Tantric Scriptures

Kankalamalini Tantra

The word kankalamalini means garlanded in bones, or skeletons, a constant theme of texts related to the goddess Kali. This work therefore falls into the Kalikula category of tantrik texts. The edition used for this abstract was published by Kalyana Mandir Prakashan in 2033 Samvat (1973 c.e.).
The Kankamalinitantra is a relatively short work of only five patalas (chapters). Like many tantras, each is of uneven length. Chapter five is probably longer than the previous four chapters put together. In the colophon at the end of each chapter, the tantra is ascribed to the Dakshinamnaya, or southern tantrik current. Mantras are given below using the iTrans format to preserve their correct form and pronunciation (see Tantrik Texts for more information on iTrans).
Chapter One
The first chapter opens with Bhairavi asking Bhairava to tell her about the letters of the alphabet. He says that the letters A to Ksha form the absolute as sound (Shabdabrahma), and then proceeds to enumerate the female shaktis associated with these letters. Bhairava says that the letters A to Ksha consist of Shiva and Shakti, and without knowledge of their true meaning, it is not possible to be successful practising the Vama path. The letters are made up of the three gunas. This chapter, shorter than the others, then discusses the major bija or seed mantras, including OM, shrii.m (Lakshmi bija), krii.m, klii.m, hrii.m , hu.m, huu.m, hrau.m, ai.m, krau.m, svaahaa, drii.m and duu.m, prii.m, Tha.m Tha.m and sphrii.m.
Chapter Two
Bhairavi addresses Bhairava as Nilakantha (the blue throated) Mahadeva and asks him to explain to her the meaning of yoni mudra and the three tattvas. He says that yoni mudra is very secret and should not be revealed. It is the very form of the absolute, representing the chaitanya or consciousness of mantra and bestows liberation. By grace of the yoni mudra, Bhairava says he was able to conquer death. Semen, blood and their conjunction are the temple of Manmatha (the god of love). The yoni bija mantra should be recited 108 times and the yoni itself is the true form of the supreme absolute. The yoni should be encircled with three threads, which are the ida, the pingala and the sushumna. The yoni of Devi is the primordial (Adya) form of Prakriti (nature). It is Kundalini and Mahakundalini, says Shiva.
Bhairava then speaks of the nadis or channels of energy in the body. There are 3.5 koti (a koti is 10 million) nadis, but the three nadis mentioned above are the chief, and represent the moon, the sun and fire. Bhairava then goes on to describe the six well known chakras through which runs the thread of the sushumna or central nadi in the spine. Details are given of the Dakinis, the gods and goddesses, and the bijas of each of these chakras, with very similar details to those published by Sir John Woodroffe in The Serpent Power. Above the Ajna chakra, says Bhairava, is a lotus of 1,000 petals, which is the place of the seventeenth kala.
Kundali Shakti is the form of mantra, dwelling in the muladhara chakra and rising through the Chitrini to the Brahmanda or 1,000 petal lotus, is the rosary of letters, says Bhairava.
There then follows a Yoni kavacha which is of some interest. Ishvara says that by holding it and reading it, it causes all shaktis to give boons.
The rishi of the kavacha is Sadashiva, the metre for it to be pronounced in is Gayatri, the devata is the Eternal Yoni form, while it gives the four aims of mankind.
OM ma.m maa.m mi.m mii.m mu.m muu.m me.m mai.m mo.m mau.m maH mama shiro raxantu svaahaa .
OM ma.m maa.m mi.m mii.m mu.m muu.m me.m mai.m mo.m mau.m maH OM maa.m OM aakuuTaa.m mama raxantu svaahaa ma.m maa.m .
OM ma.m maa.m mi.m mii.m mu.m muu.m me.m mai.m mo.m mau.m maH hR^idayaadi daxa bahu.m raxantu .
OM ma.m maa.m mi.m mii.m mu.m muu.m me.m mai.m mo.m mau.m maH hR^idayaadi vaama bahu.m raxantu .
OM ma.m maa.m mi.m mii.m mu.m muu.m me.m mai.m mo.m mau.m maH daxa paada.m raxantu mama .
