mahAsudarshana vyUha

There are nine Supreme mantras of sudarshana, the chakrarAja of Lord shrImannArAyaNa. It is said that through the vyUha of sudarshana that we describe below, the core power of mahAsaMkarShaNa mUrti is invoked and prayogas including those of dhUmAvatI, bagalAmukhI, simhamukhI, grdhramukhI, pratya~NgirA, shUlinI, sharabha, bhairava, aghora, kShetrapAla, vaTayakShinI and madhumatI are very easily defeated through its successful application.

The navaratna mantras of the great chakrarAja which are derived from the tejas of mahAnR^isiMha are as below:

1. sudarshana bIja
2. sudarshana piNDa
3. ShaDakShara mantrarAja
4. saMj~na mantra
5. kAlachakra mantra
6. pravartaka agnipiNDa mantra
7. nivartaka varuNapiNDa mantra
8. sudarshana gAyatrI
9. sarvashaktigrAsa mahAmantra

The following mantras are used through saMpuTIkaraNa with each of the navaratna mantras:

1. shuddha praNava
2. vaiShNava ShaDaksharI
3. aShTAkSharI
4. dvAdashAkSharI
5. mantrarAja nrsiMha
6. prAsAda
7. hamsa
8. ajapA
9. mUla gAyatrI
10. anutArA
11. sarasvatI
13. rati
14. mahAlakShmI
15. tArA

Thus, this results in a vyUha of 144 mantras (including the navaratna-s in their pure form) - invincible and capable of infinite power. While each of the mantras, with or without their saMpuTa, has its own R^iShyAdayaH, the eight standard sudarshana mudrA-s are used commonly:

sha~NkhaM chakraM gadA padmaM musalaM khaDgameva cha |
dhenu~ncha yamapAsha~ncha mudrA hyetAH prakIrtitAH ||

Stop Fussing over the Sufis please .....

The debate on the proposal to build a mosque at Ground Zero continues to hog the headlines but I took special notice of a certain point made by the Imam who thinks building the Mosque is necessary in order to prevent the enragement of the Radical Islamists in the Middle East. And he claims his being a Sufi automatically implies his non-association with Radical Islam. The first question to ask would be whether there is something called non-radical Islam? There probably are a few non-radical Moslems. It is quite incorrect to assume that the Sufis are all about love, peace and religious harmony. History paints a drastically different picture. When I mentioned this to some of my American friends, they expressed total disbelief and threw around a big fuss.

Now, some examples for our friends:

Hazrat Shaikh Khwaja Syed Muhammad Muinuddin Chishti was accompanied to Ajmer and Khwaja Qutubuddin to Delhi by Muḥammad Shahabuddin Ghori, famously known as Muḥammad of Ghor. Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Masud Ganjshakar aka Baba Fareed came to Pakpattan (now in Pakistan) and Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya of Dargah Hazarat Nizamuddin came to Delhi accompanying a contingent of the Muslim invaders.

- Islamization of India, Purushottam

Bengal was not conquered by seventeen Turkish cavaliers (of Bakhtiyar Khalji); but by the barah-auliyas, or twelve legendary Muslim militant saints, the Pirs who cropped up after the seed of Islam had been broadcast in the plains of Bengal.

- Prof K R Qanungo

Fourteenth century happened to be a period of expansion of Muslim authority in Bengal and adjoining territories. A significant part was played in this process by the warrior saints who were eager to take up the cause of any persecuted community. This often resulted [in clash] with the native authority, followed by, almost invariably by annexation.

- The Muslim Community of the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent, Dr. I H Qureshi

Whenever a live Hindu fell into the hands of the victorious king he was pounded to bits under the feet of the elephants…

- Amir Khusrau, the famous Sufi Poet writes thus!

According to 14th and 15th century legends, Ismaili propagandist evolved a belief for Hindu converts that Ali, the husband of Fatima, daughter of Prophet Muhammad, was the 10th incarnation of Vishnu, that Adam was another aspect of Siva and that Muhammad was in fact Brahma.

- A History of Sufism in India, Athar Abbas Rizvi

- Shahid Salar Masood Ghazi was a Sufi who was Mohammad Ghazni’s nephew and persuaded him to destroy the Temple at Somnath. The travelled across India along with his father and a few hundred thousand cavalry, destroying Hindus. Graves were built for those Moslems killed by the defending Hindu armies and some of those are now considered shrines and worshipped devoutly by mostly Hindus!

- Hazrat Shaikh Khwaja Syed Muhammad Muinuddin Chisti of Ajmer is probably the most well-known Sufi saint in India. The lobby of secularists frequently use his example to paint a picture of Islam as a religion of peace.

It is told that once when he went to perform the pilgrimage to the holy tomb of the Prophet Muhammad, one day from the inside of the pure and blessed tomb a cry came: ‘’Send for Muinuddin.’’ When Muinuddin came to the door he stood there and he saw that presence speak to him. ‘’Muinuddin, you are the essence of my faith; but must go to Hindustan. There is a place called Ajmer, to which one of my sons (descendants) went for a holy war, and now he has become a martyr, and the place has passed again into the hands of infidels. By the grace of your footsteps there, once more shall Islam be made manifest, and the Kafirs be punished by God’s wrath.’’ Accordingly Muinuddin reached Ajmer in Hindustan. There he said: ‘Praise be to God, May he be exalted, for I have gained possession of the property of my brother. Although, at that time there were many temples of idols around the lake, when the Khwaja saw them, he said: ‘If God and His Prophet so will, it will not be long before I raze to the ground these idol-temples. This is followed by tales of Khwaja coming over those Hindu deities and teachers who were strongly opposed to his settling down there.

