vAmAchAra

[Query] i have a doubt…..you say about samayachara and dakshinachara….but an other person says goddess revealed in front of him and advised every one to follow leftist path! How can god have opposing opinions?

Sri GuruH sarvakaranabhutaa shaktiH - the Guru is the only who is capable of guiding people in the right path because Guru and Sridevi are one and the same. I do not really know what Amba told someone or if she did, she is entitled to her opinion! But for me, what was taught by my Guru is supreme and unquestionable, even if it is different from what Devaguru Brihaspati says or what someone else says. Man’s mind is a very complex thing and one should not really believe everything and anything he feels or sees as being true or as being of divine spiritual nature. On the path of Sadhana, there are lots of pent-up Vasanas and emotions which emerge to the surface. If not handled capably, they cause havoc and the Sadhaka assumes he is having spiritual experiences. I do not intend to negate anyone’s opinions or the truth in them, but this is the reason behind most of the popular, well-publicized experiences. The Sruti, the Smriti and the words of enlightened masters like Dakshinamurthy, Adi Shankara and Hayagriva is only agreeable and not others. I am not capable of commenting on other paths, but I know that what I follow is the best for me! With web rings, donations, camps, crash courses, merchandise etc., one hardly gets the devotion or serious commitment to Sadhana. Vairagya is the utmost necessity for Sadhana. If one observes carefully, the leftist path tries to appease the senses by fulfilling their desires. However, in the age of Kali, the desires are endless and hence this task is impossible. Even people following Pushti or Pravritti margas have to eventually attain the qualification to reach Nivritti marga to achieve Moksha. The leftist path is prescribed for the fourth Varna and for people filled with carnal desires only.

It is well known that Ravana, Maricha, Ahi Mahi Ravanas and other demons were Vamacharis. Thus, Vamachara is suitable for Pashu Bhava Sadhakas only. It is probably becoming more popular these days because people like free indulgence in carnal pleasures and to exploit their weakness, a group of people come up with various schemes and ideas. The west, whose approach is greatly materialistic, is an easy prey. That apart, one should never even doubt the words of his Guru or Sampradaya for a second. It is simply this: people not eligible for the Daksha / Samaya paths are guided elsewhere by Parashakti. The Shastra is abundant with warnings against practicing Vamachara. Also, one may not involve himself in Duti Yaga, Bhairavi Chakra and other rituals until one realizes the Shiva Bhava / Shakti Bhava in him. Well! Once that is realized one is always in Brahma keli, immersed in supreme bliss and beatitude. There hardly remains any necessity to indulge in any action at all!

Need for shrIchakra pUjA

[Query] I come from a family of great Vedanta scholars in Andhra, belonging to Pushpagiri Peetham. I have been initiated into Shreevidhya Mahapaduka. I have also studied Bhashyatraya of Sankara. But I dont do Srichakrarchanam. Is this needed?

For a perfected Jnani, nothing more is necessary, no Upasana, Karma or Bhakti. For a person who is constantly floating in the blissful ocean of Atma Vidya, no rules apply. The Srauta - Smarta Karma Kriya Kalapa becomes meaningless for him. However, as Srimadacharya points out in Sutra Bhashya, he may still continue to externally pretend to be involved in Karmas for the sake of Lokasamgraha. But the question is, how many of us are actually capable of this Shuddha Jnana or Kevala Jnana marga? Here arises the need for Upasana, Bhakti, Karma etc. Chitta Shuddhi, which is necessary for grasping the Supreme Truth, happens very rapidly through the technique of Srividya Upasana involving Srividya Japa and Srichakrarchana. Sri Hayagriva, the personification of Dharma, clearly says: ‘chakrarAjArchanaM devyA japo nAmnAM cha kiirtanaM. Bhaktasya kR^ItyametAvadanyadabhyudayaM viduH”. Every one of those Upasakas, who are not capable of the direct path, should perform Bahya Srichakrarchana as per Dakshinachara (prescribed for the Traivarnikas). The very process of this external Srichakrarchana transforms into Antaryaga over a period of time owing to Sadhana, Shraddha and Kripa of Parashakti. Thus, Dakshinachara culminates in Samayachara. It is really rare to see a Samayachari in Kali Yuga. Hence, the systematic path of Dakshinachara must be adopted initially. People who read Shankara Bhashyas, assume their mastery over the Vedanta and give up or never undertake Upasana, end up reaching no where. One needs to question himself if he has practically realized the Mahavakyas! If the answer is even a slight ‘NO’, it is time to get to Sadhana without more delay.

The very fact that Srichakrarchana has been practiced even by Paramahamsa Sanyasins of the four Amnaya Mathas speaks for its importance. As Paramacharya once mentioned to Sri Subrahmanya Shastry, a renowned scholar from Andhra, “In Andhra Desha, people practice the Vidya purely from the Agama point of view or from a fierce Vedic point of view. Hence the current situation there. The day they stop seeing differences and realize the unity in the two, their Upasana actually begins!” - Srimahatripurasundari Chandramoulishwarebhyo namaH ||

kAmAkShI mahAbhaTTArikA

“If the blue mountain be the ink, the ocean the ink-pot, the biggest branch of the heavenly tree - Kalpaka be the pen, the earth the writing leaf, and taking these, if Sharada, the goddess of learning, writes for eternity, even then the limit of Sri Kamakshi’s virtues will not be reached.” That being the case, an ignorant fool as I will still dare to speak about Sri Kamakshi Parabhattarika, relying solely on the grace of Sri Gurupaduka.

nagareShu kAnchI - says Bharavi, the author of the great classic - kirAtArjunIya, praising Kanchi as the greatest of cities. It is the only Mokshapuri in Southern India - Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwar (Maya), Kashi, Avanti (Ujjain) and Dwaraka being the rest. Kanchi literally means the ornament worn by women around their girdle - called Oddyana. Kanchi is the foremost Shakti Pitha - called Mahoddyana Pitha (Kamarupa - Assam, Jalandhara - Jalandhar and Purnagiri - Badari being the others). This Peetha is presided over by Sri Charyanandanatha and Sri Parabhattarika themselves as Gurumurtis.

Kanchi is also considered the Nabhi Sthanam or the navel of the Brahmanda. As we know, the navel is the point of origin for many nADis is the body and is considered to be the storehouse of power. Sri Kamakshi being the source of power for all Devi/Devatas in the world, Kanchi is rightly called the Nabhi Sthana. Sri Lakshmidharacharya in his Samvit Stuti says thus: `O Samvidrupini! At Nabhi Mandala of the Brahmanda, beyond the regions of darkness (i.e. Muladhara and Swadhishthana), you appear as the lightening of parA samvit, hoding pAsha and AMkusha in your hands, seated on Kamakoti Simhasana’.

