The Shri Yantra

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Web pages designed by Mike Magee.
mike.magee@btinternet.com
Original artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1975-2021. Translations are ©
Mike Magee 1975-2021.

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See Also
Bālā Sundarī, Bhāvanopaniṣad, Dakshinamurti Samhita, Fifteen Nityās, Gandharva Tantra, Jñānārṇavatantra, Kurukullā, Lalitā, Meditation on Lalitā, Paradise,
Philosophy of Tripurā Tantra,
Rajarajeshvari Kavaca, Shodhanyasa, Śrīcakranyāsa, Śrīnāthanavaratnamalika, Śrī Vidya Ratna Sutras, Śrīpūjā, Shoshika, Subhagodaya, Tripurā, Vārāhī, Yakṣiṇīs,
Yogini Hridaya

Nityotsava

By the annihilation of evil desires (durvasana), the unchanging (sthira) Atma manifests itself. This Atma is eternal (nitya), true and therefore without a second and great (mahan, i.e. not limited by time and space). It may also be attained by means laid down in Nityahridaya Tantra (i.e. Yoginihridaya) – Introduction to Tantrarajatantra, Woodroffe

Compiled by Umānandanātha, a disciple of the famous Śrī Vidyā upasaka Bhāsurānandanātha (Bhāskararāya), the Nityotsava is ostensibly based on the Kalpasutras, a collection of brief aphorisms outlining many of the features of Śrī Vidyā.

The Nityotsava contains very little philosophical material on the cults which centre around the famous Śrī Yantra, but a wealth of detail on the ritual, the mantras and other features of this complex tāntrik form. These include not only the worship of Mahātripurasundarī, but also of Gaṇeśa, Daṇḍinī (Vārāhī) and Śyāmā (Kurukullā).

There are also chapters dealing with practices common to all tāntrik devatā. Chapter One is devoted to initiation (dīkṣā), and starts with a salutation to the nine Nāthas, to Śiva, to Gaṇeśa, to the Empress (Mahārājṃi=Tripurā) and to the gurus of the tradition.

After this, Umānandanātha goes on to describe initiation, starting first with descriptions of the act contained in the Kālanirṇaya and the Manthāna Bhairava tantras. This section outlines the times for dīkṣā, which are closely linked to Indian sidereal astrology. Initiation in certain of the 27 asterisms brings different results, while the days of the week also have their own merits, and the 15 days of the moon (tithis) also yield certain results.

The text then quotes from other works along similar lines. The text quotes authorities for times which are not suitable for initiation, which mentions a number of yogas—planetary combinations in this context—where malefics, that is the Sun (Ravi), Mars (Bhauma), Saturn (Śani), the nodes of the moon (Rāhu and Ketu) and the waning moon are conjoined in certain places in a horoscope for the time of initiation.

The next section in this chapter deals with the characteristics of guru and pupil, quoting from the Tantrarājatantra. The guru should be handsome, full of virtues, situated in himself, and know the essence of many tantras. He should be free from doubt, having cut through such doubts by the grace of his own guru. The pupil should be free from greed, controlled of senses, steady, faithful, and devoted to guru, mantra and devatā.

The text mentions the nature of Tripurāsiddhānta, based as it is on the 35 (36) tattvas of earth, water, fire, air, space (aether), smell, taste, sight, hearing, sound, etc. Then follows details of mantra upāsana, the duty of an upāsaka (servant) of Tripurasundarī, and different types of initiation such as Śāmbhavī dīkṣā, Śakti dīkṣā and Mantrī dīkṣā.

The text talks of Samayācāra, of the Kuladharma, and the competence of people for given mantras.

Chapter two deals with Gaṇapati (Gaṇeśa) and his ritual worship, including the mantras, tarpaṇa (oblations) and nyāsas necessary. The gāyatrī of Gaṇapati is tatpuruṣāya vidmahe vaktratuṇḍāya dhīmahi tanno dantih pracodayāt.

It then goes on to deal with the pūjā proper, the necessary substances with which to accomplish this, the dhyāna of Vighneśvara (Lord of Obstacles), worship of the pīṭha Śaktis, named in this text as Tivrā, Jvālinī, Nandā, Bhogadā, Kāmarūpiṇī, Ugrā, Tejovatī, Satyā and Vighnāśinī. Mantras should commence with śrīṃ hrīṃ klīṃ and end with namaḥ.

