] scriptures [are valid because they] are for aivas and others as persons who are members of specic communities[, aiva or other,] that they
have entered through birth? No, it cannot. This is because in passages such
as No persons other than those for whom all the rites from conception to
cremation with [the Vedas] Mantras have been prescribed are qualied for
this teaching Manu and other [promulgators of Smr ti texts] have given us

evidence only of the qualication of brahmins[, Ksatriyas,] and [Vaiyas] for

their teachings but not of the qualication of aiva brahmins and the like for
corpora of scriptures taught by iva and others. Then let it be conceded that
dras [at least] are qualied to enact the teachings of iva[, since they have
no access to the Veda and its Mantras and so fall outside Manus denition
of those who are qualied and obliged to enact his teachings]. But that too we
will not concede, because no Smr ti or any other [Vaidika scriptural source]

accepts this. Furthermore, there is in fact no such person as a aiva by birth

(jty) to whom the aiva scriptures could apply. For the word aivah aiva

[means simply] one who studies or understands the scriptures taught by iva.
[This is established by the semantic conditions governing the formation of the
word aivah from ivah through aivam according to the grammatical rules of

consequence. See for an example of the hybrid form the Kashmirian manuscript Vaidikatntrikasa
mastividhin (samasti em. : samisti Cod.) ekoddistarddhavidhih (ekoddista em. : ekoddiste Cod.), The

ritual of the Ekoddista rddha following the procedure in which Vaidika and Tntrika [Paddhatis] are

combined. This is how the work is identied in its nal colophon. At its beginning we read atha vaid
ikatntrika ekoddistakaranavidhih (ekoddista em : ekoddiste Cod.), Next the ritual for performing the

Ekoddista [rddha] that is [both] Vaidika and Tntrika.

90. Yjavalkyasmrtitk on 1.7, p. 13, l. 23 to p. 14, l. 11.


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derivation. Thus] by applying the sux -a to [the name] ivah iva we form

[the derivative noun] aivam in the meaning that which has been taught by
iva, that is to say, the corpus of aiva scriptures; and we then form the word
aivah (a aiva) from this in the meaning one who understands or studies

those scriptures, the same sux -a being added after the word aivam in accordance with the rule [-a after N in the sense] one who studies N, one who
understands N and then elided by the rule substitution of zero [for -a in
the meaning one who studies N, one who understands N when that sux
comes] after [a word that has already been formed by the addition of the ax
-a in the meaning] taught [by N]. Pupata and other [words of this kind,
such as Bauddha, Kpila, Knda, Vaisnava, Jaina, etc.] are formed in the

same way [to mean one who studies or understands what has been taught by
Paupati, and so on]. 91 So the aiva and analogous bodies of scripture function without having naturally xed social groups to ground them; and from
this it follows that they are analogous to pictures [drawn] in the air. This being
the case, they must certainly be rejected [as sources of valid knowledge] in [the
domain of] religious practice.

The view whose prevalence is attested by this attack would have been equally
unacceptable to the likes of Bhatta Rmakant ha II and Abhinavagupta, though

for the very dierent reason that it reveals a complete surrender of the properly
aiva view that aivism is a universal revelation, reaching anyone whom iva
deems ready to be liberated, regardless of such incidentals as region, caste, or

91. The grammmatical rules that Aparditya applies here are Pnini, Astdhyy 4.3.101, 4.2.59, and

92. Note in this context the commonly expressed aiva doctrine that division by birth into castes is
an articial construct that overlays and obscures the unity of humanity. For text and translation of text
passages, both Saiddhntika and non-Saiddhntika, that express this conviction see Sanderson 2009a,
pp. 289290, fns. 689692, and pp. 292294; and Sanderson 2009b.


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It is entirely reasonable to claim in the light of this evidence that a complex corresponding roughly to what would come to be called Hinduism was already recognized, though not yet named, around the turn of the ninth and tenth centuries.
At this juncture Jayanta assures us that the orthoprax majority had conceded
that the Vaisnavism of the Pacartra and the non-transgressive forms of aivism

(therefore excluding those of the Bhairavatantras and Kulamrga) were valid and
that communities that followed them were acceptable co-religionists; and we have
seen evidence that Jayantas portrayal of these systems was not merely an outsiders projection: it corresponded to the way in which what was probably the
great majority of Vaisnava and aiva adherents had come to see themselves, by

surrendering the doctrines that were intended to keep alive their sense of transcendence. This change of perspective, moreover, is one that is certainly more
tolerant of diversity than the strictly aiva, which admitted only a hierarchy in
which other vehicles of salvation, Vaidika and Vaisnava, are subordinate to it.

