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 4:

ऊर्ध्वमस्य हूतभुक्शिखात्रयम् तद्विलासपरिबृंहणास्पदं ।
विश्वघस्मरमहोच्चिदोत्कटं व्यामृशामि युगमादिहंसयोः ॥ ४ ॥

ūrdhvamasya hūtabhukśikhātrayam tadvilāsaparibṛṃhaṇāspadaṃ |
viśvaghasmaramahoccidotkaṭaṃ vyāmṛśāmi yugamādihaṃsayoḥ || 4 ||

I intently meditate on the three lines above it (Maṇipīṭha), beginning with the line of Fire, and on the brilliance of Maṇi- pītha, which is heightened by the lustre of those lines. I also meditate on the primordial Haṃsa,[1] which is the all-powerful Great Light in which the Universe is absorbed.[2]

Commentary by Śrī-Kālīcaraṇa:

On Haṃsa-pīṭha, which is within the triangle on Maṇi-pīṭha, between Nāda and Bindu, is the place of the Guru. He now wishes to describe Haṃsa and the triangle in order that a clear conception of these two may be gained.

The meaning of this verse is, shortly this: I meditate on the primordial Haṃsa,[3] I meditate on the three lines, beginning with the line of Fire, above the place of Maṇi-pīṭha and also on the glory of the Maṇi-pīṭha itself illumined as it is by the light of the three lines of Fire and others. The verb “I meditate” occurs once in this verse, and governs three nouns in the objective case.

I intently meditate” (Vyāmṛsāmi).—That is, I think with mind undisturbed, excluding all subjects likely to interfere with my thoughts.

Above it” (Ūrdhvam asya)—that is, above Maṇi-pīṭha.

The three lines beginning with the line of Fire” (Huta-bhuk-śikhātraya [śikhātrayaṃ]).—This compound word is made up according to the rule known as Śāka-pārthiva, by which the word Ādi, which comes in between two words is dropped. Adi means “and others”. The Line of Fire,[4] which is called the Line Vāmā, emanates from Vahni Bindu in the South, and goes to the North-East Corner; and the Line of Moon emanates from Candra-Bindu in the North-East Corner, and goes towards the NorthWest Corner: this is the line Jyeṣṭhā. The Line of Sun emanates from Sūrya Bindu in the North-West Corner, and reaches Vahni Bindu: this is the Line Raudrī. The triangle which is formed by the three lines uniting the three Bindus is Kāma-kalā (Kāma-kalā-rūpa [rūpaṃ]).

The Bṛhat-Śrī-krama says: “She whose form is letters is coiled up in the Bindu and comes out thereof as a sprouting seed from the South. From there[5] She goes to the Īśāna corner (N.-E.). She who thus goes is the Śakti Vāmā. This is Citkalā Parā and the line of Fire. The Śakti which has thus gone to the īśāna corner then goes in a straight line (that is, to the N.-W.). This line is the line of Jyeṣṭhā. This, O Parameśvarī, is Tripurā, the Sovereign Mistress. Again turning left[6] She returns to the place of sprouting. She is Raudrī, who by Her Union with Icchā and Nāda makes the Śṛṅgāta.”[7]

The Māheśvarī-saṃhitā says: “Sūrya, Candra and Vahni are the three Bindus, and Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śaṃbhu are the three lines.”

The Prema-yoga-taraṅgiṇī, in describing the Sahasrāra, quotes an authority which is here cited, clearly showing that the place of the Guru is within this triangle. “Within it is the excellent lightning-like triangle. Within the triangle are two imperishable Bindus in the form of Visarga. Within it, in the void, is Śiva, known by the name of Parama.”[8]

Śaṃkarācārya also has shown this clearly in his Ānandalaharī. The Author of the Lalitā-rahasya also speaks of the Guru as seated on Visarga. Visarga is the two Bindus, Candra and Sūrya, at the upper angles of the (down-turned) triangle.

On the primordial Haṃsa” (Ādi-haṃsayor-yugam).—Literally interpreted it would mean the union of[9] the primordial Haṃ and Saḥ. By Ādi (first) is implied the Parama-haṃsa, which is also known as Antarātmā, and not the Jīvātmā, which resembles the flame of a lamp. The Haṃsa here is the combination of Prakṛti and Puruṣa.

