Shat-cakra-nirupana (the six bodily centres)

by Arthur Avalon | 1919 | 46,735 words | ISBN-10: 8178223783 | ISBN-13: 9788178223780

This is the English translation of the Shat-cakra-nirupana, or “description of the six centres”, representing an ancient book on yoga written in the 16th century by Purnananda from Bengal. This book investigates the six bodily centres famously known as Chakras. The text however actually forms the sixth chapter of the Shri-tattva-cintamani, compiled...

Verse 40

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 40:

तदूर्ध्वे शङ्खिन्या निवसति शिखरे शून्यदेशे प्रकाशं
  विसर्गाधः पद्मं दशशतदलं पूर्णचन्द्रातिशुभ्रं ।
अधावक्त्रं कान्तं तरुणरविकलाकान्तिकिञ्जल्कपुञ्जं
  ऌअकाराद्यैर्वर्णैः प्रविलसितवपुः केवलानन्दरूपं ॥ ४० ॥

tadūrdhve śaṅkhinyā nivasati śikhare śūnyadeśe prakāśaṃ
  visargādhaḥ padmaṃ daśaśatadalaṃ pūrṇacandrātiśubhraṃ |
adhāvaktraṃ kāntaṃ taruṇaravikalākāntikiñjalkapuñjaṃ
  ḷakārādyairvarṇaiḥ pravilasitavapuḥ kevalānandarūpaṃ
|| 40 ||

Above all these, in the vacant space[1] wherein is Śaṅkhinī Nāḍī, and below Visarga is the Lotus of a thousand petals.[2] This Lotus, lustrous and whiter than the full Moon, has its head turned downward. It charms. Its clustered filaments are tinged with the colour of the young Sun. Its body is luminous with the letters beginning with A, and it is the absolute bliss.[3]

Commentary by Śrī-Kālīcaraṇa:

The Ācārya enjoins that Sādhakas who wish to practise Samādhi Yoga “should before such time with every consideration and effort dissolve all things in their order from the gross to the subtle in Cidātmā”.[4] All things, both gross and subtle, which make up creation should first be meditated upon. As the knowledge thereof is necessary, they are here described in detail.

The five gross elements—Pṛthivī[5] and so forth—have been spoken of as being in the five Cakras from Mūlādhāra to Viśuddha. In the Bhūmaṇḍala[6] in the Mūlādhāra there are the following—viz., feet, sense of smell, and Gandha-tattva,[7] for this is their place. In the Jala-maṇḍala,[8] similarly, are the hands, sense of taste, and Rasa-tattva.[9] In the Vahni- maṇḍala[10] are the anus, the sense of sight, and Rūpa-tattva.[11] In the Vāyumaṇḍala,[12] are the penis, sense of touch, and Sparśa-tattva.[13] In the Nabho-maṇḍala[14] are speech, the sense of hearing, and Śabda-tattva.[15] These make fifteen tattvas. Adding these fifteen to Pṛthivī and so forth we get twenty gross tattvas.

We next proceed to the subtle forms. In the Ājñā-Cakra the subtle manas has been spoken of. Others have been spoken of in the Kaṅkālamālinī-Tantra (Ch. II) when dealing with the Ājñā-Cakra: “Here constantly shines the excellent Manas, made beautiful by the presence of the Śakti Hākinī. It is lustrous, and has Buddhi,[16] Prakṛti,[17] and Ahaṃkāra[18] for its adornment.”

From the above the presence of the three subtle forms—Buddhi, Prakṛti, and Ahaṃkāra—in this place becomes clear. We must, however, know that Ahaṃkāra is not placed in the order shown in the above quotation. We have seen that from the Mūlādhāra upwards the generated is below the generator; that which is dissolved is below what it is dissolved into, and we also know that the Śābda-krama is stronger than Pāṭakrama.[19] We must remember that Vyoma is dissolved in Ahaṃkāra, and hence the latter is next above Vyoma. Cf. “In Ahaṃkāra, Vyoma with sound should be dissolved, and Ahaṃkāra again in Mahat.” Ahaṃkāra, being the place of dissolution, comes first above Vyoma, and above it are Buddhi and Prakṛti.

The Śāradā-tilaka (I. 17, 18) speaks of their connection as Janya (effect, generated) and Janaka (cause, generator).

