Bhagavatpadabhyudaya by Lakshmana Suri (study)

by Lathika M. P. | 2018 | 67,386 words

This page relates ‘Tantric Measures’ of the study on the Bhagavatpadabhyudaya by Lakshmana Suri: a renowned Sanskrit Scholar from the 19th century. The Bhagavatpada-abhyudaya is a Mahakavya (epic poem) narrating the life of Shankara-Acharya, a prominent teacher of Advaita Vedanta philosophy. This essay investigates the socio-spiritual conditions of 8th century AD in ancient India as reflected in Lakshmanasuri’s work.

tathā pūjotsavādīṃśca tatra tatra pravartayan |
bhaktiṃ pravardhayāmāsa janānāmadhikādhikam || 78 ||
śrīcakraṃ sthapayāmāsa śrīkāmākṣyāḥ puro guruḥ |
maṭhaṃ ca sthapayāmāsa tatra vidyābhivṛddhaye || 79 ||
atrāntare tāmrāparṇītīrādabhyāgatān dvijān |
bhedavādaparānnyāyaiḥ kurvannadvaitatatparān || 80 ||

Ācārya had great knowledge in tantra and modes of Upāsana. On reaching Kāśi Śrī Śaṅkara visited the temple of Śrī Viśesvara on the banks of Sarvatheertha. At Viṣṇu, Kāṃci he had the darṣan of Lord Baradarāja. While Śrī Śaṅkara was staying at Viṣṇu Kāṃci, he asked the King Rājasena to reconstruct, remodify the city of Kāṃci in the shape of Śrī Cakra. King Rājasena an ardent devotee of the Ācārya reconstructed Kāṃci in the shape of Śrī Cakra with Devi Kamakṣi temple in the center. Śrī Śaṅkara built Śrī Cakra yantra infront of the Devi. He also established Kāmakoti piṭham and consecrated Yoga liṅga there. The Ācārya personally performed the Candramoulīśvara pūja to the Yoga liṅga thereby becoming the first Ācārya of the piṭham.

In the Tantrik ideology, male is passive and female is active. There are four male triangles and five female triangles, thus constituting nine triangles in all, corresponding to the Navāvaraṇa or ideology.[2]

The Nine Enclosures of Śrī Cakra:

  1. Trailokyamohana—Square shaped,
  2. Saravasaparipūraka—Sixteen petals,
  3. Saravasaṃkṣopana—Eight petals,
  4. Sarvasowbhāghya—Fourteen corners,
  5. Sarvārthasāthaka—Outside ten triangles,
  6. Sarvarakṣākara—Inside ten triangles,
  7. Sarvārohaṇa—Angles pointing eight directions,
  8. Sarvasiddhiprada—Triangle,
  9. Sarvānandamaya—Bindhusthana,

All these Nine enclosures are guarded by nine Devathas. The four corners are guarded by Kaṇḍākarṣiṇi, Rasākarṣiṇi, Roopākarṣiṇi, Sparśākarṣiṇi, and the Dwara devatās.

A description of the nine enclosures in the Śrī Cakra is explained by S. K Ramachandra Rao in his book titled ‘Śrī Cakra is given as follows[3] :

1. First Enclosure: Trailokya-Mohana or Deluder of the three realms. This enclosure is in the form of a square on which the entire yantra is posed. It has three lines (tri-rekha) like ramparts of a fortress placed one inside the other. The four sides of the squares have four āmnāyās meant to signify transmitting of esoteric knowledge. It is an authoritative instrument of diffusion of cultic ideas. The four āmnāyās signifies the four direction–East, West, North and South. Some times the āmnāyās are counted as six including above (Ūrdhva) and below (adhāra). Each āmnāyā is presided over by a deity. Devi Bhuvaneswari presides over the Eastern āmnāyā signify the path of mantras (mantra yoga), goddess Dakṣina Kāli presides over the Southern āmnāyā signifying path of devotion (Bhaktiyoga) the Western āmnāyā is presided over by Kulijika representing the path of rituals (Karma yoga) and finally the North is presided over by Guhya-Kāli to represent the path of wisdom (jñāna yoga). Other two āmnāyās, Ūrdhva or above is presided over by Bāla Tripurasundari representing path of wisdom and below or adhāra āmnāyā is presided by Tāra representing the path of words (Śabda yoga). All the six āmnāyā correspond with the cakrās in the human body. North āmnāyā with Viśuddha, South with Maṇipūra, East with Svādhiṣṭāna, West with Anāhata, above with Ājña and below with Mūlādharam.