Sri Lalita Sahasranama describes the greatness of Kamakoti with the names - kAmakoTikA and kAmAkShi. Sri Bhaskararaya comments thus on the name `kAmAkShi’ - it is the extraordinary name of the deity who presides over Sri Kamakoti Peetha. Lalitopakhyana of Brahmanda Purana describes the glory of Kanchi and states this as the holy place where the Upadesha of Sri Lalita Sahasranama was given by Lord Hayagriva to sage Agastya. This holy spot is now known as Upanishad Brahmendra Mutt, which also houses a huge Sri Rama Yantra consecrated by sage Narada. It is also said that the sacred Rama Raksha Stotra was revealed to sage Budha Kaushika at this place which now houses the ancient Mutt. One can see Hayagriveshwara and Agastyeshwara Lingas in this Mutt to this day.

Sri Paramba has five forms - sthUla, sukShma, sUkShmatara, SUkShmatama and parA. The sthUla or the gross manifestation of Sridevi is found only in Kanchi as Sri Kamakshi. Sri Kamakshi has been residing in Kanchi from time immemorial. Sri Kamakshi has been residing here by her own will. Though it is popularly believed that Sri Adi Shankara established the Srichakra in front of Sri Kamakshi, it was Sri Durvasa who established a Srichakra on Salagrama shilA and the place came to be known as Kamakoti Peetham. Thus, the Garbha Griha of Sri Kamakshi is the Kamakoti Peetham described in various Tantras and Puranas. The fact that Sri Lalita Sahasranama and Trishati existed before the advent of Acharya proves the existence of Kamakoti Peetha from time immemorial. Sri Durvasa has also authored Saubhgya Chintamani Kalpa to direct the Puja Kainkarya to Sri Kamakshi. Sri Adi Shankara restored Puja to Amba and established Shakta Mata in this place in its pristine purity. The Srichakra established by Durvasa is free from scratches to this day and every line is crystal clear even after thousands of years. I have been blessed to see the Srichakra personally and it is amazing to see the clarity of lines in the Srichakra.

Another popular myth is about Adi Shankara pacifying the Raudra Swarupa of Kamakshi. Sri Kamakshi is Purna Brahma Swarupini and it is foolish to even imagine she even attained Raudra. The shrine in the temple premises, referred to as Adi Kamakshi, is actually Kalikamba, a Rakshaka Devata. It is possible that this deity was pacified by Adi Acharya. Also, the Kamakshi who meditated in Mangadu to marry Shiva and later married Ekamresgwara at Kanchi is Uma or Parvati and should not be confused with Sri Kamakshi. Sri Kamakshi who presides over the Kamakoti Peetha is Shiva Shaktyaikya Rupini, who represents the Purna Brahman, beyond manifestations like Ekamreshwara and his wife Kamakshi, who represent only a small aspect of Parashakti.

Sri Kamakshi is ever worshipped by Lord Mahavishnu as Varadaraja and Lord Mahadeva as Sri Kailasanatha. Thus, Kanchi is sacfred to both Shaivas and Vaishnavas. There is a Srivaishnava Divya Desha located right inside the sanctum of Sri Kamakshi. Also, the presence of Kumarakoshta, a shrine dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya, makes the Lord here Somaskandha Murti. All the Anga - Pratyanga - Upanga devatas are present in the sanctum of Sri Kamakshi in ethereal forms and are visible to sincere Upasakas. Many Upasakas have seen the glory of Sri Lalita seated on Pancha Brahmasana in the holy Srivigraha of Sri Kamakshi. Blessed am I to have personally known one such advanced Upasaki from Guhananda Mandali.

Having the darshanam of Sri Kamakshi grants one the merit of visiting all Tirtha Kshetras in the world. All Devatas derive their energies from Sri Kamakshi and merge into her. By merely seeing her holy feet, one is relieved from the greatest disease - saMsAra. Muka Panchashati stands as a glorious example of her limitless compassion.

Ka means Lakshmi and Ma means Saraswati. That Supreme Parashakti who has Lakshmi and Sharada as her two eyes is called Sri Kamakshi. Thus, by her mere side-glace, she grants Bhoga and Moksha to her devotees. Also, among the various kinds of Shaktipata, Sparsha Diksha being the lowest is adopted by the Kaulas. For the Samayins, Srividya Vilasa prescribes `Anugraha Diksha’, the manifestation of which is seen in the Kataksha Vikshana of Sri Kamakshi. The Sangita Trimurtis - Thyagaraja, Shyama Shastrigal and Sri Dikshitar have sung praises of Sri Kamakoti Lalita. It may be interesting to note that the Mahanavami Puja to Sri Kamakshi is sponsored by Sri Dakshinamnaya Sringeri Sharada Peetham.

Sri Kamakshi’s Garbha Grham is located in Gayatri Mantapam signifying the Srivigraham of Sridevi as the Rahasya Gayatri, which remains hidden within the Prakata Gayatri. The city of Kanchi itself is in the shape of Srichakra with the Garbha Grha of Amba forming the Maha Bindu.

Words fail to describe the glory of Akhilandakoti Brahmanda Nayaki Sri Kamakshi Mahabhattarika. When Brahma - Shiva - Shanmukha and Shesha could not describe an iota of her limitless glory with their four - five - six and thousand faces, what can a fool like me say?

namo namaste shiva kamakoti

shrIvidyA Stotras

[Query]: Please list on your site all Stotras on Shree Vidhya and its Anga devas.

Stotra Sahitya is like a huge ocean. It is impossible to list all Srividya Para Stotras. Let me make an attempt to list some important ones that we use in our Sampradaya.

