The Human Body

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Written by Sir John Woodroffe, Book: Introduction to Tantra Sastra 


THE human body is Brahma-pura, the city of Brahman. Īśvara Himself enters into the universe as jīva. Wherefore the mahā-vākya “That thou art” means that the ego (which is regarded as jīva only from the standpoint of an upādhi)1 is Brahman.


In the body there are five kośas or sheaths—annamaya, prāṇ a-maya, mano-maya, vijnāna-maya, ānandamaya, or the physical and vital bodies, the two mental bodies, and the body of bliss.2 In the first the Lord is self-conscious as being dark or fair, short or tall, old or youthful. In the vital body He feels alive, hungry, and thirsty. In the mental bodies He thinks and understands.
And in the body of bliss He resides in happiness. Thus garmented with the five garments, the Lord, though all-pervading, appears as though He were limited by them.3


In the material body, which is called the “sheath of food” (anna-maya kośa), reign the elements earth, water,

1 An apparently conditioning limitation of the absolute.
2 According to “Theosophic” teaching, the first two sheaths are apparently the physical body in its dense (Anna-Mayā) and etheric (Prāṇ a-maya) forms. Mano-maya represents the astral (Kāma) and lower mental body; Vijnānamaya the higher mental or (theosophical) causal body, and the highest the Ātmik body.
3 Mānasollāsa of Suresvarācārya, Commentary on third śloka of the Dakṣ ina-mūrti-stotra.



the Mūlādhārā, Svādhiṣ ṭ hānā and Maṇi-pūra centres. The two former produce food and drink, which is assimilated by the fire of digestion, and converted into the body of food. The indriyas are both the faculty and organs of sense. There are in this body the material organs, as distinguished from the faculty of sense.

In the gross body (śarīra-kośa) there are six external kośas—viz., hair, blood, flesh, 1 which come from the mother, and bone, muscle, marrow, from the father.

The organs of sense (indriya) are of two kinds—viz.: jnānendriyas or organs of sensation, through which knowledge of the external world is obtained (ear, skin, eyes, tongue, nose); and karmendriya or organs of action, mouth, arms, legs, anus, penis, the functions of which are speech, holding, walking, excretion, and procreation.


The second sheath is the prāṇ a-maya-kośa, or sheath of “breath” (prāṇ a), which manifests itself in air and ether, the presiding elements in the Anāhata and Viśuddha-cakras. There are ten vāyus (airs) or inner vital forces of which the first five 2 are the principal—namely, the sapphire prāṇ a; apāna the colour of an evening cloud; the silver vyāna; udāna, the colour of fire; and the milky
samāna. These are all aspects of the action of the one Prāṇ a-devata. Kuṇ ḍ alinī is the Mother of prāṇ a, which

1 The Prapānca-Sara (chap. ii) gives śukla (semen) instead of māmsa (flesh).
2 See Sārada-tilaka. The Minor vāyus are nāga, kūrma, kṛ karā, devadatta, dhanaṃ jayā, producing hiccup, closing and opening eyes, assistance to digestion, yawning, and distension, “which leaves not even the corpse.”


She, the Mūla-Prakṛ tī, illumined by the light of the Supreme Ātmā generates. Prāṇ a is vāyu, or the universal force of activity, divided on entering each individual into five-fold function. Specifically considered, prāṇ a is inspiration, which with expiration is from and to a distance of eight and twelve inches respectively. Udāna is the ascending vāyu. Apāna is the downward vāyu,
expelling wind, excrement, urine, and semen. The samāna, or collective vāyu, kindles the bodily fire, “conducting equally the food, etc., throughout the body.” Vyāna is the separate vāyu, effecting division and diffusion. These forces cause respiration, excretion, digestion, circulation.


