The “Scandalous” Tantric Hymn to Kālī Karpūrādi-stotra: an Unexpurgated Translation
- 1. The context
- 2. Woodroffe’s translation
- 3. Vimalānanda’s Vimalānandadāyinī
- 4. The date of the text
- 5. The author of the text
- 6. Text and translation
- 7. A brief commentary
Through his “Tantrik Texts Series” (1913-1940) Sir John Woodroffe initiated modern Western studies of the tantra. However, his 1922 translation of the Karpūrādi-stotra reveals how much he and his collaborators felt constrained to purge the scandalous aspects from the text. It is seriously flawed, and yet still commonly used.
A new unexpurgated translation is needed.
This article describes the rather complex story of the editions and commentaries on the stotra, together with some suggestions on date and authorship: in short, its context. It then provides an unexpurgated translation of the Karpūrādi-stotra along with the Sanskrit text. Lastly, it provides a short commentary on the structure of the text and its purpose.
If Woodroffe had to conceal essential elements of the Karpūrādi-stotra, how reliable are the other translations and commentaries in his “Tantrik Texts Series”?
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