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 14 - The worship of Caṇḍī

[Note: The fourteenth chapter is omitted in manuscript {kha}]

This chapter deals with the worship of Caṇḍī.

It opens describing the benefits acquired by reciting the Durgāsaptaśatī, also called the Caṇḍīpāṭha: one should beforehand prepare one's saṅkalpa (declaration of purpose, intention) and perform the various nyāsas together with the japa; then he should recite the text and offer animal sacrifice: in this way one he can receive its benefit.

The Caṇḍīpāṭha should be repeated three times for cessation of misfortune, five times for damage caused by the planets (grahadośe) and seven times in case of great danger; if one recites the text nine times he attains the same benefit of performing a vājapeya sacrifice and if recite it eleven times he can subdue a king; with twelve repetitions one attains the accomplishment of desires and the removal of enemies, while with fourteen repetitions he gains the submission of women; by reciting the text fifteen times one attains prosperity and emancipation, and with sixteen repetitions one is blessed by the arrival of son, nephew, wealth and health; the wise should repeat the text seventeen times, as well as twenty, to liberate the kingdom from fear and to eradicate one's enemies; he should recite it thirty times in order to be healed of serious wound (or a large debt) and twenty-five times to become free from the worldly existence; one should repeat the text one hundred times in case of war, wrong treatment, loss of caste, short life, rising numbers of thieves or illnesses, loss of money or children; by one hundred repetitions every misfortune is destroyed and at the end one attains the supreme state; by one hundred-eight repetitions one gains the same benefit of performing a hundred aśvamedha (the horse-sacrifice); by one thousand repetitions one is permanently protected by Lakṣmī herself and he attains the fulfillment of every desire, enjoyment, as well as liberation. Thus it is said that the Saptaśatī is as superior among the hymns as is the aśvamedha among the sacrifices and Viṣṇu among the gods. Anyone can get accomplishment by the performance of one hundred repetitions of the text (vv.1-16).

Then the rules for the recitation are given: the book should be placed on a support and not held in the hands, otherwise the Goddess halve the benefits; the recitation should not be interrupted until the end of the chapter; one should not indulge in gestures like shaking one's head during the recitation; if due to negligence one pauses in the middle of the chapter, he should start the chapter again from the beginning. It is said that there is no a hymn superior to the Caṇḍīpāṭha, which confers devotion, emancipation, merits and destruction of all negative influences. One should try to recite the text without mistakes and with a steady mind; the book should not be read mentally;[1] one should not recite the stotra (hymn) from his own handwritten copy or from a copy written by a non-brahmana; the hymn should be accompanied by the nyāsas (vv.1-27). Verses 28-32' give the names of some important hymns, such as the Viśṇusahasranāmastotra, destroyer of sins, the divine Caṇḍipāṭha and the Mahālakṣmīstrotra written by Indra, among others. In verse 32" it is said that many hymns have been cursed by Paraśurāma: there probably is half a verse missing here, where it should say that the above-mentioned stotras are without such a curse.[2]

Verse 33 says that by merely hearing the recitation of the Saptaṣatī one overcomes every disease.

Verse 34 gives the six qualities of a good recitation, such as sweet voice, right pronunciation, a pause between each pada (a quarter of śloka), the right tone, precision of diction and the knowledge of the meaning of the words.

Verse 35 lists the six characteristics of a bad recitation, such as a singing, reading quickly, shaking one's head, reading as it is written (even if there are mistakes), ignorance of the meaning and reading with low voice.

The chapter continues with a discussion on the great mantra of Chamuṇḍā, which is of the essence of the nine Durgās, by the memory of which both enjoyment and liberation can be achieved, as it was with Rājā Suratha who obtained a kingdom and the merchant Samādhi who gained the knowledge to become free from the bondages of the existence.

Verse 39 gives the uddhāra of the nine-syllabled mantra of Camuṇḍā, while verses 41-75' give the viniyoga and the various nyāsas of the mantra.

Verses-75"-83' describe the dhyānas of Mahākālī, Mahālakṣmī and Mahāsarasvatī.

In verses 83"-84' it is said that (for the puraścaraṇa) the mantra should be repeated four hundred thousand times and the homa should be made with forty thousands oblations of payas.

Verses 84"-93' describe the yantra and the deities worshipped thereupon.

Verses 93'-109 give the different prayogas ("means") of the recitation.

Verses 109-120 explain the meanings of the word "saptaśatī": the Caṇḍīpāṭha has been called "saptaśatī" by Vyāsa because it contains seven hundred prayogas and because seven are the Śaktis worshipped there, who are Lakṣmī, Lalitā, Kālī, Durgā, Gāyatrī, Arundhatī and Sarasvatī in the first caritra; Kālī, Tārā, Chinnamastā, Sumukhī, Bhuvaneśvarī, Bālā and Kubjā in the second caritra; and Brahmī, Māheśvarī, Vaiṣṇavī, Kaumārī, Vārāhī, Indrāṇi and Camuṇḍā in the third caritra.

In verse 121 it is said that Viṣṇu knows three quarters about the Supreme Goddess, Prajāpati knows half, Vyāsa knows a quarter and all other beings know a single krore- divided part.[3]

Verses 122-125' explain the importance to recite the text correctly with a clear pronunciation of the words; it is also said that at the end of the recitation, one should again meditate on Mahālakṣmī, do the six-limbed nyāsa and repeat the mantra one hundred and eight times.

The last part of the chapter deals with the rules of Śatacaṇḍī yajña, which removes every obstacle (vv.125"-167). Here is given also the gāyatrī of Caṇḍī.

Footnotes and references:


That is, it should be recited out loud.


In the Śrīdurgopāsanākalpadruma (p. 155) there is a reference to this half-verse.


One krore=10,000,000.

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