In Āgama-kalpadruma-pañcaśākhā it is said: “Haṃkāra is Bindu, and Visarga is Saḥ. Bindu is Puruṣa, and Visarga is Prakṛti. Haṃsa is the union of Pum (Male) and Prakṛti (Female). The world is pervaded by this Haṃsa.”

Some interpret “Asya Ūrdhvaṃ” to mean “above Maṇi-pīṭha,” and say that the verse means: “I meditate on the union of the two who constitute the primordial Haṃsa above Maṇi-pīṭha.” This is wrong. The Kaṅkāla-mālinī speaks of the Maṇi-pīṭha as above Haṃsa and between Nāda and Bindu. So how can these be below Haṃsa? This is impossible. This also shows the impossibility of the reading adopted by some—namely, Huta-bhuk-śikhā-sakham[10] in place of Huta-bhuk-śikhā-trayam. If this reading were accepted, then the words Ūrdhvaṃ asya (above it) have no meaning. The interpretation “I meditate on the union of,” as given above, may, however, be understood in the following sense. We have seen that the Kaṅkāla-mālinī speaks of the Haṃsa as below the Maṇi-pīṭha, which is between Nāda and Bindu. The interpretation mentioned is in great conflict with the view of Kaṅkāla-mālinī. But if Huta-bhuk-śikhā-trayam be read as qualifying Haṃsa, then the difficulty may be removed. Then the meaning would be: “Below Maṇi-pīṭha is Haṃsa, and above it is the triangular Kāma-kalā which is formed by the Haṃsa.”[11]

Which is the all-powerful Great Light in which the Universe is absorbed (Viśva-ghasmara-mahoccidotkaṭam).—“Bhakṣ” and “Ghas” mean the same thing. The root “Ghas” means “to devour,” and the roots “Cid,” “Hlād,” and “Dīp,” all mean “to shine”. The Great Light (Mahoccit) which is the Devourer (Ghasmara) of the Universe: By that is meant that It is all-powerful (Utkaṭa). Utkaṭa, which literally means very high, here means very powerful.

Footnotes and references:


That is, the Parama-haṃsa which is both Prakṛti and Puruṣa.


Lit., “Light which devours the Universe.”


i.e., the union of Haṃ and Saḥ whereby the Haṃsa is formed.


Here Fire is the origin of life, and is therefore associated with Brahmā. Moon is associated with Viṣṇu. And the Sun spoken of here stands for the twelve suns (Āditya) which rise to burn the world at dissolution (Pralaya).


Yasmāt is according to the reading given in the original. The same passage is quoted elsewhere reading yāmyāt (from the south) in place of yasmāt.


Reading vakrībhūtā punar vāme for vyaktībhūya punar vāme.


According to another reading, “By the union of Icchā and Jñāna, Raudrī makes the Śṛṅgāta.” The passage above quoted shows that the Kāma-kalā is a subtle form of Kuṇḍalinī, more subtle than the A-Ka-Tha triangle. Cf. Ānandalaharī, v. 21, where the Sūkṣma-dhyāna of Kuṇḍalinī is given.


i.e., Haṃ and Saḥ. The union of the two makes Haṃsaḥ. This is the beginning and end of creation. The outgoing breath (Niśvāsa) Haṃ of the Supreme is the duration of the life of Brahmā the Creator (cf. Tavāyur mama niśvāsaḥPrapañcasāra-Tantra, Ch. I) and Saḥ is the indrawing breath by which creation returns to Prakṛti.


Huta-bhuk-śikhā-sakha—the friend of the flame of Fire. By this is meant Vāyu (air). As there is no Vāyu in this region, therefore Vāyu cannot be above the triangle or above Maṇi-pīṭha.


Tasya parīṇatasya. Apparently the sense is that the three Bindus, or Haṃsa are below, but that the triangle which they collectively form, or the Kāma-kalā, is above, and in this sense the Haṃsa is both above and below Maṇi-pīṭha.

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