The Saubhāgyacandrātapa of Nīlakaṇṭha Dīkṣita, a manual for the daily ritual obligations of the Śrīvidyā initiates in the seventeenth-century Smārta-Śaiva community of Tamil Nadu. To our knowledge, the Saubhāgyacandrātapa survives only in a single Grantha script palm-leaf manuscript, now housed at the Oriental Research Institute at the University of Kerala, Kariavottom. The manuscript itself is incomplete, only the first two chapters (paricchedas) having come down to us today from a work that most likely comprised at least five chapters. Nīlakaṇṭḥa often acknowledges the authority of the Śivārcanacandrikā of Appayya, whom he describes as “our grandfather” (asmatpitāmahacaraṇāḥ), or rather uniquely, with the proud but affectionate “Our Dīkṣita” (asmaddīkṣitaḥ). In addition, the Saubhāgyacandrātapa is referred to by name in yet another Śrīvidyā manual composed by his younger brother Atirātra Yajvan, entitled the Śrīpadarthadīpikā or Śrīpadārthavyavasthā, which may now be lost, but had been recovered prior to 1942 by P. P. S. Sastri. Nīlakaṇṭha further informs us in his own paddhati that his elder brother, Āccān Dīkṣita, also authored such a text, entitled the Saubhāgyapaddhati, of which no trace has yet been found. While simultaneously presenting a digest of Śrīvidyā upāsanā suitable for an orthodox Brahminical Śaiva audience, the Saubhāgyacandrātapa undertakes the project of bridging the gap between the Śrīvidyā textual canon and the scriptural and ritual canons of the Sanskritic Śaiva Siddhānta tradition, a school of thought quite far removed from Śrīvidyā's earlier ritual and philosophical influences.
- ExtractsKind: Colophon phrase
iti śrimadbharadvājakulajaladhikaustubha-śrīkaṇṭhamatapratiṣṭhāpanācārya-caturadhikaśataprabandhanivahika-śrīmanmahāvratayāji-śrīmadappayyadīkṣitasodarya-śrīmadāccādīkṣitapautreṇa śrīnārāyaṇadīkṣitātmajena bhūmidevīgarbhasambhavena śrīnīlakaṇṭhadīkṣitena viracite śrīsaubhāgyacandrātape prathamaḥ paricchedaḥ.