- The shrine and cult of Munuddin Chishti of Ajmer, P M Curie

As an author notes:

“It appears that shorn of miracles the story simply suggests that Khwaja came to India determined to eradicated idolatry and paganism and establish Islam in its place. He met with a lot of resistance from the local governor of Rai Pithaura (Prithviraj Chauhan) besides resistance from Rai Pithaura himself. With the help of the immense treasure at his disposal and having converted many gullible Hindus to his faith, he became strong enough to invite Rai Pithaura to convert to Islam. Having failed to persuade him, Khwaja sent a message inviting Sultan Shihabuddin Ghori to attack India. Shihabuddin made unsuccessful invasions. Rai Pithaura always allowed him to go back unmolested after his defeat. Ultimately, however, he defeated Prithvi Raj Chauhan and killed him”.

All were ignorant of Allah and his prophet. None had seen the Kaba. None had heard of the greatness of Allah. After Muinuddin arrived in India, “Because of his sword, instead of idols and temples, there are Mosques, Mimbars and Mihrabs in the land of unbelief. In the land where the sayings of the idolaters were heard, there is now the sound of Allah-O-Akbar.

- Siyar al-arifin

The Sultan forgetting all his royal duties took pleasure day and night in destroying idols. He destroyed idols of Martand, Vishnu, Ishan, Chakravarthy and Tripureshwar. Not a forest, a village or a city escaped where the Turushk and his minister Suha passed…

- Kalhana in his Rajataramgini on Sikandar Butshikan

There hardly ever was a Sufi who walked the Indian soil that seems to have had no ulterior motive.

Pankajalochana



We happened to hear of an updated concert schedule from Gayatri. While those interested should check the Musical duo's website for exact dates and venues, here is a summary of what we heard from Gayatri.

Sep 24 - New Jersey
Sep 25 - Atlanta
Oct 2 - LA
Oct 3 - San Jose
Oct 8 - Dallas
Oct 10 - Boston

Miscellaneous Discourses on Buddhist Tantra

- Ringu Tulku Rinpoche

Compassion and Practice of Tantra

Somewhere in Tibet in a cave there was a very good lama in retreat. He was practicing, when suddenly something appeared in front of him. He saw it as a negative, obstructing spirit. So he tried to say some mantras to drive it away. But it did not go away. It said mantras back. Then he visualized himself as a very strong, wrathful deity and again said mantras. In return, that spirit became even more strong and wrathful and said mantras back. After that, the lama realized that this was a spirit of someone who had practiced all those wrathful deities and mantras. When he understood that, he became very sad, and genuine concern and compassion arose for the person who had become this evil spirit after practicing the Vajrayana methods. Within this genuine concern and compassion, he forgot about his visualization of the wrathful deity, the mantras, and all those things, and his compassion overtook him. At that moment, the spirit began disappearing in front of him. It became smaller and smaller, until in a very weak voice it said, “That I did not have,” and disappeared.

Empowerment and Initiation

Without having received empowerment, one is not allowed to practice any Vajrayana teaching. It is not that easy to illustrate the meaning of the four empowerments. Empowerment is a teaching, a very direct way of instruction, which conveys the very essence of all teachings simultaneously. It is also an introduction to the mind itself. During empowerment a strong condition is created such that the conceptualizations of the student are cut completely, and he or she can obtain a glimpse of the truth. For this reason, it is said that when a highly realized teacher grants empowerment to a highly developed disciple, the disciple can reach realization within that very moment.

Empowerment involves many different aspects. It involves the quality of the teacher’s lifetime of preparation and practice, as well as the quality of the student’s own preparation. This latter aspect is most important. Empowerment depends upon the relationship between the master and the disciple. It relies on the firmness and completeness of their trust and confidence, since it is a transmission from mind to mind. It requires a very strong understanding and trust from both sides; this is called “blessing” in English, though this word is not a sufficiently accurate translation. The Tibetan is jin gyi lab pa and means to be transformed through a certain environment and influence. This is the meaning of “blessing” from the Buddhist point of view. It denotes a total transformation from the core of our being, which is induced by different things happening around us. Empowerment, in its actual sense, should lead us to receive this blessing and to undergo a genuine and complete transformation. The same is true for each of the different methods provided within the Vajrayana: mantra, meditation practices, visualization techniques, and so forth. They all have the same objective: the total transmutation of our body, speech, mind, and our entire being. Because empowerment involves all four of these, there are four empowerments.