Here we have rather the view that the Vaidika, Vaisnava, and aiva paths are

options determined by inherited practice leading to a single Vaidika goal. It must

be kept in mind, however, that this congeries of equipolent options was never the
whole of Indian religious awareness in this period. Learned scholars among the
aivas and kta-aivas strove by various strategies to keep alive in initiates the
scripturally sanctioned belief that their aiva practices were not just a variant of a
single accommodating religion but something which had the power to lead them
to an ultimate goal that far transcended what either the Vaidika or the Vaisnava

system could reach, and Vaidika ideologues such as Aparditya held out to the
bitter end against this trend to accept what from their point of view was forbidden religious practice following false scriptures.
Religion and the State: A Maximally Tolerant View
of What Is Acceptable in Matters of Religion

In Jayantas play gamadambara we have seen the uncompromising Vaidika camp

attempt and fail to impose its Manu-inspired vision of a society free of all but
properly Vaidika religion. When the suppression of an extreme fringe cult leads
to panic among the aivas, the king, a aiva himself, not necessarily an initiate


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but a publicly declared loyal devotee of iva (paramamhevarah),93 who had at

the beginning of his reign founded temples for the installation of ivas whose
names incorporated those of himself (ankaragaurvara) 94 and his chief queen
(Sugandhevara), intervenes and ensures that the status quo is maintained. The
play ends with an orchestrated debate between the Vaidikas and the preceptors
of the other faiths held in the Vaisnava Ranasvmin temple in Srinagar on the

subject of whether the Pacartra and the scriptures of the other non-Vaidika
systems are or are not valid. In front of an audience of thousands, including the
former Sntaka Samkarsana, now turned ultra-tolerant minister of religious

aairs,95 the Naiyyika Shata, also called Dhairyari, appointed as adjudictor

by the order of the king himself (nrpdet), hears the various disputants put their

cases and then delivers his judgement. In this he rejects the narrow Vaidika view
of validity and advocates one with the greatest latitude, stopping short only of approving transgressive, licentious, and violent cults such as were certainly present
in Kashmir and elsewhere at this time. This view goes even beyond that enunciated above to recognize that not only Vaisnavism and aivism but also Bud
dhism and Jainism are valid and must therefore be tolerated, holding that there
is a single omniscient and nameless deity who in consideration of the diering
intellectual dispositions of human beings has manifested himself variously as the
propagators of all faiths: as iva, Paupati, Kapila, Visnu, Samkarsana, the Jina,

93. gamadambara, prose between 3.3 and 3.4; prose before 4.2. He is also described there to the

same effect as puraharahrdayasya one whose heart is given to the destoyer of the [three] celestial

palaces (prose after 4.6).

94. Kalhana, Rjatarangin 5.156158. The two ivas were installed in his new capital ankarapura or

ankarapattana (now Pattan/Patan in the Baramulla district of Kashmir), which he founded with his

own name after coming to the throne. The two temples survive in ruins beside the road that runs from
Srinagar to Baramulla, approximately equidistant from both.
95. Samkarsana, who in the rst part of the play was the champion of the view that all non-Vaidika

views are invalid, is described by the Vaidika officiant who earlier lamented Samkarsanas failure to

push this view through, when he catches sight of him in this gathering of the learned, as a champion of
the view that all (established) religions are valid; see the prose after 4.4: We have direct experience
of the power of Samkarsana [in this matter]. For he [has become] an adherent of the doctrine of the

authoritativeness of all the religions (drstah samkarsanapratpah. sa hi sarvgamaprmnyavd).


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the Buddha, and Manu.96 The only criteria of validity from this point of view are
expressed as follows: 97
This path of validation cannot be applied to any [tradition regardless of its
character], but only to religious systems that meet the following criteria:
(1) they must have an unbroken tradition known to all; (2) the community
of the orthoprax (ryalokah) must not be loth to be acquainted with them or

speak about them; (3) the practices that they advocate must not be beyond
the pale of [what is acceptable to] society (janabhyam); and (4) must not endanger [its members] (sabhayam); (5) their character must not be manifestly
new-fangled (na rpam yesm sphurati navam abhyutthitam iva); (6) they must

not have the appearance of the teachings of madmen (pramattagtatvam);
(7)they must not be teachings of Kaulas (akaulikatvam); 98 and (8) their source
must not be greed or any other [base motive] (lobhdi).

This position that all religious traditions (sarvgama-) are entitled to be considered valid, if they meet the above criteria, is presented in theistic terms. A
nameless supreme being is declared to have taught these various religions by assuming the form of their promulgators. However, it is clear that this dresses up in
religious language what is in eect a juridical and political view of what the state
should tolerate. The issue on this level is not truth or falsity but legality and the
policy to be followed by the state in its role as guardian of the boundaries of the
permissible, or rather, to use the monarchical language used by our authors, by
the king in his role as the guardian and guide of the entire socio-religious order
(sarvavarnramaguruh) or, to use a phrase favoured by Jayanta, the king as the

96. gamadambara 4.57. These are in order the propagators of the aiva, Pupata, Smkhya,

Vaisnava, Pcartrika, Jaina, and Buddhist systems, and the core Smrti of the Vaidika tradition.

97. gamadambara 4.100101.

98. I have tentatively conjectured the reading akaulikatvam here in place of the manuscripts alauki
katvam because the latter nonsensically excludes from acceptance any tradition that is not mundane
(laukika-). As we have seen, ankaravarmans minister Jayanta was uncompromising in his condemnation of Kaula practice, but it is nonetheless surprising that this list should make so specic an exclusion.