The next two sheaths are the mano-maya and vijnāna kohas. These coustitute the antah-karaṇ a,
which is four-fold-namely, the mind in its two-fold aspect of buddhi and manas, self-hood (ahaṃ kāra), and citta.1 The function of the first is doubt, saṃ kalpavikalpātmaka, (uncertainty, certainty); of the second, determination (niscaya-kāriṇ i); of the third (egoity), of the fourth consciousness (abhimana). Manas automatically registers the facts which the senses perceive. Buddhi, on attending to such registration, discriminates, determines, and cognizes the object registered,
which is set over and against the subjective self by Ahaṃ kara. The function of citta is contemplation (cintā), the faculty 2 whereby the mind in its widest

1 According to Saṃ khya, citta is included in buddhi. The above is the Vedantic classification.
2 The most important from the point of view of worship on account of mantra-smaraṇ a, devatā-smaraṇ a, etc.


sense raises for itself the subject of its thought and dwells thereon. For whilst buddhi has but three
moments in which it is born, exists, and dies, citta endures.


The antah-karaṇ a is master of the ten senses, which are the outer doors through which it looks forth upon the external world. The faculties, as opposed to the organs or instruments of sense, reside here. The centres of the powers inherent in the last two sheaths are in the Ājnā Cakra and the region above this and below the sahasrāra lotus. In the latter the Ātmā of the last sheath of bliss resides. The physical or gross body is called sthūla-śarira. The subtle body (sūkṣ maśarīra
also called linga śarīra and kāraṇ a-śarīra) comprises the ten indriyas, manas, ahaṃ kāra, buddhi, and the five functions of prāṇ a. This subtle body contains in itself the cause of rebirth into the gross body when the period of reincarnation arrives.

The ātmā, by its association with the upādhis, has three states of consciousness—namely, the jāgrat, or waking state, when through the sense organs are perceived objects of sense through the operation of manas and buddhi. It is explained in the Īśvara-pratya-bhījnā as follows—“the waking state dear to all is the source of external action through the activity of the senses.” The Jīva is called jāgari—that is, he who takes upon himself the gross body called Viśva. The second is svapna, the dream state, when the sense organs being withdrawn, Ātmā is conscious of mental images generated by the impressions of jāgrat experience. Here manas ceases to record fresh sense impressions, and it and buddhi work on that which manas has registered in the waking state. The explanation of this state is also given in the work last cited. “The state of svapna is the objectification of visions perceived in the mind, due to the perception of idea there latent.” Jīva in the state of svapna is termed taijasa. Its individuality is merged in the subtle body. Hiraṇ ya-garbha is the collective form of these jīvas, as Vaiśvānara is such form of the jīva in the waking state. The third state is that of suṣupti, or dreamless sleep, when manas itself is withdrawn, and buddhi, dominated by tamas, preserves only the notion: “Happily I slept; I was not conscious of anything” (Pātanjala-yoga-sūtra). In the macrocosm the upādhi of these states are also called Virāṭ , Hiraṇ yagarbha, and Avyakta. The description of the state of sleep is given in the Śiva-sūtra as
that in which there is incapacity of discrimination or illusion. By the saying cited from the Pātanjala-sūtra three modifications of avidyā are indicated—viz., ignorance, egoism, and happiness. Sound sleep is that in which these three exist. The person in that state is termed prājna, his individuality being merged in the causal body (kāraṇ a). Since in the sleeping state the prājna becomes Brahman, he is no longer jīva as before; but the jīva is then not the supreme one (Paramātmā),
because the state is associated with avidyā. Hence, because the vehicle in the jīva in the sleeping state is Kāraṇ a, the vehicle of the jīva in the fourth is declared to be mahā-kāraṇ a. Īśvara is the collective form of the prājna jīva.


Beyond suṣ upti is the turīya, and beyond turīya the transcendent fifth state without name. In the fourth state śuddha-vidya is required, and this is the only realistic one for the yogī which he attains through samādhi yoga. Jīva in turīya is merged in the great causal body  (mahā-kāraṇa). The fifth state arises from firmness in the fourth. He who is in this state becomes equal to Śiva, or, more strictly tends to a close equality; for it is only beyond that, that “the spotless one attains the
highest equality,” which is unity. Hence even in the fourth and fifth states there is an absence of full perfection which constitutes the Supreme. Bhāskararāyā, in his Commentary on the Lalitā, when pointing out that the Tāntrik theory adds the fourth and fifth states to the first three adopted by the followers of the Upaniṣ ads, says that the latter states are not separately enumerated by them owing to the absence in those two states of the full perfection of Jīva or of Śiva.


