When the philosophies of Hinduism were being shaped in different parts of India, at different times, the methodology underwent a rapid change though the outcomes stayed the same. Some were recorded in manuscripts while some stayed oral and with advances in stone carving a lot of tablets of a certain philosophies were seen. Interestingly the tantric philosophy enriched its roots in Eastern and Southern India. Left un-dominated by the Brahmins, tantra became a give and take relationship with the supreme.
The most beautiful illustrations of tantric ritualism and mantras are seen in Cudappah district of Andhra Pradesh. While exploring the district what I came across were many of this tantric stones which were worshiped as goddesses in small villages around Cudappah. The stone will normally be of a certain shape, as tantra is very particular in Geometry and will be dedicated to one of the Dasa Mahavidyas of Tantric philosophy or their derivatives.
The centre of the stone will have a small engraved image of the Goddess with lines bordering her in symmetry. Many a times there will be inscriptions on this stones of a certain procedure which will more likely be served as the mantra.
These stones are very serious about their geometry and content. Now if one comes across them they will be worshiped along with a lot of application of sindoor. It is difficult to gauge what has been written on it.
A lot of them have been reported by archaeologists and explorers in and around the area of Cudappah. It is safe to say, that Andhra Pradesh did share an excellent knowledge in Tantra and its application. Usually around a completely well preserved stone of such nature will have a small temple installed around it. They are usually found in clusters and the chances of seeing a single stone of such nature in the area seems rare. More than objects of worship, these stones also speak about the ethnology and beliefs that are shared in a certain geographical area. We all follow tantra in day to day life, by chanting japa, performing yajna, offering flowers to deity etc. These all are the aspects of tantra. Many a time people have found tantra scary and have been misled by popular entertainment. But it is innately bound in day to day activities of people.
Andhra Pradesh has fair amount of influence of the Sakta tantra. In Telangana the village goddess have been derived from various tantric goddesses. The usage of lemon garlands and offering of lemons filled with vermilion to the deities majorly seen in Andhra, Telangana and Tamil Nadu forms a replacement to animal sacrifice as in case of Goddess Kali.
Majority of these stones are documented but left un-deciphered or are in process of being deciphered. Very few can be seen in museums as many of them are preserved well and worshiped.
These stones have brought to light the age of tantra in Andhra Pradesh and how it has influenced the socio-ritualistic aspect of people.
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