Ganesha:

Sri Mahaganapati Pancharatna, Sri Ganesha Bhujanga of Sri Adi Shankara and Sri Ganadhipati Pancharatna of Sri Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Nrsimha Bharati Mahaswamigal

Sri Mahaganesha Sahasranama Stotram

Sri Trailokya Mohana Ganesha Sahasranama Stotram

Sri Ucchishta Mahaganesha Saharanama Stotras – Raudrayamala and Sugriva Prokta

Kavachas for various forms of Ganesha such as Haridra Ganesha Kavacha, Vakratunda Kavacha, Ucchishta Ganesha Kavacha, Ganesha Bhairava Varma, Trailokyamohana Kavacha, Mahaganapati Kavacha [Ganesha Purana and Devi Rahasya]

Mahaganapati Apamarjana Stava, Mahaganapati Stavaraja, Siddhi-Buddhi Stava etc

Guhya Sahasranama

Guru:

Gurumandala Kavacha

Paduka Pancharatna Stotra

Totakashtaka

Gurumandala Stava, Guru Parampara Stotra

PrataHkalina Guru Smarana Pancharatna, Urdhwamnaya Guru Kavacha

Dakshinamurti:

Dakshinamurthy Sahasranama [Chidambara Tantra]

Dakshinamurthy Ashtakam of Adi Shankara

Dakshinamurthy Panjara

Dakshinamurthy Trailokyamohana Kavacha

Dakshinamurthy Kavacha from Skanda Purana

Dakshinamurthy Mulamantratmaka Ashtottara

Dakshinamurthy Hridaya and Dakshinamurthy Panchadasha Malatmaka Mantra Sukta

Bala:

Bala Sahasranama [Rudrayamala, Vishnuyamala]

Bala Kavacha

Bala Hridaya

Bala Stavaratna, Mulamantratmaka Bala Stotra

Bala Ashtottara Shatanama

Bala Malamantra Sukta

Bala Khadgamala

Annapurna:

Annapurna Sahasranama

Annaporonashtaka of Adi Shankara

Annapurna Kavacha

Annapurna Mula mantra Stotra

Annapurna Ashtottara

Ashwarudha:

Mulamantratmaka Ashwarudha Stotra

Ashwarudha Hridaya

Ashwarudha Kavacha

Rajashyamala:

Rajamathangi Sahasranama [Saubhagyalakshmi Kalpa]

Laghu Matangi Sahasranama

Matangi Ashtottara

Rajashyamala Ashtottara

Matangi Kavacha, Matangi Hridaya

Rajashyamala Kavacha, Rajashyamala Ashtottara

Shyamala Stavaratna, Shyamala Mala mantras

Rajamatangi Trailokya vashya kavacha

Matangi Sumukhi Kshipra Siddhi kavacha etc.

Mahavarahi:

Adi Varahi Sahasranama

Mahavarahi Sahasranama

Adi Varahi Kavacha

Mahavarahi Kavacha

Varahi Nigraha + Anugrahashtaka

Varahi Shatru Mardana Stotra

Vartali Ari Nigraha Stava

Mahavarahi Ashtottara Shatanama

Vartala Prachanda Ripu Mardana Stotra, Mala mantras

Kirata Varahi Stava

Dhumra Varahi Stava

Vajra Varaji Mantra Panjara

Mulamantratmaka Swapna varahi Stavaraja

Tiraskarini Kavacha, mala mantra

Nrisimha:

Nrisimha Kavachas (about six variations from different scriptures)

Hiranyaka Narasimha Kavacha

Pancha Mukha Nrisimha kavacha

Nrisimha Sahasranama

Nrisimha Ashtottara

Lakshmi Nrisimha Ashtottara

Gandabherunda Nrsimha Kavacha

Sudarshana Nrsimha Kavacha Stotra

Badabanala Nrsimha Mala

Sri Lakshmi Nrsimha Karunarasa Stotra of Adi Shankara etc

Chandi:

Saptashati

Mahavidya Durga Sahasranama

Chandika Sahasranama

Chandika Mula mantra trishati

Chandika Vijaya Dhwaja Stava

Chandika Hridaya

Vanadurga:

Hridaya, Ashtottara, Kavacha, Mula mantra Stuti

Shulini:

Hridaya, Kavacha, Pratikriya Stotra, Sumukhikarana Stava

Vishwarupa Stotra, Ari damana panchaka

Pratyangira:

Pratyangira Sahasranama

Atharvana Bhadrakali Sahasranama

Pratyangira kavacha

Atharvana Bhadra Kali Kavacha

Ashtottara, Pratyangira Mala, Hridaya, Ashtaka, Khadgamala etc.

Sharabheshwara:

Sahasranamas from Akasha Bhairava Kalpa and Rudrayamala

Ashtottara, Kavacha, Mala, Ashtaka

PrachandAvishkarana Stuti

Aghora:

Kavacha, Kilaka Stuti, Malas

Mula mantratmaka Stava

Mahimna Stotra

Kartaviryarjuna:

Adbhuta Kavacha

For Swarnakarshana Bhairava:

Kavacha, Stotra, Ashtottara, mala

Nilasaraswati:

Sahasranama, Ashtottara

Kavacha, Hridaya, Mala, Khadgamala, Ashtaka, Varma etc.

For Mahasudarshana:

Sahasranama, Ashtottara, Kavachas (various from Mrigendra Samhita, Ahirbdhnya Samhita etc.)

Malas, Ashtaka, Mula mantra Stuti, Hridaya etc.

Sadashiva:

Shiva Sahasranama [Bharata, Linga purana, Shiva Rahasya]

Mrtyunjaya Sahasranama

Shiva Kavacha, Varma, Mala

Prasada Mahakavacha

Shambhava Mithuna Kavacha etc

Shivashtottara

Mahatripurasundari Namavali:

Lalita Sahasranama, Lalita Trishati, Lalita Ashtottara of Lalitopakhyana

Saubhagya Ashtottara

Divyashtottara

Lakaradi Ashtottara

Ashcharyashtotatra

Shodashi Shatanama

Rajarajeshwari Shatanama, Rajarajeshwari Sahasranama, Mahashodashi Sahasranama

Sri Lalita Panchashati

Shivankita Lalita Ashtottara

Srividya Kavachas:

Panchadashi Kavacha [Yamala]

Saubhagya Brahmavidya Kavacha of Vamakeshwara Tantra

Nitya Kavacha of Tantraraja

Trailokyavijaya Kavacha of Gandharva Tantra

Trailokya Moahana Kavacha

Shodashi Kavachas from Siddhayamala and Kulananda Samhita

Para yoni kavacha

Mahashodashi kavacha

Trailokya Kshobhana Kavach

Trailokya Stambhana Kavacha etc.

Hridayas:

Shodashi Hridaya

Sundari Hridaya

Saubhagya Hridaya

Mahatripurasundari Rahasya Hridaya etc.

Stotras:

Amnaya Stotra

Panchami Stavaraja

Saundaryalahari

Tripura Mahimna Stotra

Lalita Stavaratna

Shodashi Kalyani Stotra

Divyamangala Dhyana

Makaranda Stava

Srividya Brihat Karpura, Chakraraja Varnana Stava

Srividya Rajagopala Stava etc.

shubhAgama panchaka

[Query] What are the shubhagam panchak that you mention all the time? where can i buy them? what pooja they teach? are they better than kali tantra and kularnava tantra?

