The Agni Purana

by N. Gangadharan | 1954 | 360,691 words | ISBN-10: 8120803590 | ISBN-13: 9788120803596

This page describes Mode of spiritual initiation (samaya-diksha) which is chapter 81 of the English translation of the Agni Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas dealing with all topics concerning ancient Indian culture, tradition and sciences. Containing roughly 15,000 Sanskrit metrical verses, subjects contained in the Agni-Purana include cosmology, philosophy, architecture, iconography, economics, diplomacy, pilgrimage guides, ancient geography, gemology, ayurveda, etc.

Chapter 81 - Mode of spiritual initiation (samaya-dīkṣā)

Lord said:

1-3. I shall describe the spiritual initiation [i.e., samaya-dīkṣā] for the sake of enjoyment and release from bondage, destroying one’s sins and shattering bondages of impurities and illusion; by which, knowledge is gained by the disciple, that initiation (is considered) as yielding enjoyment and release. It is considered to be of three kinds. The first one is vijñātakala (cognisant of the beatitudes). The second one is pralayakala (a psychic state from which one can be cognisant of those attributes). The third one is sakala (clouded by worldly impurity). These deserve initiation in scriptures. The first (category) among these is free from all mental impurities, while the second is free from sinful acts.

4. The third variety can (hold communion) by prayer with the region from kalā. to the earth. The initiation is also considered to be of two kinds—devoid of any hold and possessing a hold.

5. (The initiation) independent of any (external) aid is for the first two categories (among the three) and that which is dependent on any (external) aid is for (the third category) sakala (endowed with a form). (The initiation in the first sort) is done by the worship of Śambhu (Śiva) alone without any dependence.

6. That which is remembered as independent (is achieved) by an impact of strong piercing force by resorting to the image in the form of the preceptor and by rending asunder the (veil of) illusion.

7-8. That (initiation) in which Lord Śambhu (Śiva) -does it, is spoken as dependant. The spiritual initiation [i.e., samaya-dīkṣā] is said to be of four kinds—sabījā (together with imparting of some mantra), bījavarjitā (without any mantra), sādhikarā (with some governance), anadhikārā (without any governance). They are described (now). A sabījā (type) is that in which the disciple is subject to the control of code of conduct laid down in the scriptures.

9-10. The nirbījā (variety) is intended for the incapable which is devoid of any code of conduct of the scriptures. The sādhikārā type of initiation shall be in the case of rites of daily nature and those done with a motive for the disciple and the preceptor. The nirbījā type of initiation is in those cases (where the disciples) possess characteristics as my two sons.

11. The niradhikārikā type of initiation allows one to undertake rites in which the disciple does not aspire for the fruits. This (initiation) may be of two kinds marked by the individual characteristics.

12. One consists of performance of acts preceded by (preparations of) sacrificial pits and mystical diagrams. The other one is composed of knowledge which is achieved by the operation of the mind.

13. In this way an initiation may be made by a preceptor who has the right (to administer). The skandadīkṣā may be done by the preceptor after doing daily rites.

14-17. (The preceptor) should purify the place from the spirits remaining in his own seat, having the arghya (waters of respect) in the lotus palm and worshipping the guardian deities of the threshold with praṇava (mantra) and after removing the obstacles and placing the weapons at the threshold. The special arghya offering should consist of sesamum, rice, white mustard, kuśa, dūrvā, unbroken rice, mixed with water, barley, milk and water. Then the materials (for worship) (should be done) pure with that water. (After putting) the mark and the worship of the self and of the seat, the materials (of worship) such as the five things got from a cow, fried paddy, sandal, white mustard,. sacred ashes, dūrvā, unbroken rice and kuśa should be purified as-before with mantras.

18. The pure fried paddy which has been scattered should be consecrated with mantras of weapons along with incense and consecrated with waters with the mantras of implements and covered by armour.

19-21. Having made darbhas into different shapes of missiles so as to number thirty-six bunches, each measuring (the length of) a palm, which are capable of warding off multitudes of obs-tacles,and after having repeated the mantra of the weapon of Śiva seven times on the sword of knowledge continuously and having located in one’s self, lord Śiva, the basis of all creation, the most sought after, and devoid of any form, one should deem himself as “I am (lord) Śiva”. After having placed turban on the head one should adorn his body (in the following way).

22. He should besmear his right arm with the sandal paste. The lord should be worshipped in the prescribed way. This is how the head of Śiva is got ready.

