Mandalas and Yantras in the Hindu Traditions by Gudrun Buhnemann
In recent years mandalas have attracted much interest and the main focus of such interest has been directed towards Tibetan mandalas. But mandalas are found across a wide spectrum of South Asian religious traditions as well including those of the Hindus and Jains. Hindu mandalas and yantras have hardly been researched. This book attempts to fill this gap.
Mandalas and Yantras are used in rites of worship in a wide range of Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina religious traditions. This volume has scholarly articles that deal with the little-researched subject of mandalas and yantras in specific Hindu traditions-Smarta, Pancaratra, Shaiva and Shakta traditions. The articles discuss mandala-like arrangements and the navagrahamandala in the ritual practices of Smarta Brahmins in Maharashtra. Use of mantras and yantras in the Vaishnava Pancaratra tradition is studied on the basis of passages from the Samhitas. They concentrate on the Siddhanta school, pre-11th century Shaiva Mandalas expressing the link between branches of Shaivism and between Shaiva and non-Shaiva groups, and description of use of mandalas in Abhinavagupta s Tantraloka. The shricakra is explored as a cosmic than a ritual diagram which has immense religious/spiritual significance. A slightly different attempt examines application of vastumandala, as described in Varahamihira s Brihatsamhita, in temple architecture. Parallels are drawn between the rituals taken up here and others like Buddhist tantric initiation rites. The writings consult many religious texts including the Sharadatilaka, the 11th-century Yoginihridaya and the Svacchandatantra to understand mandala structure and rituals. A highlight of the volume is the inclusion of numerous reproductions of mandala designs and other drawings and extensive notes. The volume will be useful for Indologists studying Hindu religious traditions, particularly mystical rituals and rites of Vaishnava, Shaiva and Shakta traditions.
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