This celebrated Kaula Stotra, which is now translated from the Sanskrit for the first time, is attributed to Mahakala Himself. The Text used is that of the edition published at Calcutta in 1899 by the Sanskrit Press Depository, with a commentary in Sanskrit by the late Mahamahopadhyaya Krsnanatha Nyaya-pancanana, who was both very learned in Tantra-Sastra and faithful to his Dharma. He thus refused the offer of a good Government Post made to him personally by a former Lieutenant-Governor on the ground that he would not accept money for imparting knowledge.
Some variants in reading are supplied by this commentator. I am indebted to him for the Notes, or substance of the notes, marked K.B. To these I have added others, both in English and Sanskrit explaining matters and allusions familiar doubtless to those for whom the original was designed, but not so to the English or even ordinary Indian reader. I have also referred to the edition of the Stotra published by Ganesa-Candra-Ghosa at Calcutta in 1891, with a translation in Bengali by Gurunatha Vidyanidhi, and commentary by Durgarama-Siddhantavagisa Bhattacarya. I publish for the first time Vimalananda-Svami’s Commentary to which I again refer later. When in this Introduction or in the Commentary I have not mentioned these two works my authorities are the Tantras or Tantrik works which I cite, or the information I have gathered from those whom I have consulted.
One of the chief features of this Stotra is that it gives the mantrodhara of the Daksina-Kalika. It not only gives us the Dhyana, Yantra, Sadhana and Svarupa-varnana of the Mahadevi, but it also contains the chief Mantras of Daksinakalika. The adjective “Tava manu-samuddhar-anajanu” qualifying “idam stotrm” in Sloka 21 expressly states this fact.
Among the various Mantras of Daksina Kalika the greatest is the “Vidya-rajni” consisting of 22 syllables (Dvavimsaksari). This mantra gives the fullest and the truest symbol of the Svarupa of Her. This mantra is contained in the first five Slokas.
So the first five Slokas give us altogether 22 aksaras i.e. the full Vidyarajni.
In Vimalananda-Svami’s Tika of the 5th Sloka in the revised Sanskrit text he has proved by quotations from the 9th patala of Saktananda-tarangini that this 22-syllabled mantra is the full and true representation of the Svarupa of the Mahadevi. See the quotation which begins with
“Krim-karo mastakam devi Krim-karasca lalatakam” and ends with
“Sva-sabdena pada-dvandvam ha-karena nakham tatha”
The words “Svarupam” (5th sl.) and “Sakalam” (6th sl.) point to this Vidyarajni. After the full Vidya-rajni has been given in the first five Slokas, the 6th Sloka gives the various other Mantras of less importance and significance—ranging from one syllabled to nine-syllabled, 15-syllabled, 21-syllabled and so forth.
This Mantroddhara has been made following the authority of Kalika-sruti, Niruttara-Tantra and other Tantras. Many commentators, however, have apparently in the view of Vimalananda failed to consult the above authorities, and have thus fallen into errors and have given a different Mantroddhara. Some take the 1st Sloka to give a one-syllabled mantra, the 2nd sloka as also the 3rd, two two-syllabled mantras, the 5th a nine-syllabled one and so on: a view which it is contended is opposite to such passages as “atha hainam brahmarandhre brahma-svarupinim apnoti...... brhad-bhanu-jayam uccaret” in the 1st Sukta of Kalikopanisad; or passages in Niruttara-Tantra (Ch. II) beginning with “Atha vaksye Kulesani Daksina-kalika-manum” and ending with “Sarva-mantra-mayi vidya srsti-sthityanta-karini.” The Svami further refers me to the end of the Kalikopanisad where dealing with the various Mantras of the Daksina-Kalika it is said “Atha sarvam vidyam prathamam ekam dvayam va trayam va namatrayaputitam va krtva japet.” The great Tantrik Purnananda Giri explaining the passage says “Sarvam vidyam-iti purvoktadvavimsatyaksaryah prathama bijam va bijadvayam va etc. (vide Syama-rahasyam, Rasikamohan’s edition, p. 36)
From the above consideration, it is clear that at the very beginning in the first 5 Slokas the 22-syllabled Mantra is given and then the others. It may be added here that the fact of Mahakala’s composing the Hymn in 22 Slokas not more nor less—is also an indication of the correctness of the Svami’s view, who, in further support of it cites 5 Slokas dealing with the Mantroddhara from the Krama-stava of the Daksina-Kalika under the first 5 Slokas of the Karpuradi, which will be found in the printed text.
In course of revising his Vyakhya Vimalananda—Svami has in the first six Slokas given good grounds to prove that the Stotra not only contains the Mantroddhara and the Sadhana of Sri-Sri-Daksina-Kalika but also in it are given the Mantras and Rahasyapuja of Sri-Sri-Tara and Sri-Sri-Tripura-Sundari.
All-good and all-powerful Paramesvara is without beginning or end. Though in Himself Nirguna He is the Adhara of the three Gunas. Though Himself formless He creates, preserves and withdraws the world of extended matter (Prapance) by means of the A varana and Viksepa-Sakits of His own Maya which can make that possible which seems impossible. The Svetasvatara-Upanisad says that by meditation was seen the Sva-sakti of the Deva, who is the abode of all cause, associated with Kalatattva. In the Niruttara- Tantra Siva speaks of the three-eyed corpse-like One, Nirguna but also seat of Gunas associated with Sakti. Though himself without beginning, middle or end, He creates and is the material Cause of the world which has a beginning, middle, and end. For this reason the Tantras and other Sastras call Him Adinatha, Mahakala, Paramasiva and Paramabrahman. It is this unlimited, undivided, beginning-less, and endless Mahakala who is imagined to be limited by the Sun, Moon and Planets, and, as such, is called by the names of Kala, Kastha, Muhurta, Yama, Day, Night, Paksa, Month, Season, Half-year, Year, Yuga, Kalpa and so forth. It is He who divides Time into Kala, Kastha and so forth, and as Vyasti is called by the name Kala, and the rest. He is named Paramasiva Mahakala when creating, preserving and withdrawing the millions of worlds.
