There are four difference forms of worship corresponding
with four states (bhāva).1 The realization that the jīvātma
and paramātma are one, that everything is Brahman,
and that nothing but the Brahman exists, is the
highest state or brahma-bhāva. Constant meditation by
the yoga process upon the Devatā in the heart is the
lower and middlemost (dhyāna-bhāva); japa (q.v.) and
stava (hymns and prayer) is still lower, and the lowest
of all mere external worship (pūja) (q.v.). Pūjā-bhāva is
that which arises out of the dualistic notions of worshipper
and worshipped; the servant and the Lord. This
dualism exists in greater or less degree in all states
except the highest. But for him who, having realized
the advaita-tattva, knows that all is Brahman, there is
neither worshipper nor worshipped, neither yoga nor
pūjā, nor dhāraṇ a, dhyāna, stava, japa, vrata, or other
ritual or process of sādhana.
In external worship there is worship either of an
image (pratimā), or of a yantra (q.v.), which takes its
place. The sādhaka should first worship inwardly the
mental image of the form assumed by the Devī, and then
by the life-giving (prāṇ a-pratiṣ ṭ ha) ceremony infuse the
image with Her life by the communication to it of the
light and energy (tejas) of the Brahman which is within
him to the image without, from which there bursts the
lustre of Her whose substance is consciousness itself
(caitanya-mayī). She exists as Śakti in stone or metal,
1 See “Principles of Tantra.”
or elsewhere, but is there veiled and seemingly inert.
Caitanya (consciousness) is aroused by the worshipper
through the prāṇ a-pratiṣ ṭ ha mantra.
Rites (karma) are of two kinds. Karma is either
nitya or naimittika. The first is both daily and obligatory,
and is done because so ordained. Such are the
sandhyā (v. post), which in the case of Śūdras is in the
Tantrik form, and daily pūjā (v. post) of the Iṣ ṭ a- and
Kula-Devatā (v. post); and for Brāhmaṇ as the pa˝camahā-
yaj˝a (v. post). The second or conditional karma
is occasional and voluntary, and is kāmya when done to
gain some particular end, such as yaj˝a for a particular
object; tapas with the same end (for certain forms of
tapas are also nitya) and vrata (v. post.)
The Śūdra is precluded from the performance of
Vaidik rites, or the reading of Vedas, or the recital of the
Vaidik mantra. His worship is practically limited to
that of the Iṣ ṭ a-Devatā and the Bāna-linga-pūjā, with
Tāntrik and Paurānik mantra and such vratas as consist
in penance and charity. In other cases the vrata is
performed through a Brāhmaṇ a. The Tantra makes no
caste distinctions as regards worship. All may read the
Tantras, perform the Tantrik worship, such as the
sandhyā (v. post), and recite the Tāntrik mantra, such
as the Tāntrik Gāyatrī. All castes, and even the lowest
candāla, may be a member of a cakra, or Tāntrik circle
of worship. In the cakra all its members partake of food
and drink together and are deemed to be greater than
Brāhmaṇ as; though upon the break-up of the cakra the
ordinary caste and social relations are re-established.
All are competent for the special Tāntrik worship, for in
the words of the Gautamiya-Tantra, the Tantra-Śāstra
is for all castes and for all women.1 The latter are also
excluded under the present Vaidik system, though it is
said by Śankha Dharma-śāstrakāra that the wife may,
with the consent of her husband, fast, take vows, perform
homa and vrata,2 etc. According to the Tantra, a woman
may not only receive mantra, but may, as a Guru, initiate
and give it.3 She is worshipful as Guru, and as wife of
Guru.4 The Devī is Herself Guru of all Śāstras5 and
women, as, indeed, all females who are Her embodiments
are, in a peculiar sense, Her earthly representatives.
FORMS OF ĀCĀRA
There are seven, or, as some say, nine, divisions of
worshippers. The extra divisions are bracketed in the
following quotation. The Kulārṇ ava-Tantra mentions
seven, which are given in their order of superiority, the
first being the lowest: Vedācāra, Vaiṣ ṇ avācāra, Śaivācāra,
6 Dakṣ iṇ ācāra, Vāmācāra, Siddhāntācāra, (Aghorācāra,
Yogācāra), and Kaulācāra, the highest of all.7 The
ācāra is the way, custom and practice of a particular
class of sādhakas. They are not, as sometimes supposed,
1 Sarva-varṇ ādhikārascha nāriṇ ām yogya eva ca (chap. i).
2 It has been said that neither a virgin (kumārī), a pregnant woman
(garbhiṇ ī), nor a woman during her period, can perform vyata.
3 Rudra-yāmala, 2 Khaṇ da (chap. ii); 1 Khaṇ da (chap, xv.), where the
qualifications are stated.
4 Ibid., 1 Khaṇ da (chap, i); Mātṛ ka-bheda-Tantra (chap. viii);
Tantra cited in Prāṇ a-toṣ ini, p. 68. As the Yoginī-Tantra says,
maheśāni gurureva (chap. i).
5 Kaṇ kala-mālini-Tantra (chap. li).
6 This is generally regarded as a distinct sect though the author below
cited says it is, in fact, not so. Aghora means, it is said, one who is
from the terrible (ghora) sam
̣ sāra, but in any case, many worshippers for want
of instruction by a siddha-guru have degenerated into mere eaters of
7 Chapter II. A short description (of little aid) is given in the
Tantra (chap. xxiv). See also Hara-tattva-dīdhiti, fourth edition, pp.
339, et seq.
different sects, but stages through which the worshipper
in this or other births has to pass before he reaches the
supreme stage of the Kaula. Vedācāra, which consists
in the daily practice of the Vaidik rites, is the gross body
(sthūladeha), which comprises within it all other ācāras,
which are, as it were, its subtle bodies (sūkṣ ma-deha) of
various degrees. The worship is largely of an external
and ritual character, the object of which is to strengthen
dharma. This is the path of action (kriyā-mārga). In the
second stage the worshipper passes from blind faith to
an understanding of the supreme protecting energy of
the Brahman, towards which he has the feelings of devotion.
This is the path of devotion (bhakti-mārga), and the
aim at this stage is the union of it and faith previously
acquired. With an increasing determination to protect
dharma and destroy adharma, the sadhaka passes into
Śaivācāra, the warrior (kṣ atriya) stage, wherein to love
and mercy are added strenuous striving and the cultivation
of power. There is union of faith, devotion (bhakti),
and inward determination (antar-lakṣ a). Entrance is
made upon the path of knowledge (j˝āna-mārga). Following
this is Dakṣ inācāra, which in Tantra does not
mean “right-hand worship,” but “favourable”—that is, that
ācāra which is favourable to the accomplishment of the
higher sādhana, and whereof the Devī is the Dakṣ iṇ a-
Kālikā. This stage commences when the worshipper can
make dhyāna and dhāraṇ ā of the threefold śakti of the
Brahman (kriyā, icchā, j˝āna), and understands the mutual
connection (samanvaya) of the three guṇ as until he
receives pūrṇ ābhiṣ ekā (q.v.). At this stage the sādhaka
1 See as to this and following the Sanātana-sādhana-tattva, or
of Sacchidānanda Svāmi. [No citation for this note in my copy-text.
is Śākta, and qualified for the worship of the threefold
śakti of Brahma, Viṣ ṇ u, Maheśvara. He is fully initiated
in the Gāyatrī-mantra, and worships the Devī
Gāyatrī, the Dakṣ iṇ a-Kālikā, or Ādyā Śakti—the union
of the three Śaktis. This is the stage of individualistic
Brahmanattva, and its aim is the union of faith, devotion,
and determination, with a knowledge of the threefold
energies. After this a change of great importance
occurs, marking, as it does, the entry upon the path of
return (nivṛ tti). This it is which has led some to divide
the ācāra into two broad divisions of Dakṣ iṇ ācāra (including
the first four) and Vāmācāra, (including the last
three), it being said that men are born into Dakṣ iṇ ācāra,
but are received by initiation into Vāmācāra. The
latter term does not mean, as is vulgarly supposed, “lefthand
worship” but worship in which woman (vāmā)
enters, that is, latā-sādhana. In this ācāra there is also
worship of the Vāmā-Devī. Vāmā is here “adverse,” in
that the stage is adverse to pravṛ tti, which governed in
varying degrees the preceding ācāra, and entry is here
made upon the path of nivṛ tti, or return to the source
whence the world sprung. Up to the fourth stage the
Sādhaka followed pravṛ tti-mārga, the outgoing path
which led from the source, the path of worldly enjoyment,
albeit curbed by dharma. At first unconsciously,
and later consciously, sādhana sought to induce nivṛ tti,
which, however, can only fully appear after the exhaustion
of the forces of the outward current. In Vāmācāra,
however, the sadhaka commences to directly destroy
pravṛ tti, and with the help of the Guru (whose help
throughout is in this necessary)1 to cultivate nivṛtti.
1 It is comparatively easy to lay down rules for the parvṛ tti-mārga,
nothing can be achieked in Vāmācāra without the Guru’s help.
The method at this stage is to use the forces of pravṛ tti
in such a way as to render them self-destructive. The
passions which bind may be so employed as to act as
forces whereby the particular life of which they are the
strongest manifestation is raised to the universal life.
Passion, which has hitherto run downwards and outwards
to waste, is directed inwards and upwards, and
transformed to power. But it is not only the lower
physical desires of eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse
which must be subjugated. The sādhaka must at
this stage commence to cut off all the eight bonds (pāśa)
which mark the paśu which the Kulārṇ ava-Tantra
enumerates as pity (dayā), ignoranc (moha), shame
(lajjā), family (kula), custom (śila), and caste (varṇ a).1
When Śrī-Kṛ ṣ ṇ a stole the clothes of the bathing Gopīs,
and made them approach him naked, he removed the
artificial coverings which are imposed on man in the
saṃ sara. The Gopīs were eight, as are the bonds (pāśa),
and the errors by which the jīva is misled are the
clothes which Śrī Kṛ ṣ ṇ a stole. Freed of these, the jīva is
liberated from all bonds arising from his desires, family,
and society. He then reaches the stage of Śiva (śivatva).
It is the aim of Vāmācāra to liberate from the bonds
which bind men to the saṃ sara, and to qualify the
sādhaka for the highest grades of sādhana in which the
sāttvika guṇ a predominates. To the truly sāttvik there
is neither attachment nor fear nor disgust. That which
has been commenced in these stages is by degrees completed
in those which follow—viz.: Siddhāntācāra, and
1 There are various enumerations of the “afflictions” (pāśa) which are,
however, merely elaborations of the smaller divisions. Thus, according
Devī-Bhāgavata, Moha is ignorance or bewilderment, and Maha-moha is
desire of worldly pleasures.
according to some, Aghorācāra and Yogācāra. The sādhaka
becomes more and more freed from the darkness of
the saṃ sara, and is attached to nothing, hates nothing,
and is ashamed of nothing, having freed himself of the
artificial bonds of family, caste, and society. The sādhaka
becomes, like Śiva himself, a dweller in the cremation
ground (smaśāna). He learns to reach the upper heights
of sādhana and the mysteries of yoga. He learns the
movements of the different vāyus in the microcosm, the
kṣ udra-brahmanda, the regulation of which controls the
inclinations and propensities (vṛ itti). He learns also the
truths which concern the macrocosm (brahmāṇḍa).
