Varahi Tantra (English Study)

by Roberta Pamio | 2014 | 29,726 words

This English essay studies the Varahi Tantra and introduces the reader to the literature and philosophy of the Shakta Tradition to which this text belongs. These Shakta Tantras are doctrines where the Mother Goddess is conceived as the Supreme deity who is immanent and transcendental at the same time. The Varahitantra (lit. the "Doctrine of th...

Chapter 13 - Mantras and Yantras (mystical diagrams)

In this chapter are discussed some mantras and yantras (mystical diagrams) by which the Goddess Vārāhī is pleased (v.1).

The first part of the chapter deals with some mantras and yantras of various deities: the uddhāra of the mantra[1] of Rāma, which is hidden in the Tantras and which should be given only to true devotes and serious students (vv.2-4).

Verses 5-13 give the description of the yantra of Sundarīkālī, who is Vārāhī herself.

Verse 14 gives the mantroddhāra of the lion, the vehicle of the Goddess.

Verses 15-16' give the mantra of the Fire. Verses 16"-19 are the mantra of Varāha and verses 18"-19 the mantra of Pṛthivī.

Verse 20 gives the mantroddhāra of Kaṅkālī Kālī.

Verses 21-22': the mantra and the dhyāna of Citrakanyā, who wears white clothes with a red corselet and sits on the lap of Śiva.

In verses 22"-23' is given the uddhāra of the mantra of Svapnavārāhī.

Then there are said the uddhāras of the mantras for the worship of a skull cup (vv.23'-32'), followed by the mantroddhāra of Ugratārā (vv.32"-33).

Verses 34-35' give the uddhāra of the great mantra of Mahākālī and verses 35"-36 offer the seventeen-letter mantroddhāra of Jyeṣṭa.

The second part of the chapter deals with the worship of Dakṣiṇā Kālī: it is said that merely by knowing all the great mantras of Kālī one becomes enlightened while still alive (v. 37); these mantras don't need to be tested for their characteristics, such as the nature of the mantra's friend or enemy, and so on. One who meditates on Kālī will achieve great prosperity in all activities and all the accomplishments will be in his hands; he will become eloquent; his enemies will become weak by only seeing him and even a king will become his servant; in the end he will be able to become one of her attendants (vv.38-42).

Two mantroddhāras of the twenty-two syllabled mantra of Dakṣiṇakālī are then given (vv.43-47), followed by nyāsas[2] such as ṣoḍhānyāsa, tattvanyāsa and bījanyāsa (vv.48-55').

Verses 55"-57' describe the yantra of Dakṣiṇakālī, by the knowledge of which one attains immortality.

Verses 57"-60' explain the initial pīṭhapūjā, the worship of the seat and of the deities residing there.

Verses 60"-61' give the mantra to invoke the Goddess.

One should present offerings to the deity with the mantra introduced by the Guru (v. 61"): while offering the dūpa and the dīpa one should ring the bell previously blessed with a mantra given in verse 62'.

Mahākāla should be worshipped on the right side of the Goddess (v. 62"): his mantra is then given.

After praying to Mahakālā with effort, one should again give respects to the Goddess; then, with great devotion, he should conclude the pūjā, imagining to take the Goddess back into his heart and becoming one with her essence (vv.63-64).

Two hundred thousand is the amount of japa prescribed for the puraścaraṇa: one should perform the first hundred thousand during the day, with purity and while eating only fasting food, and the second hundred thousand in the first two sections (prahara) of the night, while sitting on one's bed; after completing the japa of the day he should perform a homa with ten thousands oblations of ghī and again another homa after finishing the japa of the night (vv.65-72').

The third part of the chapter deals with other mantras of Kālī.

Verses 72"-74 give the mantroddhāra of the eleven-syllabled mantra with its nyāsa.

Verses 75-77 describe three mantras of Kālī, respectively of twenty-one, twenty-three and twenty syllables.

Verses 78-81 give the mantroddhāra of Siddhikālī and its viniyoga; the amount of japa prescribed for the puraścaraṇa is twenty-one thousand, and the homa should be one tenth of the total amount of japa.

Verse 82-85 present the uddhāras of five mantras of Kālī.

Verses 86-90' describe nine mantras of Kālī.

Verses 90"-92 give the uddhāra of the five-syllabled mantra, verse 93' gives the (probably incomplete) uddhāra of the six-syllabled mantra and verses 93"-94' present the uddhāra of the eight-syllabled mantra.

Verses 94"-100 describe two kinds of mantras, both of eleven syllables.

Verses 101-105' give the uddhāras of the two mantras of Dakṣiṇakālī, one having ten syllables and the other, twenty-one.

Verses 105"-107 present a mantra of Kālī in the form of Bhuvaneśvarī, which has been revealed by Dakṣiṇamūrti.

Verses 108-109' give the uddhāra of the mantra revealed by Pañcavaktra, which is made of eight syllables.

Then there are presented two mantras of Kālī, both of nine syllables (vv.109"-112').

In verses 112"-113 is given the mantroddhāra of the eight-syllabled mantra of Kālī, which bestows emancipation.

Verses 114-121' treat the uddhāras of four mantras of Kālī, which are respectively of fourteen syllables, sixteen syllables, eleven syllables and fifteen syllables.

The last part of the chapter is dedicated to Guhyakālī: it is said that this Goddess is eternal, and seldom seen in any of the three worlds; she gives every benefit and she bestows all the siddhis; through her worship every sin is destroyed and the four goals of human life are attained (vv.121"-123').

Verses 123"-128' give the uddhāras of two mantras of Guhyākālī, made of twenty-one and twenty-two syllables.

Verses 128"-130' give the uddhāra of the sixteen-syllabled mantra, which is hidden in the tantras and through which one can attain the four goals of life.

Verses 130"-132' give the uddhāras of three mantras of Guhyakālī, made of fourteen, fifteen and sixteen syllables.

Verses 132"-135 describe two mantras of the Goddess, consisting of nine and ten syllables.

Verses 136-138' give the mantroddhāra of Bhadrakālī.

Verses 138"-139 give the mantroddhāra of Śmaśānakālī.

Verses 140-141' describe the mantra of Mahākālī.

Verses 141"-144" describe the yantra of Guhyakālī.

There are then given the mantra for the offering of bali to the Goddess, the mantra of the āsana of Guhyakālī and the long mantra (mālāmantra) of Vārāhī, which bestows all the siddhis.

In this way, the mantras and yantras, by knowing which Vārāhī becomes pleased, have been revealed (v. 146).

Footnotes and references:


In the Tāntrik texts the mantras are generally hidden to non-Tantrikās by describing them in code with the use of symbolic words: the verses from which the mantras are extracted are called mantroddhāras.


A nyāsa is an installation of the mantra onto the body.

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