On the necessity of mantrasiddhi and its primary means(puraścaraṇa in this context)

vīracūḍamaṇyām kālītantre ca:-

puraścaraṇahīnasya mantrasiddhirnajāyate।
ādau puraṣkriyaṃ kuryat niyamena yathāvidhi॥


ādau mantrasya siddhyarthaṃ puraścaraṇamācaret।
tato siddhamanurmantri kāmyakarmāṇi sādhayet॥


sarvasvenāpi kartavyam puraścaraṇamuttamam।
anyathā nādhikāraḥ syat tasyapūjādiṣu priye॥


gurorājñāṃ samādāya śuddhāntaḥkaraṇo naraḥ।
tato puraṣkriyāṃ kuryānmantra saṃsiddhi kāmyayā॥
jīvahīno yathā dehaḥ sarvakarmasu na kṣamaḥ।
puraścaraṇahīno’pi tathāmantraḥ prakīrtitaḥ॥


akṛtvā tu puraścaryāṃ yo yatkarma samācaret।
tat tasya cābhicārāya jāyate nātra saṃśayaḥ॥


saṃsāre duḥkhabhūyiṣṭhe ya icchet sukhamātmanaḥ।
pañcāṅgopāsanenaiva rāmaṃ bhajatu bhaktitaḥ॥
pañcāṅgopāsanaṃ bhaktyā puraścaraṇamucyate।
etat hi viduṣāmsreṣṭhaṃ saṃsārocchedakāraṇam॥
nānena sadṛṣo dharma nānena sadṛśantapaḥ।
nānena sadṛśaṃkiñcit iṣṭārthasya tapodhana॥

वीरचूडमण्याम् कालीतन्त्रे च:-

पुरश्चरणहीनस्य मन्त्रसिद्धिर्नजायते।
आदौ पुरष्क्रियं कुर्यत् नियमेन यथाविधि॥


आदौ मन्त्रस्य सिद्ध्यर्थं पुरश्चरणमाचरेत्।
ततो सिद्धमनुर्मन्त्रि काम्यकर्माणि साधयेत्॥


सर्वस्वेनापि कर्तव्यम् पुरश्चरणमुत्तमम्।
अन्यथा नाधिकारः स्यत् तस्यपूजादिषु प्रिये॥


गुरोराज्ञां समादाय शुद्धान्तःकरणो नरः।
ततो पुरष्क्रियां कुर्यान्मन्त्र संसिद्धि काम्यया॥
जीवहीनो यथा देहः सर्वकर्मसु न क्षमः।
पुरश्चरणहीनोऽपि तथामन्त्रः प्रकीर्तितः॥


अकृत्वा तु पुरश्चर्यां यो यत्कर्म समाचरेत्।
तत् तस्य चाभिचाराय जायते नात्र संशयः॥


संसारे दुःखभूयिष्ठे य इच्छेत् सुखमात्मनः।
पञ्चाङ्गोपासनेनैव रामं भजतु भक्तितः॥
पञ्चाङ्गोपासनं भक्त्या पुरश्चरणमुच्यते।
एतत् हि विदुषाम्स्रेष्ठं संसारोच्छेदकारणम्॥
नानेन सदृषो धर्म नानेन सदृशन्तपः।
नानेन सदृशंकिञ्चित् इष्टार्थस्य तपोधन॥

Some points to be noted from the above quotes

  • It is essential for kāmya rites
  • Without puraścaraṇa,one does not do pūjā etc(basically mantrasiddhi at its various levels is essential for the deity to be responding to the ritualist:This is the point being hinted at here)
  • The classic simile of a lifeless body being unable to perform any work;and a mantra that is not siddha is employed in the Yoginīhṛdaya
  • A yāmalatantra even goes as far as to say that one who does rites without doing puraścaraṇa,his rites are akin to abhicāra
  • Rāmārcana-candrikā,a text on Rāma worship notes that the puraścaraṇa ritual is also the cause of breakage of the bonds of saṃsāra;hence this is not merely recommended only for kāmya rites alone. And the ritual is also praised highly. This sentiment on the importance of mantrasiddhi at various levels is thus,not something that exists only in Śākta works but can be seen in Vaiṣnava works as well.

