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Intentional Language in the Tantras Author(s): A. Bharati Reviewed work(s): Source: Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol.

81, No. 3 (Aug. - Sep., 1961), pp. 261270 Published by: American Oriental Society Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/595657 . Accessed: 30/11/2011 08:37
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FtamilyLaup Illegttimates: A Test for Modern FIindqb


have been made to the illegitimate No concessions childrenof males, exceptthat their daughterscan now claim maintenanceat Hindu law. This is wherethe claimis againstthe valuable particularly decedent'sestate, for formerlythe CriminalProthe magiscedureCodewouldnot have authorised trate to obtainaccessto any such property. Since polygamyhas been abolished,and marriagesare graduallytaking placelater in life, the proportion of illegitimatechildrenmay be expectedto rise; so the problemis not on its way out. Thereare bold elementsin the ;; iHinduCode,"but they have not appeared(so far as we can tell) by any conscious purposein the regulationof the rights of illegitimate children.

The nest stage in the story will be the drafting of the Indian Civil Code,which may be e2mpected in the courseof the first half of the next century Strangelyenough the Hindu law will be by that time ahead of the other systems in India, unless are made to the Islamic and general amendments systemsmeanwhile. It is quite beyondconjecture at the momentwhetherHindus will take the lead and attempt to abolish the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate childrenwhose paternity is establishedor recognized:at the moment to that movement they showno signs of responding in other parts of the world, and have, on the posielectedto abideby the conventional contrary, tional position establishedin Anglo-Indianprecase-law. Independence



THIS PAPER DEALS with sandha-bhsa (intentional language) which is used in the tantras and is divided into four sections: first, the meaning of the term will be established;next, I shall conterminologyfollows two tend that sandha-bhasni obversesemanticpatterns;third, I shall presenta lastly, I shall single list of frequentsandha-terms, for out one particularlyimportant sandha-word on sandhaA bibliography textualexemplification. bhasa will be appended,which leans heavily on ProfessorM. Eliade'slist,1addingonly somematerial which has been publishedmorerecently. has It is importantto note that sandha-bhasa is nothing to do with mantra; mantra-language often virtually identifiedwith, or taken to be a by Indian panparticularbranchof sandha-bhasa, kavaca, manfra (includingdharant, dits. However,

promptyamala,etc.) is meantto be an excitant, state actionor inducinga particular ing toward on the otherhand,claim of mind. Sandha-words, something;mantra tries to change to describe something,it does not designateanythingin sandha terminature;mantra is an injunction, nology is descriptiveor appraising,or both. mantra- under mightagreeto subsume Scholars downthe injunctive by watering sandha-language conducive to of mantra,butthis is hardly purport is both correct clarity. I believethe distinction andimportant. Up to this day,thereare two viewsaboutthe thought scholars formof the word. Older correct '; the it was sandhya-bhasa' twilight language morerecentand to my mind the moreprobable language). readingis sandha-bhasa(intentional 2 it After Eliade's treatmentof sandha-bhasa seemedsure that the form wouldno longerbe disputed. However,Lama Govindahas since again;he doesnot writtenaboutsandhya-bhasa3 that and it is thinkable the controversy mention . Ibid., pp.251

* The author is indebted to the Inner Asia Colloquium of the Far Eastern Institute, University of Washington for advising him on the final version. 1 Mircea Eliade, Le Yopa: Immortalztd et Ltbertd; (Paris, 1954), p. 251 ff., pp. 394-5. "Le Langage Intentionnel." The book has been translated into English by W. R. Trask; the English version has a few additional bibliographical references. Its title is Yoga: Irnmortality and lFreedom ( New-York, 1958).

Mystzk (Zurich,

aLama Anagarika Govinda, Glrundlaga 1957)pp.45ff*




Intentional Lang?age in the Tantras

he might not be awareof it. Evell more recently, called sandhya-boll doesnot bear any more resemSnellgroveseemsto acceptsandhya-bhasa,4 though blanceto the languageof the Dohakosas(if that I do not understand why he does so althoughhis is what P. :K.Banerjeehad in mind whenhe spoke Tibetantext readsdgonspa'i skad. He translates of the language of the Siddhacaryas)than any the term as 'secret language' throughout,which otherof the numerous bolls spokenin that area. would do for both sandhal and sandhyain a some- I shall outline the sandhya-sandhal controversy what speciousway. Snellgrovethen avers5 that succinctly. The late Pdt. iHaraprasad Shastri,the the list given by Shahidullah and quotedby Eliade editor of Baxddhagano Doha (Bengali) 9 speaks "consists chiefly of terms not properlysandhya- about sandhya-bhasa throughouthis introduction. bhasa. Terms such as lalana, rasana, padrna, He wrote (p. 8) ". . . all the works of the saha?ajra,etc., are by no means' hidden'." Snellgrove jayana are written in sandhya-bhasa. Sandhyawould not encounter this difficulty if he read bhasal is a languageof light and darkness,partly sandhninstead of sandhycl, for though 'hidden' light, partlydarkness; somepassages can be underand ' secret' may be synonyms, ' intentional ' is not stood,otherscannot. That is to say, in this higha synonymof either; hence the terms quotedby order type of discourseon dharma words have Shahidullah and Eliade are genuinesandha-bhasa. another, a diflerent meaning (viz., from their I also do not see whattermsdo qualifyas ' hidden' literal meaning); this is not to be openly dison this count, for in anotherpassage Snellgroxre cussed." 10 H. p. Shastrithen uses sandhya-bhasa obviouslydoes accept similar diction as eligible, eighteentimes; he was certainlynot aware,at that when he states "in this case even the literal is time, of the possiblealternativereadingsandha. concealed beneath the jargon of their ' secret V. Bhattacharyacontested this reading. He language.' 6 showed 11 that both Sanskrit and Pali Buddhist A third view must be mentioned if only for texts use sarbd71a-b71asa throughoutand that the completeness'sake. P. }i:. Banerjee thinks the few instanceswherehe found sand71ya werewrong term readssandAya, and that it is the propername spellings. of a dialect spokenin a region of this name; he P. C. Bagehi12 acceptedBhattacharya's reading writes and added that sandha was corroborated by the ". . . the tract to the southeast of Bhagalpur comprising Chinese translation of the term which he tranthe western portion of Birbhum and the Santhal Par- scribesfang pien S71?Z0. ganas is the borderland between the old Aryavarta (the The Tibeanequivalent for sand71a-b71asa is Idem Indian domicile of the Aryans) and Bengal proper, and The Satapitaka Tthetanwas called the Sandhya-country. Anyonewho is familiar por dgonste bsadpa 14 gives both sandha and with the several dialects all closely resembling one Sans7critDictionary another spoken in that region, cannot have any doubt as sandhyi as the Sanskritoriginals. It lists dgons to their near relationship to the language used by the skadsandhya-bhasa with Blue Annals 2/815 as Siddhacharyas .7 textual reference; dgons te bsvad pa-sandhayaSutra T/18, 19, 23, V. Bhattacharyadismisses this view as ' mere vacanafor Sandhinirmocana 29; dgons te gsuns pa sandhaya-vacana for the imagination ; 8 he is probably right,for the dialect sametext, T/25.

