Saturday, December 18, 2010


The Shri Yantra


By the annihilation of evil desires (durvasana), the unchanging (sthira) Atma manifests itself. This Atma is eternal (nitya), true and therefore without a second and great (mahan, i.e. not limited by time and space). It may also be attained by means laid down in Nityahridaya Tantra (i.e. Yoginihridaya) - Introduction to Tantrarajatantra, Woodroffe

Compiled by Umanandanatha, a disciple of the famous Shri Vidya upasaka Bhasuranandanatha (Bhaskararaya), the Nityotsava is ostensibly based on the Parashurama Kalpasutras, a collection of brief aphorisms outlining many of the features of Shri Vidya, for which see other pages on this Web site.

Some of the material contained in this text has been translated and is also available on this site. See the sections under the heading Shri Kula on the index page.

The Nityotsava contains very little philosophical material on the cults which centre around the famous Shri Yantra, but a wealth of detail on the ritual, the mantras and other features of this complex tantrik form. These include not only the worship of Mahatripurasundari, but also of Ganapati (Ganesh), Dandini (Varahi) and Shyama (Kurukulla). There are also chapters dealing with practices common to all tantrik devata.

Mantras and other ritual details below use the iTrans format, which you can view in their Devanagari characters by copying and pasting into the freeware program Itranslator.

Chapter One

This section is devoted to initiation (diksha), and starts with a salutation to the nine Nathas, to Shiva, to Ganesh, to the Empress (Maharajni = Tripura) and to the gurus of the tradition.

After this, Umanandanatha goes on to describe initiation, starting first with descriptions of the act contained in the Kalanirnaya (Kaulanirnaya?) and the Manthana Bhairava tantras. This section outlines the times for diksha, which are closely linked to Indian sidereal astrology. Initiation in certain of the 27 asterisms brings different results, while the days of the week also have their own merits, while the 15 days of the moon (tithis) also are said to have specific results. The text then quotes from other texts along similar lines.

The text quotes authorities for times which are not suitable for initiation, which mentions a number of yogas (planetary combinations in this context), where malefics, that is the Sun (Ravi), Mars (Bhauma), Saturn (Shani), the nodes of the moon (Rahu and Ketu) and the Waning Moon are conjoined in certain places in a horoscope for the time of initiation.

The next section in this chapter deals with the characteristics of guru and pupil, quoting from the Tantrarajatantra. The guru should be handsome, full of virtues, situated in himself, and know the essence of many tantras. He should be free from doubt, having cut through such doubts by the grace of his own guru. The pupil should be free from greed, controlled of senses, steady, faithful, and devoted to guru, mantra and devata.

The text mentions the nature of Tripura Siddhanta, based as it is on the 35 (36) tattvas of earth, water, fire, air, space (aether), smell, taste, sight, hearing, sound, etc. Then follows details of mantra upasana, the duty of an upasaka of Tripurasundari, and different types of initiation such as Shambhavi diksha, Shakti diksha and Mantri diksha. The text talks of Samayachara, of the Kuladharma, and the competence of people for given mantras.

Chapter Two

This chapter deals with Ganapati (Ganesh) and his ritual worship, including the mantras, tarpana (oblations) and nyasas necessary.

It then goes on to deal with the puja proper, the necessary substances with which to accomplish this, the dhyana of Vighneshvara (Lord of Obstacles), worship of the pitha Shaktis, named in this text as Tivra, Jalini, Nanda, Bhogada, Kamarupini, Ugra, Tejovati, Satya and Vighnashini. Mantras should commence shrI.m hrI.m klI.m and end with namaH. The six limb puja (shadangapuja) is as follows:--

shrI.m hrI.m klI.m OM gA.m hR^idayAya namaH hR^idayashaktishrIpAdukA.m pUjayAmi ..
3 shrI.m gI.m shirase svAhA shirashshaktishrIpAdukA.m pUjayAmi ..
3 hrI.m gU.m shikhAyai vaShaT.h shikhAshaktishrIpAdukA.m pUjayAmi ..
3 klI.m gai.m kavachAya hum.h kavachashaktishrIpAdukA.m pUjayAmi ..
3 glau.m gau.m netratrayAya vauShaT.h netratrayashaktishrIpAdukA.m pUjayAmi ..
3 ga.m gaH astrAya phaT.h astrashaktishrIpAdukA.m pUjayAmi ..

The text then goes on to detail the three aughas or lines of guru related to Mahaganapati, which are divided into the divya (celestial), the siddha and the manava (mortal) lines.

