A rambling note on the origins of the ideology of karmayoga

Karmayoga is a much abused concept these days,nowadays people think that it is doing whatever job one’s bosses or political superiors assign to them perfectly and  chores)pleasingly(or even daily. Or sometimes school students are told that their studying hard and getting good grades means they are good karmayogis, but no,it means nothing like that. This idea had its origins amongst(specifically) shuklayajurvaidika circles(as noted in the 2nd mantra of the ishopanishad). Karmayoga means doing one’s nitya and naimittika karmas and yAgas as laid down in the smArta systems as appropriate to one’s varNa while dedicating all its puNyas and other results to the supreme deity of whatever system your ideal is:vAsudeva,shiva,etc. In fact,this was probably the ideology of an old set of ritualists who later became the one of the groups that went into the formation of pA~NcharAtra:The mantrasiddhAntins are a group of brAhmaNas belonging to the kANva and mAdhyadina shAkhAs of the shuklayajurveda,who are supposed to meditate on vAsudeva as they are doing somayAga and dedicate their fruits to him. It is this strain of ritualist thought that found its expression in the karmayoga idea of the Gita(which,textually speaking is belonging to an old sAtavata esque strain of thought in ancient India). And of course,the other tendency of ancient Hindu thought to homologize all actions as ritual:even sex,would mean ending up in an Aurobindo-esque ‘All life is yoga.’ conclusion.


Above are verses from the charyapAda of the pAdmasaMhitA which note that the followers of mantrasiddhAnta do contemplation of vAsudeva with trayimantras(vedamantras),associated with the kANva and mAdhyadina shAkhAs,and thee brAhmaNas worship vAsudeva while performing somayAga. This was the original ideal of karmayoga,historically speaking.

An end (semi) rant: The vyAdha gItA has been completely hopelessly ripped out of its original context to a society which is scarcely little like anything that would have supported the historical-cum-mythical vyAdha.

On Agneeswarar and Haradatta

WhatsApp Image 2020-03-07 at 5.57.36 PMPic:utsavamUrti of Agneeshwarar of Kanjanur. This link mentioned Haradatta who was born as a Srivaishnava undergoing tribaulations to prove his shivabhakti but does not give the details. I have decided to fill in the details.

haradatta was born in a SV family in kanjanUr as sudarshana. As he grew up he showed his love for shiva, shivabhaktas & shivAcAryas.From the age of two, he would run to the nearby shiva temple & receive ash & shout hara hara with the devotees. His father thought that this was just a childish sport & ignored it. He thought it will be fixed after his upanayana. His upanayana was done at 5; his father told him, “From now on, you cannot act as you please. You must not go to shivAlaya. That will be a sin. You must not even see those who wear ash. You must take a bath at their very sight”. As soon as his father left, he wiped off his vaiShNava marks & replaced them with tripundra bhasma and he returned home like that in that very form. His father, vAsudeva was enraged. The other vaiShNavas in the agrahAra cursed him as a disgrace & a ruiner of the shrIvaiShNavas. His father, feeling humiliated, tied him to a pillar & whipped him hard. But after his father got tired & left, he would untie those ropes & run to agnIshvara. His father could bear no more,told him not to enter the house and told his wife not to feed the son. He would ask from outside the house, “mother, I’m hungry, serve me food”. His mother was in a dilemma: “How will I disobey your father, oh dear child? And how will I bear your cry for food? Why don’t you obey your father? You should act as per father’s desire only. I will go to the father & mother of the world for refuge. They will take care of me.”
Then he proceeded to agnIshvara and at there in front of the dakShiNAmUrti there in meditation. Knowing his habit to meditate for long periods, the shivabrAhmaNas left him there & locked up the temple.  He said: “agnIshvara, I have left my parents; you are my father; shakti my mother; Skanda & gaNesha my brothers & the gaNas my friends. This is my family now; accept me as yours oh god! Are you angry that I have done pUjA as  an ignorant child, contrary to vidhi? Even brahmA & viShNu cannot see your feet; who can truly do pUjA to them? Will you not accept me?! Curse me to become a work & get trampled by shivabhaktas; I will accept that fate gladly & reach you. Will you not show mercy to the low ones like me even now?”. Hearing all this, kalpakAmbikA could not bear it any more. She instigated bhagavAn to show mercy to the child, sudarshana, and then the great God smiled. Skanda & gaNesha came there to accept they’re new brother & the gaNas their new comrade. The munis & devas came there to shower flowers with vedaghoSa everywhere. And the parents of the world were there & gave him a divine vision of them. shiva granted him knowledge of all shAstras & made him omniscient. That very night,his father who came there (hearing his overnight stay at the temple) & other vaiShNavas all asked him questions. He was only 5 and answered all of them with shrutipramANas. So the vaiShNavas told him, “sit on a red hot iron bed & preach your shivaparatvam, if you do that, we will accept your doctrine”. He did it. They set up the iron seat at the local temple of varadarAja (as the vaiShNavas would obviously not enter a shiva temple). His father & others fell at his feet & asked him for prAyashcitta for their abuse of shiva & shaivas,and he married a vaidika shivabhakta’s daughter from the vAdhUlagotra & led an exemplary life.

One of his miracles was when a pANDya chieftain sent him an expensive yellow cloth via a brAhmaNa, he was doing a homa & thinking agnIshvara to be the lord of that agni, offered that cloth into the homAgni. The king heard about it & became stunned at the svAmI’s display of his lIlAvaibhavam. In the evening he went to have shrI haradatta’s darshana and asked him if the cloth he sent had safely reached him. “It reached us at an excellent time & has been offered to agnIshvara” replied haradatta. Later when the king went to the temple, that very cloth was on the mUlali~Nga-That cloth which was observed by the brAhmaNa to have been burnt into ashes.

Credit for the narration of this tale goes to @Ghorangirasa.