अतीशवागीश्वरकीर्त्योः तारामन्त्रस्य पुरश्चरणविशये कानिचन वाक्यानि

From Stephan V Bayer’s The Cult of Tara:Magic and Ritual in Tibet

If one consults the Tantra of Tara the Yogini, the author says, it
would seem that little importance is attached to daily purity and so
on; but, according to the long-established tradition of Atisa, it is
best if the practitioner washes .the dwelling, the utensils, and himself with bathing water over which has been recited the “conquering” mantra, if he gives up meat and beer and so on while he is practising the ritual service, and if in short he keeps himself in a condition of bodily purity. He should avoid garlic and onions, which
pollute the strength of his speech, and beer and drugs, which produce drowsiness; he should avoid anything that might cause contamination or distraction, and he should wash himself again and
again with water over which the mantra has been recited. In this
connection, the text recommends the ritual of Bhavabhadra
the practitioner to cleanse away any lapses in his vows. And before
beginning the ritual, he should first determine by an examination
of omens ….

Finally, the handbook talks of the requisite number of recitations
in the ritual service, and our author quotes Candragomin: “Reciting
300,000 or 600,000 or 1,000,000 times, one accomplishes all functions.” And Vagisvarakirti said: “The count for the syllables of the
mantra is 100,000.” Thus the basic measure of ritual service is
100,000 recitations; but it is also held that in this “age of contention”
one should recite four times as much. Drubch’en rinpoch’e said:
“It is said that if one recites the 10-syllable mantra 10,000,000
times, one’s qualities will equal those of the noble Tara herself.”
That is to say, if one completes 10,000,000 recitations, one will have
the power to accomplish all functions and magical attainments. The
oral tradition ascribed to the Chenngawa, however, holds that if the
practitioner devotes himself to a ritual service of 100,000 recitations
he will be unharmed by any impediments; since she is a deity of
active function, it is quick and easy to succeed in her ritual service.
And since there is a great deal of evidence for this position in the
expanded commentaries upon the various histories of Tara, our
author concludes, we may place our belief therein.

Taranatha’s vignette on Amarasimha the Amarakosha’s author

Also the Acarya Amarasimha was a fully ordained monk
as well as the king’s scribe and could also discourse on the
metaphysics of both Mahayana and the Theravada. Supported
by the Tara Tantra, he was able to make the Noble Lady into
his personal tutelary divinity.Having made his abode in the
land of Malava in the west, he taught Abhidharma (Metaphysics)
to about 500 advanced students for about 24 years while
he stayed there, so it is said. All of those 500 students in
attendance on him gained exceedingly pure minds. Once there
was the heretic Naga King known as Lalita in that area and he
suddenly caused a fierce, unbearable rainstorm to fall and the
rain formed a fast-running river like the Yamuna. It drew very
near to the Acarya’s abode and also to many hamlets. The
Acarya prayed to Arya Tara and as a result the water swirled
round to die right of the Acarya’s home and the city of
Utajayana (Ujjain) many times and finally flowed off into
another great river, and only the Naga’s den and a small
Turuska village were carried away. Tara prophesied to him
in the following words, “Compose a work explaining key
terms!” and he wrote the work known as the Amara-kosa,
which to this very day is extremely widely known in India
among Buddhists and non-Buddhists. The king whose scribe
he was is said to have been Vikramaditya.

Despite the anachronism of the mention of Turuṣkas which is an accretion onto the tale of Amarasimha ,Taranatha is probably recording a genuine traditional tale of the lexicographer here genuinely(as transmitted by his Indian informer).

The old location of Jālandhara Pītha

Amongst the 51 śākta pīthas,the four most important are Kāmarūpa,Oḍḍiyāna,Jālandhara and Pūrṇagiri. The medieval importance of this can be gauged by this śloka:

rūpātītaṃ tu kāmākhyāṃ rūpaṃ pūrṇagirirmahāna।
pādaṃ jālandharaākhyāṃ tu piṇḍaṃ oḍraṃ prakīrtitaṃ।।

(Here Oḍḍiyāna has been concieved to be at Oḍra after the complete loss of the mūla Oḍḍīyāna even in memory to āstika writers,but that is another point to be noted in a different article).