The text then describes puja of the Mahaganapati yantra, which is divided into five parts. The first set of attendants relate to the three lines, the six lines, and the space between the lines. The second avarana relates to the six konas. The third avarana is connected with the junction points (sandhis) of the six konas, and are the six limb devatas. The fourth avarana is related to the eight petals, starting from the west, with the Devis there being Brahmi, Maheshvari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Mahendri, Chamunda and Mahalakshmi. The fifth avarana relates to the earth-square or bhupura and worships the guardians of the directions, the kshetrapalas, given in the text as Indra, Agni, Yama, Nairriti, Varuna, Vayu, Soma, and Ishana. Each of these forms holds his appropriate weapon, rides his appropriate vahana, and holds his appropriate direction and sub direction in the order given. Thus, although the Nityotsava contains no illustration of the yantra, it can be constructed as triangle, hexagon, eight petals and earthsquare.

After worship of the avarana deities, Gananatha (Ganapati, Ganesh) should be worshipped with sixteen ritual accessories. Then follows a description of the fire sacrifice, the giving of bali, a stotra about tarpana (oblation), a dhyana or meditation on Ganapati, the ashtakam or eight limbed hymn, Suvasini puja, and the purashcharana, or preparatory rites to be performed in his worship.

Chapter Three

This large chapter, called Shri Krama, deals with the worship of Lalita Tripurasundari, and opens with Umanandanatha bowing to his guru, Shri Bhasurananda Natha.

After outlining the contents of this important chapter, Umanandanatha starts by describing the guru meditation, and describes a process known as pranasamyaman, where the vital energy is directed to the top of the head, where the guru is said to reside.

The sadhaka is then recommended to meditate on the ajapa gayatri, the "non-recited" gayatri of 21,600 breaths a human takes every day. Then follow details relating to bathing, and to sandhya or the twilight worship. Here, there is to meditation on the sun as Martandabhairava, seated in union with his Shakti, Prakashashakti. The tantrik Gayatri of Tripurasundari is described as:-

ai.m hrI.m shrI.m ka e I la hrI.m tripurasundari vidmahe ai.m hrI.m shrI.m ha sa ka ha la hrI.m pIThakAmini dhImahi ai.m hrI.m shrI.m sakalahrI.m tannaH klinne prachodayAt.h.

This combines the Gayatri with the 15-lettered vidya of Lalita Tripurasundari.

After these preliminaries, the Shri Krama chapter begins to describe the puja proper, together with the rites necessary when entering a temple. These include worship of the different kalas (parts) of the Sun, Moon and Fire, followed by a short section which describes the material of which a Shri Yantra may be fashioned. Gold, silver, copper and other metallic plates are mentioned, while substances such as sindura, kumkum, and milk are required. The form of the yantra is described, but only as bindu, triangle, eight triangles, two sets of 10 triangles, fourteen triangles, eight petals with filaments, 16 petals with filaments, three circles and four lines. Next comes the procedure of breathing life into a yantra, followed by temple worship, a section which we have translated elsewhere on this site.

The process of bhutashuddhi, or purification of the elements follows, followed by a technique using mantras which is supposed to fence off the area from obstructions, bhutas, and other obstacles.

Nine nyasas are recommended for the worship of Lalita, and these are listed in the text as matrikanyasa, karashuddhinyasa (hand purification), atmarakshanyasa (protection of the atma), chaturasananyasa, Bala six-limbed nyasa, Vashini and the other (Vakdevatas) nyasa, root vidya nyasa, shodhanyasa and chakranyasa. The next section deals with placing of the vesel for the ordinary offering, which are to be upon a design with a bindu, a triangle, a hexagon and a square enclosure. This is followed by a long section describing the preparation of special offering.

Umanandanatha quotes from the Jnanarnava Tantra next to describe the inner yaga or meditation on the Shri Yantra which is to be performed, while the next section deals with the worship of the 64 ritual accessories (upacharas) used in the puja. Then follow the mantras of the Fifteen Nityas, which, unlike in the Tantraraja, are given in full and without special code.

A large section on the different gurus in the Shri Vidya tradition follows this section, and, as in the Ganapati section of Nityotsava, these are divided into celestial, siddha and mortal gurus, both for the vidya (mantra) that begins with Ka (Kadi) and for that which begins with Ha (Hadi).

The celestial gurus in the Kadi group are listed as Paraprakashandanatha, Parashivanandanatha, Parashaktyamba, Kauleshvaranandanatha, Shukladevyamba, Kuleshvaranandanatha and Kameshvaryamba. The siddha aughas are Bhoganandanatha, Chinnanandanatha, Samayanandanatha and Sahajanandanatha. The manava augha consists of Gaganandanatha, Vishvananandanatha, Vimalanandanatha, Madanandanatha, Bhuvananandanatha, Lilanandanatha, Svatmanandanatha and Priyanandanatha. At the close of this lengthy section, mantras are given for other, unknown gurus.

The next section opens with the puja of the attendants of the mandalas of the Shri Yantra, nine in number. As these have been listed in full elsewhere on this site, we refer you to the appropriate sections. This is followed by the sadhaka being enjoined to meditate on Kamakala, which consists of the three bindus and the ardha-matra. Brief instructions for homa, giving bali, pradakshina and circumambulation follow, before a stotra or hymn to Tripurasundari is to be recited.

