There are two views on anukalpas. Some of the tantras that have a slant towards dakShiNAchAra, allow the use of anukalpas. Again, the anukalpas are recommended, in such tantras, for the brAhmaNa and also for the pashu. It is probably because of this reason that some medieval texts that now get passed around as Tantras, came to identify brAhmaNa as always the pashu. It must be noted that many such tantras which speak of anukalpas for brAhmaNas on the basis of varNa are hardly given any importance by the hardcore kaulas. These are mainly used for quotations by the brAhamaNas treading dubious double paths. But if one examines tantras based firmly in kaula vidhi, they advice anukalpa only when the pratyakShya is unavailable. There is no other justifiable reason for anukalpas to be used. Moreover, it is clarified in many of these tantras that kaula path is the mahAvrata that supersedes everything else including the vaidika nitya karma, agnihotra and other vratas and hence a brAhmaNa who takes to kaula path can give up all these as well as the need to follow the injunctions in smR^iti. From this, what becomes clear is that consumption of meat, liquor or even parastrIgamana is not seen as niShedha in kaula circles for the scriptures that advice these are not held as pramANa therein. Thus, be it for a brAhmaNa or someone else, the original reason to use anukalpa seems to have been unavailability of the actual ingredients.
Then there is the sanction for the pashu, which slowly seems to have become a natural refuge for those brAhmaNas with conflicting minds, slowly leading to a popular but incorrect identification of a brAhmaNa with pashu. After all, be it rightist or leftist, the well-known teachers, scholars and commentators, whatever their actual spiritual achievements were, have been mostly brAhmaNas. brAhmaNas using anukalpas to suit their dogma is explained by contemporary teachers and scholars from the leftist school as based on AnukUlya rather than shAstra pramANa or genuine sampradAya, especially because they seldom like to be identified as pashus based on their practices. A lot of such confusion arises because of two groups of pranksters. The first is a group of brAhminical intelligentsia who want to pick and choose elements from kaula tantra to suit their needs and ignore what they thought would alienate them from mainstream, an attitude that is reflected in many medieval texts. While this is agreeable to an extent to other groups, especially to those following dakshiNAchAra like ours where we recount pramANas from devI bhAgavata etc., kaula tantra does not promote the same. The second is the New Age cult of a few Indian and many Western elements that have no clue whatsoever but would like to cash in on all the taboo associated with Tantra. When questioned about shAstra, they claim of direct revelation by a deity or a master and some naive beings even seem to buy it! The second category really needs no attention for the bubble bursts sooner or later by itself.
Now that we touched on this topic, kaula is not about makAras entirely! Here is what bhAskararAya explains:
kulaM sajAtIyasamUhaH: A group of elements with commonalities is a kula. And the trika of jnAtR^I, j~neya and j~nAna due to their sajAtIyatva constitute the kula. The same is stated elsewhere:
meyamAtramiti lakShaNaM kulaM prAntato vrajati yatra vishramam ||
The secondary interpretation would be in terms of AchAra for AchAra originates from the root concept and not vice versa:
na kulaM kulamityAhuH AchAraM kulamuchyate ||
bhAskararAya also explains the name kulAntasthA, interpreted incorrectly by a recent commentator as the central figure of bhairavI chakra (which reveals his total cluelessness about this ritual):
kulasya antaH mAtR^i meyayormadhye mAnarUpeNa sthitA | kulashAstrasya madhye j~neyatvenAvasthitA ||
Now bhAskararAya, a scholar par excellence whose learning is both deep and wide, does not ignore the popular interpretation of kula as related to achAra:
bAhyAkAshAvakAshe chakraM vilikhya tatra pUjAdikaM kaulamiti rUDhyochyate ||
It is interesting to note what he speaks about samaya:
daharAkAshAvakAshe chakraM vibhAvya tatra pUjAdikaM samaya iti rUDyochyate ||
While the definitions for both kaula and samaya appear similar, the difference is brought out by the use of words: bAhyAkAshe-vilikhya and daharAkAshe-vibhAvya. It should be noted that bhAskararAya does not interpret samaya here as an AchAra bound by rules that some kaula tantras speak of. Moreover, apart from simply citing pramANas, he states here the actual prevalent practice of the two AchAras (rUDhi)that he observed, understood and probably even practiced. He further says:
sa cha sarvaiH yogibhiH aikamatyena nirNIto.artha iti | sa~NketarUpatvAdapi samayaH ||
This bhAvanA of shrIchakra in the dahara is what is samayAchAra and the sanketa for the same has been determined equivocally by the great Yogis.