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authoritative judge (-acryah) of the boundaries (maryd) of religious conduct

(dharmah) within that order.99

However, the kings role was not merely to police these boundaries. It was also
to promote the peaceful co-existence of the faiths through even-handed patronage. During our period the publicly declared personal religious commitment of
kings, in addition to their commitment to preserve the Vaidika socio-religious
order, generally took the form of devotion to iva, Visnu, the Sun-God (Srya,

ditya), or the Goddess (Bhagavat), the deities of the new initiatory religions,or
to the Buddha (Sugata, Tathgata) of Buddhism or the Arhats of Jainism, these
allegiances being commonly announced in their inscriptions by the inclusion
amid their royal titles of epithets that mean entirely (parama-, atyanta-, param)
devoted to whichever of these deities or religious founders they favoured. Thus
devout worshippers of iva/Mahevara are identied as paramamhevarah,

atyantamhevarah, or paramaaivah; of Visnu as paramabhgavatah, parama

vaisnavah, or atyantabhagavadbhaktah; of the Sun as paramdityabhaktah or para

masaurah; of the Goddess (Bhagavat) as param bhagavatbhaktah; of the Buddha

as paramasaugatah or paramatthgatah; and of the Jaina Arhats as paramrhatah

or paramajainah.100

However, it was rarely the case that a kings publicly declared allegiance to
one or another of these traditions was accompanied by strict exclusivity of patronage. For while a king might favour one religion over another, say Vaisnavism

over aivism, it was common, and no doubt politic, for him to extend support
to religious traditions other than his own. Thus, the Krkotakas of Kashmir,

who following the aiva kings of the Hephthalite Hun dynasty that had ruled
the country from early in the sixth century 101 held power from the seventh to the

99. gamadambara, prose after 2.20: varnramadharmamarydcryah; prose after 4.104: varn


100. See Sircar 1966, s.v. for all except paramrhatah and paramajainah, for the rst of which see, e.g.,

Kumraplacaritrasamgraha pp. 28, 45, 108, and for the other, e.g., Vividhatrthakalpa, p. 98. Also found

are epithets of the same kind expressing devotion to Bhairava (atyantasvmimahbhairavabhaktah)

or Narasimha (paramanrasimhah); see Sircar 1966, s.v.

101. Dani 1996, pp. 173174.


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ninth centuries, were consistently devotees of Visnu, oering no support to the

cult of iva, yet they also supported Buddhism and the cult of the Sun.102
Similarly, the Maitrakas of Valabh were consistently aiva from the sixth to
the eighth centuries, yet, as we know from their copper-plate grants, Xuanzang,
and the Majuriyamlakalpa, they were also generous patrons of Buddhism; 103
and the Plas of Bihar and Bengal, though Buddhists, continued to support
aivism and Vaisnavism,104 as did the Candras of Arakan; 105 the predominantly

aiva Licchavi and Thkur kings of Nepal were generous patrons of Bud
dhism; 106 and simultaneous royal patronage of aivism and Buddhism was also a
conspicuous feature of religion in mainland Southeast Asia, in the kingdoms of
the Khmers, Chams, Sumatrans, Sundanese, and Javanese.107
In the south of India too we nd examples of royal patronage of more than
one religious tradition. The Pallava Mahendravarman I Gunabhara was a aiva

convert from Jainism if we may believe the Tamil aiva hagiography. As a aiva
he established rock-cut cave temples of ivas with his biruda names: atrumallevara at Dalavnr,108 Avanibhjanapallavevara at yamangalam,109 and Lal
102. See Sanderson 2009a, p. 73.
103. In the Aln copper-plate inscription of lditya VI Dhrbhata of ad 766 (cii 3:39) the account of

the Maitraka lineage jumps from the aiva founder, Bhatrka, over the next four generations, which we

know from other inscriptions to have included a Vaisnava and a Saura, to Guhasena. He and his thirteen

descendants down to lditya VI are identied as paramamhevarah, with the exception of lditya

IV and lditya VI, who are given no sectarian epithet. For the Maitrakas patronage of Buddhism (in
its pre-Tantric forms) see Majuriyamlakalpa 53.538549; and Xuanzang on the recent conversion of
the king of Valabh to Buddhism (Beal 1884, vol. 2. p. 267). Of the land-grant documents of the Maitrakas
of Valabh three quarters are records of grants to brahmins, but the remaining quarter report grants
made by these kings to Buddhist institutions (Schmiedchen 2007, p. 360). On the Maitrakas support of
Buddhism see Sanderson 2009a, pp. 7273.
104. See Sanderson 2009a, pp. 87117.
105. Sanderson 2009a, pp. 8486.
106. Sanderson 2009a, pp. 7480.
107. Sanderson 2009a, pp. 171173.
108. Mahalingam 1988, no. 19 and no. 20.
109. Mahalingam 1988, no. 29.


