Sixteen Kavachas of Shodashi Kalpa

From the fifteen letters of Kādi Pañcadaśī Mahāmantra, the fifteen Mālā-mantras originate. These are generally known as the fifteen Khaḍgamālās, although this is technically incorrect as only the Shuddhaśakti Saṃbuddhyanta mālā is called as Khaḍgamālā.

In the context of Shoḍaśī Mahāmantra, Mahāṣoḍaśī Kalpa of Rudrayāmala teaches sixteen Kavachas:

śṛṇu devi pravakṣyāmi kavacāni ca ṣoḍaśa |
eṣāṃ paṭhana mātreṇa devīdarśanamāpnuyāt ||

Traditionally, these sixteen Kavachas are recited after the Japa at midnight, one per tithi. During extraordinary situations, a recitation of all sixteen Kavachas is undertaken, which is a master Prayoga in itself. The sixteen Kavachas correspond not only to each kūṭa of Mahāṣoḍaśī, but also to the sixteen āvaraṇas of the Srīcakra.

1 Vajrapañjara kavaca (Shiva - Paṅkti)
2 Chintāmaṇi kavaca (Bhairava - Paṅkti)
3 Jaganmaṅgala kavaca (Shiva - Paṅkti)
4 Jaganmohana kavaca (Bhairava - Paṅkti)
5 Jagadīśvara kavaca (Kālāgnirudra - Paṅkti)
6 Sarvakāmada kavaca (Sadāśiva - Paṅkti)
7 Tryakṣara kavaca (Vaṭukabhairava - Paṅkti)
8 Trivikrama kavaca (Maheśvara - Paṅkti)
9 Trailokyabhūṣaṇa kavaca (Kālabhairava - Paṅkti)
10 Virūpākṣa kavaca (Vaṭukabhairava - Paṅkti)
11 Sarvārthasādhaka kavaca (Dakṣiṇāmūrti - Paṅkti)
12 Meru kavaca (Bhairava - Paṅkti)
13 Vairināśana kavaca (Shiva - Paṅkti)
14 Trailokyavijaya kavaca (Bhairava - Paṅkti)
15 Viṣāpaharaṇa kavaca (Shiva - Paṅkti)
16 Muktisādhana kavaca (Shiva - Paṅkti)

Sri Muttuswami Dikshitar's Veena

Sharanagata Dinarta Paritrana Parayane - Prayoga from Saptashati

Saranagata Dinarti

Durgā Saptaśatī is a treasure-trove of various mantras and the below mantra is recommended by various scriptures as effective in freeing oneself of various afflictions such as danger, disease, trouble, grief and sorrow. One should perform 1000 Japa everyday till the expected results are experienced.


Kalika Purana

There are a dozen lists of Upapurāṇas available in various works and the only thing common to them is a lack of consensus. However, Kālikā Purāṇa finds a mention in almost all of such lists and that in itself is a testimony to its importance and popularity. While the Purāṇa has not been explicitly associated with the upasarga “upa” on account of it being ruled out quite clearly from the list of Mahāpurāṇas, it was but natural to group it along with Upapurāṇas.

It is quite clear that the original Kālikā Purāṇa is now lost in the oblivion of time. The version available today is not what is quoted by various Dharmaśāstras. The version currently available as Kālikā Purāṇa was originally critically edited by Baladeva Upādhyāya and is clearly a Tāntric addendum rather than a classic purāṇa.

The version of the Purāṇa available today seems to be a combination of two separate works. The first half is characterized by elaboration of the mythology of Shiva and Satī, Shiva and Pārvatī, whereas the second half is centered around the Tāntric worship of Goddess Kāmākhyā. There is no other work which provides a description of the hills, rivers, ponds, deities and shrines at Kāmarūpa in as much detail as this work. Though this work is clearly Shākta in flavor, dealing with controversial topics such as Paśubali and Narabali, it establishes Viṣṇu and Viṣṇumāyā in a more elevated position than Shiva and Shakti. There are several scholars who hint at a later 'Vaiṣṇavaization' of this Purāṇa during the periods of conflict between Shāktas and Vaiṣṇavas in Bengal and Assam.