tatpradipAdakatvAt vasiShTha shuka sanaka sanandana sanatkumArAkhya tantrapa~nchakamapi samayapadena vyavahR^iyate ||
The five tantras (shubhAgama pa~nchaka) which deal with this sanketa are also called samaya. Thus it becomes clear that even the famed bhAskararAya was aware of these scriptures and considered them as valid shAstras. He even gives a brief summary of these works:
samaM sAmyaM yAtIti samayaH shivaH, ato.anupasarge kaH samayA devI tayorekasheShaH | sAmyaM cha parasparaM shivashaktyoH pa~nchavidham | adhiShThAnasAmyaM anuShThAnasAmyaM avasthAnasAmyaM nAmasAmyaM rUpasAmyaM cheti |
Elsewhere he describes two totally different interpretations of samayAchAra:
1. rudrayAmaLe dashabhiH paTalaiH upadiShTaH AchAraH samayAchAra ityuchyate ||
In rudrayAmaLa, the AchAra taught in ten chapters dealing with a set of rules mainly aimed at the pashu is called samayAchAra samayAcharaM vakShye etc till pashupAchavimochanam in about 450 shlokas that later got encapsulated as a pseudo upaniShad named samayAcharopaniShad]. This is one interpretation of samayAchara but not the only one. In sopAna krama, he next illustrates the alternate interpretation suited for the uttamAdhikArin.
2. yadvA dIkShitasya gurukaTAkShavashAt ShaDvidhaikya chautrvidhaikyAnyatara anusandhAnadArDhye mahAvedhAkhya samskAre cha mahAnavamyAM jAte sati - - mUlAdhArakuNdaM pravishati tAvattatraiva samayaM pratIkShatetyAkAro gurumukhaikavedyaH samayAchAraH. This is exactly what is described by shrI lolla lakShmIdharAchArya in saundaryalaharI when dealing with verse forty-one, as also what is outlined in vasistha samhita.
While it is clear that the two samayAcharas are not the same, there was probably some confusion even in those days in this regard. bhAskararAya further clarifies this as below:
tayorubhayavidhayorapi tatparA Asakta |
It is surprising to see how on the basis of mere speculation, dodos reject shubhAgama panchaka altogether as lost, non-existent or instrumented. Apart from speaking about these scriptures with great regard, bhAskararAya even quotes from them frequently. While lakShmIdhara can be rejected as being partial to svashAstra, how does one account for this explanation from bhAskararAya who was a self professed kaula? All one needs to do is to examine the process of antaryAga taught by bhAskararAya which is simply a verbatim of the yogopadesha chapter of sanaka samhitA.
As a side note, we have dealt earlier as to how a follower of dakShiNAchAra or samayAchAra should contemplate on names such as kulAntastha etc.
As for anukalpas, I did state earlier that there are two schools of thought in this regard:
1. Use anukalpa when the actual dravya is unavailable
2. Use anukalpa if the practitioner has not attained mastery over his senses
We should start with the second case first. That a brAhmaNa, to save his shrautAdi dharma, should adopt anukalpa during kaula rituals, is simply baseless as there is no shAstra pramANa. This seems to be more for the sake of convenience than anything else. The kaula tantras declare their path as mahAvrata and state one of the following:
1. Argue with their own set of pramANas to prove that pratyakSha svIkAra is acceptable and in line with the sruti.
2. State the superiority of kaulAchara over shruti or smR^iti patha and sanction the use of makAra for all qualified ones (we shall see what the qualification is, shortly) even if it is against smR^iti pramANa.