The six limb pūja (ṣaḍaṅgapūja) is as follows:

śrīṃ hrīṃ klīṃ oṃ gāṃ hṛdayāya namaḥ hṛdayaśakti śrīpādukām pūjayāmi
śrīṃ hrīṃ klīṃ śrīṃ hīṃ śirase svāhā śiraśśakti śrīpādukām pūjayāmi
śrīṃ hrīṃ klīṃ hrīṃ gūṃ ṣikhāyai vaṣaṭ śikhāśakti śrīpādukām pūjayāmi
śrīṃ hrīṃ klīṃ klīṃ gaiṃ kavacāya huṃ kavacaśakti śrīpādukām pūjayāmi
śrīṃ hrīṃ klīṃ glauṃ gauṃ netratrayāya vauṣaṭ netratrayaśakti śrīpādukām pūjayāmi
śrīṃ hrīṃ klīṃ gaṃ gaḥ astrāya phaṭ astraśakti śrīpādukām pūjayāmi

The work details the three aughas, streams or lines of guru related to Mahāgaṇapati, which are divided into the divyaugha (celestial), the siddhaugha and the mānavaugha (mortal) lines. The text then describes pūjā of the Mahāgaṇapati yantra, which is divided into five parts – avaraṇa or coverings.

The first set of attendants relate to the three lines, the six lines, and the space between the lines. The second avaraṇa relates to the six koṇas (triangles). The third avaraṇa is connected with the junction points (sandhis) of the six koṇas, and are the six limb devatās. The fourth avaraṇa is related to the eight petals, starting from the west, with the devīs there being Brāhmī, Māheśvarī, Kaumārī, Vaiṣṇavī, Vārāhī, Māhendrī, Cāmuṇḍā and Mahālakṣmī.

The fifth avaraṇa relates to the earth square surrounding the central figure, and the worship of the guardians of the directions, given in the text as Indra, Agni, Yama, Nirṛiti, Varuṇa, Vāyu, Soma, and Īśāna. Each of these forms holds his appropriate weapon, rides his appropriate vehicle, and holds his appropriate direction and sub direction in the order given. Thus, although the Nityotsava contains no illustration of the yantra, it can be constructed as triangle, hexagon, eight petals and surrounding enclosure.

After worship of the avaraṇa deities, Gaṇapati is to be worshipped with sixteen ritual accessories. Then follows a description of the fire sacrifice, the giving of bali, a stotra about tarpaṇa (oblation), a dhyāna or meditation on Gaṇapati, an eight limbed hymn, Suvāsinī pūjā, and the puraścaraṇa, or preparatory rites to be performed in his worship.

The third, large chapter, called Śrī Krama, deals with the worship of Lalitā Tripurasundarī, and opens with Umānandanātha bowing to his guru, Bhāsurānandanātha Nātha.

After outlining the contents of this important chapter, Umānandanātha starts by describing the guru meditation, and describes a process known as prāṇasaṃyaman, where the vital energy is directed to the top of the head, where the guru is said to reside. The sādhaka is then recommended to meditate on the ajapā gāyatrī, the “non-recited” gāyatrī of 21,600 breaths a human takes every day. Then follow details relating to bathing, and to sandhya or the twilight worship. Here, one meditates on the sun as Mārtāṇḍabhairava, seated in union with his Śakti, Prakāśaśakti.

The tāntrik gāyatrī of Tripurasundarī is aiṃ hrīṃ śrīṃ ka e ī la hrīṃ tripurasundarī vidmahe aīṃ hrīṃ śrīṃ ha sa ka ha la hrīṃ pīṭhakāmini dhīmahi aiṃ hrīṃ śrīṃ sa ka la hrīṃ tannaḥ klinne pracodayāt

This combines the gāyatrī with the 15-lettered vidyā of Lalitā Tripurasundarī. After these preliminaries, the Śrī Krama chapter begins to describe the pūjā proper, together with the rites necessary when entering a temple.

These include worship of the different kalās (parts) of the sun, moon and fire, followed by a short section which describes the material of which a Śrī Yantra may be fashioned. Gold, silver, copper and other metallic plates are mentioned, while substances such as sindūra (red lead), kumkum, and milk are required.

The form of the yantra is described, but only as bindu, triangle, eight triangles, two sets of 10 triangles, fourteen triangles, eight petals with filaments, 16 petals with filaments, three circles and four lines.