On seeing queer examples where they do not exist:Mīnākṣī in Madurai

Before I begin,may my speech be blessed by Dakṣīṇāmūrti,that noble fount of wisdom,who wears ornaments of both the sexes in His ears,signifying His eternal union with Śaktī.

Screenshot at 2020-02-14 01-06-38


While  the author of this article appreciates the good work done by Srishti in Madurai and Gopi Shankar Madurai,there are a number of points in their(or their organization’s article) which he feels is not accurate,and which he feels the need to set right.

  • The author shall refrain from commenting about some of the sculptural evidence that the blog author there has noted,due to his not having seen them/not having examined them by an expert in iconography,notably
    • Neutrois theme in Kala Samhara deity. The deity, typically with a male like body, and represented with lack of any sexual organ typically represents a MTN (Male to Neutrois) person.
    • The Sanishwara deity which is the well known Transgendered deity can be seen in the temple
  • The author does not discount the possibility of erotic carvings in temples which depict homosexual acts.
  • Mīnākṣī being three breasted is not a sign of gender variance. It is one of those sort of tales in which a being loses his/her unique features when they meet a special person(example is Shishupala who was born with three eyes and four arms). Similarly She lost Her third breast when She met Śiva(whom She would marry).
  • Also Ardhanārīśvara is not really a gynandromorph condition….it is more of an ‘consciousness as impartial observer'(Puruṣa)-‘everything as the power inherent in that consciousness'(Prakṛti) represented in one mūrti. Gynandromorphs don’t exist in humans.
  • Harihara as a deity does not fit in the Procrustean bed of gender ideology in any way. The deity merely represents the concept that ‘śivāya viṣṇurupāya śivarūpāya viṣṇave'(Śiva is a form of Viṣṇu and Viṣṇu is a form of Śiva) along with injunctions that they must never be thought of in any manner except as equal and always both very respectful of each other.
  • Sri Pitchandavar=A Tamil name of Bhīkṣaṭana Rudra. As far as I know,there is nothing in His iconography that indicates any third gendered status. The main feature of His form is supreme attractiveness,and which is used in certain tantric rites of vaśikaraṇa(causing attraction of a girl to a boy or vice versa).
  • Bhagavān Vīrabhadra=The author would be very interested in knowing about any upāsana krama of this deity that involves being third gendered,and until one can provide that reliably,one fails to note what is third-gender about Vīrabhadra. He is a guru figure(cited from the Raurava Āgama) and greater than a hundred rudras(Mṛgendra Āgama).  He is the personified wrath of Rudra,who taught the Gods through his violent actions through the greatness and centrality and glory of Rudra. In this author’s limited experience He was worshipped by mostly wandering Jangama ascetics and Lingadhari brahmins in Andhra. All that is required to approach Him is initiation in His mantras,which,to the best knowledge of the author do not have any bearing on the sex of the person who is being initiated.
  • Also,Arjuna ended up in that condition of Brihannala due to a curse by the apsara Uruvashi(which was reduced by Indra to just the duration of one year),which implied that that condition in the times that story was told would be less than a normative/ideal/good one.
  • People who weren’t straight or non-trans,etc were generally kept at a distance in society,though not explicitly harmed:The author is right in this one aspect,definitely.

People who are Gender and Sexual Minorities should make their case using well supported evidence,not evidence that is flimsy(at best) on closer examination to earn the good will of Hindus who know and internalize the understanding of śāstra,and can hope for the best for their dignity in the larger society.

On kShetras and ecology and accessing a devatA

On seeing this article on the ecology and solitude of kShetras by Ashish Dhar as far as I understand(Surajit Dasgupta’s name ended up there by mistake),I have a few comments to make.

  1. There is a section of Hindus who are rightly worried about the demographic concerns of Hindus vis-a-vis Muslims and want to have more Hindus than Muslims in a comfortable proportion. This is a good aim in itself,yes. But one cannot really talk about this on one hand and then complain when the population load avails themselves of the same kShetras ever increasing and shrine boards taking the inevitable changes in infrastructure to manage this load;they cannot really ignore the increasing numbers of pilgrims. This being India at its current stage,something eventually gives way:Either solitude or environment or cleanliness(if it is ill managed). Hindus who have both these issues in mind cannot have their cake and eat it.
  2. Ashish Dhar once got into a heated debate with some other people regarding places like Kedarnath etc. I had made a suggestion elsewhere,which I am recording here for more visibility: In the case of places like Kedar we can make replica kShetras in other places(with the same energy and shakti of the devatA),so that people can visit these and have their spiritual needs fulfilled. This is however very much easier than done(since we don’t seem to be cultivating the sort of tapasvI or niyamadhAri types to be able to cultivate that kind of shakti for such replica kShetras). Example in this vein could be the Balaji temples TTD is building(all vaikhAnasa run I think). Even if it is much easier than done,it is still worthwhile to put efforts in that direction and cultivate environments suitable for sAdhanA and tapasyA.

A post on sAdhanA I copied(and given a slight addition by Swami Brahmananda,the disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa)

The post by Sri Guru Rohit Arya  who blogs at aryayogi.wordpress.com

As a Guru I get this one consistent question – “Why am I not progressing in my sadhana? It has been years… etc etc” Sometime there are some specific roadblocks that they need help with. But in most cases the cause is simple.
People do not put in the hours needed. Sadhana is cost intensive of time. There is no way to evade this. Some people, because of good samaskaras, do better and move faster when they take up a practice. But the rest of us are shit out of luck and need to grind away. As one of my mentors told me and which I in turn repeat – “Ghisna padtha hain.” You have to grind away and be ground down in turn. There is NO escape from this reality.

