Home \ Hindu Religion \ Saints \ \John Woodroffes Works \ Worship


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


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.



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); Annadalialpa Tantra cited in Prāṇ a-toṣ ini, p. 68. As the Yoginī-Tantra says, gurupatnī 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 liberated 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 corpses.
7 Chapter II. A short description (of little aid) is given in the Visvasāra- 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 Tantrarahasya of Sacchidānanda Svāmi. [No citation for this note in my copy-text. — ED.]

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, but
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 to the
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 Kaulācāra.



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 alphabet.

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, the fruit.

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 Prayogasāra
and Prāṇ a-toṣ ini, (p. 70). If it be asked why formless things of mind
are given sex, the answer is for the sake of the requirements of the worshipper.

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, then one-lettered bīja triplicated.
5 Japa of mūla-mantra receded and followed by praṇ ava. As to the “birth” 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 kābījā. 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 ̣ is 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 orthodox notions, the forms in which the Deity, in fact, appears to the worshipper


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 ̣ bhargo 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 (Bhūr-bhuvah-svah) form 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 it is teṣ ām.
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. (Kaulāvaliya-Tantra).
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 bhū-pura.

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 process is 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 other mantras.2

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 detail.
See Kriyākāndavāridhi and the Purohita-darpaṇ a, and Śrīśa Chandra-Vasu,
“Daily Practice of the Hindus.” The positions and mudrā are illustrated in
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, etc.
2 It runs in the form: “I—of gotra—etc., am about to perrorm this pūjā (or vrata) with the object,” etc.
3 Kuśa grass is used only in pitṛ -kriyā or śrāddha, and in homa. Arghya 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, Paurāṇik, or Tāntrik.


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, Jalasam ̣ 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 life 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 as green bananas, dāl , sweet potatoes (lāl ālu, in the vernacular), together with unboiled rice are placed in one pot. Only so much water is poured in as is necessary to make the whole boil. It should be boiled until no water is left. 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 purpose (abhicāra).



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 -karmadīpikā of Śri-Kṛṣṇa Vidyā-vāgiśa Bhattācārya, Siddha-yogesvari-Tantra, Siddha-Nāgārjuna, Kakṣ a-puta. Phet-kāriṇ i. and other Tantras (passim).
2 Though mere book knowledge is, according to the Ṣ at-karmadīpikā, useless. 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 ̣ savana
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 pregnancy.

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. 194, on the Saṃ skāras. by Dr. Louise Appel, in the “Pranava-vāda” of Bhagavān Dās.

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 king visits a place, the royal banner is set up, so on the head in whose thousand petalled lotus the Brahman resides, śikhā is left.
2 E.g., the blessing of the marital bed, which bears analogy to the Hindu garbhādhāna rite.



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 the 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’ Dictionary has it.
3 Taranga i.:Devārcā-yogyatā-prāptyai bhūta-suddhim sam ̣ ācaret.

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 śaṃ 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, krīm ̣ ;8 in the two feet, salutation to the śakti, Hrīm ̣ ;9 in all the body, salutation to the Kālikā Śrīm ̣ .”10


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.
4 Sarvān ̣ 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.
10 Sarvān ̣ 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 the 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

1 Prantl.
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 prajapedyadi (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 giyate).

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 qualified for it) with the purified substacce which is Tārā (the Saviour) Herself in 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 Mahāmahopādhyāya Kṛṣṇanātha Nyāya-pa˝cānana Bhattāchāryya.
2 See thirteenth mantra of the Homa-prakaraṇ a of the Bṛ hadāraṇ yaka- 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 see 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 Matsya-Śūkta-Tantra)

in the evening or at night” (rātrau naiva yajeddeviṃ saṃ dhyāyām ̣ 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 Bhairavayāmala.

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 of Devī is fruitless without the five elements; and where also they are identified 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 Bengali 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 paramānandam tannāsti bhuvanatraye).
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 (pa˝catattva) with the vital airs (prānādi) and the five mahāpretas (vide post and ante).
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 ̣ parikīrtitam.

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 worshippers.

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 variously given 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 Tāntrik 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 ; Śivaśaktisaṃ āyogāh, 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.














© 2010 HinduOnline.co. All Rights Reserved.