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Pasha - Ankusha


kAmadughA bhava kamale kAmakale kAmakoTi kAmakShi

shrIgurubhyo namaH

Though pAsha and ankusha mantras are used for the purposes of ucchaTanAdi ShaTkarmas, their original purport is not exactly limited to these. To understand the principle of these Tatvas, one needs to understand the significance of these Ayudha-visesha of Amba in greater detail.

Sri Lalita Sahasranama, the first and last authority on all matters for us, says thus:

rAgaswarUpapAshADhyAyai namaH [LS - 8]
krodhAkArA~NkushojjwalAyai namaH [LS - 9]

Amba holds a noose (pAsha) and an Ankusha (goad) in her lotus-hands, which respectively represent the gross manifestations of two Chitta-Vrttis in Jiva called rAga and dweSha.

rAgo anuraktiH chittavR^ittivisheShaH icChaiva vA – rAga means desire or attachment.

krodho dweShAkhyA chittavR^ttiH – krodha means hatred.

There is a difference in the usage between the two words kopa and krodha, the former means anger and the latter means hatred. Anger is a transitional emotion which subdues after a while. But hatred, like attachment, lingers deep down one's heart and has a lasting effect. The same is described in vAmakeshwara Tantra (pUrva chatuHshatyAM) thus:

pAshA~Nkushau tadIyau tu rAgadweShAtmakau smR^itau |

These two (rAga and dwesha) lead to kAma and dweSha - in humans filled with ignorance. It is for such people that the sixty-four Tantras describe various Shatkarma-s, including vashIkaraNa and ucchATana. A shrIvidyA upAsaka has nothing to do with any of these as he is mahAkAmI (harbors the greatest of desires, which is to obtain mokSha). By holding these powerful chitta-vrttis in her hand, Amba shows her own mastery over them and thus indicates that one can be freed from their pangs by seeking ananya sharaNAgati (complete surrender) at her lotus feet. Based on one's Karma, till Chitta Shuddhi is obtained, Amba, who is in the form of both vidyA and avidyA, binds jIvA-s through rAga and dweSha. Also, she punishes those not devoted to her through the fire of her krodha (i.e. to dharma): sadyo vinAshayasi kopavatI kulAni. pAsha and ankusha of Amba are present in three forms, sthUla (in the form of physical ayudhas or weapons), sUkShma (in the form of kAmeshwara and kAmeshwari pAsha and ankusha mantras which should be learnt from Sadguru) and vAsanA (as rAga and dweSha).

There are eight types of bondages called pAshAShTaka:

ghR^iNa or hatred

lajjA or shame

bhaya or fear

jigupsA or reproach

kula or caste

jAti or creed

These aShTa pAsha-s bind the soul, preventing the Jiva from realizing his shivatva. Amba, sporting the pAsha of rAga, which here is anurakti in herself (who is niShkala Brahman), severs these bondages (pAshahantrI) and grants swaswarUpa jnana (knowledge of the true self) to the Jivatman. Thus, the eight inferior pashas in jivas are destroyed by the Supreme Queen who herself sports in her hand the supreme pAsha of rAga, which pulls the upAsaka from external world, towards his own swaswarUpa (which is again Amba herself). Like Sri Lalita Sahasranama, the essence of the entire Upanishadic literature is embedded in Sri Durga Saptashati as well. In the eighth chapter, Shumbha, representing ahamkara, orders eight armies of demons (kambu, dhaumra, kAlakA, daurhrdA, mauryA, kAlikeyA etc), representing aShTa pAsha-s, to fight Amba, preventing the jIva from realizing swaswarUpA. But when jIva seeks refuge under kAtyAyanI, the great mother, she manifests as eight vidyA vrtti-s (aShTa mAtrikA-s), liberating one from pAshAShTaka. Her eight hands and the weapons held therein are meant to sever the aShTa pAsha-s.

In worldly terms, the usage of a noose and goad are primarily in controlling an elephant. Elephant represents something which is huge, powerful and not easily controllable. These two Ayudhas are common between Amba and Mahaganapati. More so in the case of the particular form of Ganapati called Ucchishtha Mahaganapati, who sports the same Ayudha-s as Sri Lalita. These two i.e. kAma and krodha, are powerful and uncontrollable like a madagaja. Poison can be cured only through poison. She uses her pAsha to bind the mind of the upAsaka to her lotus feet. Anurakti in the external word is rAga, but the same when turned towards Amba, becomes Bhakti (parAnuraktirIshware). Through her ankusha or the force of sAtvika krodha, she creates disillusionment towards the external world by granting nityAnitya vastu viveka, and grants chitta shuddhi. Thus, using the same forces constructively, she subdues them in us. Krodhasya janako kAmaH – Desire is the father of Hatred as unfulfilled desires lead to frustration, anger and finally hatred. Thus, by pulling our minds away from external world towards herself, she destroys rAga and thus automatically subdues Krodha as well. The vice versa is also true. Amba's Krodha or anger destroys ignorance and thus both rAga and dwesha. Then why do Vagdevatas imply the same with two names resulting in redundancy? That is because the former name indicates manmathopAsitA vidyA and the latter, krodha bhaTTarakopAsitA shrIvidyA. Though there is mantra bheda between these, there is lack of devatA bheda or tattva bheda and hence both grant the same results. Thus, by upAsanA of either of these vidyA-s, rAga and dweshA (and thus the ShaDurmi-s) are destroyed and Chitta Shuddhi required to decipher the vedAnta Vakya is attained, thus leading to realization.