It is said1 that there are 3 crores of nāḍ is in the human body, of which some are gross and some are subtle. Nāḍ i means a nerve or artery in the ordinary sense; but all the nāḍ is of which the books on Yoga2 speak are not of this physical character, but are subtle channels of
energy. Of these nāḍ is, the principal are fourteen; and of these fourteen, iḍ a, pingalā and suṣ umnā are the chief; and again, of these three, suṣ umnā is the greatest, and to it all others are subordinate. Suṣ umnā is in the hollow of the meru in the cerebro-spinal axis. 3 It

1 Nāḍ i-vijnāna (chap. i, verses 4 and 5).
2 Ṣ at-cakra-nirūpaṇ a (commentary on verse 1), quoting from Bhūta
śuddhi-Tantra, speaks of 72000 nāḍ is (see also Niruttara-Tantra, Prāṇ atoṣ inī,
p. 35), and the Śiva-saṃ hitā (2, 13) of three lacs and 50,000.
3 It has been thought, on the authority of the Tantra-cūḍ ā-maṇ i, that
suṣ umnā is outside meru; but this is not so, as the Author of the Ṣ at-cakranirūpaṇ
a points out (verse 2). Iḍ a and Pingalā are outside the meru; the
quoted passage in Nigama-tattva-sāra referring to suṣ umnā, vajrā and citrīnī.

extends from the Mūladhara lotus, the Tattvik earth centre,1 to the cerebral region. Suṣ umnā is in the form of Fire (vahni-svarūpa), and has within it the vajrininādi in the form of the sun (sūrya-svarūpā). Within the latter is the pale nectar-dropping citrā or citrinī nāḍ ī, which is also called Brahma-nāḍ ī, in the form of the moon (candra-svarūpā). Suṣ umnā is thus triguṇ ā. The
various lotuses in the different Cakras of the body (vide post) are all suspended from the citra-nāḍ ī, the cakras being described as knots in the nāḍ ī, which is as thin as the thousandth part of a hair. Outside the meru and on each side of suṣ umnā are the nāḍ īs iḍ ā and pingalā. Iḍā is on the left side, and coiling round suṣ umnā, has its exit in the left nostril. Pingalā is on the right, and
similarly coiling, enters the right nostril. The suṣ umnā, interlacing iḍ ā and pingalā and the ājnā-cakra round which they pass, thus form a representation of the caduceus of Mercury. Iḍ ā is of a pale colour, is moonlike (candra-svarūpā), and contains nectar. Pingalā is red, and is sun-like (sūrya-svarūpā), containing “venom,” the fluid of mortality. These three “rivers,” which are
united at the ājnā-cakra, flow separately from that point, and for this reason the ājnā-cakra is called mukta triveni. The mūlādhāra is called Yuktā (united) triveni, since it is the meeting-place of the three nāḍ īs which are also called Ganga (Iḍ ā), Yamunā (Pingalā), and Sarasvati (suṣ umnā), after the three sacred rivers of India. The opening at the end of the suṣumna in the mūlādhāra is called brahma-dvāra, which is closed by the coils of the sleeping Devī Kuṇḍalinī.


1 The Tattvas of “earth,” “water,” “fire,” “air,” and “ether,” are not to be identified with the so-called popular “elements” of those names.



There are six cakras, or dynamic Tattvik centres, in the body—viz., the mūlādhāra, svādhiṣ ṭ hāna, maṇ ipūra, anāhata, viśuddha, and ājā—which are described in the following notes. Over all these is the thousandpetalled lotus (sahasrāra-padma).


