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Sri Pashupatinath


The supremely beautiful and distinctive image of shrI pashupatinAtha mahAdeva at Kathmandu, Nepal, is adorned with four visible faces:

1. sadyojAta
2. vAmadeva
3. aghora
4. tatpuruSha

The fifth and invisible face of IshAna together with the other four faces forms a pancha mukha linga. The Srikula Krama Tantra of
Bimbambika Sampradaya which flourished prosperously in Nepal during certain periods, describes the following names for the five faces:

1. mahAdeva (pUrva mukha, pUrvAmnAya)
2. bhairava (dakShiNa mukha, dakShiNAmnAya)
3. nandivaktra (pashchima mukha, pashchimAmnAya)
4. umA vaktra (uttara mukha, shAktAmnAya)
5. sadAshiva (Urdhva mukha, UrdhvAmnAya)

The base of the linga represents adharAmnAya. The above epithets with respective mantras (kramakalpalatA, pAshupata krama, verses 18-39) are used today in the temple during ritualistic worship thrice every day.

What bhagavatpAda shankara did for the revival of sanAtana dharma in the face of many inroads into its stronghold in his days, then profoundly different from the pristine form and philosophy owing to the trappings of misinterpreted tAntric worship, is indeed marvelous. It is a commonplace in history that bhagavatpAda was responsible for the regeneration of the Hindu way of life and religious practice and for an extended devotional support to shAkta mata in its twin forms dealing with prakR^iti and puruSha. In keeping with the general practice set in vogue by the jagadguru, shivAbhinnA parAshakti is worshiped in the shrine of pashupatinAtha in the form of shrIyantra placed above the linga, representing tripurasundarI as panchabrahmAsanasthitA. She is worshipped with various offerings and tarpaNa using the parA ShoDashI mahAmantra and ShoDashAvaraNa krama. After all, the most distinctive aspect of even the Urdvaretas form of yogIshvara mahAdeva, along with his supreme control over the senses, is his intimate and uninterrupted contact with shakti. This gets stated beautifully in mAlavikAgnimitra:

kAntAsammishradeho.apyaviShayamanasAM yaH parastAdyatInAm ||

The statement in the mAhatmya khaNDa of tripurA rahasya describing the shrIchakra present on a panchamukha linga as the most auspicious among dasha koTi shrIyantras, seems to be an explicit indication of pashupatinAtha. The worship manual used by the priests in the shrine describes mahAtripurasundarI as the central deity commanding a greater priority than even the poor mahAdeva (sharIrArdham shambhoraparamapi shanke hritamabhUt, proktA shivavyApinI etc.) and her worship above the panchabrahma linga is described as granting yoga siddhi. The six yogas associated with the six aspects of the linga and AmnAyas that are attained by worship of mahAtripurasundarI (kAmakalA kAlikA) and pashupatinAtha (kAmeshvara bhaTTAraka or mahAkAla kAmeshvara) are:

1. adharAmnAya: shabda yoga
2. pUrvAmnAya: mantra yoga
3. dakshiNAmnAya: bhakti yoga
4. pashchimAmnAya: karma yoga
5. uttarAmnAya: j~nAnayoga
6. UrdhvAmnAya: shakti yoga or mokSha yoga

These seem to be based on the model of six yogas described in rudrayAmaLa with laya yoga replaced by shabda yoga.