Kaula, Kula

Skt., kula: Clan, Family, Lineage

  1. name of an influential and widespread group of Indian vamacara ("left hand") Tantrics
  2. name for a member of this "family" or "lineage", a membership gained either by birth or initiation

The prominent influence the Kula have had on the general development of Indian Tantra can be judged by the number of important scriptures that have come out of this movement; for example the Kaulavali Nirnaya Tantra, Kubjika Tantra, Kularnava Tantra, Parasurama-kalpa Sutra and Yogini Tantra.

Utilizing their strong position of having a widespread following, they tried to set themselves clearly apart from other Tantric schools by developing an own, kula-specific terminology that replaced and redefined already well-known Sanskrit and Tantric terms and concepts.

Not only is their path called kaulamarga or kulacara ("the way of the Kula"), but the kundalini becomes kaulini, liberation (Skt., moksha) is described as kaulika siddhi ("kula accomplishment"), amrita becomes kulamrita. Also, the divya chakra ritual is now called kula puja.

Similarly, semen is known as kulodaka, and menstrual fluid is not simply pushpa or rasa anymore but becomes kulapushpa and kularasa. Last not least, the panchatattva is named kuladravya.

The sects of the naked Digambara and the skull-cup using Kapalika Yogins are specialized subdivisions of the Kula.