4 D. L. Snellgrove, The Hevajra Tantra (London, 1959) Vol. II, pp. 60-64. 6 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 25 footnote. 8 Ibitd., Vol. I, p. 101, footnote 2. It is not quite clear to me why Snellgrove regards the excellent list contained in this footnote as instances of ' secret language ' when he refuses this epithet to Shahidullah's examples. It is conceivablethat Snellgrove wants sand ha to apply to phrasesand passages only, and not to individual terms; but he does not say so. 7 Panchkawri Bannerji, TFi,vabharati, Quarterly (1924), 265, quoted ixI V. Bhattacharya, " Sandhabhaea" vd. II.8. 8V. Bhattacharya, ''SaxIdhabhasa,''IHQ, IV (1928), 288.

9 Mahamahopadhyaya Haraprasad Castrl, Baiuddhapan o Doha, Vanglya Sahitya Parisad (Calcutta, 2nd. ed.). 10 ;; sets eit ye, sahajiya dharmer sakal ba'it sandhya bhasay lekhd. Sandhya-bhasay mane alo andhari bhasa, katak alo, katak andhakar, khanik biujha jay, khanik bujha jae na arthat eit sakal uccu anger dharmakathar bhttare ekta anya bhaber kathao ace." 11 IHQ, IV ( 1928), 29512 p. C.

Studres in the Tatras, Part I, Calcutta University Publi-

Bagehi, " Sandhabhasa and Sandhavacana,"

cations ( 1939) . 13 IHQ, IV (19281, 296.

14 Indo Asian Literatiures, ed. Lokesh Chandra,TibetanSanskrit Dictionary, Part 3 (New-Delhi, 1959) pp. 424-5.


in the Tantras Language Intentional


Eliade illformsus 15 that Burnouftranslatesthe language,'Rern as " mystery,' phraseas ' enigmatic and Mas Muellerl6 as 'hidden sayings.' Eliade and rendersit 'lanhimself preferssandha-bhasa which he gives gage intentionnel'; sandhyci-bhasa as the Sanskrit original is obviouslya misprint.l7 In the Chos byun bstan pa'i padma rgyas pa'i nin byedces bya ba bznugsso by Padmadkarpo,l8 there is a most revealingpassage,which says

portantpassages.20The droppingof the final -ya might best be explainedon the model of Paliisms which are frequentin Buddhist Sanskrit.2l Professor Edgerton suggests that sandhayacould be whichwouldcertainlybe of sandha,22 instrumental borneout by Tib. dgonspar. V. Bhattacharyathinks23 that the word is a words non-tantric synonymof suchnon-specialized, all of which abSipretya,qxddisya, as abSiprdyika, imply "meaning, connoting,denoting,aiming at, "the secret tantric treatises were originally compiled referringto." BuddhistSanskrittexts intending, secretly, and to teach and explain them to those who use these have not become worthy would be improper. In the of tantric and non-tantricprovenience meantime, they were allowed to be translated and and other synonymsquite freely and interchangepracticed; however, since it was not clarified that they ably with sandha. No charismatic value attaches were couched in enigmatic words, there arose such people and its to mantra in contrast the word sand7Ta, to who took the words accordingly (i. e., literally), and all the texts translate The Tibetan synonyms.24 did perverse practice." synonymsof sandha-bhisaby dgons pa, Just as is the they translate synonyms for the charismatic It seems that Lama AnagarikaGkovinda only scholar today who does not accept sandha- mantraby snays.25 bhasa and who insists on the other reading; I Thereare quitea few viewsaboutthe purposeof believe Professor Suellgrove would not really sandha-or sandhyaNothing in the object to sandha instead of sandhya. Lama Gko- texts themselves,so far as I can see, gives as clue vinda writes:19 about the purposeof sandha-bhasa. It is often but it is left to commentaand extolled,27 ". . . their works (viz., of the 84 Siddhas) as well as eulogized

their biographies are phrased in a particular type of symbolic language which is called sandhya-bhasa. Thia Sanskrit expression literally means ' twilight-language ' and indicates that a double sense underlies its words according to whether it is to be understood in its commonplace or in its mystical connotation."

meaningof sandhyais clear, The lexicographical it means 'twilight' or 'evening.' Sandha,which form I acceptas the valid lexeme,is the shortened of sandhaya,a gerund of dha- prefixedby sam. The shortenedform is by far the most frequent, does occur in imthough the full form sandSciya
He does not 16 Eliade, Yoya, p. 250 (English version). list any more exact reference. 16Vajracchedika, SB]3 XLIX p. 118. Mueller writea he is stating this on Chinese authority which he does not quote. This 17 Eliade, Yoya, pp. 251 ff. (French origixIal). was not corrected in the English translation which preserves sandhya (p. 249). 18I am indebted for this passage to Dr. T. V. Wylie. It is copied from folio 103-b of a Bhutanese blockprint of the book, in Professor Tucci's collection. The passage reads "gsax snays kyi rgyud rnams gzhun gis gsan
bar bya ba yin te/ snod dt4ma gyt4r pa rnams la bshad cin bstan du'an mi run la1 bar du bsgyur zhin spyod dz4 gnan gis kyan/ Idern po'i nag tqxbshad pa rna khrol nas/ sgra ji bzhin du 'dzin cin log par spyod pa dag kyan 'byunX " 45-46 19 Grund la pen, pp.

