1. The technology/discourse of asceticism – technologies of self-inflicted pain. They could originate in Shamanism and were in Vedic India understood to generate tapas – transformative heat. Today many scholars agree that austerities have a common denominator of generating ASC. Each culture gives a different meaning to self-inflicted pain. In Vedic India when a person was heated up by ascetic selfdenial, he was charged with divinity. 165
2. The technology/discourse of ritual action – strict observance of the laws and rituals of the gods. There was for instance the institution of vrata – living according to some declared vows. Divine blessings would fall upon a person who vowed to observe rituals. So by performing a range of sacrifices, by living in accordance to vows, by performing mantra recitation (svadhyaya) and ritual worship like upasana the adept would discharge human pollution and become semidivine. After death there was secured an eternal life among the Gods. We have seen in our discussion of the Brahmin tapas discourse how the Brahmin rituals were increasingly transformed into ascetic technologies; the ritual technology was a descending power discourse while the ascetic discourse was ascending.
3. The technology/discourse of wisdom (Gnosis ) – radical insight into issues about god/ the depth of reality. Such insights would enable the adept to become released from rebirth. This path reflecting an Axial Age episteme has so far only been mentioned briefly in relation to Samkhya philosophy. It seemed to have had a breakthrough especially among the Buddhists. The wisdom of Buddha initially turned him into an indescribable/ semi-divine being; later he was elevated into a god or god-principle. In the Upanishads we see a similar technology of the Self emerge among the Brahmins.