modern murti of Dakshina Kalika

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Niruttara Tantra

The wise person should draw the shakti mantra on the forehead, surrounded by three circles. In the centre, he should write the kamabija (Klim), adorned with (other) kamabijas - Niruttaratantra XII, 2

This is a relatively brief work of 15 chapters, belonging to the Kali class of tantras and written in readable and simple Sanskrit. The word Niruttara means "having no better".

Chapter one deals with the three bhavas or temperaments of a tantrik and describes how the different amnayas, a term which here refers to the five directions (north, south, west and eastincluding upper) relate to the classifications into divya (divine), vira (heroic) and pashu (herdlike). Verse 16 gives some definitions: "A divya is one in whom devata predominates, while a vira is strong-minded (uddhata). The acts of a pashu relate to the Eastern Amnaya it is said." Uddhata, which is translated here as strong- minded, is actually a technical term of the tantriks - it means a person in whom the rajas or active guna predominates.

The best 'directions', according to this work, appear to be the Northern and the Upper, both of which have the characteristics of vira and divya bhavas (See Kularnava Tantra). Vaidika worship is for the day while Kula acts are performed at night. A vira should not worship during the day while a pashu should not worship at night-time.

The cremation ground is declared to have two meanings. One is the place 'where corpses sleep' while the other is in the form of the yoni. But the worship must be dual. Without Kalapuja, which in this context apparently also means puja of the lingam of Shiva-Mahakala, Dakshina Kalika does not give fruit.

Chapter two begins a description of Dakshina Kali, her mantra, her preparatory acts (purashcharana) and the results it gives. Shri Shiva says: "One should know that the vagina (bhaga) is Bhagavati, she is Dakshina and the lady of the three gunas (Triguneshvari). This vagina-form is all, that which moves and that which does not move."

At the centre of the yoni, which also here means a downward pointing triangle, is the Ha-ardha kala which is the subtle form of the Devi. The yoni is Dakshina Kali and she is the essence of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. When semen is in the yoni of the devi, she becomes Mahakali, the form of light, and gives birth to the universe. Shiva and Shakti are of two kinds, with qualities and without qualities. Without qualities they are a mass of light, the supreme absolute (Parabrahma), eternal. In reverse intercourse (viparitarata), Kali is both with qualities and without qualities. When she takes the form of the new moon, she is without qualities and is known as Aniruddha Sarasvati. When associated with Vishnu, she takes the form of Mahalakshmi, and is Maya herself. In her form as Dakshina Kali, she is the real form of all vidyas (goddesses) who give siddhi (success). Because Shiva and Shakti are one, they must be worshipped together.

Shiva then outlines the chief mantras of Dakshina Kalika. He then describes the dhyana (meditation form). A devotee should worship Kali, using vira bhava, as formidable, with rising swelling breasts full of milk, the colour of a thundercloud, dusky, roaring terribly, and having four arms. She carries a newly severed head, and a sword in her upper left and lower left hands. In her right, she shows the mudras dispelling fears and granting boons. Around her bloody throat, is a necklace made of 50 skulls which are the letters of the alphabet.

Two streams of blood trickle from her mouth. Around her are terrifying jackals which roar in the four directions. Her girdle is made of hands of corpses and she laughs. She is naked, with dishevelled hair, and bears a crescent moon as her diadem. She is seated on the corpse form of Mahadeva, where she has intercourse with Mahakala in the viparita position. Her eyes roll with liquor, her smiling face is like a lotus and she is very terrifying Maharaudri who gives all bliss.

The chapter then describes vira sadhana at night in the cremation ground. A sadhaka should first worship mentally and then may do the outer form of puja. He should also worship Mahakala, whose dhyana is given as follows: Of a smoky colour, with matted locks, three eyes, united with Shakti, naked, of terrifying form, his effulgence equal to a sapphire unguent. He is both with qualities and without qualities.