“From the unmanifest (Avyakta) Mūla-bhūta, Para-vastu[20] when Vikṛta originated Mahat-tattva,[20] which consists of the Guṇas and Antaḥk araṇa. From this (Mahat-tattva) originated Ahaṃkāra, which is of three kinds according to its source of generation.”[21] By Vikṛti which means change is here meant reflection or image (Prati-bimba)[22] of the Para-vastu, and as such reflection it is Vikṛti; but as it is the Prakṛti of Mahat-tattva, etc., it is also called Prakṛti.[23] Cf. “Prakṛti is the Paramā (Supreme) Śakti, and Vikṛti is the product thereof.”[24] It has also been shown before that the Prakṛti of the Para Brahman is but another aspect of Him (Pratibimba-svarūpiṇī).

According to Śāradā-tilaka, Mahat-tattva, is the same as Buddhi.[25] Īśāna-Śiva says: “The objective Prakṛti,[26] which is evolved by Śakti, is, when associated with Sattva-Guṇa, Buddhi-tattva. It is this Buddhi that is spoken of as Mahat in Sāṃkhya.”

Mahat-tattva consists of the Guṇas and the Antaḥkaraṇa. The Guṇas are Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. The Śāradā-tilaka says: “Antah- karaṇa is the Manas, Buddhi, Ahaṃkāra and Citta, of the Ātmā.[27] All these are comprised in the term Mahat-tattva.

Now, a question may be raised—namely, if Manas be within Mahat- tattva, what of that which has been said in v. 33, where Manas has been spoken of as having an independent existence? But the answer to that is,, that that Manas is the product of Ahaṃkāra, and Rāghava-Bhaṭṭa quotes a text which says: “In so much as the other Manas is the one which selects and rejects (Sa-saṃkalpa-vikalpaka),[28] it is known to be the product of Tejas.”[29] Thus it is that, as Manas and other Tattvas in the Ājñā-Cakra are placed in their order, Ahaṃkāra and others should be known as being placed above them. In the Ājñā-Cakra are Hākinī, Itara-Liṅga, Praṇava, Manas, Ahaṃkāra, Buddhi, and Prakṛti placed consecutively one above the other. No place being assigned to Candra-maṇḍala, which has been spoken of before, it should be taken to be placed above all these. If it be asked, why is it not below all these? then the reply is that it has been said in the Sammohana-Tantra: “Moon (Indu) is in the forehead, and above it is Bodhinī Herself.” From this it would appear that Indu arid Bodhinī are above Ājñā-Cakra, placed one above the other without anything intervening between them. Bodhinī is above all the rest.

The Sammohana-Tantra speaks of the Cause (Kāraṇarūpa) as above Ājñā-Cakra: “Indu (the Moon, here—Bindu) is in the region of the forehead, and above it is Bodhinī Herself. Above Bodhinī shines the excellent Nāda, in form like the half (crescent) moon; above this is the lustrous Mahā-nāda, in shape like a plougḥ; above this is the Kalā called Āñjī, the beloved of Yogīs. Above this last is Unmaṇi,[30] which having reached, one does not return.”

In the above passage, in the words “above it is Bodhinī,” the word “it” stands for the forehead or Ājñā-Cakra.

The Bhūta-śuddhi-Tantra speaks of the existence of the Bindu below Bodhinī: “Devī, above Bindu and Mātrārdhā is Nāda, and above this, again, is Mahā-nāda, which is the place of the dissolution of Vāyu.” Mātrārdhā is Mātrārdhā-Śakti.[31]

The following passage from Bṛhat-trivikrama-sāṃhitā proves that the Ardha-mātrā means Śakti: “Lustrous like the young Sun is Akṣara, which is Bindumat (Bindu itself); above it is Ardha-mātrā, associated with the Gāndhārarāga.”[32]

As both the above passages point to the same thing, we must take it that Ardha-mātrā and Bodhinī are identical. Bindu, Bodhinī, and Nāda, are but different aspects of the Bindu-maya-para-śakti.

The Śāradā-tilaka says: “From the Sakala Parameśvara,[33] who is Sat, Cit, and Ānanda, Śakti emanated; from Śakti, again, emanated Nāda; and Bindu has its origin from Nāda. He who is Para-Śakti-maya manifests Himself in three different ways. Bindu and Nāda and Bīja are but His different aspects. Bindu is Nādātmaka,[34] Bīja is Śakti, and Nāda, again, is the union or relation of the one to the other.[35] This is spoken of by all who are versed in the Āgamas.”[36]

“Para-Śakti-maya”: Para=Śiva; hence Śiva-Śakti-maya=Bindu. The Bindu who is above the forehead is Nādātmaka—that is, Śivātmaka.[37] Bīja is Śakti as Bodhinī (Bodhinī-rūpaṃ). Nāda is the connection between the two whereby the one acts upon the other; hence it is Kriyā-Śakd. Above these three is Mahā-nāda. This has already been shown.