Here also the Guru teaches him the inner core of
Vedācāra. Initiation by yoga-dīkṣ ā fully qualifies him
for yogācāra. On attainment of perfection in aṣ ṭ āṇ gayoga
he is fit to enter the highest stage of Kaulācāra.
Kaula-dharma is in no wise sectarian, but, on the
contrary, is the heart of all sects. This the true meaning
of the phrase which, like many another touching the
Tantra, is misunderstood, and used to fix the kaula with
hypocrisy—antah-śāktāh, bahih-śaivāh, sabhayam vaiṣ
ṇ avāmatāh, nānā-rūpadharah kaulāh vicaranti mahītāle;
(outwardly Śaivas; in gatherings,1 Vaiṣ ṇ avas; at heart,
Śāktas; under various forms the Kaulas wander on
earth). A Kaula is one who has passed through these and
other stages, which have as their own inmost doctrine
(whether these worshippers know it or not) that of
Kaulācāra. It is indifferent what the Kaula’s apparent
sect may be. The form is nothing and everything. It is
nothing in the sense that it has no power to narrow the
1 The Vaiṣ ṇ avas are wont to gather together for worship singing the
praise of Hari, etc.
Kaula’s own inner life; it is everything in the sense that
knowledge may infuse its apparent limitations with an
universal meaning. So understood, form is never a
bond. The Visva-sāra Tantra says1 of the Kaula that “for
him there is neither rule of time nor place. His actions
are unaffected either by the phases of the moon or the
position of the stars. The Kaula roams the earth in
differing forms. At times adhering to social rules (śiṣṭa),
he at others appears, according to their standard, to be
fallen (bhraṣ ṭ a). At times, again, he seems to be as
unearthly as a ghost (bhūta or piśācā). To him no
difference is there between mud and sandal paste, his
son and an enemy, home and the cremation ground.”
At this stage the sādhaka attains to Brahma-j˝āna,
which is the true gnosis in its perfect form. On receiving
mahāpūrṇ a-dikṣ a he performs his own funeral rites and
is dead to the saṃ sara. Seated alone in some quiet
place, he remains in constant samadhi, and attains its
nirvikalpa form. The great Mother, the Supreme
Prakṛ ti Mahāśakti, dwells in the heart of the sādhaka
which is now the cremation ground wherein all passions
have been burnt away. He becomes a Parama-haṃ sa,
who is liberated whilst yet living (jīvan-mukta).
It must not, however, be supposed that each of
these stages must necessarily be passed through by
each jīva in a single life. On the contrary, they are
ordinarily traversed in the course of a multitude of
births. The weaving of the spiritual garment is recommenced
where, in a previous birth, it was dropped, on
death. In the present life a sādhaka may commence at
any stage. If he is born into Kaulācāra, and so is a
1 Chapter XXIV.
Kaula in its fullest sense, it is because in previous
births he has by sādhana, in the preliminary stages,
won his entrance into it. Knowledge of Śakti is, as the
Niruttara-Tantra says, acquired after many births; and,
according to the Mahānirvāṇ a-Tantra, it is by merit
acquired in previous births that the mind is inclined to
Śabda, or sound, which is of the Brahman, and as
such the cause of the Brahmāṇ ḍ a, is the manifestation
of the Cit-śakti itself. The Viśva-sāra-Tantra says1 that
the Para-brahman, as Śabda-brahman, whose substance
is all mantra, exists in the body of the jīvātmā. It is
either unlettered (dhvani) or lettered (varṇ a). The
former, which produces the latter, is the subtle aspect of
the jīva’s vital śakti. As the Prapa˝ca-sāra states, the
brahmāṇ ḍ a is pervaded by śakti, consisting of dhvani
also called nāda, prāṇ a, and the like. The manifestation
of the gross form (sthūa) of śabda is not possible unless
śabda exists in a subtle (sūkṣ ma) form. Mantras are all
aspects of the Brahman and manifestations of Kulakuṇ
ḍ alinī. Philosophically, śabda is the guna of ākāśa,
or ethereal space. It is not, however, produced by ākāśa,
but manifests in it. Śabda is itself the Brahman. In the
same way, however, as in outer space, waves of sound
are produced by movements of air (vāyu); so in the space
within the jīva’s body waves of sound are produced
according to the movements of the vital air (prāṇ avāyu)
and the process of inhalation and exhalation. Śabda
first appears at the mūlādhāra and that which is known
1 Chapter II.
to us as such is, in fact, the śakti which gives life to the
jīva. She it is who, in the mūlādhāra, is the cause of the
sweet indistinct and murmuring dhvani, which sounds
like the humming of a black bee.
The extremely subtle aspect of sound which first
appears in the Mūlādhāra is called parā; less subtle
when it has reached the heart, it is known as paśyanti.
When connected with buddhi it becomes more gross, and
is called madhyamā. Lastly, in its fully gross form, it
issues from the mouth as vaikharī. As Kulakuṇḍalinī,
whose substance is all varṇ a and dhvani, is but the
manifestation of, and Herself the Paramātmā, so the
substance of all mantra is cit, notwithstanding their
external manifestation as sound, letters, or words; in
fact, the letters of the alphabet, which are known as
akṣara, are nothing but the yantra of the akṣara, or
imperishable Brahman. This, however, is only realized
by the sādhaka when his śakti, generated by sādhana, is
united with the mantraśakti.
It is the sthūla or gross form of Kulakuṇ ḍ alinī,
appearing in different aspects as different Devatās,
which is the presiding Devatā (adhiṣ ṭ hātri) of all
mantra, though it is the subtle or sūkṣ ma form at which
all sādhakas aim. When the mantraśakti is awakened
by the sādhana the presiding Devatā appears, and when
perfect mantra-siddhi is acquired, the Devatā, who is
saccidānanda, is revealed. The relations of varṇa, nāda,
bindu, vowel and consonant in a mantra, indicate the
appearance of Devatā in different forms. Certain vibhūtis,
or aspects, of the Devatā are inherent in certain
varnas, but perfect Śakti does not appear in any but a
whole mantra. Any word or letter of the mantra cannot be a mantra. Only that mantra in which the playful
Devatā has revealed any of Her particular aspects can
reveal that aspect, and is therefore called the individual
mantra of that one of Her particular aspects. The form
of a particular Devatā, therefore, appears out of the particular
mantra of which that Devatā, is the adhiṣ ṭ hātrī-Devatā.
A mantra is composed of certain letters arranged in
definite sequence of sounds of which the letters are the
representative signs. To produce the designed effect
mantra must be intoned in the proper way, according to
svara (rhythm), and varṇ a (sound).1 Their textual source
is to be found in Veda, Purāṇ a, and Tantra. The latter
is essentially the mantra-śāstra, and so it is said of the
embodied śāstra, that Tantra, which consists of mantra,
is the paramātmā, the Vedas are the jīvātmā, Darśana
(systems of philosophy) are the senses, Purāṇ as are the
body, and Smṛ tis are the limbs. Tantra is thus the śakti
of consciousness, consisting of mantra. A mantra is not
the same thing as prayer or self-dedication (ātmā-nivedana).
Prayer is conveyed in what words the worshipper
chooses, and bears its meaning on its face. It is only
ignorance of śāstrik principles which supposes that
mantra is merely the name for the words in which one
expresses what one has to say to the Divinity. If it were,
the sādhaka might choose his own language without
recourse to the eternal and determined sounds of Śāstra.
A mantra may, or may not, convey on its face its
meaning. Bīja (seed) mantra, such as Aiṃ , Kliṃ , Hriṃ ,
have no meaning, according to the ordinary use of language.
1 For those reasons a mantra, when translated, ceases to be such, and
becomes a mere sentence.
The initiate, however, knows that their meaning
is the own form (sva-rūpa) of the particular Devatā,
whose mantra they are, and that they are the dhvani
which makes all letters sound and which exists in all
which we say or hear. Every mantra is, then, a form
(rūpa) of the Brahman. Though, therefore, manifesting
in the form and sound of the letters of the alphabet,
Śāstra says that they go to Hell who think that the
Guru is but a stone, and the mantra but letters of the
From manana, or thinking, arises the real understanding
of the monistic truth, that the substance of the
Brahman and the brahmāṇ ḍ a are one and the same.
Man- of mantra comes from the first syllable of manana,
and -tra from trāṇ a, or liberation from the bondage of
the saṃ sara or phenomenal world. By the combination
of man- and -tra, that is called mantra which calls forth
(āmantraṇ a), the catur-varga (vide post), or four aims of
sentient being.1 Whilst, therefore, mere prayer often
ends in nothing but physical sound, mantra is a potent
compelling force, a word of power (the fruit of which is
mantra-siddhi), and is thus effective to produce caturvarga,
advaitic perception, and mukti. Thus it is said
that siddhi is the certain result of japa (q.v.).
By mantra the sought-for (sādhya) Devatā is
attained and compelled. By siddhi in mantra is opened
the vision of the three worlds. Though the purpose of
worship (pūjā), reading (pāṭ ha), hymn (stava), sacrifice
(homa), dhyāna, dhāraṇ ā, and samādhi (vide post), and
that of the dīkṣ ā-mantra are the same, yet the latter is
1 See “The Garland of Letters” and chapter on Mantra-tattva in “The
Principles of Tantra.”
far more powerful, and this for the reason that, in the
first, the sādhaka’s sādhana-śakti works, in conjunction
with mantra-śakti which has the revelation and force of
fire, and than which nothing is more powerful. The
special mantra which is received at initiation (dīkṣa) is
the bīja or seed mantra, sown in the field of the sādhaka’s
heart, and the Tāntrik saṃ dhyā, nyāsa, pūjā and
the like are the stem and branches upon which hymns of
praise (stuti) and prayer and homage (vandana) are the
leaves and flower, and the kavaca, consisting of mantra,
Mantras are solar (saura) and lunar (saumya), and
are masculine, feminine, or neuter. The solar are masculine
and lunar feminine. The masculine and neuter
forms are called mantra. The feminine mantra is known
as vidyā. The neuter mantra, such as the Paurānikmantra,
ending with namah, are said to lack the force
and vitality of the others. The masculine and feminine
mantras end differently. Thus, Hūm
̣ , phaṭ , are masculine
terminations, and thaṃ , svāhā, are feminine ones.1
The Nitya-Tantra gives various names to mantra,
according to the number of their syllables, a one-syllabled
mantra being called piṇ ḍ a, a three-syllabled one
kartarī, a mantra with four to nine syllables bīja, with
ten to twenty syllables mantra, and mantra, with more
than twenty syllables malā. Commonly, however, the
term bīja is applied to monosyllabic mantra. The Tāntrik
mantras called bīja (seed) are so named because they
are the seed of the fruit, which is siddhi, and because
1 See Sāradā-tilaka (chap. ii); Nārada-pā˝ca-rātra (chap. vii), the
and Prāṇ a-toṣ ini, (p. 70). If it be asked why formless things of
are given sex, the answer is for the sake of the requirements of the
they are the very quintessence of mantra. They are
short, unetymological vocables, such as Hrīm
̣ , Śrīṃ ,Krīṃ , Aiṃ , Phaṭ , etc., which will be found throughout
the text.1 Each Devatā has His bīja.2 The primary mantra
of a Devata is known as the root mantra (mūla-mantra).