This is not welcome news to a generation that believes champagne spirituality is a real thing. Why do I need to be in the mud with the hoi polloi? Is there no rocket route? Nope.
Grind. Burn. Evolve.
Several people do what I call the Futile Dance. In the morning they are huffing and puffing in pranayama, chanting and pujaing and asanaing and rarely meditating. In the evening they are in asuric environments like Pubs and Parliament and all the shakti gains made during the day are frittered away. People want transformation – but they also want an assurance it will not involve change.
People are stupid and deluded.

I get this. I really do. I even sympathize. But there is no help from me. You cannot do sadhana along with a frivolous social life and a thousand daily inputs of chitta pollution. “If we do not go to these parties and get togethers the family is upset and opposes sadhana.” Okay, if that is your choice. Just don’t whine to me that your sadhana is not giving results. It is giving results but you are pouring water in a container that you poke holes in also. Why not accept that this much is the best I can do and work from there? That is facing reality. It also spares me from listening to deluded bullshit.
Unless the hours are put in, and put in consistently, you won’t grow. This is not pleasant, but it is the bloody truth.

The most dangerous trap is when a person gets remarkable experiences at the early stages and loses interest in sadhana when they taper off. These experiences come in cycles, peaks and plateaus, and one must keep going. “Nothing is working because I am not feeling anything” is ridiculous self- important puffery. Your perceptions are not sensitive enough to observe what is happening below the outer surface. That is why you need a guru. But if you are not doing the work that ability never develops…

So how much time is ideal? I would say a minimum of three hours a day with no upper limit. Such people alone get somewhere. If you do one hour or forty minutes you barely flush out the contaminations of travel, people, environment and daily interactions. Some small segment of shakti may accrue. This is not at all a bad place to be in. It is still better than the other 97 percent of humanity. But you are not going to move fast. This sort of steadiness creates punya, creates good vaasana samskara and if you are very lucky and have the blessing of devata and guru kshetram it may even change your circumstances so that you can do more sadhana. But it is a holding operation mainly. No new karma is allowed to accrue. Just the backlog is worked out. If you seriously wish to grapple with lifetimes of conditioning and limitations, three hours a day is the minimum test of seriousness.

Sadhana has to be a priority. For me it was always THE priority. I would let jobs go that I could not afford to let go because they interfered with my sadhana. I was always cranky like that and people thought I was insane. But somehow it all worked out each time because there is a Power that protects and provides for the dedicated sadhaka.
I do not recommend it. People like to say they trust the Divine alone but they always keep a route back to the world in their back pocket. If you do that then you will experience disasters.
But for the normal person living a normal life, sadhana has to be in the top three priorities of life on a daily basis. For most people it is somewhere in the top ten only. If there is a stressful situation, the first thing to stop is the daily practice. That is exactly what you must not do under any circumstances.

You don’t find the time for sadhana. You make it.
If you can watch TV, be on Facebook and pub crawl you can find time for sadhana. The brutal question is – What are you willing to give up so that you can attain this? For most people the answer is – Nothing much. That won’t do.
You cannot expect exemptions will be made for you. Human embodiment comes with many limitations that have to be overcome and that needs time. Consistent practice over time. Don’t be a fool and try to trick your way out of this requirement. Until you are doing three hours a day don’t ask why you are not progressing rapidly. Those who do hit the magic number are normally amazed at how life resets itself to support sadhana.

Sarvam Shivamayam!

Swami Brahmananda:In actual spiritual life we find that unless one strives one’s utmost and one’s best,the Lord’s grace will not descend upon us.

On mantra chaitanya and dIkShA by Ma Anondomoyee

[Bengali below]

mantra chaitanya and dIkShA

Me:Maa,what is mantrachaitanya?

Ma:Let’s say,when I call you ‘baba’,you then immediately respond. There is a non-difference between the namer and named,that’s why when we call Him by the name He responds. If one attains sAkShAtkAra with his iShTa by the very repition of his mantra,then we say that person has made the mantra ‘chetana’

Me:  What is this sAkShAtkAra of the mantradevatA with the iShTa like?Does he see him as different from the iShTa or within the iShTa?

Ma: Even if the sAdhaka initially sees himself as seperate from his iShTa,when the tattvaprakAsha of the iShTa begins,within those tattvas of the iShTa,the sAdhaka sees himself. That’s why do they not say,one must become a deity to worship that deity. In worshipping the ideal,the sAdhaka becomes the ideal,and thus they become one.

Me:I heard when the sadguru gives dIkShA then he makes the mantra ‘alive'(chetana). You told just now that that mantra alone is chetana,on the ucchAraNa of which,the deity is seen/visible to the sAdhaka. But we see when we do mantrajapa,no devatA is seen. Does that mean that our mantras have not been given life/consciousness?

Ma: No,why?dIkShA is also of many types,there is one type of dIkShA when on dIkShA itself the disciple radically transforms. One this dIkShA his deha of the five bhUtas:This deha of bhUtas merges into the bhUtas and he gains svarUpa-sthiti. This is the supreme dIkShA.

The dIkShA we get from mahApuruShas or sadgurus,that is madhyama-dIkShA. Here the guru with His own shakti donates the mantra to the shishya. Through this the shishya slowly gains liberation from saMsAra and attains svarUpa sthiti. This process needs time. Some people say that the shishya gets liberated in three lifetimes. Even if the shishya cannot percieve it,the mantrashakti of the sadguru  is working. That’s why it is said,a shishya who is surrendered to a sadguru(sadguru’r Asrita shishya),whether he does anything or not,there is no obstacle to his upliftment/unnati. Though yes,if he does japa and tapasyA with that mantra he can get unnati(upliftment) very quickly.

Another type of dIkShA exists that is sAdhAraNa dIkShA,for example mantropadesha by a kulaguru or someone similar. The kulaguru (usually) does not have his own kShamatA(shakti/strength) that he can give alonw with the mantra,but even then from every mantra,they have their own shakti(strength). Because every mantra is siddha. Someone at some point of time in the existence of this universe did japa of this mantra and attained siddhi. So,the internal shakti of the mantra alone drives the shishya in this case. However,the gati of this is very slow.

