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Abstract of Dakshinamurti Samhita
Dear One, Tripura is the ultimate, primordial Shakti, the light of manifestation. She, the pile of letters of the alphabet, gave birth to the three worlds. At dissolution, She is the abode of all tattvas, still remaining Herself – Vamakeshvaratantra
This work is a comprehensive digest on the subject of Shri Vidya, from the Kaula point of view. It largely skips the philosophical implications of the cult and concentrates on the ritualistic aspects. Yet the work is of interest because it seems to represent a different branch of the tradition. For example, the mantras (properly, vidyas) of the Devi’s 15 Nityas or eternities differ from those encountered in other texts including Tantrarajatantra, Vamakeshvara, the Kalpa Sutras, &c.
The different patalas (chapters) are of widely varying lengths, some consisting of only a few shlokas (verses), while others go into considerable detail.
Chapter one begins with praise of Tripura in her five lion seat form. Shri Devi questions Ishvara about the different amnayas, identified with the four directions and the upper face. Shiva describes the different forms of Shri Vidya and gives the vidya and dhyana (meditation images) of Lakshmi in her one syllable form. Chapter two describes Mahalakshmi puja, together with the vidya, dhyana, and purashcharana (preparatory acts) of the goddess. In the third chapter, Shiva describes the worship of the three Shakti form of Mahalakshmi.
Samrajya Lakshmi is the subject of the fourth chapter. After describing her form, Shiva gives her vidya and the different avarana or attendants in her yantra.
In chapter five, Ishvara speaks of Shri Kosha Vidya. A sadhaka who masters this vidya is never reborn. She is the supreme light, without any attributes whatsoever, the very self of creation, maintenance and dissolution.
Chapter six extends the subject of the Paranishkala Devata (supreme goddess with no parts). She is the supreme form of Parabrahma, wears white clothes, white gems and is smeared with white paste. She shows the mudra of knowledge and is served by hosts of yogis.
The seventh chapter deals with the Ajapa or unpronounced mantra. According to the Kaulas, a human being breathes 21,600 times during the day. Half are Sun breaths and half are Moon breaths. This is called the Ajapa because it is pronounced spontaneously, as a person breathes, and is called the Hamsa mantra. A sadhaka can meditate on different chakras in the human body, assigning sections of these breaths there.
Chapter eight speaks of Matrika, the goddess as the letters of the alphabet, starting with A first and Ksha last. Ishvara gives the mandala to create for her worship and gives a dhyana of the goddess.
The next patala, chapter nine, begins to describe Bala Tripurasundari in her form as a young pubescent woman. She sits on a beautiful jewelled lion seat in the midst of the kadamba forest. The text gives details of her yantra, and other ritualistic accessories. This is a much longer chapter than the previous eight. Chapters 10 and 11 deal with the lion seat in the four quarters.
In chapter 12, Shiva describes the Kama Bija, personified by Kameshvari. She is as effulgent as a china rose, holds a bow and arrows, and is adorned with various beautiful jewels which delude the whole three worlds.
Chapter 13 describes Rakta Netra worship. She has the form of Lalita, with rounded high buttocks (nitambini), a slender waist, a peaceful face and beautiful eyes. She is young and beautiful with swelling, high firm breasts.
In chapter 15 the devatas associated with the southern amnaya are briefly described. Then Shiva, in the next chapter, describes those of the western amnaya.
Chapter 16 describes the Mritasamjivini Devi, a female form of Mrityunjaya. The next, patala 17, describes Vajreshi.
In chapter 18, Shiva speaks of the Tripureshi Bhairavi vidya. This is Lalita as a woman in whom menstruation has ceased.
Chapter 19 gives more details about the western amnaya, while chapter 20 continues the topic by dealing with the northern (uttara) amnaya. Bhairavi is situated here.
Chaitanya Bhairavi is the subject of chapter 21, while Kuta Bhairavi forms the subject matter in chapter 22. The form of the goddess known as Nitya Bhairavi is the topic of chapter 23, while another fierce aspect of Tripurasundari, Aghora Bhairavi (Damareshi) forms the subject matter of chapter 24. Devi Sampat Bhairavi in the subject of chapter 25.
In chapter 26 Shiva tells Devi about Panchasundari. This is Lalita in her form as the five elements of space, fire, air, earth and water. Chapter 27 deals with Parijateshvari, while chapter 28 covers Pancha Baneshi, or the goddess in her form as the five arrows. Pancha Kameshvari is the topic of chapter 29, while Kalpalata Vidya is described in chapter 30. Chapter 31 deals of Annapurna, or the Devi full of food. She is described as a Siddha Vidya, giving endless food to her devotees.
In chapter 32 we learn of Matangi Ratna Devi. Details of her puja, her dhyana, her avarana devatas and her vidya are described. Chapter 33 covers Bhuvaneshvari, and the same subject is continued in 34 and in chapter 35 at some length. Chapter 36 speaks of the Ghatargala Yantra.
