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Beguiled by false knowledge, certain persons, deprived of the guru-shishya tradition, imagine the nature of Kuladharma according to their own lights. If merely by drinking wine, men were to attain fulfilment, all drunks would attain siddhi. If mere partaking of flesh were to lead to the high state, all carnivores in the world would become eligible for immense merit. If liberation were to be ensured by mere cohabitation with women, all creatures would become liberated by female companionship. Mahadevi, it is not the Kula path that is to be denounced. On the other hand, those deprived of the (Kula) paths should be condemned – Kularnavatantra II, 126-120
The Rudrayamala is used as a source by many other agamas but the original appears to be lost. Strictly speaking, a Yamala is a different class of text, and supposed to pre-date the tantras. However, manuscripts of the Yamala seem to be lost, except as quotations in later works.
This analysis of the contents is of a tantra given the same name, but almost certainly, from internal evidence, not the original text. Although its provenance is unknown, it nevertheless contains a great deal of interesting information and focuses in great detail on the identity of the goddess with Kundalini. Published in a Sanskrit edition by the Vacasampati Press, Calcutta, this work is divided into 66 chapters (patala) of different lengths and written in a simple manner. Here is a digest of its contents (under construction).
The text takes the form of Shiva asking questions and Shakti answering, making this nigama rather than agama form. Another example of this style is found in the undoubtedly old Kulachudamani Tantra. In his form as Bhairava, Shiva opens by saying he has heard many tantras including the Shriyamala, the Vishnuyamala, the Shaktiyamala and the Brahmayamala. Now he wants to hear of the Uttara Khanda (last section) of the Shri Rudrayamala.
Bhairavi replies that she will tell him and proceeds to enumerate the topics. These include Kumari- Lalita sadhana; Khechari, Yakshini and Kanya sadhanas; the vidyas of Unmatta Bhairavi and Kali as well as their sadhanas and a host of other topics of interest to a Shakta such as the Garland of Skulls sadhana, Guhyakali, Kubjika sadhana, Bhadra Kali, Shmashana Kali, &c. &c. She starts with a description of the well-known three types of sadhaka, divya (divine), vira (heroic) and pashu (beastlike).
Opens with a description of the characteristics of Kulachara. She describes puja to be done when rising, including internal puja related to the chakras. A sadhaka must meditate on the guru on his Shakti at the centre above the head. Other meditations follow related to the other familiar six chakras in the body. The guru should be regarded in the same light as one’s father, one’s mother. He (or she because a guru may be either in the tantrik tradition) is the devata and is the refuge. After this section, Bhairava asks about the rules relating to initiation (diksha). He wants to know about various chakras employed at initiation time including Kulakula, A-Ka-Da-Ma, the Rashi (12 constellations) chakras, the Kurma (tortoise) chakra and others including Deva, Rinidani and Tara chakra. Initiation is so important that this and the following three chapters are devoted to the subject.
Bhairavi answers these questions in this chapter and gives a host of rules about initiation into the cult of Shakti, including their shapes and the mantras associated with them. She dilates particularly on the Shiva and Vishnu yantras.
The subject is continued. Bhairavi now speaks of the Brahma chakra at length. In the remainder of this chapter she speaks of the Rinidani (loss-gain) chakra and then begins to talk about defects some mantras may have.
Bhairavi discusses how these defects can be removed. After a candidate is initiated, she says the types of dreams will determine whether initiation is successful.
Bhairava asks about more information concerning the bhavas. Devi describes the pashu bhava, opening by hailing Shiva as Pashunath, Viranath and Divyanath. She describes the Sushumna Sadhana, performed in the morning. After meditating on the guru, the sadhaka is to meditate on Mahakundalini, who is the self of both inhalation and exhalation, i.e. breath. This Kula Mohini is as bright as millions of suns and moons and gives Mahabuddhi when brought to the 1,000 petalled lotus. She is the form of time and everything else, existing as the Yogini Khechari in the form of the vital breath (vayu). The sadhaka should worship her as showering the body with nectar. Then Devi gives a hymn to Kundalini bestowing siddhi, and called the Kundalikomala Stava. At the close of this chapter, Anandabhairavi talks of the bhavas again and begins to describe the characteristics of the Kumaris (virgins) and how worship varies depending on which class the sadhaka holds.
This starts with a description of Kumari Puja. If performed, it is said to remove poverty and illness. The place of puja is either a Mahapitha or a Devi temple. The text lists the different maidens including Nati (actress), Kapaliki, Rajaki, Napita, Gopala, Brahmani, Vaishya, Shudra and Chandala. The girls should be given sweets and other pleasant things and treated as forms of the goddess incarnate. The mantras of the Kumaris are given.
Continues the topic and deals with recitation of mantra (japa) and sacrifice (homa) to the Kumaris. The hymn to the Kumaris is also given along with details of oblations.
Gives the Kumari Kavacha (armour) which follows the usual form of these charms, for example: Maharaudri and Aparajita,. protect my throat! The recitation of the armour is said to bring siddhi quickly. It may be written on bhurja (birch) bark and borne on the body, when it will give the practitioner the desired results. The text gives times for doing this including on a Saturday or a Tuesday on the ninth, eighth, fourteenth days of a waning moon or on a full moon day.
Concludes the subject of the Kumaris. Anandabhairava asks the goddess to tell him about the 1008 names of the Kumaris, which Anandabhairavi proceeds to do. The seer of the names is Vatukabhairava, anushtubh is the metre, Kumara is the devata and the application is success in all mantras. The names follow the order of the 36 consonants of the Sanskrit alphabet. Various results are described depending on the number of days the names are recited.