Apart from individual name and form, He exists as the Samasti of them and the Endless Supreme Greatness (Paramomahan). Visnu-Purana says that Bhagavan Kala is without beginning or end. From him appears the limited in creation. Atharvaveda says that Kala created beings (Praja) He is Prajapati. From Kala was self-born Kasyapa and Tapas. Mahakala in omniscient since He is all-pervading, dependent on none, and the Atma of all. Kurma-Purana also says that he is the Superme, imperishable, without beginning or end, all-pervading, independent, the Atma of all who fascinates (Manohara) all minds by His greatness. Kalamadhava cites Visnu-dharmottara as saying that He is called Kala because of his dissolving (Kalanat) all beings, and He is Paramesvara because He is Himself without beginning or end. Mahakala is Himself Nirguna and Niskriya, but his Sakti makes the Sun and other heavenly lights rise, stay and set.
It is by the Power of the Sakti of Kala that men and other Jivas are conceived in the womb, are born, attain childhood, boyhood, middle and old age and leave the world on death. In the Santiparva of Mahabharata, Vedavyasa says that it is through Kala that women bear, that birth and death occur, winter, summer and rains come, and the seed germinates. Even Brahma, Visnu, and Rudra appear, stay and disappear through the Sakti of Kala. None can escape Its operation. Visnu-Samhita says that even those Devas who create and withdraw the world are themselves withdrawn by Kala, Kala or time is certainly then the stronger. Mahakala is called Mahakali because He is one and the same and not different from His eternal Sakti. It is the She who is Mahavidya, Mahadevi, Mahamaya, and Parabrahmarupini. As Adinatha Mahakala is the first creator of the world so the Sakti of Mahakala, the merciful Mahakali is the Adiguru of the world. Yogini Tantra says that Mahakali is the Mother of the world, and one with Mahakala, as is shown in the Ardhnarisvara Murti.
It was this Brahmavidya who (Yogini-Tantra, 10th Patala) at the beginning of this Kalpa was heard as a bodyless voice from the sky by Brahma, Visnu, and Mahesvara, who were then told to perform Tapasya for the acquisition of creative and other Saktis. It was this Aniruddha-sarasvati who in the Satyayuga appeared in the Heavens before Indra and other proud Devatas in the form of a brilliant Yaksa, and crushing the pride of the Devas Agni and Vayu, in the from of all-beautiful Uma, taught Brahmatattva to Indra, the king of the Devas (See Kenopanisad 11, 12).
This Kali again who is Paramestiguru and grants Kaivalya, compassionating the sensuous short-lived Jivas of the terrible Kaliyuga revealed the Sambhavi-Vidya. This, which was taught in the form of conversations between Devi and Isvara, had been during the three preceding ages kept as concealed as a lady of high family from public gaze. It contained three sets of sixty-four Agamas each, which revealed the path of Liberation for these Jivas. Though She is Herself eternal and Saccidanandarupini, She at times out of compassion for Sadhakas assumes forms fitted for their Sadhana, Similarly the Veda, Agama and the rest though everlasting portions of the Sabdabrahmarupini are only revealed to Sadhakas at different times in the several Yugas.
When the Mahadevi who is Consciousness (Cinmayi) at the beginning of the Kalpa was pleased by the Tapasya of Deva Rudra, floating on the Causal Waters, She assumed the Virad aspect and became thus visible to Him. At that time by the command of Mahadevi the Deva Rudra saw in the Susumna millions of universes (Brahmanda) and millions of Brahmas, Visnus and Mahesvaras in them. The Deva, greatly wondering in the Heart-Lotus to Mahadevi, there saw the Murti of Sabdarahman consisting of Agamas, Nigamas, and other Sastras (See Yogini-Tantra, 9th Patala). He saw that of that Murti, Agama was the Paramatma, the four Vedas with their Angas were the Jivatma, the six systems of philosophy (Darsana) were the senses, the Mahapuranas and Upapuranas were the gross body, the Smrtis were the hands and other limbs, and all other Sastras were the hairs of that great Body. He also saw the fifty Matrikas (Letters) resplendent with Tejas on the edges and petals of Her Heart-Lotus. Within the pericarp of the Lotus of the Viradrupini He saw the Agamas, brilliant as millions of suns and moons, replete with all Dharma and Brahmajnana, powerful to destrory all Maya, full of all Siddhis and Brahmanirvana. By the grace of Mahakali he fully mastered the Veda, Vedanta, Puranas, Smriti and all other Sastra. Later, Brahma and Visnu received this knowledge of Agama and Nigama from Him.
In the Satyayuga Brahma revealed the Smrtis, Puranas and other Sastra to the Devarsis. In this way Brahmavidya was promulgated to the world. This therefore is authority to show, that just as Brahman is everlasting, so are the Agamas and Nigamas which tell of Brahman. Just as in the Satya and other Yugas, only the three twice-born castes, wearing the sacred thread, but not the Sudra and other low castes were entitled to worship according to the Veda, so in those three Yugas only Devarsis, Brahmarsis and Rajarsis, who had conquered their passions and knew Advaita doctrine and Brahman, were entitled to the Agama Sastra which destroys all sense of difference caused by ignorance and grants knowledge of Advaitatattva.
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