The Hindu Cainite vampires of India practice a form of blood sorcery, called Sadhana, which predates the prominent Tremere of modern nights by thousands of years. Sadhana is a Hindi word which literally translates as "[the] working", and is the analogous Hindi word for thaumaturgy (which itself means "working of miracles"). Both the mortal mages of India and the Cainite vampires of India, as speakers of the Hindi language, use the Hindi word sadhana to refer to their sorcery. The vampiric condition creates a unique relationship between the vampire and magical energy though, so while it does bear overlapping principles with mortal sadhana, vampiric Sadhana is by necessity the product of some distinctly vampiric principles, which means that only a portion of the principles of the vampiric Discipline of Sadhana are interchangeable with mortal sadhana without modification.
Prana is the life energy which vampires steal from the living via their blood, and via the methods of vampiric Sadhana the practitioner uses the stolen prana to enable him/her to alter reality according to mystical formulae learned from grimoires. The seminal thaumaturgic grimoires among Hindu Cainites are the unabridged versions of the Atharva-Veda and the Yajur-Veda.
Practitioners of sadhana know the three cosmic principles of Production, Preservation, and Purification. Rather than invoke the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva though, Cainite practitioners instead call upon the names of the analogous Shaivite trinity. Instead of invoking Brahma the Producer, Cainite practitioners call upon the Wyld-aspected Wyrm named Sadyojata; instead of invoking Vishnu the Preserver, Cainite practitioners call upon the Weaver-aspected Wyrm named Vamadeva; and instead of invoking Shiva the Purifier, Cainite practitioners instead usually call upon the self-referential Wyrm named Aghora. Hindu Cainites sometimes refer to their thirst for blood as "Vamadeva's thirst".
A practitioner of vampiric Sadhana is called a raktasadhu, which means "blood worker". Some raktasadhu refer to their blood sorcery as Raktasadhana ("blood working") in order to differentiate it from the sadhana of mortal mages, but unfortunately due to tradition that clarified naming convention has not gained traction among the majority of raktasadhu.
Initiation to become a sadhu includes attending one's own funeral, which symbolizes one's former self ending. Even mortal sadhu are regarded as being dead in the eyes of society, which for undead raktasadhu conveniently alleviates much of the need to hide their undead condition, as they can pass it off to a degree as sadhanic accomplishment.
The Cainite bloodlines with the deepest roots in India are the Daitya, Danava, Ravnos, and to a slightly lesser extent the Salubri. Despite the fact that not every Indian Cainite practices Sadhana, the term raktasadhu is still sometimes used to collectively refer to all Indian Cainites, largely because they have as of yet neglected to formalize their web of ephemeral allegiances into an actual Sect or Court. Those allegiances might not even have come into existence at all though if it were not for the opposition from the Cathayan vampires of the Infinite Thunders Court of southern India and the Golden Court of eastern India.
The Brahmin Castes are the only ones who are permissioned to learn Sadhana and as such, they have the greatest store of knowledge about this peculiar art of blood magic. Despite their low numbers, the Daitya and Danava have assumed rulership over the lesser Castes within India, after the number of Ravnos was extremly diminished during the events of the Week of Nightmares.
- Kapala - As a Shaivite blood sorcerer making offerings (havana) to demon-gods, a raktasadhu's primary ritual implement is a vessel for holding sacrificial blood and other offerings. Specifically this vessel is a kapala bowl, an ornately carved and sometimes bejeweled inverted calvaria ("skullcap"), as pictured in the iconography of many Shaivite deities (especially Kali). Raktasadhu consider vampires to be closer to Shiva than mere mortals, so a kapala made from a vampire's skull is usually considered more ritually efficacious than one made from a mere mortal. One of the first steps in "consecrating" a kapala to Shiva is often to Embrace a sacrificial mortal moments before decapitating them.
- Kilaka - A raktasadhu collects sacrificial blood for rituals in a kapala bowl, and releases that blood from its donor using a ritual blade, which is usually an ornate triple-bladed ritual spike known as a kilaka. (Alternatively it is called a kila or kilaya.) The blades of the kilaka extend radially from the central shaft and are joined as a single thrusting tip, nearly identically to a modern razor arrowhead. A kilaka has three faces on the pommel; a Shaivite's kilaka bears the three faces of Shiva: Sadyojata, Vamadeva, and Aghora. A kilaka made from dense ebony is especially well suited for incapacitating fellow vampires.
- Khatvanga - Another popular ritual implement among raktasadhu is a khatvanga scepter. The word means "leg from a [funerary] cot", and is one of many examples of the funerary theme common in many Shaivite rituals. A Shaivite khatvanga is made from either a femur bone or another material [such as ebony or metal] with inlays of bone. As with a kapala, bones from vampires are considered more ritually efficacious than bones from mere mortal creatures. Also like a kapala, a khatvanga is ornately carved. A khatvanga is sometimes topped with an additional skull, and sometimes with a trishula ("triple spear blade"). A khatvanga is also sometimes extended to full staff length.
Primary sourcebook: Blood Sacrifice: The Thaumaturgy Companion
- ↑ Clanbook: Setites Revised, p.49
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