Parama Samhita (English translation)

by Krishnaswami Aiyangar | 1940 | 69,979 words

This page describes cakra which is Chapter 7 of the English translation of the Parama Samhita, representing a manual of the Pancaratra school of Vaishnavism philosophy. These pages summarize ritualistic worship, initiation and other topics, as contained in the various Agamas belonging to the Pancaratra school

Chapter 7 - Cakra


1. O, Bhagavan! This worship which you have thus expounded is only for the initiated; it is not possible of performance by others with appropriate mantras.

2. In this matter explain, in due order, initiation (Dīkṣa) of the Vaiṣṇava. Which kind of man can gain Dīkṣa and in what place?

3. What are the differences in the character of Dīkṣa; what is the conduct prescribed for the Dīkṣita, one initiated? I am very anxious to learn these, and therefore be so good as to expound these to me.


4-6. In holy bathing places where rivers join or reach the sea, in temples dedicated to God, on the tops of hills, in the interior apartments of a house, or in places pleasing to the mind, fix up your place of worship, after having previously tested the ground. To the Brahman is prescribed ground of white earth, to the Kṣatriya, red. Gold coloured earth is recommended to the Vaiśya and black earth to the Sūdra. Land may also be otherwise divided as desired; the first is that which destroys sin.

7. The first half is gone in part. The ground should have a fall towards the North-East, and rise from there in all directions.

8-12. For auspicious functions the ground should be spacious, untouched by bad people. Having found out the desired piece of ground and having first of all cleared the ground of thorns and pebbles, a wise man will get it clear of human remains, chaff, ashes and bones. Making it wet, raise a mud altar in the middle. Making the ground level, with fall all round as tested by water, enclose it all round by a boundary hedge in such a manner that people unconnected may not see the altar. Set up a roof without planting pillars (within the enclosure) so that sunlight may not fall on the altar at any time. Making the four doorways in order, then have also four fire-pits one in each direction.

13. Make many coloured juices from different articles and collect various shapes of pots, as also a variety of vessals.

14. Bring there also as many Vaiṣṇavas as are desirous of being initiated; all these alike must make their efforts with great attention.

15. Whoever shows greater interest, or provides more money, or takes more personal trouble, he gains a greater share of merit coming from a good deed.

16. Even though the Ācārya (the expert initiate) may grant initiation to his disciples for doing them good; those thus initiated should serve him to the extent possible for them.

17 to 20. In that place, at the appointed space, free from defects and trouble, at a distance from the city and village, but surrounded by these, well provided with all articles necessary as also things needed for worship, with the permission of expert Vaiṣṇvas who had formerly been initiated, the Ācārya (the expert initiate) shall grant initiation to noble-minded Vaiṣṇavas, in the holy well provided with all that may be needed for the ceremony, as well as for worship; with floor clean as the surface of glass, ornamented with a cloth awning, rich with flowers, leaves and fruits, and decorated with waterpot finials in all directions, uncontaminated by uninitiated people and with a plentiful supply of water.

21. To the Vaiṣṇavas (as above described) let the initiation be given, in prescribed form, on the 12th tithi or the full moon, the equinoxes, and the solstices, or in the asterism Śrāvana (Viṣṇu Nakṣatra)

22-23. He is called an Ācārya who is a devotee of Viṣṇu, one leading a married life, with full knowledge of how to initiate, ever on the look out to help others, bearing the marks of the Disc (Cakra), etc., without adopting the Initiation in Dīkṣa as a profession, quite in love with the performance of his duty as such, free from worldly desire and possessed of intimate knowledge of the Vedic learning.

24. The three groups, Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya and Vaiśya are considered worthy of initiation (Dīkṣa); such Śūdras and women are also eligible who are of good birth, of good character and possesed of good qualities.

25. Do not confer initiation on those who are merely curious to know, who are unbelieving, who are cruel in habit, who are of unrighteous conduct, who are ignorantly perverse, who do not follow betters, who are uneducated and who are guilty of ingratitude.

26. This supreme Vaiṣṇava dīkṣā should not be conferred upon the evil-minded who seek it for mere parade, or for mere investigation.

27. That wise man who is ever anxious to gain knowledge of the proper way of worshipping God, is alone fit for conferring dīkṣā upon. It is by doing this that Dharma prospers.

28. The Ācārya (leading Dīkṣita) surrounded by other dīkṣitas, with his mind bent on God, shall enter the place prepared by his disciples for the purpose of conferring

29. Having on the previous day taken food free from pungent things and salt, with a serene mind, he should take the holy sip of water the next morning and measure out the prepared ground to make it of the desired size.