Next comes the procedure of breathing life into a yantra (prāṇapratiṣṭha), followed by worship of the temple (mandir) which runs as follows: “Aiṃ hrīṃ śrīṃ hail to the sea of nectar; island of gems; garden of various trees; aeon tree garden; Santāna garden; Hari Candana (sandal) garden; Mandāra garden; Pārijāta garden; Kadamba garden; enclosing wall of topaz; enclosing wall of ruby; enclosing wall of Gomeda gem; enclosing wall of diamond; enclosing wall of Vaiḍūrya gem.

“Aiṃ hrīṃ śrīṃ hail to the enclosing wall of sapphire; enclosing wall of pearl; enclosing wall of emerald; enclosing wall of coral; jewelled pavilion; pavilion adorned with 1000 bunches of flowers; nectar lake; bliss lake; mirror lake; shining sun; shining moon; great beautiful gate; great forest of lotuses; palace made of wish fulfilling gem.

“Aiṃ hrīṃ śrīṃ hail to the eastern face door; southern face door; western face door; northern face door; circle of jewelled lamps; great lion throne made of gems; Brahma couch foot; Viṣṇu couch foot; Rudra couch foot; Īśvara couch foot; Sadāśiva couch foot; Haṃsa mattress; pillow on the Haṃsa mattress; mattress strewn with safflower; the great canopy; hrīṃ śrīṃ hail to the great curtain.”

The process of bhūtaśuddhi, or purification of the elements follows, followed by a technique using mantras which is supposed to fence off the area from obstructions, bhūtas, and other obstacles. Nine nyāsas are recommended for the worship of Lalitā, and these are listed in the text as mātṛkā nyasa, karaśuddhi nyāsa (hand purification), ātmarakṣa nyāsa (protection of the ātma), caturāsana nyāsa, Bālā six-limbed nyāsa, Vaśinī and the others nyāsa, root vidya nyāsa, Śoḍha nyāsa and cakra nyāsa.

The following section deals with placing of the vessel for the ordinary offering, which is to be upon a design with a bindu, a triangle, a hexagon and a square enclosure. This is followed by a long section describing the preparations of special offering.

Umānandanātha quotes from the Jñānārṇavatantra next to describe the inner yāga or meditation on the Śrī Yantra which is to be performed, while the next section deals with the worship of the 64 ritual accessories (upacāra) used in the pūjā.

Then follow the worship of the fifteen Nityās, each with her own mantra. Unlike the Tantrarājatantra, these mantras, properly vidyās, are given in full and without special code to hide their meaning.

aiṃ hrīṃ śrīm am aiṃ sa ka la hrīṃ nityaklinne madadrave sauh aṃ kāmeśvarīnityāśrīpādukāṃ pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ || [Kāmeśvarī]

aiṃ hrīṃ śrīm ām aiṃ bhagabhuge bhagini bhaghodari bhagamāle bhagāvahe bhagaguhye bhagayoni bhaganipātini sarvabhagavaśaìkari bhagarūpe nityaklinne bhagasvarūpe sārvaṇi bhagāni me hyānaya varade rete surete bhagaklinne klinnadrave kledaya drāvaya amoghe bhagavicce kṣubha kṣobhaya sarvasatvān bhageśvari aiṃ blūṃ jeṃ blūṃ bheṃ blūṃ moṃ blūṃ heṃ blūṃ heṃ klinne sarvāṇi bhagāni me vaśamānaya strīṃ hara bleṃ hrīm āṃ bhagamālininityaśrīpādukaṃ pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ || [Bhagamālinī]

aiṃ hrīṃ śrīm īm oṃ hrīṃ nityaklinne madadrave svāhā iṃ nityaklinnānityāśrīpādukāṃ pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ || [Nityaklinnā]

aiṃ hrīṃ śrīm īm oṃ kroṃ bhroṃ krauṃ jhrauṃ chrauṃ jrauṃ svāhā īṃ bheruṇḍānityāśrīpādukāṃ pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ || [Bheruṇḍā]

aiṃ hrīṃ śrīm um oṃ hrīṃ vahnivāsinyai namaḥ uṃ vahnivāsininityāśrīpādukāṃ pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ || [Vahnivāsinī]

aiṃ hrīṃ śrīm ūṃ hrīṃ klinne aiṃ kroṃ nityamadadrave hrīm ūṃ mahāvajreśvarīnityāśrīpādukāṃ pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ || [Mahāvajreśvarī]

