(Last Updated on : 21-05-2018)
Tantric Literature and its practices have influenced all the religions of India
. There is still a considerable number of works in manuscripts
in different collections of India. Tantra
consists of a large number of sects and subjects having characteristically varying rituals
. Tantras are works that primarily focus on ritual and meditative practices, so the term tantric also envelops the practices associated with these scriptures, which were traditionally disseminated by the tantric practitioners, along with the texts. The ritual mainly advocated by Tantric literature is a system of worship in which, by internal and external ritual acts, the worshiper intends to establish his or her identity with the deity worshiped.
Tantric Literature falls under Agamas
that concentrate on a particular aspect of the almighty and enjoyment is necessary for salvation. Tantric Literature begins with creation of the world and ends with the end of the world or the beginning.
Names of Various Tantric Literatures
Some of the important Tantric texts are Guhyasamaya
, Manjusir Moolakalpa, Rudrayamala and Brahmayamala, which were written by Buddhist
monks. The major works on the Agama Shastra of Kashmir
are Mdlinivijaya, Svacchanda, Vijhdnabhairava, Ucchusmabhairava, Anandabhairava, Mrgendra, Mdtanga, Netra, Naisvasa, Svayambhuva and Rudrayamala.
The main works of the Pratyabhijna
literature are Sivadrishti of Somananda
, Pratyabhijhdkarika of Utpala
, Malinivijayottaravartika, Pratyabhijnavimarsini, Tantra Loka, Tantrasara and Paramdrthasdra of Abhinavagupta
, Pratyabhijndhadaya of Ksemaraja, disciple of Abhinava. The chief works of the Samhita
class are Ahirbudhnya, Isvara, Pauskara, Parama, Sdttvata, Brihadbrahma, Janmadrthasdra and Jayakhya.
The Saundarya Lahari is a popular Tantric work which is attributed to Shankaracharya
. The Varaha Tantra has 54 Tantras. There are many digests, commentaries, lexicons, for instance Tantrasara of the Bengali Krishnananda, Tantrabhidhdna and Mantrakosa.
Among the Buddhist Tantras
the common ones are Arya Manjusrilmulakalpa, Hevajra Tantra
, Prajnopaya-viniscaya-siddhi of Anangavajra.
Many texts have been composed and preserved by tantric communities, the majority of which have not been edited, studied or translated. Tantric literature was often ignored by past generations of scholars, some of whom deemed tantric literature as unworthy of study. The study of these texts is an ongoing effort, which, as it proceeds, should deepen ones understanding of the history of tantric traditions.