20Lankdvatara, Ed. B. Nanjio (Eyoto, 1923), p. 134 pratyatmadharmatamca sandhaya ' meaning the dharma called pratyatma '; p. 11 anxtpattzm sandhaya mahamate sarvadharmahnthssabhavah ' with reference to their nonorigination, o Mahamati, all dharmas are (said to be) without svabhavah' (independent nature). 2lCf. Pali annd annaya (Skt. ajndya), Dhammapada 56; abhtnna abhtnnaya ( Skt. abhtjnaya), Sumangalavilasinl pp. 173, 313; xpada ap2daya, Dhamms"sangam pp. 877, 960; and Geiger, Palr Ltteratxr 1snd Sprache (1916), para. 27.2 (aya a); also in V. Bhattacharya, op.cit., p. 289. 22 Buddhist Bybrtd Sansknt Dictronary, p. 557. Professor Edgerton lists a Ilumber of representative instances with his own and other scholars' interpretations. 23 Op. cit., p. 294. 24 By this I mean that the word sandha or its synonyms are themselves never part of the texts using sandha-terminology, whereas mantra and its numerous synonyms frequently do form parts of loxIgermaxItras. 26 Lokesh Chandra, Tib.-Skr. Ditotionary, Vol. 4, pp. 643-644. 26 To establish the possible purpose of sandha-language, it is irrelevant which of the two lexemes, sandha or sandhya is accepted, for without much stretch of imagiIlation both terms can be brought to designate the same notion-complex; whether we understand the denotatm to be ' twilight language ' or ' intentional language,' the tantric understands their meaning in use; for him, sandha and sandhya would probably be the same sememe, if he were conversant with this particular controversy. 27 Snellgrove, Slevajra Tantra, II. iii., Vol. II, pp. 60 ff.



Intentional Language in the Tantras

tors and to the scholars to speculateon its purport. The third view, jejune if not mildly malicious, H. P Shastri, Benoytosh Bhattacharyain his is quite earlierwritingsS and most of the orthodoxHindu people frequent in India; its proponentsare who are averseto religiousexperiment, and pandits known to me assume that sandha*-bhasa also solne secular scholars. It is the view that was usedto camouflage suchinstructions as maybe was aiming to entice peopleaway resented by the orthodox publicSBuddhist and sandha-language from orthodox observance and to lure them into IIindu alike, and by all who are not initiated into the tantric web. Scholars who sharethis view are the tantric lore; this would have seemedparticuoften eager to e2tonerate the tantric tradition by larly importantwhenATajrayana, Sahajayana, and meaning of the other esotericsystemswere in their nascentstate. stressingthe purely metaphorical words regardlessof whether the tantric authors The secondview about the purposeof sand7wa- and schoolmen intended a literal (mukAya)or a language is the one held by most of the sympa- metaphorical(galbna) thetic Indian pandits: that it meant to be intel- N. Bose30 as a typical interpretation. I quote D. representative of this view: ligible to the initiate adept only, and to prevent the non-initiate from dabblingmrith the implied ". . . the tantras indulge in (StC) wandhya-language practices, lest he shouldcometo grief. This notion with double meaning on many occasions. These were catch-phrasesto the commonpeople in the old days when has its exact orthodoxBrahmanicalparallel and society was still in the making. The later tantrics have could have collceivablybeen derived or inspired termed them as symbolic of yogic processes . . . these terms are reflection3 of the amorou3 raptures of the fromthe Brahminprecepto adhikara-bEedan i. e., mystic sadhakas whose joy resembles that of a lover the differencein instructionalprocedureand in meeting her (sic ) beloved after long waiting. The the targetsof meditativetrainingaccordillg to the simple meaningsl of these terms is as follows: madya individualaspirant'scapacitieswhich are condi- is the nectarine stream issuing from the cavity of the tionedthroughpalingenesisor through a precep- brain where the soul resides; natsya means the suptor's act of grace. V. Bhattacharyaprobably pression of vital airs; tnansa is the vow of silence; nudra means the interweaving of fingers during resharesthis view when he writes ligious worship, it is a physical process that is

'. . . now, the beauty of the instruction (deane-vrlasa) of the Buddhas, or their skill in showing the means for realization of truth (z4payakaFuSalya) is that their instructions (degana) dif3her according to the degree of fitnessof their disciples. Those instructions are mainly of two kinds; one, the object of which is to show realstate of things directly (tattecirtha), and the the other, 'intentional ' ( abhsprayika ), meaning thereby that it is intended to imply or to suggest something dif3herent from whatis expressed by the words (yotharuta)."

rnai,thqhnais meditation on acts of creation and destruc-

calculated to enhance the concentration of the worshipper;

tion." 82

I wouldlike to add what I regardas two additionalpossiblepurposesof sandha-bhasa; so far I do not have any textual supportfor them, but I thinkthey fit well enoughinto the mysticalclimate of medievalIndia. The one possibilityI have irl mindis that sandha-bhasa might have been used Lama Govinda,one of our most recent authors asa mnemonicdevice;for undoubtedly, queerand phraseologytends to be more lastingly also sharesthis view though his emphasisis on a eccentric remembered and more readily recalledtharlplair different point: matter-o:e-fact idiom or the dry, cumbrousphilosc.. . this symbolic language is not only meant to sophical terminologyof the scholastictraditions, protectthe holiest from profanization by intellectual especially curiwhen the code language uses a captiosityand from the misuse of yogic methods and

psychic powersby the ignorant and the non-initiate; it was promptedchiefly by the fact that common parlance cannot express the highest experiences of the mind ...."
Sandha-bhasais styled mahabhasa and mahasamaya, and samaya-samketa-vistaramZ, ; full of doctrinal intima-

30D. N. Bose, Tantras-Theiq Philoso phtcal and Occul t Secrets ( Calcutta 1956) X p. 137.

tion'; its obscurity is often stated, as in durvijneyam Fariputra sandha-bhasyam tathagatanam, Saddharmapundarlka, B. B., p. 29. 28 gandhabhasa, p. 29429



3t The s simple' meanings are wrong. There is much disagreementamong Indian dearoteesas to the actual andmetaphorical meaning of the pancamakaras the ;five M's.' Bose's enumeration is the one I have encounteredamong some Bengali and Maithili tantric laymen.I could not trace it in ally tantric text I have seen. 32 The book has s mediation '; an obvious misprint which I corrected.