OM ma.m maa.m mi.m mii.m mu.m muu.m me.m mai.m mo.m mau.m maH vaama paada.m raxantu mama sadaa svaahaa svaahaa .
OM ma.m maa.m mi.m mii.m mu.m muu.m me.m mai.m mo.m mau.m maH hR^idaadiSu naasaa.m raxantu svaahaa .
OM ma.m maa.m mi.m mii.m mu.m muu.m me.m mai.m mo.m mau.m maH upastha.m raxantu mama sadaa svaahaa .
OM ma.m maa.m mi.m mii.m mu.m muu.m me.m mai.m mo.m mau.m maH ida.m hi yoni kavacha.m rahasya.m paramaad.hbhuta.m .
The kavacha should be recited in the Muladhara, before the eternal yoni. It gives equality with the sun and the moon, and through the grace of Devi causes success in the yoni mudra. The text says it should be recited with one’s own woman or with another woman, following which there should be intercourse. This is an example of tantrik code. The “other woman”, according to tantrik insiders, is one’s wife or woman, while one’s own woman here refers to the Devi within. From this point of view, sex with one’s own woman is adultery. On the other hand, this tantra may well be speaking literally.
The kavacha, continues Ishvara, should be written on bhurja leaf (birch) and written with svayambhu flowers (menstrual blood), and semen, and with other scents such as gorochana. It should be placed inside a gold ball and worn on the body. Reciting the kavacha 108 times gives success in whatever is desired. The chapter closes with the mantra namo yonyai namo yonyai kuNDalinyai namo namaH.
Chapter Three
This chapter returns to comparatively more sedate matters, including guru puja, the guru mantra and a guru gita (song).
Ishvara says the two syllables of the word guru represent that which is without qualities and the supreme absolute, respectively. This mantra, he says, is the mahamantra, and should be concealed.
He follows by giving a dhyana of the guru, situated in the 1,000 petal lotus. He is seated in the virasana, with his two hands showing the mudras dispelling fear and giving boons. On his left thigh sits his shakti, whose face shows compassion. She wears red clothes and jewels.
The guru and his shakti should be worshipped with mental offerings (upachara). After reciting the mantra of the shakti, the kavacha of the guru should then be read. This kavacha differs from that given in the Matrikabhedatantra. Wearing the kavacha on different parts of the body washes away demerit in the same way as the Ganges river washes it away. The chapter closes with a brief song (gita) extolling the virtues of the guru.
Chapter Four
This chapter centres around the worship of Mahakali. Parvati asks Shiva to give the Kali mantra, and describe her puja.
Ishvara (Shiva) says that the mantra of Mahakali bestows every type of success. All the gods and rishis achieved what they did through her worship. It gives both liberation and enjoyment and bestows liberation through enjoyment, when heard from the mouth of the guru.
Shiva gives the mantras of Mahakali and and says her one syllable mantra is the gives siddhi in the Kali age. He then gives a three syllable mantra of Dakshina Kalika, followed by other three syllable mantras producing different results.
Conventional rules in the worship of Mahakali are suspended, says Shiva. There is no rule as to time, as to the woman who is the shakti, or to defects of the mantra. Similarly, one need not pay attention to bodily defects. The sadhana may be done during the day or at night, and the recitation (japa) of the mantra may be done anywhere.
By pleasure one gains liberation, Shiva says. He says: “This is true, true, true and again true, I say.”
Puja is of three types, he says: daily, every so often, and according to desire (kamya). Here he says he will speak of the daily puja of Mahakali. Bhairava is the rishi, Ushnik is the metre, and the devata is Mahakali, who gives the four aims of mankind.
Without five fold purification, any puja undertaken is black magic (abhichara). Those five purifications are of the atma, bath, the materials, the mantra and the devata. Following the placing of the materials, one should bow to the gurus on the left and to Ganapati on the right, and should then perform bhutashuddhi, the purification of the elements. (This is a meditation in which the different elements within a sadhaka are purified. There is a complete explanation and translation of this process in Woodroffe’s edition of the Mahanirvanatantra).
Different nyasas are then performed, and the text follows with a meditation image of Mahakali.