Apart from this is there is the matter of multiple dIkShAs also. Like a guru gives a mantra, and from its japa the shishya becomes a little unnata(uplifted),and after that to uplift him even further,he gives the shishya another mantra. In this manner,before the supreme dIkShA,the shishya can get many mantradIkShAs. This kramadIkShA that causes this svataH-sphUraNa in the shishya in course of time,the first dIkShAguru can lift the shishya from one level to another as per what is the best for the shishya at that course of time. And it can also be the case that the guru reveals himself and gives repeated dIkShAs in a krama and uplifts the shishya.  Just because guru is not in a physical body,kramadIkShA does not face obstacles. Because guru is immortal. As per time and the necessity of the student(translator’s note:Deservingness too),he reveals Himself. Jai MA!!!

🌺 Sri Amulya Kumar Dasgupta 🌺

Source:This link by Avijit Chatterjee

মন্ত্রচৈতন্য ও দীক্ষা

আমি : মা, মন্ত্রচৈতন্য কাহকে বলে ?

মা : মন্ত্রচৈতন্য কেমন ? ধর, যেন আমি তোমাকে ‘ বাবা ‘ বলিয়া ডাকিলাম, তুমি অমনি উত্তর দিলে। নাম নামী অভেদ কিনা, তাই নাম ধরিয়া ডাক দিলে নামী সাড়া দেয়। মন্ত্র উচ্চারণ মাত্রই যদি মন্ত্রদেবতা বা ইষ্টের সহিত সাক্ষাৎকার হয় তবে সেই মন্ত্রকে চেতন মন্ত্র বলা যায়। ইহাই মন্ত্রচৈতন্য।

আমি : এই যে মন্ত্রদেবতা বা ইষ্ট সাক্ষাৎকারের কথা বলিলে ইহাই বা কেমন ? সাধক কি নিজকে ইষ্ট হইতে আলাদা দেখেন, না নিজকে ইষ্টের মধ্যে দেখেন ?

মা : প্রথম প্রথম সাধক নিজকে ইষ্ট হইতে আলাদা দেখিলেও মন্ত্রদেবতা বা ইষ্টের যখন তত্ত্ব প্রকাশ হইতে আরম্ভ হয় তখন সেই তত্ত্বের মধ্যে সাধক নিজেকেও দেখে। সেইজন্য বলা হয় না যে দেবতা হইয়া দেবতার পূজা করিতে হয় ? ইষ্টপূজা করিতে গিয়া সাধক তখন নিজেকেই পূজা করে। অর্থাৎ ইষ্ট আর সাধক তখন এক হইয়া যায়।

আমি : শুনিয়াছি সদগুরু যখন দীক্ষা দেন তখন তিনি মন্ত্রকে চেতন করিয়া দেন। চেতন মন্ত্রের অর্থ তুমি এই মাত্র বলিলে যে সেই মন্ত্রই চেতন যাহার উচ্চারণমাত্র দেবতার প্রকাশ হয়। কিন্তু আমরা দেখিতেছি যে আমরা মন্ত্র জপ করিয়া যাইতেছি কিন্তু কোন দেবতা ত প্রকাশিত হইতেছে না। তাহা হইলে কি আমরা বুঝিব যে আমাদের মন্ত্র চেতন করা হয় নাই ?

আমি : না, তা’ কেন ? দীক্ষাও অনেক রকমের হয়। এক রকম দীক্ষা আছে যেখানে দীক্ষা মাত্রই শিষ্যের আমূল পরিবর্ত্তন হইয়া যায়। এই দীক্ষা প্রাপ্তি মাত্র শিষ্যের যে পঞ্চভূতের দেহ আছে উহা পঞ্চভূতে মিশিয়া যায় এবং সে একেবারে স্বরূপে স্থিতিলাভ করে। ইহাকেই চরম দীক্ষা বলে।

মহাপুরুষ বা সদগুরু হইতে যে দীক্ষা হয় তাহাকে মধ্যম দীক্ষা বলা চলে। এখানে গুরু নিজ শক্তি মন্ত্রে দিয়া উহা শিষ্যকে দান করেন। ঐ দীক্ষার ফলে শিষ্য ধীরে ধীরে সংষ্কার মুক্ত হইয়া পরে স্বরূপে স্থিত হয়। এইরূপ সংষ্কার মুক্ত হইতে কিছু সময় লাগে। কেহ কেহ বলেন যে অন্ততঃ তিন জন্মের মধ্যে শিষ্য মুক্ত হয়। সদগুরুর এই মন্ত্রশক্তি শিষ্য উপলব্ধি করিতে না পারিলেও উহা কাজ করিতেছে। সেইজন্য বলা হয় যে সদগুরুর আশ্রিত শিষ্য কোন কাজ করুক বা না করুক তাহাতে তাহার উন্নতির কোন ব্যাঘাত হয় না। তবে মন্ত্র পাইয়া সে যদি জপ তপ করে তবে শীঘ্র শ্রীঘ্র উন্নতি উপলব্ধি করিতে পারে।

আর একরকম দীক্ষা আছে যাহাকে সাধারণ দীক্ষা বলা যাইতে পারে, যেমন কুলগুরুর দীক্ষা। এখানে কুলগুরুর ত এমন কোন ক্ষমতা নাই যে সে উহা মন্ত্রের সঙ্গে যোগ করিয়া দেবে, কিন্তু তবুও প্রত্যেক মন্ত্রের মন্ত্রেরই একটা নিজস্ব শক্তি আছে। কারণ প্রত্যেক মন্ত্রই সিদ্ধ। কোন না কোন সময়ে এই মন্ত্র জপ করিয়া কেহ না কেহ সিদ্ধ হইয়াছেন। কাজেই মন্ত্রের এই অন্তর্নিহিত শক্তি শিষ্যকে চালিত করিতে থাকে। তবে ইহার গতি খুব ধীর।

