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 6:

निषक्तमणिपादुकानियमिताघकोलाहलं स्फुरत्किसलयारुणं नखसमुल्लसच्चन्द्रकं ।
परामृतसरोवरोदितसरोजसद्रोचिषं भजामि शिरसि स्थितं गुरुपदारविन्द्द्वयं ॥ ६ ॥

niṣaktamaṇipādukāniyamitāghakolāhalaṃ sphuratkisalayāruṇaṃ nakhasamullasaccandrakaṃ |
parāmṛtasarovaroditasarojasadrociṣaṃ bhajāmi śirasi sthitaṃ gurupadāravinddvayaṃ || 6 ||

I adore in my head the two Lotus Feet of the Guru. The jewelled footstool on which they rest removes all sin. They are red like young leaves. Their nails resemble the moon shining in all her glory. Theirs is the beautiful lustre of lotuses growing in a lake of nectar.

Commentary by Śrī-Kālīcaraṇa:

He says here: “I adore the two Lotus Feet of the Guru, resting on the footstool already described in my head.” By adoration here meditation is meant.

The jewelled footstool on which they rest removes all sin” (Niṣaktamaṇi- pādukā-niyamitagha-kolāhala [kolāhalaṃ]).—That is, all the multitude of sins ate removed by devotion to the jewelled footstool which serves as the restingplace of His Feet. Or it may be interpreted thus: “The footstool which is studded with gems—that is, the Maṇi-pīṭha-maṇḍala which is the footstool—removes all the multitude of sins. By meditating on the Feet of the Guru as resting on this stool all sins are destroyed.” Or it may be thus interpreted: “The five footstools with which are inseparably connected the gems (by which are meant the Cintāmaṇi-like feet of the Guru) destroy all the multitude of sins.” By meditating first on the fivefold footstool, and then on the feet of the Guru as resting thereon, sin is removed. As the removal of sins is effected by meditation on the fivefold footstool, it is the cause which effects such removal.

They are like young leaves” (Sphurat-kisalayāruṇa [kisalayāruṇaṃ]).—That is, the feet of the Guru possess the red colour of newly opened leaves. The

leaves of the Mango and Kenduka[1] tree when newly opened are of a red colour, and comparison is made with them.

Their nails resemble the moon shining in all her glory” (Nakha-samullasat-candraka [candrakaṃ])—i.e., the toe-nails are like so many beautifully shining- moons.

Theirs is the beautiful lustre of lotuses growing in a lake of nectar” (Parāmṛta-sarovarodita-saroja-sadrociṣaṃ).—That is, they have the clear lustre of lotuses growing in a lake of nectar. He means to say that the excellent nectar drops constantly from the Lotus Feet of the Guru. Purṇā- nanda has said the same thing in v. 43 of the Ṣaṭcakranirūpaṇa [Ṣaṭcakra-nirūpaṇa]. The excellent nectar is the lake on which the Feet show like lotuses. It has been said that the place of the Guru is between the pericarps of the two Lotuses afore-mentioned. Now, a question may be raised as to whether it is in the pericarp of the twelve-petalled lotus below, or in that of the Sahasrāra above. To solve this the following passages are quoted:

Bṛhat-Śrīkrama: “Then meditate upon the Lotus which with its head downward is above all, and which drops nectar on the Śakti of the Guru in the other Lotus.”

Yāmala: “The Lotus of a thousand petals is like a canopy;[2] it is above all, and drops red nectar.”

Gurugītā: “In your own Guru meditate on the Supreme Guru as having two arms in the Lotus whose petals have the letters Haṃ and Saḥ and as surrounded by all the causes[3] of the universe. Although He manifests in all in varying degrees, He is without and beyond the Universe. On His will there are no limitations.[4] From Him emanates the Light of Liberation. He is the visible embodiment of the letters of the word[5] Guru.”

