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Even Śiva bereft of Kuṇḍalinī Śakti becomes a corpse (Shava) – Devi Bhagavata
Śrī Nāthanavaratnamalika, a tiny Sanskrit work, “the rosary or garland of the nine gems of the Nāthas”, is found in the 1953 Ganesh & Co version of Sir John Woodroffe’s translation and text of the work on Shri Vidya, the Kamakalavilasa.
Ascribed to one Maheśanātha, the text includes a commentary by the renowned Śrī Vidyā devotee Bhāskarararāya (Bhāsurānandanātha). The briefness of the text belies its importance, as it deals with the number symbolism of nine and how this relates to the 21,600 breaths a human is supposed to take in a day and night, as well as the identity of these with the mātṛkās, or letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, the Śrī Yantra, and time itself.
As the first śloka says, Haṃsaḥ is the gāyatrī mantra produced by breathing, and this is one with the unconscious recitation of the mantra so’haṃ, pervading all human beings. Sir John Woodroffe says in a commentary to his translation of the Ānandalahari (Wave of Bliss), published in 1916: “Śiva can do nothing without Śakti which is of threefold aspect of Icchā (will), Jñāna (knowledge) and Kriyā (action). The author here speaks of the mantra Haṃsah. Haṃ is the bīja of Śiva and Sah that of Śakti. Ham+Sah = Haṃsah = Sah+Haṃ = So Haṃ = So’Haṃ = Sa+Ahaṃ, So Haṃ being Sah+Haṃ = Śakti+Śiva; if S and H be eliminated therefrom there remains Ong or oṃ the Praṇava…”
The Navanāthas of the title of this work are, in the Tantrarājatantra, linked to the nine orifices of the human body, and to the nine maṇḍalas of the Śrī Yantra. A human being, in these schools, is considered as a microcosm, the in-breathing and the out-breathing symbolise the creation and the dissolution of the universe.
The realisation of Ha+Sa, sun and moon, Śiva and Śakti, in-breathing and out-breathing, is to become one with the universe itself. But this, according to these schools, cannot be achieved without a yogic understanding of the other effects of the wheel of time, one, as the Yoginīhṛdaya states, with the maṇḍalas of the Śrī Cakra, the letters of the alphabet (sound/mantra), and the Śaktis or attendants of the goddess. Some of these Śaktis, as the introduction to the Mālinīvijayottaratantra says, have the function of preventing such a realisation, while others foster realisation. Further, according to various texts and commentaries of Kashmir Shaivism, ignorance and other defects also prevent the realisation of one’s essential unity with Śiva-Śakti.
The normal course of creation is pravṛtti, an expansion or flowing outward. The sādhaka is to cultivate nivṛtti, ulta sādhanā – a reverse movement, or kāya sādhanā – cultivation of the body. This may have little or much to do with ritual worship (pūjā), which if performed without an inner realisation of the principles it embodies is considered to be mummery.
The different nyāsas of the Śrī Vidyā tradition are intended to bring to a sādhaka the realisation of his or her essential unity with the mātṛkās, with the constellations (rāśi) planets (graha) which includes the sun and the moon) and the 27 asterisms (nakṣatra), and breath itself. Practical ways to achieve this realisation are reputed to be the inner tradition of sādhanā taught in some schools, and which may include a number of different methods.
Some of these may require an intense struggle because an individual, not realising that she or he is Śiva-Śakti, instead identifies with partial aspects or Śaktis. The Tantrarājatantra hints at some of these methods, such as the way the grahas or planets influence the breath and therefore prevent this realisation as they affect the musculature and other parts of the human bionergetic web. Freeing oneself from these misidentifications also frees up the natural flow of Prāṇaśakti, herself one with the supreme Devī, in the body. A teacher who understands the movement of these currents (nāḍīs) and the relationship between the wheel of time (Kālacakra), divinity, and the body itself is said to be a requisite in these different tāntrik schools.
The text follows, using the iTrans format and in Devanāgarī.
(Kindly send any corrections to the Sanskrit text to Mike Magee)
Artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1975-2022. Translations are © Mike Magee 1975-2022.Questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org