“Above this is Kalā,” etc.: Kalā=Śakti. Āñjī=a crooked, awry, bent, line. This is in shape like a bent or crooked line over a letter. This Śakti appeared in the beginning of creation, Cf. Pāñcarātra: “Havṃg thus seen, the Supreme Male in the beginning of creation makes manifest the eternal Prakṛti who is the embodiment of Sat, Cit and Ānanda, in whom[38] are all the Tattvas, and who is the presiding (Adhiṣṭātrī) Devī of creation.

Also elsewhere: “From the unmanifested (Avyakta) Parameśvara, the united Śiva and Śakti, emanated the Ādyā (first) Devī Bhagavatī, who is Tripura-sundarī, the Śakti from whom came Nāda, and thence came Bindu.”

“Above it is Unmanī,” etc.: Cf. ‘By going where ‘Manasness’ (Manastva) of Manas ceases to be called Unmanī, the attainment of which is the secret teaching of all Tantras.”[39]

The state of Unmanī is the Tattva which means the dispelling of the attachment prompted by Manas towards worldly objects.

Unmanī, again, is of two kinds: (1) Nirvāṇa-kalā-rūpā which also has its place in the Sahasrāra[40]; (2) Varṇāvali-rūpā, which also has its place in this region. Cf. Kankāla-mālinī: “In the pericarp of the Sahasrāra, placed within the circle of the moon, is the seventeenth Kalā, devoid of attachment.[41] The name of this is Unmanī, which cuts the bond of attachment to the world.”

Cf, also: “By mental recitation of the Mālā-varṇa (rosary of letters) is Unmanī the granter of Liberation (attained).” Mālā-varṇa=Varṇāvalī-rūpa.

The Bhūta-śuddhi speaks of the Samani below Unmanī. “Next is the Vyāpikā-Śakti (Diffusive Energy) which people know as Āñjī. Samanī[42] is over this, and Unmanī is above all.” This (Samanī) also is an intermediate aspect (Avāntara-rūpa) of Paraśakti.

We now get the following:

Above Ājñā-Cakra is the second Bindu—which is Śiva (Śiva-sva- rūpa). Above Bindu is the Śakti Bodhinī in shape like an Ardhamātrā; next is Nāda which is the union of Śiva and Śakti, in shape like a half (crescent) moon; next (above this) is Mahānāda, shaped like a plougḥ; above Mahānāda is the Vyāpikā Śakti, crooked (Āñjī) in shape; above this last is Samanī and highest of these all is Unmanī. This is the order in which the seven causal forms (Kāraṇa-rūpa) are placed.

There is no need to go into further detail. Let us then follow the text.

Wishing to describe the Sahasrāra he speaks of it in ten more verses.

Above all these” (Tadūrdhve).—Above every other that has been described or spoken before.

Over the head of the Śaṅkhinī-Nādī”—a sight of which has been given to the disciple.

Vacant space” (Śūnya-deśa)—that is, the place where there are no Nādīs; the implication is that it is above where Suṣuṃnā ends.

Below Visarga is the lotus of a thousand petals.”—This is the purport of the Śloka. Visarga is in the upper part of the Brahma-randhra. Cf. “(Meditate) in that aperture on Visarga the ever blissful and stainless.”’ There are other similar passages.

Its body is luminous with” etc. (Lalāṭādyaiḥ varṇaiḥ pravilasita- vapuḥ).—The word Lalāṭa stands for the first vowel, A. By this we are to understand that the second Lakāra (L) is to be left out in counting- the letters of the Alphabet, In counting the fifty letters, the second Lakāra[43] is always left out.

If the text is read as “Lakārādyaih varṇaih,” as is done by some, we must leave Kṣa-kāra out in counting the letters. The fifty-one letters, cannot be taken to be in the petals of the Sahasrāra.[44] With fifty-one letters repeated twenty times, the number is 1,020, and repeated nineteen times is 969. By leaving out Kṣakāra we are freed of this difficulty. By “Lakārādyaiḥ” is it not meant that the letters are to be read Viloma.[45] The Kaṅkālamālinī in the following passage distinctly says that it is to be read Anuloma[46]: “The Great Lotus Sahasrāra is white and has its head downward, and the lustrous letters from A-kāra (A), ending with the last letter before Kṣakāra (Kṣa), decorate it.” Here it is distinctly stated that the letter Kṣa is left out.