It is also said that the word mūla denotes the subtle
body of the Devata called Kāma-kalā. The utterance of
a mantra without knowledge of its meaning or of the
mantra method is a mere movement of the lips and
nothing more. The mantra sleeps. There are various
processes preliminary to, and involved in, its right utterance,
which processes again consist of mantra, such as,
for purification of the mouth (mukha-śodhana),3 purification
of the tongue (jihva-śodhana)4 and of the mantra
(aśauca-bhaṇ ga),5 kulluka,6 nirvāṇ a,7 setu,8 nidhra-bhaṇ -
ga, awakening of mantra,9 mantra-caitanya, or giving of
life or vitality to the mantra.10 Mantrārthabhāvana,
1 See also the mantra portion of the Atharva-Veda to which the Tantra
stands in close relation.
2 Kriṃ (Kālī), Hrī m ̣ (Māyā), Raṃ (Agni), Eṃ (Yoni), etc.
3 See Chapter X, Sāradā-Tilaka. Japa of praṇ ava or the mantra varies
with the Devatā—e.g., Oṃ Hsau for Bhairava.
4 Seven japas of one-lettered bīja triplicated, praṇ ava triplicated,
one-lettered bīja triplicated.
5 Japa of mūla-mantra receded and followed by praṇ ava. As to the
and “death” defilements of a mantra, see Tantrasāra 75, et seq.
6 See Sārada (loc. cit.). Thus Kulluka (which is done over the head) of
Kālikā is Māyā (see Puraścaraṇ a-Bodhīnī, p. 48, and Tantrasāra).
7 Japa of Mūla- and Mātṛ kā-bījā in the Maṇ ipūra.
8 Generally the mahāmantra Om
̣ or Māyā-bījā Hrīm
̣ , but also varies.
Thus Setu of Kālī is her own bījā (krīm
̣ ), of Tārā, Kurcca, etc.
9 Japa of the Mantra is preceded and followed by īm seven times.
10 Japa of Mūla-mantra in Maṇ ipūra preceded and followed by Mātṛ
Meditating on the mūla-mantra in the sahasrāra, anāhata, mūlā-dhārā,
with Hūm, and again in Sahasrāra. The mūla is the principal mantra, such
as the pa˝cadaśi.
forming of mental image of the Divinity.1 There are also
ten saṃ skāras of the mantra.2 Dīpanī is seven japas of
the bīja, preceded and followed by oṃ . Where hrīm
employed instead of Oṃ it is prāṇ a-yoga. Yoni-mudrā is
meditation on the Guru in the head and on the Iṣ ṭ adevatā
in the heart, and then on the Yoni-rūpā Bhagavati
from the head to the mūlādhāra, and from the
mūlādhāra to the head, making japa of the yoni bīja
(eṃ ) ten times.3 The mantra itself is Devatā. The
worshipper awakens and vitalizes it by cit-śakti, putting
away all thought of the letter, piercing the six Cakras,
and contemplating the spotless One.4 The śakti of the
mantra is the vācaka-śakti, or the means by which the
vācya-śakti or object of the mantra is attained. The
mantra lives by the energy of the former. The saguṇ āśakti
is awakened by sādhana and worshipped, and she
it is who opens the portals whereby the vācya-śakti is
reached. Thus the Mother in Her saguṇ ā form is the
presiding deity (adhiṣ ṭ hātrī-Devatā) of the Gāyatrīmantra.
As the nirguṇ a (formless) One, She is its vācyaśakti.
Both are in reality one and the same; but the
jīva, by the laws of his nature and its three guṇ as, must
first meditate on the gross (sthūla) form5 before he can
realize the subtle (sūkṣ ma) form, which is his liberator.
The mantra of a Devata is the Devata. The rhythmical
vibrations of its sounds not merely regulate the
1 Lit., thinking of meaning of mantra or thinking of the mātṛkā in the
mantra which constitute the Devatā from foot to head.
2 See Tantrasāra, p. 90.
3 See Purohita-darpaṇ am.
4 Kubijikā-Tantra (chap. v).
5 These forms are not merely the creatures of the imagination of the
worshipper, as some “modernist” Hindus suppose, but, according to
notions, the forms in which the Deity, in fact, appears to the
unsteady vibrations of the sheaths of the worshipper,
thus transforming him, but from it arises the form of
the Devatā which it is.1 Mantra-siddhi is the ability to
make a mantra efficacious and to gather its fruit2 in
which case the mantra is called mantrasiddha. Mantras
are classified as siddha, sādhya, susiddha, and ari,
according as they are friends, servers, supporters, or
destroyers—a matter which is determined for each
sādhaka by means of cakra calculations.
The Gāyatrī is the most sacred of all Vaidik mantras.
In it the Veda lies embodied as in its seed. It runs:
Oṃ bhūr-bhuvah-svah: tat savitur vareṇ yām
devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah pracodayāt. O m ̣ . “Let us
contemplate the wondrous spirit of the Divine Creator
(Savitṛ ) of the earthly, atmospheric, and celestial
spheres. May He direct our minds, that is ‘towards’ the
attainment of dharma, artha, kāma, and mokṣ a, Oṃ .”
The Gāyatrī-Vyākaraṇ a of Yogi Yajnavālkya thus
explains the following words: Tat, that.3 The word yat
(which) is understood.4 Savituh is the possessive case of
1 Śṛṇu devī pravakṣ yāmi bījānām deva-rūpatām
Mantroccāra ṇ amātreṇ a, deva-rūpaṃ prajayate.
—(Bṛ had-gandharva-Tantra, chap. v.)
2 Ya m ̣ Ya m ̣ prāthayate kāma m ̣
Taṃ tamāpnoti niścitam.
(Whatever the sādhaka desires that he surely obtains)
—Prāṇ a-toṣ inī, 619.
3 Tat is apparently here treated as in the objective case agreeing, with
varenyaṃ , etc., but others holding that the vyāhṛ ti
part of and should be linked with, the rest of the Gāyatrī treat tat as
part of a
genitive compound connected with the previous vyahṛ ti, in which case
4 It may, however, be said that yat is there in Yo nah.
Savitṛ derived from the root sū, “to bring forth.” Savitṛ
is, therefore, the Bringer-forth of all that exists. The
Sun (Sūrya) is the cause of all that exists, and of the
state in which they exist. Bringing forth and creating
all things, it is called Savitṛ . The Bhaviṣ ya-Purāṇ a says
Sūrya is the visible Devatā. He is the Eye of the world
and the Maker of the day. There is no other Devatā
eternal like unto Him. This universe has emanated from
and will be again absorbed into, Him. Time is of and in
Him. The planets, the Vasus, Rudras, Vāyu, Agni, and
the rest are but parts of Him. By Bhargah is meant the
Āditya-devatā, dwelling in the region of the Sun (sūryamaṇ
ḍ ala) in all His might and glory. He is to the Sun
what our spirit (ātmā) is to our body. Though He is in
the region of the sun in the outer or material sphere He
also dwells in our inner selves. He is the light of the
light in the solar circle, and is the light of the lives of all
beings. As He is in the outer ether, so also is He in the
ethereal region of the heart. In the outer ether He is
Sūrya, and in the inner ether He is the wonderful Light
which is the Smokeless Fire. In short, that Being whom
the sādhaka realizes in the region of his heart is the
Āditya in the heavenly firmament. The two are one.
The word is derived in two ways: (1) from the root bhrij,
“ripen, mature, destroy, reveal, shine.” In this derivation
Sūrya is He who matures and transforms all
things. He Himself shines and reveals all things by His
light. And it is He who at the final Dissolution (pralaya)
will in His image of destructive Fire (kālāgni), destroy
all things. (2) From bha = dividing all things into
different classes; ro = colour; for He produces the colour
of all created objects; ga, constantly going and returning.
The sun divides all things, produces the different
colours of all things, and is constantly going and returning.
As the Brāhmaṇ a-sarvasva says: “The Bhargah is
the Ātmā of all that exists, whether moving or
motionless, in three lokas (Bhūr-bhuvah-svah). There is
nothing which exists apart from it.”
Devasya is the genitive of Deva, agreeing with
Savituh. Deva is the radiant and playful (lilāmaya) one.
Sūrya, is in constant play with creation (sṛ ṣ ṭ i), existence
(sthiti), and destruction (pralaya), and by His radiance
pleases all. (Lilā, as applied to the Brahman, is the
equivalent of māyā.) Vareṇ yaṃ = varaṇiya, or adorable.
He should be meditated upon and adored that we may
be relieved of the misery of birth and death. Those who
fear rebirth, who desire freedom from death and liberation
and who strive to escape the three kinds of pain
(tāpa-traya), which are ādhyātmika, ādhidaivika, and
ādhibhautika, meditate upon and adore the Bharga,
who dwelling in the region of the Sun, is Himself the
three regions called Bhūr-loka, Bhuvar-loka, and Svarloka.
Dhimahi = dhyāyema, from the root dhyai. We
meditate upon, or let us meditate upon.
Pracodayat = may He direct. The Gāyatrī does not
so expressly state, but it is understood that such
direction is along the catur-varga, or four-fold path,
which is dharma, artha, kāma, and mokṣ a (piety,
wealth, desire and its fulfilment, and liberation, vide
post). The Bhargah is ever directing our inner faculties
(buddhi-vṛ tti) along these paths.
The above is the Vaidik Gāyatrī, which, according to
the Vaidik system, none but the twice-born may utter.
To the Śūdra, whether man or woman, and to women of
all other castes it is forbidden. The Tantra which has a
Gayatri-Mantra of its own, shows no such exclusiveness;
Mahāṇirvāna-Tantra, Chapter III, verses 109-111, gives
the Brahma-gāyatrī for worshippers of the Brahman:
“Parameśvarāya vidmahe; para-tattvaya dhimahi; tanno Brahma pracodayāt” (May we know the supreme
Lord, Let us contemplate the Supreme essence. And
may that Brahman direct us).1
This word in its most general sense means an
instrument, or that by which anything is accomplished.
In worship it is that by which the mind is fixed on its
object. The Yoginī-Tantra says that the Devī should be
worshipped either in pratimā (image), maṇ ḍ ala,2 or yantra.
3 At a certain stage of spiritual progress the sādhaka
is qualified to worship yantra. The siddha-yogi in inward
worship (antar-pūjā) commences with the worship
of yantra which is the sign (saṃ keta) of brahma-vij˝āna
as the mantra is the sam
̣ keta of the Devatā. It is also
said that yantra is so called because it subdues (niyantrana)
lust, anger, and the other sins of jīva and the
sufferings caused thereby.4
The yantra is a diagram engraved or drawn on
metal, paper, or other substances,5 which is worshipped
in the same manner as an image (pratimā). As different
1 “The Great Liberation.”
2 A figure frequently drawn or made with various colours. The difference
between a maṇ ḍ ala and a yantra is that the former is used in the
case of any
Devatā, whereas, a yantra is appropriate to a specific Devatā only.
3 Or where these are not available then in other substances, such as
water, the flowers aparājitā, jabā, karavīra, droṇ a: etc.
4 “Principles of Tantra,” (Sādhārana-upāsanā-tattva).
5 Thus the magical treatises speak of yantra designed on leopard’s and
donkey’s skin, human bones, etc.
mantras are prescribed for different worships, so are
different yantras. The yantras are therefore of various
designs, according to the objects of worship.1 The one on
the next page is a Gāyatrī yantra belonging to the
author. In the centre triangle are engraved in the
middle the words, Śrī Śrī Gāyatrī sva-prasāda siddhim
kuru (“Śrī Śrī Gāyatrī Devī: grant me success”), and at
each inner corner there are the bījas, Hrīm
̣ and Hraḥ .
