Self-Possessed, 12.4-12.5



Pis`aca-mocana Temple


p. 525 pis`aca-s

N[ila-mata] P[urana] 210 ff. tells of pis`acas in the employ of the gods. These pis`acas are under the direct command of the pis`aca lord Nikumbha, who has been hired by the god Kubera … . These pis`acas, numbering fifty million, are … for the good”.

[p. 570, n. 12:181 : “Cf. McHugh 2000.” (James McHugh : Netratantra Chapter 19, … translation. MA thesis, Oxford U.)]

pp. 525-7 spirit-possession by pis`aca-s; raks.asa-s

p. 525

the N[ila-mata] P[urana] (397-410) describes a … festival in which humans become possessed by these good pis`acas … . … .

p. 526

the celebrants, followers … of the good pis`aca Nikumbha, should smear their bodies and those of their friends with mud, then engage in revelry and well-turned lascivious speech that is both sexually enticing and arousing … . ... At that time, they become possessed by frightful-looking pis`acas – the ones who work for Kubera”. [p. 570, n. 12:183 : “For the cakrapuja and tantric sexual ritual, see Bharati 1965:228 ff.; Marglin 1985:227 f.”]

p. 527

the concerns of raks.asas are “to master the sports of lovemaking and hold crowded fairs and festivals.” [Rama-ayana 3:36:20ab; cf. Pollock 1991, pp. 79, 163]

Their pursuit of lovemaking can be traced back to the S`atapatha Brahman.a and their powers of transformation to the R.[c] V[eda].” (Pollock 1991, p. 79, n. 170)

Bharati 1965 = Agehanananda Bharati (ed.) : The Realm of the Extra-Human. The Hague : Mouton.

Marglin 1985 = Fre'de'rique Apffel Marglin : Wives of the God-King. Oxford U Pr.

Pollock 1991 = Sheldon I. Pollock : The Ramayan.a of Valmiki. Vol. III : “Aran.yakan.d.a”. Princeton U Pr.

pp. 527-8 antique legend of the Pis`aca-mocana temple in Varanasi

p. 527

pis`acas … in … tantric texts … require ritual expiation. A specific venue for such expiation, the Skanda Puran.a [its “Kas`i Khan.da, uttara-ardha” (cap. 54) – Tagare 1997, pp. 28-35] informs us, is a certain Pas`upata … temple called Pis`acamocana in Varanasi. It is here … that …, during the tretayuga, a great-souled ascetic named Valmiki performed … before the Kapard[in-]is`a linga … . He saw there a ghastly … raks.asa who described to him how … While … he was a brahman temple priest in far-off Pratis.t.hana on the banks of the Godavari river …

p. 528

he was condemned to exist as a pis`aca. … Like Kali possessing Nala, this pis`aca passed into the body of this brahman boy … . Eventually that brahman made his way to Varanasi, … to the Kapard[in-]is`a linga. There … Valmiki … gave him ... a bathing in the sacred pond. As a result, the pis`aca lost its frightful qualities”.

Tagare 1997 = G. V. Tagare (transl.) : The Skanda-Puran.a, Part XI = A.I.T.&M., vol. 59. Delhi : Motilal Banarsidass.

pp. 528, 530 praesent-day functions of the Pis`aca-mocana temple in Varanasi

p. 528

The Pis`ac[a-]mocan[a] temple continues as a venue for exorcism. Two types of officiant serve those in need : the bhagat, who invokes the deity in charge of the exorcism, and the ojha, who actually performs the exorcism. … Among the substances employed are cloves, which, given to the client, serve to transport the pret away from the body, while lemons … are used for bali … . ...

the client will drive a nail into the trunk of a large tree on the temple grounds, fixing the offending spirit to it.

{This is likewise a rN~in-ma rite.}

the prevailing viewpoint is that the spirit rides or sits on the individual, not inside the person. …

{cf. the Bodish external souls of each persons; also known in some Siberian religions}

Many of the clients are women who have suffered a miscarriage, influenced bythe notion that an evil spirit has been sent … . …

p. 530

Many more are relatives of people who have died suddenly, a condition that is said to render the subtle body of the deceased vulnerable to possession by nasty spirits.” [p. 571, n. 12:189 "See Parry 1994:242 ff. for an ethnography of an exorcism at Pis`acmocan."]

Parry 1994 = Jonathan P. Parry : Death in Banaras.



