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Shri Jvalamukhi Devi
I meditate in my heart on that beautiful jewel throne of bindu and nada, the circle of consciousness, in that cavity where a bright lightning-like colour competes with the effulgence of a pale red gem – Matrikabheda Tantra
Her name means ‘Fiery Mouth’, and while this is a synonym for a volcano, her name refers to her main cult site where natural flames have burnt from time immemorial. The Devi image herself can be viewed here.
As Lalita represents the Waxing moon and Kali represents the Waning moon, this third goddess unites the two. Here, Kali represents moon, Lalita represents sun, but Jvalamukhi represents fire, and the primordial property of fire, which is to reduce all to ashes. Ashes are sacred to Shiva and to all sadhus. There is even an Upanishad which deals with the miraculous properties of ash — the Brihad Jabala Upanishad.
It is this ash which is left after the body is consumed on the funeral pyre. The cremation ground is sacred in Natha symbolism. Further the ash produced by Jvalamukhi’s fire is the ash of all material things at the end of time. It is also the ash left after sexual intercourse, and has sacred and healing properties. The dhooni is the sacred fire of the Naths and the sadhus. These fires were kept lit for so many years that there exist hills of ashes (bhasmagiri) all over India.
Just as Lalita and Kali have their own internal symbolism, their own mantras and their own yantras, so too with Jvalamukhi. The following extract is from the "Five Limbs of Jvalamukhi", a compilation including the worship details, yantra, mantras and 1,000 names of this goddess, which we are currently translating:
"Shri Bhairava said — Listen Devi as I speak to you of Jvalamukhi, the essence of all, and her encompassing Devis, the knowledge which is hard to get, even for gods. Shri Devi said — O Thou With Matted Locks! You are the Lord of All, Knower of all Shastras. From you lotus-like mouth I have heard many books and puja injunctions. O Natha, I pray You, speak to me of Jvalamukhi’s great mantra, yantra, puja, and sadhana, her limbs and her practice.
"Shri Bhairava said — Listen, O goddess Bhairaveshvari, to the mantra, yantra and limbs. I will speak of her rituals and sadhana. One should conceal and keep this very secret. There is one method to transcend this great universe, cruel and devoid of love O Maheshvari. This is by employing the mantra Hamsa.
"O Deveshi, this mantra was revealed by the eternal grace of Jvalamukhi. This mantra caused the creation of the Universe and the Maintenance of all that moves. (She said) "Day and night I create, I withdraw and I maintain. Whoever has obtained this mantra bestowing prosperity has attained the ultimate power of dominion. Jvalamukhi is the world mother, the very essence of the three gunas.
"By sattvas She creates the universe, by rajas She maintains, and by tamas She withdraws –therefore She is the self of the three gunas. She is the mother of the three worlds, the mother of the Devis. Listen attentively, Parameshvari, as I relate to you her mantra, yantra, meditation image, limbs and puja.
"In the Agamas the fixed rule is to commence with the mantra. This I now declare, Mahadevi. One should not reveal it, except to sincere seekers. At first pronounce Om, then Hrim Shrim Jvalamukhi mama sarvashatrun bhakshaya bhakshaya Hum Phat Svaha. This is the mantra of Jvalamukhi, and gives power over time, whatsoever is desired, wiping out (sins such as) killing brahmins or a guru or a woman, or eating what should not be eaten, or having sexual intercourse with those with whom it is evil, such as one’s mother or one’s children. This mantra is the washer-away of all this, O Devi, this is true, without doubt.
"Now listen, Deveshi, to the unfolding of the highest of the high of yantras. One should carefully conceal this bestower of enjoyment and liberation. At first one should make a hexangle consisting of interlacing triangles. In the centre one should draw a triangle, and in its centre should place the bindu, the abode of Shiva. In the central triangle and bindu is the great temple of Jvalamukhi. In the upper triangle is the Sundari Temple, it is said. In the lower triangle is the Dakshina Kalika Temple. Then one should draw a circle, and draw eight petals, outside of this drawing 16 petals. Outside this one should draw 10 petals. Outside of this one should draw three circles, and then an earth-square.
"This yantra of Jvalamukhi is like the creation of the qualities of the three worlds. One should not give it to the pupil of another, or to a bad person, or else one incurs the sin of killing a brahmin. Now listen to the layanga, Deveshi, worshipped by Brahma and Vishnu. O Deveshi, whosoever has this King of Yantras has whatever he desires.