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itnkurapallavevara Tiruchirpal l i.110 Yet he also excavated a rock-cut temple of

Visnu with his name (Mahendravisnu) in his town of Mahendrapura.111 We nd

the same phenomenon in the dynasty of the Eastern Gangas of Kalinganagara in

northern Andhra Pradesh, a line all of whose known rulers, from the rst half of
the sixth century through to the end of our period, were declared devout worshippers of iva (paramamhevarah). An inscription issued in year 79 of the Ganga

era, which is to say, c. ad 578, records that Mahrja Hastivarman Ranabhta of

this line made a land-grant for the support of a temple of a Visnu incorporating

his name (Ranabhtodaya) in spite of the declaration that the donor is a para
mamhevarah.112 The Hoysala king Visnuvardhana (r. 11101141) likewise, though

strongly inuenced by the rvaisnava movement, was also a generous patron of

both Jainism and aivism.113

There were even kings whose inscriptions depart from the convention of declaring allegiance to a single tradition by declaring them entirely devoted to both
iva and Visnu. This is true of the Pallava Narasimhavarman II (r. c. 700728),114

the Ganga Anantavarman Codaganga in his Korni plates of 1081/2,115 Vaidyadeva

of Prgjyotisa in his copper-plate grant probably of 1142,116 and Jayabhaja of the

Bhajas of Kolda in the eleventh or twelfth century.117

We also have evidence from the Khmer realm that there were Vaisnava dig
nitaries within the predominantly aiva royal sta, that members of the same
family could be of dierent religious allegiances, and that the state limited the
freedom of individuals to change their religion only in the special case of persons

110. Mahalingam 1988, no. 35.

111. Mahalingam 1988, no. 24.
112. Rajaguru 1960, no. 4.
113. Settar 1992, pp. 4648 (Jainism under Visnuvardhana), pp. 5051 (Vaisnavism under the same),

pp.6061 (aivism under the same).

114. Mahalingam 1988, no. 53, ll. 1011.
115. Singh 1994, p. 113.
116. Epigraphia Indica 2:28, l. 47.
117. Singh 1994, p. 105 (rankarabhaktimn, rvaisnavah).


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from certain title-groups (varna) who had been selected for training as aiva o
ciants in the service of the king and were forbidden by a decree of Jayavarman V
(r. c. 9701000) to become Vaisnavas.118

There are also numerous instances of royal marriages across religious boundaries in the subcontinent. In the fourth century the Vktakas Rudrasena I

(r.c.335360) and Prthivsena I (r. c. 360395) were aivas.119 But c. 388 their suc
cessor Rudrasena II (r. c. 395405) married Prabhvatgupt, the daughter of the
Gupta emperor Candragupta II (r. 376415), a princess who in accordance with
the religious preference of her paternal family was a devotee of Visnu (atyant
abhagavadbhakt). Though Rudrasena continued to support the faith of his predecessors, he declared himself a Vaisnava, no doubt under her inuence,120 and

developed Rmagiri (Ramtek) as a Vaisnava state temple-complex.

We have other examples in Kalhanas Rjatarangin. As we have seen above,

at the end of the ninth century, after the demise of the Vaisnava Krkotaka dy

nasty, ankaravarman (883902) was a devout worshipper of iva and accordingly

founded iva temples with his and his queens names. But his queen Sugandh, a
foreigner from the north, probably a Dard (5.157), was a supporter of the Vaisnava

Pcartrikas,121 and while she occupied the throne from 904 to 906 after the
death of her husband and the short reigns of her sons, the boy king Goplavarman (902904) and his younger brother Samkata (904), she established a Visnu

Goplakeava and a Goplamat ha with the formers name (5.244). Moreover,

Nand, Goplavarmans child bride, no doubt chosen for him by his Vaisnava

mother, founded a Visnu (Nand)keava and a Nandmat ha with hers (5.245).

After the end of the rule of this dynasty in 939 the brahmins bestowed the
crown on Yaaskaravarman (939948), the son of Prabhkaradeva, the treasurer of Goplavarman, and the the secret lover of his Vaisnava queen Sugandh

118. Sanderson 2003, pp. 434435.

119. The Vktaka inscriptions identify them as atyantasvmimahbhairavabhaktah and atyantam

hevarah respectively.

120. Bakker 1997, pp. 1722.

121. gamadambara, p. 196, ll. 1819.


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(5.469477). This paramour may well have been the unnamed royal functionary
rumoured 122 to have been a supporter, like the queen, of the Vaisnava Pcartri
kas. In any case his son Yaaskaravarman was a Vaisnava and one who exerted

himself to encourage orthopraxy and suppress the kta-leaning aivism then

strong in Kashmir (6.612, 108112). He began the construction of a temple for
a Visnu Yaaskarasvmin, incorporating his own name, but died before it was

nished (6.140).
His successor Parvagupta (949950) was a aiva, as we may infer from the
fact that he established a iva Parvaguptevara (6.137) and at the end of his life
chose to die in the precincts of the aiva temple of the Surevarksetra (6.147). His

religious conviction would not then have predisposed him to complete the Visnu

temple of his anti-aiva Vaisnava predecessor, but he was tricked into doing so

by one of Yaaskaravarmans widows, no doubt another Vaisnava, who promised

him her favours if he did so and then when he had completed the work, committed pious suicide by oering herself into a sacricial re (6.140144).
Parvagupta was succeeded by Ksemagupta (950958), whose aiva persuasion

can be seen from the report that he founded a temple for a iva Ardhanrvara
under the name Ksemagaurvara (6.172173). But he married Didd, the ruthless

and dissolute daughter of Simharja, the hi chief of Lohara, a mountainous dis

trict adjoining Kashmir on the south-west (6.176). Again a matrimonial alliance
favoured Visnu. It was probably through her inuence the king was so besotted

with her that he was mockingly known as Diddksema (6.177) that when he

fell fatally ill he chose to go to die in the Vaisnava holy site Varhaksetra (6.186).