This post is going to discuss the location of the historical Jālandhara pītha as per old historical refernces and relevant śāstra.(Note:The modern Devi Talab Mandir where Tripuramalini is worshipped is not the historical Jālandhara,and such lists which list the devi as such have little idea of the actual pitha/give only generic names for the devī like Caṇḍī)

Historical and the relevant śāstrīya references to Jālandhara pītha that allow us to locate the devīpīṭha with a low degree of ambiguity

  • Kumārīkhaṇḍa of Manthānabhairavatantra:idṛg jālandharaṃ pīṭhaṃ jvālāvvā tatra viśrutā(There is the famed mother Jvālā at Jālandhara pītha)
  • Abu’l Fazl in his Ai’n-I-Akbari notes about Jālandhara,Kāmākhya,Śāradā and Tulijā Bhavānī as four main pīthas and describes Jālandhara being near Nagarkot and the prescence of natural flames being the object of worship there.
  • Kalhaṇa in the 3rd taraṇga of the Rajatarangini alludes to the same general area of Kangra/Trigarta as being called Jālandhara/Jālandharāyaṇa
  • The importance of this pīṭha to Buddhists and their descriptions of travels to it leave no ambiguity as to which is the actual temple being referred to as the Jālandhara pītha.

The sixteen names of Durgā and their explanations(from the 57th adhyaya of the Brahmavaivarta Purāṇa)

nārada uvāca

sarvākhyānaṃ ṣrutaṃ brahmaktratīva paramādbhūtam|
adhūnā śrotumicchāmi durgopākhyānamuttamam||
dūrgā nārāyañīśānā viṣṇumāyā śivā satī|
nityā satyā bhagavatī śarvāṇī sarvamaṇgalā||
ambikā vaiṣṇavī gaurī pārvatī ca sanātanī|
nāmāni kauthumoktāni sarveṣaṃ śubhadāni ca||

Nārada said:Oh Brāhmaṇa,I have listened to this astonishing story. Kindly tell me the story of Durgā that I want to listen from you. Her names as described in the Kauthuma śākhā(of the Sāmaveda) are Durgā,Nārāyaṇī,Īśānī,Viṣṇumāyā,Śivā,Satī,Nityā,Satyā,Bhagavatī,Śarvāṇī,Sarvamaṇgalā,Ambikā,Vaiṣṇavī,Gaurī,Pārvatī,Sanātanī and they bestow auspiciousness.

atha śoḍaśanāmnāṃ ca sarveṣāmīpsitaṃ varaṃ।
brūhi vedavidāṃ śreṣṭhaṃ vedoktaṃ sarvasampatam॥

O best of the ones learned in the vedas, please kindly state the meanings of the sixteen names which bestow welfare upon all and are mentioned in the veda.

kena vā pūjitā sadak dvitīye kena vā pūrā।
tṛtīye vā catūrthe vā kena sarvatra pūjitā॥

Who was the first to worship Her?After that, who was the second, third and fourth to worship Her?

nārāyaṇa uvāca

atha ṣoḍaśanāmnāṃ sa viṣṇuvedi cakāra saḥ।
jñātvā punaḥ pṛccasi tvaṃ kathayāmi yathāgamam॥

Nārāyaṇa said:Viṣṇu has already given the sixteen names in the vedas and you are well aware of them. In spite of that you are asking me the question again and I am now speaking what has been said in the śāstra.

durgo daitye mahāvighne bhavabandhe ca karmaṇi।
śoke duḥkhe ca narake yamadaṇḍe ca janmani॥
mahābhaye’tiroge cāpyāśabdo hantṛvācakaḥ।
etānhantyeva yā devī sā ḍurga parikīrtitā॥

The word ‘Durga’ stands for a daitya who was a great obstruction representing worldly bondage,karmas,sorrows,hells,yama’s rod, births,great dangers, disease and ‘a’ represents the killer of the same. Therefore the one who destroys them all is famed as ‘Durgā’.

yaśasā tejasā rūpairnārāyaṇasamā guṇaiḥ।
śaktirnārāyaṇasyeyaṃ ṭena nārāyaṇī smṛtā॥

In glory,lusture,beauty and qualities She is like Nārāyaṇa and She is His śakti. Hence She is called Nārāyaṇī.