In the spaces formed by the intersections of the outer
ovoid circles is the bīja “Hrī ṃ .” The outside circular
band contains the bīja “Tha” which indicates “Svaha,”
commonly employed to terminate the feminine mantra
or vidyā. The eight lotus petals which spring from the
band are inscribed with the bīja, “Hrīṃ , Īṃ , Hraḥ .” The
outermost band contains all the matṛ kas, or letters of
the alphahet, from akāra to kṣ a.2 The whole is enclosed
in the way common to all yantras by a bhūpura, by
which as it were, the yantra is enclosed from the outer
world.3 The yantra when inscribed with mantra, serves
(so far as these are concerned) the purpose of a mnemonic
chart of that mantra appropriate to the particular
Devatā whose presence is to be invoked into the yantra.
Certain preliminaries precede, as in the case of a
pratimā, the worship of a yantra. The worshipper first
meditates upon the Devatā, and then arouses Him or
Her in himself. He then communicates the divine
presence thus aroused to the yantra. When the Devatā
1 A considerable number are figured in the Tantrasāra.
2 In this and other metal yantras no figures of Devatā are shown. These
not uncommonly appear in yantras drawn or printed on paper, such as the
eight Bhairava Śakti, etc.
3 In painted yantra serpents are commonly shown crawling outside the
has by the appropriate mantra been invoked into the
yantra, the vital airs (prāṇ a) of the Devatā are infused
therein by the prāṇ ā-pratiṣ ṭ hā ceremony, mantra, and
mudrā. The Devatā is thereby installed in the yantra,1
which is no longer mere gross matter veiling the spirit
which has been always there, but instinct with its aroused
presence, which the sādhaka first welcomes and then
worships. Mantra in itself is Devatā and yantra is mantra
in that it is the body of the Devatā who is mantra.2
The term mudra is derived from the root mud, “to
please," and in its upāsana form is so called because it
gives pleasure to the Devas. Devānām
̣ moda-dā mudra
tasmāt taṃ yatnataścaret. It is said that there are 108,
of which 55 are commonly used.3 The term means ritual
gestures made with the hands in worship or positions of
the body in yoga practice. Thus of the first class the
matsya-(fish) mudrā is formed in offering arghya by
placing the right hand on the back of the left and
extending, fish-like, on each side the two thumbs with
the object that the conch which contains water may be
regarded as an ocean with aquatic animals; and the
yoni-mudra which presents that organ as a triangle
formed by the thumbs, the two first fingers, and the two
little fingers is shown with the object of invoking the
Devi to come and take Her place before the worshipper,
1 See, e g., Mahā-nirvāṇ a-Tantra, chap, vi, verses 63 et seq. The
the same as that employed in the case of images (pratimā).
2 Yantram mantram-mayaṃ proktaṃ mantrātmā devataiva hi.
Dehātmanor-yathā bhedo, yantra-devatayostathā (Kaulāvaliya Tāntra).
3 Śabda-kalpa-druma—sub voce mudrā, and see chap, xi. Nirvāṇ a Tantra.
As to the special sense of mudrā in pā˝catattva, vide post sub voce.
the yoni being considered to be Her pīthā or yantra. The
upāsana mudra is thus nothing but the outward expression
of inner resolve which it at the same time intensifies.
Mudras are employed in worship (arcana), japa,
dhyānā (q.v.), kamya-karma (rites done to effect particular
objects), pratiṣ ṭ hā (q.v.) snāna (bathing), āvāhana
(welcoming), naivedya (offering of food), and visarjana,
or dismissal of the Devatā. Some mudras of hatha yoga
are described sub uoc. “Yoga.” The Gheraṇ ḍ a-saṃ hitā1
says that knowledge of the yoga mudrās grants all
siddhis, and that their performance produces physical
benefits such as stability, firmness, and cure of disease.
The Vaidiki saṃ dhyā is the rite performed by the
twice-born castes thrice a day, at morning, midday, and
evening. The morning saṃ dhyā is preceded by the
following acts. On awakening, a mantra is said in invocation
of the Tri-mūrti and the sun, moon, and planets,
and salutation is made to the Guru. The Hindu dvī-ja
then recites the mantra: “I am a Deva. I am indeed the
sorrowless Brahman. By nature I am eternally free,
and in the form of existence, intelligence, and bliss.” He
then offers the actions of the day to the Deity, confesses
his inherent frailty,2 and prays that he may do right.
Then, leaving his bed and touching the earth with his
right foot, the dvī-ja says, “Oṃ , O Earth! salutation to
Thee, the Guru of all that is good.” After attending to
natural calls, the twice-born does ācamana (sipping of
1 Chapter III, verses 4, 8, 10.
2 “I know dharma and yet would not do it. I know adharma, and yet
would not renounce it.” The Hindu form of the common experience—Video
meliora probaque; deteriora sequor.
water) with mantra, cleanses his teeth, and takes his
early morning1 bath to the accompaniment of mantra.
He then puts on his castemark (tilaka) and makes tarpaṇ
am, or oblation of water, to the Deva, Ṛ ṣ i and Pitṛ .
The sa m ̣ dhya follows, which consists of ācamana (sipping
of water), mārjana-snānam (sprinkling of the whole
body with water taken with the hand or kuśa-grass),
prāṇ āyāma (regulation of prana through its manifestation
in breath), agha-marṣ ṇ a (expulsion of the person of
sin from the body), the prayer to the sun, and then (the
canon of the saṃ dhya) the silent recitation (japa) of the
Gāyatrī-mantra, which consists of invocation (āvāhana)
of the Gāyatrī-Devī; ṛ ṣ i-nyāsa and ṣ adān
̣ ganyāsa (vide
post), meditation on the Devī-Gāyatrī in the morning as
Brahmanī; at midday as Vaiṣ ṇ avī; and in the evening as
Rudrāṇ ī; japa of the Gāyatrī a specitied number of
times; dismissal (visarjana) of the Devi, followed by
Besides the Brahminical Vaidiki-saṃ dhyā from
which the Śūdras are debarred, there is the Tāntrikisam
̣ dhyā, which may be performed by all. The general
outline is similar; the rite is simpler; the mantras vary;
and the Tāntrika-bījas or “seed” mantras are employed.
1 The householder is required to bathe twice, the ascetic at each of the
three saṃ dhyas.
2 The above is a general outline of the Sāma Veda sam
̣ dhyā, though as
each Hindu is of a particular sect and Veda, the saṃ dhyā differs in
See Kriyākāndavāridhi and the Purohita-darpaṇ a, and Śrīśa
“Daily Practice of the Hindus.” The positions and mudrā are illustrated
Mrs. S. C. Belnos’ “Saṃ dhyā or Daily Prayer of the Brahmin” (1831).
This word is the common term for worship of which
there are numerous synonyms in the Sanskrit language.1
Pūjā is done daily of the Iṣ ṭ a-devatā or the particular
Deity worshipped by the sādhaka—the Devī in the case
of a Śākta, Viṣ ṇ u in the case of a Vaiṣ ṇ ava, and so forth.
But though the Iṣ ṭ a-devatā is the principal object of
worship, yet in pūjā all worship the Pa˝ca-devatā, or the
Five Devās—Aditya (the Sun), Gaṇ eśa, the Devī, Śiva,
and Viṣ ṇ u or Nārāyana. After worship of the Pa˝cadevata
the family Deity (Kula-devatā), who is generally
the same as the Iṣ ṭ a-devata, is worshipped. Pūjā, which
is kāmya, or done to gain a particular end as also vrata,
are preceded by the saṃ kalpa; that is, a statement of
the resolution to do the worship; as also of the particular
object, if any, with which it is done.2
There are sixteen upacāras, or things done or used
in pūjā; (1) āsana (seat of the image); (2) svāgata (welcome);
(3) padya (water for washing the feet); (4) arghya
(offering of unboiled rice, flowers, sandal paste, durva
grass,3 etc., to the Devatā) in the kushī, (vessel); (5 and
6) ācamana (water for sipping, which is offered twice);
(7) madhuparlia (honey, ghee, milk, and curd offered in
a silver or brass vessel); (8) snāna (water for bathing);
(9) vasana (cloth); (10) ābharaṇ a (jewels); (11) gandha
(scent and sandal paste is given); (12) puṣ pa (flowers);
(13) dhūpa (incense stick); (14) dīpa (light); (15) naivedya
1 Such as arcanā, vandanā, saparyyā, arhanā, namasyā, arcā, bhajanā,
2 It runs in the form: “I—of gotra—etc., am about to perrorm this pūjā
vrata) with the object,” etc.
3 Kuśa grass is used only in pitṛ -kriyā or śrāddha, and in homa.
is of two kinds—sāmānya (general), and viśeṣ a (special).
(food); (16) vandana or namaskāra (prayer). Other
articles are used which vary with the pūjā, such as
Tulasī leaf in the Viṣ ṇ u-pūjā and bael-(bilva) leaf in the
Śiva-pūjā. The mantras said also very according to the
worship. The seat (āsana) of the worshipper is purified.
Salutation being made to the Śakti of support or the
sustaining force (ādhāra-śakti), the water, flowers, etc.,
are purified. All obstructive spirits are driven away
(bhūtāpasarpaṇ a), and the ten quarters are fenced from
their attack by striking the earth three times with the
left foot, uttering the Astra-bīja “phaṭ ,” and by snapping
the fingers (twice) round the head. Prāṇ āyāma (regulation
of breath) is performed and (vide post) the elements
of the body are purified (bhūta-śuddhi). There is nyāsa
(vide post); dhyāna (meditation); offering of the upacāra;
japa (vide post), prayer and obeisance (praṇ āma). In the
aṣ ṭ a-mūrtī-pūja of Śiva, the Deva is worshipped under
the eight forms: Sarva (Earth), Bhava (Water), Rudra
(Fire), Ugra (Air), Bhīma (Ether), Paśupati (yajamāna—
the Sacrifice man), Īśana (Sun), Mahadeva (Moon).1
This word, which comes from the root yaj (to worship)
is commonly translated “sacrifice.” The Sanskrit
word is, however, retained in the translation, since Yaj˝a
means other things also than those which come within
the meaning of the word “sacrifice,” as understood by an
English reader. Thus the “five great sacrifices” (pa˝camahā-
yajiia) which should be performed daily by the
Brahmana are: The homa2 sacrifice, including Vaiśva-
1 See Chapter V of Toḍ ala-Tantra.
2 Vide post.
deva offering,1 bhatayajiia or bali, in which offerings are
made to Deva, Bhūta, and other Spirits and to animals;
pitṛ -yaj˝a or tarpaṇ a, oblations to the pitṛ ; Brahmayaj˝a,
or study of the Vedas and Manusyayaj˝a,2 or
entertainment of guests (atithisaparyā). By these five
yaj˝as the worshipper places himself in right relations
with all beings, affirming such relation between Deva,
Pitṛ , Spirits, men, the organic creation, and himself.