So, in either case, acceptance of pratyakSha dravyas is recommended for a follower of kulAchAra. The only time one is suggested to use anukalpa would thus be the first case i.e. during the unavailability of pratyakSha. This does not stem from my imagination but this is also what bhAskararAya states by quoting paramAnanda tantra:
mukhyAlAbhe chAnukalpo nAnyathA tu kadAchana ||
bhAskararAya also deals with acceptable categories of meat in ratnAloka and uses first person to talk which indicates that he indeed used pratyakSha.
Now, the next argument posed is regarding the use of anukalpa for those who are not jitendriyas. In such a case, bhAskararAya and rAmeshvara state repeatedly that there is no adhikAra into kula mArga! Where then comes the question of kaula ritual and to top it, the use of anukalpa?
yadapi ajitendriyANAM gandhodakena pUjanAdikamuktaM, tadasat | mukhyAlAbhe chAnukalpo nAnyathA tu kadAchana iti paramAnandatantre viMshollAsavachanavirodhAt | mukhye.anadhikR^itasya pratinidhAvadhikArasya shashaviShANatulyatvAt | tasmAdajitendriyANAM ApAtataH upAsanecChAyAM anyamArgeNa anyadevatopAsanaM kR^itvA tena paripakkvAntaHkaraNaM dR^iDhaM viditvA pashchAt kaulamAshrayet || taduktaM kulArNave:
anyAsAM devatAnAM tu bhUyo bhUyo niShevaNAt |
paripakkvamanAH kaule labdhaprAmANyako naraH |
bAhyendriyANi saMyamya pravishedatra netaraH ||
sarvathA gopanIyeyaM vidyA syAdajitendriye |
tena vIryavatI vidyA na vidyA syAt prakAshataH ||
kulapuShpaM kuladravyaM kulapUjAM kulaM japam |
nedR^ishAnAM pravaktavyaM yadIcChet priyamAtmanaH || iti
ajitendriye pravachanamapi niShidhyate | kimu vaktavyaM svIkAre! tasmAdajitendriyasya kaulamArge nAstyadhikAra ityalamativistareNa ||
Thus, bhAskararAya who himself was a brAhmaNa, states clearly his view that an ajitendriya cannot adopt kaula mArga and hence the question of sanction of anukalpa for him does not arise. An adhikArin has no other reason to use anukalpa except when the mukhya dravyAdikas are unavailable. So, if someone thinks he cannot use literal makAras, it would only suggest his ineligibility for this path. While I am not a kaula myself, or necessarily accept such statements, I see no reason why a kaula enthusiast should disregard the statements of a reputed kaula like bhAskararAya or of kaula tantras. So, the attitude of those who like to pick and choose is nothing but hypocrisy. And the vehemence which bhAskara and rAmeshvara exhibit in negating such claims proves that such hypocrisy existed even in those times.
Again, using anukalpa is generally passed off as dakShiNAchAra, which is not acceptable to even bhAskararAya, a kaula, leave alone someone following dakShiNAchara. One should refer to his commentary on the name savyApasavyamargasthA for greater clarity:
upAsanA krame dvau mArgau dR^ishyete | vAmamArgo dakShiNamargashcheti ||
In upAsanA krama, there are two paths seen: vAmAchAra and dakShiNAchAra.
tatra vAmamArgo nAma svasvavarNAshramavihitAni yAvanti karmANi, shrautAnyagnihotrAdIni, smArtAnyaShTakAdIni, tAntrikANi mantrasiddhyadIni teShu sarveShu yA yA devatAH pradhAnabhUtA a~NgabhUtA vA tattat sthAne svopAsyAmeva devatAM sarvatra bhAvayet | tattaddevatAvAchakapadottaraM visheShyatvena svadevatAvAchakapadaM sarveShu mantreShu nikShipedityAkArakaH ||
A person following the leftist path, whether performing shrauta/smArta karma according to his varNa and Ashrama or a tAntrika karma for mantra siddhi, always addresses his own upAsya devatA (say bhairavI for example) even if these activities are directed towards itara devatAs (both presiding over as mukhya and anga devatas).