The four empowerments are called “vase empowerment,” “secret empowerment,” “wisdom empowerment,” and “word empowerment.” The basic constituents that the empowerments work on are the channels, winds, and the essence, called tsa, lung, and tiglé in Tibetan. These three are used in connection with the mind. Thus, the first empowerment is related to the channels, the second to the essence, the third to the winds or energies, and the fourth to the mind. The purpose of the first empowerment is to awaken and reveal the nirmANa-kAya aspect of the disciple. In the same way, the second empowerment is meant to initiate the manifestation of the sambhoga-kAya; the third, the manifestation of the dharma-kAya; and the fourth, the recognition of the svAbhAvika-kAya aspect of our own being. When these four empowerments or initiations are received for the first time, they are called “seed initiations,” since the teacher plants a seed, which is then cultivated by the disciple to gain an initial understanding and experience.

After that, the teacher will give all the instructions necessary to arrive at an actual and genuine realization. In Tibetan these are called tri. Generally speaking, the entirety of the Vajrayana teachings divides into three methods of instruction, called wang, lung, and tri. These are “empowerment,” “reading transmission,” and “explanation.” Of these three, empowerment is the shortest and most direct manner of instruction. Thereafter, one should ask for the reading transmission, which is the means conveying the permission to practice. The teacher bestows this transmission by reading the text that is to be practiced to the disciple, who is supposed to listen carefully and one-pointedly. Finally, explanation consists of a very detailed, experiential, and word-by-word elucidation of the particular transmission. Once these three have been received, one can proceed to the application of the actual practice.

In the course of application the four empowerments are employed again and again. They are the heart of every Vajrayana practice and one applies them in the form of visualization. This is called lam wang, “the path empowerment.” This term indicates that, in the context of the Vajrayana, empowerment actually constitutes the path. Practice is nothing other than the application of the four empowerments through which we purify body, speech, mind, and our entire being. We do this in order to realize the true nature of everything and to reveal true self, which emerges as the four kAyas.

We may wonder what kind of preparation is needed to be able to receive empowerment in its actual sense. The first and most important prerequisite is to find a teacher we can trust completely and unwaveringly. In this context, blind trust is of no avail. Our confidence needs a foundation. The teacher has to be fully qualified, and the disciple’s trust must be based on the recognition of this. In addition to that, every aspect of our previous Dharma activity—be it it study, purification practice, accumulation of merit, or any other type of exercise—is part of our preparation. Even empowerment belongs to our preparation, as long as it has not led us to see the true nature of everything. The aspect of study plays an especially important role at the beginning. In order to be able to practice properly, a correct and clear understanding of the Buddhist teachings is required. We need to know how they relate to and build upon each other and where each instruction belongs. If we endeavor to gain this knowledge first, our practice will have a sound basis.

Everything is a preparation. In this context, we cannot single out certain points. Whatever contributes to our total development—any understanding we gain, any study, purification, and so forth—is part of our preparation. This is even true of empowerment itself, as a practitioner will normally receive more than one. It is extremely rare that one’s first empowerment results in total transformation. Especially in the view of the Tibetan tantric tradition, it is thought that one’s first empowerment is usually not received in a complete way—it is obvious that most people do not become enlightened in the course of that same evening. According to this understanding, empowerment plants a seed that has to be cultivated through practice. In this way, empowerment is also a preparation, as is every aspect of our practice and activity in daily life.

The more we gradually gain understanding, the more our way of seeing things will be transformed. As we incorporate genuine experience and realization into our stream of being, as we become more mature, we will derive greater benefit from the next initiation. For this reason, we may receive a hundred or more empowerments before we reach the maturity required to be able to receive initiation in its actual and final sense. When this happens, all the preceding initiations, as well as all the other aspects of our practice, will manifest within it. Empowerment, in this true and ultimate sense, is not something that the teacher gives to the disciple. It comes from within and is equivalent to full realization.

Empowerment is transmitted in four different ways, described as “elaborate,” “non-elaborate,” “very non-elaborate,” and “extremely non-elaborate.” This indicates that empowerment does not necessarily involve a great deal of ritual. For those who have an affinity for ceremony and who attach great importance to outer form, empowerment can be conveyed in a very elaborate and ritualized manner. For a disciple who does not have this tendency or has an adverse affinity, the teacher can just use the environment, or even no outer support at all. No matter which kind of empowerment we receive, the most important points are our own preparation and state of mind.

The lineage of the Guru is of crucial importance. A reliable ground is needed to evaluate the genuineness of a teacher and see whether an instruction is right or wrong. Anyone can turn up and claim, “I am truly great! I know everything!” But if we have connected with an authentic lineage, we will not fall into traps. Knowing where an instruction comes from enables us to judge its validity. Once we make a decision to pursue serious practice, we will not want to accept everything that comes our way and waste our time on fantasies. Instead, we will look for quality, for something that is pure and authentic and sustained by genuine realization.

In modern terms we might say that a teacher should have a good reputation and proper references, so that we are able to trace the origin of his or her teaching. When a pure and authentic lineage is present, we will find instructions that stem from a truly experienced great master who has received them from an equally accomplished teacher, and so forth. Then, we can have justified confidence that we are practicing the right kind of teaching. Confidence is essential since doubts can arise anytime. Doubt is a very common phenomenon—everybody has doubts. In the course of our Dharma practice, we will fall into doubts again and again until we reach the first bhumi, or level of enlightenment. This is the point at which the truth of cessation is seen directly to a certain extent—no longer in terms of a passing experience but in terms of stable realization.