Horna, or Deva-yaj˝a, is the making of offerings to
Fire, which is the carrier thereof to the Deva. A firepit
(kuṇ ḍ a) is prepared and fire when brought from the
house of a Brāhmaṇ a is consecrated with mantra. The
fire is made conscious with the mantra, Vam vahnicaitanyāya
namah, and then saluted and named. Meditation
is then made on the three nāḍ is (vide ante)—Iḍ ā,
Piṇ gala, and Suṣ umnā—and on Agni, the Lord of Fire.Offerings are made to the Iṣ ṭ adevata in the fire. After
the pūjā of fire, salutation is given as in Ṣ adān ̣ ga-nyāsa,
and then clarified butter (ghee) is poured with a wooden
spoon into the fire with mantra, commencing with Oṃ
and ending with Svāhā. Homa is of various kinds,3
several of which are referred to in the text, and is performed
either daily, as in the case of the ordinary nityavaiśva-
deva-homa, or on special occasions, such as the
upanayana or sacred thread ceremony, marriage, vrata,
and the like. It is of various kinds, such as prayakittahoma,
sṛ śtikṛ t-homā, janu-homa, dhārā homa and others,
some of which will be found in the “Principles of Tantra.”
1 Offerings of food and other things are made in the domestic fire. (See
Krīya-kāṇ ḍ a-vāridhi, p. 917).
2 Also called Nṛ -yaj˝a (man-sacrifice).
3 See Kriyā-kāṇ ḍ a-vāridhi; p. 133. Homa may be either Vaidik,
Besides the yaj˝a mentioned there are others.
Manu speaks of four kinds: deva, bhauta (where articles
and ingredients are employed, as in the case of homa,
daiva, bali), nṛ yaj˝a, and pitṛ -yaj˝a. Others are spoken
of, such as japa-yaj˝a, dhyāna-yaj˝a, etc. Yaj˝as are also
classified according to the dispositions and intentions of
the worshipper into sātvika, rājasika, and tāmasika yaj˝a.
Vrata is a part of Naimittika, or voluntary karma.1
It is that which is the cause of virtue (puṇ ya), and is
done to achieve its fruit. Vratas are of various kinds.
Some of the chief are Janmāṣ ṭ amī on Kṛ ṣ ṇ a’s birthday;
Śivarātri in honour of Śiva; and the ṣ atpa˝cami, Durvāṣ
ṭ ami, Tālanavami, and Anantacaturdaśī performed at
specified times in honour of Lakṣ mi, Nārāyaṇ a, and
Ananta. Others may be performed at any time, such as
the Sāvitrī-vrata by women only,2 and the Kārtikeyapūjā
by men only.3 The great vrata is the celebrated
Durga-pūjā, mahā-vrata in honour of the Devī as Durga,
which will continue as long as the sun and moon endure,
and which, if once commenced, must always be continued.
There are numerous other vratas which have
developed to a great extent in Bengal, and for which
there is no Śāstric authority, such as Madhu-saṃ krāntivrata,
̣ krāntivrata and others. While each vrata
has its peculiarities, certain features are common to
vratas of differing kinds. There is both in preparation
and performance saṃ yama, such as sexual continence,
1 Vide ante.
2 To attain good wifehood, long life for the husband in this world and
with him in the next.
3 To secure children.
eating of particular food such as haviṣ yānnā,1 fasting,
bathing. No flesh or fish is taken. The mind is concentrated
to its purposes, and the vow or resolution (niyama)
is taken. Before the vrata the Sun, Planets, and
Kula-devatā are worshipped, and by the “sūryah-somoyamah-
kāla” mantra all Devas and Beings are invoked
to the side of the worshupper. In the vaidika vrata the
saṃ kalpa2 is made in the morning, and the vrata is
done before midday.
This term is generally translated as meaning penance
or austerities. It includes these, such as the four
monthly fasts (cātur-māsya), the sitting between five
fires (pa˝cāgnitapah), and the like. It has, however, also
a wider meaning, and in this wider sense is of three
kinds, namely, śarīra, or bodily; vācika, by speech;
manasa, in mind. The first includes external worship,
reverence and support given to the Guru, Brāhmaṇ as
and the wise (prāj˝a), bodily cleanliness, continence,
simplicity of life and avoidance of hurt to any being
(ahiṃ sā). The second form includes truth, good, gentle,
and affectionate speech, and the study of the Vedas. The
third or mental tapas includes self-restraint, purity of
disposition, silence, tranquility, and silence. Each of
these classes has three subdivisions, for tapas may be
sātvika, rājasika, or tāmasika, according as it is done
1 To prepare haviṣ yānnā, particular kinds of fruit and vegetable such
green bananas, dāl , sweet potatoes (lāl ālu, in the vernacular),
unboiled rice are placed in one pot. Only so much water is poured in as
necessary to make the whole boil. It should be boiled until no water is
After the pot is taken off the fire, ghee and salt are added.
2 Vide ante, p. 96.
with faith, and without regard to its fruit; or for its
fruit; or is done through pride and to gain honour and
respect; or, lastly, which is done ignorantly or with a
view to injure and destroy others, such as the sādhana
of the Tāntrika-ṣ aṭ -karma,1 when performed for a malevolent
Japa is defined as “vidhānena mantroccāranam
̣ ,” or
the repeated utterance or recitation of mantra according
to certain rules.2 It is according to the Tantrasāra of
three kinds: Vācika or verbal japa, in which the mantra
is audibly recited, the fifty matṛ kas being sounded
nasally with bindu; Upām
̣ śu-japa, which is superior to
the last kind, and in which the tongue and lips are
moved, but no sound, or only a slight whisper, is heard;
and, lastly, the highest form which is called manasajapa,
or mental utterance. In this there is neither sound
nor movement of the external organs, but a repetition in
the mind which is fixed on thc meaning of the mantra.
One reason given for the differing values attributed to
the several forms is that where there is audible utterance
the mind thinks of the words and the process of
correct utterance, and is therefore to a greater (as in the
case of vācika-Japa), or to a less degree (as in the case of
upā ṃ śujapa), distracted from a fixed attention to the
1 Śānti, Vaśikarana, Stambhana, Vidveṣ ana, Uccātana and Māraṇa.
See Indra-jāla-vidyā; the Kāmaratna of Nāga-bhaṭ ṭ a; Ṣ aṭ
Śri-Kṛṣṇa Vidyā-vāgiśa Bhattācārya, Siddha-yogesvari-Tantra,
Kakṣ a-puta. Phet-kāriṇ i. and other Tantras (passim).
2 Though mere book knowledge is, according to the Ṣ at-karmadīpikā,
Pustake likitā vidyā yena sundari japyate,
Siddhir na jāyate devi kalpa-koti-śatair api.
meaning of the mantra. The Japas of different kinds
have also the relative values, attachable to thought and
its materialization in sound and word. Certain conditions
are prescribed as those under which japa should
be done, relating to physical cleanliness, the dressing of
the hair, and wearing of silk garments, the seat (āsana),
the avoidance of certain conditions of mind and actions,
and the nature of the recitation. The japa is useless
unless done a specified number of times of which 108 is
esteemed to be excellent. The counting is done either
with a mālā or rosary (mala-japa), or with the thumb of
the right hand upon the joints of the fingers of that
hand (kara-japa). The method of the counting in the
latter case may differ according to the mantra.1
There are ten (or, in the case of Śūdras, nine) purificatory
ceremonies, or “sacraments,” called saṃ skaras,
which are done to aid and purify the jīva in the important
events of his life. These are jīvasheka, also called garbhādhāna-
ṛ tu-saṃ skara, performed after menstruation,
with the object of insuring and sanctifying conception.
The garbhādhāna ceremony takes place in the daytime
on the fifth day and qualifies for the real garbhādhāna
at night—that is, the placing of the seed in the womb. It
is preceded on the first day by the ṛ tu-saṃ skāra, which
is mentioned in Chapter IX of Mahānirvāṇ a-Tantra.
After conception and during pregnancy, the pum
and sīmantonnayana rites are performed; the first upon
the wife perceiving the signs of conception, and the
second during the fourth, sixth, or eighth month of
1 See as to Japa, Tantrasāra, 75, et seq.
In the ante-natal life there are three main stages,
whether viewed from the objective (physical) standpoint,
or frorn the subjective (super-physical) standpoint.1 The
first period includes on the physical side all the structural
and physiological changes which occur in the fertilized
ovum from the moment of fertilization until the
period when the embryonic body, by the formation of
trunk, limbs, and organs, is fit for the entrance of the
individualized life, or jīvātmā. When the pronuclear
activity and differentiation are completed, the jīvātmā,
whose connection with the pronuclei initiated the pronuclear
or formative activity, enters the miniature
human form, and the second stage of growth and development
begins. The second stage is the fixing of the
connection between the jīva and the body, or the
rendering of the latter viable. This period includes all
the anatomical and physiological modifications by which
the embryonic body becomes a viable foetus. With the
attainment of viability, the stay of the jīva has been
assured; physical life is possible for the child, and the
third stage in ante-natal life is entered. Thus, on the
form side, if the language of comparative embryology is
used, the first saṃ skāra denotes the impulse to development,
from the “fertilization of the ovum” to the “critical
period.” The second sam ̣ skāra denotes the impulse to
development from the “critical period” to that of the
“viability stage of the foetus”; and the third saṃ skāra
denotes the development from “viability” to “full term.”
On the birth of the child there is the jata-karma,
performed for the continued life of the new-born child.
1 For what follows on the medical side, see the Appendix, vol. i. p.
the Saṃ skāras. by Dr. Louise Appel, in the “Pranava-vāda” of Bhagavān
Then follows the nāma-karaṇ a, or naming ceremony, and
niṣ krāmaṇ a in the fourth month after delivery, when the
child is taken out of doors for the first time and shown
the sun, the vivifying source of life, the material embodiment
of the Divine Savitā. Between the fifth and eight
month after birth the annaprāśana ceremony is observed,
when rice is put in the child’s mouth for the first time.
Then follows the cūḍ akarana, or tonsure ceremony;1 and
in the case of the first three or “twice-born” classes, upanayana,
or investiture with the sacred thread. Herein
the jīva is reborn into spiritual life. There is, lastly, udvāha,
or marriage, whereby the unperfected jīva insures
through offspring that continued human life which is the
condition of its progress and ultimate return to its Divine
Source. These are all described in the Ninth Chapter of
this Tantra. There are also ten saṃ ̣skāras of the mantra
(q.v.). The saṃ skāras are intended to be performed at
certain stages in the development of the human body,
with the view to effect results beneficial to the human
organism. Medical science of to-day seeks to reach the
same results, but uses for this purpose the physical
methods of modern Western science, suited to an age of
materiality; whereas in the saṃ skāras the superphysical
(psychic, or occult, or metaphysical and subjective)
methods of ancient Eastern science are employed. The
sacraments of the Catholic Church and others of its
ceremonies, some of which have now fallen into disuse,2
are Western examples of the same psychic method.
1 A lock of hair is left at the top of the head, called śikhā. As when a
visits a place, the royal banner is set up, so on the head in whose
lotus the Brahman resides, śikhā is left.
