Image Source: All rights reserved by Mariska Caroline
As per the Mahabharata, the Pashupata Shaivism doctrine of Tantra was first proclaimed by Bhagavat Shrikanthanatha (Sanskrit: भगवत् श्रीकण्ठनाथ, Bengali: ভগবত্ শ্রীকণ্ঠনাথ )
Bhagavat Shrikanthanatha was also the author of Pingalamata Tantra, a manuscript dated 1174 which is preserved in Nepal.
Pashupata was the oldest form of Shaiva Tantra prevalent in Northern India during latter Mahabharata times and is also known as Agamanta Shaivism. This school of Shavisim had a large number of texts known as Agamas, preserved manuscripts of which are dated to 700 to 800 AD.
Date of Bhagavat Shrikanthanatha
Lakulisha was a disciple of Bhagavat Shrikanthanatha.
Lakulisha and his 4 disciples Kushika, Garga, Mitra and Kaurushya are mentioned in an inscription of Chandragupta II (400 AD) of the Gupta Dynasty.
"Lakulisha Badami" by Corinna Wessels-Mevissen, Germany - personal e-mail. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.
Lakulisha among his four disciples Kusika, Garga, Mitra, and Kaurushya, rock-cut stone relief, Cave Temple No. 2 at Badami, Karnataka, Early Chalukya dynasty, second half of the 6th century CE
The inscription states that a Guruvayatana was established by Uditacharya. Uditacharya was fourth in descent from Parashara. Parashara was sixth in descent from Kushika.There is a tital fo 10 generationsbetween Chandragupta II and Lakulisha.
Assuming 30 years per guru-shishya generation, we can date Bhagavat Shrikanthanatha to around 100 AD.
In other words we can say that Pashupata Shaivism originated around 100 AD.
Evolution of the Tantras, by P.C. Bagchi
You may also like:
Classification of Shaiva Canon
An Introduction to Tantra
Ashtamurti - 8 Forms of Shiva
Introduction to Trika
Thank you for reading Bhagavat Shrikanthanatha. If you have any thoughts please feel free to share them via your comments.
Subhodeep Mukhopadhyay | Mkerj | Hooray For Life | The Tiny Man