ABHISEKA is of eight kinds, and the forms of abhiseka which follow the first at later stages, mark greater and greater degrees of initiation. (1) The first saktabhiseka is given on entrance into the path of sadhana. It is so called because the guru then reveals to the sisya the preliminary mysteries of sakti-tattva.

By it the sisya is cleansed of all sinful or evil sakti or proclivities and acquires a wonderful new sakti.(2) The next, purnabhiseka is given in the stage beyond daksinacara, when the disciple has qualified himself by purascarana and other practices to receive it. Here the real work of sadhana begins. Asana, yama, etc., strengthen the disciple’s determination (pratijna) to persevere along the higher stages of sadhana.

The third is the difficult stage commenced by krama-diksabhiseka, in which it is said the great Vasistha became involved, and in which the Rsi Visvamitra acquired brahmajnana and so became a Brahmana, The sacred thread is now worn round the neck like a garland. The sisya, then undergoing various ordeals (pariksa), receives samrajyabhiseka and mahasamrajyabhiseka, and at length arrives at the most difficult of all stages introduced by yoga-diksabhiseka.

In the previous stages the sadhaka has performed the pancanga-purascarana, and with the assistance of his guru (with whom he must constantly reside, and whose instructions he must receive direct), he does the pancanga-yoga – that is, the last five limbs of the astanga, He is thereafter qualified for purna-diksabhiseka, sometimes called viraja-grahanabhiseka. On the attainment of perfection in this last grade, the sadhaka performs his own funeral rites (sraddha), makes purnahuti with his sacred thread and crown lock. The relation of guru and sisya now ceases. From this point he ascends by himself until he realizes the great saying, So’ham (“I am He”). At this stage, which the Tantra calls jivanmukta (liberated whilst yet living) he is called parama-hamsa.

1. Sprinkling, anointing, inaugurating, consecration as of a king or disciple.
2. Of the sakta bhiseka two forms are also mentioned – raja and yogi (see Pranatosini, 254; Vamakesvara Tantra, chap. I, Niruttara-Tantra, (chap. vii). As to what follows, sec Tantrarahasya, cited post.