2 E.g., the blessing of the marital bed, which bears analogy to the
This form of sādhana consists in the repetition (after
certain preparations and under certain conditions) of a
mantra a large number of times. The ritual1 deals with
the time and place of performance, the measurements
and decorations of the maṇ ḍ apa, or pandal, and of the
altar and similar matters. There are certain rules as to
food both prior to, and during, its performance. The
sādhaka should eat haviṣ yānna,2 or alternatively boiled
milk (kṣ īra), fruits, or Indian vegetables, or anything
obtained by begging, and avoid all food calculated to
influence the passions. Certain conditions and practices
are enjoined for the destruction of sin, such as continence,
bathing, japa (q.v.) of the Savitri-mantra 5008, 3008,
or 1008 times, the entertainment of Brāhmaṇ as, and so
forth. Three days before pūjā there is worship of Gaṇeśa and Kṣ etra-pāla, Lord of the Place. Pa˝ca-gavya,3
or the five products of the cow, are eaten. The Sun,
Moon, and Devas, are invoked. Then follows the saṃ kalpa.
4 The ghata or kalaśa (jar), is then placed into which
the Devī is to be invoked. A maṇ ḍ ala or figure of a particular
design is marked on the ground, and on it the
ghata is placed. Then the five or nine gems are placed
on the kalaśa, which is painted with red and covered
with leaves. The ritual then prescribes for the tying of the
crown lock (śikha), the posture (āsana) of the sādhaka,
japa (q.v.), nyāsa, (q.v.), and the mantra ritual or process.
1 For a short account, see Puraścaraṇ a-bodhinī, by Hara-kumāra-Tagore
(1895) and see Tantrasāra, p. 71.
2 See ante.
3 Milk, curd, ghee, urine. and dung, the two last (except in the case of
pious) in smaller quantity.
4 See ante.
There is meditation, as directed. Kulluka1 is said and
the mantra “awakened” (mantra-caitanya), and recited
the number of times for which the vow has been taken.
The object of this ritual, which is described in Mahānirvāṇa-Tantra, Chapter V, verses 93 et seq., is the purification
of the elements of which the body is composed.2
The Mantra-mahodadhi speaks of it as a rite which
is preliminary to the worship of a Deva.3 The process of
evolution from the Para-brahman has been described.
By this ritual a mental process of involution takes place
whereby the body is in thought resolved into the source
from whence it has come. Earth is associated with the
sense of smell, water with taste, fire with sight, air with
touch, and ether with sound. Kuṇ ḍ alinī is roused and
led to the svādhiṣ ṭ hāna Cakra. The “earth” element is
dissolved by that of “water” as “water,” is by “fire,” “fire”
by “air,” and “air” by “ether.” This is absorbed by a higher
emanation, and that by a higher, and so on, until the
Source of all is reached. Having dissolved each gross
element (mahā-bhūta), together with the subtle element
(tanmātra) from which it proceeds, and the connected
organ of sense (indriya) by another, the worshipper
absorbs the last element, “ether,” with the tanmātra
sound into self-hood (ahaṃ kāra), the latter into Mahat,
and that, again, into Prakṛ ti, thus retracing the steps of
evolution. Then, in accordance with the monistic teach-
1 See ante.
2 And not “removal of evil demons” as Professor Monier-Williams’
3 Taranga i.:Devārcā-yogyatā-prāptyai bhūta-suddhim sam
ing of the Vedanta, Prakṛ ti is Herself thought of as the
Brahman, of which She is the energy, and with which,
therefore, She is already one. Thinking then of the black
Puruṣ a, which is the image of all sin, the body is purified
by mantra, accompanied by kumbhaka and recaka,1 and
the sadhaka meditates upon the new celestial (deva)
body, which has thus been made and which is then
strengthened by a “celestial gaze.”2
This word, which comes from the root “to place,”
means placing the tips of the fingers and palm of the
right hand on various parts of the body, accompanied by
particular mantras. The nyāsas are of various kinds.3
Jīva-nyāsa4 follows upon bhūta-śuddhi. After the purification
of the old, and the formation of the celestial
body, the sādhaka proceeds by jīva-nyāsa to infuse the
body with the life of the Devī. Placing his hand on his
heart, he says the “soham” mantra (“I am He”), thereby
identifying himself with the Devī. Then placing the eight
Kula-kuṇ ḍ alinīs in their several places, he says the following
mantras: Āiṃ , Krīm , Klīm ̣ , Yaṃ , Raṃ , Laṃ ,
Vaṃ , Śaṃ , Ṣ aṃ , Saṃ , Hoṃ , Hauṃ , Haṃ sah: the vital
airs of the highly blessed and auspicious Primordial
Kālikā are here.5 “Āiṃ , etc., the embodied spirit of the
highly blessed and auspicious Kālikā is placed here.”6
1 See Prāṇ āyāma, s.v. Yoga, post.
2 Vide post.
3 See Kriya-kāda-vāridhi (p. 120, chap. ii et seq.)
4 See Mahānirvāṇ a-Tantra, Chapter V, verse 105, where a fuller account
is given of the above.
5 Śrimad-ādyā-Kālikāyāh prāṇ ā iha prānah.
6 Śrimad-ādyā-Kālikāyāh Jīva iha sthitah.
“Āiṃ , etc., here are all the senses of the highly auspicious
and blessed Kālikā”;1 and, lastly, “Āiṃ , etc., may
the speech, mind, sight, hearing, smell, and vital airs of
the highly blessed and auspicious Kālikā coming here
always abide here in peace and happiness Svāhā.”2 The
sādhaka then becomes devatā-maya. After having thus
dissolved the sinful body, made a new Deva body, and
infused it with the life of the Devī, he proceeds to mātṛ -
kānyāsa. Matṛ kā are the fifty letters of the Sanskrit
alphabet; for as from a mother comes birth, so from
matṛ ka, or sound, the world proceeds. Śabdabrahman,
the “Sound,” “Logos,” or “Word,” is the Creator of the
worlds of name and form.
The bodies of the Devatā are composed of the fifty
matṛkas. The sādhaka, therefore, first sets mentally
(antar mātṛ kā-nyāsa) in their several places in the six
cakras, and then externally by physical action (Bāhyāmātr
kanyāsa) the letters of the alphabet which form the
different parts of the body of the Devatā, which is thus
built up in the sadhaka himself. He places his hand on
different parts of his body, uttering distinctly at the.
same time the appropriate matṛ ka for that part.
The mental disposition in the cakras is as follows:
In the Āj˝ā Lotus, Haṃ , Kṣ aṃ , (each letter in this and
the succeeding cases is said, followed by the mantra
namah);3 in the Viśuddha Lotus Aṃ , Ām, and the rest of
the vowels; in the Anāhata Lotus kaṃ , khaṃ to thaṃ ;
in the Maṇ ipūra Lotus, daṃ , dhaṃ , etc., to phaṃ : in the
1 Śrimad-ādyā-Kālikāyāh sarrvendrīyāni sthitāni.
2 Śrimad-ādyā-Kālikāyāh vān
̣ g-manaś-cakṣ uh-śrotra-jihvāghrāṇ a-prānah
iha-gatya sukaṃ ciraṃ tiṣ ṭ hantu svāhā.
3 Thus, Haṃ namah, Kṣ aṃ namah, etc.
Svādhiṣ ṭ hāna Lotus baṃ , bhaṃ to laṃ ; and, lastly, in
the Mūlādhāra Lotus, vaṃ , śaṃ ,1 ṣ aṃ ,2 saṃ . The external
disposition then follows. The vowels in their order
with anusvāra and visarga are placed on the forehead,
face, right and left eye, right and left ear, right and left
nostril, right and left cheek, upper and lower lip, upper
and lower teeth, head, and hollow of the mouth. The consonants
kaṃ to vaṃ are placed on the base of right arm
and the elbow, wrist, base and tips of fingers, left arm,
right and left leg, right and left side, back, navel, belly,
heart, right and left shoulder, space between the shoulders
(kakuda), and then from the heart to the right palm
is placed; and from the heart to the left palm the
(second) ṣaṃ ; from the heart to the right foot, saṃ ; from
the heart to the left foot, haṃ ; and, lastly, from the heart
to the belly, and from the heart to the mouth, kṣaṃ . In
each case oṃ is said at the beginning and namah at the
end. According to the Tantrasāra, matṛ ka-nyāsa is also
classified into four kinds, performed with different aims
—viz: kevala where the matṛ ka is pronounced without
bindu; bindu-saṃ yuta with bindu; saṃ sarga with
visarga; and sobhya with visarga and bindu.
Ṛṣi-nyasa then follows for the attainment of the
caturvarga.3 The assignment of the mantra is to the
head, mouth, heart, anus, the two feet, and all the body
generally. The mantras commonly employed are: “In
the head, salutation to the Ṛ ṣ i (Revealer) Brahma;4 in
the mouth, salutation to the mantra Gāyatrī;5 in the
1 Tālvya śa—soft, palatal sh.
2 Mūrdhanya ṣ a—hard cerebral sh.
3 Dharmārtha-Kāma-mokṣ aye ṛ ṣ i-nyāse viniyogah.
4 Śirasi Brahmaṛ ṣ aye namah.
5 Mukhe Gāyattryai-cchandase namah.
heart, salutation to the Devi Mother Sarasvati;1 in the
hidden part, salutation to the bīja, the consonants;2 salutation
to the śakti, the vowels in the feet;3 salutation to
visargah, the kīlakā in the whole body.”4 Another form
in which the bīja is employed is that of the Ādyā; it is
referred to but not given in Chap. V, verse 123, and is:
“In the head, salutation to Brahma and the Brahmaṛ ṣ is;5
in the mouth, salutation to Gāyatrī and the other forms
of verse; 6 in the heart salutation to the primordial
Devata Kālī;7 in the hidden part, salutation to the bīja,
̣ ;8 in the two feet, salutation to the śakti, Hrīm
̣ ;9 in
all the body, salutation to the Kālikā Śrīm
Then follows aṇ ga-nyāsa and kara-nyāsa. These
are both forms of ṣ aḍ aṇ ga-nyāsas.11 When ṣ aḍ aṇ ganyāsa
is performed on the body, it is called hṛdayādiṣ
aḍ aṇ ga nyāsa; and when done with the five fingers and
palms of the hands only, aṇ guṣ ṭ hadi ṣ aḍ aṇ ganyāsa. The
short vowel a, the consonants of the ka-varga group, and
the long vowel ā are recited with “hṛ dayāya namāh”(salutation to the heart). The short vowel i, the consonants
of the ca-varga group, and the long vowel ī, are
said with “śirasī svāhā” (svāhā to the head). The hard
1 Hṛ daye matṛ kāyai sarasvatyai devatāyai namah.
2 Guhye (that is, the anus) vyanjanāya bījāya namah.
3 Pādayoh svarebhyoh śaktibhyo namah.
̣ geṣ u visargāya kīlakāya (that is, that which comes at the end or
closes; the hard breathing) namah.
5 Śirasi brahmaṇ e brahmaṛ ṣ ibhyo namah.
6 Mukhe gāyatryādibhyaścandobhyo namah.
7 Hṛ daye ādyāyai kālikāyai devatāyai namah.
8 Guhye Krīm
̣ -bījāya namah.
9 Pādayoh Hrīm
̣ -śaktaye namah.
̣ geṣ u śrīm
̣ -kālikāyai namah.
11 Ṣ aṭ (six), aṇ ga (limb), nyāsa (placing).
