, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 199-218
Date: 27 Dec 2011

A South Indian Śākta Anthropogonỵ: An Annotated Translation of Selections from Maheśvarānanda’s Mahārthamañjarīparimala, gāthās 19 and 20

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Abstract

This article represents the first of a projected series of annotated translations of the Mahārthamañjarīparimala of Maheśvarānanda, a Śaiva Śākta author active in Cidambaram around the turn of the fourteenth century of the Common Era. The present translation includes excerpts from the text’s presentation of two of the levels of reality (tattvas), puruṣa and prakṛti. These two tattvas, the apex of the older Sāṃkhya scheme incorporated centuries earlier by the Śaivas, provide for Maheśvarānanda the centerpiece and climax of his understanding of the structure of the Śaiva cosmos. Fundamental to the rhetoric of Maheśvarānanda’s idiosyncratic presentation is his reliance upon a simultaneous strategy of integration and distinction of his argument within the wider world of Śaiva doctrinal common sense. He seeks to integrate the characteristic meditative structure of his Krama or Mahārtha system within a theological framework shared by all Śaiva theists. It can be seen that Maheśvarānanda’s interpretation of the junction between these two reality levels delineates a picture of what it is to be a human being, equipped with an inner life and a personality. The article also reviews the quality of the published editions of the Mahārthamañjarī, discusses its textual history, and offers a number of suggested emendations to the passages translated.