ইহা ছাড়া বার বার দীক্ষারও ব্যবস্থা আছে। যেমন গুরু এক মন্ত্র দিলেন, উহা জপ করিয়া শিষ্য একটু উন্নত হইলে পরে তাহাকে আরও উন্নত করিবার জন্য আবার অন্য মন্ত্র দিলেন। এইরূপ চরম দীক্ষা পাইবার পূর্বে বহুবার দীক্ষা হইতে পারে। এই যে ক্রম দীক্ষা ইহা শিষ্যের ভিতর কালক্রমে স্বতঃই স্ফুরিত হইতে পারে, অর্থাৎ গুরু যে প্রথম দীক্ষা দিলেন উহাই শিষ্যকে এক স্তর হইতে অন্য স্তরে লইয়া যাইতে যাহা দরকার তাহা সময় মত শিষ্যের মধ্যে ফুটাইয়া তুলিতে পারে। আবার এমনও হয় যে গুরু নিজে প্রকট হইয়া বার বার দীক্ষা দিয়া তাহাকে ক্রমোন্নতির পথে লইয়া যাইতে পারেন। গুরু দেহে নাই বলিয়া যে ক্রম দীক্ষার কোন ব্যাঘাত হয় তাহা নয়। কারণ গুরু কখনও মৃত হইতে পারে না। সময় মত এবং প্রয়োজন মত সর্ব্বদাই তিনি নিজেকে প্রকট করেন। জয় মা !!! ♥️♥️♥️

🌺 শ্রী অমূল্য কুমার দত্তগুপ্ত 🌺


A list of Pāśupata(More specifically,Lākula) ritual texts



Image from Wikimedia Commons

This is extracted from one of Alexis Sanderson’s articles

A lot of Pāśupata Śāstras existed(apart from the famous sutra) which had the suffix -pramāṇa. The Pramāṇas dealing with ritual were formulated by Musalendra based on the Hṛdayapramāṇa.They are:


The Hṛdayapramāṇa itself was a part of a set of ‘pramāṇa’śastras,and this second set was concerned with gnosis(and not ritual) and were deemed to be superior śāstras. They were:

(1)Pañcārtha pramāṇa
(2)Guhya pramāṇa
(3)Rudrāṅkuśa pramāṇa
(4)Hṛdaya pramāṇa
(5)Lakṣaṇa pramāṇa
(6)Vyūha pramāṇa
(7)Ākarṣa pramāṇa
(8)Ādarśa pramāṇa

This listing of Pāśupata śāstras is done by Kṣemarāja who notes the various Rudras who take on the names of these śāstras.

A brief review of:The Rise of Mahasena:The transformation of Skanda-Karttikeya in North India

Book in question: The Rise of Mahasena:The transformation of Skanda-Karttikeya in North India from the Kusana to Gupta Empires(Brill’s Indological Library) by Richard D Mann

The book in question is good regarding some early textual sources and also highlighing some of the grahas associated with Him,but I found it unsatisfactory in its explanation of why Skanda upāsanā has almost completely vanished from the North(claiming that ‘refining’ Him led to a loss of popularity and what not),while a more fuller picture of Him(presenting His tāttvic reality in the language of  siddhānta āgama rather than the older Kaumāra tantra as we see in Arunagirinathar’s hymns) long after that form of upAsanA was forgotten in the North. As @Ghorangirasa noted: Blaming a largely southern “refinement” for the loss of popularity in the north is ill-conceived. The book however makes one decent point:That he was subsumed into [Saiddhāntika] Śaiva mārga,though I would place this subsuming somewhat later. One can say that this subsuming has its beginnings in the Gupta era,nothing more than that.

That being said,Skanda and Vishnu are two deities whose mantramārga(not in terms of mantras standalone,but the full scale dīkṣā etc) have been subsumed into contexts distinct from their original context and the original tāntrika picture of these deities(talking of archaic Pāñcarātra for Vishnu and Kaumāra tantra for skanda) has faded/been co-opted into other sampradāyas(Śrīvaiṣṇava and saiddhāntika śaiva) and have become more ‘bhaktimārga pradhāna’,for lack of a better word.

OM agninandanāya namaḥ|

On IshvaralAbha and tyAga by bhairavadAsa GYAna bAbA,an upAsaka of tArA


OM kAlAya namaH| OM kAlapUjitAya namaH| OM kAlAtItAya namaH|

I am translating Pratip Adhikari’s facebook post where he posts this excerept from that upAsaka and translating as well as I can,with the aid of Rahul da,who greatly improved my translation.

শাস্ত্রীয় নিয়মানুসার মেনে চলা সৎ সাধুই একমাত্র
ধর্মের প্রাণ রক্ষক। কোনো কিছু কে রক্ষা করতে হলে, ত্যাগের প্রয়োজন:-তার প্রকৃত প্রমান সহ প্রত্যক্ষ হল ভারতবর্ষ।

