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 51

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 51:

भित्वा लिङ्गत्रयं तत्परमरसशिवे सूक्ष्मधाम्णि प्रदीपे
  सा देवी शुद्धसत्त्वा तडिदिव विलसत्तन्तुरूपस्वरूपा ।
ब्रह्माख्यायाः सिरायाः सकलसरसिजं प्राप्य देदीप्यते
  तन्मोक्षाख्यानन्दरूपं घटयति सहसा सूक्ष्मतालक्षणेन ॥ ५१ ॥

bhitvā liṅgatrayaṃ tatparamarasaśive sūkṣmadhāmṇi pradīpe
  sā devī śuddhasattvā taḍidiva vilasattanturūpasvarūpā
brahmākhyāyāḥ sirāyāḥ sakalasarasijaṃ prāpya dedīpyate
  tanmokṣākhyānandarūpaṃ ghaṭayati sahasā sūkṣmatālakṣaṇena
|| 51 ||

The Devī who is Śuddha-sattvā[1] pierces the three Liṅgas, and, having reached all the lotuses which are known as the Brahma-nāḍī lotuses, shines therein in the fullness of Her lustre. Thereafter in Her subtle state, lustrous like lightning and fine like the lotus fibre, She goes to the gleaming flame-like Śiva, the Supreme Bliss and of a sudden produces the bliss of Liberation.

Commentary by Śrī-Kālīcaraṇa:

Now he speaks of the mode of the Union of Kuṇḍalinī (with Śiva). The meaning of this verse, in brief, is that the Devī Kuṇḍalinī pierces the three Liṅgas—Svayambhu, Bāṇa, and Itara[2]—and by so doing makes a passage for Herself; and when she reaches the lotuses in (or appertaining to) the Nādī called Brahma-nādī She shines in the fullness of Her lustre in these lotuses. Then, when in Her subtle form, fine like the lotus fibre, She approaches Śiva, who is Supreme Bliss[3] Itself, and who is in His Bindu form in the pericarp of the Sahasrāra, She brings to the Sādhaka the Bliss of eternal Liberation[4] when that is least expected.

Pierces” (Bheda) means making a passage through that which is obstructed.

Śuddha-sattvā.”—Sattva, Ati-sattva, Parama-sattva, Śuddha-sattva, and Viśuddha-sattva are the five different degrees of Caitanya pervading the body.[5] Śuddha-sattvā is therefore the fourth (Turīyā) stage. By Brahmanāḍī is meant Citriṇī. The Lotuses are the six Lotuses which are strung upon Citriṇī.

The three Liṅgas” (Liṅga-traya [trayaṃ]).—The three Liṅgas already- described. By this we are to understand that the six Cakras and five Śivas are included. She pierces all these, which altogether make fourteen knots (Granthi).

The Śāktānanda-tarangiṇī speaks of “Her who goes along the Channel of Brahman[6] having pierced the fourteen knots.”[7]

The Svatantra-Tantra speaks of the distinctive features of Liṅga and Śiva.

“The Devī goes to Brahman (Niṣkala)[8] after having pierced the Śivas placed in the six Cakras. As She reaches each of the different Cakras, She acquires the beauty characteristic of each and bewitches Maheśāna[9]; and having there repeatedly enjoyed Him who is filled with joy. She reaches the Eternal One (Śāśvata). He is said to be transpierced (Bhinna), as He is bewitched by Parā.”

The Māyā-Tantra says: “The Devī goes along the Śakti-mārga, piercing the three Liṅgas in the Cakras in each of Her different forms[10] (Tattadrūpeṇa), and having attained union (in the Sahasrāra) with Niṣkala (Brahman) She is satisfied.” Tattadrūpeṇa—in the forms Vaikharī, Madhyamā, and Paśyantī.

It has been said that[11] “The first state (Bhāva) is Vaikharī, and Madhyamā is placed in the heart; between the eyebrows is the Paśyantī state, and the Parā state is in the Bindu.”[12] The meaning of the above quotation is that the four sound-producing (Śabdotpādikā) Śaktisviz., Parā, Paśyantī, Madhyamā, and Vaikhari—are identical with Kuṇḍalinī (Kuṇḍalinyabheda-rūpā). Hence at the time when Kuṇḍalinī starts to go to Sahasrāra She in Her form of Vaikhari bewitches Svayaṃbhū-Liṅga; She then similarly bewitches Bāna-Liṅga [Bāṇaliṅga?] in the heart as Madhyamā, and Itara-Liṅga between the eyebrows as Paśyantī, and then when she reaches Para-Bindu She attains the stage of Parā (Parābhāva).