2. Second Enclosure is called Sarvasapari-pūraka or Fulfiller of all hopes: This is in the form of lotus of sixteen petals (Ṣodaśa-patraka), situated immediately within the three concentric circles (Tṛvrtta) and outside the lotus of eight petals. The authority of this enclosure is deity Tṛpureśi. Her aids are unmanifest or gupta yogini. Sixteen petals represent sixteen various powers. They are attractions pertaining to, Kamakarṣiṇi-desire, Buddhyakarṣiṇi-intellect, Ahaṃkārākarṣiṇi-ego, Śabdākarṣiṇi–sound, Śparsākarṣiṇi–touch, Rupakarṣiṅi–form, Rasākarṣiṇi-taste, Gandākarṣiṇi–smell, Chittākarṣiṇi-thoughts, Dhairyākarṣiṇi–fortitude, Smṛtyākarṣiṇi-recollections, Namākarṣiṇi-verbal labels, Bījakarṣiṇi–sources of phenomena, Ātmākrṣiṇi–selfhood, Aṃrtākarṣiṇi-immortality and Śarīrākarṣiṇi-body. These powers are indicated in the petals inscribed by vowels in the anti-clock directions.

This enclosure represents the Mūlādhara Cakra in the human body. It symbolizes second part of emanation carka (sṛsti-stiti) denoting emanations preservation. The presiding deity of this enclosure is Pūrneśvari also known as Annapūrna and the philosophy represented here is Buddhist.

3. Third Enclosure Sarvasaṃkṣobhana or Agitator of all: It is located outside the main portion of the yantra, it is in the form of eight petaled lotus (aṣṭa-ḍala-padma). The presiding deity is Tirupurasundari whose aids are more hidden than the aids of the previous once (gupta-tārā–yogini).

The eight petals represent eight forces which are psychophysical in nature. They are: Anaṅga-kusuma (speech and expression–vācana) in the East, Anaṅga-Mekhala (apprehensions and receptions ādāna) in the South, Anaṅga–Madana (locomotions–gamana) in the West, Anaṅga Mādanatura (urges of the body and eliminations–viśārjana) in the North, Anaṅga–Rekha (pleasurable feelings–ananda in the South-East, Anaṅga–Vini (rejections and reactions–hāna) in the South West, Anaṅga–madankusa (attention–upadana) in the North–West and Anaṅga–Mālini (detachment and dispassion-Upekṣa) in the North East. These forces are indicated by eight consonants beginning with ‘ka’. In the human body this enclosure correspondis to the navel region (nābhi) or the loin (kati). The enclosure represents the third and final part of emanation–Cakra denoting ‘emanation–absorption’ (Sṛsti-Saṃhāra) the āmnāyā-nāyika is Bhāvana and the philosophy is Gāṇapatyam.

4. Fourth Enclosure Sarvasoubhāgya–Dāyika or provider of all prosperity: It is the first enclosure in the main portion of Śrī Cakra formed by fourteen corners or angels (chaturdasara or bhuvana). The presiding deity is TripuraVāsini surrounded by her aids who are conditioned by traditions (sampradāya-yogini).

These fourteen corners are represended by fourteen vital channels known as ‘nādi’ in human body. They are: from East in anti-clockwise directions, Sarva-saṅkṣovini-alambuṣanādi (agitator of all), Sarva-vidravini-Kuhumbuṣa nādi (chaser of all), Sarvakarṣini-Visvodarambusa nādi (attactor of all), Sarvāhlādakārini Varānāmbuśa nādi (delighter of all), Sarvasaṃohini-hastijihvambusa nādi (deluder of all), Sarvastambhini-yaso-vatimbusa nādi (arrestor of all), Sarvajrmbhini–payasvinimbusa nādi (reliaser of all), Sarva–vasam-kari-gandharimbusa-nadi (controller of all), Sarvaranjani-pushambusa nādi (delighter of all), Sarvonmādinisaṃkhinimbusa nādi (maddener of all), Sarvārthasādhani sarasvatimbuṣa nādi (accomplisher of all objectives), Sarvāsampattipūrāṇi-idambuśa nādi (provider of all wealth), Sarvamantṛamayi also called Sarvadvaṇḍamayi-Suṣumnāmbuśa nādi (made up of all phenomenal duality). The fourteen nādis are indicated by the first fourteen letters of the alphabet. The corresponding part in the human body is the anahata cakra in the heart region. This enclosure signifies the first part of preservation cakra (sthiti) denoting ‘preservation–emanation’ (sthiti-śṛsti). The Āmnāya–nayikais Adya-kali and the enclosure represents the saṃkhya philosophy.

5. Fifth Enclosure called Sarvarthasādhaka or ‘Accomplisher of all objects’: it is in the form of a ten cornered figure (in angles) it is specified as the outer ten cornered figure (bahir-dasara). The deity that presides over this enclosure is Tripuraśri with her aids who are beyond the reach of sensory apprehension (Kulottīrna-yogini). The ten corners of the figure house ten auspicious deities beginning in the East in anticlockwise direction they are: Sarvasiddhiprada (ensuring all attainments) Sarvasampathprada (bestowing all wealth) Sarvapriyamkari (doing only the most desirable), Sarvamaṃgalakārini (beginning all good thinks), Sarvakāmaprada (fulfilling all the desires), Sarvadukhavimocani (removing all sufferings), Sarvamṛtyuprasāmani (counter acting all portents of death), Sarvavighnanivāriṇi (over coming all obstacles), Sarvāṅgasundari (comely in all the limbs), and Sarvasaubhāgyadāyini (gifting all prosperity).