23-25. Having located the luminous lord on one’s own head with the mantras of Śiva, the doer should conceive himself as not different from (lord) Śiva as follows: “(He is) the witness of all deeds in the mystic diagram, the protector of sacrifice in the pitcher, the recipient of oblations in the fire and the liberator of the disciple from the bonds and the benefactor in. one’s own self,” such that the lord is of six kinds of basis. One should consider (himself) as “I am he”. (Lord) Bhava (Śiva) should again be made firmly established (in one).

26. (Then) that person should remain facing the southwest holding the sword of knowledge and sprinkle the sacrificial shed with the waters of respectful offering and the five things got from the cow.

27. By purification at the crossroads and by (divine) look, (darbhas) should be purified. Having thrown the scattered darbhas there, (darbhas) should be gathered.

28. A seat should be made ready with them in the northeast (direction) for the pitcher. The presiding deity of the place and the celestials should be worshipped in the south-west and (Goddess) Lakṣmī at the entrance (of the sacrificial shed).

29-30. (Goddess) Pūrayantī of the form of sacrificial shed should be worshipped in the west with gems and with the hṛd (mantra). Lord Śambhu (Śiva) should be worshipped in a pitcher placed in the north-east over the grains and containing water, gems and a piece of cloth (over the mouth) with the face of the worshipper turned towards the west. (Goddess) Śakti (should be worshipped) in the south of the pitcher. (Goddess) Vardhanī, in the form of a sword and riding a lion should be worshipped in the west.

31-32. Having worshipped (with their respective names and the hṛd (mantra) the (gods) Indra and the guardian deities of the directions ending with Viṣṇu placed on the praṇava (oṃ), riding their respective vehicles and holding their respective weapons, that (the sacrificial jar) should be carried round in front of pitchers and an uninterrupted flow of water (should be made) after making a circumambulation.

33. After having recited the principal mantra, the mandate of (Lord) Śiva should be conveyed to the guardian deities. The jar should be duly consecrated and it should be held.

34. After having worshipped lord Śaṅkara (Śiva) in the pitcher placed on a firm seat along with the retinue, the weapon should be worshipped in the vardhanī after being placed to purify the path.

Oṃ haḥ to the seat of the weapon hūṃ phaṭ. Oṃ Oṃ Salutation to the embodiment of weapon. Oṃ hūṃ phaṭ obeisance to the Pāśupata weapon. Oṃ Oṃ obeisance to the heart. Oṃ śrīṃ hūṃ phaṭ obeisance to the head. Oṃ yaṃ hūṃ phaṭ obeisance to the tuft. Oṃ gūṃ huṃ phaṭ obeisance to the armour. Oṃ phaṭ hum phaṭ obeisance to the weapons.

35. The weapon should be meditated upon as possessing four faces and having teeth in the company of the Goddess Śakti, effulgent like crores of suns and wielding a mace, spear and sword.

36. By (showing) liṅgamudrā (a posture of fingers denoting liṅga), the union of the bhaga (base) and the liṅga is accomplished. The pitcher should be touched with the little finger, the weapon with the heart and vardhanī with the clenched fist.

37. The vardhanī should first be touched with the clenched fist for the sake of enjoyment and release (from worldly existence). The sword of knowledge should be offered for protecting the mouth of the pitcher.

38. After the repetition of the principal (mantra) hundred times, the weapon should be placed in the pitcher. A tenth part of it should then be conveyed to the vardhanī for the sake of protection.

39. “O lord of the universe! This sacrificial shed has been raised with great effort. O lord! the sustainer of all sacrifices! This has to be protected by you.”

40. The lord Gaṇa placed on the praṇava (oṃ) and having four arms should be worshipped in the north-west by offering water. Having worshipped lord Śiva on the ground, the worshipper should proceed near the pit.

41-42. Remaining in contemplation for the sake of pleasing the mantras, and having placed the water of respectful offering, perfumes, ghee etc. on the left and the twigs, darbha, sesamum etc. on the right, and having purified the pit, fire, ladle etc. as before, (the worshipper) should think of the greatness of the elevated-faced (god) in the heart and worship lord Śiva in the sacrificial fire.

43. After having performed sṛṣṭinyāsa (assignment representing creation) in one’s body, in the pitcher of lord Śiva, on the sacrificial ground, in the hṛd and (the body of) the disciple, purification and meditation (should be done) in the prescribed way.

44. Having contemplated the face of the (same) measure of the pit,the hṛd bīja (mantras) are repeated and oblations made for the seven tongues of the fire.

