By Swami Harshananda
Abhicāra or Abhicarakarma is literally translated as ‘black magic’ or ‘exorcism'.
In the eternal quest for happiness, peace and pleasure, man is often compelled to counteract the various forces and powers that thwart this quest. When common or natural remedies available to him fail to bring the desired result, he naturally turns towards uncommon and supernatural remedies. He attempts to seek the help of the supernatural powers whether it be a fierce deity, a ghost or a disembodied spirit. This is a common feature of all the cultures.
These rites cover a wide variety of subjects ranging from curing serious ailments, inflicting injury on enemies and rivals, winning the love of the beloved and securing long life and prosperity. For instance, if a woman ties a particular root on her body with appropriate mantras, the mind of her husband is attracted only towards her and not towards his co-wives. A person harassed by enemies can perform certain rites by which spirits called kṛtyās will come to his help in overcoming them. Persons suffering from incurable diseases are advised to wear certain amulets like mūlamaṇi, duly consecrated.
Mention of abhicāra in Literary works
- The rites of abhicāra have been mentioned in the Ṛgveda.
- A lot of reference can be found in abundance in the last of the Vedas, the Atharvaveda.
- It is also mentioned in it's subsidiary literary work like the Āngirasa Kalpasutras and the Kauśika Kalpasutras.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore