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 15 - The worship of Siddhilakṣmī

This chapter deals mainly with the worship of Siddhilakṣmī, who, being a form of Kālī, is known also as Siddhikālī or Pratyaṅgirā.

The first verse says that in the Kaula practices there is no distinction between castes and that the accomplishment of the mantra is the most important issue.

In verses 2-7 there is the uddhāra of the single-syllable mantra of Siddhilakṣmī, followed by the mantra of Kaṅkālī Kālī.

Then the Goddess is described by means of her bīja mantra: it is said that from the letter "ka" of her mantra everything is manifested, therefore she is the embodiment of creation; the letter "ra" is Kālāgnirudra, so she is the form of the destruction; in the vowel "ī" resides Mahālakṣmī who is illustrious in the three worlds, thus she is the protective power (pālikā śaktiḥ); because of the bindu she represents the divine nectar[1] (vv.8-9).

In her individual (i.e. particular) aspect (vyaṣṭirūpeṇa) she is endowed with the actions of creating, preserving and destroying, while in her collective, i.e. universal, aspect (samaṣṭirūpeṇa) she is the fourth state (turīyā), and she is herself the Absolute. She is made of consciousness and bliss (cidānandamayī) and she clearly embodies the wisdom's power (sākṣādvidyāśaktisvarūpiṇī); her own nature is śabdabrahman (the Supreme Word) and eternal bliss; she is endowed with all the Vedas and she immediately bestows eternal bliss. The Supreme Śakti, which can be realized through japa, lies on the path of nāda (Sound). When she rises from the temple of the word in the form of Bhairavī, she is remembered as the Mahāvidyā (Great Wisdom), who dwells among the siddhakas[2] (vv.10-13).

In v.14' it is said that her mantra is accomplished through repeating it two million and seven hundred times.

Verses 14"-15 give her mantroddhāra.

Then the dhyāna of the Goddess is given, who is to be meditated upon as having five faces: her eastern face is called Siddhilakṣmī, the southern one is Guhyakālī, the northern one is Kālasaṅkarṣiṇī, the western one is called Kubjā and the face above is named Pratyaṅgirā. She resides in the crematory ground or in wrathful places; she is short, in a meditative state, adorned with black garments, terrific, extremely dreadful and as fearful as the black blood; she is emaciated; she stands on a preta and she is naked with a dreadful face; she stands on five pretas and she has the corpses of children dangling from her ears; she holds a kapāla filled with blood; she rises from Śiva; she is adorned with serpents and she wears a snake as sacred thread; she, the fierce one, has eighteen arms and five faces, each one with three eyes; she holds every kinds of weapon; she bestows devotion and enlightenment (vv.16-22).

Then the sādhanā of Pratyaṅgirā is given, through which every misfortune removed; here the Goddess is worshipped as being united to the Kālacakra ("the Wheel of time"), i.e. as the embodiment of the entire universe (vv.23-44’).

After the worship of Pratyaṅgirā, one should worship Hari for his own sake; the pūjā can be done by imagining Viṣṇu in water, in fire, in the heart, in the sun, in the ground or in a statue: water is the resting place of Viṣnu and therefore he always resides there; Hari is worshipped in fire by the priests, in the heart by the yogis, in the sun by learned men, in the ground (sthaṇḍila) by the sages and in images by the small-minded men (vv.44"-47'). The images are divided into the categories of natural or artificial, movable or immovable, alive or lifeless. These are described at length in verses 47"-54'.

Verses 54"-60 mention the benefits of performing pūjā in different holy places, among which the śaktipiṭha of Guhyeṣvarī in Nepal is considered to be the most important.

Verses 61-65' give the names of few mudrās (gestures) which are necessary during a fire sacrifice; verses 65"-66 describe various vessels for different purposes.

