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 25 - The seventeen-syllabled Mantra

Questioned by the Goddess, Bhairava speaks about the seventeen-syllabled mantra (vv.1-31’), as it is described in the eighth chapter of the Parātantra (vv.1-30).

Prāṇāyāma is described in verses 31"-55’.

In verses 55"-77 the highest truth is revealed, as is also mentioned in the eight chapter of the Parātantra (vv.57"-79); the human body originated from Śiva, where impurity doesn’t exist, and so it is not impure. In the same way, brahmanas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas and śudras don’t exist as such, they are nothing other than the Supreme Soul (Paramātmā).

This is the knowledge which liberates from merit and sin: the Mother of countless universes is the embodiment of the awareness "I am one" (ekaivāhaṃsvarūpīṇī) and she manifested the world to enjoy it in various ways for the sport of the "I". As when a jar is broken the space inside it permeates the rest of space, so the soul, when the body dies, becomes all-pervasive and merges in the Great Absolute.

Verses 78-160 speak of prayogas. This is also found in the ninth chapter (vv.1-75’) of the Parātantra.

The chapter concludes by speaking of the essence of the Kālīkrama (vv.161-186), which is also given in the ninth chapter of the Parātantra (vv.75"-101).

It is said that in the Kālīkrama there is no distinction among the superiority of the ācāras, but instead Kālī can be worshipped following nirācāra and sācāra ways[1] (v. 161).

Verses 162-170 describe pūjā in the Kālīkrama, which bestows enjoyment, happiness, enlightenment and ājñāsiddhi.

Verses 171-173 speak of the importance of the Guru, by satisfying whom also Kālī is pleased.

Verses 174-186 say that the one who worships according to the Kālīkrama, which has no equal, is a Mahāyogī. In particular in the Kali Yuga one should worship Kālī diligently.

The Goddess, who is one, manifests in thousands of forms in a stream of various Tantras and āmnāyas, with the purpose of benefiting the sādhakas. Thus she is Maṅgala, Mahāmāyā, Caṇḍakālālinī, Śivā, Cāmuṇḍā, Carcikā, Caṇḍā, Anākhyā, Guhyakālī, Siddhilakṣmī, Viśvalakṣmī, Mahāpratyaṅgirā, Sundarī, Tripurā, Cāru and Ugracaṇḍa. She is one, multiform and knowable by divine sight.

Footnotes and references:


Nirācāra means literally “without following the rules of conduct” and designates the conduct which doesn’t follow the common rules, in opposition to sācāra, “well-behaved”.

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