The Creation Stage Practices

In Vajrayana practice the process of birth and death is exercised through the visualization of a deity. Which deity is visualized will depend on each students’s personal affinity and need, and therefore will depend on the individual instruction of his or her spiritual teacher. Depending upon different sadhanas, or meditation texts, the deity is either visualized in front of oneself, or above the crown of one’s head, or one visualizes oneself as the deity.

Any visualization is preceded by three types of samadhi. During the first samadhi the mind is left in its suchness in order to allow the mind to manifest in its natural state, which is the union of emptiness and compassion. This manifestation is the second samadhi, from which birth takes place in the form of a seed syllable or a color. This initial creation forms the third samadhi, which then transforms into the particular deity to be visualized.

The purpose of any visualization practice is to purify the four modes of birth that we may have undergone countlessly during our various preceding lifetimes. Each of these has left karmic imprints in our mind that need to be cleared away. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that one thorough purification will take care of everything. Every Vajrayana practice is complete in itself. It is therefore not necessary to practice all the different forms of creation stage that the old yogi describes. These are mainly due to different sadhanas. Which of these is used individually again depends on the personal relationship between master and disciple.

Creation stage practice itself has seven parts, of which the first five are preliminaries, which will give rise to five experiences, those of movement, attainment, familiarization, stability, and final accomplishment. The preliminaries are: focusing on the deity, curing defects in the visualization, separating from the deity, bringing the deity onto the path, and mixing the mind with the deity. In their course, eight signs of clarity and stability will manifest, which are the sign that the highest stage of shiné meditation is achieved.

When these signs are present, one is prepared for the sixth point, the actual creation stage practice, called “Actualizing the Deity.” It is carried out within the framework of “the four nails,” which are the nails of samadhi, of mantra, of irreversible understanding, and of manifestation and absorption. These nails again form four stages, called the “approach” practice, the “close approach” practice, the “accomplishment” practice, and the “great accomplishment” practice. It is important to understand that the practice of creation stage is not something that is mastered easily. It may take a lifetime or even many lifetimes until the meditative capacity described as its result is achieved, being in fact the capacity of an enlightened being. Nevertheless, the Vajrayana takes the fruit as the path. For this reason, one trains in the full content of the sadhana to be practiced right from the beginning, thereby mastering the different aspects of creation step-by-step.

The seventh aspect of creation stage practice involves the way to carry its impact into every aspect of life. It teaches the view of utter purity and how to practice in light of this view during daytime, during sleep, and during dreams.

During the first samadhi, “the samadhi of suchness,” the mind is allowed to be in its actual uncreated state without making any changes or modifications. The mind is left the way it is, in its present state. It is allowed to abide in the present moment without putting any concept onto it. This is the ground samadhi that stands at the beginning of any creation stage practice. One always starts with leaving one’s mind in its suchness, in complete nowness, in its true uncontrived nature without adding anything to it.

When doing so, the nature of our mind itself proves to be radiant with goodness and warmth, with all-encompassing compassion that manifests in spontaneous bliss. This is the second samadhi, the samadhi of overall appearance. Here the term “compassion” is to be understood in light of the Vajrayana. It is not compassion in the sense of feeling sad and full of pity upon seeing something negative happen. In the experience of the Vajrayana, compassion manifests within spontaneous bliss. This is ultimate bodhichitta, the expression of the deep insight into the true nature of our mind and everything else. Once everything is seen as it is, it is also seen that every being suffers unnecessarily. Suffering is not the nature of sentient beings. Their nature is the union of emptiness and bliss. Nevertheless, as long as this is not understood, sentient beings suffer tremendously in various ways. Upon seeing this, great compassion arises in someone who understands the true nature of mind. This compassion is completely uncontrived and free from any artifice, such as thinking, “I should be kind to my fellow beings.” This is called “the samadhi of overall appearance or manifestation.” For a beginner, though, who does not realize the nature of mind and of everything else, this means to give rise to the feeling of compassion using the methods taught in the Mahayana system.

The foregoing is to say that there are two aspects, completely inseparable from each other. The first is emptiness, the experience of our own true nature or of the way everything really is. This is totally unchanging and cannot be altered. The second is compassion, the radiance native to the nature of mind. The manifestation of their union appears in the form of the seed syllable, which can be visualized as a letter like Hung, or Hri, or it can be visualized as a color. This is the third samadhi, called “the samadhi of the seed.”

The three samadhis described above are the essential points within any visualization, or creation stage practice. “Emptiness” can be spoken of in the context of the three samadhis, but this term should not be understood in its literal sense. It stands for the true nature of mind. The mind is allowed to rest in its natural state without adding or removing anything. Then, there is the flow of its natural spontaneous compassion and bliss. From this union of our ultimate nature and its radiance, also called the union of wisdom and compassion, the first birth takes place. The first thought that comes up is taken as the working material to create the visualization. When a thought appears in our mind, we usually think of something: a sound, color, or anything else. Instead of following our habitual pattern, we try to create something that is related to the deity and the visualization we intend to do. This is the seed syllable which then transforms into or gives birth to something else.