Shubhagama Panchaka is a group of five texts (Vasistha, Shuka and Sanakadi Samhitas) that codify Samayachara. Most people tend to confuse between Samayachara and Dakshinachara as also Vamachara and Kaulachara. Upasana is a practice dwelling in the state of Dvaita, however propelling the Sadhaka towards the state of Advaita. Srividya is a path taught by great sages like Sanaka, Vasistha, Adi Shankaracharya and others. Srividya Upasana may be carried out as per any of the above Acharas. However, for a Brahmana (one who is by Varna and Samskaras a Dwija), only Samayachara is prescribed. Samayachara involves no Purashcharana or Bahiryaga. However, for those Dwijas incapable of undertaking Samayachara directly, the preparatory procedure of Dakshinachara is prescribed. It involves the Navavarana worship of Sridevi, both in the external Srichakra and the internal Shatchakras. Both these paths are acceptable to the Vedic school of thought and hence suited for the Traivarnikas, especially the people belonging to the first Varna. Samayachara was taught originally by Dakshinamurthy and Dakshinachara was propagated by Bhagavan Narayana as Hayagriva. Shubhagama Panchakas teach Samayachara whereas Sruti, Smruti and works like Brahmanda Purana, Dakshinamurthy Samhita, Hayagriva Samhita teach Dakshinachara. Vamachara may never be practiced by a Brahmana as it involves various practices not acceptable to Sruti and Smriti. It is wrong to compare Tantras and judge one as better than the other. One has to follow the Pramana as per his Varna, Ashrama and Gurvajna. These texts may be found in parts in Tanjore library, and with some Upasakas in Sringeri, Mysore and Chennai.

khaDgamAlA

Khadgamala is not merely a Stotra or a hymn but is a Mala Mantra which invokes Sri Mahatripurasundari along with all her Avarana Devatas. It is a very powerful invocation. Sri Lalita Sahasranama, Sri Lalita Trishati and Sri Shuddha Mala - these are considered to be an absolute must for a Srividya Upasaka. By chanting this Mala Mantra in times which make detailed Navavarana Chakrarchana Saparya not possible, complete fruit of performing Navavarana is assured to the Sadhaka who simply chants this Mala Mantra. Several scriptures have dealt with this immensely powerful and important Mantra, Tripurarnava Tantra, Tantraraja Tantra, Vamakeshwara Tantra, Rudrayamala's Rajarajeshwari Parishishtha, Lalita Tantra to name a few. Even Brahmanda Purana’s Lalitopakhyana gives a Mala named “Sahasrakshari Vidya”, on the lines of Shuddha Shakti Mala. The Mala is of five types: Sambudhyanta, Namonta, Swahanta, Tarpananta and Jayanta. By having each of these five Malas for Shiva, Shakti and Shiva - Shakti Mithuna, we end up with fifteen Malas, which along with the three Tripurasundari Mala Mantras, form the eighteen Malas of Srividya.

As per some sources, Sambuddhyanta is for Japa, Namonta is for Archana, Swahanta is for Homa, Tarpananta is for Tarpana and Jayanta is for Stotra. Thus, most of the things required for a Purashcharana are taken care of. Each of these fifteen Malas are also chanted one per Tithi from Pratipat to Amavasya/Pournami. There are three different sets of Rishyadi Nyasas for these Malas, based on different Tantras and Sampradaya Bhedas. Even the number of letters in each of these Malas is calculated differently based on different readings of the Malas, again due to Sampradaya Bhedas and also depending on whether the Mala is chanted for Kamya or Nishkama purpose. Patha Bhedas depend on one’s own Guru Krama. It is actually wonderful if one is able to chant all the fifteen Malas everyday. The next better thing is to chant Shuddha Shakti Sambudhyanta Mala and the Mala of that particular Tithi. The last thing would be to simply recite Shuddha Shakti Sambudyanta Mala, which is considered mandatory. These Malas represent the Avarana Devatas of Srichakra and hence the Sadhaka should internally worship these Devatas in one’s own Body, in the seven Chakras. This is the actual way of chanting the Mala Mantra for a Samayacharin. The exact method however is to be learnt from one’s own Guru. In Saundaryalahari, in the Shloka ‘kshitau’, Acharya explains the secret Rashmi Krama of Srividya. The Total number of Rashmis in the bodily Chakras are 360, which correspond to the 360 days of the physical year. Every man, who has healthy living, healthy thinking, healthy food habits i.e. living an ideal and perfect life, evolutes with time. The climax of this evolution is what may known as the state of Moksha. However, due to the difficulties in achieving perfect lifestyles as advocated by the Vedas, evolution goes on at a very slow rate, requiring crores of births for Moksha. There comes the need for techniques like Yoga and Upasana to accelerate this process of evolution.

Kriya Yogis know how to rapidly achieve the evolution of one complete year of healthy living in one day. The chanting of this Mala mantra has a similar effect. The above said shloka of Saundaryalahari can be interpreted in two ways as related to Rashmi Sankalana. One is the complicated technique of Shadanvama Shambhavakhya Maha Mithuna Saparya, which can be performed only by Sadhakas who have received the Purnabhishekanantara Maha Shambhava Diksha. Even Mahashodashi Purna Diksha is not really sufficient to perform this Upasana. Only a Maha Shambhava Dikshita has access to this Mandala of Siddhas invoked during this worship, considered very secretive. It SHOULD not be tried unless one is done with 28 lakhs of Japa of Mahashodashi and 8 lakhs of Prasada Ashtakshari Mahavidyas. One needs to learn the procedure directly from a Guru, observe at least ten Saparyas and then start the practice himself. It may be performed only on five particular days, which again have to be known from one’s own Guru. The second interpretation again speaks of Rashmis, which are same as the Avarana Devata Rashmis detailed in Khadgamala. Thus, Rashmi Sankalana may also be done by using Shuddha Shiva Shakti Mithuna Sambudhyanta Mala. Dindima, Vedananda Kavi and other great scholars have given hints with respect to these higher practices of Srividya whereas Saubhagya Kalpalata and Lalita Tantra detail the Prayogika aspects of these two Rashmi Kramas respectively. This matter was discussed here only to throw pointers at the high-end use of Khadgamala and not to encourage people to undertake these Upasana Kramas without the guidance of a Guru. As mentioned earlier, one needs to be initiated into at least Panchadashi to be able to chant Khadgamala and necessarily have Maha Shambhava Diksha with the Purna Shambhava Padukas to be able to undertake the Shadanvaya Rashmi Krama and other advanced practices.