During her long dominance of nearly fty years until 1008 she enshrined a Visnu

Abhimanyusvmin with the name of her deceased son Abhimanyu (6.299), two
Visnus Diddsvmin with her own name (6.300, 302), and a Visnu Simhasvmin

in Lohara (8.1822) with the name of her father (6.304); and her illustrious maternal grandfather Bhma, the hi king of Udabhnda (Hund) on the Indus,

enshrined and richly endowed a Visnu Bhmasvmin with his name in Kashmir

proper, at Bumzu near Bavan (6.178).

122. gamadambara, p. 196, ll. 1920.


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Nor does it seem that Indian courts were less tolerant than the Khmer when
it came to the religion of their members. It seems not to have been the case, for
example, that a aiva could not aspire to ministerial oce under a Vaisnava king.

We have a striking example of this at the beginning of our period at Udayagiri

near the ancient city of Vidi in central India, where an inscription records that
Vrasena, a minister of the Vaisnava (paramabhgavatah) Gupta emperor Can

dragupta II (r. c. 375415), had a cave excavated for iva when he had come there
with that monarch while the latter was engaged in a military campaign.123
The states support for religions other than that professed by the monarch in
the inscriptions issued by his chancellery is also clear from evidence of his participation in their major festivals. Xuanzangs Da Tang Xiyuji, the account of his
journey to and sojourn in India from 629 (var. 627) to 645 (var. 644), completed in
646 on his return to China, tells us that in the vicinity of the city of Kanyakubja
(Kanauj) were a Buddhist monastery, a temple of the Sun-God, and a temple of
iva, all three of similar scale and grandeur; 124 and Huili and Yanzongs biography of this learned Chinese pilgrim (Da ci en si san cang fa shi zhuan), completed
in 688, reports that in Kanyakubja during the Buddhist quinquennial festival
of the general distribution of alms (pacavarsaparisat), the Pusyabhti emperor

Harsa, whose aiva allegiance is reported by his biographer Bna,125 oered wor

ship to the Buddha on the rst day, to the Sun-God on the second, and to Mahevara (iva) on the third.126 This multi-faith environment, with several equally
balanced religious traditions ourishing side by side, is, I propose, the probable
cause of the great inconstancy of the declared religious allegiance of the kings
of this once great city, seen rst among the Pusyabhtis and then among the

Gurjara-Prathras. Among the Pusyabhtis the emperor Harsa, as we have seen,

123. cii 3:6, l. 5: [Vrasena, Minister of Peace and War of Candragupta] had this cave constructed out of
devotion for the god ambhu when he had come to this place together with the king himself, who was
seeking to conquer the entire world (krtsnaprthvjayrtthena rjaiveha sahgatah).

124. Beal 1884, vol. 1, pp. 222223.

125. Bna, Harsacarita, p. 45, l. 18: paramamhevarah sa bhplo...

126. Iyanaga 1983, p. 731a.


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was a aiva (paramamhevarah); but his father was a Buddhist (paramasaugatah),

and three preceding ascendants were Sauras (paramdityabhaktah); 127 and among

the Gurjara-Prathras we have successively the Vaisnava Devaakti, the aiva

Vatsarja, the kta Ngabhata (r. c. 816834), the Saura Rmabhadra, the kta

Bhoja (r. c. 840890), the Saura Vinyakapla, and the aiva Mahendrapla.128
We may also point to socio-legal provisions at the eastern edge of the Indic
world, in East Java during the Majapahit period (1293c. 1500). We know that
the state appointed clerical administrators of religion (dharmdhyaksa) for both

the aiva (dharmdhyaksa rin kaaiwan) and Buddhist faiths (dharmdhyaksa rin

kasogatan), providing ocial residences for them close to the royal compound,
and that there was a board of subordinate religious ocials known as the Assessors of Religion (dharmopapatti, dharmdhikarana), who included persons adher
ing to the non-Saiddhntika Bhairava cult (bhairawapaksa) and the Saura cult of

the Sun (sorapaksa).129


The emergence of the orthoprax consensus reported by Jayanta and conrmed

by other evidence, in which Vaidikas, Vaisnavas, and aivas were seen by oth
ers and themselves as equipolent aspects of a single loosely dened faith, the juridical view that all religions other than those considered criminal or subversive
should be accepted by the state, and the evidence of royal patronage extended
to religious traditions other than those to which monarchs claimed to be especially devoted suggest that there was indeed a high degree of ocial tolerance of
religious diversity to be found in the various states of early mediaeval India. But
the evidence presented above also shows that this tolerance was not innate to
the individual traditions that had been absorbed, however incompletely, into this
consensus. The Vaidikas, as we have seen, had a strictly exclusivist view that, if it
could have found the support of willing monarchs, would have driven all compet-