45-46. The principal mantras for the tongue (should have) the last letters without (the letter) ‘ra’, and should have the sound of six ‘ra’s and the moon, a point and the tuft. Hiraṇyā, Kanakā, Raktā, Kṛṣṇā, Suprabhā, Atiriktā and Bahurūpā should in order (be placed) in the directions north-east, east, south-east and west.

47. Oblations should be done with the sweet things such as milk etc. in the rites to appease (god) or seeking welfare and with oil-cakes, flour, one’s dress and sour-gruel in the rites performed for harming some one.

48. An angry man should offer oblations of salt, goat’s curd, pungent oil, thorns and crooked twigs along with vedic syllables.

49. Yakṣiṇī (a goddess) becomes certainly favourable by doing oblations with the buds of kadamba. One should offer oblations with bandhūka, kiṃśuka and other (flowers) for attracting and subjugating another person.

50. The bilva leaves (sacred in the worship of Śiva) are offered for getting kingdOṃ, the pāṭala and campaka (flowers) for the sake of wealth, lotus flowers for the sake of (becoming) a sovereign (and) eatables for wealth.

51. Dūrvā (is offered) for the cure of diseases, flowers priyaṅgu and pāṭalī for exercising sway over all beings, and the Āmra flower for arresting fever.

52. (An oblation made with) the mṛtyuñjaya mantra[1] would conquer death. By the oblation of sesamum there would be prosperity. Propitiation of Rudra (Śiva) (should be made) for all sorts of appeasement. Then the subject of (present) discussion is narrated.

53. Eight hundred oblations with the principal mantra and a tenth of it with the subordinate ones should be made. Appeasement should be made with the principal mantra. The final oblation should be offered as before.

54. Then the repetition (of mantra) should be made hundred times for each disciple for the entry of the disciple and for the sake of good omens after the removal of bad omens.

55. As before oblation should be made two hundred times with the principal mantra. One oblation should be made with the principal (mantra) and the mantras of eight weapons concluding with (the syllable) svāhā (oblation).

56. The illumination (rite) should be done with the repetition of mantras of the tuft ending with (the syllable) phaṭ. Oblation should be done with the mantras like Oṃ, hrīṃ, oblations to Śiva.

57-58. Then the illumination should be done with (the mantras) like Oṃ, hrūṃ, hrauṃ, hrīṃ, to Śiva, hrūṃ, phaṭ. Then the vessel for preparing the gruel should be washed with waters (made sacred by the mantras) of Śiva and covered by an armour. It should be besmeared with sandal paste and a girdle of darbha consecrated with the (mantra) of armour and weapon.

59. After having placed the seat with (the mantra of the) armour, in a semi-circular mystic diagram, Śiva, whose presence is accomplished in the form of an image, should be worshipped with flowers of sentiment.

60-62. (Worship should be made) alternatively in the vessel whose mouth has been covered with a cloth with flowers got from outside. Over the oven placed to the right of the pit and having its mouth facing the west and previously consecrated with the syllables of ahaṅkāra (egoism) and (the two sides of the oven) having been contemplated as made up of righteousness and unrighteousness over which (the mantra) of the soul of man has been repeated, the vessel should be placed after having repeated (the mantra) of the weapon and sprinkled with the urine of cow. The vessel (should have been) cleaned with the milk of cow and (the mantra) of the weapon and repetition of the prāsāda (mantra) hundred times.

63. Rice and grains such as the śyāmāka etc. should be cast into it. If (the initiation) is to be given for a single disciple five handfuls (of grains) (should be thrown).

64. A handful of grains should be added. The above grains should be protected with the mantras of the fire or that of the armour.

65-66. The gruel should be cooked in the flame of Śiva on the eastern face with (the recitation of the) principal (mantra). Then having filled the ladle with the clarified butter and heated in the oven, it should be offered (to the fire) with the saṃhitā mantras ending with (the expression) “oblations for the sake of satisfaction”. The vessel should be placed in the mystic circles after having consecrated with the darbha.

67. Having covered it by the (uttering of) praṇava (syllable oṃ), it should be besmeared with the hṛd (mantra). Thus it would become cool after having received a cool plastering.

68-69. (Oblations) should be offered with the recitation of saṃhitā mantra once towards the disciple. After having made oblation for the sake of seats etc. on the west of the sacrificial pit and the mystic diagram, the residual offering should be made with the ladle and purification should be performed by (the recitation of) saṃhitii (mantras). The gruel should be taken out from the vessel with (the recitation of) the (syllable) vauṣaṭ.