There are two kAma-s. One is kAma or manmatha and the other is mahAkama or MahA Kameshwara. Kamakshi is associated with both of them and they operate through her powers. But she is avidyA swarUpiNi in her former association and vidyA swarUpiNi in the latter. Thus, it is she who causes both attachment and liberation, based on one's qualification. The same is expressed in the name bhayakrid bhayanAshanaH in Sri Vishnu Sahasranama. Thus, to the non-devoted and the ignorant, the pAsha and ankusha lead to attachment and hatred. But when one surrenders the lotus feet of Sri Kamakshi, these same very forces are used to turn oneself inwards, towards HER and thus become tools for spiritual advancement. Purva ChatuHshati described pAsha and ankusha as representing rAga and dwesha, but uttara chatushati now describes the two as representing iccha and jnana shakti-s:

icChAshaktimayaM pAshaM aMkushaM j~nAnarUpiNam |

Bhaskararaya places pAsha and ankusha in Amba's lower hands and dhanurbANa in Amba's upper hands. This is peculiar to followers of vAma or kaula mArga, which is differentiated in dakShiNamUrti samhitA. Many such upAsakas, while performing navAvaraNa pUjA, during chatuHShaShTyupachAra, recite: vAmordhwakare puNDrekShu kodaNDaM kalpayAmi namaH, but their dhyAna mUrti holds pAsha in the upper left hand. This is a result of blind observance of rituals without understanding sAmpradAyika rahasya-s. Daksha margi-s give more importance to Jnana Shakti or Nivrttti mArga and hence pAsha and ankusha, which represent icChA and jnAna shakti, are placed in the upper hands. The same can be observed in the Srivigraha of Sri Kamakoti Kamakshi, the only sthUla-mUrta swarUpa of Sri Lalita Mahatripurasundari. Those following vAma/kaula margas give importance to Kriya Shakti or Pravrtti mArga and to indicate the same, place dhanurbANa in Amba's upper hands. This is peculiar to Ananda Bhairava Sampradaya. Now, what should one follow? It goes without saying that one should stick to his own Guru Sampradaya. But Sri Lalita Sahasranama implicitly describes the Dhyana Murti of Dakshinamurti Sampradaya. The Sahasranama describes keshAdi pAdAnta swarUpa of Amba and it is only logical that the vAgdevatas describe upper hands first and then the lower hands of Amba. Though Bhaskararaya realizes this, he gives more importance to his own sampradAya than what is implicitly conveyed by the vAgdevatas.

Works like Nityotsava interpret the Kalpasutras incorrectly while dealing with Ayudha mantras by listing mantras for Kameshwara Ayudhas in the case of Dhanurbana and Kameshwari Ayudha mantra for Pasha. As sAmpradAyikas like Maheshwaranandanatha and Vidyanandanatha point out, both sets of Ayudhas need to be worshipped. Again, in books which list both, kameshwari is incorrectly attributed with Kameshwara Ayudha mantras and vice versa. The correct details should be learnt from a Sadguru who understands the correct details and their individual significance.

From Amba's pAsha arose a vidyA called ashwArUDhA and from ankusha, a deity named samptkarI. There are two mantras for Sampatkari, one a three lettered mantra and the other is six-lettered. The former is a part of uttarAmnAya and latter belongs to UrdhwAmnAya. What we are more interested in is the six-lettered vidyA which grants the wealth of six virtues: jnAna, shakti, bala, aishwarya, vIrya and tejaH, by destroying the six enemies (ShaDvairi - kAma krodha etc). Ashwa-s refer to the senses or Indriyas and riding on these horses in the manas whose adhiShThAtri is AshwarudhA. By upAsanA of SampatkarI and ashwarUDhA, who are Amba's anga devata-s, one is freed from rAga and dweSha, resulting in chitta shuddhi required to comprehend the swarUpa of Sri Lalita as described by the Vedanta Vakya Tattvamasi.

Thus, sporting pAsha and ankusha in her hands, this is what Amba indicates: Holding rAga and dweSha is my hands, I assure freedom from these to those who take refuge in me.

Sri Nilakantha Dikshita says in Ananda sAgara stava:

paashaM sR^iNiM cha karayostava bhaavayantaH saMstambhayanti vashayanti cha sarvalokaan |

By meditating on Amba sporting pAsha and ankusha, Amba attracts one's mind towards herself (through the power of parAnurakti of pAsha) and immobilizes the mind (through the stambhana shakti of ankusha) by completly controlling anger or hatred (and other mano vikAras). The same sentiment is expressed by Krodha Bhattaraka Sri Durvasa deshikendra in Tripura Mahimna Stotra (pAsham prapUritamahA etc. and yaH swAnte kalayati etc.)

AnandAdvaitakandalIM vande