127. Bnskher plate of Harsa, ad 628: Epigraphia Indica 4:29.

128. Epigraphia Indica 14:13.

129. Sanderson 2009a, pp. 105, 118120.


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itors for royal patronage from the eld; and we have seen that aiva ideologues
for their part, while claiming to support the Vaidika tradition within an inclusive aiva-Vaidika socio-religious order, nonetheless show in their scriptures and
learned commentaries an uncompromising faith in the otherness and superiority
of aivism and the marked inferiority of the Vaidika system, which they saw as
merely mundane religion (laukiko dharmah).130 The Buddhists and Jainas likewise

stood in clear opposition to the Hindu traditions, even though Buddhist kings at
least have professed in their inscriptions their commitment to the preservation of
the Vaidika socio-religious order; 131 and the aivas, Vaisnavas, and Vaidikas have

been unanimous in their condemnation of these two heterodox faiths. In this at

least they could agree.
Consequently, it was always a possibility that the peaceful co-existence of
these competing traditions might be upset, if a royal patron or charismatic religious gure found himself eager and able, for whatever reason political, economic, or perhaps even simple religious conviction not merely to favour one
tradition at the expense of others, but even to persecute whatever tradition he was
inclined to suppress, or at least punish anyone who dared to raise a voice against
the dominant religious consensus of the region and period. Consider the strident
tone of the following declaration in an inscription of ad 1036 recording a grant of
land made by Jayasimha II, the Clukya ruler of Kalyna, for the support of the

temple of iva Pacalingevara, to Lakulvara, evidently in his capacity as the

Lkula incumbent of this sacred site: 132
I, a re of destruction to disputants [of other faiths], shall place my foot in
the presence of the kings council on the head of any who claims that either
of these is false: the God iva, whose feet merit the worship of all men, and

130. See, e.g., describing the ideal aiva Sthpaka, Devymata f. 1v3 [2.20ab]: With no attachment to
the mundane religion, devoted [only] to the religion of iva (virakto laukike dharme ivadharmnura

131. See Sanderson 2009a, pp. 115117, for the epigraphical evidence of this commitment.
132. Epigraphia Carnatica 7 Sh 126, p. 175.


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the religion proclaimed in the three [Vedas], in which the system of the casteclasses and disciplines has been established in its proper hierarchy.

Consider also the following passage from an authoritative South Indian Saiddhntika aiva treatise of the twelfth century, which tells the aivas that they
may kill without sin anyone who attacks their faith: 133
Even if he kills those who revile iva, the Mantras of iva, and his Gurus, he
does not thereby infringe the rules of his post-initiatory discipline. There is no
fault in killing those who attack [our] deities, sacred re, and teachers.

Nor do our historical sources lack accounts of persecutions, pogroms, or simple vandalism directed against the religious other. Some may be ctions or at least
exaggerated. But some are well attested and by their mere existence they proclaim
that the Indians of our period were not adherents of the view that the religions
around them were eirenic by nature.
Buddhist sources, from the Kashmirian Vibhs of the second century to the

East Indian Majuriyamlakalpa of the eighth, identify as the rst major persecutor of their religion Pusyamitra unga of the second century bc, the brahmin

general who was believed to have re-established the pre-eminence of Brahmanism

after bringing the pro-Buddhist Maurya dynasty to an end. According to these
works he burned the Buddhist Stras, demolished Stpas and monasteries, and
killed many Buddhist monks, from Magadha to Jlandhara.134
Xuanzang, the seventh-century Chinese Buddhist scholar monk, who spent
about fteen years in Central Asia and India, reports that the Hephthalite Hun
Mihirakula, who ruled in Kashmir early in the sixth century, destroyed many
Buddhist foundations in Gandhra, having resolved to extinguish Buddhism.135
He was evidently aiva in allegiance, since on his coins he had the bull and tri-

133. Trilocanaiva, Pryacittasamuccaya, p. 16.

134. For a review of these accounts see Lamotte 1958, pp. 424431.
135. Beal 1884, vol. 1, pp. 167172.


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dent and the legend jayatu vrsa jayatu vrsadhvaja Victory to the Bull! Victory to

[iva,] who has the Bull as his emblem!,136 and, according to Kalhana, established

a Linga of iva incorporating his name (Mihirevara) in the capital.137 It should

be noted, however, that Kalhana says nothing of persecution of the Buddhists

in particular but notes only that before the close of his life he had been a pitiless
monster responsible for countless deaths.138
Xuanzang also reports the persecution of the Buddhists by the East Indian
ruler anka (c. 603619/20). He tells us that this king attacked the religion
of Buddha, dispersed the Sangha, cut down the Bodhi tree, damaged the rock
nearby that bore the Buddhas footprints, and ordered that a Buddha image
there should be replaced by an image of iva.139 He too was a devout worshipper
of this deity (paramamhevarah),140 and his gold coins show iva reclining on

his bull.141
The religious history of the kings of India up to the reign of Gopla (r.c.750
775), the rst king of the Pla dynasty, given in the guise of a prophecy and added
to the Buddhist Tantric Majuriyamlakalpa, probably not long after Goplas

