Meaning of 'Kaul'

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian ramakris at EROLS.COM
Sun Dec 5 19:53:33 CST 1999

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at> wrote:

I am not a shrI vidyA upAsaka, but I believe my reply would be
consistent with the orthodox tradition.

> 1.  What is the understanding of the contemporary inheritors of the
> sampradaya on the meanings of the words Kaula and Kaulachara?

The same as in the ancient time. The kaula-s use the pa.ncamakra -
namely wine, fish, sex, meat and pulses (heaven only knows why this is
objectionable) and fondly imagine that  "controlled" use of this will
lead to liberation. Note that meat from vedic sacrifices and
controlled sex within marriage are not objectionable to the orthodox.
However, these fellows think this mode of life is inferior and
breaking these rules will lead them to liberation. This stupid idea
has been floating around for quite sometime. The li.nga purANa
mentions that imagining that desires will cease by fulfilment of them
is like pouring ghee into fire. Srimad Vidyaranya mentions this verse
in his pa.ncadashI. The modern saint Ramana Maharshi has also
mentioned the foolishness of this idea. Note that when I say orthodox
it's not to be confused with orthoprax. Of course kaula would be
objectionable to the orthoprax also.

> 2.  Whose views are to be preferred, those of Shri Bhaskararaya or
> Lakshmidhar?  Or both?  Or neither?

Only laxmIdhara may be accepted in toto, he is most certainly not
kaula. But, where bhAskararAya does not contradict the orthodoxy, he
may be accepted. I know that  the orthodox tradition accepts some of
his works like the lalitA sahasranAma bhAshhya, so probably this does
not contain any kaulAchAra stuff. I haven't read it mself.

> 3.  Is Shri Bhaskararaya justified in maintaining that Kaulachara is
> compatibile with Vedic Dharma?

No, most certainly not, unless you redefine kaula, which bhAskararAya
most certainly does not do. These days of course, there are some
people who substitute "in-offensive" things for the pa.ncamakra, like
say, a lump of flour or something like that. IMO, this is also quite
foolish, what on earth is that for anyway? How on earth will all this
stuff lead to liberation? The kaula texts also do not approve of such
substitutions. These people pay lip service to sha.nkara, who would
certainly dismiss all this stuff outright. It's being neither here nor
there, a decidedly confused lot.

What many people don't understand is that shAkta philosophy is quite
incompatible with advaita. I am not talking about advaitins
worshipping shakti, which is shakti upAsana, but rather the "tAntrik"
shAkta philosophy. There are many folks floating around claiming that
this is compatible with advaita, and many have set up Ashrams and so
on. Many lay advaitins get bamboozled by these folks. It's best to
steer clear away from all these people.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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