Important works that quote Kālikā Purāṇa are:

1 Kalpataru of Lakṣmīdhara
2 Aparārka ṭīkā on Yājñavalkya smṛti
3 Dānasāgara of Ballālasena
4 Chaturvargacintāmaṇi of Hemādri
5 Samayapradīpa and ācāradarśa of Srīdatta Upādhyāya
6 Gṛhastha ratnākara of Chandraśekhara
7 Madanapārijāta of Madanapāla
8 Kālanirṇaya and Pārāśara smṛti bhāṣya of Mādhavācārya
9 Gaṅgāvākyāvali of Vidyāpati
10 Dvaitanirṇaya of Vācaspati
11 Kṛtyacintāmaṇi and Shuddhicintāmaṇi
12 Madanaratnapradīpa of Madanasimha
13 Shuddhiviveka of Rudradhara
14 Nityācārapradīpa of Narasimha Vājapeyī

The verses quoted in the above works are not found in the version of Kālikā Purāṇa currently available. The current editions list names of other Nibandhakāras as well such as Shūlapāṇi, Srīnātha, Govindānanda, Raghunandana, Kṛṣṇānanda āgamavāgīśa, Gajādhara, Mitramiśra, Anantabhaṭṭa, Kamalākara Bhaṭṭa and Nandapaṇḍita.

Kālikā Purāṇa is not a Pañcalakṣaṇa purāṇa as it lacks five details: Vaṃśa, Manvantara, Vaṃśānucarita etc., in detail or in brief. This work follows an independent style not reminiscent of other classic Purāṇas. The currently available edition consists of around 9000 verses and 90 adhyāyas, divided into two halves. The first half deals with the famous mythologies of Shiva and Satī, as well as Shiva and Pārvatī. The second half deals with the worship of Goddess Kāmākhyā in great detail. It is this part which stands out and in general, the current popularity of the work is mainly on account of this second portion of the Purāṇa.

This Purāṇa does not currently find itself listed among other Mahāpurāṇas, but there are theories that there was a version of this Purāṇa which was identified as Bhāgavata which was considered to be a Mahāpurāṇa. This is stated by Hemādri in his Dharmacintāmaṇi:

यदिदं कालिकाख्यानं मूलं भागवतं स्मृतम् |

In the twelfth century, the author of Kṛtyakalpatru, Lakṣmīdhara, the Guru of King Jayachandra of Gahadvala, accepts Kālikā Purāṇa as an Upapurāṇa:

अष्टादर्शभ्यस्तु पृथक् पुराणं दृश्यते विजानीध्वं मुनिश्रेष्ठास्तदेतेभ्यो विनिर्गतम् | उद्भूतं तथा कालिकापुराणादि ||

Thus, Lakśmīdhara accepts the origin of Kālikā Purāṇa from the eighteen main Purāṇas. Chandraśekhara accepts the same in his Kṛtyaratnākara. The famous Bengali Nibandhakāra Ballālasena names this Purāṇa along with Sāmba purāṇa in his Dānasāgara:

उक्तान्युपपुराणानि व्यक्तदानविधीनि च |
आद्यं पुराणं साम्बं कालिकाद्वयमेव च ||

The quotations from this Purāṇa used by Nibandhakāras are centered around topics such as Dāna, Varṇāśrama dharma, Vrata, Shrāddha, Shaucha etc., which are nowhere to be seen in the currently available version of the Purāṇa. The quotations available from older works are clearly devoid of any tāntric character. In fact, Ballālasena clearly states in his Dānasāgara that he only quotes from those works which are not Pākhaṇḍa śāstras, in other words, devoid of tāntric influence. He even uses Bhaviṣya Purāṇa only till the seventh Kalpa beyond which he traces tāntric influence.