136. Stein 1979 on 1.289. To laud the bull (vrsah) would be surprising if the intended meaning were the

bull that is ivas mount, but not if the word is intended in its gurative meaning, namely dharmah or

sukrtam the virtuous actions [prescribed by the Veda]. For this meaning of vrsah see, for example,

Amarasimha, Nmalingnusana 1.4.25b (sukrtam vrsah), 3.3.220 (sukrte vrsabhe vrsah); Halyudha,

Abhidhnaratnaml 1.125cd (dharmah punyam vrsah reyah sukrtam ca samam smrtam); Manusmrti

816a (vrso hi bhagavn dharmas...); and the Gwalior Museum Stone Inscription of Patangaambhu

(Mirashi 1962), l. 15, vrsaikanistho pi jitasmaro pi yah ankaro bhd bhuvi ko py aprvvah, concerning

the aiva ascetic Vyomaambhu: He was in the world an extraordinary new iva, since he too was
vrsaikanisthah (devoted solely to pious observance; in ivas case riding only on the Bull) and he

too was jitasmarah (one who had defeated sensual urges; in ivas case the defeater of the Love god

Kmadeva). This is also the meaning of vrsah in the title Vrsasrasamgraha, one of the works of the

ivadharma corpus (see, e.g., Sanderson 2014, p. 2), i.e., Summary of the Essentials of the [iva]dharma.
137. Rjatarangin 1.306.

138. Rjatarangin 1.291293, 361.

139. Beal 1884, vol. 2, pp. 91, 118, and 121.

140. Sircar 1983, Supplement, no. 1, ll. 45.
141. Sircar 1983, no. 5.


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reign,142 reports that in Vrnas a king of Gauda called Soma, perhaps the

Smanta-Mahrja Soma/Somadatta, the feudatory of anka recorded in an

inscription of c. 620,143 destroyed Buddha images; had the Buddhist scriptures
burned; obliterated Buddhist monasteries, assembly grounds, and Stpas; and
blocked their endowments.144
In the twelfth or thirteenth century an inscription from the royal town of
Vodmayt in Haryana praises a Saiddhntika aiva ascetic from Anahi
laptaka called Varmaiva who had been appointed head of the aiva Mat ha in

Vodmayt by the minister of the great-grandfather of the present ruler, relating that when he had gone to the Deccan as a boy he had seen an image installed
by the Buddhists and in his fury had by some mysterious means succeeded in
carrying it o to a great distance.145
The Pallava Mahendravarman I (c. 610630), originally a Jaina, is thought
to have persecuted the aivas until he was converted to aivism by the Tamil
poet-saint Appar.146 Appar declares himself a convert from Jainism and his poetry, like that of his near contemporary Campantar, is full of vituperation both
against his former co-religionists and the Buddhists.147 After his conversion from
Jainism to aivism the Pndya king of Madurai is said to have had 8,000 Jainas

impaled in revenge for an attempt to kill his aiva Guru Campantar.148 Whatever
the degree of accuracy of this grotesque claim it is signicant that this massacre is
depicted in relief around the enclosure of the tank of the temple of Mnksisund
arevara in Madurai and celebrated to this day in its festivals.149

142. Matsunaga 1985, p. 893.

143. Sircar 1983, no. 4.
144. Majuriyamlakalpa 53.657687, especially 657660.
145. Epigraphia Indica 3, no. 1, l. 8.
146. Stein 1994, p. 78.
147. Viswanathan Peterson 1991, passim.
148. Cf. vanmikanathan 1985, pp. 239262, stating in all seriousness that in fact the Jainas impaled themselves.
149. Sastri 1964, p. 110.


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An inscription of c. 1200 at Ablr, a Jaina stronghold in the Dharwar district

of Karnataka,150 reports a conflict between Jainas and aivas towards the end of
the twelfth century that culminated in the destruction of a Jaina temple and its
image of the Jina and the construction in its place of the temple of iva Vrasomantha (/Somevara) by the aiva zealot Ekntada-Rmayya; and inscriptions
at Shravana Belgola and other places in Karntaka record that in 1368 the Jainas

appealed successfully to the king of Vijayanagar for protection from persecution

at the hands of Vaisnavas.151

There is also an inscription of ad 1184 from Talikoti in the Mudehihal Taluk

of Bijapur District on a pillar near the gateway of the fort, which records that the
Ganas of the temple of Vra-Baysevara established the glory of the god iva with

supreme valour by destroying the Buddhist and Jaina religions, vanquishing the
adherents of the rival faiths at many places near and far, demolishing Jaina temples, and installing Lingas of iva.152 Nor was this kind of sectarian hatred limited
to the south. In 1174, Ajayadeva, the aiva king of Gujarat who founded Ajmer, is
said to have begun his reign with a severe persecution of the Jainas.153
There is also evidence of hostility between aivas and Vaisnavas. An inscrip
tion of 1160 at Tirukkadaiyr rules that devotees of iva (Mhevaras) associated

with the temple there would forfeit their property to the temple if they mixed
freely with Vaisnavas.154 The South Indian Vaisnava Ymuna (c. 966/7 to 1038)

is uncompromising in his view that the aiva faith is outside the pale of valid
religion 155 and that, against appearances, orthoprax Vaidika criticism of inner
non-Vaidika practice applies only to aivism and not also to the Vaisnava Pa

150. Epigraphia Indica 5, no. 25, E.

151. Rice 1909, pp. 113114 and 207208.
152. South Indian Inscriptions 15:56.
153. Gurinot 1908, no. 11.
154. Sastri 1984, p. 645.
155. gamaprmnya, pp. 91101.