“আত্মবিদ্যায় ভারতের বিদ্যা, তাই ভারত ত্যাগী”
–––ভৈরবদাস জ্ঞানানন্দ বাবা।

ত্যাগ না জানিলে, নিজের উদ্দেশ্য পথের লক্ষে যাওয়া যায় না। সব কিছু কে আঁকড়ে ধরে, ঈশ্বর কে পাওয়া কিন্তু দুর্গমময় হয়ে ওঠে। যদি সত্যেকে প্রতিষ্ঠা করতে হয় তবে নিজের প্রাণ কালগ্নিতে ঘৃতাহুতি দিতে হবে। যেমন পুরাণে, মুনি-ঋষিরা ধর্ম কে প্রতিষ্ঠা করতে, নিজেদের বুক চিরে রক্ত বের করে আহুতি দিতেন। আমরা ভারতীয় সন্তান:- আমরাই সারা বিশ্বের কাছে আদর্শ। অন্য কোনো দেশ আমাদের কাছে আদর্শ হতে পারে না। আমার দেশ আমাকে খাওয়ায়ে, তাই আমার ওপর দেশ কে নিয়ে মাতা মাতির দরকার নেই। আমার দেশ আমাকে কিছু বিশেষ জিনিস উপহার দিয়েছেন, ঠিক সেই কারণেই তার ঋণ শোধ করা অসম্ভব। নিজের মায়ের ঋণ শোধ করা যেমন অসম্ভব, তেমনি দেশের ঋণ শোধ করাও অসম্ভব। ভারত জননী জন্মভূমি।
নিজের বৈশিষ্ঠতা রক্ষার জন্য নিজেকে শান্ত না করিলে, পরবর্তীতে নিজের উদ্দেশ্য পথের অজানার সন্ধান পাওয়া যাবে না। এই দেশ আমাকে প্রচুর দিয়েছে, সেই তুলনায় আমি কি দিলাম?????

আমি কোনো ধর্মের প্রতি আগ্রহ নই, কারণ বর্তমান যুগে ধর্ম কাকে বলে, কি হয়, এর উত্তর কেউই জানেন না। বই পড়লে সাল, মাস,তিথি, নক্ষত্রের স্থান বিচার করা গেলেও একজন বিশিষ্ঠ মানুষের নাম এবং চরিত্র মনে ধরলেও, নিজের উদ্দেশ্য সফল হইবে না। জগৎকে মাতিয়ে রাখে মানুষ, তাই তার স্থান সবার উচ্চে। পূর্বে প্রকৃতি সম্মন্ধে মানুষ যাহা বর্ণনা করিয়াছে, সেই ভাবধারা আজ রীতি মত নষ্ট এবং বিলুপ্ত হইয়াছে। সবাই নিজের মতন ভাবতে শুরু করেছে তাই, জন্মদাতা ও জন্মদাত্রীর উপর কাহারো বিশ্বাস নাই।
ভারতই একমাত্র আধ্যাত্মিকতার প্রাণকেন্দ্র। ভারত এমন এক মা যে তার সমস্ত ধর্মের সন্তানদের আপন করে নিলেও তারা তার মা কে আপন করতে পারেনি।
ইহাকে দুঃখ বলিবো না, সবকিছুই কালের হাতে, আমরা তো নিমিত্ত মাত্র।
তিনি ইতিহাস গড়েন, আমরা কর্ম করি। আমার মত অনুযায়ী, নিত্য জীবনের এক অংশ আমরা জন্ম হইতেই, তার পায়ে সমর্পণ করেছি, তাই অনেক সময়, তিনিও আমাদের জীবনের এক ভাগে অবস্থান করেন।
আবার যাহারা পুরো পুরিই সমর্পিত তাহাদের দেহ-মন জুড়ে শুধু তিনিই থাকেন।
ধর্মের উল্লেখ বহু পূর্বেই আছে, তাই সৎ সাধুরা সমস্ত ধর্ম কে ধারণ করে, আত্মভোলা ভালোবাসায় ও নিত্য লীলার মধ্যেই মগ্ন হয়ে।

জয় তারা।

The pious and pietistic who adhere to the writ of the Shastras, alone can be called the guardians of Dharma’s vitality. Preservation demands sacrifices and Bharatavarsha is a living testimony to that.

“AtmavidyA is the vidyA of bhArata,that is why bhArata is tyAgI”

If one does not know tyAga,one’s aim cannot be kept in focus on the path. Trying to attain Ishvara while gripping on to everything of this world is very difficult. If truth(satya) is to be established,then one has to give his life as an offering of ghee in the fire of time(kAlAgni). Like we see in the purANas,munis and R^ishis for the establishment of dharma would give their own blood as Ahutis tearing their chests open(translator’s note:this is probably metaphorical as to indicate the extent they went to). We are the sons of bhArata,and we are the ideals for the world. We cannot take other deshas as our ideals. Our desha has given us some gifts,(which are of such a nature) that the debts (to this desha) can never be paid back adequately. As impossible it is to pay back mAtR^i-R^iNa(the debts owed to one’s mother),similarly it’s impossible to pay back the R^iNas we owe to bhArata. bhArata is jananI and janmabhUmI.

If one does not have a calm/cool mind in the urge to keep up his vaishShTa(specialness),later on one will get lost in darkness in search of his aim. This desha has given me a lot,in comparison to that,what have I given?

I am not particularly inclined towards dharma since it is rather difficult to define it today. The astrological knowledge of years, months, days and constellation, remembering a distinguished figure and his life too, don’t help succeeed in the purpose. Man is as the centre of the world’s activity and hence commands the highest position in it.The stream of thoughts that flowed into the human minds of yore to conceptualize Nature is lost irreversibly. Now everyone has their own petty fantastical opinions that keep both the father and the mother in oblivion.

This land of Bharata alone is the seat of spirituality. Like a mother, she sheltered all religion even if a number of them didn’t except her as their own. I will not say that it is a sorry event. Everything is in Time’s(kAla) hands and we are merely his tools.He is the author of destiny while we are merely His tools.

In my opinion, we who are born in this segment of the eternal cylce of life and death offer only a fraction of it to Her and hence we find Her only in one segment of it. Meanwhile ,those who have submitted their entire selves to Her, not leaving behind either the body or the mind ,find Her to be the sole existence(all that exists). Dharma has been known since the times of yore and that is why the dedicated men of piety adopt all dharmas and engage themselves with the eternal divine sport.

shubham astu|(may there be auspiciousness) Jay Tara!