So we have the testimony of Ballālasena who rejects Devīpurāṇa and the eighth and ninth kalpas of Bhaviṣya Purāṇa as Pākhaṇḍa śāstras owing to Tāntric influence; and he sees no such thing in the case of Kālikā Purāṇa! This is a clear indication that the version of the Purāṇa available during his time was probably entirely different from what we see today. That version seems to be lost today as Raghunandana, in his Durgāpūjātattva, says:

दुष्प्राप्य कालिकापुराणान्तरेऽपि |

So, there is ample evidence for the existence of n entirely different Kālikā Purāṇa in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries which was Shaiva in nature and dealt with Yogamāyā who was an accessorial Shakti of Shiva. It is reasonable to assume that the Tāntric influence seen today was absent in the older version. Another discordant note in the version available today is the influence from Vaiṣṇava āgamas, which seems quite out of place when seen within the context of an overall śākta purāṇa. The worship of Viṣṇu in the current edition of Kālikā Purāṇa is derived from the Pāñcarātra stream. Thus, the current edition of Kālikā Purāṇa is a hodgepodge of Shākta and Vaiṣṇava influences.

The question that now arises is: what happened to the original version of Kālikā Purāṇa? Paṇḍita Baladeva Upādhyāya, in his introduction to Kālikā Purāṇa edited by Viśvanārāyaṇa śāstrī, says that he had seen such a copy with Balarāma śāstrī of Benares Sanskrit University which is in the form of a conversation between Tṛṇabindu and Anilāda. Interestingly, according to other sources such as Nānyadeva, Hemādri and Chanḍeśvara, the vaktā and śrotā of Kālikā Purāṇa are Tṛṇabindu and Anilāda. In this version, there is a detailed description of the tales of Shiva, Satī, Pārvatī, Skanda etc. In the Tīrthamāhātmya section, kucharatīrtha is discussed where Devī resides, such as Gaṅgādvāra, Kuśāvarta and Nīlācala. There are also some simple stotras adoring Shiva, Skanda and Ardhanārīśvara. And again, there are no dominant tāntric elements here.

Though vociferously protested by practitioners of Tantra, there has always been a tradition of mainstream proponents which has classified Tantra into Vaidika and Vedabāhya. The author of Mahimna Stava considers Pāśupata, Shaivasiddhānta, Pāñcarātra and Vaikhānasa as Vedabāhya. Even Shaṅkarāchārya rejects the core Chaturvyūha siddhānta of Pāñcarātra in his Brahmasūtra bhāṣya. It is interesting to observe the view of Purāṇas on Tantras and Tāntric practices. According to Devī Bhagavata, certain aspects of Tantra are acceptable to Vedas and it is only these aspects that may be adopted by the Dvijas.

Major influence of Tantras on Purāṇas can be traced to eight century and later. By eleventh century, many Purāṇas has effectively assimilated mini Tantras within their content. While Garuḍa and Agni Purāṇas majorly assimilated content from Tantras, other Purāṇas such as Vāyu, Bhāgavata, Viṣṇu and Mārkaṇḍeya stayed relatively free of elements dealing with Tāntric rituals.

Kothamangalam Vasudevan Namboothiri

Chidambara Rahasyam

Chidambara Rahasyam

श्रीचक्रं शिवचक्रं च ध्वनिचक्रं च ताण्डवम् |
सम्मेळनं श्रीललिताचक्रं चिन्तामणेस्तथा |
गणेशस्कन्दयोश्चैव चक्रं ज्ञेयं नवात्मकम् ||

श्रीचक्रादिविशेषयन्त्रघटितं भित्तिस्वरूपं सदाऽऽ-
नन्दज्ञानमयं नटेशशिवयोः सम्मेलनं बोधयेत् |
कस्तूरीमसृणं चिदम्बरमिदं स्थानं रहस्यं नुमः ||

वाश्चारेट् ध्वजधक् धृतोड्वधिपतिः कुध्रेड्जजानिर्गणेट्
गोराडारुरुडुरस्सरेडुरुतरग्रैवेयकभ्राडरम् |
स स्तादम्बुमदम्बुदालिगलरुड्देवो नटाधीश्वरः ||

(इति सम्मेलनमन्त्रग्राह्यो नटेशः)

śrīcakraṃ śivacakraṃ ca dhvanicakraṃ ca tāṇḍavam |
sammeḻanaṃ śrīlalitācakraṃ cintāmaṇestathā |
gaṇeśaskandayoścaiva cakraṃ jñeyaṃ navātmakam ||