īśānaḥ sarvasiddharthe cāśabdo dātṛvācakaḥ।
sarvasiddhipradātrī yā sā’pīśānā prakīrtitā॥

Īśāna is a word used for sarvasiddhi(all-accomplishment) and ‘ā’ stands for its giver. Therefore the one who bestows sarvasiddhi is called Īśānā.

sṛṣṭā māyā purā sṛṣṭau viṣṇunā paramātmanā।
mohitaṃ māyayā viśvaṃ viṣṇumāyā prakīrtitā॥

In times of yore,Viṣnu created māyā,by means of which the whole universe was deluded by Her. She is thus called Viṣnumāyā.

śive kalyāṇarūpā ca śivadā ca śivapriyā।
priye dātari cāśabdo śivā tena prakīrtitā॥

She’s beloved of Śiva and is the form of Śiva’s auspiciousness and giver of Śiva,hence She is called Śivā.

sadbuddhyadhiṣātṛdevī vidyamānā yuge yuge।
pativratā suśīlā ca sā satī parikīrtitā॥

Every Yuga after Yuga,She’s the presiding deity of sad-buddhi(right intelligence),She is a chaste lady and well-disposed,hence She is called Satī.

yathā nityo hi bhagavān nityā bhagavatī tathā।
svamāyayā tirobhūtā tatreśe prākṛte laye॥
ābrahmastambaparyantaṃ sarvaṃ mithyaiva kṛtrimam।
dūrgā satyasvarūpā sā prakṛtirbhagavānyathā॥
siddhaiśvaryādikaṃ sarvaṃ yasyāmasti yuge yuge।
saiddhādike bhago jñeyastena sā bhagavatī smṛtā॥

She is eternal like Viṣṇu,and merges into Him at the time of the dissolution of the universe. Everything from a straw to Brahmā is transient and artificial(in contrast). She is also of the nature of Satya(truth) like Viṣṇu. ‘Bhaga’ denotes all siddhi and aiśvarya(lordliness/wealth),and since She is of that nature,She is called ‘Bhagavatī’.

sarvānmokṣaṃ prāpayati janmamṛtyujarādikaṃ।
carācarāśca viśvasthāñcharvāṇī tena kīrtitā॥

She gives mokṣa to all and is the cause of birth, death and old age of all, hence She is called Śarvāṇī.

maṅgalaṃ mokṣavacanaṃ cāśabdo dātṛvācakaḥ।
sarvānmokṣānyā dadādi saivasyātsarvamaṅgalā॥

The word ‘Maṇgala’ means auspiciousness and ‘ā’ stands for its giver. Since she gives auspiciousness to all,She is called sarvamaṇgalā.

harṣe saṃpādi kalyāṇe maṅgalaṃ parikīrtitaṃ।
tāndadāti ca sarvebhyastena sā sarvamaṅgalā॥

The word ‘Maṇgala’ means pleasures and auspiciousness which She bestows upon all. Hence She is called Sarvamaṇgalā.

ambeti mātṛvacano vandane pūjate sadā।
pūjitā vanditā yātā jagatāṃ tena sā’mbikā॥

The word Ambā means mother and is used for worship and adoration. Hence,the Mother who is worshipped by all is called Ambikā.

viṣṇubhaktā viṣṇurūpā viṣṇoḥ śaktisvarūpiṇī।
sṛṣṭau ca viṣṇunā sraṣṭā vaiṣṇavī tena kīrtitā॥

