The Hindu temple is the seat of a full culture including material commodities and services, arts ranging from cooking and flower decoration, to music and philosophy. To conceive, build, organize, manage, maintain such a privileged site of culture an authentic and well thought out theory and guidance is required. Sanskrit Agamic literature plays this role. The Saiva religion is based on a set of twenty-eight Tantra's.
The Ajitamahatantra is the fifth in a international list, a lengthy text, which invites the reader to approach the Saiva religion in a form, which probably goes back to the Cola period and is definitely located in Tamilnadu. In eighty-nine chapters, it offers a systematic account of the installation of Linga starting from the selection of the stone ad construction of the temple to the great ceremony of installation of the deity. Thereafter it deals extensively with the daily worship, festivals and occasional rituals, with iconography, subsidiary rituals, as well as the rites of atonement of faults and failures.
The present publication in five volumes is the second revised critical edition with English translation and annotation. Wherever possible, descriptions have been illustrated with theoretical drawings or photographs of actual monuments and icons.
About the Author:
N. Ramachandra Bhatt is a traditional Pandit well-versed in the vast literature of Saivagama. He has toured South India for many years to collect manuscripts and conduct inquiries in the temples. He has directed a team of researchers on this subject in the French Institute of Pondicherry and authored critical editions of Agamas and relevant texts. To his credit is also a general study, The religion of Siva (in French) which sheds light on the rituals with special reference to Tamilnadu.
Jean Filliozat (1906-1982) was a versatile scholar in many fields of Indology, with an excellent command over Sanskrit, Pali, Tibetan and Tamil. Initially a medical doctor, he held the prestigious chair of Indology in College de France (Paris). He established and administered the French Institute of Pondicherry from 1955 to 1978 where he conceived and directed a project of the study of Saivagamas and South Indian temples. His works cover all branches of Indology from Ayurveda to Buddhism, Tamil literature, expansion of Indian culture in South East Asia, etc.
Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat is Professor of Sanskrit in Paris and conducts research mainly in the field of Sanskrit literature, Alamkarasastra, Vyakarana, Saivagamas, History of Indian art and architecture. His publications bear inter alia on Panini and Patanjali, Saivagama and Temple architecture in Karnataka.