The Completion Stage Practices

The purpose of all creation stage practices is to dissolve our attachment to the solidity and independent existence of ourselves and the phenomenal world around us. We create the image of a deity in our mind that stands out clearly in all its features, and yet is neither solid nor real. It comes into the mind like a rainbow and is not graspable in any way. At the same time it radiates all goodness and any perfect quality, thus being an image of the true nature of mind. Nevertheless, it is still an image, a further creation of our mind, and we may easily develop an attachment to this pure and radiant manifestation that we have created. This is a more subtle attachment, but still an attachment.

The purpose of the completion stage is to cut this attachment as well. We come back to the state of mind from which the first creation of the deity arose, to the samadhi of suchness. Thus the wheel comes full circle: the mind is left in complete emptiness. From this emptiness the pure and vivid manifestation of the deity arises, which while present is not different from emptiness, and which then dies—dissolving back into emptiness.

In the context of the Vajrayana, emptiness is to be understood as “emptiness endowed with all perfect aspects.” This refers to the fact that the nature of mind—when realized—proves to be not just empty. It has radiance and displays appearance, manifesting in unceasing play. Thus it is the inseparable union of emptiness and appearance, or of emptiness and clear light.

The stage of completion practice that the old yogi points out refers to this understanding and therefore requires a very high level of insight into the true nature of mind. It is presented here to give an impression, and an inspiration to aspire to the final goal. Completion stage practice, when carried out in this light, has a more elaborate and a totally unelaborate aspect, the first involving a focus and the second being without focus. The former consists of different practices commonly called “yogas,” such as the “six yogas of Naropa.” They are usually practiced in a retreat situation and involve working with the subtle aspects of the psycho-physical body, which are the channels, chakras, bindus, and winds. Although these methods involve a great amount of technique, such as very detailed visualizations and so forth, they are considered as completion stage practices. The completion stage practice without focus means resting in the true nature of mind itself. This is called “Mahamudra” in the Kagyü tradition and “Maha Ati” in the Nyingma tradition.

Queries

ऊर्जितानन्दगहनां सर्वदेवस्वरूपिणीम् |
परां वाग्रूपिणीं वन्दे महानीलसरस्वतीम् ||
स्वप्रकाशविमर्शाख्य बीजाद्यङ्कुररूपिणीम् |
पूर्णानन्दमयीं वन्दे महानीलसरस्वतीम् ||

For a while, we have not answered queries from readers as most of the queries received are of these kinds: Where can I get details of all secret Srividya mantras? Where can I find a Guru? What should I chant to get promoted at work (Duh! Work!) etc. Ravi took some time to filter through such tamas and find some genuine questions.

[Query] Should nyAsa be performed mentally or physically?

dakShiNAmUrti saMhitA says:

puShpairvA.anAmayA vA.api manasA vA nyasedaNum ||

Though this verse means one can perform nyAsa through a flower, using the ring-finger or using the mind or consciousness to touch the prescribed part, one should always seek refuge in sampradAya while interpreting this verse.

1. devatAsharIre puShpaiH – When performing nyAsa within the divine body of the deity i.e. within the yantra or bimba, one should use a flower for that purpose.

2. svasya bahiHsharIre anAmayA – When performing nyAsa on one’s external body like say on head, eyes etc., one should use the ring finger for such a placement. Again, based on pramANa from other tantras and the saMhitA itself, unless specified, the general rule of thumb in shrIkula is to use a combination of the thumb and ring finger (anAmA and a~NguShTha).

3. svasyaivAntaHsharIre manasA – When performing nyAsa on one’s internal body like say in the ShaT or nava chakras, nADikA-s, granthi-s etc. one should use the mind. Some tantras also prescribe this rule when the nyAsa involves touching of regenerative or excretory organs. hamsamAheshvara tantra advices one to adopt the mental placement of bIjas without any physical action for all nyAsa-sthAnas below one’s waist.

Needless to say, mere touching of body parts without presence or awareness grants only alpa-phala.

[Query] Is Srividya siddhi possible only through left hand path?

We have personally seen those who have realized their true nature as parAmbA through left, right, middle, no and any path. One should refer to setubandha to understand the words of the great bhAskararAya himself in this context. bhAsurAnandanAtha refutes the claim of the author of artharatnAvaLI that sundarI is siddhipradAyinI only through the left hand path as that contradicts the words of the vAgdevatA-s who declare thus in the rahasya sahasranAma: savyApasavyamArgasthA, dakShiNAdakShiNArAdhyA.

ye tvartharatnAvalIkR^ita IdR^ishAttatra tatrAnuvAdAt sundarIpUjanaM vAmamArgeNaiva prashastaM na dakShiNamArgeNetyAhuste mAnAbhAvAdupekShyAH | savyApasavyamArgasthA dakShiNAdakShiNArAdhyeti lalitAsahasranAmavirodhAccha ||

[Query] Should one display nine mudras during navavaranam or ten?