Following this is Suvasini Puja, with a mantra given for purification of the Shakti which reads ai.m hrI.m shrI.m ai.m klI.m sauH tripurAyai namaH imA.m shakti.m pavitrI kuru mama shakti.m kuru svAhA. The Shakti should then be given various good things such as garments, flower, incense, light, unguents and powders, as well as food and pan. A lengthy section dealing with purification of wine and other substances used in the rite should follow.

Although mentioned briefly above, a lengthy section follows dealing with the right way to create a Shri Yantra, and the number of marmas and sandhis that result from drawing it correctly. This is so interesting that in future we will place it on the site in iTrans format and translate it. Then follows a brief secton of the different prastaras of the Shri Yantra and the pranapratishta of the Shri Chakra, which imbues the device with life and which is translated elsewhere on this site, is given in full. A yantra made of gold lasts for life, one of silver 22 years, copper 12, and on bhurja bark six years.

A lengthy section follows on the homas that may be performed, while the next section describes the mudras or hand-gestures used in the Kadi Shri Vidya cult.

The next section deals with the types of nyasas used when worshipping Tripurasundari. These were mentioned earlier (see above) and a number of them, including the lengthy Shodhanyasa and the Shri Chakra Nyasa are elsewhere on this site.

Instructions on how to perform japa (recitation of the vidya) are then given. Instructions are given for reciting various vidyas such as the Kameshvari mantra, the Kamakala mantra, the Utkilana mantra, and a large number of other mantras relating to Tripurasundari, to her aspects or to various elements of her worship, such as the rosary, are then described in full.

The Fifteen Nitya mantras are given again, as well as special mantras for "miraculous" aspects of Tripura such as Asvarudha, Bala, Annapurna, Svapnavarahi and many others. Some of these aspects, together with the prayogas (applications) relating to them are described in the Tantrarajatantra and other places, and relate to magical powers that a sadhaka can achieve through their use.

A section then follows on optional rites that may be performed in various solar months, and which the Tantrarajatantra also details.

Chapter Four

Details the rites of Shyama, the dusky form of Tripura, who is described elsewhere in Shri Vidya tantras as Tara or Kurukulla, and who is the "mother" form, just as Varahi is the "father" form of the goddess.

The nyasas and the other elements in tantrik puja are described, together with the yantra to be drawn, and the avaranas to be worshipped.

In the central triangle Rati, Priti and Manobhava receive puja, followed by the five arrows in the triangles of the pentangle. On the tips of this star the five forms of Krishna, one with Kali, receive worship, while the eight devatas Brahmi, etc. receive worship in the eight petalled lotus. On the tips or filaments of the lotus Laksmi, Sarasvati, Rati, Priti, Kirti, Shanti, Pushti, and Tushti are worshipped.

The sixteen petalled lotus has sixteen Shaktis or attendants named in the text as Vama, Jyeshtha, Raudri, Shanti, Shraddha, Sarasvati, Kriyashakti, Lakshmi, Srishti, Mohini, Pramathini, Ashvasini, Vichi, Vidyunmalini, Surananda and Nagabuddhika. This is the fourth avarana.

In the outer lotus of eight petals are the Bhairavas Asitanga, Ruru, Chanda, Krodha, Unmatta, Kapali, Bhishana and Samhara. Inside the four petals are Matangishvari, Siddhalakshmi, Mahamatangi, and Mahasiddhalakshmi. This is the sixth avarana. Ganapati, Durga, Vatuka and Kshetrapala are to be worshipped in the square, followed by protectors of the directions.

Then follows a description of recitation of the mantra of Matangi, followed by praise of that aspect of the goddess. Rules for an upasaka (worshipper) of Shyama follow, including details of the purashcharana and so forth required, as well as the types of homa, a description of the Kurma Chakra, purification of the mala or rosary, and a lengthy section on how to purify Rudraksha malas specifically. Optional homas and the dimensions of the fire pits to be used are detailed.

Chapter Five

This chapter of Nityotsava deals with the puja rites of Dandini, in this context similar to the "father form" Varahi. As in previous chapters, the various nyasas, upacharas and other ritual details relating to Dandini are described, together with the gurus of the parampara and the different avaranas of her yantra. The mantras of Varahi and a lengthy Varahi stotra are described.

Chapter Six

This very brief chapter is called the Parapaddhati, and describes the general form of worship or puja for other devatas.

Chapter Seven

Describes a number of practices, pujas and mantras common to all, and makes quotations from Pancharatra texts, the Tantraraja and other sources.

Various chakras used to determine the time of initiation, such as the Kulakula and the Rini-dani are described, as well as a number of mantras which are used to ensure that the root mantra, that is the mantra of the ishtadevata or desired form of divinity, is successful. These purifications relate to the birth, the life and other stages that a mantra is assumed to have.

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