One should meditate on Adya Mahakali as being in a celestial spot, on the central peak of the Himalaya range, under a jewelled pavilion which is the great pitha, her lotus feet served by Narada and the best of saints, worshipped by Bhairava. She is the colour of sapphire, with two large high breasts, wears variegated colour clothes, and has four arms and three eyes.
The text then follows with a description of her inner meditation, where she has limbs the colour of thunderclouds, dishevelled clothing, three eyes and is seated on Shiva’s corpse. She is ornamented with a chain of skulls. In her left upper hand she holds a man’s severed head, and with the lower hand holds a cleaver. She has dishevelled hair.
Shiva then gives a further dhyana of Mahakali, where she has a fierce, fanged mouth, is completely naked, and has three eyes. She sits in virasana on Mahakala and makes a terrifying noise, wears a garland of skulls (mundamala) and has streams of blood pouring over her full breasts. She sways backwards and forwards, as if intoxicated. In her left hands she holds a cleaver and a severed head, and in her right shows the mudras giving boons and dispelling fear. She has a terrifying face and her tongue rolls wildly. She has earrings made up of a bird’s wing and an arrow. She is served by terrifying, roaring jackals in the cremation ground and by Bhairavas making fearful laughing noises, and who dance over men’s skeletons, making their victory cries.
Whew. The text then follows with a description of Kali’s fifteen attendants, the Kalinityas. This leads up to the left-hand worship with the panchatattva or panchamakara. Shiva says whoever does Kula puja without wine or flesh loses the merit of 1,000 good incarnations. “Without wine, there is no mantra, there is no mantra except with wine,” Shiva says. After performing the rite of the five makaras (see virasadhana, elsewhere on this site), one should bow again to Mahakali before doing the dismissal and cleansing rites.
Chapter Five
This chapter is concerned with purashcharana, the rites to be performed by an initiated tantrika to make a mantra successful.
Elsewhere on this site, we have described the elaborate rules, stretching over several days, which a sadhaka has to undertake. But the Kankalamalini, in a similar matter to the Devirahasya and the Brihadnilatantra seems to suspend these rules.
Parvati is told by Ishvara that in the Kali Yuga, folk are short lived and unable to perform rites in the way they were able to do in previous times. He says that for this worship there is no bad time, no special day or night, no need to do the puja on “great nights”, such as the eighth or fourteenth of a dark fortnight, nor is there a necessity for worship at the twilights (sandhya).
There are no rules about directions, places, recitation of mantra, time to do the worship. “Here, svecchacharya (doing the rite according to will) is the rule for the mahamantra in sadhana,” Ishvara says.
Performing worship in the Kali Yuga in this fashion brings siddhi in six months, according to the text. Shiva says: “Devi, in the Kali Yuga, there are no tirthas (bathing spots), no vows to undertake, no homa, no bath, and no twilight worship (sandhya). ” Those rites belong to the previous eras of the Saya, Dvapara and Treta Yugas, he says.
However, purashcharana is still necessary, he adds, and proceeds to give the rite suitable for tantriks during the Kali Yuga. There then follows a lengthy rite which includes the giving of substances including ghee, milk, and sugar, and the recitation of many mantras, the performance of many nyasas. The importance of the rudraksha rosary is stressed at great length. The sadhaka should smear himself with ash, and put three lines on his forehead as well as a tilak.
Rules are given about the use of the Gayatri mantra, and towards the end of chapter five, there is a lengthy discourse on the Devis of the bodily dhatus, such as Dakini, Lakini, Rakini and so forth, along with their bija mantras and their various meditation images. These Devis are situated in the different chakras.
End of Kanakamalini Tantra

Kaulajnananirnaya Tantra

This ancient text is attributed to Siddha Matsyendranath, said to be the founder of the Natha lineage, deals with the characteristics of the linga and discusses the flowers, centres or chakras within the body in the light of the Yogini Kaula tradition.
A translation of the entire text is in print. It is an important text because it seems to unite the earlier Siddha tradition with the Natha tradition, and Matsyendranath expounds the Yogini Kaula line.
The topic deals with, amongst many other familiar Kaula topics, the 64 yoginis and the different sacred sites (pitha) held important in both this and later tantras.