Then Bhairava asks Mahāmāya ("the Great Illusion") who is the Mother and the giver of both bondage and liberation, to expound upon the excellent lineage of the Gurus; thus the Goddess explains that the sequence of the Gurus is manifold and eternal. A practitioner should know the lineage of the Gurus, otherwise all the mantras, yantras and tantras are fruitless; the line of the Gurus is considered more important than one's family lineage, and being the giver of the mantra, the Guru is said to be superior to one's father. Thus the first Guru is the one who gives the mantra; the parāpara Guru is Śiva and the parameṣṭi Guru is the Goddess. The Mahādevī is herself present in the vidyās of all the tantras as Prakṛti; next comes Mahādeva as Puruṣa and then the sequence of Gurus: in reality all these subdivisions of the Goddess all belong to Śiva.

Thus the lineage of the Gurus related to the worship of Kālikā is given: the Divine Gurus (divyaugha) are: Mahādevī, Mahādeva, Tripurā and Bhairava; the Accomplished Gurus (siddhaugha) are: Brahmānanda-nātha, Pūrṇānanda-nātha, Svaratānanda-nātha, Sulocanānda-nātha,[3] Kumārānanda-nātha, Krodhanānanda-nātha, Varadhānanda-nātha, Smaradīpanānda-nātha, Māyā and Māyāvatī; the Human Gurus (mānavaugha) are Vimalānanda-nātha, Kuśalānanda-nātha, Bhīmasenānanda-nātha, Sudhākarānanda-nātha, Mīnānanda-nātha, Gorakṣānanda-nātha, Bhojadevānanda-nātha, Prajāpatyānanda-nātha, Mūladevānanda-nātha, Vanditānandanāyha, Vighneśānanda-nātha, Hutāśanānanda-nātha, Samayānandanātha and Santoṣānandanātha (vv.67-82').

Verses 82"-109 include a hymn to Siddhilakṣmī as the Supreme Knower.

Verses 110-121' mention the worship of Siddhilakṣmī.

Verses 121"-169 describe the ritual to purify the six cakras through the worship of the main Goddesses of the six āmnāyas (sacred traditions) in their respective cakras: thus in the mulādhāra cakra is contemplated Kubjikā, the mistress of the Paścimāmnaya (Western Tradition); Caṇḍī, the mistress of the Pūrvāmnāya (Eastern Tradition), is meditated upon in the svādhiṣṭhāna cakra; in the maṇipūracakra is contemplated Chinnamastā, the mistress of the Adha āmnāya (Lower Tradition); in the anāhata cakra is worshipped Guhyakālī, the mistress of the Uttarāmanāya (Northern Tradition), in the viśuddha cakra is Rājamātaṅgī, the mistress of the Dakṣiṇāmnāya (Southern Tradition), and in the ājñā cakra Tripurasundarī, the mistress of the Ūrdhvāmnāya (Upper Tradition).

The main Goddess of the Paścimāmnāya is Kubjikā, who is Kuṇḍalinī Śaktī, from whom all creation comes forth; in different texts she is called also Prakṛti, Ādyā, Śakti, Cinmayī, Kalā, and so on; in the same way the Supreme is referred as Śiva, Puruṣa, Paramātmā, Īśvara, Sakṣī, Māyeśa, and the like.

Kuṇḍalinī rests in the mūlādhāra cakra; once awakened she rises up to the Brahmarandhra (on the crown of the head): here is the thousand-petalled lotus which is the residence of Śiva. Here, in union with Śiva, the Goddess Kāmakalākālī should be contemplated upon.

In verse 169 it is said that even if the Goddess is one, she has a multitude of forms and that she can be seen only with the divine eye.

The chapter concludes with the descriptions of few mantras dear to the Goddess (vv.170-192).

Footnotes and references:


In the original text is written "somarasya", probably referring to the Soma juice, the nectar of immortality. Another interpretation can be "samarasyā", which means the "one taste", i.e. the union, of the immanent and transcendental aspect of the reality.


In the original text it is said "tadā smarenmahāvidyāmiti siddhakamadhyagā[m]" which can be translated as "then one should remember her as the Mahāvidyā, who stays among the siddhakas". In the Tridaśaḍāmarāpratyaṅgirānānātantra it is said "tadā smarenmahāvidyāṃ siddhikālījayakramām", which it means "then one should remember her as the Mahāvidyā Siddhikālī, the Great Victorious One.


In the Vidyārṇava (1.289) the name of Calacittānandanātha is given instead of Svaratānandanātha and Sulocanāndanātha.

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