The greatness of the name of Durga (as uttered in the rudrayAmala tantra and muNDamAlA tantra mainly)

Copied from here,since I wanted to give the post a more permanent home.



shivovAcha :

durgA nAma japo yasya kim tasya kathayAmi te /
aham panchananaH kAnte tajjapA deva suvrate//

shiva said to pArvati

O devI, how could I narrate the glory of the name ‘durgA’?
It is because of the recitation of durgA nAma ( durgA’s name) that I am called pa~nchAnana.

dhanI putri tathA nyAni chira~njIvI bhaved bhuvi /
pratyaham yo japed bhaktyA shatam ashtottaram shuciH//

One who recites the name of durgA 108 times every day, is blessed with prosperity, offspring, wisdom and longevity.

aShTottaram sahasram tu yo japed bhakti samyutAH/
pratyaham parameshAnI tasya puNya phalam shR^iNu//
dhanArthi dhanamApnoti j~nAnArtthI j~nAnameva cha/
rogArto muchyatE rogAt baddho muchyate bandhanAt//
bhIto bhayAt muchyate pApAn muchyate pAtakI/
putrArthi labhate putram devI satyam na saMshayaH//

One who recites the name of durgA 1008 times daily with great reverence will be blessed with whatever he asks for. Those who in dire need for financial aid will be blessed with all round prosperity, one who longs for wisdom will be blessed with nyAnA sampat, the one who suffers from ailments shall be relieved from their ailments,One who is desirous of progeny will be blessed with putra lAbha and the one who is in fear is relieved from his fears. One who has been imprisoned will be set free, if he repents and recites the name of durga 1008 times daily with faith and devotion. All the sins are absolved by reciting durgA nAma.

evam satyam vijAnIhi samartha sarva karmasu/
Ayutam yo japet bhaktyA pratyAham paramEshwarI//
nigrahAnugrahe shaktA sa bhavEd kalpapAdapA/
tasya krodhe bhaven mR^ityu prasAde paripUrnatA//

If one recites Her name 10,000 times, he is blessed with the ability to bless and curse and will be a living wish fulfilling tree (kalpataru). In his anger there is death and in his pleasantness there is fulfillment.

mAsi mAsi cha yo lakshaM japam kuryAd varAnanE/
na tasya graha pIdA tasya kadachid api shAnkarI//
nachaishwaryam kshayam yati nacha sarpa bhayam bhavet/
nagni chaura bhayam vApi charanye jale bhayam//
parvatArhane napi simham vyAgra bhayam tathA/
bhUta preta pishAchAnAm bhayam nApi bhavet kvachit//
na cha vairi bhayam kAnte napi dushta bhayam bhavet/
paraloke bhavet swargIm satyam vai vIra vandite//
chandra sUrya samudbhUtvA vashet kalpAyutam divi/
vAjapeya sahasrasya yat phalam syAd varAnane//
tatphalam samAvApnotI durgA nAma japAt priye/
na durgam nAma sadR^isham nAmAstI jagati tale//
tasmAt sarva prayatnena smartavyam sAdhakottamaiH/
yasyA smarana mAtrena palayante mahApada//

One who recites her name 100,000 (in a month), will not be troubled by malefic planets, his wealth never diminishes, there will no fear for snakes, fire, thieves, enemies,forest or water. While mountaineering there will be no fear/ trouble of tigers, lions, demons or evil entities. He will be ever blissful and will attain the highest abode of the dEvAs (heaven) in his afterlife. He shall remain in heaven as long as the sun and moon exist. To him accrues the benefit of 1000 vAjapEya yagnAs. There is no name that can be compared to the greatness of durgA nAma in the whole universe. Difficulties and sufferings disappears the moment one remembers Her divine name.

(rudrayAmalam) [From the rudra yAmala]

The image in this blog is the one of the beautiful Jagaddhatri Durga of the Brahmachari family of Shantipur.

More sources(from the page: দুর্গালোকনিবাসিনী শ্রীমদদুর্গতিনাশিনী মহামহিষাসুরমর্দিনী দেবীমা): In here,it is said in shAstra that for one who does japa of durgA nAma:his shiva comes with His shUla,viShNu with His chakra,indra with His vajra,etc. And it is a name of great power/shakti. Brahma gained the power of creation by this name,shiva reached His high state by smaraNa(remembrance) of this name,and this name is the secret of all the strength of the respective deities in their fields. One who remembers this name at the end gains sAyujya mukti with devI even if he was a great sinner his whole life.

Then from here it cites a shloka

daityanAshArthabachano dakAraH parikIrtitaH|
ukAro vighnanAshasya vAchako vedasammata||
repho rogaghnavachano gashcha pApaghnavAchakaH|
bhayshatrughnavachanashchAkAraH parikIrtitaH||

In the name of ‘durgA’, ‘da’ kAra is daityanAshaka, ‘u’kAra is vighnanAshaka,’ga’kAra is pApanAshaka,’A’kAra is shatrunAshaka. The one who destroys daityas,vighnas(difficulties),sins and enemies is durgA. The page then goes into a brief discussion of daiva and asuri sampat(those qualities) and which Durga destroys in the sAdhaka. Someone else noted that this shloka is from the brahmavaivarta purANa.

This page then cites that famous dvAtriMshannAmAvalI of durgA(litany of 32 names of durgA). I am translating mostly the instructions for special usage of this nAmAvali(written in Bengali in that FB page).

The person who reads this nAmamAlA,he certainly attains freedom fro all fears. Anyone under attack of foes etc gets freed from pATha of these names. There is no doubt about this.  If a king becomes angry and gives the death penalty/harsh punishment or if a man is surrounded by enemies in battle or near any dangerous animal,if this hymn is recited 108 times,he is delivered from all fears. In times of danger,this upaya is second to none in dispelling fears.  No harm comes to the man who studies this nAma mAlA. This should not be given to non-devotees or rogues. If one is in grave danger, pAThath of this nAma mAlA should be recited 1000,10,000 or 100,000 by oneself or through a brAhmaNa relieves one from all dangers. Offering oblations in purified agni with white til(seasamum) mixed with honey vanquishes all difficulties.  The purashcharaNa saMkhyA(count for purashcharaNa) is 30,000. After purashcharaNa if one recites this,one attains siddhi(success) in all his endeavours. [This is apparently from the Geeta Press edition of saptashati apparently,translated into Bengali by the page admin].