Devi said – Great Lord, I have questions concerning the characteristics of Kula, the Self, and consciousness chiefly. Be gracious, O Shankara Nath ! (1 )
Bhairava said – Listen with concentrated mind to the characteristics of Kula. Where there is mind, there too are the senses, the sense objects and the body – these are permeated by one’s own Shakti, one’s embodied being, and the (five) elements. (2-3)
It is said that the place and inner part of meditation is a clear understanding of puja. All proceeds from the letters (of the alphabet), and in this is voidness. (4)
Dearest, (in the pinda exist) the (cakras) of five lines, 16 lines, sixty four petals, the truly beautiful 100 petal (lotus) and the beautiful thousand petal lotus and above this is a very brilliant 10,000,000 petal lotus. Above the 10,000,000 petal lotus is a 30,000,000 petal lotus, each pericarp of which is similar to a flame. Above this is the all encompassing, eternal, undivided, independent, steady lotus- pervading all, stainless. By its will (sveccha) it causes creation and dissolution. Both the animate and inanimate are dissolved in this linga. (5-10)
It is the all-pervading sphere, still, without Kalas. It should be understood that being lettered (implies) ignorance of this, whilst one who has come to know this is liberated from the fetters. It is destitute of both mind and non-mind, free of meditation and dharana. Clearly it bestows all, is eternal, like an atasi flower, the divine essence having both colour and colourless, attained only by knowledge, through being in the line of succession (parampara). (11-13)
Devi, the characteristics of the Kula Laksha have been declared – that linga which is not made of wood, stone, clay, jewel, brass, gold, iron, copper, crystal, clay, tin, lead or copper – which gives rise to the various blossomings of the red flowers, worshipped by all the worlds. (14-15)
Devi, one should not concern oneself with the eighteen lokasastras such as adhyatmika and so forth. Mahdevi, this (sort of preoccupation) is the cause of a person being a pashu, devoid of knowledge. All people on the path of spiritual knowledge (divyas) should not associate with the ignorant, those on useless paths, devoid of Kula knowledge. (15-18)
Brahma and so forth, all the gods and asuras, the saintly, yakshas, gandharvas, siddhas, plants, trees, insects, planets, sidereal constellations, stars and all the rest, all which is in the cosmos – either moving or fixed, elements and so forth, all manifest from the centre of the bindu. (19-20)
This linga, the cause of both creation and dissolution, worshipped by siddhas, shining by its own light, pure, eternal, completely immeasurable, is like the flame which is the fire (at the end of time), like lightning in the sky. One becomes liberated after knowing and perceiving this boon giving linga. (21-22)
This linga is eternally erect, a vajra linga, and my not be destroyed by raging fire, landslide, or torrent. ( 23)
Devi, a Kaulika should worship this to achieve the wished for siddhi, employing mental flowers, sweetly scented incense and so forth. (24)
The first flower is non-harmfulness, the second sense restraint, the third generosity, the fourth right disposition, the fifth compassion, and the sixth freedom from cruelty. The seventh flower is meditation, and the eighth flower is knowledge. Knowing these rules relating to flowers, one should worship this mental linga. (25-26)
Worshipping this body linga, one may obtain both liberation and enjoyment. Devi, it is the linga giving siddhi, stationed in the body, steady and strong. Whosoever should always meditate on this mental linga, for such a one is achieved the pre-eminent and highest self knowledge. (26-28)
Thus, O Devi, have been declared the characteristics of the Kaulika body lingam. Any other (external linga) one should abandon, such as those made of stone, wood or clay. The ordinary path is devoid of success and liberation. (28-30)
The inner meaning of this, placed in the body, belongs to the Kula Agama. Whosoever takes the meaning as placing (a linga) outside himself enters the arena of pashus. (31)
Devi, the inner meaning of this knowledge has been declared to you. One should never give it to the undevoted, but only to devoted persons. (32)

End of Kaulajnananirnaya Tantra



The Todala Tantra

This Hindu tantra is a brief but often quoted work of ten patalas or chapters. It is referred to, for example, in the Matrikabhedatantra. It also contains the daily pujas of Tara, Kali and Shiva, as well as information about yoga.
Patala one deals with the ten Mahavidyas, a subject which is returned to in chapter 10 of this tantra.