The Mithuna Shuddha Mala addresses all the 360 Rashmis and brings about the evolution that should have normally happened in a year. This information was revealed one morning by Brahmasri N. Subrahmanya Iyer (Chidanandanatha).

[Query] Does Khadga mean sword or mantra?

shrImAtre namaH

Sanskrit words can have many meanings and khaDga could mean stuti. I am not aware of it though. I looked up the kosha and could not find a related reference. As I said, gIrvANa vANI has her own ways!

Sword seems to be a correct interpretation as well. Each of the fifteen [or seventeen if you insist] mAlAs seem to be popularly recognized by upAsakas in two ways:

1. The actual type: shuddha shakti sambuddhyanta, shuddha shiva jayAnta etc.
2. Based on the Siddhi granted by the mAlA [in sakAma pakSha], it is identified as khaDga mAlA, pAdukA mAlA etc.

This becomes clear by observing the viniyoga of the mAlA, khaDgasiddhau, as stated in lalitA parisiShTa. It is this mAlA that promises the following:

tAdR^isham khaDgamApnoti yena hasta sthitena vai |
aShTAdasha mahAdvIpa samrAd bhoktA bhaviShyati ||

As shuddha shakti mAlA is the most popular, and the siddhi associated with that is khaDga siddhi, people popularly refer to all the mAlAs as khaDgamAlA-s which is technically rather incorrect. It is only the first of the seventeen that is called khaDgamAlA. Now the panchadasha mAlAs are discussed in lalitA parishiShTa and rudrayAmaLa, also in tripurArNava. But bR^ihadvAmakeshwara, while describing ShaTkarmas, does the uddhAra of the mAlA mantra. This mAlA has a longer phalashruti which is mostly about protection: agnivAta mahAkShobhe etc. khaDga is used for defense and offence and the utility of the mAlA [shuddha shakti sambuddyanta] for both these purposes is detailed in the tantra. One can see that the phalashruti was modified later to drop some lines indicating its use for ShaTkarmas, possibly to avoid abuse, which obviously is not the best thing to do. The corrupted readings of the phalashruti are abundant. Every text published in Kannada reads:

ApatkAle nityapUjAM vistArAt kartumArabhet |

Now, we are talking of situations like bhUkampa, agnivAta, viplava etc. When nitya pUjA itself is difficult, would Amba be foolish to expect a detailed mAhAyAga at that time? The correct reading is:

ApatkAle nityapUjAm vistArAt kartumakShamaH |

During ApatkAla, when one is unable to perform nityapUjA, he can recite the mAlA mantra and obtain the benefit of nityapUjA. It is with this pramANa from vAmakeshwara that Brahmasri Chidanandanatha composed the laghu pUja paddhati using khaDgamAlA. Of course, unlike the incorrect practice followed by many, he correctly teaches the use of namo.anta and tarpaNanta for pUja and tarpaNa as sambuddhyanta is specifically for japa. shankarAraNya, while commenting on rahasya sahasranAma touches on this subject when dealing with the shloka:

chakrarAjArchanam devyA japo nAmnAm cha kIrtanam |
bhaktasya kr^ityametAvadanyadabhudayam viduH ||

During ApatkAla, japa without nyAsa etc., sahasranAma and khaDgamAlA [as a substitute for chakrArchana] is prescribed in sundarI tantra [this is his quotation]. Moreover, the phalashruti of the mAlA in bR^ihadvAmaka also says: ekavAram japadhyAnam sarvapUjA phalam labet. However, it is to be noted that this statement is only referring to ApatkAla charyA.

A hymn of similar nature is the khaDgamAlA of bhagavatI dakShiNA kAlI. In the phalashruti there, Lord Bhairava states that every name invoked in the mAlA is like a protective sword, which protects the upAsaka and destroys his foes. I only learnt the mAlA and not the phalashruti owing to laziness, like every other stava I know of and hence cannot reproduce the exact verse right away.

[Query] Should garimaa siddhi be used in Khadgamala?

The Structure of Srichakra varies in the three Prime Sampradayas of Srividya. The popular shloka which describes the Srichakra is as follows:

bindutrikoNa vasukoNa dashArayugma manwashranAgadalasaMyuta ShoDashaaram |
vR^ittatrayaM cha bhuumIsadanatrayaM cha shrIchakrametaduditaM paradevataayaaH || (Rudrayamala - 25, 3) and (Siddheshwarimata - 13,5)

This describes vR^ittatraya (three girdles or circles) after the bhUpUra trailokyamohana chakra. As per Samhara Krama, this will thus become the dwitIyAvaraNa of the chakrarAja. In Hayagriva Sampradaya, these three circles will be absent in the Srichakra. In the Anandabhairava Sampradaya Chakra, these lines are present in the Srichakra, but there is no Archana performed for this AvaraNa. However, in the Dakshinamurti Sampradaya, these three lines are present in the Srichakra and are also worshipped as one of the AvaraNas. In the outermost line, which is described as white in color, the mAtR^ika shaktis or Yoginis of the letters kaM to kShaM (kalarAtri and others) are worshipped. In the second circle, which is described as red in color, following an anti-clockwise pattern, the shaktis of the swaras i.e. aM to Ah (amR^itA etc.) are worshipped. In the third and the innermost circle, described as having kR^iShNa varNa, the nityA goddesses are worshipped. The chakreshwari of this AvaraNa is tripureshinI, mudrA is mahAyoni and the siddhi is garimA. So, this is where the garimA siddhi fits in. Hence, people who are following the khadgamAla of the sampradayas other than Dakshnimaurti, should not include garimA siddhi in the first AvaraNa. Also, this AvaraNa, which is found only in Dakshiamurti Sampradaya and which houses garimA siddhi is called Trivarga sAdhaka Chakra.

[Query] Namasthe, please guide me where I can find 75 khadgamalas.

There are only fifteen malas:

Shiva
Shakti
Shiva-Shakti mithuna

These combined with:

Sambuddhyanta
Svahanta
Namo anta
Tarpananta
Jayanta

Together, they form 3X5 = 15 mala manthras. Some upasakas use 18 malas but the three malas are guptha and I do not know about them. The use of these three malas is for siddhi of the three kutas at some level is all I know from an old conversation with my Guru. There are many articles on Khadgamala. Please look for them in the archives of this group. 75 malas are probably a result of bad mathematics.