The devotees of Viṣṇu call Her Vaiṣṇavī because She is the form and energy of Viṣṇu,and by Her is the whole universe is created.

gauraḥ pīte ca nirlipte pare brahmāṇi nirmale।
tasyātmanaḥ śaktiriyaṃ gaurī ṭena prakīrtitā॥
guruḥ śambhuśca sareveṣāṃ tasya śaktiḥ priyā sati।
guruḥ kṛṣṇaśca tanmāyā gaurī tena prakīrtitā॥
tithibhede parvabhede kalpabhede’nyabhedake।
khyātau teṣu ca vikhyātā pārvatī tena kīrtitā॥
mahotsavaviśeṣe ca parvatriti sukīrtitā।
tasyādhidevī yā sā ca pārvatī parikīrtitā॥
parvatasya sutā devī sāvirbhūtā ca parvate।
parvatādhiṣṭhātṛdevī pārvatī tena kīrtitā॥

She is golden complexioned, clad in yellow garments, unattached and spotless. Because She is the śakti of the Ātman She is called Gaurī. She’s is tithibheda,kalpabheda,and one who causes the bhedas between these tithes,kalpas and other bhedas. She is thus called Pārvatī. During special celebrations, the word pavan is used, and since She is the Goddess of all parvenus,She is called Pārvatī. She is also called Pārvatī because She is the daughter of the mountain, appeared over the (Himalaya) mountain, and is the Goddess of mountains.

sarvakAle sanA prokto vistR^ite cha tanIti cha|
sarvatra sarvakAle cha vidyamAnA sanAtanI||
arthaH ShoDashanAmnAM cha kIrtitashcha mahAmune|
yathAgamaM taM vedoktopAkhyAnaM cha nishAmaya||

The word ‘sanā’ is used for all times, and in expanded form,’tanī’ is added to it. Since She is present in all times and all places,She is called Sanātanī. O sage,I have explained the meanings of Her sixteen names. I am now narrating the stories of Her as told in the vedas. Listen to me!

prathame pūjitā sā ca kṛṣṇena paramātmanā।
vṛndāvane ca sṛṣṭyādau goloke rāsamaṇḍale॥
madhukaiṭabhabhītena brahmaṇā sā dvitīyate।
tripurapraritenaiva tṛtiye ca tripurāriṇā॥
bhraṣṭaśriyā mahendreṇa śāpāhurvāsasaḥ purā।
caturthe pūjitā devī bhaktyā bhagavatī satī॥
tadā munīndraiḥ siddhendrairdevaiśca munipuṅgavaiḥ।
pūjitā sarvaviśveṣu samabhūtsarvataḥ sadā॥

In times of yore, at the beginning of creation and in the Rāsamaṇdala of Goloka in Vṛndāvana,Kṛṣṇa adored Her. Secondly,Brahmā adored Her to get relief from Madhu and Kaiṭabha. Thirdly,Śiva adored Her when He went to war with Tripura. Fourthly,Indra adored Her after He was cursed by Durvāsā,as a result of which He lost all riches and glory. Since then,She has been popularly adored by all the sages,siddhas,Gods and Ṛṣis everywhere.

The text after this then alludes to Suratha and Samādhi who adored the Goddess,and one attained the position of Sāvarṇi manu while Samādhi attained Goloka by Her grace.

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|

Nuances on the origin of tArA(entirely) in Tibet (in general)

1. Tibetan tradition states that tArA herself was introduced into Tibet from Nepalese sources(the daughter of aMshuvarman),who got a sandalwood image of the devI when she married the first great Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo
2. Bauddha tradition mentions just those two forms as introduced by nAgArjuna from bhoTadesha:ekajaTA and possibly vajratArA(from the sAdhanAmAlA)
3. The 6-7th century aShTA~NgasaMgraha mentions tArA and mercury(nAgArjuna gets associated with rasAyana siddhis too in that tradition),but no mention of nAgArjuna.
4. ekajaTA,who is iconographically very similar to mahAchInakrama-tArA(and often identical) got incorporated into Astika sAdhanAs through the means of the pheTkariNI/pheTkarIya tanta which was quoted by AgAmavAgIsha in his bR^ihat tantrasAra,which popularised this form of tArA over other forms.(and these were the forms associated with the story of vasiShTha going over to mahAchIna and recieving the mantra from nArAyaNa in the form of buddha)