aiṃ hrīṃ śrīm ṛṃ hrīṃ śivadūtyai namaḥ ṛṃ śivadūtīnityāśrīpādukāṃ pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ || aiṃ hrīṃ śrīm ṛm oṃ hrīṃ huṃ khe ca che kṣah strīṃ huṃ kṣeṃ hrīṃ phaṭ ḷṃ tvaritānityāśrīpādukāṃ pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ || [Tvaritā]

aiṃ hrīṃ śrīm ḷm aiṃ klīṃ sauh ḷṃ kulasundarīnityāśrīpādukāṃ pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ || [Kulasundarī]

aiṃ hrīṃ śrīm ḷṃ ha sa ka la ra ḍaiṃ ha sa ka la ra ḍīṃ ha sa ka la ra ḍauh ḷṃ nityānityāśrīpādukāṃ pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ || [Nityā]

aiṃ hrīṃ śrīm eṃ hrīṃ phreṃ srūṃ krom āṃ klīm aiṃ blūṃ nityamadadrave huṃ hreṃ hrīm eṃ nīlapatākānityāśrīpādukāṃ pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ || [Nīlapatākā]

aiṃ hrīṃ śrīm aiṃ bha ma ra ya aum eṃ vijayānityāśrīpādukāṃ pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ || [Vijayā]

aiṃ hrīṃ śrīm oṃ svaum oṃ sarvamaṅgalānityāśrīpādukāṃ pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ || [Sarvamaṅgalā]

aiṃ hrīṃ śrīm aum oṃ namo bhagavati jvālāmālini devadevi sarvabhūtasaṃhārakārike jātavedasi jvalanti jvala jvala prajvala prajvala hrāṃ hrīṃ hrūṃ ra ra ra ra ra ra ra jvālāmālini hūṃ phaṭ svāhā auṃ jvālāmālinīnityāśrīpādukāṃ pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ || [Jvālāmālinī]

aiṃ hrīṃ śrīm aṃ ckaum aṃ citrānityāśrīpādukāṃ pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ || [Citrā]

aiṃ hrīṃ śrīm ah ka e ī la hrīṃ ha sa ka ha la hrīṃ sa ka la hrīṃ aḥ lalitāmahānityāśrīpādukāṃ pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ || [Lalitā]

A large section on the different gurus in the Śrī Vidyā tradition follows this section, and, as in the Gaṇapati section of Nityotsava, these are divided into currents (augha) of celestial, siddha and mortal gurus, both for the vidyā (mantra) that begins with Ka (Kādi) and for that which begins with Ha (Hādi).

The celestial gurus in the Kādi group are listed as Paraprakāśanandanātha, Paraśivānandanātha, Parāśaktyambā, Kauleśvarāmanandanātha, Śukladevyambā, Kuleśvarānandanātha, and Kāmeśvaryambā. The siddha aughas are Bhogānandanātha, Klinnānandanātha, Samayānandanātha and Sahajānandanātha. The mānava augha consists of Gagananandanātha, Viśvānandanātha, Vimalānandanātha, Madanānandanātha, Bhuvanānandanātha, Līlānandanātha, Svātmānandanātha and Priyānandanātha.

After giving the equivalents for the Hādi line, at the close of this lengthy section, mantras are given for other, unknown gurus. The next section opens with the pūjā of the attendants of the maṇḍalas of the Śrī Yantra, nine in number. This is followed by the sādhaka being enjoined to meditate on Kāmakalā, which consists of the three bindus and the ardha-matra. Brief instructions for homa, giving bali, pradakṣiṇā (circumambulation) follows, before a stotra or hymn to Tripurasundarī is to be recited.

Following this is Suvāsinī pūjā, with a mantra given for purification of the Śakti which reads aiṃ hrīṃ śrīṃ aiṃ klīṃ sauh tripurāyai namaḥ imām śaktiṃ pavitrī kuru mama śaktiṃ kuru svāhā. The Śakti should then be given various good things such as garments, flower, incense, light, unguents and powders, as well as food and pan.

A lengthy section dealing with purification of wine and other substances used in the rite should follow. Although mentioned briefly above, a lengthy section follows dealing with the right way to create a Śrī Yantra, and the number of marmas and sandhis that result from drawing it correctly. Then follows a brief section of the different prastāra (layouts) of the Śrī Yantra and the pratiṣṭha (installation) of the Śrī Cakra, which imbues the device with life. It is said that a yantra made of gold lasts for life, one of silver 22 years, copper 12, and on bhūrja bark six years.