These major forms of the goddess are described in the Todala Tantra as Kali, Tara, Sundari, Bhuvaneshvari, Cchinnamasta, Bhairavi, Dhumavati, Bagala, Matangi, and Kamala. According to Alain Danielou’s Hindu Polytheism, these ten aspects of Shakti are the epitome of the entire creation. Chapter 10 also outlines their consorts, although Dhumavati, the widow form, is not allocated a consort. At the close of the chapter comes the essential tantrik view that Shiva, as the witness is not involved in creation, maintenance or withdrawal.
Many tantras, particularly those associated with Bengal, speak of ten major aspects of the goddess, the Mahavidyas. Vidya means knowledge but in the tradition this word is synonymous with both a Devi and her mantra form. Mantra is divinity in its purest form as sound, yantra is divinity represented as diagram and the dhyana, or meditation form, is considered to be the grossest representation. But these forms are given as ways of concentrating the mind easily.
The Mahavidyas are, in order, Kali, Tara, Sodashi (Tripurasundari), Bhuvaneshvari, Cchinnamasta, Bhairavi, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi and Kamala. Each, except Dhumavati, who is a widow, has her own form of Shiva.
1. Kali. Seated on a corpse, greatly terrifying, laughing loudly, with fearful fangs, four arms holding a cleaver, a skull, and giving the mudras bestowing boons and dispelling fear, wearing a garland of skulls, her tongue rolling wildly, completely naked (digambara – clad in the directions), thus one should meditate on Kali, dwelling in the centre of the cremation ground.
2. Tara – Akshobhya. Seated in the pratyalidha asana, seated on the heart of a corpse, supreme, laughing horribly, holding cleaver, blue lotus, dagger and bowl, uttering the mantra Hum, coloured blue, her hair braided with serpents, the Ugratara.
3. Sodashi.
4. Bhuvaneshvari. Like the red rays of the rising sun, with the moon as her diadem, and with three eyes, a smiling face, bestowing boons, holding a goad, a noose and dispelling fears, thus I hymn Bhuvaneshi.
5. Cchinnamasta.
6. Bhairavi. Her head garlanded with flowers, she resembling the red rays of 1,000 rising suns, smeared with red, holding milk, book, dispelling fears and giving boons with her four hands, large three eyes, beautiful face with a slow smile, wearing white gems, I worship Bhairava.
7. Dhumavati. The colour of smoke, wearing smoky clothes, holding a winnowing basket, dishevelled clothes, deceitful, always trembling, with slant eyes, inspiring fear, terrifying.
8. Bagalamukhi. Three eyes, wearing yellow clothes and gems, moon as her diadem, wearing champaka blossoms, with one hand holding the tongue of an enemy and with the left hand spiking him, thus should you meditate on the paralyser of the three worlds.
9. Matangi. Dusky, beautiful browed, her three eyes like lotuses, seated on a jewelled lion-throne, surrounded by gods and others serving her, holding in her four lotus-like hands a noose and a sword, a shield and a goad, thus I remember Matangi, the giver of results, the Modini.
10. Kamala. With a smiling face, her beautiful lily-white hands hold two lotuses, and show the mudras of giving and dispelling fear. She is bathed in nectar by four white elephants and stands upon a beautiful lotus.
“Shri Devi said: Lord of the world, lord of all knowledge, tell of the worship of the mahadevas in the three worlds. On the right hand side of each are various forms. Mahadeva, speak of each one separately.
“Shri Shiva said: Listen, beautiful one to Kalika’s Bhairava. On Dakshina’s right, worship Mahakala, with whom Dakshina is always in love union. Worship Akshobya on the right of Tara. Devi, the kalakuta poison produced by the churning of the ocean caused great agitation to all the gods and their consorts.
“Because he destroyed the agitation caused by the deadly yellow poison, he is known as Akshobya. Thus Tarini, the Mahamaya, always delights in her consort.
“On the right hand side of Mahatripurasundari, worship Shiva in his five-faced form with three eyes in each of the faces, O lady of the gods. She always delights in sexual union with her consort, O Mahadevi. For this reason, she is known as the famous Pancami. On the right side of Shrimad Bhuvaneshvari, who in the heavens, on earth, and in the underworlds is known as the Adya, worship Tryambaka. She makes love with Tryambaka in these places, it is said. He and his Shakti are mentioned and worshipped in all tantras. On Bhairavi’s right side is Dakshinamurti. By supreme efforts, one should certainly worship that five faced one.