The Śyāmā-saparyā quotes the following: “The Lotus Sahasrāra downward turned, in the head, is white. Its filaments are of the colour of the rising sun; all the letters of the Alphabet are on its petals. In the pericarp of the Sahasrāra is Candra Maṇḍala, and below the pericarp is the lustrous lotus of twelve petals which contains the triangle A-Ka-Tha, marked out by the letters Ha, La and Kṣa. Meditate there on your Guru who is Śiva, seated on the Haṃsa-pīṭha which is composed of Mantras.”

The above and similar passages indicate that the place of the Guru is in the pericarp of the Lotus of twelve petals.

The Kaṅkāla-Mālinī says: “Meditate on the excellent Antarātma in the Lotus[6] of a thouśand petals, and on the shining throne which is between Nāda and Bindu, and (on the throne) meditate constantly upon, your own Guru, who is like a Mountain of Silver,” etc.

The Yāmala says:[7] “(Meditate on your Guru) in the Lotus of a thousand petals. His cool beauty is like that of the full moon, and His Lotus hands are lifted up to grant boons and to dispel fear.”

The Puraścaraṇa-rasollāsa (Ch. VII) has the following dialogue: “Śrī Mahādeva said: ‘There in the pericarp of the wonderful everlasting Lotus of a thousand petals meditate always on your own Guru? Śrī- Pārvatī said: ‘The head of the Great Lotus of a thousand petals, O Lord, is always downward turned; then say, O Deva, how can the Guru constantly dwell there?’ Śrī-Mahādeva said: ‘Well hast thou asked, O Beloved. Now listen whilst I speak to Thee. The great Lotus Sahasrāra has a thousand petals, and is the abode of Sadā-Śiva and is full of eternal bliss. It is full of all kinds of delightful fragrance, and is the place of spontaneous bliss.[8] The head of this Lotus is always downward, but the pericarp is always turned upward,[9] and united with Kuṇḍalinī is always in the form of a triangle.’

The Bālā-vilāsa Tantra has the following: “Śrī-Dakṣiṇāmūrti said: ‘As you awake in the morning meditate on your Guru in the White Lotus of a thousand petals, the head of which great Lotus is downward turned, and which is decorated with all the letters of the Alphabet. Within it is the triangle known by the name of A-Ka-Tha, which is decked by the letters Ha, La and Kṣa. He of the smiling countenance is on the Haṃsa- pīṭha,[10] which is in the region of the Candra-Maṇḍala within it (the Sahasrāra).’ Śrī-Devī said: ‘O Lord, how does the Guru stay when its head is turned downwards?’ Śrī-Dakṣiṇāmūrti said: ‘The Candra-Maṇḍala in the pericarp of the Lotus of a thousand petals is turned upward; the Haṃsa is there, and there is the Guru’s place.’”

These and similar passages speak of the place of the Guru as in the pericarp of the Lotus of a thousand petals.

As there are two distinct methods, one should follow the instruction of the Guru and adopt one of the two in his Sādhana (Anuṣṭāna). For it has been laid down in the Kulārṇava-Tantra (Ch. XI): “Beloved Vedas and Tantras handed down to us by tradition, as also Mantras and usages, become fruitful if communicated to us by the Guru, and not otherwise.” 

Footnotes and references:


Diospyros glutinosa.


Which is an emblem of supremacy.


i.e., the Avāntara-kāraṇa-śarīras. See Ṣaṭcakra-nirūpaṇa, vv. 39 et seq.


Svacchandaṃ ātmecchayā=By His own will He is free.


Cf. Mantrārṇā devatā prokta devatā guru-rūpiṇī.

The word Guru signifies many beneficent qualities. (See Kulārṇava, Tāntrik Texts, Vol. V, Ch. XVII.)


Or in the region of the lotus of a thousand petals.


The Commentator does not say from which of the different Yamalas he has quoted this and the passage in the first group.


Sahajānanda—that is, the bliss springs up itself. This bliss is Svabhāva.


That is, apparently, if we regard that portion of the pericarp which is attached to the lotus as its head. The triangle is A-Ka-Tha.

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