64 Tantras

Sixtyfour Tantraa-s enumerated in the Vaamakeswara Tantraa, quoted by Lakshmiidhara and explained by him:


  1. Mahaamaayaa-sambara : having as its aim the deluding of the senses and the intellect.
  2. Yoginijaala-sambara: legerdemain, involving the agency of the Yogini-s, accomplished by resorting to the crematory and other ways of a repulsive nature and adopting questionable practices.
  3. Tattva-sambara: by causing the elements to appear as though mutually transforming themselves.


Eight Bairava Tantras are considered objectionable as they partake of Kaapaalikaa doctrines:

  1. Sidhha-bhairava
  2. Vatuka-bhairava
  3. Kankaala-bhairava
  4. Kaala-bhairava
  5. Kaalaagni-bhairava
  6. Yogini-bhairava
  7. Mahaa-bhairava
  8. Sakthi-bhairava.


Eight Tantras constituting the Bahurupaastaka wherein importance is attached to the eight Sakti-s. Even these are apprehensible,  as they stray far away from the Vedic path:

  1. Braahmi
  2. Maaheswari
  3. Kaumaari
  4. Vaishnavi
  5. Vaaraahi
  6. Maahendri
  7. Chaamundaa


Eight arts relating to Yaamala, otherwise known as Kaamasidhhaa, aiming at gratification of several desires, which not having the sanction of the Veda-s, are considered objectionable, so much so that even the sixtyfour Tantra-s are sometimes spoken of collectively as Yaamalaa:

  1. Brahma-yaamala
  2. Vishnu-yaamala
  3. Rudra-yaamala
  4. Lakshmi-yaamala
  5. Umaa-yaamala
  6. Skanda-yaamala
  7. Ganesa-yaamala
  8. Jayadratha-yaamala.


  1. Chandra jnaanaa – which expounds the sixteen Nityaa-s, however considered objectionable, as smacking of Kaapaalika tenets. There is also a Tantra of the same name, which has nothing to do with the sixty-four Tantraa-s herein mentioned.


  1. Maalini-vidya – wherewith the oceans could be crossed.


  1. Mahaa-sammohana – which brings on sleep in persons even during their waking state. As this involves the cutting of the toungue of a child to render the acquisition of such power possible, it is reprehensible.


  1. Vaama-justaa and
  2. Mahaa-deva – productive of awkward habits and tendencies, which may be characterised as Vaamaachaaraa, filthy conduct.


  1. Vaatulaa and
  2. Vaatulottara and
  3. Kaamika – incidentally expounding the rules relating to the procedure to be adopted for the several processes connected with erection of temples,etc. commencing from the withdrawal and ending with the establishment of powers,etc. but involving features not countenanced by the Veda-s.


  1. Hrbheda-tantraa – which, though aiming at bursting through the six lotuses from the Mulaadhaaraa onears to the thousand-petalled one, falls within the province of the Kaapaalika-Tantraa, as it has recourse to the adoption of Vaamaachaaraa.


  1. Tantra-bhedaa and
  2. Guhya-tantraa – which involve retaliatory processes, both overt and covert, aiming at the destruction of what has been achieved by other Tantraa-s and causation of severe pain to living beings, and as such are reprehensible.


  1. Kalaa-vaada – expounding the secrets relating to the digits of the Moon, such as are dealt with in Vaatsyaayanaa’s sexual science, though dealing with a very useful branch of knowledge, involves such objectionable features as the grasping and releasing of Kalaa-s, the power of influencing the ten parts, the induction of Chandhra-Kalaa-s and the countenancing of the wicked practice of alluring others’ wives, and are on that account reprehensible.


  1. Kalaasaara – which expounds the rules relating to the excellance of colour and as such, a Vaamaachaaraa.


  1. Kundikaamata – which deals with the attainment of marvellous powers by administering special pills.


  1. Matottara – which deals with deals with the conquest of quicksilver by special processes laying claim to alchemic and panaceal virtues.


  1. Vinaakhyaa – which deals with command over a Yakshini of that name, having influence over sexual virility.


  1. Trotala – dealing with magical tankards, collyria and sandals, the first credited with marvellous medicinal properties, the second with magical clairvoyant powers, and the third with mysterious powers of locomotion.


  1. Trotallotra – credited with the power of bringing the sixty-four thousand Yakshini-s face to face.


  1. Panchaamrtaa – dealing with the immortality ingering in the Pindaandaa, microcosm of the five elements, and the bestowal of such immortality on the votary of the Tantra. This is also of the Kaapaalikaa type.


  1. Rupabheda
  2. Bhudoddaamara
  3. Kulasaara
  4. Kuloddisa
  5. Kulachudaamani – all of which (47 to51) are credited with the power of bringing about death and are, as such, not recognised by the Veda-s.


  1. Sarva-jnaanottara
  2. Mahaakaali-mata
  3. Arunesa
  4. Modinisa
  5. Vikuntheswara – the five Tantras (52 to 56) which have to be iven up as they deal with the tenets of the Digambara-s.


  1. Purvaamnaaya
  2. Paschimaamnaaya
  3. Dakshinaamnaaya
  4. Uttaraamnaaya
  5. Niruttaraamnaaya
  6. Vimala
  7. Vimalottha and
  8. Devi-mata – which(57 to 64) have reference to the doctrines of the Ksapanaka-s and are such to be discarded.


Bhaskararaayaa treats certain multiple Tantras as one, and includes eitht Tantras not enumerated by Lakshmidara and also questions the view of Lakshmidhara in treating certain Tantraas as reprehensible as these hav e been recognised by Vaamakeswara Tantra and avers that as all the kalpasutras are like Saastraas which have the sanction of the Upanishads and Lakshmidhara’s view is either coloured or prejudiced.


However it may be added that Lakshmidhara’s defence that he pins his faith on a saying attributed to Iswara which he quotes to the effect that both the Misra and Kaula paths are to be discarded. He therefore holds that the Samaya-maarga alone should be followed by twice-born and that such is also the view of the Samkara-bhagavatpaada.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.