“On Cchinnamasta’s right side, worship Shiva-Kabandha. By worshipping him, one becomes lord of all siddhi. The Mahavidya Dhumavati is a widow. Seated on the right of Bagala is the Maharudra, with one face, who dissolves the universe. On Matangi’s right side is Shiva Matanga, similar to Dakshinamurti, the form of cosmic bliss. He who worships Sadashiva, the Vishnu form, on Kamala’s right side becomes perfect, there is no doubt about this.
“On Annapurna’s right hand side, worship Brahma, the giver of great liberation, the god with ten faces, the Maheshvara. On the right side of Durga, worship Narada. The letter Na causes creation, the letter Da maintenance, while the letter Ra causes dissolution. So he is known as the famour Narada. Worship the Rishi who “gave birth” to the other vidyas on their right hand side.” (Todala, chapter one)
Shiva, in the second chapter, tells Shakti of yoga and describes the body as resembling a tree. There is no difference between the macrocosm or the microcosm. The supreme mantra is hamsa, equivalent to 21,600 breaths in a day. The letter Ha is Shiva while the letter Sa is Shakti. According to ancient texts, breath is time. An individual inhales once every four seconds and exhales once every four seconds. One is a solar breath and one a lunar breath.
In chapter three, the different forms and mantras of Kali are described, along with the sandhya (twilight) mantras of both Kali and Tara. These are the four tantrik twilights of dawn, midday, sunset and midnight, when the currents of pranayama change direction and the sadhaka can do his or her puja knowing he is close to the in-betweenness which is the essence of tantra. Kali’s daily rites are detailed.
The fourth chapter deals with Tara’s puja, giving a beautiful meditational image of her as situated in the centre of a lovely island, seated on a lion throne under a jewelled pavilion. Chapter five turns to Shambhunatha (Shiva). In this yuga, sadhakas should not worship his form known as Nilakantha, an aspect of Shiva. At the churning of the milk ocean, at the beginning of time, Shiva swallowed the poison which stained his throat a deep blue. It is unclear, however, why this tantra prohibits his worship. One should never worship Shakti unless Shiva is first worshipped, preferably with a clay linga.
In chapter six, Shiva gives the vasana or inner meaning of Kali and Tara mantras Krim and Strim. The different letters of the mantras are placed on separate parts of the human body. The seventh chapter speaks of yoga and of the seven islands and of their locations in the body. Kamarupa is in the muladhara cakra. Other sacred centres are also situated in the body.
The 51 letters of the alphabet are the sacred pithas within the body, each associated with one of the parts of the Devi which fell to earth when sliced by the discus of Vishnu.
Chapter eight continues the previous topic. The body is permeated with millions of nadis and the elements have their place there too. In chapter nine, Shiva speaks of the Sundari mantra.
Even though Shiva has already spoken of it in the Nitya Tantra, Shakti asks him to reveal its true meaning. Shiva says that 21,600 is the head of the letters of the alphabet and the true rosary in the thousand petalled lotus. Details of the rosary follow. Using tantrik methods, sadhakas can be both liberated and enjoy.
The last chapter equates Vishnu’s ten incarnations with the ten Mahavidyas. Durga is the Kalki, the last of the avatars of Vishnu. He is yet to come, and when he does he will be born in Shambhala. He will ride a white horse and hold a sword which blazes like fire, bringing back to the planet harmony, according to the Agni and other Puranas. Kali’s consort is Krishna.
“Shri Devi said: Lord of gods, guru of the universe, tell me of the ten avatars. Now I want to hear of this, tell me of their true nature. Paramesvara, reveal to me which avatar goes with which Devi.
