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Written by Sir John Woodroffe, Book: Introduction to Tantra Sastra 


ABHIṢ EKA1 is of eight kinds, and the forms of abhiṣeka which follow the first at later stages, mark greater and greater degrees of initiation. The first śāktābhiṣeka is given on entrance into the path of sādhana. It is so called because the guru then reveals to the śiṣ ya the preliminary
mysteries of śakti-tattva. By it the śiṣya is cleansed of all sinful or evil śakti or proclivities and
acquires a wonderful new śakti.2 The next, pūrṇ ābhiṣ eka is given in the stage beyond dakṣ inācāra, when the disciple has qualified himself by puraścarāṇ a and other practices to receive it. Here the real work of sādhana begins. Āsana, yama, etc., strengthen the disciple’s determination (pratij˝ā) to persevere along the higher stages of sādhana. The third is the difficult stage commenced by krama-dīksābhiṣ eka, in which it is said the great Vaśiṣ ṭ ha became involved, and in which the Ṛṣi Viśvāmitra acquired brahmaj˝ānā and so became a Brāhmaṇ a. The sacred thread is now worn round the neck like a garland. The śiṣya, then undergoing various ordeals (parikṣ ā), receives sāmrājyābhiṣ eka and mahāsāmrājyābhis eka, and at length arrives at the most difficult of all stages introduced by yoga-dīkṣ ābhiṣ eka. In the previous stages the sadhaka has performed the pa˝cānga-puraścarana, and with the assistance of his

1 Sprinkling, anointing, inaugurating, consecration as of a king or disciple.
2 Of the śāktābhiṣ eka two forms are also mentioned—rājā and yogi (see Prāṇ atoṣ ini. 254; Vāmakeśvara Tantrā, chap. 1; Niruttara-Tantra, (chap. vii). As to what follows, see Tantrarahasya, cited post.

guru (with whom he must constantly reside, and whose instructions he must receive direct), he does the pa˝can ̣ ga-yoga—that is, the last five limbs of the aṣṭanga. He is thereafter qualified for pūrṇ a-dikṣ ābhisekā, sometimes called virāja-grahaṇ ābhiseka. On the attainment of perfection in this last grade, the sādhaka performs his own funeral rites (śrāddha), makes pūrnāhuti with
his sacred thread and crown lock. The relation of guru and Siṣya now ceases. From this point he ascends by himself until he realizes the great saying, So’hām (“I am He”). At this stage, which the Tantra calls jīvan-mukta (liberated whilst yet living) he is called parama-haṃsa.














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