The Method of Cākra-bheda is thus described: “O Parameśvarī, let the Sādhaka carry along with Her the Lotuses which are on the Citriṇī, and which have their origin in the mud of blood and fat.[13] Let him[14] enter the channel (Nāla)[15] on the left, from below, and in this way Cakra- bheda (piercing the Cakra) is effected. After having thus pierced the six Cakras, She along with Jīva should be led as the rider guides a trained mare by the reins.”

Also cf. “ The Devī should be led by the Haṃsa-Mantra to the Sahasrāra through the points of union of the six Cakras (with the Nāḍī along the road of Suṣuṃnā.”

Gleaming flame-like” (Sūkṣma-dhāmni-pradīpe).—The gleam is the Haṃsa, which is the luminous energy (Tejas) of the Para Bindu, in its aspect as Nirvāṇa-Śakti (Nirvāṇa-śaktyātmaka). The Parama-Śiva shines with it.

We now describe how the joy of Liberation is brought about.

The Devī by dissolving Kuṇḍalinī in the Para-Bindu effects the Liberation of some Sādhakas through their meditation upon the identity of Śiva and Ātmā in the Bindu. She does so in the case of others by a similar process, and by their meditation on Śakti.[16] In other cases, again, this is done by the concentration of thought on the Parama-Puruṣa, and in other cases by the meditation of the Sādhaka on the bliss of union in the Bindu of Śiva and Śakti.

The Māyā-Tantra says[17]: “Those who are learned in Yoga say that it is the union of Jīva and Ātmā. According to others (i.e., Śaivas) it is the experience of the identity of Śiva and Ātmā. The Āgama-vādīs proclaim that Yoga[18] is the knowledge (Jñāna) relating to Śakti. Otherwise men say that the knowledge of the Purāṇa-Puruṣa is Yoga, and others again, the Prakṛtī-vādīs, declare that the bliss of union of Śiva and Śakti is Yoga.”[19] By “union of Jīva and Atmā” is meant Samādhi. By Yoga is meant that by which oneness is attained with the Paramātmā. Having spoken of Samādhi, he then deals with the different kinds of Yoga in Dhyāna. By “bliss of union (Sāmarasya) of Śiva and Śakti” is meant the sense of enjoyment arising from the union of male and female.[20]

The Bṛhat-Śrīkrama speaks of the manner in which this is to be meditated upon: “They with the eye of knowledge[21] see the stainless Kalā, who is united with Cidānanda[22] on Nāda. He is the Mahādeva, white like pure crystal, and is the effulgent First Cause (Bimbarūpa-nidāna),[23] and She is Parā, the lovely woman of beauteous body[24], whose limbs are listless by reason of Her great passion.”[25]

By Kalā in the above is meant Kuṇḍalinī. Bimba-rūpa-nidāna qualifies Para-Śiva or Cidānanda. Cidānanda is the Bindu-rūpa Śiva or Para-Śiva.

It has also been said elsewhere: “Having united Kuṇḍalī with the Śūnya-rūpa[26] Para-Śiva, and having caused the Devī so united to drink, the excellent nectar from their union, She by the same way should be brought back to the Kula cavity.”[27]

“Having brought them together and meditated upon Their union,[28] let the Deha-devatā[29] be satisfied with the nectar which flows from such a union.”

The Gandharva-mālikā speaks of a different process: “The Sahasrāra is the beautiful and auspicious place of Sadā-Śiva. It is free from sorrow and divinely beautiful with trees which always bear and are adorned by flowers and fruits. The Kalpa Tree[30] adds to its beauty. This tree contains all the five “elements,” and is possessed of the three Guṇas. The four Vedas are its four branches. It is laden with beautiful unfadingflowers which are yellow, white, black, red, green, and of variegated colour. Having meditated on the Kalpa Tree in this manner, then meditate upon the jewelled altar below it. O Beauteous One, on it is a beautiful bed adorned with various kinds of cloth and Mandāra flowers, and scented with many kinds of scents. It is there that Mahādeva constantly stays. Meditate upon Sadāśiva, who is like the purest crystal, adorned with all kinds of gems, long-armed,[31] and of enchanting beauty. He is ever gracious and smiling. In His ears are ear-rings, and a chain of gems goes round His neck. A garland of a thousand lotuses resting on His neck adorns. His body. He has eight arms and three eyes like the petals of the lotus. On His two feet He wears twinkling toe-ornaments, and His body is Śabda-Brahma (Śabda-Brahma-maya). O lotus-eyed One, meditate thus on His Gross Body (Sthūla-vapus [vapuḥ]). He is the quiescent, corpse-like[32] Deva within the Lotus who is void of all action.”

