Towards a History of Saivasiddhanta
Funding Agency(ies):
French Institute of Pondicherry ; University Paris-III, France; CNRS
Principal Investigator(s):
Dr. T. Ganesan
Contact Email :
Towards a History of Saivasiddhanta
Axis 2. of the Indology Department /
 
Objectives:
 

Saivasiddhanta is a saivite school, which, since more than a millennium, is a major feature of Indian religious life, especially in Tamil Nadu. It is one of the most complete and strongest religious systems: even today, most of South Indian saivite temples follow Saivasiddhanta rules. Since its foundation, the French Institute of Pondicherry has been the leading institution in the study and publication of Saivasiddhanta texts. The scholars attached to the Institute are elaborating the patterns of the complex history of this main current of saivite religion. Saivasiddhanta studies rely on a wide bilingual textual corpus:

  • Sanskrit canonical texts (28 main Agamas and numerous secondary texts or Upagamas) describing doctrine, religious practice - either public or private -, temple building, image making, etc.
  • Sanskrit philosophical treatises which elaborate Agamas’ teaching
  • Tamil doctrinal treatises, for which Meykandar is one of the main instigators.
  • Sanskrit Puranas, pertaining to various religious trends. Those texts, with a far wider scope, nevertheless include important elements for the understanding of Saivasiddhanta ideas and history.
Material and Methods:
 

IFP manuscripts collection is one of the most complete in the field of Saivasiddhanta texts, and thus provides the basic material for all projects dealing with it, the approach being philological, historical and anthropological.

Critical editions of unpublished canonical texts: Suksmagama

  • Sûksmâgama, another Saivasiddhanta main canonical text, offers a fairly complete description of temple rituals together with special ceremonies, ordeals of various types or festivals, with a special emphasis on ceremonies involving the Goddess. Its critical edition (already two volumes published in 2009 and 2012) will enhance the place occupied by certain ancient features of the Agamic tradition in the domain of deities, mantras and rituals.
  • Historical survey of Saivasiddhanta in Tamil Nadu Sivajnanabodbham is the first and the most commentated upon of the doctrinal treatises pertaining to Saivasiddhanta. It is translated along with an up-to-now unpublished Sanskrit commentary (16th century). Pauskaragama, one of the canonical texts well known in Tamil Nadu, is critically edited together with an hitherto unpublished Sanskrit commentary, by Jnanaprakasa, a 16th century theologian, who enlightens the continuity between canonical and later literature, especially in Tamil Nadu.
  • Study of Early Saivasiddhanta Sources: Some of the basic philosophical texts of the system were composed in Kashmir and other parts of north India. One such early text of authority is RATNATRA authored by SRIKANTHA in Kashmir in the 10-11 centuries There is a detailed commentary written by Aghorasiva of south India in the 12th century. This research study accompanied by a critically edited text along with the commentary will be a very useful and important contribution in the domain  of Saivasiddhanta bringing to light some of the fundamental aspects of this system in its early period as found  in other parts of India.
Ongoing projects:
 
External team members:
  • Dr. Marie-Luce BARAZER-BILLORET (Maître de Conférences, Université Paris III/Sorbonne nouvelle)
Main Outputs:
  • Two Śaiva teachers of the sixteenth century. Nigamajñāna I and his disciple Nigamajñāna II.

T. Ganesan, 2009, xviii, 274 p. (IFP - Publications Hors série n° 9).
Language: English. 600 Rs (26 €). ISBN: 978-81-8470-169-2.

This book is a complete analytical study of all the œuvres of Nigamajñāna I and his nephew-cum-disciple Nigamajñāna II. This study aims at bringing to limelight the great contributions made by these two teachers in the sixteenth century for the consolidation, elaboration and propagation of the Śaivasiddhānta religious system and philosophical doctrines.

For the first time the contents of all the available texts of these two Śaiva teachers in Sanskrit and Tamil, of which many are unpublished, are completely and critically analysed with a view to fully bring out the richness of these texts in their totality and their value in the propagation of Śaivasiddhānta during one of the most crucial periods in Indian history.

Keywords: śaivasiddhānta, ritual, compilation, āgama
  • Diptagama. Tome II. Chapitres 22 à 62.

Edition critique Marie-Luce Barazer-Billoret, Bruno Dagens et Vincent Lefèvre avec la collaboration de S. Sambandha Sivacarya et la participation de Christèle Barois, Collection indologie n° 81.2, IFP / Mondes Iranien et Indien, 2007, 603 p.
Language : Sanskrit, French. 700 Rs (25 €)

Diptagama is one of the 28 canonical treatises pertaining to the Southern Saivite school known as Saivasiddhanta. It deems itself a treatise on installations. The critical edition of this hitherto unpublished text relies on manuscripts kept in the library of the French Institute of Pondicherry. The present edition will comprise 3 volumes.

The first volume released in 2004 dealt with mantras, installation of the main Linga in the temple, and even more with architecture and iconography. The present, second volume is centred on rituals, mainly for the installation of statues, but several chapters also deal with daily ceremonies, fire ritual, baths, etc.

