sutadveShiNAM daityarAjaM nakhAgraiH
vidArya svabhaktasya saMrakShaNAya |
nR^isiMhAya saMsmR^itya duHkhacChide te
namaskurmahe vIranArAyaNAya ||
trailokyavijayAli~NgitAya shrIvIranR^iharaye namaH ||
To answer a certain query related to addition of praNava at the beginning of certain mantras, I went back to refer to krama kalpalatA, guarded with great care in our sampradAya. Though the encyclopedic bimbAbikA bodha forms the primary text book for shrIkula tantra in our lineage, several other works find supplementary use. bR^ihadbaDabAnala is the next chief source, followed by yatidaNDaishvaryavidhAna. Though I had seen apUrNa and ashuddha pratis of daNDavidhAna, the first clean and nearly complete copy was given by shrI vijay from Mumbai. yogendrAnandanAtha, the grand nephew of late H H Sri Shamsher Jung Bahadur Ranaji of Nepal, was initiated into shrIkula tantra by a vipra named shAmbhavAnandanAtha who seems to have belonged to kAshmIra desha. This great mantrashAstrajna from kAshmIra was in turn initiated by our master shrI chinmudrAnandanAtha. He also underwent the sacred ritual of virajAgrahaNAbhiSheka by offering shikhA-yajnopavIta in fire and had performed ghaTashrAddha before entering avadhUtAshrama. He was one of those rare disciples disciple with uttamAdhikAra who qualified for prathama shaktipAta among the nine types (tIvratIvra, tIvramadhya, tIvramanda, madhyatIvra, madhyamadhya, madhyamanda, mandatIvra, mandamadhya and mandamanda). He had used krama kalpalatA as the chief source to instruct ranaji’s nephew and this copy was graciously handed over to me by shrI yogendrAnandanAtha three years before he attained siddhi. This also marked the end of an era, an era that opened to me the doors to infinite wisdom contained within the secret libraries of nepALa desha, and most importantly characterized by a strong affiliation to bimbAmbikA sampradAya. After ignoring this huge, handwritten copy for a long time, I finally picked it up for examination. While the book was in line with bimbAmbikA bodha and bR^ihadbaDabAnala for most of the part, it did discuss various topics of general interest in detail. An overview which discusses the various characteristics of tantra (quoted from vaivasvata tantra) immediately caught my attention. It discusses in sufficient detail, the characteristics of tantra such as sarga, pratisarga, mantra nirNaya, yantra nirNaya, AdhyAtma varNana, tIrtha varNana, naraka varNana, Ashrama dharma, yuga dharma, rAja dharma, dAna dharma, devatA saMsthAna, bhUta saMsthAna, jyotiSha saMsthAna, vipra saMsthAna, vibudhotpatti, vyavahAra, vrataparibhAShA, purANa, AkhyAna, kosha, strIpuMlakShaNa, harachakra, shauchAshaucha, devatArchana, sAdhana, purashcharaNa, ShaTkarma, dhyAnayoga, nityakR^itya, karmasUtra, varNabheda, jAtibheda etc. There is another chapter with deals with the technical differences between the five limbs of kaula tantra namely kaula, vAma, chIna, siddhAnta and shabara, and also tadadhikAra nirNaya.
The yogAdhyAya chapter deals with the concept of mahAyoga which seems to summarize the system of samaShTiyoga taught by mahAmahopAdhyAya gopInAtha kavirAja. This chapter begins with discussion related to commonalities of desha kAla such as AhAra, nidrA, bhaya and maithuna, their effects in vyaShTi and samaShTi, mentalities of itihAsa, paramparA and saMgharSha, limitations such as parimiti, apUrNatva, alpatva, aj~natva, anAptakAmatva etc. and the ways to attain paripUrNatva, sarvatva, sarvaj~natva, sarvashaktatva, AptakAmatva, avinAshitva etc. The formation of devatA samAmnAya through sAmudAyika praj~nA saMskAra seems to be a highly original and valuable contribution of the author of this work, who remains unknown. The informal language, mishraNa of gadya and padya and lack of direct quotations from tantras seems to suggest that the chapter of yogAdhyAya is the independent work of the author of krama kalpalatA.
The chapter related to various limbs of a mantra is also more elaborate than in any other work of a similar genre. Topics discussed include mAtR^ikA chakra, sarvatobhadra maNDala, kUrmachakra, digbandhana, rakShAchakra, mantra-mAsa-nakShatra chakras, li~NgoddhAra, mantra janana sthAna, mahAchakroddhAra, varNa yantroddhAra, ghaTachakra, panchAmnAya nirNaya, ShaDAmnAya nirNaya, dvAdashAmnAya nirNaya, ShoDashAmnAya nirNaya, guruparamparA nirNaya, sampradAya rahasya, R^ishi-Chando-devatA-bIja-shakti-kIlaka nirNaya, nyAsa, akShara saMkhyA, devatA, pratyadhidevatA nirNaya, rUpa, AkR^iti, dhyAna, svabhAva, maitri, samaya, garbha, prasava, vighna, tannivAraNa, R^itu, janma, sthiti, avasthA, mantrasvara, mantra prakR^iti, vikR^iti, priyatva, mAtrA nirNaya, pallava, saMpuTa, prayoga, upasaMhAra, mantra saMskAra, panchapAda, mUlikA nirNaya, bali and AtmAnusandhAna.