Akārādi-kṣa-kārāntaiḥ: This compound, Kṣa-kārānta, if formed by Bahuvrīhi-samāsa,[47] would mean that Kṣakāra is left out of calculation.

There is nothing said of the colour of the letters, and, as the Mātṛkā (letters) are white, they are to be taken as being white on the Sahasrāra petals. These letters go round the Sahasrāra from right to left.[48]

Some read Pravilasita-tanuḥ in place of pravilasita-vapuḥ, and say that, as the word padma alternatively becomes masculine in gender (vā puṃsi padmaṃ), therefore the word Tami, which qualifies a word in the masculine gender, is itself masculine. That cannot be. The verb Nivasati (=is, dwells) has for its nominative Padmaṃ, and, as it ends with the Bindu (m), it is in the neuter gender and not masculine. For in that case it would have ended with visarga (i.e., h [ḥ?]), and its adjective tanu, would also end with a visarga. The word tanu (if their reading is accepted) would be in the neuter; therefore it cannot end with a Bindu. And if there is no Bindu the metre becomes defective. Therefore the correct reading is Pravilasita-vapuḥ.

The rest is clear. 

Footnotes and references:


This place is called the Supreme Ether (Parama-vyoma) in the Svacchanda-saṃgraha, cited by Viśvanātha. Parama-vyoma is the name given in the Pañcarātra to the Highest Heaven or Vaikuṇṭha. See Ahirbhudhnya, 49.


The Sahasrāra is called Akula, according to the Svacchanda- saṃgraha, cited by Viśvanātha.


Kevalānanda-rūpa [rūpam], i.e., Brahman Bliss.


The Atmā considered as Cit.


Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether.


Region of the Earth Element, or Mūlādhāra-Cakra.


Smell principle or Tanmātra.


Svādhiṣṭāna, which is the region of Water (Jala).


Principle of taste.


Maṇi-pūra, which is the region of Fire (Vāhni).


Principle of sight.


Anāhata, which is the region of Air (Vāyu).


Principle of toucḥ.


Viśuddha, which is the region of Ether (Nabhas).


Principle of sound.


See next note.


See Introduction, and post, Commentary.




That is, the actual arrangement of things as compared with the order in which they are stated.


Mahat-tattva is a Vikṛti of Prakṛti. The Mūlabhūta avyakta (unmanifested root-being) corresponds with the Sāṃkhyan Mūla-prakṛti. Here, as Rāghava-Bhaṭṭa says, Tattvasṛṣṭi is indicated (Commentary to Ch. I, vv. 17, 18 of Śāradā), and interprets (Ch. I. vv. 17, 18) thus: Unmanifest Mūlabhūta Para-vastu may mean either the Bindu or Śabda Brahman. By Vikṛta is meant readiness or proneness to create (Sṛṣṭyunmukha). From this Bindu or Śabda-Brahman emanates Mahat-tattva by which is meant the Padārtha Mahat: which is known as Buddhi-tattva in Śaiva- mata. This Mahat or Buddhi-tattva consists of the three Guṇas—Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. That is, it includes Manas, Buddhi, Ahaṃkāra and Citta. These four are the product (Kārya) of the Guṇas as cause (Kāraṇa), and the cause (Kāraṇa) inheres (Upacāra) in the effect (Kārya). After quoting the words of Īśāna-Śiva, Rāghava remarks that Vāmakeśvara-Tantra also says that from the Unmanifest Śabda-Brahman originates Buddhi-tattva wherein Sattva Guṇa is manifest. He then distinguishes the Sāṃkhya view according to which the state of equilibrium of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas is Prakṛti, which is also called Pradhāna and Avyakta. This is the Supreme (Para-vastu). From a disturbance in the equilibrium of the Guṇas arises Mahat. This Mahat consists of Guṇas and is the cause of the Antaḥkaraṇas. By Guṇas according to this are meant the five Tanmātras, Śabda, Sparśa, etc. According to this view also from Prakṛti comes Mahat and from the latter Ahaṃkāra.

Rāghava thus shows the different ways in which the text of Śāradā can be interpreted from the Śākta, Śaiva and Sāṃkhya points of view.


Sṛṣṭi-bheda—that is, one Ahaṃkāra is the result of the predominance of Sattva, another of Rajas, and a third of Tamas.


That is in the sense of product. In Śaiva-śākta-darśana, Mūla- prakṛti is itself a product of the Śiva-śakti-tattva, for the Self becomes object to itself.


That is, as regarded from the point of view of the Para-vastu it is an effect, but regarded in relation to that which it produces it is a cause.


