Sanskrit Hymns and Tantric Traditions: The Lineage of Sāhib Kaula and the Religious and Literary History of Kashmir
This talk presented ongoing research on the Tantric traditions of Kashmir in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was based on a newly prepared critical edition and translation (with Prof. Ben Williams, Naropa University) of Sanskrit hymns composed by the followers of the prolific and influential Kashmirian author, Sābib Kaula. Many of the hymns are about their guru and their lineage, but others reframe earlier Śaiva and Śākta traditions popular in Kashmir. This talk focused on three hymns: the Bhairavīśaktistotra (modelled on Abhinavagupta’s Bhairavastotra) and Tripurasundarīstotra of Gaṇeśa Bhaṭṭāraka and the Svacchandamaheśvarāṣṭaka of Govinda Kaula. Based on this analysis, it argued for new perspectives on the history and evolution of religious and literary traditions in Kashmir.