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Magical armours — Kavachas
Residing in this city-like body, the Prana (vital breath) is its guardian. This Prana measures ten fingers in inhalation and twelve fingers in exhalation – Shivasvarodaya, 221
Each of the tantrik deities has her or his own kavacha or armour, which protects devotees from the many dangers which may afflict a human being. These could either be recited in a ritual context, or written down on birch bark or other substances and worn on the body to give protection.
The example of a kavacha translated below is from the influential Tantrarajatantra, and calls on Lalita and her 15 attendant Nityas or Eternities to protect the devotee. These are the days of the waxing of the Moon.
The yantra on the left is one of the many related to prayogas (magical practices) in the Saundaryalahari. This was to be engraved on a gold plate, worshipped for 21 days, reciting shloka six of the book 500 times a day, offering 21 pieces of sugarcane and is proclaimed to be a cure for impotency.
The Nitya Kavacha – from Tantraraajatantra, 28: 52-71, is reproduced below in iTrans format. Transcribed by MM. Please send corrections to the usual email address. The kavacha is supposed to protect a sadhaka from all types of misfortunes.
samastaapadvimuktyartha.m sarvasampadavaaptaye .
The Nitya Armour
Lalita, protect all of my being always and everywhere. Kameshvari protect me in the East, Bhagamalini in the S.East, and Nityaklinna, always protect me in the Southern direction. Bherunda always protect me in the S.West, and Vahnivasini shield me in the West. Mahavajreshvari protect me always in the N.West, and in the North, Duti protect me. Tvarita, (in the N.East), shield me.
Kulasundari protect me above, and Nitya protect me everywhere below. Nilapataka, Vijaya and Sarvamangala — protect and cause good fortune everywhere. Jvalamalini guard me in my body, senses, mind and breath. Chitra, always protect my Chitta.
May they protect me from lust, cruelty, greed, delusion, arrogance, presumption, evil, selfishness, grief and doubt — everywhere and always. (May they shield me) from numbness, evil actions, lies, anger, worry, harmfulness, and thieving. They should always protect me and promote auspicious acts.
May the 16 Nityas protect me by their own Shaktis seated on elephants, and by their Shaktis seated on horses always shield me everywhere.
The Shaktis seated on lions protect me within, and the Sbaktls in chariots always protect me everywhere in war. The Shaktis seated on Garudas protect me in the aether and upon the earth. The Shaktis, with their terrifying weapons, put to flight elementals, ghosts, flesh-eaters, seizers of the self, and all ailments.
The innumerable Shaktis and Devis on their elephants, horses, tigers, lions and Garudas protect me always and everywhere without gaps. (This all-protecting Nitya Amour should be recited in the morning and the evening. )
Artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1975-2022. Translations are © Mike Magee 1975-2022.Questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org