It is clear that the author is well aware of bimbAmbikA bodha as he avoids those topics which are discussed elaborately by bimbAmbikA. One such example is the topic of mantra doSha and saMskAra. Bhagvati bimbAmbikA describes fifty doShas and vidhis to overcome them: bhinna, ruddha, shaktihIna, parA~Ngmukha, badhira, netrahIna, kIlita, stambhita, dagdha, trasta, bhIta, malina, tiraskR^ita, bhedita, suShupta, madonmatta, mUrChita, hatavIrya, hIna, pradhvasta, bAlaka, kumara, yuvA, prauDha, vR^iddha, nistrimshaka, nirbIja, siddhihIna, manda, kUTa, niramsha, sattvahIna, kekara, bIjahIna, dhUmita, Ali~Ngita, mohita, kShudhAtura, atidR^ipta, a~NgahIna, atikruddha, samIrita, atikrUra, savrIDa, shAntamAnasa, sthAnabhraShTa, vikala, ativR^iddha, nisneha and pIDita. Topics such as AyAsa-klesha parihAra, stotra, kavacha, nyAsa, mudrA, setu, chauragaNesha japa, kullukA, mudgara, utkIlana, samutkIlana etc. are skipped as well, probably for the same reason.
Another topic that gets discussed at length is related to nyAsa. Special attention is given to lesser known concepts widely used in shrIkrama tantra such as mantrAkShara krama-vyutkrama, dakSha-vAma-madhya, yuktadakSha-yuktavAma-yuktamadhya, yuktavarNa, yuktapada, yuktasvara, yuktavAchya, yuktayoga, yuktAvayava, yuktAntarvyutkrama, digyoga, kAlayoga, a~Ngayoga, lakShyayoga, samaShTiyoga, piNDANDa bhAvanA, brahmANDa bhAvanA etc. With the addition of six pallavas, various combinations of nyAsas result and grant different fruits.
The reason I mentioned this work is because of a chapter that talks about adding praNava before mantras. There are three kinds of mantras:
1. Those where praNava is explicitly included in the mantroddhAra
2. Those where praNava is not explicitly included in the mantroddhAra
3. Those where the addition of praNava is explicitly prohibited
mahAShoDashI, prAsAda aShTAkSharI, vAsudeva dvAdashI, aShTAkSharI, ashvArUDhA etc. belong to the first category. A whole gamut of mantras belongs to the second category. Mantras such as chaNDikA navAkSharI, dhUmAvatI, ucChishTa bhairavI, vajravArtALI etc. belong to the third category. There is yet another category where praNava may be added for a specific purpose. guhyakAlI tantra for example, prescribes the addition of praNava before the dvAvimshatyakSharI mahAvidyA of mahAshyAmA, resulting in the formation of siddhikAlikA mantra, whose viniyoga is mainly for mokSha. Similarly, for the sake of mantra vIrya janana, addition of praNava is recommended in the case of shaiva panchAkSharI by several Agamas. However, in the case of navArNa mantra, there seems to be sufficient pramANa that negates the need for the addition of praNava. Most often when the addition of praNava is challenged, the pratipakSha enters a state of verbal diarrhea and name throwing and that alone is their justification for this practice. While most of the named personalities who are described to have used praNava in navAkSharI are hardly known beyond a certain ethnic group, the account of their siddhi of the mantra is more or less hagiographical as well. This being the case, there is no valid reason to accept their AcharaNa as valid pramANa, especially when there is no shAstra pramANa supporting their cause as also when there are existing pramANas that prohibit the use of praNava. Moreover, even if all these pramANas were to be ignored and we needed to go by satAM vAkya, we should rather trust the words of the great bhAskararAya and H H shrI chandrashekhara bhAratI than the central character of a folk tale.
akShara saMkhyA is an extremely important aspect of any mantra and as we have pointed out several times before, addition of praNava to navArNa makes it dashAkSharI. I have heard a rather lame argument regarding mahAShoDashI that this mantra is not strictly ShoDashI either and hence dashAkSharI (praNavayuktA navAkSharI) can be passed off as navAkSharI. One should refer to the names trikUTA, tryakSharI etc. which clarify the three kUtas of panchadashI as tri-bIjas. This concept is further clarified in trikUTA rahasya, an appendix to rudrayAmaLa. sundarI tantra discusses the rashmi samkalana krama of mahAShoDashI and it treats the vidyA as composed of sixteen avayavas and not twenty-eight. The samayAchara sUtra states thus: atha vidyA aShTAvimshativargavishiShTA and the commentator on the sUtra goes on to explain how the ShoDashAtmakatva of the mantra remains intact in spite of having twenty-eight letters. The following verse from vAmakeshvara tantra quoted by puNyAnandanAtha also adds puShTi:
ityuktA shrImahAvidyA shaTkUTA parameshvarI |
sarvAbhichArashamanI sarvasampatpradAyinI ||
mahAvyadhiprashamanI svargamokShavidhAyinI |
ShoDashArNA mahAvidyA prokteyaM sarvakAmadhuk ||
Thus, it seems to us that there is no concrete reason to add praNava before navArNa mantra.
sa tvaM nR^isiMha mayi dehi karAvalambam ||