Paduka-panchaka (the five-fold footstool)

by Arthur Avalon | 1919 | 5,960 words | ISBN-10: 8178223783 | ISBN-13: 9788178223780

This is the English translation of the Paduka-panchaka which represents a hymn by Shiva in praise of the “five-fold footstool of the Guru”. The short text contains seven Sanskrit verses (including a commentary) dealing with aspects of Tantric Yoga, or “Kundalini Yoga”. This edition contains the Sanskrit text, transliteration and English translatio...

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 2:

तस्य कन्दलितकर्णिकापुटे कॢप्तरेखमकथादिरेखया ।
कोणलक्षितहलक्षमण्डलिभावलक्ष्यमबलालयं भजे ॥ २ ॥

tasya kandalitakarṇikāpuṭe kḷptarekhamakathādirekhayā |
koṇalakṣitahalakṣamaṇḍalibhāvalakṣyamabalālayaṃ bhaje || 2 ||

I adore the Abode of Śakti in the place where the two pericarps come together. It is formed by the lines[1] A, Ka, and Tha; and the letters Ha, La, and Kṣa, which are visible in each of its corners, give it the character of a Maṇḍala.[2]

Commentary by Śrī-Kālīcaraṇa:

The Guru should be meditated upon as in the triangle A-Ka-Tha within the pericarp of the Lotus before-mentioned. He now wishes to describe the triangle so that an adequate conception of it may be formed.

The abode of Śakti” (Abalālaya [abalālayaṃ]).—By Abalā is meant Śakti. Here She is Kāma-kalā triangular in form, and the three Śaktis, Vāmā, Jyeṣṭā, and Raudrī, are lines of the triangle. These three lines or Śaktis emanate from the three Bindus.[3] Kāma-kalā is the abode of Śakti.

The Yāmala speaks of the identity of Kāma-kalā with this abode. The passage begins, “I now speak of Kāma-kalā,” and proceeding says:[4] “She is the three Bindus. She is the three Śaktis. She is the threefold Manifestation. She is everlasting. That is, Kāma-kalā is composed of the three Śaktis spoken of (Triśakti-rūpā). He next speaks of the attributes of Abalālaya (abode of Śakti).

The place where the two pericarps come together” (Kandalita-Karṇikāpuṭe).—Kaṇḍala ordinarily means a quarrel in which one attacks the other with words. Here its significance is merely that the pericarp of one (the twelve-petalled lotus) is included within that of the other (Sahasrāra).

Place (Puṭa), i.e., the place where the triangle is “formed by the lines A, Ka, and Tha” (Kḷpta-rekha [rekhaṃ] a-ka-thādi-rekhayā). The sixteen vowels beginning with A form the line Vāmā, the sixteen letters beginning with Ka form the line Jyeṣṭā, and the sixteen letters beginning with Tha form the line Raudrī. The Abode of Śakti is formed by these three lines.

The Bṛhat Śrī-krama, in dealing with Kāma-kalā, says: “From the Bindu as the sprouting root (Aṅkura) She has assumed the form of letters.”[5]

The letters Ha, La, and Kṣa, which are visible in its corners, give it the character of a Maṇḍala” (Koṇa-lakṣita-hala-kṣa-maṇḍalī-bhāva-lakṣya [lakṣyaṃ]).—In its corners—i.e., in the inner corners of the aforesaid triangle. The three corners of the triangle are at the apex,[6] the right and the left. The letters Ha, La, and Kṣa, which are visible there, give the place the character of a Maṇḍala.

One cannot form an adequate conception (Dhyāna) of this triangle without knowing it in all its particulars, and that is why other authorities are quoted. This triangle should be so drawn that if one were to walk round it would always be on one’s left.

The Śāktānanda-taraṅgiṇī says: “Write the triangle A-Ka-Tha so that walking outside it is always on one’s left.[7]

Kālī Ūrdhvāmnāya: “The Tri-bindu[8] is the Supreme Tattva, and embodies within itself Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Śiva (Brahmaviṣṇu-śivātmakam). The triangle composed of the letters has emanated from the Bindu.” Also: “The letters A to Visarga make the line Brahmā which is the line of Prajāpati; the letters Ka to Ta make the most supreme (Parātparā) line of Viṣṇu. The letters Tha to Sa make the line of Śiva. The three lines emanate from the three Bindus.”

Tantra-jīvana: “The lines Rajas, Sattva, and Tamas, surround the Yoni-Maṇḍala.” Also: “Above is the line of Sattva; the line of Rajas is on the left, and the line of Tamas is on one’s right.”[9]

By a careful consideration of the above authorities, the conclusion is irresistible that the letters A-Ka-Tha go in the direction abovementioned.

The Svatantra-Tantra says: “The lines A-Ka-Tha surround the letters Ha, La and Kṣa.” It therefore places the letters Ha, La, Kṣa within the triangle.

It is needless to discuss the matter at greater length.

Footnotes and references:


A-Ka-Thādi—i.e., the lines formed by the letters A to Ah, Ka to Ta and Tha to Sa. These letters placed as three lines form the three sides of the triangle.


i.e., the diagram where the Divinity is summoned and worshipped.


Bindu-trayāṅkurabhūtā—that is, they have the three Bindus as their sprouting shoot. (See Kāmakalāvilāsa.)


Tribinduḥ sā trimūrtiḥtriśaktiḥsanātanī.


Varṇāvayava-rūpiṇī. Bindu appears in the form of letters by germinating as a sprout. The letters are sprouts from Bindu: that is, the Universe is evolved from Bindu.


The triangle, it should be remembered, has its apex downward.


Vāmāvartena vilikhet. The drawing is made in the direction which, is the reverse to that of the hands of a watcḥ.


i.e., the three Bindus considered as one and also separately.


That is, on the left and right of the Yoni or the right and left of the spectator.

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