[Query] I have a minor doubt in khadga maala, whether it is mahaaskandhe or mahaaspandhe? Please clarify.

As far as the pATha for khaDgamAlA is concerned, both these words are used, based on the pAtha followed in Sringeri, which also has the related uddhAra shloka. So, it reads:

1. mahAmAheshwari
2. mahAmahArAj~ni
3. mahAmahAshakte
4. mahAmahAgupte
5. mahAmahAj~napte
6. mahAmahAnande
7. mahAmahAskandhe
8. mahAmahAspande
9. mahAmahAshaye
10. mahAmahAshrIchakranagarasAmrAjyalakShmi

pAThantaras are present of course, based on various other tantras where uddhAra of mAlA mantra is seen. Based on these, great men like shrI sundararAma shAstrigal, Brahmasri Chidanandanatha of Guhananda Mandali etc., have included nine from this list. Any of these versions with a valid pramANa are fine and which among those needs to be followed is something that is decided based on the lineage. Whatever does not have shAstra pramANa cannot be blindly followed merely because the so called “lineage” has handed it down with a diluted essence. You may please refer to the archive for a related discussion on the use of garimA siddhi in the mAlA by some misguided folks who neither understand the structure of shrIchakra nor the placement of deities therein.

Speaking from the point of Krama tantra, each of these ten names has a special significance. Even in the tradition followed by Sringeri, widely misrepresented by the likes of Tummalapalli Ramalingeshwara Rao etc., there is a procedure to offer tarpana to these ten divinities during navAvaraNa pUjA. Though the practice exists, the intention behind this practice is not generally known to most. In the Krama system, each of these ten epithets represents specific divinities. For example, mahAmahAguptA refers to bhagavatI guhyakAlikA. As per the system followed in regions around Tibet and Nepal, each of these ten refer to the ten AmnAya nAyikas of the nirvana shrIchakra, following the pramANa of UrdhvamnAya tantra, baDabAnala etc. The same Krama is listed in the procedure taught by H H shrI karapAtri Swamiji, H H Sri mUrkhAranyaji mahArAj etc. Based on what I have been taught [the gurus of the lineage being padmapAda, bimbA bhaTTarikA, shIlA bhaTTArikA etc.], these ten do not exhibit a one-to-one mapping with the AmnAya nAyikAs but instead with the dasharatnas discussed in kramamuktAvaLi. shrI shrIdharAnanda brahmachAriji, a learned scholar who did shiShya vrtti under a disciple of Dhenuka baba in Benaras, describes the use of these epithets in kAlI Krama as well, but with minor differences. Also, my master shrI appa once mentioned that there is a small shrine dedicated to bhagavatI bimbAmbikA somewhere near dvArakA mutt and the carving below the idol of bhagavatI reads: mahAmahAj~naptA. Finally, notice the number of letters in the tenth epithet which is of significance not only from the mAntric view point but also from the view point of the shrIchakra AvaraNa kalpanA in shrIkrama tantra, referred to as sumeru or Ananda vajra.

[Query] Can I chant khadgamala learning it from the web?

Khadgamala should never be chanted without initiation into Srividya. The very basic mistake is to even refer to it as Khadgamala Stotra. It is not a Stotra but a mantra, a Mala mantra. The popular version, now being broadcasted without discrimination, is called Shuddha Shakti Sambudhyanta Mala, the first of the fifteen Malas (or 18 malas). Because it confers Khadga Siddhi on the Sadhaka, it is referred to as Khadga Mala. This Mala mantra can be chanted with Sakama or NiShkama attitudes. By merely referring to it as Khadgamala, one automatically hints as the Sakama mode. It is said, "During Diksha, the Guru invokes the Navavarana Devatas into the disciple by reciting the powerful Mala mantra. He then recites the same in the Shishyas ears and then explains the fifteen variations of the Mala. He also then warns the Shishya against even mentioning the Mala in front of a person who is a non-initiate (Lalita Parishishtakhye Tantre). It becomes clear here that like other mantras, even Shakti Mala is given during Diksha by the Guru to the Shishya. Again, each of the fifteen Malas belongs to a particular Prakriti and arises from the fifteen letters of the Panchadashi Mantra.

Rudrayamala says, “One should repeat Shakti Mala after the Japa of the Moola mantra (Panchadashi / Shodashi). This increases the merit obtained by chanting the Moola thousand times. O Uma, a person who is not duly initiated into the secrets of Srividyachara, destroys his life here and thereafter, by chanting this Mala. Kurukulla destroys his family and dynasty”. By reciting Shakti Mala, one begins to awaken the Kundalini and begins to lead her through the various Chakras. This is an advanced practice and requires the grace to Guru. Without the Moola mantra and the energies of one’s Guru lineage, the aspirant is incapable of handling or channeling the huge amounts of energies generated by chanting mantras like Khadgamala. The deities, who are various forms of energy, begin manifesting in the Sadhaka and without the energy of the Moola mantra, they attain a state of non-synergy and create havoc. The aspirant thus brings on himself a great risk. By ignoring the words of the scriptures, of Lord Adinatha Shiva, one brings about his own self-destruction.

gatyAlasA ghUrNitanetrapadmA
vANyA svabhaktoShmaharApi saumyA |
jAne duraj~nAnavinAshanena
chaNDIti gItA subhagA bhavAnI ||

yamAmananti shrutayaH padArtham na sanna chAsanna bahirna chAntaH |
sa sacchidAnandaghanaH parAtmA nArAyaNastvaM puruShaH purANaH ||

AchAra bheda

It would be erroneous to understand Vamachara and Kaula as being the same. Vama is one of the several Acharas, people following which, may become qualified to be called a ‘Kaula’. Kaulavalinirnaya explains at length the significance of Kaula. Simply speaking, Kula refers to the path of Sushumna since it houses the group of six lotuses known as the six Adharas. A person who takes the journey of Sushumna is a Kaula (Kali Tantra 24-6). I am not eligible to speak of these traditions in a generic way but here are some differences as related to Srividya. The differences may be observed right from the ceremony of Diksha. The points below are the differences between Dakshinachara and/or Samayachara with Vamachara. Please do not read them as applicable to Kaula. Because most contemporary Kaulas are ignorant Vamacharins, you may take Kaula as referring to Vamachara. The Diksha Krama for a Vama panthi is mainly Sparsha, Mantri and Drig Dikshas. Dakshinachara does not advocate the use of Sparsha Diksha involving touch because this has the risk of transmission of certain unwanted Vasanas. Mahavedha is the highest form of Diksha prescribed in Samayachara. Though there are few Gurus left who are capable of imparting this Diksha, the Shubhagama Panchakas have prescribed Shambhava Mahavedha as the only Diksha.