Another lengthy section follows on the homas that may be performed, while the next section describes the mudrā or hand gestures used in the Śrī Vidyā cult. The next section deals with the types of nyāsas used when worshipping Tripurasundarī. Instructions on how to perform japa (recitation of the vidyā) are given. Rules follow on how to recite various vidyās such as the Nityās, the Kāmakalā mantra, the Utkilana mantra, and a large number of other mantras relating to Tripurasundarī, to her aspects or to various elements of her worship, such as the rosary, are then described in full.

The fifteen Nityā mantras are given again, as well as special mantras for “miraculous” aspects of Tripurā such as Aśvārūḍhā, Bālā, Annapūrṇā, Svapnavārāhī and many others. Some of these aspects, together with the applications relating to them are described in the Tantrarājatantra and other places, and relate to magical powers that a sādhaka can achieve through worship.

A section then follows on optional rites that may be performed in various solar months, and which the Tantrarājatantra also details. The rites of Śyāmā are detailed in chapter four. She is the dusky form of Tripurā, who is described elsewhere in Śrī Vidyā tantras as Tārā or Kurukullā, and who is the “mother” form, just as Vārāhī is the “father” form of the goddess.

The nyāsas and the other elements in tāntrik pūjā are described, together with the yantra to be drawn, and the elements of her yantra which are to be worshipped. In the central triangle Rati, Prīti and Manobhava receive pūjā, followed by the five arrows in the triangles of the pentangle. On the tips of this star the five forms of Kāmā, receive worship.

These are Kāmarāja, Manmatha, Kandarpa, Makaraketana and Manobhava. The eight devatās Brāhmī, etc. receive worship in the eight petalled lotus. On the tips or filaments of the lotus Lakṣmī, Sarasvatī, Rati, Prīti, Kīrti, Śānti, Puṣṭi, and Tuṣṭi are worshipped.

The 16 petalled lotus has 16 Śaktis or attendants named in the text as Vāmā, Jyeṣṭhā, Raudrī, Śānti, Śraddhā, Sarasvatī, Kriyāśakti, Lakṣmī, Sṛṣṭi, Mohinī, Pramathinī, Āśvāsinī, Vīci, Vidyunmālinī, Surānandā and Nāgabuddhikā. This is the fourth avaraṇa.

In the outer lotus of eight petals are the Bhairavas Asitāṅga, Ruru, Caṇḍa, Krodha, Unmatta, Kapāla, Bhīṣaṇa and Saṃhāra. Inside the four petals are Mātaṅgīśvarī, Siddhalakṣmī, Mahāmātaṅgī, and Mahāsiddhalakṣmī. This is the sixth avaraṇa. Gaṇapati, Durgā, Baṭuka and Kṣetrapāla are to be worshipped in the square, followed by the protectors of the directions.

Then follows a description of the rules of recitation of the mantra of Mātaṅgī, followed by praise of that aspect of the goddess. Rules for an upāsaka (worshipper) of Śyāmā follow, including details of the puraścaraṇa and so forth required, as well as the types of homa, a description of the kūrma (tortoise) cakra, purification of the mālā or rosary, and a lengthy section on how to purify rudrākṣa mālās specifically.

Optional homas and the dimensions of the fire pits to be used are detailed.

Chapter five of Nityotsava deals with the pūjā rites of Daṇḍinī, in this context similar to the “father form” Vārāhī. As in previous chapters, the various nyāsas, upacāras and other ritual details relating to Daṇḍinī are described, together with the gurus of the paraṃpara and the different avaranas of her yantra. The mantras of Vārāhī and a lengthy Vārāhī stotra are described.

The brief sixth chapter is called the Parāpaddhati, and describes the general form of worship or pūjā for other devatās.

Chapter seven describes a number of practices, pūjās and mantras common to all, and makes quotations from Pāñcarātra texts, the Tantrarājatantra and other sources. Various charts used to determine the time of initiation, such as the kulakula and the Ṛṇi-dhani (gain loss) are described, as well as a number of mantras which are used to ensure that the root mantra, that is the mantra of the iṣṭadevatā or favourite form of divinity, is successful. These purifications relate to the birth, the life and other stages that a mantra is assumed to have.

Artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1975-2021. Translations are © Mike Magee 1975-2021.Questions or comments to mike.magee@btinternet.com

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