The question is rather unclear. The procedure is to display a specific mudrA for each AvaraNa and all the mudrAs as a set during specific junctures such as the naivedya, AvAhana, upachAra pUjA, japa etc. It is the latter case I assume that this query pertains to. Some tantras specifically list nine mudrA-s to be displayed instead of ten. For example, we have the vAmakeshvara tantra:

saMkShobhadrAvaNAkarShavashyonmAdamahA~NkushAH |
khecharIbIjayonyAkhyA nava mudrAstvanukramAt |
virachya sAdhakendrastu dhyAnaM kuryAtsamAhitaH ||

There are other tantras which prescribe showing the ten mudrAs. For example, the kalpasUtra says:

navamudrAshcha pradarshya |

navamudrAH saMkShobhiNyAdi-yonyantA vakShyamANAH | ‘cha’kAreNa dashamIM trikhaNDAM cha pradarshya ||

Here, the prescription is to display the ten mudrAs and not just nine.

So, whether one displays nine or ten mudrAs would depend on the pramANa followed in one’s sampradAya. Those who argue for the case of the nine mudrA-s negate the use of sarvatrikhaNDinI mudrA based on its viniyoga for AvAhana. However, that does not make sense as aptly pointed out by bhAskararAya for even other mudrA-s within the navamudrA set have other applications – sarvayoni for namaskAra, sarvakhecharI for visarjana etc.

[Query] Can one use shrIvidyA for prayogas?

I assume that the query here is about whether one can use shrIvidyA for kAmya-prayogas. Well, as every tantra dealing with shrIvidyA does list kAmya prayogas, one certainly can use them. But is that the best utilization of one’s time and effort? Probably not! Again, bhAskararAya points out thus in guptavatI:

evaM devyupAsakAnAmAhnikaM varNitam | eteShAM cha mumukShutvena nityanaimittikaireva kurvANo duritakShayamiti vachanena kAmyakarmAnAdara evA.a.avashyakaH | prArabdhavashato jAtAyAmapi kAmanAyAM manastataH parAvartanameva yuktam ||

For a mumukShu, only nitya and naimittika are prescribed suggesting the uselessness of kAmya. The implication here is that there is hAni to mumukShutva itself if one indulges in kAmya prayoga. However, if mokSha is not the current or immediate goal, kAmya prayogas are certainly available for kAmanA pUrti. But due to prArabdha, the mind is like a child which falls prey to various desires or kAma. At those times, a wise man does not immediately resort to a kAmya prayoga to fulfill his desire but rather tries to regulate his mind:

yato yato nishcharati manashcha~nchalamasthiram |
tatastato niyamyaitadAtmanyeva vashaM nayet ||

However, at times it becomes necessary to pacify a wailing child with a candy so as to instill a momentary state of restfulness which can then be used to instill wisdom. The kAmya prayogas become useful in such a limited sense – following the advice of gItAchArya – shanaiH shanaiH uparamediti |

Viniyoga is an important aspect of mantra, or rather of siddha-mantra to be precise and that spans across the four puruShArtha-s:

dharmArthakAmamokShANAM shAstramArgeNa yojanam |
siddhamantrasya saMprokto viniyogo vichakShaNaiH ||

Sometimes people confuse between kAmya prayoga and siddhis or powers. Spontaneous Siddhis that arise out of nitya and naimittika parts of upAsanA are superior when compared to those arising out of kAmya activities as clarified by abhinavaguptapAdAchArya. Tantra, especially shAkta, is a path of Power and denying expressions of power, repressing them or having an unhealthy or negative attitude towards these expressions of parAshakti is foolish. However, with power comes responsibility. It is not power or siddhi one should have issues with but rather it’s abuse. Those who have truly walked the path of Tantra and have had siddhi to any extent know through direct experience that abuse is not tolerated by a host of celestial and transcendental archetypes who are present within and outside the upAsaka. So a safety mechanism is built within every genuine system of Tantra. Because people oft hear about the abuse of power and not about it’s wise and balanced application, the very concept of siddhi attracts flak from those conditioned by neo-spirituality. Again, this is another example of the disservice done by enthusiasts of neo-vedAnta who philosophize on their armchairs. A true yogin’s humility and wisdom need to be rooted in Power rather than in powerlessness.

Let's seek refuge at the Lotus Feet of the only Lion that ever saved an Elephant!

यच्चोक्तं यच्च नैवोक्तं मयात्र परमेश्वर |
तत्सर्वं त्वं नमस्तुभ्यं भूयो भूयो नमो नमः ||