Intentional Language in the Tantras


vatmg and emotionally potent idiom like the erotic. I would illustrate this point on a textual model like the following. The basic test reads33 " onceupon a time the Lord of all Tathagatas. . . "was dwellingin the vulvaeof the vajra-woman an inceptil7eclause in several Buddhist tantras. 34 C; . . . the explainsthe passage The commentator due to its intuitive knowledgeis the vajra-woman natureas undividedwisdom (prajna, ses rab) and 'sulva' is (used on accountof its) destroyingall afflictions(klesa, non mons pa)." It is certaiILly the instructionconveyedby the easy to remember text in this diction,a typical sandhv-diction. The other possibility,the last of which I can think at present,is that ssmdha-bhasamight have been meant facetiously,at least sometimes. The repeated in various oft-quotedtantric passage,35 modificationsin many tantric commentariesas well as by orthodosHindus as a deterrentand an invectiveagainsttantricpracticeis a casein point; it says " inserting his organ into the mother's womb,pressinghis sister'sbreasts,placinghis foot upon his guru'shead,he will be rebornno lnore." what I shall presentlycall The passageexemplifies ' sar6dha. In Hindu tantric parlance, ' afferent the ' organ' is the contemplating mind, the

or base center 'mother'swomb' is the rn?X7udhara ' arethe heart of the yogabody,the ' sister'sbreasts and the throat centres (anahataand ajna) respectively, and the 'guru's head' is the brain center lotus sahasrara-cakra, (i. e., the thousand-petalled also called the slinya-cakra),and the implied instructionis thus translatable:he practicesmental penetration through the successive centers, and center,he will not when he reachesthe uppermost be reborn,as he has thereby attained nirvikaZpa samadhi. Now I cannot dismiss the idea that the author was perhapstrying to annoy the orthodos; this sloks and others of its kind have the flavourof teasing the orthodoxreligious bourgeoisie. Eve must have been dethough sandha-terminology vised as a secretlanguagewhen it was first put to use, it is very unlikely that in later days, whe the orthotantricpracticeshad becomeubiquitous, doxpanditsshouldnot haveknownanythingabout and it is equally improbable the sandha-pattern; that the tantricsin their turn shouldhave igoored of this awareness the likelihoodof their opponents' pattern of esotericlanguage. The passagequoted had abovehails from a periodwhen sandha-usage long been well established;for even though the Tantraitself is one of the oldestand Mahanirvana S3 Sxhyasomajatantra or Tathapatagqshyaka, ed. B. Eindu tantras,it had been the most representative Bhattacharya, &. O. S. LIII, p. 1. " ekasmin samaye bha- precededby at least five centuries of Buddhist aya-sajrayositgavan sarvatothapata-kaya-vak-cxtta-h.rd vijahara." This is one of the standard openings tantric literatureand henceby a solid traditionof bhapes1b of Buddhist tantras, though the Guhyasamaja passage sandha-usage. It is quite natural even in India probably set the example. It is not contained in the where humor does not Snd a wide scope in reManjufirlmulakalpa, the one text usually thought to ligious lore -that the hereticmay begin to flaunt antedate the Guhyasamaja. It is contained in the openwhen constantly attacked and ing of the Hevajra Tantra (Snellgrove, Vol. II, p 2) his peculiarities The Tib. text reads bcom Idan 'das de brn gseps pa silified by an orthodoxmajority. All intensified, thams cad kyi sk1bdan gaun dan thqxgskyi snin po Frdo and eventually a facetious use of sandhd-bhasa rje btsun rrwo'bha ga la bupso. The Yogaratnamala wouldthen providethe heretic-the tantric in this of Kanha, which Snellgrove published in toto in the case-an apt instrumentfor such flaunting and second volume of his Hevajra Tantra, explains this passage 'tad eva vajrayositam Locanadtnarnbhargah'that perhaps a sort of linguistic catharsis.36 If this Zokawas is to say, the vulvae of vajra-ladies like Locana etc. was so, then the authorof this particular (p. 103). Snellgrove's translation '..the Lord dwelt in no doubtsuccessful, as the passageis being quoted bliss with the Vajrayoginl.. .' is modest, but misleading up to this day. (I, p. 47). It is also evidentthat lay peopleknewaboutthe O. S., XLIV, p. 53. G>. Jnanasrddhs by Indrabh1w6ts, %4 of language,not ouly in India 'hrdayam jnanam tadeva qpajrayosit, abhedya-prajzna- tantrics'sandha-use ssabhavatvat, tadeva bhopam sarva-kleJa-bhafljanat.' but even in Tibet. This is well borne out by the This may be a pun on bhaga and bhanja-. indignant words ascribedto QueenTse spon bza, lingam ksiptvaabhag*nitstanamardanam,
3S'natriyonaq4 na vtdyate.' In padarndattva pqxnarjaroma gurqxrmurdhnit this form the verse is found in Tarkalamkara's com86 A contemporary American parallel might not be mentary on the Mahanirvana Tantra quoted in TantriWcinapposite: the beatnik poet tries to annoy the square Tesots IX, p. 10, preface to the Eulaava Tantra, ed. by somewhat analogous devices. This comparison does A. A+7alon. not entail any sort of value judgment