Vikṛtiḥ pratibimbatā—in a mirror one is seen but the image is not oneself.


Rāghava-Bhaṭṭa says that this is so according to Śaiva doctrine.


Boddhavya-lakṣaṇā—that is, that which can be known (Jñeya); the objective or manifested Prakṛti.


See Introduction.


As to Sa-saṃkalpa-vikalpa, see Introduction.


That is, Taijasa ahaṃkāra, which is the source of the Indriyas.


In this passage Āñjī is Samanī. The Bhūta-śuddhi (see post), makes a distinction too between Ājñī and Samanī. These are the Avāntara- śarīras of the First Cause enumerated in Laya-krama. The text quoted from the Śāradā gives the Sṛṣṭi-krama.


Mātrārdhā. In the Devī Bhāgavata there occurs the expression Ardhamātrā (which is a name for Nāda) in I, 1, v. 55, and III, 5, v. 29, and Nīlakaṇṭha defines it to mean Paraṃ padaṃ=the supreme state, or the Brahman. The expression Ardha-mātrā also occurs in Caṇḍī, I, 55, in practically the same sense. Gopāla Chakravartī quotes a passage which says: “Ardha-mātrā is attributeless (Nirguṇa), and realizable by the Yogī.” He quotes another passage which says: “Oṃ—this is the three Vedas, three Lokas, and after the three Lokas, Mātrārdhā is the fourth—the Supreme Tattva.” See Caṇḍī “Tvamudgīthe ardhamātrāsi” and Devī- bhāgavata, I, 5, v. 55. Śruti says: “Thou art the Ardhamātrā of Praṇava, Gāyatrī, and Vyāhṛti.” Here the unity of Devī and Brahman is shown. She is Brahman united with Māyā (Māyā-viśiṣṭa-brahmarūpiṇī). The Nāda-bindu Upaniṣad (v. 1) says: “A-kāra is the right wing (of Oṃ figured as a bird), U-kāra is the other (left) wing, Ma-kāra the tail, and Ardhamātrā the head. Sattva is its body, and Rajas and Tamas are its two feet. Dharma is its right eye and Adharma is its left eye. The Bhūrloka is its feet; the Bhuvarloka its knees; the Svarloka is its middle; the Maharloka its navel; Janaloka is the heart; Tapoloka its throat, and Satyaloka the place between the eyebrows.” See also Brahmavidyā Upaniṣad, v. 10.


The third of the seven primary subtle tones.


Śāradā, Ch. I, vv. 7-9, Sakala, as opposed to Niṣkala, or Nirguṇa, means united with Kalā, which according to Sāṃkhya is Sāmyāvasthā of the Guṇas which is Prakṛti. According to the Vedāntists of the (Māya- Vāda), Kalā is Avidyā, in the Śaiva-Tantra Kalā is Śakti (Rāghava- Bhaṭṭa).


Another text has Śivātmaka—that is, Bindu is the Śiva aspect.


Samavāya=kṣobhya kṣobhaka-sambandha—lit., connection which is the connection of reciprocity.


See Introduction.


In the Benares edition as also in Rasika Mohana Chattopādhyāya’s edition of the Śāradā-tilaka the text reads Śivātmaka, as if qualifying Bīja, which seems erroneous.


Rāghava reads: “Samasta-tattva-saṃghātma-spūrtyadhiṣṭhatrīrūpiṇīṃ”—which means “who is the Devī presiding over or directing the evolution or manifestation of all the mass of Tattvas”.


Viśvanātha, quoting Svacchanda-saṃgraha, which speaks of Unmanī as above Samanā, says that in the Unmanī stage there is no cognition of and no distinction is made between Kāla and Kalā; there is no body, and no Devatās, and no cessation of continuity. It is the pure and sweet mouth of Rudra. Cf. Vṛttīnaṃ manaḥ in the Śiva-Saṃhitā, V, 219.


Sahasrārādharā. See introduction.


Sarva-saṃkalpa-rahitāi.e., who is free from all attachment, not prompted by anything in any action. The passages quoted are from cḥ. v, Kaṇkāla-mālinī.


Viśvanātha speaks of it as Samanā, and says that She is Cidānanda- svarūpā (that is, Cit and Ānanda), and the cause of all causes (Sarva- kāraṇa-kāraṇaṃ).


Vaidika Lakāra (La).


i.e., fifty-one letters cannot be arranged in the Sahasrāra.


i.e., from end to beginning.


From beginning to end.


A form of Sanskrit verbal compound.


Dakṣināvarta—the opposite way to that in which the hands of a clock work.

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