mahAgaNapati

Nrtta Ganapati

का वल्लभा को वल्लभेश इति?
सर्वलोकनायिका ब्रह्मशक्तिर्वैनायकी माया सिद्धलक्ष्मीर्वल्लभा | तत्पतिः परमात्मा वल्लभेशः |
कथं गणपतिरिति?
ब्रह्मविष्णुरुद्रादीनां देवानामन्नादि ब्रह्मणां महदादि तत्त्वानां गणानां पतिर्गणपतिः |
केन गजाननेति?
नराकारा माया | गजाकारः पुरुषः | प्रकृतिपुरुषाभेदाकृतिधरो गजाननः |
कथं दशभुज इति?
पञ्चमं ब्रह्म व्याकृताव्याकृतमिदं प्रविश्य अन्तर्याम्यभवत् | व्योम्नः पुष्टिपतिं वायोर्मनसश्च रतिपतिमग्नेः गिरिजापतिमद्भ्यो रमापतिं अन्नाद्भूमिपतिं सशक्तिकानसृजत् | सशक्तिकानां पञ्चानां अभेदाकृतिमयत्वात् दशबाहुक इति |
वराहचिह्नं गदा |
भूमेर्व्रीह्यग्रम् |
विष्णोश्चक्रम् |
श्रियः पद्मम् |
रुद्रस्य रुजा |
गौर्याः पाशम् |
रतेरुत्पलम् |
मारस्य इक्षुकार्मुकम् |
पुष्टेर्बीजापूरम् |
पुष्टिपतेर्विषाणम् |
एवं दशयुधधरो दशानां अभेदाकृतिमयः कण्ठाधो वल्लभेशो दशबाहुकः |
गजाकारस्तुरीयो मूर्धा | तच्चिह्नं शुण्डा | नानाविध रत्नपूरित रत्नघटं तदायुधम् |
एकादशायुधराजित एकादशकरो वल्लभेशः |
केन रक्तवर्ण इति?
वर्णेष्वाद्यं लोहितम् | अयं देवेष्वाद्यत्वाद्रक्तवर्णोऽभवत् |
केन त्रिनेत्र इति?
प्रपञ्चत्रय साक्षित्वात् त्रिनेत्रः |
केन चन्द्रचूडः?
त्रिविधात्मकं जगन्मृतम् | तुरीयममृतात्मकम् | अमृतं चन्द्ररूपकम् | तुरीयब्रह्ममस्तकत्वात् चन्द्रचूडः |
कथं चिन्तामणिद्वीपपतिरिति?
अविद्यात्मकं जगत् | विद्यात्मकं तुरीयम् | चित्तप्रकाशकत्वाच्चिन्तामणिः | तुरीयस्थितत्वाच्चिन्तामणिद्वीपपतिः |

श्रीविद्या गणनाथस्य योगः कामप्रपूरकः |
गायत्री गणनाथस्य संयोगो ब्रह्मदायकः ||
भुक्तिमुक्तिप्रदो ब्रह्मतेजःपुञ्जप्रदो मतः |
बाला गणेशसंयोगो विद्याश्रीकामदायकः ||
नीलकण्थस्य त्र्यक्षर्या योगेनैव विषान्तकः |
अघोर गणनाथस्य संयोगः शत्रुनाशकः ||
कृत्याभिचारशमनः सर्वाभीष्टप्रदायकः |

|| नीलताराधिपतये नमः ||

Jnaneshwar's Advaita



This Abhang provides an excellent view of Saint Jnaneshwar's interpretation of the Non-dual state. Kishori-tai's rendition takes one closer to that experience.

Adi Mahalakshmi - Gauri Kaumarika


Mukambika


सहपत्या सहस्रारमहापद्मविहारिणीम् |
चतुर्भुजां त्रिनयनां विद्युत्कोटिसमप्रभाम् ||
शङ्खचक्रवराभीतीर्बिभ्रतीमतिसुन्दरीम् |
ज्वलन्मकुटताटङ्ककाञ्चीहारादि रञ्जिताम् ||
पीताम्बरधरामम्बां हेमाभां कामदां शिवाम् |
श्रीमन्महेषमहिषीं महालक्ष्मीमहं भजे ||

हरीशादिदेहोत्थ तेजोमयप्र-
स्फुरच्चक्रराजैक्यलिङ्गस्वरूपे |
महायोगिकोलर्षिहृत्पद्मगेहे
नमस्ते महालक्ष्मि कोलापुरेशि ||

नमश्चक्रशङ्खाभयाभीष्टहस्ते
नमस्तेऽम्बिके गौरि पद्मासनस्थे |
नमः स्वर्णवर्णे प्रसन्ने शरण्ये
नमस्ते महालक्ष्मि कोलापुरेशि ||

shAstAraM praNamAmyaham





लोकवीरं महापूज्यं सर्वरक्षाकरं विभुम् |
पार्वतीहृदयानन्दं शास्तारं प्रणमाम्यहम् || १ ||

विप्रपूज्यं विश्ववन्द्यं विष्णुशम्भोः प्रियं सुतम् |
क्षिप्रप्रसादनिरतं शास्तारं प्रणमाम्यहम् || २ ||

मत्तमातङ्गगमनं कारुण्यामृतपूरितम् |
सर्वविघ्नहरं देवं शास्तारं प्रणमाम्यहम् || ३ ||

अस्मत्कुलेश्वरं देवमस्मच्छत्रुविनाशनम् |
अस्मदिष्टप्रदातारं शास्तारं प्रणमाम्यहम् || ४ ||

पाण्ड्येशवंशतिलकं केरळे केळिविग्रहम् |
आर्तत्राणपरं देवं शास्तारं प्रणमाम्यहम् || ५ ||

त्रयम्बकपुराधीशं गणाधिपसमन्वितम् |
गजारूढमहं वन्दे शास्तारं प्रणमाम्यहम् || ६ ||

शिववीर्यसमुद्भूतं श्रीनिवासतनूद्भवम् |
शिखिवाहानुजं वन्दे शास्तारं प्रणमाम्यहम् || ७ ||