30-31. The size of the altar is prescribed as 12 aratnis for Brahmans and Kṣatriyas; and for Vaiśyas one sixth less; for women and Śūdras one-third less. These must be measured out by the line (Sūtra); in the middle of the alter make the axis measuring a twelfth of the altar area.

32. The nave is to be of the same size. For the spokes let the size be twice as much (2/12ths). Understand that the Vimāna is to be in the middle of the nave for sacrifice.

33. Drive a peg in the centre, and, from it draw out threads to places marked round in a circle at equal distances as measured out, and make a network as it were.

34. Paint all this space with colour material; make the whole circular in form, with the proper measurements for the parts as prescribed.

35. Divide the surface of the nave into three circles round the same centre where the principal twelve-petalled lotus has to be made.

36. In the middle circle is to be the pericarp of the lotus; in the second the filaments; in the third its peatals equal in size and beautiful.

37. These would be wide in the middle narrowing to the tip gradually. The interspaces between the petals must be of the same shape all round.

38. Make the whole space of the nave, divided into three as measured by the line. Divide the space for the spokes into twelve equal parts.

39. Make the spokes and their interspaces of equal size respectively all round in due order.

40-42. Mark the main directions between spokes, and the intermediate directions on the spokes themselves.. Make the spokes thick at the root and at the end, but of circular form in the middle, measuring all over half that size. Make the two fellows of equal curvature all round, one below and one above, to which are joined the spokes. These are to be understood as counting 24 going round all directions in order.

43. Make the joints of the fellows always in the space between the ends of the spokes. So far about the circle. (Cakra). Round this circle is to be the outer orb.

44. Make an outer veranda for this, of the size of the nave. This outer veranda should go all round for the entry of those desiring dīkṣā (consecration)

45 In that veranda make the places for the guardian deities of the compass, each in its direction. These places must be square, half a cubit each side.

46 Just outside of the altar make a round spot one cubit in size, either dug into the earth or raised above it, to indicate the direction of the gateways.

47. Make at the cardinal points, doorways with four sides, spacious in the middle and with ample side spaces,

48. Understand that the entrances, beginning with the north, are to he the four entrances and exits for Brahmans and others in order.

49. Make the outer circle contain five circular spaces, for the five Mahābhūtas (the five great elements beginning Ākāśa etc.) to be in.

50-51. Having this way made all round the circle to the correct size as measured by the string, then the expert guru shall paint it over in five colours, namely, white, black, red, brown, and gold or yellow in the circular space; the inner parts of the lotus should be in the colour of the lotus.

52-53. First paint the pericarp in yellow colour everywhere; paint the filaments in a mixture of white and red; paint the petals white all round and brown within. Paint, the fellow, white, red and black in three parts.

54. The spokes must be painted brown with white in the middle. The periphery in the fellow should be of a different colour from it.

55-57. In painting let white and black alternate with yellow where they joṃ. Having painted the circle in this manner, paint afterwards on the outside, the cities of the guardians of the directions, in various colours. In the outer circuit paint in the five colours in the order, black, yellow, red, brown and white. Paint the doorways red and white to make them look beautiful.

58. O, Kamalodbhava, (lotus-born) having painted the wheel in the manner described above, teach the pupil the accepted rule of conduct (Samaya) of the great ones of the Vaiṣṇava community.

59. Hereafter I shall explain to you the method of powder drawing by which people make the orbit of the circle by means of powder.

60. Whatever colours I have prescribed for painting, the same colours should be used in making the circle with powder.

61. The wise one will get the powder made by those expert in it, with plants, minerals, leaves, sticks and fruits, according to the prescribed methods.

62. The making of the circle with powder is permissible for every one of the parts described. Lowering and raising of levels, and the thinning of parts will have to be done with skill.

63. Make the pericarp raised, by some divise of machinery, the level of the petals must be above the inner space and the spokes above the middle space.

64-65. The other portions will be filled level by wise men. Having in this manner drawn the circle by means of powder, the Ācārya (the chief initiate), with care, should admit to. initiation those desirous of admission.

66. The cakra (circle) of Īśvara (God) thus drawn in paint should be set either on a wall or on a cloth beyond the sight of people. At appointed times one must see it himself contemplating the Supreme Lord.

67. It is by so doing that faith in it is created. All parts within the circle should be kept intact and none destroyed.

68. I have thus described to you all about the making of the cakra by contemplating upon which all sins get destroyed.

69. If such a cakra is painted in a house, evil spirits serpents, etc., goblins, spirits of the dead, evil-minded beings, will not come near it.

70. By Vaiṣṇavas, desirous of obtaining their wishes, should by all means be worshipped Vāsudeva mounted on this Cakra.

In the Parama Saṃhitā of the Pāñcarātra the Seventh Chapter, entitled Cakra.