Then a sadhaka should worship the 15 Kali Nityas in the five triangles and in the eight petals of the Kaliyantra should worship Brahmi, Narayani, Kaumari, Maheshvari, Aparajita, Chamunda, Varahi and Narahasimhika, from the east first. In the four doors of the yantra are Asitanga and the other seven Bhairavas who are Ruruchanda, Krodha, Bhishana, Unmatta, Kapali and Samharaka. They are given worship in pairs, from the east in order.

In the 10 directions, a sadhaka should worship the dikpalas (lords of the directions). After this worship, the practitioner should meditate on her in her form as Kulluka, using a mantra with five syllables situated in the different parts of the body. Shiva says Kulluka is Tara as Mahanilasarasvati. Following this, one should recite the mantra 108 times, worship Mahakala again with Lalita and recite the armour (kavacha) and the hymn (stava).

Chapter three speaks of the kavacha (armour) of Dakshina Kali. This, unlike other Kali kavachas translated in Magic of Kali, is brief and starts: 'Siddhakali, protect my head, Dakshina protect my forehead! Kali protect my mouth always, Kapali, protect my eyes. Kulla shield my cheeks always and Kurukullika protect my mouth. Virodhini protect the adhara (?) and Viprachitta the lips.

'Ugra, protect my ears always and Ugraprabha my nostrils. Dipta shield my throat and Nila be protective of my lower throat.

'Ghana protect my chest and Matra always protect my diaphragm. Mudra always protect the navel and Mita shield my lingam always.' The kavacha goes on to use the 22 letters of the Kali mantra to protect other parts of the body. Shiva then gives a hymn to Kali called the Kalika Stotra. This is essentially an extended meditation, similar to the above.

The main subject matter of chapter four concerns purashcharana, the preparatory acts a sadhika or sadhaka must perform before she or he becomes competent to recite the mantra. Shiva first gives a set of asanas or postures and then says there are 72,000 nadis in the body. The chief nadis for prana (bioenergy or vital breath) are 10 and of these the most important are the Ida, the Pingala and the Sushumna nadis. Within the last is the Chitrini nadi. The three nadis are the Moon, Sun and Fire devatas while Sushumna is of the nature of Sun and Moon conjoined.

Shiva then describes the 10 vayus, which are in sets of two. When a yogi unites that which is above and that which is below, he unites Sun and Moon, realises Om and is one with Hamsa. Hamsa, the tantra explains, relates to the breath. The letter Ha is exhalation and the letter Sa inhalation. A living being (jiva) recites this supreme mantra known as the Ajapa mantra (that which is not recited) 21,600 times day and night.

The ajapa mantra is called the gayatri of yogis and and gives liberation. This, says the tantra, is the secret preparatory act before a mantra can become siddha. There follows a meditation on Kali where she is conceived of as light extending from the feet to the top of the head. A yogi or yogini should offer fruit, flower, scent, clothes, gems mentally to Kali again and again. This, explains Shiva, is the preparatory act of the northern amnaya of Kali Kula.

Shiva then allocates different forms of the Devi to the different directions and describes the purascharanas. A pashu, established in the southern amnaya should use the 22 syllable mantra and recite it two lakhs (100,000), half in the day and half at night. Every tenth time, the worshipper must give sacrifice.

Vira purashcharana is different. The sadhaka and his shakti should be naked in the cremation ground. The shakti should have Kamakala written on her forehead and in the centre of that should be the Devi mantra. The mantra should be recited 100,000 times and every tenth recitation should consist of an oblation of alcohol into fire. If a sadhaka does not have a shakti, he can worship her mentally.

Without doing preparatory acts, there is no entitlement to worship. Puja done without the preparatory acts makes black magic out of a person's recitation and sacrifice. One is also to give gifts to the guru and to his shakti and his relatives. Success in mantra cannot be achieved without supreme devotion.

Chapter five speaks of the Rajani ("the coloured or dark female"), which here seems to mean the shakti of a sadhaka. She should be free of shame, free of the opposites (dvandva), devoted to Shiva, pure (satva-gata) and by her own will (svecchaya) takes the viparita posture in intercourse.