IdR^ishe mArge devarshipitR^INAmR^iNashodhanAbhAvajanyaM pAtakaM ||
This leads to the sin arising out of not absolving devarShyAdi R^iNas. It is with this in mind that the kalpasUtra states: nirbhayatA sarvatra, a leftist needs to be fearless of the sins that he may accrue on his path for he believes that those would be finally absolved.
dakShiNamArge tu shrautAdi tattatkarmA~NgadevatAsthAne svopAsyadevatvena bhAvanIyeti na nirbandhaH api tu tattaddevatAviShayaka tantreShu yAni karmANi vihitAni tada~Ngatvenaiveti sarvakarmANAM uparodhAbhAvAt asmin mArge tAdR^ishaM pAtakaM nAstIti JhaDiti mokShaH ||
Due to the lack of such a pAtaka in the case of dakShiNAchara, mokSha here is much quicker.
vAmamArge tu viLambitaH R^iNashodhanAbhAvena ka~nchitkAlaM pratibandhAt |
In vAma mArga, due to the delay in R^iNashodhana, mokSha is delayed. Thus, even a vAmAchAra para upAsaka gets mokSha but with a delay. That said, mokSha is assured to every jantu at the appropriate time as our dharma does not resort to the catholicity of declaring eternal damnation. So, this would be no real brownie point! One should note here that the R^iNas here are absolved not by respective means (shrAddhA, nityakarma etc.) like in dakShiNAchAra but rather on the merit of upAsanA bala. If a follower of dakShiNAchAra does not perform mighty good upAsanA, he does not gain anything. But if a leftist fails in his upAsanA, these R^iNas will come to haunt him and that is the reason why many on this path are seen to suffer from poverty, ill-health, lack of male progeny etc. Thus, upAsanA dharDhya assumes a greater importance in vAmAchAra. Hence also is the analogy of walking on a sword for the pitfalls are greater and damage, if caused, takes millennia to heal.
kaThine mokShAmshe.pi viLambite sAdhane kathaM shiShTAnAM vAmamArge pravR^ittiriti vAchyam ||
So, we spoke of the difficulties associated with the leftist path as also about the delay in mokSha. Then why do people adopt this path? bhAskara answers below.
aihikAnAM ucchAvachaphalAnAmihaiva janmani bhogalipsayA mokShe svalpaviLambasya soDhavyatvAt |
Those desirous of attaining aihika bhoga bhAgyAdikas enter this path and feel it is acceptable to have a certain delay in mokSha for they will utilize that delay in worldly enjoyments. As yukta bhoga is achievable even in dakSha marga, I assume bhAskara here talks of a greater scale of bhoga. The statement shrIsundarIsAdhaka tatparANAM bhogashcha mokShashcha karatsha eva, seems to be indicative of leftist path. Shankararanya reads this as referring to sundarI krama or hAdi krama, which represents the leftist path, stressing on the use of the word sundarI. Meanwhile, Lord hayagrIva describes kAdi vidyA as mokShaikahetuvidyA sA shrIvidyA nAtra samshayaH, indicating the attitude of those interested in chaturtha puruShArtha alone.
aihikabhogaviraktashiShTAnAM tu mokShaviLambasyAsoDhavyatvAt dakShiNa eva mArge pravR^ittiriti vivekaH ||
For those shiShTas who are disinterested in aihika bhoga and want to avoid delay in mokSha, the path prescribed is of dakShiNAchAra.
Thus, bhAskararAya does not see varNa, Ashrama etc. as decisive factors in choosing the left or right path. It is simply the goal that guides one towards a path. This is his opinion which he bases on solid shAstra pramANa as always.