"In the four doors one should worship the four protectors of the doors — Ganesha, Dharmaraja, Vasuki and Nrisimhi. In the east is Gananatha, in the south Dharmaraja, in the west Vasuki, and in the north one should worship Narasimha.
"Then one should worship in the 16 petals the 16 Jvalas (Flames). By doing this in an anticlockwise direction, O Devi, one may gain various magical results. (They are) 1) Varuni 2) Vatyali 3) Varahi 4) Kulasundari 5) Kuvari 6) Kulika 7) Kunthi 8) Kutsita 9) Kutila 10) Kuhu 11) Kunti 12) Kumbeshvari 13) Kunti 14) Kuchari 15) Karuni 16) Kriti. These are the 16 Jvalas.
"Then in the eight petal lotus one should worship the eight maidens 1) Maya 2) Mohini 3) Bala 4) Bhagarupini 5) Bhagavasa 6) Bhirunda 7) Mridani 8) Baindaveshvari. These renowned maidens one should worship in the Chakra of the eight petals.
"Then one should worship the 10 givers of happiness of Jvalamukhi, O Parvati. If one does so in an anti-clockwise manner one gains success in the sadhana most certainly. 1) Brahmi 2) Shambhavi 3) Durga 4) Varahi 5) Kulakamini 6) Narasimhi 7) Kaumari 8) Matangi 9) Bhadra-Kalika 10) Ugratara. These renowned Devis are the 10 Kalas of Jvala.
"True sadhakas should worship in these 10 petals and then in the triangle above should worship Tripurasundari. In the triangle below one should worship Dakshina Kalika. In the centre one should worship Devi Jvalamukhi (with her attendants) Jvalini, Jatini, Jata and Jalandhari. Thus the layanga has been spoken to you.
[The numbers in the yantra, above, correspond to the following attendants or avarana deities:
"Now, Mahesvari, listen to the meditation images. Having meditated on Mahadevi in this manner, O Devi, a mantrin becomes the equal of Bhairava. Seated on a volcanic mountain, three eyed, seated on a triple pedestal, wearing flaming clothes and gems, beautiful of face, in the centre of a six-fold chakra, giving boons, holding an arrow and a lotus and dispelling fear, the form of awake-awareness, the cause of light in everything, (in this way) I bow to Jvalamukhi!
"With large swelling breasts, her face resembling the rising of a crescent moon, holding in her left hand a blossoming lotus-seed rosary, with her right hand dispelling fear, her beautiful body marked with three lines, seated in the centre of a triangle in an 11 petalled lotus, thus I remember Jvalamukhi.
"Like a particle of the rising moon, with a moon kala as her crest gem, with three beautiful eyes, seated in the centre of a 12 petal lotus seat, swaying with wine-intoxication, her body marked with three lines, surrounded by Jvala and the other Kula Maidens, (thus) I bow to Jvalamukhi, her transcendent majesty, mother of the three worlds. The three meditation images with their tantra and mantra have thus been declared."
Her mantra. This is one of those vidyas (a vidya is a female mantra) which has some direct meaning. The translation is Om Hrim Shrim O Jvalamukhi, Consume! Consume my Enemies! Hum Phat Svaha.
The gayatri. The gayatri is a mantra pronounced at the four twilights of dawn, midday, sunset and midnight. Each tantriki god or goddess has her or his own version. Jvalamukhi’s is Om Jvalarupinyai Vidmahe Jagadbhakshinyai Dhimahi Tanno Jvale Prachodayat. This means: Om Let us be aware of the fiery form, let us meditate on the consumer of the world, may that fire direct our thoughts. To contrast the gayatris of Lalita and Kali: Om Let us be aware of Kalika, let us meditate on the dweller in the cremation ground, may that terrifying form direct our thoughts. Om Let us be aware of Tripura, let us meditate on the lady of sexuality, may that wet one direct our thoughts.
Her yantra. This is illustrated above. Firstly we have to consider that her attendants are Sundari and Kalika, in the top and bottom triangles of the hexagram. The four attendants are in the other angles. The Devi herself is in the bindu of the yantra, as usual. The petals are to be understood as follows: There are 27 Jvalas or flames. These are the maidens in the inner circle of 10 petals and the outer circle of 16 petals. Jvalamukhi herself is the 27th. The circle of eight petals contains the eight Kula maidens. (See Kulachudamani Ch 3).