Mūlādhara1 is a triangular space in the midmost portion of the body, with the apex turned downwards like a young girl’s yoni. It is described as a red lotus of four petals, situate between the base of the sexual organ and the anus. “Earth” evolved from “water” is the Tattva of the cakra. On the four petals are the four golden varnas—“vaṃ ,” “śaṃ ,” “ṣ aṃ ” and “saṃ .”2 In the four petals pointed towards the four directions (Īśāna, etc.) are the four forms of bliss—yogānanda (yoga bliss), paramānanda (supreme bliss), sahajānanda (natural bliss), and virānanda (vira bliss). In the centre of this lotus is Svayaṃ bhū-linga, ruddy brown, like the colour of a young leaf. Citriṇ ī-nāḍ ī is figured as a tube, and the opening at its end at the base of the linga is called the door of Brahman (Brahma-dvāra), through which the Devi ascends.3 The lotus, linga and brahma-dvāra,
hang downwards. The Devi Kuṇ ḍ alinī, more subtle

1 Mūla, the root; ādhāra, support; for the mūlādhāra is the root of Suṣ umnā and that on which Kuṇ ḍ alinī rests.
2 It need hardly be said that it is not supposed that there are any actual lotuses or letters engraved thereon. These and other terms are employed to represent realities of yoga experience. Thus the lotus is a plexus of nāḍīs, the disposition of the latter at the particular cakra in question determining the number of the petals.
3 Hence She is called in the Lālitā-sahasra-nāma (verse 106) Mūlādhārām ̣ -bujārudh.

than the fibre of the lotus, and luminous as lightning, lies asleep coiled like a serpent around the linga, and closes with Her body the door of Brahman. The Devī has forms in the brahmānda. Her subtlest form in the piṇ ḍ āṇ ḍ a, or body, is called Kuṇḍalinī, a form of Prakṛti pervading, supporting, and expressed in the form of the whole universe; “the Glittering Dancer” (as the Śaradatilaka calls Her) “in the lotus-like head of the yogī.” When awakened, it is She who gives birth to the world made of mantra. 1 A red fiery triangle surrounds svayaṃ bhū-linga, and within the triangle is the red Kandarpa-vāyu, or air, of Kāma, or form of the apana vāyu, for here is the seat of creative desire. Outside the triangle is a yellow square, called the pṛ thivi-(earth) maṇ ḍ ala, to which is attached the “eight thunders” (aṣ ṭ a-vajra). Here is the bīja “laṃ ” and with it pṛ thivi
on the back of an elephant. Here also are Brahmā and Sāvitrī,2 and the red four-handed Śakti Dākinī.3


Svādhiṣ ṭ hāna is a six-petalled lotus at the base of the sexual organ, above mūlādhāra and below the navel. Its pericarp is red, and its petals are like lightning. “Water” evolved from “fire” is the Tattva of this cakra. The varṇ as on the petals are “baṃ ,” “bhaṃ ,” “maṃ ,” “yaṃ ,” “raṃ ,” and “laṃ .” In the six petals are also the vṛ ttis (states, qualities, functions or inclinations)— namely, praśraya (credulity) a-viśvāsa (suspicion, mistrust), avajnā (disdain), mūrchchā (delusion, or, as some

1 See Prāṇ a-toṣ inī, p. 45.
2 The Devī is Sāvitrī as wife of the Creator, who is called Savitā because He creates beings.
3 Who according to the Sammohana-Tantra (chap. ii), acts as keeper of the door.

say, disinclination), sarva-nāśa (false knowledge),1 and krūratā (pitilessness). Within a semicircular space in the pericarp are the Devatā, the dark blue Mahāviṣṇu, Mahālakṣ mī, and Saraswatī. In front is the blue fourhanded Rākinī Śakti, and the bīja of Varuṇ a, Lord of water or “vaṃ .” Inside the bīja there is the region of Varuṇ a, of the shape of an half-moon, and in it is
Varuṇ a himself seated on a white alligator (makara).