“Shri Shiva said: Tara Devi is the blue form, Bagala is the tortoise incarnation, Dhumavati is the boar, Cchinnamasta is Nrisimha, Bhuvaneshvari is Vamana, Matangi is the Rama form, Tripura is Jamadagni, Bhairavi is Balabhadra, Mahalakshmi is Buddha, and Durga is the Kalki form. BhagavatÌ Kali is the Krishna murti.” (Todala, chapter 10)

end of  Todala Tantra



Yogini Tantra

The Yogini Tantra is a voluminous work held in high regard by practitioners of Vamachara. In a total of 28 chapters divided into two parts, it outlines every topic familiar to the Kaula and Vama traditions. What follows is an abstract of the first nine patalas or chapters.
First Patala
This opens with a familiar tantrik scene on Mount Kailasa where Shiva is addressed by Parvati. She says she has heard exposition of tantras before on Shri Shaila mountain, in Varanasi, in Kamarupa and in Nepal. Now she wants to hear more from Shiva, the world guru. In answer, Shiva says he will declare the great Yogini Tantra, the giver of both wealth and liberation. It is to be concealed and is unknown to all the devatas, to the asuras, to the yakshas and others but he will declare it out of love for Parvati.
He starts by eulogising the goddess as the cosmic mother (Vishvamata), dark as a thunderstorm, wearing a garland and waist-band of skulls, with dishevelled hair, completely naked (digambaram).
She has a rolling tongue, makes a terrifying roar, three reddened eyes, and has a wide open mouth. She wears a moon digit on her forehead, has the corpses of two boys as her earrings, and is adorned with various gems, which are of the brightness of the Sun and the Moon. Laughing loudly, she has two streams of blood pouring from her mouth, while her throat is red with blood. In her four arms she holds cleaver, head, and makes mudras dispelling fears and granting boons. She, the supreme Nitya, is seated in reverse (viparita) intercourse with Mahakala upon the corpse of Shiva. The whole scene is set in the cremation ground.
After this detailed dhyana of Kali, Shiva begins to outline the tantra, declaring that he is Parvati’s slave.
He starts with the characteristics of the guru, who he describes as the root of all shastra, the root of this world and the very self of Parabrahma and the essence of Shiva. The guru can save a disciple where even gods and goddesses cannot intercede. The guru’s family is to be considered as identical with the guru. There follows a dhyana of guru in the palace of wish-fulfilling gems on Mount Kailasa, surrounded by hosts of Bhairavas. The palace is surrounded by the seven oceans.
The guru is one with Mahakala Adinatha and knows all mantras, whether they be Shakta, Vaishnava or Ganapatya. The greatness of the guru is hymned in all the shastras.
Second Patala
Devi asks Shiva to speak of Kali and Tarini. Shiva says that Kalika is the greatest of the great vidyas, supreme and giving nirvana and liberation to people. Her disciples are Brahma, Vishnu and himself. If a sadhaka recites the Kali mantra, he becomes her son. Kali, Tara and Cchinna are the mahavidyas. One successful in Kali becomes similarly successful in the others. Shiva begins to speak of initiation. He says that the rosary to be used in the puja should be made of human skullbone for long-lasting success. A sadhaka or sadhika may also use crystal or ruby rosaries. A full rosary should have 108 beads. The meru, or bead to mark the beginning and the end of the mala, should be made of a king’s tooth. Shiva proceeds to outline the number of times the mantra should be recited holding the rosary and the way the fingers should count. He speaks of the nature of other rosaries including pearl, tulsi (basil) when worshipping Vishnu, ivory for Ganesha, and rudraksha or red sandalwood for Tripura. Dhattura growing in a cremation ground is used for Dhumavati. He then describes ritual accessories to be used in the puja and the times in bright and dark fortnights of the moon which are favourable and unfavourable as well as other restraints due to time as well as suitable places for the rite.
Third Patala
Devi asks how catastrophes including war and fever can be warded off. In reply, Shiva recites a kavacha or armour which can be used to protect against malefic influence. It is not to be revealed lightly. He then speaks of a way to subjugate the world (jagadvashyakara). Sage Narada also asked Shiva to speak of this of old.