These ten deities are indicated in the enclosure by consonants. First five with ‘ka’ and next five consonants beginning with ‘ca’. The corresponding path in the human body is the viśudha cakra at the throat. This enclosure signifies part of the preservation cakra denoting preservation-preservation (stiti-stiti). The āmnāya nāyika is pramādya-kali and the philosophy represented here is Vedic (vaidika darśana).

6. Sixth Enclosure Sarvārakṣakāra or ‘Protector of all’: Like the above this is also in the form of ten cornered figure (dasara). The presiding diety of this enclosure is Tripura–Mālini with her aids who are ‘embryonic’ (nigarbha yogini). The ten corners represent ten powers of the Vital fire called Vahnikala they are: Sarvajña (‘knowing all ‘associated with recaka or elimination), Sarvasaktiprada (‘bestowing all powers ‘pācaka (digestion), Sarvaisvaryaprada (‘bestowing all wealth’ śosaṇa or removing the defects of the stomach fire), Sarva jñānamayi (‘full of knowledge’, dahaka or burning), Sarva vyādhi vināśini (‘undoing all diseases’ plavaka–flooding with rasa to help the digestive function), Sarvādharasvarūpa (‘supporting all things’ ksaraka or bile secreting), Sarvapāpahara (‘dispelling all misery’ Ksobhaka or churning food), Sarvarakṣasvarūpini (‘protecting all beings’, jrmbhaka-yawning) and finally Sarvepsitaphalaprada (‘granting the fruits of all that one wants’ Mohaka -causing fainting). Starting from the East in anti-clockwise direction they are represented by five letters of ‘ta’ group and rest five of ‘ta’ group.

In the human body this enclosure corresponds the maṇipūracakra which is located between the eyebrows. It represents the third part of preservation Cakra denoting ‘preservation-absorption’ (stiti-Saṃhāra) this enclosure is described as nature of fire (agni). The āmnāya-nāyika is Siddhi-Kāli and the philosophy is solar philosophy (saura-darsana).

7. Seventh Enclosure called Sarva-Roga-Hara or ‘Remover of all disease’: It is an eight cornered figure known as ‘Aṣṭa-kona’. It is located immediately outside the primary triangle. The deity presiding this figure is ‘Tripura Siddha’ attended by aids who are secret or ‘rahasya-yogini’. These eight corners represent the powers responsible for the eight fundamental urges. They are also known as vagdevatās or deities of self-expression very close to the mother Goddess (Lalitha) starting from the East in anti-clockwise direction they are:

Vasini (‘Subjugating’ associated with Sīta-cold), Kāmeṣi (‘Lording over desires’ associated with uṣṇa-heat), Mohini (causing confusion or Modini causing happiness, Sukha-happiness), Vimala (‘purifying’, dukha-pain), Aruṇa (the colour of ruddy dawn associated with iccha-desire), Jayani (conquering, Sattva-wisdom), Sarvesi (lording over all, rajas-activity) and Kaulini (‘Of the family’ also called Kula sundari, Tamas-inertia).

8. Eighth Enclosure called Sarva Siddhiprada or ‘Bestower of all attainments’. This enclosure is in the form of a single triangle with its apex facing downwards. The direction it points to is East. This is the primary triangle and is situated centrally. It is called Kāma-kala and it is situated immediately next to the central point or ‘bindhu’. The deity presiding this enclosure is called Tripurāmba (‘the mother of the triad’) whose aids are ‘exceeding secrets’ (ati-rahasya-yogini)

The three corners of the triangle represent the three forms of power of the mother goddess. They are Kāmeśvari who is presiding over the Kāmarupa-piṭha symbolizing moon and representing Vāma viz; Brahma’s power of creation and standing for nature-avyakta-Prakrti to her right is Vajreśvari presiding over Pūrṇagiri-piṭha, symbolizing sun and representing Jyesta or the first born Viṣṇu’s power of protection and standing for consciousness or Mahat and to her left is Bhaga-malini presiding over the Jalandhara-piṭha symbolizing fire and representing Raudri or Raudri’s power of dissolution and standing for ego and Ahamkara. The three angles also represent three forms of speech-paśyanti, madhyama and vaikhari hence known as speech born or vag-bhāva.

9. Ninth Enclosure called Sarvanandamaya or ‘Filled with all bliss’—This is the most important part in the Śrī Cakra, though it has been called an enclosure, it is actually the point otherwise called ‘Bindusthāna’ which is central to the whole figure. This point is the actual mandala or Uddiyana-piṭha in which the mother goddess resides. The detailed reference to Sri cakra by Lakṣmaṇa Sūrinn indicates Śaṅkara’s great knowledge in this aspect.

Footnotes and references:


Lakṣmaṇa Sūrin, Bhagavatpādābhyudaya, VIII. 78-80.


P. Ramachandra Rao, Sri Cakra, Delhi: Sri Satguru Publication, 2008, p.11


Ibid, pp. 26-38.

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