Intentzonal Langtzage in the Tantras

who is said to have been a sworn enemy of Bud- or any of its equivalents) in Hindu and that of dhismand an ardertt votaryof the Bon tradition:37 asampratisthita tirsdna39 in Vajrayana mysticism. whichemploysobject-language and " . . . what they call ' kapala,' that is a human skull A sandha-term 'intends' the conceptual or mystical absolute, is placed on a rack; what they call ; basi4ta,' that is entrails spread out; what they call a ' bone-trumpet,' an aferent term, as when lalana (woman) is to that is a human bone; what they call; sanctuary of the meannirvana. Conversely, a sandh-term employgreat field ' ( naha-ksetra-ttrthaFm?),that is a human ing the philosophical or theological languageand skin spread out; what they call 'rakta,' that is blood sprinkled over sacrificial altars; what they call 'man- ' intending' an objective thing or event or an dala,' it is just gaudily sparkling colors; whom they action, is an efferent term, as when bodhicitta call ' dancers,' they are men wearing garlands of bones ('la pensee d'Eveil' in Eliade's rendition) is to . . . this is not religion (viz., chos, dharma), this is the mean ' semen evil India has taught to Tibet." In compilationsof sandh-words certain terms As an afterthought,it seems possiblethat the are often listed whichshouldnot actuallybe called entire sandha-tradition is due, eventually,to the sandha at all; for although they are object-lanlove of paradoxcommonto all religiousjargon in guage lexicators, they had already acquired an theological meaningwell before sandhaIndia, in Vedictimes and today. In eachreligious established bhasa was systematized. Thus, vajra (rdo rje, and philosophical traditiona specificidiom is developedand constantlyusedby its adherents. This 'thunderbolt') is not genuine sandh&when it happenedto the tantric tradition, too, and the stands as a synonymfor sunya, which it almost pressurefrom orthodoxHinduism and Buddhism always does in Vajrayanatexts; it is, however,a if it standsfor linga (membrum might have enhanced and petrified the use of true sandh2-term virile) . sandha-bhas. To qualifyas a sandha-term, a wordmust thereIn assigninga purposeto sandha-bhas&, the last or efferentin this definition; wordso far has beensaid by Eliade. I quotea few fore be eitheraf3Serent a leseme used in sandha-bEdsa is neither salient passagesfrom his chapteron sandh-bhasa, whenever of the two, then it is not sandEd-bhasa in that s la langue intentionnel ); 88 particularcontest.40 ". . . the tantric te2i:tsare frequently couched in intenI shall now exemplify sandh-bha$a. I shall tional language-a secret, obscure language with a double meaning, wherein a particular state of conscious- add (a) or (e) to each term, for afferent and ness is expressed in erotical terminology, the mytho- efferentn respectively. It would not be practical logical and cosmological vocabulary of which is charged to list afferentand efferentterms separately,for both with hatha-yogic and with se2{ualsignificance." the formeroverwhelmingly outnumber the latter; Eliade thinks that sandha-bhasd has a doublepur- in fact there seem to be only a few genuinely sandh&-terms.This is but natural, for pose: to camouflage the doctrineagainst the non- efEerent after all the tantrasare not collectionsof manuals initiate, and to on sex; they are mo1csa-sastra (thar ba'sbstoncos), 'project the yogi into the 'paradoxical situation ' indoctrinal tests on spiritual emancipation; hence dispen#able for his spiritual training." the major part of sandhv-terminology must needs I now proceedto establish that sandha-termi- refer to a spiritual universe of discourse. This nologycan be classifiedinto two categories, which does not in any way make the classificationinto and eRerentredundant,for the few ef3erI shall call 'afferent' and vef3Cerent' respectively. afEerent The point of referencefor these qualifiersis the ent terms are immenselyimportantand frequent? centralconceptof tantric thought,t. e., the Absolute conceived as Parasivain Hindu and as Sunya 39The doctrine of the complete identity of samsara in Vajrayanaphilosophy;or, on the eschatological and nsrvana; this notion stems from the Madhyamika side, the state of katvalya(or ntrvikalpasamadhz schools and was absorbed and emphasized in tantric

3qH. HofEmann,Die Religiona Tibets, pp. 60-61; he translates from the Padrna bka' than yig. S8 Yoga, pp. 251-252 ( French ed. ) .

Buddhism and even in the not strictly Buddhist sahajayana. 4 }s. g., vajra for Stbnya - two philosophical synonyms; avadhuts (a female ascetic) for yogrnt-two object-language synonyms.


Intentionat Language in the Tantras


bodhicittawhich will especiallythe sandha-word be my paradign. Tantra is so far the chief source The :Hevajra This text uses the folfor sandha-terminology.4l lowing sandha-words:

