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The Heart of Kālī
Final liberation is attained by the knowledge that the Ātmā is the witness, is the truth, is omnipresent, is one, free from all deluding distractions of self and not-self, the supreme, and though abiding in the body is not in the body. – Mahānirvāṇa Tantra XIV, 116.
[The following stotra (hymn), published in the Kālī Rahasya, a Kālī Pūjā compendium, is intended to stave off bad fortune and give success. However, it also touches on many of the hidden left-hand (Vāmācāra) practices of Kālī. It is translated here into English for the first time.]
Śrī Mahākāla said: Listen, dearest, to Dakṣiṇā’s supreme secret, very hidden and difficult to obtain, her very marvellous hymn known as the Hṛdaya. Not spoken of before, I reveal it now because of your love. It should be concealed from others! This is true, true, O Mountain Born One.
Śrī Devī said: Śaṃbhu Maheśvara, ocean of compassion, in which yugā did my hymn arise, and how was it created? Tell me all of this.
Śrī Mahākāla said: A long time ago I decapitated Prajāpatī, and due to this evil act of slaying a Brahman came to be Bhairava (1). I created this hymn to destroy the sin of brahminicide, dearest. This hymn destroys the consequence of killing Brahmins. (2)
Application: Oṃ Śrī Mahākāla is the Ṛṣī of this heart mantra of Śrī Dakṣiṇā Kālikā. Uṣṇik is the metre. Śrī Dakṣiṇā Kālikā is the Devatā. Krīm is the bijā. Hrīṃ is the Śakti. Namaḥ is the peg. Its application follows from its continual recitation.
Heart Nyāsa etc.
Oṃ Krāṃ to the heart Namaḥ.
Meditate on Kālī Mahāmāyā with three eyes, of different forms, with four arms, a rolling tongue, bright as a full moon, the colour of a blue night lotus, dispeller of the assembly of enemies, holding a man’s skull, a sword, a lotus, and giving boons.
Her mouth is bloody and fanged, she has a fear inspiring form, she is addicted to very loud laughter and completely naked.
The Devī sits on a corpse and is adorned with a garland of skulls. After meditating on Mahādevī like this, then read the Hṛdaya.
Oṁ Kālikā, primordial and terrifying form, bestower of the fruit of all desires, hymned by all gods, destroy my enemies.
Hrīṃ, You who are the essence of Hrīṃ, the most excellent thing in the three worlds, hard to obtain, out of love for me, deny anything whatsoever to he whom I name!
Now I speak of the meditation, O supreme self, the essence of night. Whoever knows this becomes liberated while still living.
Meditate on her having dishevelled and matted hair, decorated with strings of serpents, a half moon as her diadem, in union with Mahākāla.
Boon giver, visualising her like this causes all people to become liberated in every way. This is true, true.
Now listen to the yantra of the supreme goddess, the giver of success in whatsoever is desired. Hide this greatly quintessential secret of secrets with every effort.
The Kālī yantra, the giver of true siddhi, is made from five triangles, an eight petal lotus, surrounded by a bhūpura, and encompassed by skulls and funeral pyres (3). The mantra, previously spoken of, should always be worn on the body dearest!
Now Devī Dakṣiṇā Kālī’s garland of names is revealed: Kālī, Dakṣiṇā Kālī, black of body, the supreme self, wearing a garland of skulls, large eyed, cause of creation and dissolution, self of maintenance, Mahāmāyā, the power of Yoga, the essence of good fortune, the female serpent, intoxicated with wine, the sacrificial offering, with the vagina as her banner, primordial one, always ninefold, terrifying, the greatly effulgent one, formidable, with a corpse as her vehicle, Siddhi Lakṣmī, Niruddha, Sarasvatī.
Whoever recites this garland of names daily causes me to become their slave. Maheśvarī, this is true, true.
Kālī, destroyer of time, goddess of skeletal form, taking the form of a raven, blacker than black, I worship you O Dakṣiṇā Kālikā!
I bow to you Kālikā, Mahāraudrī, fond of the night, Devī liking kuṇḍa, gola and svayambhū flowers (4).
I bow to you Dūtī (5), the Dūtī causing Yoga to arise from sexual intercourse, you who are the great Dūtī, fond of Dūtīs, the supreme Dūtī, the Lady of Yoga.
Those who recite the mantra Krīṃ seven times over water and then sprinkle themselves with it destroy all disease. There is no question about this.
Those who seek any object who charge sandal paste with the great mantra Krīṃ Svāhā and then make a forehead mark of it become the most intelligent of people, and always able to subjugate.
Dearest, those who offer unhusked rice while reciting the mantra Krīm Hrām Hrīṃ seven times, destroy great worries and obstacles, there is no doubt of it.
Those who pronounce the mantra Krīm Hrīṃ Hrūm Svāhā over the cremation pyre, then encircle the house of their enemies with the ashes kill their enemies.
Those who offer seven flowers and pronounce the mantra Hrūm Hrīṃ Krīm uproot their foes, no doubt of it.
If, after reciting Krīm Krīm Krīm, while offering unhusked rice, it causes the object of attraction to swiftly come from a distance of even 1,000 yojana’s (6).
Those who recite the mantra Krīṃ Krīṃ Krīṃ Hrūṃ Hruṃ Hrīṃ Hrīṃ seven times, purifying water and making a forehead mark of it, delude the whole world.
Parāmeśanī, this Hṛdaya is the destroyer of all evil, a million million times greater than Aśvamedhā and other sacrifices. The fruit it gives is one million million times better than the offerings given to virgins (7). Its results, it is said, are greater by one million million than those obtained from offering to Dūtīs.
It is a million times greater than the results obtained from bathing in the Gaṅgā and other sacred waters. Reciting it only once bestows these results. This is true, true, I swear it.
The initiated person who, after worshipping a Kumārī of beautiful form, and then recites this hymn, becomes liberated whilst living, O Maheśanī.
If, after having seen the vagina full of menses, one should recite it with one-pointed mind, Varānane! he gains the supreme place in Devīloka, the heaven of the goddess.
In great sorrow, suffering great disease, in great conflicts, in great anxieties, in fearful terrifying places, if one should recite this ultimate stotra. (one is freed from them) in a day.
This is true, true and again true. It should be hidden like a mother’s yoni.
(1) This story is related in the Skanda Purāṇa. Brahma liked his daughter and wanted to couple with her. But that didn’t meet with the approval of Śiva, who cut off his fifth head. Brahma and Śiva had a great fight, which the latter won. Śiva, however, had committed the sin of killing a Brahmā, an act requiring expiation. Forever afterwards, Śiva in his form of Bhairava, the terrible one, bears the fifth head of Brahma.
(2) So followers of Śiva have a licence to kill Brāhmaṇas! This probably stems from a time when the Āryan race was entering India and faced opposition from the indigenous tribes already occupying the subcontinent.
(3) Kālī has eight different cremation grounds. They are enumerated in the voluminous work called the Mahākālasaṃhitā, Guhyakālī Khaṇḍa.
(4) The three primary types of menstrual blood in the tantrik tradition.
(5) Dūtī means messenger. Yet the meaning is She who makes Śiva Her messenger.
(6) A Hindu measure of distance.
(7) Kumārī Pūjā – to this day performed in Nepal and in parts of India, where a young girl is treated as an incarnation of the goddess.
Artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1975-2022. Translations are © Mike Magee 1975-2022.Questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org