Dharmaraja is the god of death (Yama). Vasuki is the king of the nagas or serpents. Nrisimha is an avatar of Vishnu. In the intermediate points are four mudras, and the Devi’s four weapons which are arrow, lotus, dispelling fear and giving boons.
The four attendants of Jvalamukhi in four angles of the hexagram are Jati and Jatini — terms denoting the hairstyle of the sadhu or sadhvini (female sadhu). These are similar to dreadlocks. Jvalini means the flaming one. Jalandhari is the goddess at the sacred centre called Jalandhara.
The attendants of the goddess are worshipped from the outside of the circle to the centre. The order is as follows: Ganesh, Dharmaraja, Vasuki, Narasimha. The 16 Jvalas. The eight Kula maidens. The 10 Jvalas. Tripurasundari. Dakshina Kalika. Shri Jvalamukhi Devi in sexual union with Mahadeva-Bhairava in the centre. The four mudras. The four weapons. The four pithas or bases of this Devi.
Various rites. The most important rite in her worship is a puja in which the 21,600 breaths are situated on the body of the worshipper. Each section is identified with the seven chakras. In the four petals is Ganapati and 600 breaths. In the six petals is Brahma and 6,000 breaths. In the 10 petals is Vishnu and 6,000 breaths. In the 12 petals is Rudra and 6,000 breaths. In the 16 petals is the embodied being and 1,000 breaths. In the two petals is the Paramatma and 1,000 breaths. In the 1,000 petal lotus are the two lotus feet of the Guru and 1000 breaths.
After this rite one is to resolve to pronounce the mantra Hamsa, which is called Ajapajapa, a word which means the non-recited mantra which is recited — referring to the Ha Sa or sun moon breaths that every man and every woman makes 21,600 times a day.
We quote again from the "Five Limbs": Om, of this Shri Ajapajapa Gayatri mantra Hamsa is the Seer, Avyakta Gayatri is the Metre, Shri Paramatma Paramahamsa is the Devata, Ham is the Seed, Sah is the Shakti, So-aham is the Linchpin. The application is liberation from the sadhana of the unrecited mantra. Om Aim Hrim Shrim. Hail to the Rishi Hamsa on the head. (4) Hail to Avyakta Gayatri the Metre on the mouth. (4) Hail to the Devata Shri Paramahamsa in the heart. (4) Hail to the Seed Ham in the genitals. (4) Hail to the Shakti Sah on the feet. (4) Hail to the Heavenly Fragrance So-aham on the navel.
21,600. This number, divided by 27, is equivalent to the 27 lunar mansions (nakshatras) of Hindu astrology. Hamsa has the literal meaning of swan, and is said to be the vehicle of Brahma. But Brahma’s true vehicle is Hamsa as 21600. A paramahamsa is an individual above (parama) Hamsa, that is to say one in whom sun and moon have ceased to revolve, a liberated being, free from time.
The 36 Tattvas. These tattvas are the cause of much confusion and are often viewed as if they were an emanationary system. This seems quite incorrect. The first two tattvas are Shiva and Shakti. These two are inseparable. Surrounding them are the three Shaktis of the supreme called Iccha, Jnana and Kriya. It is these three who give rise to all triangles, that is to say to all creation. It is this multitude of Shaktis which collectively is Maya. Maya is limitation through delusion. This delusion is caused by the number of possibilities. Maya Tattva is said to wear five kanchukas or bodices. Two of these are parallels of Shiva and Shakti — limitation in respect of space and time. These two primordial restrictions give rise to three others, which themselves are reflections of Iccha, Jnana and Kriya. The first is limited desire, the second limited knowledge and the third limited activity.
An individual deluded by Maya consists of Shiva and Shakti under the terms purusha and prakriti. Purusha is the embodied Shiva, prakriti the embodied Shakti. Being deluded by Maya, the three primordial Shaktis of Iccha, Jnana and Kriya take the form of ego (ahankar), intelligence (buddhi) and memory or Association (manas). Incarnated in the five elements of space, fire, air, earth and water, the embodied being has five powers to sense, five powers to act, and five Impressions. These together make the 36 tattvas. It is the delusion of Maya which prevents an individual from realising her or his oneness with Shiva-Shakti and the three primordial Shaktis of Iccha, Jnana and Kriya.
Artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1975-2021. Translations are © Mike Magee 1975-2021.Questions or comments to email@example.com