Āgāmavāgiśa’s dhyānas from Bṛhat Tantrasāra that more closely match the Kālī mūrtis in Bengal than the one popularly recited

The one that is ‘popularly recited’ in many places runs

करालवदनां घोरं मुक्तकेशीं चतुर्भुजं । कालिका दक्षिणां दिव्यां मुण्डमाला विभूषिता ।।
सद्यछिन्नशीरा खड्ग वामदोर्ध्व कराम्बुजं । अभयंवरदं चैव दक्षिणोर्ध्वद पाणिकं ।।
महामेघप्रभां श्यामां तथा चैव दिगम्बरीं । कंठावासक्त मुण्डाली गलद्रधीर चर्चिताम् ।।
कर्णावतं सतानीत शवयुग्म भयानकं । घोरदंष्ट्राम करालस्याम् पीनोन्नत पयोधराम् ।।
शवानं करसंघाती कृतकंची हसन्मुखी । सृक्कद्वया गलद्रक्त धाराविस्फ़ुरिटाननां ।।
घोररावा महारौद्रिं शमशानालय वसिनिं । बालार्कमण्डलाकारं लोचनं त्रितयान्वितां ।।
दनतुरं दक्षिणं व्यापि मुक्तलन्विक चोचयां । शवरुप महादेव हृदयोपरि संस्थितं ।।
शिवाभिर्घोररावाभिश्चतुर्दिक्षु समन्वितां । महाकालेन च सामं विपरित रातातुरां ।।
सुखप्रसन्न वदनां स्मेरनानना सरोरूहं । एवं संचिन्तयेत् काली धर्मकामार्थसिद्धिदा ।।

karālavadanāṃ ghoraṃ muktakeśīṃ caturbhujaṃ । kālikā dakṣiṇāṃ divyāṃ muṇḍamālā vibhūṣitā ।।
sadyachinnaśīrā khaḍga vāmadordhva karāmbujaṃ । abhayaṃvaradaṃ caiva dakṣiṇordhvada pāṇikaṃ ।।
mahāmeghaprabhāṃ śyāmāṃ tathā caiva digambarīṃ । kaṃṭhāvāsakta muṇḍālī galadradhīra carcitām ।।
karṇāvataṃ satānīta śavayugma bhayānakaṃ । ghoradaṃṣṭrāma karālasyām pīnonnata payodharām ।।
śavānaṃ karasaṃghātī kṛtakaṃcī hasanmukhī । sṛkkadvayā galadrakta dhārāvisफ़uriṭānanāṃ ।।
ghorarāvā mahāraudriṃ śamaśānālaya vasiniṃ । bālārkamaṇḍalākāraṃ locanaṃ tritayānvitāṃ ।।
danaturaṃ dakṣiṇaṃ vyāpi muktalanvika cocayāṃ । śavarupa mahādeva hṛdayopari saṃsthitaṃ ।।
śivābhirghorarāvābhiścaturdikṣu samanvitāṃ । mahākālena ca sāmaṃ viparita rātāturāṃ ।।
sukhaprasanna vadanāṃ smeranānanā sarorūhaṃ । evaṃ saṃcintayet kālī dharmakāmārthasiddhidā ।।

The source of this in the Bṛhat Tantrasāra(hence called BTS in short) is the Kālītantra…and although this is popularly recited and some people say that Āgāmavāgiśa composed this dhyāna,I have hardly seen Kālī mūrtis that conform to the above lakṣaṇas.

