Meaning of 'Kaul'

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Dec 6 09:11:15 CST 1999

On Sun, 5 Dec 1999 20:53:33 -0500, Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian
<ramakris at EROLS.COM> wrote:

>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.

 advaitins must indeed steer clear of kaulAchAra or vAmAchAra. This
 "left-hand" method of worship has flourished in many places including
 Bengal. Notably, Ramakrishna and Vivekananda have both been sharply
 critical of this cult. The former has described the vAmAchAra as the
 path of scavengers (bhangi's). See what Vivekananda says in The Complete
 Works, Vol III, p. 340:

  "Give up this filthy vAmAchAra that is killing your country...
  When I see how much vAmAchAra has entered our society, I find it a
  most disgraceful place with all its boast of culture..."

  That is a pretty strong condemnation of vAmAchAra coming from one of
  the greatest sons of Bengal.

  Sometimes an argument is put forward to defend vAmAchAra thus. Not
  everyone is fit to offer Vedic worship. People who are shUdras or
  outcastes cannot be engaged in vedic worship. They can offer meat, etc.,
  because that is what they consume everyday. While this may be a kind
  of justification of tAmasika worship by such people, it can hardly
  be transformed into "the best path for liberation" as the vAmAchAra
  claims. advaitins, who strive to worship in a sAttvika way, cannot (must
  not) stoop to that level in search of liberation! While God is
  supremely satisfied even with an offering of a leaf, flower, fruit, or
  just water with devotion (gItA 9.26), there is no necessity to engage in
  the "elaborate worship" as described by the vAmAchAra texts. Such forms
  of worship are simply schemes for sensual enjoyment, not anything


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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