A sadhaka may also meditate on her mentally, as a mass of light in the brow. In this supreme form she sheds nectar. She should also be meditated upon as Gayatri in the form of exhalation and inhalation. This, says Shiva, is the Brahma Gayatri of yogis.

To obtain success, a yogi must reject greed, lust and envy. If a yogi does puja prompted by these, he goes to the Raurava Hell and becomes miserable. He is to reject the idea of difference and then achieves liberation. No-one should worship Kali if hungry or thirsty. 'After eating and drinking, one should worship the auspicious Kalika.'

Unless one is a vira or a divya, one should not worship Kalika. That brings sorrow 'at every step' and a person goes to Naraka Hell. One should not worship Kalika if lazy, as that will bring an individual to the level of a pashu (beast). The Kalika darshana is the lata darshana, that is the revealed doctrine into which sexual intercourse, likened to the twining of a vine, enters. It should be performed in an empty place, in a cremation ground, at a river-bank, on a mountain. There, one should worship Shakti. Without a guru, one should not perform ritual intercourse, which leads to hell, destruction and poverty.

In vira sadhana of Kalika one should use meat, wine, flesh, fish and maithuna (the five m's). The text describes forms of the Devi who are worshipped in this fashion.

Chapter six speaks of the siddhi which ensues from worship of the Rajani, the chief of which is liberation whilst living. Shiva says that this knowledge, which destroys Samsara, should never be revealed. He then describes vira sadhana. The union of female and male is the supreme essence and is the worship of Kalika. It gives siddhi and is hard to obtain even for the gods.

In chapter seven, Shri Devi asks about abhisheka. Shiva says there are two types, that which is done in the vaidika way and also knowledge (jnana) abhisheka, which is hidden in all the tantras. He says a tantrik should do Kula-abhisheka, which creates peace, all that is good, dispels ailments, gives wealth, destroys great sins and the like. It gives the fruit of all bathing places (tirtha).

It is to be obtained from the guru. Shiva says that the devatas are not satisfied unless there is bliss coming from the worship of Kali and the five m's. Without Kulachara, it is impossible to be successful in the Kali mantra. Without this type of abhishekha, all puja turns into black magic and an individual goes to Naraka Hell or worse.

One must bow to the true guru, to deva and devi, do guru puja and then perform the abhishekha at the root of a bilva tree, at the junction of three paths, in the ancestral ground, in a deserted place and in other favoured Kaula spots.

Chapter eight opens with Shiva talking of arghya and the establishment of a pot to do the purashcharana. He gives the mantras associated with the worship. The chapter speaks of the Mahapuja, or great worship, and goes on to list at great length the different devatas of the tradition connected with the abhisheka. This worship gives success to a sadhaka.

In chapter nine, Devi asks how a person becomes successful in the mantras. Shiva describes the initiation of a Kula Shakti. After drawing a Kamakala yantra, the sadhaka should whisper the root mantra in her left ear. The initiated shakti sits on the left of the sadhaka, wearing red clothes, smeared with various scents and adorned with different jewels. The mantra should be drawn on her forehead. By worshipping this shakti in the Kulalula rite, devis from everywhere are attracted to the chakra. This rite produces nirvana for gods and for men. Intercourse with an initiated shakti brings success, provided the participants are initiated by the guru, otherwise the sadhaka is cast into the Naraka underworld.

Devi says she still is unsure about the different Shaktis and asks Shiva to explain further. Shiva says he will speak specifically about the Kula sadhana. A person should not do Kula sadhana without an initiated Vira Shakti.

He speaks of five chakras where these shaktis may be worshipped, which are the Raja chakra, the Maha chakra, the Deva chakra, the Vira chakra and the Pashu chakra. Brahmacharis and Grihasthas (householders) can worship in these five chakras. He speaks of various substances used in the chakras including svayambhu, kunda, gola and udbhava flowers, which are Kaula tantrik code-terms for menstrual blood and also gives days of the waxing and waning Moon which bring success in the particular rites.

The goddess asks who are the five mothers worshipped in the rite. Shiva explains they must be initiated women. Without worship of svayambhu, gola, kunda and udbhava flowers, the rites are useless and bring harm to sadhakas.