The rituals of Poornabhisheka, Anandanatha Nama Pradana etc., prescribed in the Parashurama Kalpasutra and other Tantras, are latter additions to the Samaya tradition. Samayachara Diksha does not involve any of the procedures like the ritualistic Purnabhisheka, Homa, giving the name of Anandanatha etc. There are sixteen important Dikshas starting with Shuddha Vidya to Maha Paduka. The usage of Vedic Mahavakyas, Turiya Gayatri etc. are not prescribed by Kalpasutras in it’s version of Maha Paduka. Over a period of time, these have been borrowed by the Kaula groups as a result of which we see these in their Padukas too! Much has been said about the actual Achara Vidhis that differ between the two. Lakshmidhara says that no Purashcharana is involved in Samayachara but I do not agree with him. He himself mentions elsewhere that Shushka Purashcharana is done in the initial stages. As per Dakshinamurthy Kalpa, the Devatas to be worshipped by a Dakshinachari are only those with a predominance of Satva Guna!

As per Kubjika Mata and others, certain Mahavidyas like Kali and Chinnamasta are not fit to be worshipped by householders. One needs to resolve these issues based on one’s Sampradaya and the Pramana texts of that particular school of thought. It is however true that without Upasana, Vedanta and Brahma Jinasa are mere hypothetical things not visible as Pratyaksha Vastu without Upasana. This is true for most! In Shaktanandatarangini, it is quoted that a person who follows a path of Tantra that violates the rules of Varna and Ashrama, is punished by the Yoginis. There are many such references available in the Tantras. However, the acceptance of Vedic authority as the Supreme does not in any way suggest total neglect of the Tantrika Pramanas. Acharyal himself has accepted them as Dharma Shastras and so have other great men like Apastambha and Manu. However, when dealing with conflicts between these, the scheme of priority must be followed as suggested by Devi Bhagavata, which assigns highest priority to the Sruti. Coming back to the differences, the Gurumandala is different for the Kaulas and Samayins. The Kaulas invoke the Yuga Guru with their Maha Paduka (or Maha Maha Paduka) and the Samayins or Dakshinacharis invoke the Prakasha Rupa Paramatman with their Maha Paduka. The names of both these Gurus are to be kept secretive and hence I shall refrain from discussing about them. The construction of Srichakra (physically in case of Dakshinachara) is also different and so also the method of identification with the Chakras of the Pindanda. The concept of Four-fold or Six-fold Samanatvanusandhana and other methods of Aikyanusandhana are totally absent in Kaula sects. Speaking of mantras, Shuddha Shodashi imitation is missing among the Kaulas. Parashodashi is essentially for the Kaulas. Mahashodashi and Guhyashodashi are recommended for both paths. The Purva and Uttarangas are also different in the two paths.

shiShTAchAra

For a Srividya upasaka, prostrating at the feet of another person is banned for two primary reasons. First one: The head of the sadhaka represents the Paduka of the Guru, who is visualized as the combination of Prakasha and Vimarsha i.e. Shiva and Shakti. This seat of knowledge and power should not be disrespected by falling at each and every one’s feet. The second reason is from the point of view of Advaita. The act of bowing down asks for two people: one who bows down and the one who receives the salutations. In the case of a Srividya Upasaka, when the grace of Devi mysteriously begins to shine in the heart, the sense of duality is totally eliminated and the Sadhaka realizes the Brahman. When there is only a single entity, who bows to who? This becomes absurd and hence the act of bowing down becomes senseless.

Also, a Srividya Upasaka, who has performed (not mechanically, so it better to use the word ‘perfected’ rather than ‘performed’) Nyasas like Mahashodha, Kamakala, Guhyashodha and Mahashakti, holds in his body the deities invoked by these Nyasas. If he bows down to a person who is energetically at a much lower level, the recipient of the salutation suffers, unable to withstand the energy. However, this has of late become a sort of reason for Upasakas to consider them superior to others, simply boosting their egos. One needs to understand the actual reason behind this rule. Sadhakas should conduct a self-enquiry if they have reached such an exalted state of consciousness! Also, Srividya, though a superior form of Upasana, is still Upasana. Upasana is prescribed for those incapable of directly perceiving the supreme Brahman. Even here, the salvation is essentially by Jnana, for which qualification is gained by Upasana. Most people falter in their Sadhanas because of a lack of Vedantic background. Qualities like Dama, Shama, Vairagya are equally necessary for a practice like Srividya like the Adhyayana of Vedanta. Namaste Paradevate!

ekAdashI - 3

During vrata, all the eight forms of maithuna or sexual activity should be renounced:

smaraNaM kIrtanaM keLiH prekShaNaM guhyabhAShaNam |
sa~Nkalpo.adhyavasAyashcha kriyAniShpattireva cha |
etanmaithunamaShTA~NgaM pravadanti manIShiNaH || [dakShaH]

The ill effects of eating on ekAdashI are discussed elaborately in the shAstras. shAstras declare this as being true even to those who have not formally accepted the vow. Both the nitya and kAmya aspects of this vrata have been discussed earlier.

ekAdashyAM hi bhu~njAno viShNulokAcchyuto bhavet || [viShNudharmottare]

One who eats on the day of ekAdashI is forever banished from vaikuNTha i.e. loses eligibility to attain viShNuloka.

yAni kAni cha pApAni brahmahatyAdikAni cha |
annamAshritya tiShThanti saMprApte harivAsare |
aghaM sa kevalaM bhu~Nkte yo bhu~Nkte harivAsare || [viShNupurANe]

Greatest of sins like brahmahatyA are present in anna or food on the eleventh day of every pakSha. One who eats on this day, ingests these sins and attains great misery. The discussion of sins from various sources including the menstrual fluids of women, entering the anna on ekAdashI tithi, occurs in varAha purANa as well.

madyapAnAnmunishreShTha pAtaiva narakaM vrajet |
ekAdashyannakAmastu pitR^ibhiH saha majjati || [sha~NkhaH]

Here, the sage discusses two issues, consumption of liquor and eating on the day of ekAdashI day. Both these result in the suffering of not only the pAtakI but his pitrs as well. It should be noted that the doShashruti related to consumption of liquor is not related to ekAdashI but instead a generic one. nityatva has been ascribed to this doShashruti and hence is applicable throughout ones lifetime. The pramANa for the same is below, quoted by vidyAraNya:

nityaM sadA yAvadAyurna kadAchidatikramet |
upetyAtikrabhe doShashruteratyAgadarshanat ||