70. The act of making the gruel into ambrosia should be done by showing dhenu-mudrā (formation made by fingers resembling the cow) and it must be allowed to cool on the ground. A part of the gruel consisting of clarified butter (should be set apart) for the disciples and a part for the lord Fire.

71. A part containing honey and clarified butter should be made over to the guardian deities of the worlds. These are three parts. These should be offered to them with the hṛd (mantra) ending with obeisance. The water for rinsing the mouth (should also be given) with the same (mantra).

72-73. The final oblation should be offered as laid down after having made hundred offerings with clarified butter along with the recitation of mantra. Having drawn a mystic diagram on the east of the sacrificial pit or in the midst of pitchers of Lord Śambhu (Śiva), Rudra, the divine mothers and the gaṇas (attendant gods of Śiva) and after having made offerings with the hṛd (mantra), the worshipper should identify himself with God Śiva in the pitcher sacred to Śiva even though he has not received a command.

74-76. He should think himself as the omniscient who stands above all things around. (He should also think) “The place of union is a part of mine and I am the presiding deity at the sacrifice. I am lord Śiva”. Thus the performer should come out of the sacrificial shed with the sense of I-ness. Having made the disciple to be seated on the seat of darbha already placed on a mystic diagram with the mantra of the weapon and duly consecrated with the praṇava (syllable oṃ), and (providing him) with white upper garment after the bath, (the disciple) should be made to face north for emancipation and the east for enjoyment.

77. Having made (the disciple) to sit erect and face the east, (the preceptor) should look at him from foot to tuft if (the initiation) is for emancipation and in the reverse direction if it is for enjoyment.

78-79. (The preceptor) should look (at the disciple) graciously extending the splendour of Śiva. Having sprinkled water with (the mantra of) the weapon in order to accomplish purification by (means of) consecrated water, the disciple should be struck with the ashes (accompanied) by (the mantra of) the weapon for the purpose of bathing with the ashes and for the destruction of obstacles and sins by the union of creation and destruction.

80-81. Having sprinkled him again with the water of the weapon for the sake of consummation and having repeated the bathing (mantra) of the weapon above the navel with the tip of kuśa, one should.touch thrice under the navel with the (recitation of the) principal (mantra) for the destroyal of sin and with the mantra of the arrow for the breaking of bonds.

82. Then (the preceptor) should locate lord Śiva in the body (of the disciple) along with his seat and attendants by offering worship with flowers and by looking into his eyes or by the heart.

83-84. Having tied the seat with a white cloth with (the recitation of) mantra, (and) having made him enter by means of circumambulation of Śiva, the seat along with the cloth should be given. (The preceptor) should exhibit the saṃhāra mudrā (posture with fingers indicating gathering) and communicate his own self with that form in the lotus of the heart (of the disciple).

85. Having retained that (form of Śiva) in the purified body and having located (it there), it should be worshipped in the east facing the forehead of the disciple with the principal mantra.

86. The hand of the disciple should be converted into a hand sacred to (lord Śiva) and permeated with the essence of (lord)Śiva by telling the Śiva mantra, such a hand being known to convey (the worshipper) to the region of (lord) Śiva, and to supply him with the only means of worshipping (lord) Śiva.

87. Then after having removed all other materials of worship, one should cast flowers on lord Śiva in the company of attendant gods of lord Śiva invoking his presence with mantras.

88-89. The preceptor should name brahmins in the usual order or as desired. After having made (the disciple) to bow to the pitcher and the vardhanī (a kind of vessel), (the preceptor) should make (the disciple) seated on the right near the sacred fire facing the north. He should then meditate on the suṣumnā (an artery in the body) as emerging out of the body of disciple.

90-93. Having placed the tip of darbha on the right hand duly consecrated by the base of darbha and resting on the symbol of one’s own self, that base (of kuśa) should rest on one’s own knee while the tip (should rest) on the cock-banner. Having entered the heart of the disciple by breathing out the wind while repeating the mantra of the tuft and re-entered his own heart by breathing in and having thus established communion again with the fire of lord Śiva, the preceptor) should offer three oblations with the hṛd (mantra) for the accomplishment of that communion. One should make hundred oblations with the principal mantra for the sake of making the hand (of the disciple) permeated with the essence of Śiva. Being thus initiated in religious practices one would become eligible to perform the worship of lord Śiva.

Footnotes and references:


Beginning with Tryambakaṃ yajāmahe etc.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: