kAmadAM lalitAM vande kAmAkShIM kAmakoTikAm
The list of Tantras in mahAsiddhasAraswata lists yoginIhR^idaya as a separate Tantra, among the sixty-four:
gaNeshavimarshinItantraM nityAtantraM shivAgamam |
yoginIhR^idayaM tantraM bhairavaM parameshwari ||
Yet another list lists vAmakeshwara and yoginIhR^idaya separately:
bhairavItripurAtantre vAmakeshwaratantrakam |
yoginIhR^idayaM kAlIhR^idayaM mAtR^ikArNavam ||
According to the celebrated scholar Sri Bhaskararaya, vAmakeshwara tantra is composed of pUrvottara chatuHshati-s (eight-hundred verses divided into two sets of four-hundred shlokas). The first is called nityAShoDashikArNava and the second as yoginIhR^idayam. The first half actually contains 430.5 shlokas, as indicated by Bhaskararaya in his glorious commentary Setubandha. As Bhaskararaya seems to consider the entire work as nityAShoDashikArNava, he comments on the entire work – the commentary known as Setubandha – the bridge to cross-over the ocean of nityAShoDashikArNava shAstra. The work, being of the classic tripurA school, discusses chakra – mantra and pUjA saMketas. However, there are several stotras (mahAtripurasundarI sahasranAma), Kavacha-s (saubhAgya brahmavidyA kavacha etc) and khandas (parA shoDashI khanda etc) which are considered as part of vAmakeshwara Tantra. So, these should be appendices to the actual tantra – or – these along with pUrvottara chatuHshatI are part of a bigger vAmakeshwara Tantra – or – these parts belong to a separate Tantra brhadvamakeshwara. This view does not seem purely nonsensical –
shrIvAmakeshwaraM nAma shAstraM tantraM prakAshate |
madhye shAstrasya tasyAsti nityAShoDashikArNavaH || [Rjuvimarshini of Shivananda Muni]
Also, in manoramA (commentary on Tantraraja), shrI subhagAnandanAtha lists sundarIhR^idaya, nityAShoDaShikArNava and vAmakeshwara as separate Tantras. One may wonder if sundarIhR^idaya is a separate Tantra. But this idea is rejected if the vyutpatti of the word yoginIhrdaya by Sri Bhaskararaya is examined:
yoginIhrdayanAmakaM yoginyAstripurasundaryA hR^icchittaM etc.
Again, as Sivananda muni states in Rjuvimarshini – tatra cha dve chatuHshatyau – two sets of four-hundreds in the bigger Vamakeshwara tantra, seems to indicate the same. Even Bhaskararaya agrees with – madhye shAstrasya tasyAsti nityAShoDashikarNavaH which is indicative of sections of Vamakeshwara Tantra before and after NityAShoDashikArNava.
Different lineages seem to hold different views in this regard – as evident even from the differences between Sri Bhaskararaya and Sri Amritananda Yogin – commentators on this work (setubandha and dIpinI). MahAmhopAdhyAya Sri Gopinath Kaviraj concludes thus: `Earlier (during manoramAkAra Sri Subhaganandanatha), vAmakeshwara Tantra (including nityAShoDashikarNava as a part) was considered as separate from YoginihR^idaya. But in course of time, due to the similarity of topics discussed in the two Tantras (nityAShoDashikArNava and yoginIhR^idaya) and also on account of the two being complimentary to each other, they got clubbed together as pUrvottara chatuHshati-s. This view came to be gradually accepted by Sri Vidyanandanatha (Srinivasa Bhatta who wrote Artharatnavali - a commentary on nityAShoDashikArNava, shrIvidyAratnAkara – an encyclopedic manual of shrIchakra pUja and shivArchanachandrikA) and his guru Sri SacchidAnandanAtha (author of Sri LalitArchanachandrikA) – and later by Sri Bhaskararaya.
Among tripurA tantras – for kAdi mata, Tantraraja is the most important as it discusses every aspect of tripurA upAsana, with weight on antaryAga. Nothing surpasses this tantra in authority or content. Next follows vAmakeshwara which gives equal importance to both these. This is followed by parashurAma kalpasUtra – dealing entirely with ritualistic bahiryAga. Some scholars – like sacchidAnandanAtha place jnAnArNava above the kalpasutras.
Setubandha is considered as one among the prasthAnatraya of Srividya – along with Varivasyarahasya and Saubhagya Bhaskara. Though Bhaskara's scholarship is matchless, many relish Dipini better due to its simplicity, discussion of secrets of mantra shAstra and more than anything – exposition of traditional views handed down from a lineage of great Siddhas.
kirAtadurgAM sharaNaM prapadye