As in the case of the first volume, the Sanskrit text is followed by a chapter-wise summary aimed at facilitating the reading of the 41 chapters published herein.

Keywords: agamas, iconography, Saivism, Sanskrit, temple, ritual

  • Anamorphoses - Hommage à Jacques Dumarçay

CHAMBERT-LOIR, Henri & DAGENS, Bruno, 2006.textes réunis par – et - , Les Indes Savantes, Paris, 508 pages.

Architecte et historien, Jacques DUMARÇAY a exercé son activité à travers l’Asie, menant des fouilles en Afghanistan ou au Pakistan, relevant et décrivant des temples en Inde, donnant sa pleine mesure sur les grands chantiers de restauration d’Angkor et de Borobudur. Ses nombreuses publications témoignent par le texte et le dessin de sa rigueur scientifique, de son insatiable curiosité et de sa profonde culture. Dans le présent recueil, ses amis ont cherché à traduire, à travers la diversité de leurs contributions, celle de ses centres d’intérêt. Regroupées sous cinq grandes rubriques – Architecture, Iconographie, Archéologie, Littératures et Histoire –, ces vingt-six études mènent le lecteur des confins de l’Afghanistan à la Chine en passant par le sous-continent indien et l’Asie du sud-est, se voulant, telles de multiples anamorphoses, le reflet personnel et amical du souci de faire connaître et de faire comprendre qui marque l’œuvre de ce maître et ami.

  • South Asian Archaeology 2001, Proceedings of the Seventeenth International Conference of the European Association of South Asian Archaeologists, held in Collège de France, Paris 2-6 July 2001.

JARRIGE, Catherine & LEFEVRE, Vincent, eds, 2005, Paris (Editions Recherches sur les Civilisations).

Since 1971 the biennial South Asian Archaeology conference is held in a European city and aims at presenting, with the participation of the leading specialists in their field, the results of the ongoing research in archaeology and art history of the Indian sub-continent. Organised for the third time in Paris, the 2001 conference gathered more than 200 participants from nearly 20 countries spread on 4 continents. The proceedings follow the pattern of the conference: the first volume is dedicated to the pre- and proto-historical periods, while the second one covers the historical period and the art history.

  • Commanditaires et artistes en Inde du sud. Des Pallava aux Nayak

LEFEVRE, Vincent, 2006, Paris (Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle).

De la fin du VIe siècle jusqu’au XVIIIe siècle, l’Inde du Sud, et tout particulièrement le pays tamoul, a connu un développement ininterrompu de ses différentes pratiques artistiques La confrontation de ces différentes sources d’information permet de jeter un regard nouveau sur ceux qui ont produit ces oeuvres d’art : les commanditaires et ceux que nous sommes tentés d’appeler les artistes mais que l’Inde ne distingue pas des artisans.

  • Traités, temples et images du monde indien : études d’histoire et d’archéologie

Bruno Dagens. Articles rassemblés par M.-L. Barazer-Billoret et V. Lefèvre, IFP/Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2005, xiv, 330 p. incl. 42 pages of photos.
Language: French, English. 400 Rs (14 €)

This book is a reprint of several papers by Prof. Bruno Dagens who from the end of the fifties has carried out research on temple architecture and iconography in Afghanistan, Southeast Asia and India, and in doing so dealt with several aspects of the history of the Indianised world, its art, its religious practice, its ideology …

The first part of the book comprises two general contributions dealing, one, with the history and the spreading of Indian art and, the other, with results of several joint field and theoretical researches. The second part contains several papers (in French and in English) relating to Indian treatises while the third deals with sites and monuments of Southeast Asia. The book comprises a bibliography and several indexes.

Keywords: India, South-East Asia, architecture, history, treatises

  • Dīptāgama. Tome 1. Chapitres 1 à 21

Edition critique Marie-Luce Barazer-Billoret, Bruno Dagens et Vincent Lefèvre avec la collaboration de S. Sambandha Śivācārya, 2004, vi, 449 p. (PDI n° 81.1)

Languages: Sanskrit, French. 600 Rs (22 €)

The Dīptāgāma is a Sanskrit Śaiva treatise pertaining to the southern school (Śaivasiddhānta). It deals mainly with the installation of images of gods in Śiva temples: installation rituals (pratiṣṭ̣hā), iconography, iconometry and architecture. It was hitherto unpublished and the present critical edition (to be published in 3 volumes) is based upon several manuscripts kept in the Library of the French Institute, Pondicherry. This first volume deals especially with mantras and temple architecture as well as with numerous iconographical descriptions and with liṅgapratiṣṭhā. The Sanskrit text is printed in Nāgari script with copious critical apparatus. There is an introduction and a detailed chapterwise summary (in French).

Keywords: āgamas, iconography, Śaivism, Sanskrit, temple

 

  • « Mondes Iranien et Indien » (U.M.R. n°2578), a Research team involving University Paris-III, as well as E.P.H.E, INaLCO and C.N.R.S.

Staff ( IFP & External )

GANESAN T., Head of the Department
SAMBANDAN S., Research assistant