ṭ a-varga consonants set between the two vowels u and ū
are recited with “śikhāyai vaṣ at” (vaṣ at to the crown
lock); similarly the soft ta-varga between the vowels e
and ai are said with “kavacāya1 hum.” The short vowel
o, the pa-varga, and the long vowel o are recited with
netra-trayāya vauṣ at (vauṣ at to the three eyes). 2
Lastly, between bindu and visarga3 the consonants ya to
kṣ a with “karatalakara pṛ ṣ ṭ ha-bhyam astraya phat”
(phat to the front and back of the palm).4
The mantras of ṣ aḍ aṇ ga-nyāsa on the body are used
for kara-nyāsa, in which they are assigned to the
thumbs, the “threatening” or index fingers, the middle
fingers, the fourth, little fingers, and the front and back
of the palm.
These actions on the body, fingers, and palms also
stimulate the nerve centres and nerves therein.
In pīṭ ha-nyāsa, the pīṭ has are established in place
of the mātṛka. The pīṭ has, in their ordinary sense, are
Kāmarūpa and the other places, a list of which is given
in the Yoginī-hṛ dāya.5
For the attainment of that state in which the
sādhaka feels that the bhāva (nature, disposition) of the
Devatā has come upon him, nyāsa is a great auxiliary.
It is, as it were, the wearing of jewels on different parts
1 The Kavaca is the arms crossed on the chest, the hands clasping the
upper part of the arms just beneath the shoulders.
2 Including the central eye of wisdom (j˝āna-cakṣ u).
3 The nasal sound and hard breathing.
4 In all cases the letters are sounded with the nasal anusvāra, as (in
last) a m ̣ , yaṃ , raṃ , lam, vaṃ , śaṃ , ṣ aṃ , saṃ , haṃ ,
kṣ aṃ , aḥ , etc.
5 See Bhāskararāya’s Commentary on śloka 156 of the Lalita-sahasranāma
and ante. The number of Pīṭ has is variously given as 50 or 51.
of the body. The bīja of the Devatā are the jewels which
the sādhaka places on the different parts of his body.
By nyāsa he places his Abhīṣ ṭ adevatā in such parts, and
by vyāpaka-nyāsa, he spreads its presence throughout
himself. He becomes permeated by it losing himself in
the divine Self.
Nyasa is also of use in effecting the proper distribution
of the śaktis of the human frame in their proper
positions so as to avoid the production of discord and
distraction in worship. Nyāsa as well as Āsana are
necessary for the production of the desired state of mind
and of cittaśuddhi (its purification). “Das denken ist der
mass der Dinge.”1 Transformation of thought is Transformation
of being. This is the essential principle and
rational basis of all this and similar Tāntrik sādhanas.
There are as already stated, three classes of men—
Paśu, Vīra, and Divya. The operation of the guṇ as which
produce these types affect, on the gross material plane,
the animal tendencies, manifesting in the three chief
physical functions—eating and drinking, whereby the
annamayakośa is maintained, and sexual intercourse,
by which it is reproduced. These functions are the subject
of the pa˝catattva or pa˝camakara (“five m’s”), as they
are vulgarly called—viz: madya (wine), māmsa (meat),
matsya (fish), mudrā (parched grain), and maithuna
(coition). In ordinary parlance, mudrā means ritual gestures
or positions of the body in worship and haṭ hayoga,
but as one of the five elements it is parched cereal, and
is defined2 as Bhriṣ ṭ adānyādikam yadyad chavyanīyam
2 Yoginī-Tantra (chap. vi).
prachakṣ ate, sa mudrā kathītā devī sarveṣ ām naganandini.
The Tantras speak of the five elements as
pa˝catattva, kuladravyā, kulatattva, and certain of the
elements have esoteric names, such as kāranavāri or
tīrthavāri, for wine, the fifth element being usually called
latāsādhana1 (sadhana with woman, or śakti). The five
elements, moreover have various meanings, according
as they form part of the tāmasika (paśvā-cāra), rājasika
(vīrācāra), or divya or sāttvika sādhanas respectively.
All the elements or their substitutes are purified
and consecrated and then, with the appropriate ritual,
the first four are consumed, such consumption being followed
by lata-sādhana or its symbolic equivalent. The
Tantra prohibits indiscriminate use of the elements,
which may be consumed or employed only after purification
(śodhana) and during worship2 according to the
Tantric ritual. Then also, all excess is forbidden. The
Śyāmā-rahasya says that intemperance leads to Hell,
and this Tantra condemns it in Chapter V. A well-known
saying in Tantra describes the true “hero” (vīra) to be,
not he who is of great physical strength and prowess,
the great eater and drinker, or man of powerful sexual
energy, but he who has controlled his senses, is a truthseeker,
ever engaged in worship, and who has sacrificed
lust and all other passions. (Jitendriyah, satyavādi,
1 “Creeper” to which woman, as clinging to the male tree, is likened.
2 See Tantrasāra, 608, citing Bhāva-cūdāmaṇ ī. As regards maithuna, the
Brhānnilap-Tantra (chap. iv) says: Paradārānna gaccheran gacchecca
(that is, for purpose of worship) and similarly the Uttara-Tantra:
Pūjākāla m ̣ vinā nānyam puruśām
̣ manasā spṛ ṣ et
Pūjāleca deveśī veśyeva paritoṣ ayet.
The same rule as regards both madya and maithuna is stated in the
Kulāmṛ ta as elsewhere.
nityānuṣ ṭ hānatatparāh, kāmādi-balidānaśca sa vira iti
The elements in their literal sense are not available
in sādhana for all. The nature of the Paśu requires strict
adherence to Vaidik rule in the matter of these physical
functions even in worship. This rule prohibits the drinking
of wine, a substance subject to the three curses of
Brahma, Kaca, and Kṛ ṣ ṇ a, in the following terms; Madyam
apeyam adeyam agrāhyam (“Wine1 must not be
drunk, given, or taken”). The drinking of wine in ordinary
life for satisfaction of the sensual appetite is, in
fact, a sin, involving prāyascitta, and entailing, according
to the Viṣ ṇ u Purāṇ a,2 punishment in the same Hell
as that to which a killer of a Brahmāṇ a goes. As
regards flesh and fish the higher castes (outside Bengal)
who submit to the orthodox Smārtha discipline eat
neither. Nor do high and strict Brāhmaṇ as even in that
Province. But the bulk of the people there, both men
and women, eat fish, and men consume the flesh of male
goats which have been previously offered to the Deity.
The Vaidika dharma is equally strict upon the subject of
sexual intercourse. Maithuna other than with the
householder’s own wife is condemned. And this is not
only in its literal sense, but in that which is known as
Aṣ ṭ ān
̣ ga (eightfold) maithuna—viz., smaraṇ am (thinking
upon it), kirttanam (talking of it), keli (play with
women), prekṣ aṇ am (looking upon woman), guhyabhās
aṇ am (talk in private with woman), saṃ kalpa (wish or
1 From the standpoint of Tāntrika-Vīrācāra, the drinking of wine here
referred to is ordinary drinking, and not the ritual worship (of those
for it) with the purified substacce which is Tārā (the Saviour) Herself
liquid form (dravamayī).
2 Viṣ ṇ u-Purāṇ a (Bk. II, chap. vi).
resolve for maithuna), adhyavasāya (determination towards
it), kriyāniṣ pati (actual accomplishment of the
sexual act). In short, the paśu (and except for ritual
purposes those who are not paśus) should, in the words
of thc Śaktakramīya, avoid maithuna, conversation on
the subject, and, assemblies of women (maithunam tatkathālāpam
̣ tadgoṣ thiṃ parivarjayet). Even in the case
of the householder’s own wife marital continency is
enjoined. The divinity in woman, which the Tantra in
particular proclaims, is also recognized in the ordinary
Vaidik teaching, as must obviously be the case given the
common foundation upon which all the Śāstras rest.
Woman is not to be regarded merely as an object of
enjoyment, but as a house-goddess (gṛ hadevatā).1 According
to the sublime notions of Śrūti, the union of man
and wife is a veritable sacrificial rite—a sacrifice in fire
(homa), wherein she is both hearth (kunda) and flame—
and he who knows this as homa attains liberation.2
Similarly the Tāntrika-Mantra for the Sivaśakti Yoga
runs: “This is the internal homa in which, by the path of
suṣ umṇ a, sacrifice is made of the functions of sense to
the spirit as fire kindled with the ghee of merit and
demerit taken from the mind as the ghee pot Svāhā.”3
It is not only thus that wife and husband are associated;
for the Vaidikadharma (in this now neglected) prescribes
1 Cited in the Commentary on the Karpūrādistotra (verse 15), by
Kṛṣṇanātha Nyāya-pa˝cānana Bhattāchāryya.
2 See thirteenth mantra of the Homa-prakaraṇ a of the Bṛ hadāraṇ
Upaniṣ ad. The Niruttara-Tantra (chap. i) says :
Yonirūpā mahākālī śavah śayyā Prakīrtitā
Smaśānam dvividhaṃ devī citā yonirmaheśvari.
3 Oṃ dharmādharma havirdīpte ātmāgnau manasā śrucā suṣ umṇ ā
vartmanā nityam akṣ avṛ ttirjuhomyahaṃ svāhā (Tantrasāra, 998, and
Prāṇ atoṣ inī).
that the householder should worship in company with
his wife. 1 Brahmācārya, or continency, is not as is
sometimes supposed, a requisite of the student āśama
only, but is a rule which governs the married
householder (gṛ hastha) also. According to Vaidika
injunctions, union of man and wife must take place once
a month on the fifth day after the cessation of the
menses, and then only. Hence it is that the Nityā
Tantra when giving the characteristic of a paśu, says
that he is one who avoids sexual union except on the
fifth day (ṛ tukālaṃ vinā devī ramaṇ aṃ parivrajayet). In
other words, the paśu is he who in this case, as in other
matters, follows for all purposes, ritual or otherwise, the
Vaidik injunctions which govern the ordinary life of all.
The above-mentioned rules govern the life of all
men. The only exception which the Tantra makes is for
purpose of sādhana in the case of those who are competent
(adhikāri) for vīrācāra. It is held, indeed, that
the exception is not strictly an exception to Vaidik
teaching at all and that it is an error to suppose that the
Tāntrika-rahasyapūjā is opposed to the Vedas. Thus,
whilst the Vaidik rule prohibits the use of wine in
ordinary life and for purposes of mere sensual
gratification it prescribes the religious yaj˝a with wine.
This ritual use the Tantra also allows, provided that the
sādhaka is competent for the sādhana, in which its
consumption is part of its ritual and method.
The Tantra enforces the Vaidik rule in the cases,
ritual or otherwise, for those who are governed by the
vaidikācāra. The Nityā-Tantra says: “They (paśu) should
never worship the Devi during the latter part of the day,
1 Śastriko dharmamācaret (see also chap, xxxi of the
in the evening or at night” (rātrau naiva yajeddeviṃ
̣ va parānhake); for all such worship connotes
maithuna prohibited to the paśu. In lieu of it,
varying substitutes1 are prescribed, such as either an
offering of flowers with the hands formed into the kaccapamudra,
or union with the worshipper’s own wife. In
the same way, in lieu of wine, the paśu should (if a
Brāhmaṇ a) take milk, (if a Kṣ attriya) ghee, (if a Vaiśya)
honey, and (if a Śūdra) a liquor made from rice. Salt,
ginger, sesamum, wheat, māshkalai (beans), and garlic
are various substitutes for meat; and the white brinjal
vegetable, red radish, masur (a kind of gram), red sesamum,
and pāniphala (an aquatic plant), take the place
of fish. Paddy, rice, wheat, and gram generally are mudrā.