Varahi (also known as Panchami) is the subject of chapter 37. Her yantra can be inscribed on silver, gold or copper. Alternatively, it may be drawn on birch bark (bhurja), using substances including kumkum, aguru, sandal, rochana, or turmeric and water. She is as bright as a blue lotus, wears a garland of skulls, and is adorned with nine jewels.
In the 38th chapter, tarpana (oblation) is described at some length, together with some prayogas, the nature of the pot to be used in the worship and other details. This chapter deals with the six magical acts (shatkarma).
The 39th, brief chapter, speaks of the Pancharatra Agama, known as the Vishnu Agama. It gives a dhyana of the Lakshmi. In chapter 40, Ishvara starts to speak of Kameshvari Nitya. The next chapters, up to and including chapter 53, speak of the other Nityas. As noted elsewhere, these have different mantras and vidyas to those spoken of in the Tantrarajatantra.
Chapter 54 gives an explanation of the 15 Nityas (16, if Lalita is included). There follows an interesting correlation between the states of waking, dream and deep sleep with the three gunas. The fourth state (Turya), is described as the ultimate Kala, free from existence and non-existence, beyond the three gunas. These are the 16 Kalas but beyond this is a 17th Kala which is the Absolute itself. The text correlates the letters of the Shri Vidya mantra with the Nityas and with that which is beyond them. It relates the three sections of the Shri Vidya with the three worlds and with the Mahapitha formed from the Sanskrit letters A-Ka-Tha. In the centre of the universe (prapancha) is Tripura, who is of the nature of the absolute.
In chapter 55, Devi asks how one should perform the daily puja of the goddess. Shiva gives details here which are similar to those in other Shri Vidya tantras and in Subhagodaya. In chapter 56, Shiva says that the supreme goddess is in the form of compassion, bears the universe (Jagadhatri), and is in the form of sound as Nada and Bindu. She is also beyond these. Various mantras of Shri Vidya exist, including those first pronounced by Kubera and Lopamudra. She enumerates the other vidyas of Shri Vidya pronounced by other rishis.
Towards the end of this chapter, Ishvara Shiva sings of the greatness of Lalita and describes the Turya or fourth technique, by remembering which, an individual becomes one with the Brahman or Mahapada. He says: “One’s self (svayam) is Brahma, one’s self is Vishnu, one’s self is Rudra, there is no doubt about it.” One who pronounces the vidya even once surpasses thousands of millions of Ashvamedhas (horse sacrifices), acts of homa, sacrifices, pilgrimages to holy places like Kashi, bathing in sacred rivers and the rest. He adds that even if he had millions of tongues, it would be impossible to speak of the greatness of Shrividya. After obtaining it from the guru, it washes away the most heinous of sins.
In chapter 57, he continues the subject of the worship of Shri Vidya and describes a great nyasa in which she is identified with the letters of the alphabet, the Ganeshas, the planets, the sidereal constellations (nakshatras), the solar constellations (rashis), the yoginis and the sacred sites. The full nyasa is published on this site. As an aside, tantrik astrology differs from Western astrology in that the signs of the zodiac are aligned with the stars of the constellations, rather than beginning at the Spring Equinox.
Chapter 58 discusses the important subject of Kamakala. The three bindus are to be meditated on in Tripura’s forehead and two breasts, while the Ha-Ardha kala is in her yoni, below. One should meditate on being one with the Devi. Then follows a lengthy meditation on Lalita, similar to the one in Vamakeshvara Tantra.
In chapter 59, Shiva speaks of the famous Shri Yantra and describes the Shaktis or attendants worshipped in the different nine mandalas, together with how they should be visualised. The chapter concludes with the nine different forms of Lalita in each of these mandalas.
The 60th chapter speaks of how the sadhika or sadhaka should end her or his puja, with worship of Shoshika and the rest. In chapter 61, he speaks of the different fruits of reciting mantra (japa) and of homa (fire worship) in a number of differently shaped kundas or fire pits. These produce different results according to the wish of she or he who does puja, and demand different types of fruit, flowers, and scents, depending on the object of the homa.
In chapter 62, Ishvara speaks of the Suvasini, of her characteristics, and of the sadhana to attract her. A circle is to be drawn and everything therein should be red. She should be given flower, fruit, scented water, food, clothes and jewels. The appropriate mudras should be displayed to her. Other rites are given which result in the acquisition of marvellous siddhis or powers. At the end of the chapter, the five Kamas are described. By worshipping the Kamas, an individual may “delude the world” and attract 64 kotis of yoginis to the chakra.
In chapter 63, the important subject of the sexual worship of Shaktis is discussed. Shiva describes the vira sadhana and says that once semen is emitted using this rite, it should be offered to the Shakti. Sacred substances include semen, menstrual blood and urine, the text says. If a person worships in this manner without being properly initiated, the text warns, it is the equivalent of slaying a Brahmin, and he or she ends up in the different hells available in the Hindu tradition. You cannot adopt this method by reading it from a book, it continues.
In chapter 64, the subject of creating a pavitra is alluded to, together with the ritual method for consecrating it. The last, 65th chapter, speaks, in some detail, of a rite of subjugation.
Artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1975-2021. Translations are © Mike Magee 1975-2021.Questions or comments to email@example.com