यस्य धन्वन्तरिर्माता पिता देवो महेश्वरः |
तं शास्तारमहं वन्दे महारोगनिवारणम् || ८ ||

भूतनाथ सदानन्द सर्वभूतदयापर |
रक्ष रक्ष महाबाहो शास्त्रे तुभ्यं नमो नमः || ९ ||

यस्य धन्वन्तरिर्माता पिता देवो महेश्वरः |
तं शास्तारमहं वन्दे महावैद्यं दयानिधिम् || १० ||

शबरिगिरिनिवासं शान्तहृत्पद्महंसं
शशिरुचिमृदुहासं श्यामलाम्बोधभासम् |
कलितरिपुनिरासं कान्तमुत्तुङ्गनासं
नतिनुतिपरदासं नौमि पिञ्छावतंसम् || ११ ||

शबरिगिरिनिशान्तं शङ्खकुन्देन्दुदन्तं
शमधनहृदिभान्तं शत्रुपालीकृतान्तम् |
सरसिजरिपुकान्तं सानुकम्पेक्षणान्तं
कृतनुतविपदन्तं कीर्तयेऽहं नितान्तम् || १२ ||

शबरिगिरिकलापं शास्त्रवद्ध्वान्तदीपं
शमितसुजनतापं शान्तिहानैर्दुराप् |
करधृतसुमचापं कारणोपात्तरूपं
कचकलितकलापं कामये पुष्कलाभम् || १३ ||

शबरिगिरिनिकेतं शङ्करोपेन्द्रपोतं
शकलितदितिजातं शत्रुजीमूतपातम् |
पदनुतपुरहूतं पालिताशेषभूतं
भवजलनिधिभोगं भावये नित्यभूतम् || १४ ||

शबरिविहृतिलोलं श्यामलोदारचेलं
शतमखरिपुकालं सर्ववैकुण्ठबालम् |
नतजनसुरजालं नाकिलोकानुकूलं
नवमयमणिमालं नौमि निःशेषमूलम् || १५ ||

सरसिजदळनेत्रं सारसारातिवक्त्रं
सजलजलदगात्रं सान्द्रकारुण्यपात्रम् |
सहतनयकळत्रं साम्बगोविन्दपुत्रं
सकलविबुधमित्रं सन्नमामः पवित्रम् || १६ ||

श्रितानन्दचिन्तामणिश्रीनिवासं
सदा सच्चिदानन्दपूर्णप्रकाशम् |
उदारं सदारं सुराधारमीशं
परञ्ज्योतिरूपं भजे भूतनाथम् || १७ ||

विभुं वेदवेदान्तवेद्यं वरिष्ठं
विभूतिप्रदं विश्रुतं ब्रह्मनिष्ठम् |
विभास्वत्प्रभावप्रभुं पुष्कलेष्टं
परञ्ज्योतिरूपं भजे भूतनाथम् || १८ ||

परित्राणदक्षं परब्रह्मसूत्रं
सुरश्चारुगात्रं भवध्वान्तमित्रम् |
परं प्रेमपात्रं पवित्रं विचित्रं
परञ्ज्योतिरूपं भजे भूतनाथम् || १९ ||

परेशं प्रभुं पूर्णकारुण्यरूपं
गिरीशादि पीठोज्ज्वलच्चारुदीपम् |
सुरेशादि संसेवितं सुप्रतापं
परञ्ज्योतिरूपं भजे भूतनाथम् || २० ||

गुरुं पूर्णलावण्यपादादिकेशं
गरीयं महत्कोटिसूर्यप्रकाशम् |
कराम्बोरुहन्यस्तवेत्रं पवित्रं
परञ्ज्योतिरूपं भजे भूतनाथम् || २१ ||

हरीशानसंयुक्तशक्त्येकवीरं
किरातावतारं कृपापाङ्गपूरम् |
कीरीटावतंसोज्ज्वलत् पिञ्छभारं
परञ्ज्योतिरूपं भजे भूतनाथम् || २२ ||

महायोगपीठोज्ज्वलन्तं महान्तं
महावाक्यसारोपदेशं सुशान्तम् |
महर्षिप्रहर्षप्रदं ज्ञानकान्तं
परञ्ज्योतिरूपं भजे भूतनाथम् || २३ ||

दुरन्ततापत्रयपापमोचकं
निरन्तरानन्दगतिप्रदायकम् |
परन्तपं पाण्ड्यनृपालबालकं
चिरन्तनं भूतपतिं तमाश्रये || २४ ||

shR^i~Ngagiri










shR^i~Ngagiri, where prakR^iti and puruSha come together to salute at the inconceivable pAdukA of shrIvidyA parameshvarI, who excels beyond limited concepts such as shiva, shakti and shiva-shakti sAmarasya. Says brahmAnanda: "Fool! kAlikA is neither shiva, nor shakti nor shivashaktyaikya vastu. She is brahman, shUnya and beyond. If you think you can nail her down with such definitions and concepts, you have not earned the grace of sadguru". After all, she is the one who sports above and beyond the sahasrAra and pancha-shUnyas (which are represented by panchapanchikA-s, incorrectly represented by many as stages between sabIja and nirbIja samAdhi) - as the mahAshUnya which is also simultaneously the mahApUrNa.