rnaharnamsa ( Tib. Sa chen ) ' human meat ' ( a ) > ali ja q

( Tib. text transcribes another word, vd. note 47 ) ' the vowel,' viz., originating in the varnarnala or mystical vowel series bola(ka) (Tib. bo la) 'gum myrrh' (a) > vajra (Tib. rdo rje) ' the Absolute ' kakkola(ka) (Tib. kakko la) n.p. of an aromatic plant, madana ( Tib. rna da na) ' Cupid ' (e) >42 rnadya ( Tib. and of the perfume made from that plant ( a ) chan ba) ' wine ' > padrna (Tib. padrna) ' lotus t 48 bala (Tib. ba la) 'power, mind-control' (e) > rndmsa Dornbt (Tib. g'ytbn rno) ' a lowcaste woman,' i. e., of the ( Tib. Sa) ' meat ' washermen's caste (a) > vajraktbli (Tib. rdor rje'iw kheta (Tib. khe ta) 'village' (a) gati (Tib. 'gro ba) rigs) the ' vajra-class,' or an adept of the vajra-class ' the way, abode, method ' Nati (Tib.gar1na) 'afemaledancer' (a) > padrnaktbli preksana 48 (Tib. pren kha na) ' the act of viewing ' (a) (Tib. padrna'i rigs) the 'padma-class,' or an adept > agati (Tib. 'on ba) ' arrival, achievement' of the padma-class astyabharana (Tib. rxs pa'i rggan) ' ornaments of bone,' Cazndalt ( Tib. ran 'tshed rna) ' a lowcaste woman,' i. e., or more probably a tatpursa ' one who wears ornaborn from the union of a Brahmin mother and a ments of bone ' (a) > niraqnsuka (Tib. ni ram s/l4) lowcaste father ( a ) > ratnakqxli (Tib. rin chen rigs) ' without upper garment,' i. e., 'unconditioned ' the ' jewel-class,' or an adept of that class kalinjara (Tib. ka linndza raqn) 'Kalihjara,' name of a Dvija (Tib. skyes gnis) 'Brahmin lady' (a) > Tathasacred mountain in Bundelkhand ( a ) > bhavya gatt (de bzin gsegs pa) ' female Tathagata ' (Tib. skal Idan) ' existence'44 lalana (Tib. brkyan rna) 'a wanton woman' (a) 49 kapala (Tib. thod pa) 'a human skull' (a) > padrn > prajna ( Tib. ses rab) ' intuitive wisdom'; the bhajana (Tib. padqna bha dza naqn) ' lotus-vase,' female pole in the prajnopaya (yab yqxrn) complex; i. e., the universe the left artery in the yoga body, . e., the tda of the t.rptikara (Tib. tr pi ta) ' one who satisfies ' (e) > Hindu tantras bhaksa (Tib. bza' ba) ' food ' rasana (Tib. ro rna) 'tongue' (a) qxpaya (Tib. thabs) malattndhana ( Tib. 1na la tindha narn) ( obscure ety'the means,' the method of realization; the male mology) probably 'moonlight'; or ' jasmine wood' pole in the yab yqxrncomplex; the right artery in (Snellgrove's reading) (a or e) > vganjana (Tib. the yoga body, i. e., the pinyala of the Hindu tantras tshod rna) ' consonant,' i. e., as a rnantra-con- avadhqiti (Tib. ktxn 'dar rna) ' a female ascetic ' (a) 46 Stituent > Nairatrnya (Tib. bdag rned); her epithet being mqitra ( Tib. goi ba) ' urine ' (a) > kastqxrika ( Tib. ( Tib. gzqxn ba dan 'dzin grahya-grahaka-vivarjita ka stqxri) 'musk'; an ingredient for worship rned rna) ' she who is devoid of the condition of sihlaka (Tib. si hlar) ' frankincense'; the olibanum subject and object '; the transcendence of projna (Tib. ran byqxn)' self-origitree (a) > ssayarnbh/l4 and tspaya, the Void; the central artery of the yoga nated,' the Absolute; a name of Biva 46 body, i. e., the iEIindustbstsmna ;kra (Tib. bhx ba) 'semen virile' (a) > karpqiraka (Tib. ka px ra) 'camphor,' another ingredient for q Snellgrove translates 'rice product' (loc. cit.) and worship in tantric ritual the Tibetan transcription sa le dzam warrants this interI prefer to follow Bagehi (Sttbdies pretation. iEIowever, 41Bagehi, Stxdies ir the Tantras, p. 28; D. L. Snell- in the Tantras, p. 28.) who reads alija, as Snellgrove's reading would not show sandha-bhasa, ' rice-product' grove, IIevajra Tantra, II, iii., pp. 60ff. 42I am using ( > ) for ' implies' as the symbol com- and ' human flesh ' ( salija and rnahamamsa) being on the same level of discourse (vd. note 40 ante). monly used in modern logic. 48 bola and kakkola are tantric terms for the male and 43 Loc. cit., has various readings prenkhanam, prekhyanarn,preksanam, premkhanarnin the four manuscripts female organs of generation; they are not sandha-terms, but euphemisms; vajra and padrna would be sandhaSnellgrove used. 44Not 'unworthy' as Snellgrove translates it (I, p. ,equivalentsfor bola and kakkola. When standing alone, 99), nor ' worthy ' for abhavya and bhavga, respectively. either vajra or padma imply the Absolute. But whenever there is a ju2ztapositionas in this passage, the dual Edgerton lists 'unable' and 'able' (BHS p. 45, 407); in harmony with the quasi-pragmatic notion of the aspect of the Absolute, upaya and pra jna, or kartbna Buddhist artha-kriya-karitva ' non-existence' and 'ex- and sisnya, are implied. 49 A slight emendation seems to be called for at this istence' can certainly be implied; but the classical point: Buddhist tantric texts use lalana, rasana, avaSanskrit bhavya and abhavya as ' worthy ' and ' unworthy ' does not fit here. Sandha-bhasa does not seem dhqitz as their triad, but tda, pingala, and sq4stsrnnaalso to contain any directly evaluative adjectives; and this occur in Buddhist texts though rarely. iEIindutantras, excluon the other hand, use tda, pingala, and sqxsqxrnna chapter certainly contains none. sNot 'herbs'; Snellgrove ignores the sandha-implica- sively. Lama Govinda uses tda, pingala, and suZsqxrnna tion (loc. cit.). throughout his Grundlagen; this is astonishing, for he 46Snellgrove (I, n. 100) translates 'blood'; I cannot takes great care to distinguish iEIindufrom Buddhist see why. terminology.



Intentional Langvvage in the Tantras

The Dohakosaand the BuddhistCaryapadas of vajra ' thunderbolt' > linga, sqinya ' voidness,' ' the void,' ' vacuite ' Eanha and Saraha were written in Old Bengali and Apabhramsa, and most of them have been ravi, sqirya ' sun ' > rajas ' the menstrual fluid ' = pingala ' the right artery ' ( > xpaya ' the means ' ) translated and absorbedinto the bstan 'gyur.50 sasin, candra, ' moon ' > Sukra ' semen virile ' > rda They are repletewith sandha-bhasa ' left artery' > prajna and it can be said without exaggeration that the dohas contain lalana ' woman ' > zda > abhava ' non-existence' > candra > apa ' e2>halation '; ' the digestive hardly anything which is not sandha-language. power ' (according to F. Edgerton nia M. Shahidullah51 compiledan interesting list of 'cosmic sound' = prakrts 'nature' > tamas (one sandh4-words in his edition of the dohakosaand of the three gunas of the Sa.mkhya) > GSanpa n.p. the caryas,from which I quote: > ssara 'vowels ' > nireana, etc.
68 ) >

padrna 'lotus' (e) > bhaga 'vulva' ttsa 'diadem' (a) > karnala 'lotus,' the universe vajra ' thunderbolt,' the absolute (e) linga ' phallus ' ravi, stbrya ' sun ' ( a ) > rasana, pingala ' the right artery ' in the yoga body ravi, sirya (the sun ) ( e ) > rajas ( the menstrual fluid) Sasi, candra, ' moon ' ( a ) > lalana, Zda,' the left artery ' in the yoga body bodhicitta (Tib. byan chxb kyi serns) ' the bodhi mind' (e ) Sxkra (Tib. khu ba) ' semen virile ' tarxnt ' a young damsel ' ( a ) > nwaharnFudra ( Tib. phyag rgga chen po) ' the consecrated female partner' (a complex, loaded term) grhi.nt ' the housewife,' ' spouse ' (a) > mahamudrd, divyamq4dra, jnanamudra-synonymous terms samarasa (Tib. ro mnam pa) ' coitus,' ' identitd de juissance' (a) > suppression of thought, together with the stopping of breath and the retention of the sperm karin 'elephant' (a) > cttta 'thought,' 'mind'

rasana ' tongue ' > pingala > prana ' life force,' ' breath ' > rajas (one of the three Samkhyan gun. as ) > purusa ( the Samkhyan polarity principle of prakrti, the principle of consciousness, the male principle) > vyanjana ' consonants ' (i. e., kalsthe series starting with ka) > Yarnuna n. p. > bhava ' existence' ('etre'), etc. avadhiti ' female ascetic ' sxsxrnna ' central artery ' of the yoga body > prajna = Nairatmya, etc. bodhicitta ' la pensee d'Eveil ' > Sukra ' semen virile '