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cartra; 156 and this view was not moderated by the later Vaisnavas of southern

India, who held rmly to the position that the Mantramrgic aivas and the
Pupatas were indels (avaidikh, psandinah) the very sight of whom pol

lutes.157 Then there is the rvaisnava hagiographical tradition of works such as

the Divyasricarita of Garudavhana and the Yatirjavaibhava of Vatuka Nampi,

according to which their teacher Rmnuja had to ee because of persecution by

the fanatically aiva Cola emperor, nding refuge in Karntaka, where he con

verted the Jaina Hoysala king Bitt ideva to Vaisnavism,158 and the tradition of the

Divyasricarita that the same king, or Kulottunga II (r. 11331150), according to

his court poet Ottakttan, had an image of Visnu removed from the front of the

shrine of iva Natarja in Cidambaram and thrown into the sea.159 Whatever the

truth of this claim, it was strongly believed.160

Only accounts of religious persecution or killing of non-Buddhists by Buddhists are lacking in the Indian sources known to me.161 Their aggression, as far as
I can tell at present, was limited in India to the provision of Mantras to be used
to kill the enemies of Buddhism; 162 to narratives of the forcible humiliation of

156. gamaprmnya, pp. 156158.

157. See, e.g., the Pacartraraks of Vedntadeika (1268/91369/70), p. 27.

158 Sastri 1984, pp. 295296 and 308.

159. Sastri 1984: pp. 300 and 644645.
160. Finally, in 1539 Acyutarya of Vijayanagara, a Vaisnava like all the post-Sangama kings of this dy
nasty, responded to this belief by founding the present shrine of Visnu Govindarja within the precincts

of the temple, right beside the Citsabh, the aivas holy of holies, ordaining that it should be worshipped according to the ritual of the Vaikhnasas (Younger 1995, pp. 111112).
161. This is not the case in Tibet. In his Blue Annals (tr. Roerich 1995, p. 53) Gzhon nu dpal relates that
the Buddhist monk Lha lung dpal gyi rdo rje assassinated Glang dar ma, the last king of the Yarlung
dynasty, c. ad 842, to put an end to his persecution of Buddhism. For a colourful and no doubt ctionalized account of the assassination, see Bsod nams rgyal tshans Rgyal rabs gsal bai me long (fourteenth
century), tr. by Srensen (1994), pp. 431435. I merely cite the tradition. For there are grounds for
doubting both Glang dar mas hostility to Buddhism and his assassination; see Yamaguchi 1996.
162. See, e.g., Majuriyamlakalpa 50, prose before v. 1: This [Mantra of the] Wrathful King [Yamntaka] should certainly be employed (prayoktavyah) against evil rulers and any persons that do harm to

the teaching (dustarjm sanpakrinm ca sattvnm)...; to protect the teaching of the Buddhas,

to secure the longevity of the sacred texts (dharmadhtucirasthityartham), to block all wicked rulers,


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the non-Buddhist deities, particularly iva or Bhairava and his consort; and to
the canonization of these narratives in the iconography of their Tantric deities,
who tread triumphant on the prostrate bodies of their aiva rivals, and wear their
ayed skin as garments and their bones as Kplika ornaments.163



Abhidhnaratnamlof Halyudha, ed. Th. Aufrecht. London: Williams &

Norgate, .
astaprakarana, ed. Vrajavallabha Dvived. Yogatantra-granthaml 12. Vara

nasi: Sampurnananda Sanskrit University, 1988.

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gamadambaraof Jayanta dezs .

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graha, compiled by Jinavijaya Muni. Singh Jaina
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to punish those who harm any one of the three Jewels (ratnatraypakrinm)[, namely images of the

Buddha, the sacred texts of Buddhism, and the community of monks]... The use of the Mantra of the
Buddhist deity Black Yamri to bring about the death of the target is taught at the end of the 4th Patala

of the Krsnayamritantra. See also Vajrabhairavatantra, at the end of its 2nd Kalpa, f. 5rv: He should

make efforts to kill (mranyh prayatnena) or remove (athav sthnaclanam) those who are intent

on reviling [our] cryas (cryanindanaparh), who attack the Mahyna (mahynapradsakh), and

who mock those who are versed in the Mantras, rituals, and their applications (mantratantraprayoga
jn hsyam kurvanti).

163. See, e.g., Iyanaga 1985; Sanderson 2009a, pp. 155156, 172174.


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