Pis`aca-gr.hita-bhais.ajya-m ('Pis`aca-Seizure Therapy')



Is`ana-s`iva-guru-deva-paddhati 41





12.5.0 pp. 530, 571 bala-graha

p. 530

descriptive lists of balagrahas, diseases attributed to them, and remedies ... appears in the Kas`yapa Samhita … of the seventh century, … translated well by Dominik Wujastyk [1998, pp. 213-35]”.

p. 571, n. 12:193

For a fairly comprehensive discussion of balagrahas in the major ayurvedic texts and the Agni[-]puran.a, see Kumar 1994:

Wujastyk 1998 = Dominik Wujastyk : The Roots of Ayurveda. New Delhi : Penguin Bks.

Kumar 1994 = Abhimanyu Kumar : Child Health Care in Ayurveda. INDIAN MEDICAL SCIENCE SER 16. Delhi : Sri Satguru.


Is`ana-s`iva-guru-deva-paddhati 41


pp. 531, 572 the

p. 531

the I[s`ana-]S`[iva-gurudeva-]Paddhati … discusses … the procedures prescribed in the[-]ravan.a and in the Narayan.iya.”

the[-]ravan.a enumerates several general procedures, … depending on … the identity of the matr.ka (Little Mother), the offending spirit.”

p. 572, n. 12:197

On[-]ravan.a and the lost[-]ravan.a[-]bala[-]cikitsa, see Goudriaan 1977. On[-]ravan.a …, also called`vara … and Can.d.asidharapati [Can.d.a-asidhara-pati] (Lord of the Edge of the Fierce Sword), see Bu:hnemann 1999:325. … The Kumara[-]tantra … Filliozat [1937, pp. 159-78] discusses in detail. The Narayan.iya mentioned here is … the Tantra[-]sara[-]samgraha, known in Kerala as the Vis.a[-]narayan.iya.”

Goudriaan 1977 = Teun Goudriaan : " and His Worship in Balinese and Indian Tantric Sources". WIENER ZSCHR FU:R DIE KUNDE SU:DASIENS 21:143-69.

Bu:hnemann 1999 = Gudrun Bu:hnemann : “Buddhist Deities and Mantras in the Hindu Tantras”. INDO-IRANIAN J 42.4:303-34.

Filliozat 1937 = Jean Filliozat : E'tude de de'monologie indienne : le Kumaratantra de Ravan.a. CAHIERS DE LA SOCIE'TE' ASIATIQUE, ser 1, vol 4. Paris : Imprimerie nationale.

pp. 531-3 general procedures of curing a child according to the Is`ana-s`iva-guru-deva-paddhati

p. 531

The wrapper should … be tied tightly with yellow thread. … . … the ground … should be embellished with thirteen svastikas, eight ghee lamps, and … bananas. …`a should be worshipped … . Brahmi and the other matr.kas should be installed as the deities of the primary directions around it, and Varahi and other goddesses, including Can.d.ika, should be installed and worshipped in the directional corners. ... the tantric ritualist invokes and worships

Vira[-]bhadra and ...

p. 532

offerings should be given to ...[-]ravan.a ... . ...

The fumigation rite for an infant prescribes igniting neem leaves and ... mustard seeds left over from offerings made to S`iva. ... Neem leaves ..., along with mustard seeds, ... give off an intense smoke when burned. ... This combination is ... inhospitable to bhutas ... . ...

p. 533

Instructions for the third year [of the child]'s exorcism state that aja[-]s` {goat-horn} (... read aja[-]s` should be added to the fumigant. This is a malodorous shrub whose fruit is ... recommended as early as the A[tharvan-]V[eda] (AVS` 4.37; AVP 13.4) as a remedy for sore eyes ... . [HIML 1B:237 n. 6]

For the fifth- to twelfth-year ritual, neem leaves should be burned ... with ... guggulu, an aromatic resin prescribed to strengthen ... connective tissue {tendons}".

HIML IB = G. Jan Meulenbeld : History of Indian Medical Literature. Vol. 1B "Annotations". Gro:ningen : Egbert Forsten.

p. 533 a procedure for curing an ailment according to the Kaus`ika Sutra

"The Kaus`ika[-]sutra ... prescribes a treatment for hepatitis in which a yellow bird should be placed in a bowl on the floor beneath the head of a person ... . ... The disease then exits the patient and enters the bird."





p. 534 the general procedures of curing a child according to the the (Vis.a-)Nara-ayan.iya

The (Vis.a-)Narayan.iya, so-called because its first ten chapters deal with poisons (vis.a, primarily from snakes) and their treatment, mentions grahis

not only for specific years of the child's life

but for the first ten days of life

and for the first twelve months as well. …

After noting the name of the grahi, Papini, which might inflict a child on the day it is born, the text states that ... a crossroad (catvari) … is prescribed … . Virabhadra should be installed in the center and the goddesses (matr.h.) in the corners and primary directions.`a (vinayakam) and Camun.d.i should be installed in the northeast”.

for the __


1st day

neem leaves dipped in ghee, ... with shoots from the us`ira, (apa)marga … trees.”