śrīcakrādiviśeṣayantraghaṭitaṃ bhittisvarūpaṃ sadā.a.a-
nandajñānamayaṃ naṭeśaśivayoḥ sammelanaṃ bodhayet |
kastūrīmasṛṇaṃ cidambaramidaṃ sthānaṃ rahasyaṃ numaḥ ||

vāścāreṭ dhvajadhak dhṛtoḍvadhipatiḥ kudhreḍjajānirgaṇeṭ
gorāḍāruruḍurassareḍurutaragraiveyakabhrāḍaram |
sa stādambumadambudāligalaruḍdevo naṭādhīśvaraḥ ||

The Bhagavad Gita before the Battle

This brilliant article by Shatavadhani Sri R Ganesh deserves a thoughtful reading.


In the early part of this century, our Guru Sri Chinmudrānandanātha had resided for an extended period of time at the shrine of Lord Daṇḍāyudhapāṇi at Pazhani, practicing a certain Yoga associated with agniśuddhi. In those days, a descendant of Umānandanātha, the disciple of Bhāskararāya Makhīndra known for his work Nityotsava, approached him with a peculiar problem.

This gentleman had been an upāsaka of Mahāgaṇapati and had accomplished añjanasiddhi which enabled him to find lost articles. He had tried to gain favor with certain powerful men using his siddhi. A certain Purohita who competed with this gentleman for royal favors was further infuriated when our Gaṇeśopāsaka married his daughter without his consent. The Purohita, who hailed from a family of well-known mantravādins of Himācala, performed a certain prayoga of Dhūmāvatī. His father had been the panda at the shrine of Dhūpacaṇḍī. The effect was such that this gentleman began to exhibit feminine tendencies, slowly losing his manhood.

There are such gender-change prayogas involving the mantra of Mahāvārāhī, but this was the first time I heard of such a thing associated with Dhūmāvatī. That said, my experience with this one devatā, Dhūmāvatī, is minimal. When he failed to overcome the prayoga through his own administrations, he was advised by his Guru to seek refuge at the lotus feet of Kumāra, who is stationed on the hill of Pazhani as Navapāṣāṇamūrti. Disguised as a eunuch, he stayed at Pazhani, reciting the mantra of Brahmabhūḥ, praying for guidance. How is it possible that one seeks the help of Skanda and his miseries continue? Lord appeared in his dream one morning and sent him to our Guru who decided to reverse the prayoga of Dhūmāvatī.

Our Guru invoked the might vidyā of Bhagavatī Khaḍgavārāhī, the chief characteristic of whose mantra is the use of the bīja 'vrīṃ' which is of special significance in the upāsanā of Kumāra as well. He meditated upon the fearful image of the Mother, reciting the 141 lettered mantra 10,000 times a day:

ghananālaghanākārāṃ kharvasthūlakalevarām |
hastamātraviniṣkrāntapracatpotraraṃdhravat ||
vāmabhāgekṣivadanaṃ dhārayantīṃ dvilocanām |
aṣṭamīcandrakhaṇḍābha daṃṣṭrāyugavirājitām ||
kopādālolarasanāṃ vistārivikṛtānanām |
kalpāntaravisaṅkāśāṃ pūrayantīṃ jagatviṣā ||
bhīmadaṃṣṭrāṭṭahāsāṃ ca raktākṣīṃ raktamekhalām |
kṛpāṇākāraromāliparipūrṇakalevarām ||
bhūdārarūpadhātrīṃ ca sañcarantīṃ vihāyasi |
satādhūnanavitrastaprapalāyitakhecarām ||
sarvālaṅkārasaṃyuktāṃ ghurghurāravakāriṇīm |
abjacāpāṅkuśān pāśaṃ vāmage bibhratīṃ kare |
cakraṃ bāṇaṃ gadāṃ khaḍgaṃ dadhatīṃ dakṣiṇe kare ||
dūrvādalaśyāmalayā dharaṇyā sevitāṃ sadā |
vārāhīṃ cintayeditthaṃ śatrusaṅghavidāriṇīm ||

Within 40 days, the prayoga was reversed and his effeminate mannerisms began to disappear. However, he had forever lost his capacity to bear an offspring.