He also lists tarunt,grhint,and samarasa, but does not addany information to Shahidullah's list. Japanese Buddhists of the Shingon sect frequently refer to sake as ' hanyato,' i. e., prajna 'supreme intuitive wisdom; unless this is a facetious usage, it may well be a genuine case of efferentsandh&-usage. Glasenapp lists a few sandha-terms without espresslymentioningthe sandhacomplex;he selects but he As illustratedin two of the above instances,a them from the B:evajra-seka-prakriya, takesthem to be of purelyiconographical sandha-term may have both afferentand efferent obviously import. He writes:54 useaccording to the context. M. Eliade gives a short but very systematiclist of sandha-termsfrom the Dohakosatabling all theirsandh4-implications.52 He uses the ( = ) sign of equationbetweenthe terms; I shall, however, continue using the implicationsymbol>, as (=) should be reserved for synonymity only, as between prajna and nairatrnya,for instance. This is Eliade'slist:
5Vd. Shahidullah, Les Chants Mystiques de Zanha et deSaraha (Paris, 1928); E. P. Eastrl, Baxddhagatbo Doha(vd. note 9 ); and a recent, excellent Hindi publicationby R. Sankrtyayana, Siddha Sarahapada krta Doha :Eosa,Bihar Rastrabhasa Parisad ( Patna, 1957); the lastwork contains the Tibetan text in Nagari transcriptionand the Apabhramsatexts, as well as a Hindi translationon the opposite page. 61 This list has been amended and extended by Eliade andSnellgrove, in their Yoga and Eevajra Tatwtra. 62 Yoga, pp. 252-253. ". . . the text which lists these symbols, makes the following equations: a cup or skull the great void (sunya ); a club the purity of body, speech, and thought; a begging-monk( bhiksu) ' das Erleuchtungsdenken' (bodhicitta); a pail turned upside down ghatorrdhva 7)-concentrated thought which cannot be diverted by anything; a drum (damaru) proclaiming the holy texts; a plough ( hala ) the eradication of the passions; a tortoise (kurma) the thirst for living, attachment in general ( trsna, Pali tanha ); a lion (ssmha)-pride, arrogance ( abhimdna, ahamkara) ."

In conclusion, I shall now illustrate what I regardthe most importantsandha-paradigm, the efferent bodhicitta. In non-sandhausage, bodhicitta simply means the bodhi-mind, which causes no diEculty for translation. We find numerous
63 F. Edgerton, " Pran. a and Apan. a," JAOS, 78 ( 1958), 51ff. 64 H. V. Glasenapp, Buddhistische Mysterien ( Stuttgart,1940), p. 103.


Intentional Langxge in the Tantras


are luminoua by nature, and they are use of bodhicittanot only " The dharmnaw examplesof non-sandha pure like the sky. The crtta in which there is neither m non-tantrictexts, but in one of the most ime., neither intuitive realization bodhi Ilor abhsarnaya(ffi. portant and oldest Buddhist tantras. In the nor diacursive comprehension ) is called bodhicitta."61 Tantra, the various Buddhas and GuhyasamaJa In all these passages, bodhinayais an exact one by one, give their definitionsof Bodhisattvas, of bodhicitta; each of the passages is synonym be conpossibly could of which bodhicitta,none udajaharahe precededby the words bodhtctftam 55 strued as a sandha-term: to explainit. z. e., he proceeded took up bodhicitta,' definesit thus: Lord Sakyamuni implies ssethen, bodhicitta In sandha-usage, "Neither the perception of the absence of existence in non-existence should be called perception, nor can the men virile.' Here it is easy to tracethe motivefor this usage: bodhicittaas the bodhi-mindresults perception of non-existence in existence be obtained."66 (ffi. e*,any longer, as bodhicttta is not discursive) from the union of prajna and upaya, from commingling the supremeintuitive wisdom with the Vairocanaexplains bodhicittasaying contemplativeor redemptiveeffort; prajna and "My aitta is devoid of all (phenomenal) existence, and upaya are meditated upon as the male and the it is unrelated to the skondhos, dhot?", ayotonas, (un- female deity in copulation (Tib. yab yum); then related ) to the universe of subject and object, it is without beginning and has the nature of Sunya like all the notion of bodhicittaas 'semen' evidentlyfolbetween rests on analogues lows. All sandha-usage objects, which are actually fiunya." S7 eventswhich anyphysical conceptions metaphysical says: Aksebhya have been taken as palpablemodelsfor those conof mystical " Bodhicitta is without substance like ether, and it ceptionsin courseof the development thinks perpetually of the objects as without origin, and language. in it there are neither objects nor objectness."S8 The central rule behind the left-handedrites both Hindu and Buddhist, is the retention of definitionruns thus: Ratnaketu's semen during the sexual act. The tantric disci" That which understands all objects as non-existent and plines whichinvolvecarnalcontactare not priapic devoid of object-signs, but which originates from nonalthoughthey look as thoughthey were. The man ) of the objects, is called bodhiselfhood (natrotrrwya who dischargessemen is a pasu, an 'animal' in cstta." 69 and the Yoginl Tantra,whereas the Mahanirvana Amitabhaputs it this way: he who retains it during maithuna is divya, "As the dharmas have no origin, there is neither ex- ' divine' according to the former, and a vtra, to the latter text. These lfindu istence nor perception. It is called existence ( as though {hero' according by courtesy) just as ether is said to exist, although in texts are considerablylater than the Buddhist reality it doesn't."6 Vajrayanatexts which teach seminal retentionas the methodof realizingthe sunya,andthe teaching explains: Finally, Amoghasiddhi in the Hindu tantras may well thus propounded from Buddhisttests. Howa take-over have been Vol. LIII, pp. llff* In the introduction, 65&.0.S., texts seemto insist on all VaJrayana B. Bhattacharya gives his own interpretation of the ever,whereas passages My own translation is more literal than his. seminalretentionas a sine quanon, IIindu tantras naiva bhava 66 Ibid., p. 11 abhave bhavanabhavo frequently do not include it in their notion of bhavana / rti bhavo na bhavah syad bhavano nopalamaithuna; this may be a reasonwhy there is no bhyate. sandha-termthat might imply 'semen' using a p. 12. sarva-bhava-vtgatam skandha-dhatv67 Ibid., ayatana - grahya - grahaka - varjttam dharma - nairatmya - Brahminequivalent of bodhicitta(as, for example, sunyata-bhavarr. samataya ssacittam-adi-anutpannom kaulacitta,kaivalya,ssajn{ina,etc.), and I think 68 Ibid., p. 12. anutpanna ime bhava na dharma na ca it can be claimedwith fair certaintythat there is dharmata / akasam-iva nairatmyam-idam bodhinayam no such term in E[indutantric literature. drdham of bodhicittais, I The most radicalsandha-use p. 12. abhavah sarva-dharmas-te dharma69 Ibid.,
. . .