The vīra, or rather he who is qualified (adhikāri) for
vīrācāra—since the true vīra is its finished product—
commences sadhana with the rājasika pa˝atattva first
stated, which are employed for the destruction of the
sensual tendencies which they connote. For the worship
of Śakti the pa˝catattvas are declared to be essential.
This Tantra declares that such worship withou their use
is but the practice of evil magic.
Upon this passage the commentator Jaganmohana
Tarkālaṃ kāra observes as follows: Let us consider what
most contributes to the fall of a man, making him forget
duty, sink into sin, and die an early death. First among
these are wine and women, fish, meat and mudra, and
accessories. By these things men have lost their manhood.
Śiva then desires to employ these very poisons in
order to eradicate the poison in the human system.
1 See as to these and post, the Kulacūdāmani, and chap. i of
Poison is the antidote for poison. This is the right treatment
for those who long for drink or lust for women.
The physician must, however, be an experienced one. If
there be a mistake as to the application, the patient is
likely to die. Śiva has said that the way of kulācāra is as
dificult as it is to walk on the edge of a sword or to hold
a wild tiger. There is a secret argument in favour of the
pa˝catattva, and those tattvas so understood should be
followed by all.1 None, however, but the initiate can
grasp this argument, and therefore Śiva has directed
that it should not be revealed before anybody and everybody.
An initiate, when he sees a woman, will worship
her as his own mother or goddess (Iṣ ṭ adevatā), and bow
before her. The Viṣ ṇ u-Purāṇ a says that by feeding your
desires you cannot satisfy them. It is like pouring ghee
on fire. Though this is true, an experienced spiritual
teacher (guru) will know how, by the application of this
poisonous medicine, to kill the poison of saṃ sara. Śiva
has, however, prohibited the indiscriminate publication
of this. The meaning of this passage would therefore
appear to be this: The object of Tāntrika worship is
brahmasāyujya, or union with Brahman. If that is not
attained, nothing is attained. And, with men’s propensities
as they are, this can only be attained through the
special treatment prescribed by the Tantras. If this is
not followed, then the sensual propensities are not eradicated,
and the work for the desired end of Tantra is as
useless as magic which, worked by such a man, leads
only to the injury of others. The other secret argument
1 Mahānirvāṇ a-Tantra, Chapter V, verses 23, 24. (See also Kailāsa-
Tantra, Pūrva Khanda, chap. xc), where reasons are given why the worship
Devī is fruitless without the five elements; and where also they are
with the five prāṇ as and the five mahāpretas.
here referred to is that by which it is shown that the
particular may be raised to the universal life by the
vehicle of those same passions, which, when flowing
only in an outward and downward current, are the most
powerful bonds to bind him to the former. The passage
cited refers to the necessity for the spiritual direction of
the Guru. To the want of such is accredited the abuses
of the system. When the patient (śiṣ ya) and the disease
are working together, there is poor hope for the former;
but when the patient, the disease, and the physician
(guru) are on one, and that the wrong side, then nothing
can save him from a descent on that downward path
which it is the object of the sādhana to prevent. Verse
67 in Chapter I of Mahāṇ irvāna-Tantra is here, in point.
Owing, however, to abuses, particulary as regards
the tattva of madya and maithuna, this Tantra, according
to the current version, prescribes in certain cases,
limitations as regards their use. It prescribes1 that when
the Kaliyuga is in full strength, and in the case of householders
(gṛ hastha) whose minds are engrossed with
worldly affairs, the “three sweets” (madhuratraya) are to
be substituted for wine. Those who are of virtuous temperament,
and whose minds are turned towards the Brahman,
are permitted to take five cups of wine. So also as
regards maithuna, this Tantra states2 that men in this
Kali age are by their nature weak and disturbed by lust,
and by reason of this do not recognize women (śakti) to
be the image of the Deity. It accordingly3 ordains that
when the Kaliyuga is in full sway, the fifth tattva shall
1 Chapter VIII, verse 171.
2 Chapter VIII, verse 173.
3 Chapter VI, verse 14.
only be accomplished with sviyāśakti, or the worshipper’s
own wife, and that union with a woman who is not
married to the sādhaka in either Brāhma or Śaiva forms
is forbidden. In the case of other śakti (parakīyā and
sādhāraṇ i) it prescribes, 1 in lieu of maithuna,
meditation by the worshipper upon the lotus feet of the
Devī, together with japa of his iṣṭa-mantra. This rule,
however, the Commentator says, is not of universal
application. Śiva has, in this Tantra, prohibited sādhana
with the last tattva, with parakīyā, and sādhāraṇi
śakti2 in the case of men of ordinary weak intellect ruled
by lust; but for those who have by sādhana conquered
their passions and attained the state of a true vīra, or
siddha, there is no prohibition as to the mode of latāsadhana.
3 This Tantra appears to be,4 in fact, a protest
against the misuse of the tattva, which had followed
upon a relaxation of the original rules and conditions
governing them. Without the pa˝catattva in one form
or another, the śaktipūjā cannot be performed. The
Mother of the Universe must be worshipped with these
elements. By their use the universe (jagatbrahmāṇ ḍ a)
itself is used as the article of worship. Wine signifies
the power (śakti) which produces all fiery elements; meat
and fish all terrestrial and aquatic animals; mudrā all
vegetable life; and maithuna the will (icchā), action
(kriyā) and knowledge (j˝āna) Sakti of the Supreme
1 Chapter VIII, verse 174.
2 See Uttara, Guptasādhana, Nigamakalpadruma, and other Tantras and
Tantrasāra (p. 698 et. seq.).
3 See Mahānirvāṇ a-Tantra, Bhakta edition, p. 315.
4 For I have not yet had the opportunity of comparing the current
with the Nepalese text.
Prakṛ ti productive of that great pleasure1 which accompanies
the process of creation.2 To the Mother is thus
offered the restless life of Her universe.
The object of all sādhana is the stimulation of the
sattvaguṇ a. When by such sādhana this guṇ a largely
preponderates, the sāttvika sādhana suitable for men of
a high type of divyabhāva is adopted. In this latter
sādhana the names of the pa˝catattva are used symbolically
for operations of a purely mental and spiritual
character. Thus, the Kaivalya3 says that “wine” is that
intoxicating knowledge acquired by yoga of the Parabrahman,
which renders the worshipper senseless as
regards the external world. Meat (mamsa) is not any
fleshy thing, but the act whereby the sādhaka consigns
all his acts to Me (Mām). Matsya (fish) is that sāttvika
knowledge by which through the sense of “mineness”4 the
worshipper sympathizes with the pleasure and pain of
all beings. Mudrā is the act of relinquishing all association
with evil which results in bondage, and maithuna
is the union of the Śakti Kuṇ ḍ alinī with Śiva in the body
of the worshipper. This, the Yoginī-Tantra says,5 is the
best of all unions for those who have already controlled
their passions (yati). According to the Āgama-sāra, wine
1 Śiva in the Matṛ kābheda-Tantra (chap. ii) says: (Yadrūpam
2 Nigama-Tattvasāra (chap. iv). See chap. xv of the Hara-Tattvadīdhiti;
Mahānirvāṇ a-Tantra, chap. v, verses 23, 24, and Kāmākhyā-Tantra. The
Kailāsa-Tantra Pūrva-Khanda (chap. xc) identifies the pentad
with the vital airs (prānādi) and the five mahāpretas (vide post and
3 See p. 85 of Pa˝catattvavicāra, by Nilamani Mukhyopadhyāya.
4 A play upon the word matsya (fish).
5 Yogini-Tantra (chap. v) :
Sahasrāropari biṇ ḍ au kundalyā melana m ̣ śive,
Maithunaṃ paramaṃ yatīnām
is the somadhara, or lunar ambrosia, which drops from
the brahmarandhra; Mām
̣ sa (meat) is the tongue (ma),
of which its part (aṃ sa) is speech. The sādhaka, in
“eating” it controls his speech. Matsya (fish) are those
two which are constantly moving in the two rivers Iḍa
and Piṇgala.1 He who controls his breath by prāṇāyāma
(q.v.), “eats” them by kumbhaka.2 Mudra is the awakening
of knowledge in the pericarp of the great Sahasrāra
Lotus, where the Ātmā, like mercury, resplendent as ten
million suns, and deliciously cool as ten million moons,
is united with the Devī Kuṇ ḍ alinī. The esoteric meaning
of maithuna is thus stated by the Āgama: The ruddyhued
letter Ra is in the kuṇ ḍ a,3 and the letter Ma,4 in
the shape of bindu, is in the mahāyoni.5 When Makara
(m), seated on the Hamsa in the form of Akara (a),
unites with rakara (r), then the Brahmaj˝āna, which is
the source of supreme Bliss, is gained by the sādhaka,
who is then called ātmārāma, for his enjoyment is in the
Ātmā in the Sahasrāra.6 This is the union on the purely
sāttvika plane, which corresponds on the rājasika plane
to the union of Śiva and Śakti in the persons of their
1 The nādi, so called (vide ante).
2 Retention of breath in prāṇ āyāma.
3 The Maṇ ipūra-Cakra (vide ante).
4 This letter, according to the Kāmadhenu-Tantra (chap. ii), has five
corners, is of the colour of the autumnal moon, is sattva guṇ a, and is
kaivalyarūpa and prakṛ tirūpī. The coloration of the letters is
in the Tantras. See also Bhāskararāya’s Commentary on the Lalitā citing
the Sanatkumāra-Saṃ hitā and Mātṛ kāviveka.
5 That is (here) the lightning-like triangular lines in the Sahasrāra.
Bindu is literally the dot which represents the nasal sound. As to its
sense (vide ante).
6 For this reason, too, the name of Ramā, which word also means sexual
enjoyment, is equivalent to the liberator Brahman (Ra-a-ma).
The union of Śiva and Śakti is described as a true
yoga1 from which, as the Yāmala says, arises that joy
which is known as the Supreme Bliss.2
Worship with the pa˝catattva generally takes place
in an assembly called a cakra, which is composed of men
(sādhaka) and women (śakti), or Bhairava and Bhairavi.
The worshippers sit in a circle (cakra), men and women
alternately, the śakti sitting on the left of' the sādhaka.
The Lord of the cakra (cakrasvāmin, or cakreśvara) sits
with his Śakti in the centre, where the wine-jar and other
articles used in the worship are kept. During the cakra
all eat, drink, and worship together, there being no distinction
of caste.3 No paśu should, however, be introduced.
There are various kinds of cakras, such as the
Vīra, Rāja, Deva, Mahā-Cakras productive, it is said, of
various fruits for the participators therein.4 Chapter VI
of the Mahānirvāṇ a-Tantra deals with the pa˝catattva,
and Chapter VIII gives an account of the Bhairavi and
Tattva (or Divya) cakras.5 The latter is for worshippers
of the Brahma-Mantra.
1 See Tantrasāra, 702 ;
Yoga eva na sa m ̣ śayah.
2 Ibid., 703; Saṃ yogājjayate svakhyam paramānandalakṣ aṇ am:
3 Vide ante.
4 The Rudra-yāmala says:
Rājacakra rājadaṃ syat,
Mahācakre samṛ ddhidam,
Devacakre ca saubhāgyaṃ ,
Vīracakraṃ ca mokṣ adām.
5 Verses 153, 202, et seq.