In fact,the Kālī mūrtis I’ve seen in houses and temples conform much closer to the dhyānas laid down below(also from BTS)

शवारुढां महाभीमं घोरदंष्ट्रां वरप्रदां। हास्ययुक्तां त्रिनेत्राङ्च कल्पाल-कर्तृक-करां॥
मुक्त-केशिं ललज्-जिह्वां पिबन्तिम् रुधिरम् मुहुः। चतुर्बाहुयुतम् देवीं वराभयकरां स्मरेत्॥

śavāruḍhāṃ mahābhīmaṃ ghoradaṃṣṭrāṃ varapradāṃ। hāsyayuktāṃ trinetrāṅca kalpāla-kartṛka-karāṃ॥
mukta-keśiṃ lalaj-jihvāṃ pibantim rudhiram muhuḥ। caturbāhuyutam devīṃ varābhayakarāṃ smaret॥

This is from the Siddheśvara tantra. This dhyāna can be followed alone by those who have recieved initiation in Kālī’s single-syllabled vidyā.

Then the dhyāna which conforms to the popular depictions I have seen everywhere(also from BTS) with much less ambiguity(as to the hand positions)

देवी वामोर्द्वाधोहस्ते खड्ग-मुण्डञ्च पूजयेत्।
देव्या दक्ष-हस्तोर्ध्वाधः पूजयेद् अभयं वरम्॥

devī vāmordvādhohaste khaḍga-muṇḍañca pūjayet।
devyā dakṣa-hastordhvādhaḥ pūjayed abhayaṃ varam॥


(Image original link: )

This is from the Kālīhṛdaya.

If one is saying that Āgāmavāgiśa ‘popularized’ Kālī,it is this dhyāna that matches. Caveat:Not do raise doubts on the siddha,but I am unaware if Kālīhṛdaya is his own work or not.


On the glorification of hari and hara,arthavAda and their nAma and mantras

This thing came to my mind after reading a commentary on the nArAyaNIyam of bhaTTathiri.

The statements such as these(that shiva is superior to hari or vice versa,or statements like hari is subordinate/stories verses claiming that vaiShNava nAmas/mantras,etc are the sole means to liberation in this yuga should be seen as arthavAda). And what is this purpose of the arthavAda?To stimulate single minded upAsanA of that deity(similar are the functions of paurANika kathAs that glorify a deity at the cost of other deities/by putting down other deities)

Now there are three types of arthavAda that are known in shAstra. They are:

  1. bhutArthavAda:Wherin the existing/real attributes are stated in an exaggerated manner. E.g:Statements like ‘this medicine’s efficacy can revive even a dead man’ are only meant to drive home the point that this medicine is really,very good.
  2. guNavAda:Narrating attributes that are not/may not be really present,but might be feasible E.g:Statements like ‘Have a salt restricted diet for prevention of heart disease
  3. viruddhavAda:To narrate imaginary attributes that are neither present by nature,and are contradictory to valid pramANas,and are illogical.Therefore statements in purANas like ‘goptA viShNu tamomUrtiH vyApAreNa tu sAttvikaH’,’tadadhIno harI sAkShAt’,(viShNu is saturated with tamoguna but sAttvika by action),(viShNu is the servant of hari),then similar statements regarding bhagavatI have been made only to evoke greater interest in devotion to shiva or bhagavatI amongst their respective literature. Or iconography showing shiva as a corpse ridden by tArA or dakShinakAlikA could also fall in that same category:As a feature of mantrashAstra meant to increase the focus on devI primarily and to emphasize her primacy in their scheme of things.

A similar analogy from mimAMsashAstra can be made regarding the statements on when to perform agnihotra:’udite juhoti’ and ‘anudite juhoti’. In the discussion on the importance of the pre-sunrise period,the post-sunrise period has been censured,and similarly during the discussion on the post-sunrise period,the pre-sunrise period has been condemned. One on the basis of this should not stop performing the ritual or perform it only once a day or vice versa,as it would result in the dosha of contrariness,let alone the dosha of not performing nityakarma. Hence,the conclusion of the shAstraj~nas has been that both have to be performed(as per the instructions received in the perceptorial line of ritualists),and it is not that one performs the sacrifice only once a day and condemns the ones who do it at other times too as inferior. Similarly by this logic the putting up of a deity(sometimes even at the cost of others) does not really mean denigration of other devatAs.