Maṇ i-pūra-cakra 2 is a ten-petalled golden lotus, situate above the last in the region of the navel. “Fire” evolved from “air” is the Tattva of the cakra. The ten petals are of the colours of a cloud, and on them are the blue varṇ as—“daṃ ,” “dhaṃ ,” “naṃ ,” “taṃ ,” “thaṃ ,” “daṃ ,” “dham ̣ ,” “naṃ ,” “paṃ ,” “pham” and the ten vṛttis (vide ante), namely, lajjā (shame), piśunata (fickleness),
īrṣ ā (jealousy), tṛ ṣ ṇ ā (desire), suṣupti (laziness),3 viṣāda (sadness), kaṣāya (dullness), moha (ignorance), ghṛ ṇ ā (aversion, disgust), bhaya (fear). Within the pericarp is the bīja “raṃ ,” and a triangular figure (maṇ ḍ ala) of Agni, Lord of Fire, to each side of which figure are attached
three auspicious signs or svastikas. Agni, red, fourhanded, and seated on a ram, is within the figure. In front of him are Rudra and his Śakti Bhadra-kāli. Rudra is of the colour of vermilion, and is old. His body is smeared with ashes. He has three eyes and two hands. With one of these he makes the sign which grants

1 Lit. “destruction of everything,” which false knowledge leads to.
2 So-called, it is said by some, because during samaya worship the Devī is (Pūra) with gems (manī): see Bhāskara-rāya’s Commentary on Lalitāsahasra- nāma, verses 37 and 38. By others it is so called because (due to the presence of fire) it is like a gem.
3 Deeply so, with complete disinclination to action: absence of all energy.

boons and blessings, and with the other that which dispels fear. Near him is the four-armed Lākinī-Śakti of the colour of molten gold (tapta-kāncana), wearing yellow raiments and ornaments. Her mind is maddened with passion (mada-matta-citta). Above the lotus is the abode and region of Śūrya. The solar region drinks the nectar which drops from the region of the Moon.


Anāhata-cakra is a deep red lotus of twelve petals, situate above the last and in the region of the heart, which is to be distinguished from the heart-lotus facing upwards of eight petals, spoken of in the text, where the patron deity (Iṣ ṭ a-devatā) is meditated upon. “Air” evolved from “ether” is the Tattva of the former lotus. On the twelve petals are the vermilion varnas—“Kam,” “Khaṃ ,” “Gaṃ ,” “Ghaṃ ,” “Naṃ ,” “Caṃ ,” “Chaṃ ,” "Jaṃ ", “Jhaṃ ,” “aṃ ,” “Ṭ aṃ ,” “Ṭ haṃ ,” and the twelve vṛttis
(vide ante)—namely, āśa (hope), cinta (care, anxiety), ceṣṭā (endeavour), mamatā (sense of mineness),1 ḍaṃ bha (arrogance or hypocrisy), vikalatā (langour), ahaṃkāra (conceit), viveka (discrimination), lolatā (covetousness), kapaṭ ata (duplicity), vitarka (indecision), anutāpa
(regret). A triangular maṇ ḍ ala within the pericarp of this lotus of the lustre of lightning is known as the Trikona Śakti. Within this maṇ ḍ ala is a red bānalinga called Nārāyaṇ a or Hiraṇ yagarbha, and near it Īśvara and his Śakti Bhuvaneśvarī. Īśvara, who is the Overlord of the first three cakras is of the colour of molten gold, and with His two hands grants blessings and dispels fear. Near him is the three-eyed Kākinī-Śakti, lustrous as lightning, with four hands holding the noose

1 Resulting in attachment.

and drinking-cup, and making the sign of blessing, and that which dispels fear. She wears a garland of human bones. She is excited, and her heart is softened with wine.1 Here, also, are several other Śaktis, such as Kala-ratri, as also the bīja of air (vāyu) or “yaṃ .” Inside the lotus is a six-cornered smoke-coloured maṇ ḍ ala and the circular region of smoke-coloured Vāyu, who is
seated on a black antelope. Here, too, is the embodied ātmā (jīvātmā), like the tapering flame of a lamp.


