World Sanskrit Conference (WSC) (17th : 2018)

The Development of Pāśastobha (The Stunning of Bonds) in Śaiva Initiation, Together with an Analysis of the Piṇḍamantras Taught in the Tantrasadbhāva and the Tantrāloka Bang, Junglan


The yogic practice of pāśastobha (the stunning of bonds) is described at length in the ninth chapter of the Śaiva Trika, Tantrasadbhāva. In Saiddhāntika texts, this practice is not closely associated with initiation, rather it is treated as one of eight pratyayas which are achieved by mantra practice and udghāta. The Trika’s Mālinīvijayottara which is presumably earlier than the Tantrasadbhāva, enumerates five different pratyayas and mentions pāśastobha as an optional ritual action. We can see that the Tantrasadbhāva’s emphasis on pāśastobha differs from previous Śaiva Trika literature. Moreover, the application of pāśastobha in initiation seems to be original to the Tantrasadbhāva, especially since Abhinavagupta attests that the secret mantras for the pāśastobha explained in the Tantrāloka are taught in the Tantrasadbhāva. Therefore, this paper aims to examine the process of the adoption of pāśatobha practice into initiation in order to better understand the development of Śaiva initiation. This paper will also look at the nature of the textual layers of the Tantrasadbhāva and its incorporation of materials from the Saiddhāntika and from earlier Trika scriptures.

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