To show his gratitude to the great Kroḍamukhī, he constructed a small temple outside Pazhani which I am told still exists to the present day. With the grace of Varāhānanā, perhaps we shall visit this shrine some day and pay our respects not only to the great Goddess, but also to our ācārya.

Sri Guruguha

Sri Guruguha

नमस्ते स्कन्दाय त्रिदशपरिपालाय महते
नमः क्रौञ्चाभिख्यासुरदलनदक्षाय भवते |
नमः श्रूरक्रूरत्रिदशरिपुदण्डाध्वरकृते
नमो भूयो भूयो नतिकृदवने जागरवते ||

शिवस्त्वं शक्तिस्त्वं तदुभयतमैक्यं पृथगसि
स्तवे ध्याने पूजा जपनियममुख्येष्वभिरताः |
भुवि स्थित्वा भोगान् सुचिरमुपभुज्य प्रमुदिताः
भवन्ति स्थाने तत्तदनुपुनरावृत्तिविमुखाः ||

गुरोर्विद्यां लब्ध्वा सकलभयहन्त्रीं जपपराः
पुरश्चर्यामुख्यक्रमविधिजुषो ध्याननिपुणाः |
व्रतस्थैः कामौघैरभिलषितवाञ्छां प्रियभुजः
चिरं जीवन्मुक्ता जगति विजयते सुकृतिनः ||

समरन् घोराकारं तिमिरनिकुरुम्बस्य सदृशं
जपन् मन्त्रान् मर्त्यः सकलरिपुदर्पक्षपयिता |
स रुद्रेणौपम्यं भजति परमात्मन् गुह विभो
वरिष्ठः साधूनामपि च नितरां त्वद्भजनवान् ||

महान्तं केकीन्द्रं वरद सहसाऽऽरुह्य दिविषद्
गणानां सर्वेषामभयद मुनीनां च भजताम् |
वलारातेः कन्यारमण बहुपुण्याचलपते
गुह स्वान् दीने मयि वितनु कारुण्यमनिशम् ||

महद्बाह्यानन्दं परशिवगुरुं सन्ततलसत्
तटित्कोटिप्रख्यं सकलदुरितार्तिघ्नममलम् |
गुहं श्रीसङ्गीतप्रियमहमन्तर्हृदि भजे ||

namaste skandāya tridaśaparipālāya mahate
namaḥ krauñcābhikhyāsuradalanadakṣāya bhavate |
namaḥ śrūrakrūratridaśaripudaṇḍādhvarakṛte
namo bhūyo bhūyo natikṛdavane jāgaravate ||

śivastvaṃ śaktistvaṃ tadubhayatamaikyaṃ pṛthagasi
stave dhyāne pūjā japaniyamamukhyeṣvabhiratāḥ |
bhuvi sthitvā bhogān suciramupabhujya pramuditāḥ
bhavanti sthāne tattadanupunarāvṛttivimukhāḥ ||

gurorvidyāṃ labdhvā sakalabhayahantrīṃ japaparāḥ
puraścaryāmukhyakramavidhijuṣo dhyānanipuṇāḥ |
vratasthaiḥ kāmaughairabhilaṣitavāñchāṃ priyabhujaḥ
ciraṃ jīvanmuktā jagati vijayate sukṛtinaḥ ||

samaran ghorākāraṃ timiranikurumbasya sadṛśaṃ
japan mantrān martyaḥ sakalaripudarpakṣapayitā |
sa rudreṇaupamyaṃ bhajati paramātman guha vibho
variṣṭhaḥ sādhūnāmapi ca nitarāṃ tvadbhajanavān ||

mahāntaṃ kekīndraṃ varada sahasā.a.aruhya diviṣad
gaṇānāṃ sarveṣāmabhayada munīnāṃ ca bhajatām |
valārāteḥ kanyāramaṇa bahupuṇyācalapate
guha svān dīne mayi vitanu kāruṇyamaniśam ||

mahadbāhyānandaṃ paraśivaguruṃ santatalasat
taṭitkoṭiprakhyaṃ sakaladuritārtighnamamalam |
guhaṃ śrīsaṅgītapriyamahamantarhṛdi bhaje ||

Sri Muttuswami Dikshitar