Shiva says that when she is imagined as a naked Devi, Kali is the deludress of the world. He then gives the Trailokya Mohana Kavacha (armour bewildering the three worlds). Kalabhairava is the rishi of the mantra, anushtubh is the metre, Shmashana Kali is the devata. After giving the armour, Shiva describes how to make it. It should be written on bhurja (birch) bark and worn round the person. It should be written on the eighth day of the bright fortnight and placed inside a golden container. Wearing it on different parts of the body gives different results. On the head, it destroys disease. On the right shoulder, it gives whatever is desired. Vishnu now chimes in and says Narada achieved the desires he wanted by employing this kavacha.
Fourth Patala
The Devi now wants to know of other prayogas to give dominion, knowledge and wealth. Shiva mentions the Phetkarini Tantra and the Nila Tantra as sources. One process is to draw a hexagon with the mantra of Tara within plus the sadhya (the object). Devi asks about the satkarmas, six magical acts. Shiva says these are pacifying, subduing, causing enmity, driving away, uprooting (uccatana) and causing death. He says there are six Shaktis appropriate to these acts. The Padmini is suitable for pacifying and Sankhini for subjugation. He then outlines the mantras appropriate to the six acts.
Fifth Patala
Shiva describes a great sadhana in the cremation ground, involving the fifteen Kali Nityas. This sadhana can also be performed in a desert, by the side of a river, on a mountain, at a crossroads, at the root of a Bilva tree, at a place where there is a single lingam, at a place where there are no people as well as in the cremation ground.
Sixth Patala
Devi asks about the different classes of sadhaka. Shiva says they are divided into the divya (divine), vira (heroic) and pashu (herdlike) categories. The meditation for the divya should be concealed, Shiva speaking of vira meditation. He says a vira should meditate on the three bindus in the form of a 16 year old woman. The first is as bright as 10,000,000 dawn suns,extending from the head to the breasts. The second extends from the breasts to the hips and the third from the yoni to the feet. This is the Kamakala form, the very essence of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The vira and the divya may employ madya, mamsa, matsya, mudra and maithuna (the five ‘m’s) in their worship. According to Shiva, the rishis, the vasus, the daityas all became great through this puja. Shiva speaks of this worship for the four Hindu divisions (varnas) and also for the Avadhuta. Much of this material is repeated in the Yoni Tantra. He says the great nectar flows from Kundalini when it has risen to the top of the head. This is the great wine. She is the supreme Shakti within the body.
Seventh Patala
Devi asks Shiva to tell her of Devi Svapnavati (she who moves in sleep). He gives the mantra. Shiva says: ‘This Svapnavati Vidya is very hard to obtain in the three worlds. It is the cause of great miracles, declared by Mahakala.’ It should be recited 108 times then Svapnavati visits in sleep always. A sadhaka who masters the mantra sees everything in his dreams he wishes. The god then speaks of the Mritasanjivani vidya. This appears to give the power of bringing back the dead to life. He describes other vidyas including Madhumati and the Trilokyakarshi vidya. This attracts whatever a sadhaka desires in the three worlds. Maidens will cross oceans and mountain ranges to get to him. Shiva goes on to give vidyas of Padmavati, the Vashikarani vidya. He then returns to the topic of Svapnavati. This appears to involve awakening while in the dream state (lucid dreaming?). The mantras should be concealed and given only to the devoted, the unstained otherwise hosts of Dakinis consume a person.
Eighth Patala
Shiva speaks of the Yoginis. They look terrifying, with blazing eyes and 50 lakhs of faces. The daitya Ghora then recites a hymn to Devi, celebrating her victory over the Daityas. Shiva chimes in, praising her greatness in battle. Towards the end of the patala, Shiva gives a meditation image of Shakti as Kali.
Ninth Patala
Shiva starts this lengthy chapter by speaking of the Devi as the Brahmanda, the macrocosm. In this guise, she has an immense form, with millions upon millions of arms and heads. She is the sum of everything, containing puranas, vedas, smriti and vedas. As such she is of the brilliance of millions upon millions of suns and moons and fires, consisting of all knowledge, all paths, all dharma, all bliss, all shastra, all veda and all worlds, in short, everything. Then follows a meditation on Shakti as being present in the different parts of the body. Shiva closes by saying that Kali is the form of consciousness (citrupa), the impartite absolute.

End of Yogini Tantra



1 (My humble salutations to Swamyjis , Philosophic Scholars, Knowledge seekers for the collection)




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