Bhairavi opens this chapter by talking, once more, about the three bhavas. She describes the different characteristics of divyas, viras and pashus. The best type of sadhaka is a divya, who obtains the highest siddhi. Both divyas and viras practise using the five tattvas. At the close of this chapter, the Devi lists a series of chakras she will discuss.
Chapters 12,13, 14
She describes the Kamachakra, the Rashichakra, results of the Ajnachakra and the Nakshatra chakra. These include the placing of the letters according to positions of the 12 constellations (the tantriks use a sidereal zodiac) and the 27 nakshatras or lunar mansions. Different letters of the alphabet are placed in the different compartments and the chapters describe the different results obtained by worshipping in these yantras.
Anandabhairava asks the goddess to tell him about the nature of the Brahmastotra, the Brahmavidya and the macrocosm. (Brahmasharira). This chapter is related to the description of the Ajnachakra. She says that this is like the vital air in the body of Shakti. One should meditate on the Brahmananda in the heart to become a true knower. Shakti is Kundalini Devi, the true form of the mother of the world. The vital breath (of Shakti) pervade the macrocosm, including constellations, nakshatras, and lunar days. Practising according to the rules she describes gives the state of Khechara in one month, a diamond body in two, &c. Eventually a sadhaka becomes one with Supreme Shiva by a knowledge of the vital airs. Shiva asks who is a Vaishnava (follower of Vishnu), who is a Dharmika (a doer of that which is right) and who is a Yogi. The goddess says a Vaishnava is stationed in the Ajna chakra. One who does a sacrifice (a yajnika) is stationed in Brahma consciousness. A Dharmika has realised his oneness with Brahman and is a rejector (tyagi) of both good (dharma) and bad (adharma). One who knows the Brahman is an avadhuta and a yogi, can do as she or he wills and is not restricted by times or any other conditions. He or she is unaffected by results or lack of results. The avadhuta knows the parampada (supreme). Because the avadhuta has realised the supreme nectar of Kundalini in the Ajna Chakra, she or he is praised by Rudra and all the gods. These tantrik precepts show an aversion to the orthodox expression of the Hindu terms as usually applied.
Continues the discussion of Ajna Chakra. This is a brief section of only 44 verses (shlokas), continuing the praise of a person who has reached this stage.
An interesting chapter because it describes the characteristics of the Atharva Veda, to which some tantrik schools ascribe their vedik credentials, and, later on, apparently recommends the adoption of Buddhistic practises (Mahachinachara) to achieve enlightenment.
The goddess first says the Atharva Veda is the essence of all and focuses on the path of Shakti. She describes the Sama Veda as being of the nature of the tamas guna, while the others partake of sattvas and rajas guna. Brahma, Vishnu and Hara are of the nature of rajas, sattvas and tamas while Kundali, associated with the Atharva, is the supreme devata. The text proceeds with a eulogy of the goddess, describing her as the form of knowledge, the supreme aether, and she who gives grace and success on earth. She is Kamarupa in the Muladhara chakra and is always united with Shiva-Kameshvari in the 1,000 petal lotus. Bhairava then wants to know about the different vital breaths in the body. Anandabhairavi speaks about this topic at great length. She describes the pitha Kamarupa as being in the Muladhara, Jalandhara in the heart chakra, Purnagiri is in the throat, Varanasi is in the forehead and Jvalanti is in the (three) eyes. Other locations of the great pithas are given.
The goddess says that the chakras have four, six, 10, 12, 16 and two petals respectively. The Brahmarandhra, at the top of the head, is known as (Mount) Kailasa and is known as the 1,000 petalled lotus and the Great Lotus (mahapadma). Millions of nadis pervade the body. The subtle breaths pervade these. When they are merged together (laya) it brings steadiness of mind using kumbhaka and other methods, again described in some detail.
In verse 108, the tantra begins a remarkable story. It speaks of Vashishta, describing him as being engaged for a long period of time in pursuing sadhana, restraining himself and practising austerities (tapasa). Despite 1,000 years of this, he had not achieved his goal. He had a vision of Sarasvati in which he was told to go to the land of Buddha (buddhadesha), to Mahachina, a non-vedik place, where he would achieve what he wanted.
Going to the region of the Brahmaputra, he discovered hosts of men and women apparently engaged in non-Vedik practises, swilling wine, eating flesh and engaging in sexual intercourse. All were naked, their eyes reddened with liquor. Yet all were enlightened. Going to Buddha, Vashishta asked how this could be. Buddha is made to reply: “Vashishta, listen! I will speak of the highest path of Kula by knowing which a man takes the form of Rudra immediately!” He then speaks of the practice of Mahachinachara. By this method, all the Hindu gods became enlightened. More details of the Mahachinachara come in the Brihadnila Tantra (chapter seven):-
“Bathing and so forth is done mentally, purifying celestial gaze is done mentally, so too is clothing and recitation of mantra. Resolution (samkalpa) and so forth and puja are also done mentally. All times are good, there is no time that is not good at all. There is no difference between day and night, nor of twilights and great nights. One should do everything mentally, including clothes, seat, place, temple, body, wine. One should never do purifying here and act mentally, free of distinctions. There is no need here for purashcharana (prior actions), nor for considering faults of mantras and so forth. The mantrin who meditates thus obtains the fruit of all that is desired. [VII, 103-107] The Mahachinakrama, it emerges, is sexual intercourse with an initiated Shakti.
[To be continued – under construction]
Artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1975-2021. Translations are © Mike Magee 1975-2021.Questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org