Viśuddha-cakra or Bhāratisthāna, abode of the Devī of speech, is above the last and at the lower end of the throat (kaṇṭha-mala). The Tattva of this cakra is “ether.” The lotus is of a smoky colour, or the colour of fire seen through smoke. It has sixteen petals, which carry the red vowels—“aṃ ,” “āṃ ,” “iṃ ,” “īṃ ,” “uṃ ,” “ūṃ ,”“ṛ m ̣ ,” “ṛ m ̣ ,” “ḷ ṃ ,” “ḷ m ̣ ,” “eṃ ,” “aiṃ ,” “oṃ ,” “aṃ ,” “aḥ ”;2 the
seven musical notes (niṣada, ṛṣabha, gāndhāra, ṣadja, madhyama, dhaivata and pacama): “venom” (in the eighth petal); the bījas “huṃ ,” “phat,” “vauṣat,” “vaṣat,”“svadhā,” “svāhā,” “namah,” and in the sixteenth petal, nectar (amṛ ta). In the pericarp is a triangular region, within which is the androgyne Śiva, known as Ardhanārīśvara. There also are the regions of the full moon
and ether, with its bīja “haṃ .” The ākāśa-maṇḍala is

1 [“… more than a little drunk, and more than a little mad.”]
2 [The last two are the anusvarā and viśarga, not strictly vowels but
marks which modify vowel sounds, traditionally counted with the vowels in
the alphabet. The former is romanized as “ṃ ” or “ṃ .” In the symbolic representation
of the letters on the lotuses, (see, e.g., plates in The Serpent Power)
they are written with the anusvara dot above, whereas the anusvara and
viśarga are attached to the first vowel, A (a), so both the a and anusvara
appear the same both in the Devanagari script (Aa) and romanized form.]

transparent and round in shape. Ākāśa himself is here dressed in white, and mounted on a white elephant. He has four hands, which hold the noose1 (paia), the elephant- hook2 (aṇ kuśa), and with the other he makes the mudras which grant blessing and dispel fear. Śiva is white, with five faces, three eyes, ten arms, and is dressed in tiger skins. Near Him is the white Śakti Śākini, dressed in yellow raiments, holding in Her four hands the bow, the arrow, the noose, and the hook.
Above the cakra, at the root of the palate (tālumula) is a concealed cakra, called Lalanā and, in some Tantras, Kalā-cakra. It is a red lotus with twelve petals, bearing the following vṛ ttis:—śraddhā (faith), santosha (contentment), aparādha (sense of error), dama (self-command),
māna3 (anger), sneha (affection),4 śoka (sorrow, grief), kheda (dejection), śuddhatā (purity), arati (detachment), sambhrama (agitation),5 Urmi (appetite, desire).


Ājā-cakra is also called parama-kula and muktatri-venī, since it is from here that the three nāḍ is—Iḍ ā, Pingalā and Suṣ umnā—go their separate ways. It is a two petalled lotus, situate between the two eyebrows. In this cakra there is no gross Tattva, but the subtle

1 The Devī herself holds the noose of desire. Desire is the vāsanā form and the noose is the gross form (see next note).
2 The Vāmakeśvara-Tantra says: “The noose and the elephant-hook of Her are spoken of as desire and anger.” But the Yoginī-hṛ daya i. 53 says: “The noose is icchāśiakti, the goad jnāna-śakti, and the bow and arrows kriyā-śakti.”
3 Generally applied to the case of anger between two persons who are attached to one another, as in the case of man and wife.
4 Towards those younger or lower than oneself.
5 Through respect.

Tattva mind1 is here. Hakārārdha, or half the letter Ha, is also there. On its petals are the red varṇ as “haṃ ” and “kṣ aṃ .” In the pericarp is concealed the bīja “oṃ .” In the two petals and the pericarp there are the three guṇ as—sattva, rajas and tamas. Within the triangular
maṇ ḍ ala in the pericarp there is the lustrous (tejōmaya) linga in the form of the praṇ ava (praṇ avākṛ ti), which is called Itara. Para-Śiva in the form of haṃsa (haṃsa-rūpa) is also there with his Śakti—Siddha-Kāli. In the three corners of the triangle are Brahma, Viṣṇu, and Maheśvara, respectively. In this cakra there is the white Hākini-Śakti, with six heads and four hands, in
which are jāna-mudra,2 a skull, a drum (damaru), and a rosary.