laksana-varjitah / dharma-nairatmya sambhuta idarn bodhinayarrwdrdham. 6Ibid., p. 12. anutpanne.su dharmesu na bhavo na ca bhavana / akasa-pada-yopena iti bhavah pragtyate.

el Ibid., p. 13. prakrti-prabhassara dharmah suviudbodha nabhahsamah / na bodhir-nabhisamayam-idam dhiayam drdham.



Intentional l anguage in the Tantras

righthanded practiceseven on the basis of sandhabhxa alone: the mukEya reading ( e. g., bodhicitta alwaysunderstood as 'bodhi-mind') would imply daksinacara, 'righthandeddiscipline'; the gouna " . . . in the innate state ( the natural state, i. e., in that of mahasukha) bodhicrtta is originated (that is to say) reading (e. g., if bodhicittais alwaystaken to imsemen is produced."es ply 'semen virile') would imply vamacara, 'lefthanded' rites. The main distinction between the This basic instruction has to be taken into orthodox Brahmin and the tantric Hindu or the accounteven when a text could be interpretedto flout the injunction, as in " having established VajrayanaBuddhist could perhapsbe sought in union with the Mudra,the most blessedpreceptor the differenceof their attitudes: the orthodox he must knowhowto placesthe bodhicittain the lotus, the homeof the Brahminwantsto categorize, reada passage,i. e., mukEya or gauna; the tantric, Jinas."64 IIere, if bodhicittawere to mean the on the other hand, refuses exegeticalcategorizing bodhi-mind and padmabhanda the Absolute,then sandha-bhasa as a meansto counterthe of coursethis passagewouldnot exemplifysandha- and chooses orthodox attitude. bhasa; however,this is very likely on accountof the juxtaposition of bodhicitta and padmaand the BIBLIOGRAPHICALSELECTION use of the verb ni-vts, which is a frequentsandha P. C. Bagehi, " Sandhabhasaand Sandhavacana,"Studies combination;the bodhicitta should not be disin the Tantras, Part I, pp. 27-33, Calcutta Univerchargedinto the padma, it must be kept under sity Publications, 1939. controlas is the rule for all yuganaddha practices id., Materials for a Critical P7dition of the Old Bengals and nivis- never means anything like 'to disCaryapadas. A comparative study of the text and the Tibetan translation, Part I. University Press charge.' (Calcutta, 1938), and Journal of the Department of It seemsclearfrom these examplesthat sandhaLetters, Vol. XXX ( Calcutta ) . bhasaentails a sort of systematicambiguity;it is Anath Basu, ''Tattvasvabhavadrstigltika doha," I]IQ, alwayspossibleto give a second,literal interpretaIII, 4 (1927), 676-82. tion of the passages. This refers us back to the C. Bendall, ed. " Subhasitasamgraha," Le Museon ( Louvain), n. s. IV-V ( 1903-04) . ancient scholastic distinction between rnukEya B. Bhattacharya, " The Date of the Bauddhagan o 'literal' and gauna 'metaphorical'interpretation JBORS, XIV, 1928 341-357. of texts, and the decisionis left to the individual S. B.Doha," Dasgupta, Obscure Religious Cults, pp. 447 ff., Calinterpreter, true to the Indian maxim yathecchasi cutta University, 1946. Lama Anagarika Govinda, Grund lagen Tibetischer tatha vrnu 'choose whateverthou desirest.' Bystik, Rascher ( Zurich, 1956) . It follows then that the orthodoxBrahmincan H. V. Guenther, Yuganaddha, Chowkhamba Sanskrit impute the dichotomy between lefthanded and Series (Banaras, 1952).
Guhyasiddhi of Padmavajra, fol. 59 of a manuscript in the collection of the late Mm. H. P. Bastri at the Oriental Institute, Baroda; bha pe lingam pratisthapya bodhicittam na cots.rjet. A similar passage is found in the section Guna-vrata-nirdeFaof the Subhasita-samgraha, quoted in Bendall, Museon, IV-V (Louvain, 1905)

think, the passage ' inserting the linga in the bhaga, let him not dischargebodhicitta n 62 The Sanskrit commentary to ilianha'sDohakosasays:

id., sSam po pa, The Jewel

Rider dG Co. ( London, 1959) . Rahul Samkrtyayana, Siddha Sarahapoda krta Doha Rosa, Bihar Rastrabhasa Parisad ( Patna, 1957) . Shahidullah, M., ed. and tr. Les ahants rrwystiques de
Kanha et de Saraha;

Ornament of Lzberation,

77: ni.spi.dya kamale vajram bodhicittam nots.rjet. 63 Shahidullah, Dohakosa No. 5 sahaje bodhicittam jayate ukram utpadyate. 64 Prajnopayavwiscayasiddhr, 3rd Patala, G. O. S. XLIV, mudra-yoyam tatah krtva acaryah subhagottamah / nivesya padmabhand e tu bodhicittam jinalaye.

( Paris, 1928) . Haraprasad Shastri, Bauddhapan o Doha, 2nd ed. (Calcutta, 1951) . Vidushekhara Shastri, " Sandhabhasa," I]IQ, IV, 1928, 287-96. D. L. Snellgrove, The Beva jra Tantra, 2 vols. O2zford University Press ( London, 1959) .

les Doha-kosa et les Carya