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Stambhana – Suppressing In Hinduism

In Hinduism, stambhana means restraining, suppressing, stopping or obstructing. In Panchatantra (I.360), the word chitta stambhana is used to mean steadying of the mind. In Raghuvamsa of Kalidasa (Chapter I), King Dilipa is said to have gone to Sage Vasistha to know the reason why he was childless for several years. The sage went into santateh stambhakaranam (a trance), came to know the reason and revealed the remedy to the king also (I.74).

In Tantra there is a variety of practices called black rites. Stambhana is one of these six practices. It is meant for arresting the movements of an adversary and stopping his harmful activities.

Making a cobra (which is very agile and quick-moving by nature) stand still by playing the musical instrument called ‘pungi’ is called stambhana. Similarly, all activities of a harmful nature by an enemy are stopped by the practice of the rite of stambhana in Tantra.

In Jnanarnava Tantra (XX. 166-167), it is said that for the practice of stambhana rites the morning time is very suitable. In Mantramahodahi (XXV.15-16), it is said that the rites of stambhana should be performed by sitting in a particular posture called vikatasana. Skins of different animals are recommended for sitting for the different black rites, and elephant skin is considered good for stambhana in Dvitiya Mundamala Tantra (III.5-6). In Mantra Mahodadhi (Chapter 25), particular mudras, yantras and mandalas suitable for stambhana rites are mentioned.

Stambhana is one of the most specialized techniques of tantric practices. But in the present times, it seems to have lost its importance.