Even if one fasts on the day of ekAdashI out of compulsion, greed or arrogance, it leads to purification and freedom from misery:

prasa~NgAdvAtha dambhAdvA lobhAdvA tridashAdhipa |
ekAdashyAM manaH kR^itvA sarvaduHkhAdvimuchyate || [tattvasAgare]

vyAjenApi kR^itA rAjan nodarshayati sA.antakam || [nAradaH]

saMsArasAgarottAramicChan viShNuparayaNaH |
aishwaryaM santatiM svargaM muktiM vA yadyadicChati |
ekAdahsyAM na bhu~njIta pakShayorubhayorapi || [kAtyAyanaH]

Whether desirous of crossing over the ocean of samsAra, or of wealth, progeny, heaven and liberation, a devotee of shrimannArAyaNa should renounce eating on ekAdashI tithi during both the pakShas.

ekAdashI dvAdashI cha tatropoShya kratoH phalam |
ahorAtreNa chaikena brahmahatyAM vyapohati || [bhaviShye]

By fasting on ekAdashI and dvAdashI [first pAda], one attains the merit of performing a kratu or fire sacrifice. By fasting for a single ahorAtra, the greatest of sins including brahmahatyA are absolved.

Here, these words should not be rejected as mere arthavAda as the phalaprApti is based on the adhikAraviShesha of the vrati and this view is found to be acceptable to the mimamsakas as well.

ekAdashI - 2

The next important thing would be to understand what upavAsa really means!

upAvR^itasya pApebhyo yastu vAso guNaiH saha |
upavAsaH sa vij~neyaH sarvabhogavivarjitaH ||

upavAsa involves getting rid of pApa karma and pApa chintana and embracing good qualities, at least during the period of the vrata, and renouncing all luxuries including the food.

The good qualities that parAshara advices one to embrace are not different from the ones listed by Gautama and bR^ihaspati.

dayA

pare vA bandhuvarge vA mitre dveShTAri vA sadA |
AtmavadvartitavyaM hi dayaiveShA prakIrtitA ||

Displaying the same attitude as oneself towards others, family, friends, enemies and all, at all times, is called dayA or compassion.

kShamA

bAhye chAdhyAtmike chaiva duHkhe chotpAdite kvachit |
na kupyati na vA hanti sA kShamA parikIrtitA ||

Displaying no anger, abuse or infliction towards the one who causes physical or mental grief, is called kShamA or forgiveness.

na guNAn guNino hanti stauti mandaguNAnapi |
nAnyadoSheShu ramate sAnasUyA prakIrtitA ||

One devoid of asUyA or jealousy neither abuses the good qualities in others nor derives pleasure in criticizing the weaknesses in them. He is cordial in acknowledging the good even in the average person. This is the characteristic of anasUyA.

Shaucha

abhakShyaparihArastu saMsargashchApyaninditaiH |
svadharme cha vyavasthAnaM shauchametat prakIrtitam ||

Shaucha involves refraining from the company of the banished or eating the prohibited and performance of dharma based on Ashrama and varNa.

anAyAsa

sharIraM pIDyate yena sushubhenApi karmaNA |
atyantaM tanna kurvIta anAyAsaH sa uchyate ||

One should never work the body beyond its limits, even if for an auspicious activity. Moderation is the key and exceeding the same amounts to abuse.

ma~Ngalam

prashastAcharaNaM nityamaprashastavivarjanam |
etaddhi ma~NgalaM proktaM R^ishibhiH tattvadarshibhiH ||

One should engage only in those activities that are commended by the scriptures and the learned. The rest should be renounced. This auspicious behavior is termed mangala by the sages.

devIbhAgavata mahApurANa describes the essential duties for those who undertake upavAsa:

taddhyAnaM tajjapaH snAnaM tatkathAshravaNAdikam |
upavAsakR^ito hyete guNAH proktA manIShibhiH ||

Here, the word tat refers to the iShTadevatA who is the central focus of the vrata being undertaken. In the case of ekAdashI vrata, it is shrImannArAyaNa. The one undertaking upavAsa should follow the regulations of shaucha [indicated here by the word snAna] and immerse himself in bhakti through activities such as dhyAna, japa, mahimAgAna and shravaNa.

From the various pramANas quoted above, it becomes clear that renouncing bhoga is an important characteristic of upavAsa. Fasting is a necessity due to the explicit pramANa [na bhoktavyam], but one should examine what bhogatyAga means by looking at the following verse from vR^iddha shAtAtapa:

gandhAla~NkAravastrANi puShpamAlAnulepanam |

Perfumes, jewelry, luxurious clothing, garlands, anointments, collyrium, abhyanga, tAmbUla charvaNa, brushing the teeth, are all considered to be varjya during upavAsa. The same is stated in harivamsha:

a~njanaM rochanamchApi gandhAn sumanasastathA |
puNyake chopavAse cha nityameva vivarjayet ||

gAtrAbhya`NgaM shirobhya~NgaM tAmbUlaM chAnulepanam |
vratastho varjayet sarvaM yacchAnyadbalarAgakR^it ||

It is interesting to note that brushing the teeth during upavAsa or vrata is banned by several other authorities as well. vAchaspati mishra quotes the following pramANa:

upavAse tathA shrAddhe na khAdeddantadhAvanam |
dantAnAM kAShThasaMyogo dahatyAsaptamaM kulam ||

Alternate authorities offer reconciliation by suggesting that the ban here is on danta kAShTha saMyoga and not really on cleaning the teeth! Hence cleaning the teeth with leaves etc without the use of kAShTha is considered acceptable. Now, it is up to an individual if one decides to give up the tooth brush and stick to flossing on the day of upavAsa!

nR^itya, gIta etc are also considered as luxuries and banned during
upavAsa, unless it is a part of pUjA and offered to the Lord.

Sexual activity, gambling and sleeping during the day are also prohibited during upavAsa:

upavAsaH praNashyeta divAsvApAkShamaithunaiH || [devalaH]

Specifically during ekAdashI, maithuna is strictly prohibited. One who engages in maithuna during ekAdashI puts seven generations of his in hell:

upavAse tathA yaunaM hanti saptakulAni vai ||

If one attains death, or drinks water during upavAsa, that does not amount to vratabha~Nga:

atyaye chAmbupAne cha nopavAsaH praNashyati || [parAsharaH]