Above the ājā-cakra there is another secret cakra called manas-cakra. It is a lotus of six petals, on which are śabda-jāna, sparśa-jāna, rūpa-jāna, āghraṇ opalabhi, rasopabhoga, and svapna, or the faculties of hearing, touch, sight, smell, taste, and sleep, or the absence of these. Above this, again, there is another secret cakra, called Soma-cakra. It is a lotus of sixteen petals, which are also called sixteen Kalas. 3 These Kalas are called kṛ pā (mercy), myduta, (gentleness),
dhairya (patience, composure), vairāgya (dispassion), dhṛ ti (constancy), sampat (prosperity), 4 hasya (cheerfulness), romānca (rapture, thrill), vinaya (sense of

1 [Specifically (as far as I can tell from The Serpent Power), buddhi (as opposed to manas or the various other subtle tattvas which may be summarized in the English “mind.”]
2 The gesture in which the first finger is uplifted and the others closed.
3 Kalā—a part, also a digit of the moon.
4 That is, spiritual prosperity.

propriety, humility), dhyāna (meditation), susthiratā (quietitude, restfulness), gambhirya (gravity),1 udyama (enterprise, effort), akṣ obha (emotionlessness),2 audarya (magnanimity) and ekāgratā (concentration).

Above this last cakra is “the house without support” (nirālamba-purī), where yogis see the radiant Īśvara. Above this is the praṇ ava shining like a flame and above praṇ ava the white crescent Nāda, and above this last the point Bindu. There is then a white lotus of twelve petals with its head upwards, and over this lotus there is the ocean of nectar (sudhā-sāgara), the island of
gems (maṇ idvīpa), the altar of gems (maṇ i-pītha), the forked lightning-like lines a, ka, tha, and therein Nāda and Bindu. On Nāda and Bindu, as an altar, there is the Paramahaṃ sa, and the latter serves as an altar for the feet of the Guru; there the Guru of all should be meditated. The body of the Haṃ sa on which the feet of the Guru rest is jāna maya, the wings Āgama and
Nigama, the two feet Śiva and Śakti, the beak Praṇava, the eyes and throat Kāma-Kalā.

Close to the thousand-petalled lotus is the sixteenth digit of the moon, which is called amā kalā, which is pure red and lustrous like lightning, as fine as a fibre of the lotus, hanging downwards, receptacle of the lunar nectar. In it is the crescent nirvāṇ a-kalā, luminous as the Sun, and finer than the thousandth part of a hair. This is the Iṣ ṭ a-devatā of all. Near nirvāṇ a-kalā is parama- nirvāṇ a-Śakti, infinitely subtle, lustrous as the Sun, creatrix of tattva-jāna. Above it are Bindu and
Visarga-Śakti, root and abode of all bliss.

1 Of demeanour evidencing a grave nature.
2 The State of being undisturbed by one’s emotions.


Sahasrāra-padma—or thousand-petalled lotus of all colours—hangs with its head downwards from the brahma-randhra above all the cakras. This is the region of the first cause (Brahma-loka), the cause of the six preceding causes. It is the great Sun both cosmically and individually, in whose effulgence Parama-Śiva and Ādyā-Śakti reside. The power is the vācaka-Śakti or
saguṇ a brahman, holding potentially within itself the guṇ as, powers and planes. Parama-Śiva is in the form of the Great Ether (paramākāśa-rūpī), the Supreme Spirit (paramātma), the Sun of the darkness of ignorance. In each of the petals of the lotus are placed all the letters of the alphabet; and whatever there is in the lower cakra or in the universe (brahmāṇ ḍ a) exists here
in potential state (avyakta-bhāva). Śaivas call this place Śivasthāna, Vaiṣ ṇ avas, Parama-puruṣ a, Śāktās, Devīsthāna, the Saṃ khya-sages, Prakṛ ti-puruṣ a-sthana. Others call it by other names, such as Hari-hara-sthāna, Śakti-sthāna, Parama-Brahma, Parama-haṃ sa, Parama-
jyotih, Kula-sthāna, and Parama-Śiva-Akula. But whatever the name, all speak of the same.














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