Also: “Meditate upon the Devī-Kuṇḍalinī who encircles the Svayambhu-Liṅga. Lead the Devī, with the aid of the Haṃsa-Mantra to the Sahasrāra, where, O Parameśvarī, is the great Deva Sadāśiva. And then place there the beautiful Kuṇḍalinī, who is excited by Her desire. Kuṇḍalinī, O Beloved, then wakes up and kisses the lotus-mouth of Śiva, who is gladdened by the scent of Her lotus-like mouth, and O Deveśī, She then enjoys Sadāśiva but a very little while when immediately, O Devī, O Parameśvarī, there issues nectar. This nectar issuing from their union is of the colour of lac.[33] With this nectar, O Deveśī should the Para-Devatā[34] be satisfied. Having thus satisfied the Devatās in the six Cakras with that ambrosial stream, the wise one should by the same way bring Her back to Mūlādhāra. The mind should in this process of going and coming be dissolved there.[35] O Pārvatī, he who practises this Yoga day by day is freed from decay and death, and is liberated from the bondage of this world.”

Other similar processes should be looked for in other Tantras.

Footnotes and references:


A form of embodied Caitanya. See Commentary, post.


In the Mūlādhāra, Anāhata, and Ājñā-Cakras respectively.




Mokṣākhyānanda-rūpa [rūpaṃ]=Nityānandarupa-mukti [muktiṃ].




Brahma-randhra, the channel within Citriṇī is called Brahmanāḍī and Brahma-randhra.


That is, 3 Liṅgas, 6 Cakras, and the 5 Śivas—viz., Brahmā and the rest—in the 5 Cakras.


The supreme or Nirguṇa-Brahman.


That is, the Śiva in the particular Cakra.


That is, She unites, in Her passage along the Nāḍī, with each of the Liṅgas in that form of Hers which is appropriate to such union.


See Commentary on v. 11, ante.


According to v. 11, Parā is in Mūlādhāra, Paśyantī in Svādhiṣṭhāna, Madhyamā in Anāhatā and Vaikharī in the mouth. What is, however, here described is Layakrama.


Lotuses grow in the mud, and these Lotuses grow in the blood and fat of the body. The process described is Kuṇḍalinī-Yoga, or, as it is called in the Tippaṇī of Śaṃkara, Bhūta-śuddhi.


As the Sādhaka, who has taken the Jīvātmā from the heart to the Mūlādhāra, and thus identifies himself with Kuṇḍalinī, it is he who enters.


That is, the Nāḍī.


Śaktyātmaka-cintana; or it may mean meditation on the union of Śiva and Śakti.


These verses also occur in Ch. XXV, vv. 1, 2 of Śāradā-Tilaka. By “union of Jīva and Ātmā” is meant the realization of the identity of the individual with the supreme spirit as indicated in the Mahāvākya “Tat tvam asi (That thou art).” By Purāṇa-Puruṣa, the Puruṣa in Sāṃkhya-Darśana is meant; the Vaiṣṇava understand by it Nārāyaṇa (collective humanity). By “knowledge of Śakti” is meant the Knowledge that Śakti is inseparate from Śiva.




Sāmarasyātmakaṃ jñānam. Tantrāntara says that Sāma-rasya is the Dhyāna of a Kulayogī.


Strīpumyogāt yat saukhyaṃ sāmarasyaṃ prakīṛtam. In other words, the bliss of Union of Śiva and Śakti, of which sexual union is the material type.


Cidānanda is Consciousness-Bliss.


A variant reading is Bindu-rūpa-nidāna, the First Cause in the Bindu form.


Vāmoru—lit., beautiful thighs, the part being selected as an example of the whole.


Madālasa-vapus [vapuḥ].


Śūnya-rūpa. Śūnya means “the void” or space within the Bindu—the Śiva who is That, the Supreme Śiva.


Kula-gahvara: the Mūlādhāra.


Sāmarasya: v. ante.


That is, the body of the Sādhaka considered as Devatā.


A celestial wishing-tree which grants all fruit.


Associated with the idea of strength.


Śiva without Śakti is Śava (corpse): Devī-bhāgavata [bhāgavataṃ], and v. 1 of the Ānandalaharī.


Red which is the colour of lac, is also that of the Rajoguṇa.



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