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CSS Stresses On Agamas As Storehouse Of Indic Wisdom

CSS Stresses On Agamas As Storehouse Of Indic Wisdom

Centre for Shaiva Studies CSS is a research institute for the advanced study of Śaiva traditions. It is a joint initiative of INDICA and Tattva Heritage Foundation to promote academic research in India. Located in the Heritage Town of Pondicherry, the Centre was inaugurated on the auspicious day of 6th May 2022 with a traditional Śaiva ritual.

CSS seeks to facilitate multi-disciplinary research on the vast textual corpus of Śaivism and the documenting of contemporary forms of Śaivism, such as the thriving temple traditions, the yoga traditions, Śaiva dance and art forms, and various forms of Śaiva devotional practices.

Through its programs and activities, CSS seeks lead to the publication of critical editions and translations of important Śaiva texts (many of which are still in manuscript form), research papers on various aspects of Śaivism, monographs, and policy proposals for managing Śaiva institutions.

At CSS, we aim to disseminate the wisdom of Śaiva texts through introductory courses, temple visits for understanding Śaiva rituals, workshops, online courses and training of temple officials. We hope that our programs and activities will lead to the publication of critical editions and translations of important Saiva texts. Eventually we would like to establish a Śaiva temple with trained Śivācāryas conducting the pūjā as prescribed in the paddhati.

CSS takes inspiration from the works of great Śaiva scholar-practitioners such as NR Bhatt and Gopinath Kaviraj, and the aim is to continue their legacy of rigorous scholarship while maintaining a deep respect for the wisdom that the tradition embodies.


To mark the first-year anniversary, we organized two lectures at our premises by very distinguished Śaiva scholars: Dr Mark Dyczkowski and Sri Karttikeya Sivam. The draft critical edition of the Tantrāvatārapaṭala of the Kāmikāgama (Pūrvabhaga) was released on that day. Sections from the draft critical were read out to the assembled audience by Dr Ganesan, who has been working on this prestigious project for the past year.   

The first speaker, Sri Karttikeya Sivam, a scholar of the Śaiva Āgamas trained in a traditional gurukulam spoke on the importance of preserving the Śaiva Āgamas as they are the storehouse of India’s ancient culture. He gave suggestions for the CSS to periodically organise small exhibitions for the public on various themes expounded in the Āgamas and how this stream of Śaivism could be propagated to a wider audience.

Dr Mark Dyczkowski, a very senior Śaiva scholar specialising in the Śākta tantra tradition has published extensively, including a 12-volume work on the Manthānabhairava Tantra and recently an edition and translation of Abhinavagupta’s Tantrāloka. He spoke on the need for more anthropological studies on the various paddhatis being used in various temples of South India and how such paddhatis differ from each other. 

The anniversary event was attended by numerous scholars, students and the local Śaiva community. Through this gathering, we engaged with both scholars and lay people to disseminate the latest scholarship on Śaivism.  

Key initiatives 2023-24 include:

  • Critical Edition of Kāmikāgama: CSS began editing the Kāmikāgama (Pūrvabhāga) in January 2023, with plans to publish the first volume containing the first five pāṭalas and translations by August-September 2024.
  • Critical Edition of Sarvoktāgama and Prodgitāgama: CSS is editing these smaller āgama texts, aiming for publication by October-November 2024.
  • Critical Edition and Translation of Abhinavagupta’s Tantrāloka: CSS will publish the first volume of the Tantrāloka edited by Mark Dyczkowski in May 2024.
  • Upcoming Publications: CSS plans another book for possible publication in December 2024.

The Center holds monthly Tamil lectures on Śaiva Tirumurai corpus themes, attracting scholars and students. Occasionally, external speakers contribute to these lectures.