The page also cites shlokas from the muNDamAlA tantra

shRRiNu devI ! varArohe mamaiba nischitaM vachaH |
vinA durgA-parij~nAnAda biphalaM pUjanaM japaH ||
durgA hi paramo mantra durgA hi paramo japaH |
durgA hi paramaM tIrthaM durgA hi paramA kriyA |
durgA hi paramA bhaktidurgA murttimahItale ||
buddhi nidrA kShudhA ChAyA shaktistRRiShNA tathA kShamA |
dayA tuShTishcha puShTishcha shAntirlakShIrmatishcha yA ||
kriyA sarvA bariShThA cha vaidikI tAntrikI cha yA |
etat sarvaM hi durgA hi durgAbhinnaM na tajjapaH ||
bhajed durgApada-dvandaM smared durgAmaharnisham |
prajaped ! devi !durgeti mantraM parama-kAraNaM ||

[sadAshiva said to umA]:Oh boon giver!Oh devI! Listen to be infallible words. Without the knowledge of durgA one’s pUjA and japa bear no fruits. ‘durgA’ is the supreme mantra,’durgA’ is the supreme japa. ‘durgA’ is the supreme tIrtha and the supreme kriyA. She is also the nature of supre bhakti and the nature of the highest mukti on this earth. buddhi,nidrA,kShudA,chAyA,shakti,tR^iShNA,kShamA,dayA,puShTi,shAnti,lakShmI and matI:All of them are verily durgA. All the supreme vaidika and tAntrika kriyAs:They are verily durgA and nondifferent from Her. Japa of ‘durgA’ is also non different from them. Worship the feet of durgA and always continuously remember durgA day and night. Oh devI! Do japa of the mantra ‘durgA’,the supreme cause!

Further addenda from shivarahasya,mArkANDeya purANa,umAyAmala and pichChilA tantra

gAynti Ye girisutAn~ncha vilokayntidha‍yAynti vAmaladhiyshcha shivAM smaranti|
gaurimumAM bhagavatIM jagadekadevIMtehapi prAyAnti paramaM padamindumauleH||1
Ye tAM smaranti nigaDairapi vandhapAda va‍yAghrAhi chauranRRipa vahnibhayeShu durgA|
teShAM na ki~nchidapi shatrubhayM nRRiNAM sYAt,vandhAsta muktimupalabha‍ya sukhaM ramante||2
ye manAgapi sarvvANIM smaranti sharanaiShiNaH|
duShpArApArasaMsArasAgare na patanti te||3
shamAyAlaM jalaM vahnestamasasobhAskarodayH|
shAntaiYa kalevaraughasa‍ya devInAmAnukIrttanaM||4
nAmochchAranamAtrena yasa‍yAH kShInAghasa~nchayaH|
bhavata‍YavAptikala‍yANaH kAstAM nArAdhayechChivAM||5

mArkaN.Deya purAne-
durgA smRRitA harasi bhItimasheShajantoH|
svasthaiH smRRitA matimatIva shubhAnandadAsi||1

bhaviShyapurAne –
svapaMstiShThan vajraMshchApi vilapana bhojane rataH|
smarate satataM durgA sohapimucha‍yeta vandhanAt||1
durgAnAmAni saMkIrtta‍ya tasa‍Yaloka mahIyte||2
sarvvAvasthAM gatovApi yuktovA sarvvapAtakaiH|
durgAM dRRiShTvA naraH sohapi prAyAti paramaM padaM||3
durgAyAdarshanaM puNyaM darshanAdabhivandanaM|
vandanAt sparshanaM shreShThaM sparshanAdapi pUjanaM||4

pichChila tantre pUrvvakhan.De tR^itiya paTalaH-
na durgAnAma-sadRRishaM nAmAsti jagatItale|
yasya smaranamAtrena pAlAynta mahApadaH||
tArinI sundarI kAlI dUrgA(jayadUrgA) cha bhairavI tathA|
bhuvaneshI mahAlakShIstAsAM dUrgeti nAma vai||
dUrgAnAma mahAmantraH sarvvomantrottamottamaH|
rAjAdibhayamApanne durgA parAgatiH|
mahApademahAtrAse mahAdAridrasa~NkaTe|
lakShasaMkha‍YAjapenaiva palAynte mahApadaH||

umAYAmala(devI YAmala)gauri khaNDe-
durgAnAmajapAt pApaM sarvvaM YAti hi tatkShanAt|
vedAsvAgamatantraShu purAneShu sunishchitam||
viShNunAmasahasrebha‍yo ha‍YadhikaM parameshvarI|
durgAnAma samAkha‍YAtaM chaturvvedavidaM matam||
harinAmnaHparaH nAsti vaiShNavAnAmidaM smRRitam|
tAdRRishA~ncha matej~neyAM durgAnAma tato’dhikam||
shauchAchAravihinopi saMsmaret parameshvarIm|
sa eva paramaMsthAnaM kathitaM vIravandite||

Another from the Brahmavaivarta Purana,53rd adhyaya of the prakR^iti khaNDa

durgo daitye mahAvighne bhavabandhe cha karmaNi|
shoke duHkhe cha narake yamadaNDe cha janmani|
mahAbhaye’tirogechApyAshabdohambhRRi vAchakaH
etAn hantyeba yA devI sA durgA parikIrttitA|

OM shrI viShNu-bhaginyai namaH|