The tenth chapter is a discussion about the different chakras in the Kaula tradition, here meaning assembies of the Kaula folk. Shiva says that Vira or heroic sadhana may only be accomplished with an initiated Shakti. Chakras are of five types: Raja, the Mahachakra, the Devachakra, the Virachakra and the Pashuchakra. Both Brahmacharis and Grihastha (householders) can worship in all five.

Shiva gives details of the ritual accessories (upacharas) employed in these as well as the best times for creating them. The best times are the eighth and fourteenth days of the waning Moon on a Tuesday or on the fourth and seventh days of the waxing Moon on a Thursday. 64,000 forms of the Devi dwell in the different chakras. The Vira Chakra should take place on an eighth or fourteenth day of the dark fortnight in the ancestral grounds, that is the cremation ground. Shiva completes this chapter by describing the five maidens (Kanyas) and their worship.

Devi asks Shiva about sadhana of the yoni in chapter eleven. First, Shiva describes the characteristics of the sadhaka, then moves on to the sadhika. The male should be free from duality, ego- less, generous, fearless, pure, devoted to his gurudeva, peaceful and devoid of shame and greed. He should wear red clothes and red gems.

The sadhika (female worshipper) should have similar qualities and when having intercourse should, by her own will (svecchaya) assume the inverse sexual position (viparita). She should be initiated in the tradition. The mantra should be recited 108 times and the Devi worshipped internally. The Kulachakra should be drawn using vajra flowers and the preparatory act completed by reciting the mantra 108 times. The mantra Hrim should be drawn on the forehead of the Shakti. Shiva says that without puja of Kamakhya, it is impossible to be successful in the mantra. More details are given in chapter twelve.

In chapter thirteen, the Devi asks Shiva about the Vidyas (female mantras) giving siddhi (success). Shiva relates the different goddesses to the types of Shakti. Tara is the Chandali, Shri Vidya the Brahmani, Cchinnamasta the Kapali. This chapter also gives results from worshipping Devi for a given period of time. Doing Kaula puja according to the Mahachinachara rule and worshipping Kamakhya in a cremation ground gives sovereignty.

The quite long chapter fourteen opens with Devi asking Shiva about the Veshyas. This word, literally, means whore but is applied in this tantra to initiated Shaktis and to Devis. Shiva enumerates seven, the Gupta Veshya, the Mahaveshya, the Kulaveshya, the Mahodaya, the Rajaveshya, the Devaveshya and the Brahmaveshya.

The Guptaveshya is without shame, with her eyes rolling with lust. The Mahodaya, by her own will, takes the viparita position. The Kulaveshya is the spouse of the Kula. The Mahaveshya is a digambari by her own will, that is, she goes naked. Then follows a eulogy of the viparita position. If mantra is recited when in intercourse with the Shakti, she is Kali and gives mantra-siddhi and nirvana. When semen is emitted during the rite, a sadhaka becomes like Mahakala while the sadhika becomes like Dakshina Kalika. Only through the Kaula rite does a human being become enlightened.

The fifteenth chapter deals with the panchamakara, known as the five M's, and used in vamachara rites. These are madya (wine), mamsa (flesh), mina (fish), mudra (bean) and maithuna (sexual intercourse). The sadhaka, at night, sits with his Shakti to his left, doing the various types of nyasa first. The chapter gives the rules of puja and towards the end enumerates the ten Mahavidyas and the other Siddha Vidyas. These are given as Kali, Tara, Cchinna, Matangi, Bhuvaneshvari, Annapurna, Nitya, Durga, Mahishamardini, Tvarita, Tripuraputa, Bhairavi, Bagala, Dhumavati, Kamala, Sarasvati, Jayadurga, and Tripurasundari. For these 18 Mahavidyas, there is no need for purification, nor of considering day, tithi, nakshatra, yoga or karana. Thus ends the Niruttara Tantra.

Artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1996-2006. Translations are © Mike Magee 1996-2006. Questions or comments to

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