Early Tantric Medicine: Snakebite, Mantras, and Healing in the Garuda Tantras

ISBN : 9780190461812

Michael Slouber
368 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Nov 2016
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Early Tantric Medicine looks at a traditional medical system that flourished over 1,000 years ago in India. The Garuda Tantras had a powerful influence on traditional medicine for snakebite, and some of their practices remain popular to this day. Snakebite may sound like a rare and exotic phenomenon, but in India it is a problem that affects 1.4 million people every year and results in over 45,000 deaths. Michael Slouber offers a close examination of the Garuda Tantras, which were deemed lost until the author himself discovered numerous ancient titles surviving in Sanskrit manuscripts written on fragile palm-leaves. The volume brings to life this rich tradition in which knowledge and faith are harnessed in complex visualizations accompanied by secret mantras to an array of gods and goddesses; this religious system is combined with herbal medicine and a fascinating mix of lore on snakes, astrology, and healing. The book's appendices include an accurate, yet readable translation of ten chapters of the most significant Tantric medical text to be recovered: the Kriyakalagunottara. Also included is a critical edition based on the surviving Nepalese manuscripts.


List of Figures
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Precursors to Garudam
Chapter 3: Canon and Compendia
Chapter 4: The Vipati Mantra
Chapter 5: Nilakantha, et al.
Chapter 6: Snakebite Goddesses
Chapter 7: Impact
Chapter 8: Conclusions and Prospective
A: Prologue to the Translation and Edition
B Translation of the Kriyakalagunottara: The Garudam Chapters
C Edition of Kriyakalagunottara: The Garudam Chapters
Register of Shortened Internet Links
Title List of Indic Primary Sources
General Bibliography

About the author: 

Michael Slouber is Assistant Professor of South Asia in the Department of Liberal Studies at Western Washington University.

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