2nd day

After … an ointment of … us`ira leaf, mayura leaf, and goat's urine on the baby, a demonifuge of cow's teeth, horn, and hair should be burned.”

8th day

After an ointment of goat's urine … with vaca … and kus.t.ha … is applied, a demonifuge of tiger's nails is burned.”

10th day

monkey's hair and nails are burned.”

2nd month

burning of … garlic.”

pp. 534-5 goddesses of the the 10 days {cf. Hellenic 10 deities of 10-day dekahemeron (1/3rd of month)}






Papani (“Transgressive”)


Bhas.ini (“of Speech”)


Jhan.t.ali (“Misty”)



Kakoli (“Raven”)


Simhika (“Lion[ess]”)


Phat.-kari (“Who exclaims phat.!”) [p. 572, n. 12:210 : “This bija [/PHAT.!/] is exclaimed at the funeral pyre when the skull cracks and the jiva exits the body.”]


Muka-kes`i (“Whose Hair Smells Like Cowdung”)


Dan.d.ini (“Who Holds the Staff”)


Maha-mahis.i (“Great Buffalo[ess]”)


Rodani (“Tearful”)

p. 535 goddesses of the the 12 months




Putana (“Stinking”)


Makut.a (“Crested”)


Go-mukhi (“Cow-Mouthed”)


Pingala (“Tawny”)


Hamsika (“Goosey”)


Panka-ja (“Lotus”)


S`itala (“Cool”)




Kumbha-karn.i (“Pot-Eared”)


Tapasi (“of Austerities”)


Raks.asi (Daimoness)


Capala (“Trembling”)

p. 535 goddesses of the the 18 years {cf. Maya 18 uinalob (20-day periods) in 360-day tun}




Yatana (“Vengeful”)


Rodini (“Weeping”)


Cat.aka (“Sparrow[ess]”)


Can~cala (“Fickle”)


Dhavani (“Loping”)




Hayani (“Relinquis[h]ing”)


Kalini (“of Time”)


Kala-hamsi (“{Part of a} Goose[ss]”)


Deva-duti (“Emissary[ess]”)


Palita (“Crone”)


Vayavi (“of the Wind”)




Mun~jaka-mun~ci (“of the Bullrushes”)


Vanari (“Monkey[ess]”)


Bandha-vati (“Who Binds”)


Kumari (“Princess”)

pp. 535, 573 general offerings to these goddesses of days, months, and years of a child's age

p. 535

For all of these, sesame is offered … with a mantra … mun~ca paca daha agaccha balike t.hat.ha (… Liberate! Cook! Burn! Come! Young lady, svaha).

After these bali offerings are made, japa … is performed while the ritual officiant touches the child. The japa mantras are …, for example, … sphot.aya sphura akars.aya trot.aya … t.hat.ha(… Flash! Spring forth! Possess! Attract Break apart! … svaha).

Other mantras follow, … to the liberation of the spirit (graha[-]mukti). A number of protective verse mantras should then be recited …, invoking an abundance of male divinities to protect the directions”.

p. 573, n. 12:211

Many of the words here (e.g., man~ja, kad.hd.ha, and t.hat.ha are incomprehensible … and …

{That they are incompraehensible to Samskr.ta-speakers would imply that they are in some other language (Mun.d.a?).}

this mantra in reads rather differently, and more comprehenbsibly {i.e., in Samskr.ta, not in some Austro-Asiatic language}, in the text of the Narayan.iya, viz. the Tantra[-]sara[-]samgraha (pp. 158-60) … . The mantra in the Narayan.iya reads : … mot.aya bhan~ja pat.a sphot.aya sphura akat.u trot.aya … (… Crush! Break! Rip! Flash! Spring forth! Possess! … pungent … Break apart! …) …

One of the striking features of these mantras is the extensive use of retroflex consonants … . This could be due to … Dravidian or tribal origins … .

For … similar speculations regarding the secret speech of the Himalayan tantras, see Davidson 2002:267 ff.”

{No D.awida language is spoken in northeastern India, whereas a plethora of Austro-Asiatic languages is spoken thereabouts : indicating the mantra-s of “the Himalayan tantras” cannot be derived from D.awida, but may be Austro-Asiatic (Mun.d.a).}

Davidson 2002 = Ronald Davidson : Indian Esoteric Buddhism. NY : Columbia U Pr.


Frederick M. Smith : The Self-Possessed : Deity and Spirit Possession in South Asian Literature and Civilization. Columbia U Pr, NY, 2006.