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Hymns to the Goddess, by John Woodroffe (Arthur Avalon), [1913], at

p. 22 p. 23





THUS shall I pray to Thee, O Tripurā, 3
To attain the fruit of my desires,
In this hymn by which men attain that Lakṣmī, 4
Who is worshipped by the Devas.


Origin of the world thou art,
Yet hast Thou Thyself no origin,
Though with hundreds of hymns.
Even Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Maheśvara 5 cannot know Thee. 6
Therefore we worship Thy breasts, Mother of all Śāstra7
Shining with fresh saffron.

p. 24


O Tripurā, 1 we adore Thee,
Whose body shines with the splendour of a thousand risen suns,
Holding with two of thy hands a book 2 and rosary of rudrākṣa beads, 3
And with two others making the gestures
Which grant boons and dispel fear. 4
With three lotus eyes is Thy lotus face adorned.
Beauteous is Thy Neck with its necklace of large pearls. 5


O Mother, how can the ignorant, whose minds are restless with doubt and dispute,
Know Thy form ravishing with its vermilion, 6
Stooping with the weight of Thy breasts, 7
Accessible only by merit,
Acquired in previous birth?

p. 25


O Bhavānī1 the munis 2 describe thee in physical form; 3
The Śruti speaks of Thee in subtle form;
Others call Thee presiding Deity of speech;
Others, again, as the root of the worlds.
But we think of Thee
As the untraversable ocean of mercy, and nothing else.


Worshippers contemplate Thee in their heart
As three-eyed, adorned with the crescent moon,
White as the autumnal moon,
Whose substance is the fifty letters, 4
Holding in Thy hands a book, a rosary, a jar of nectar, and making the vyakhya mudrā5

p. 26


O Tripurā, Thou art Śambhu 1 united with Pārvatī. 2
Thou art now Viṣṇu embraced by Kamalā, 3
And now Brahmā born of the lotus. 4
Thou art again the presiding Devī of speech,
And yet again art the energy of all these.


I, having taken refuge with the four--
Bhāvas5 Parā, and others 6 born of the vāgbhava (bīja), 7

p. 27

Shall never in my heart forget Thee, the supreme Devatā,
Whose substance is existence and intelligence, 1
And who expresseth by Thy throat and other organ
The bhāva appearing in the form of letters. 2


The blessed, having conquered the six enemies, 3
And drawing in their breath, 4
With steady mind fix their gaze on the tip of their nostrils,
And contemplate in their head Thy moon-crested form, 5
Resplendent as the newly risen sun.


The Vedas proclaim that Thou createth the world,
Having assumed the other half of the body of the enemy of Kāma. 6
Verily is it true, O Daughter of the mountain and the only World-mother,
That had this not been so,
The multitude of worlds would never have been.

p. 28


In company with the wives of the Kinnaras, 1
The Siddha women, 2 whose eyes are reddened by wine 3
Having worshipped Thee with the flowers of celestial trees 4
In Thy pītha 5 in the caverns of the golden mountain, 6
Sing Thy praises.


I worship in my heart the Devī whose body is moist with nectar, 7
Beauteous as the splendour of lightning,
Who, going from Her abode to that 8 of Śiva, 9
Opens the lotuses on the beautiful way 10

p. 29

         of the suṣuṁnā1


O Tripurā, I take refuge at Thy lotus feet,
Worshipped by Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Maheśvara;
The abode of bliss, the source of the Vedas,
The origin of all prosperity;
Thou whose body is Intelligence itself. 2


I shall never forget Her who is the giver of happiness;
She it is, O Mother, who, in the form of the Moon,
Creates the world full of sounds and their meanings,
And again, by Her power in the form of the Sun,
She it is who maintains the world.
And She, again, it is who, in the form of Fire, destroys the whole universe at the end of the ages. 3

p. 30


Men worship Thee under various names--
As Nārāyaṇa 1; as She who saves from the ocean of Hell; 2
As Gaurī; 3 as the allayer of grief; 4 as Sarasvatī, 5
And as the three-eyed giver of knowledge. 6


O Mother of the world, such as worship Thee with twelve Verses of this hymn attain to Thee, and gain all powers 7 of speech and the supreme abode.


23:1 Fem. of Bhairava, a name of Śiva.

23:2 P. 596, Ed. Rasik Mohun Chatterjee.

23:3 See Tripurasundarī--post.

23:4 Devī of prosperity.

23:5 Śiva.

23:6 In the Viṣṇu Yāmala, Viṣṇu says of the Devī: "Thy supreme form none know "(mātastvatparamarūpam tannajānāti kashchana), (see chap. iii Śāktānandataranginī).

23:7 Vāngmaya.

24:1 See post.

24:2 Vidyā.

24:3 Seed of a plant sacred to the worship of Śiva.

24:4 That is, She makes the mudrā vara and abhaya. In the first the hand is held forth in front of the body with the palm upward and horizontal, the fingers together, and the thumb crossing the palm to the fourth finger. In the second the hand is held up with the fingers and thumb in the same positions with the palm towards the spectator.

24:5 Tārā, the ordinary pearl, is called muktā.

24:6 Sindūra, the Bhairavī's body is painted with vermilion and Her garments also are red.

24:7 Kuchabharaṇamrām (see Introduction).

25:1 The Devī is Bhavānī as the spouse and giver of Life to Bhava.

25:2 Sages.

25:3 There are three forms of the Devī--the gross or physical, with hands, feet, etc.; the subtle (sūkṣma), consisting of mantra and the supreme (parā), which is the real or own (svarūpā). The form of the Devī has both prakāśa and vimarśa aspects--that is real and secondary or manifested. Thus the Vāmakeśvara Tantra says: "The Devī Tripurā is Her real form. She who is of a red colour is the manifested one."

25:4 Of the alphabet or mātṛkā (panchāśadākṣaramayīm). These letters stand for the vṛtti (functions and qualities of being). The Devī is thus mātṛkāmayī, or composed of mātṛkā.

25:5 Vyakhya. according to the Śabda Kalpadruma = vivaraṇam (description), or grantha (book), and also commentary, but here denotes a mudrā of that name.

26:1 Śiva, one of the forms of the four mahāpreta, whose bīja is "Hsau."

26:2 The androgyne form, called ardhanārīśvara, half being Śiva and the other half Śakti. According to Hindu belief, the wife is the pure and sacred (puṇyā) half of her husband's body, and besides shares the purity and merits of her husband according to the common saying Śarīrārdham smṛtā jāyā puṇyā puṇyāphale samā.

26:3 Lakṣmī.

26:4 That is, the power of destruction, maintenance, and creation.

26:5 The four bhāvas are states or conditions of Kuṇḍalinī appearing as sound and its subtle elements, and are Parā, whose abode (sthāna) is the mūlādhāra; Paśyantī in the svādhiṣṭhāna; Madḥyamā in the anāhata; and Vaikharī in the viśuddha issuing through the throat (see next note). There appears, however, to be some difference as to the location of the second.

26:6 Parā is the first condition of Kuṇḍalinī in the form of tāmasik sound in the Mūlādhāra; Paśyantī is the bhāva when Kuṇḍalinī, associated with manas, reaches the position variously stated as the svādiṣṭhāna or manipūra; Madhyamā, when it reaches the anāhatacakra, associated with buddhi; and Vaikharī is when Kuṇḍalinī issues through the throat in the form of the fifty letters. It is said that though there are thus four kinds of speech, the gross-minded do not understand the first three, and think speech to be Vaikharī alone.

26:7 That is, Āim the bīja of Sarasvatī. The Devī is 'three syllabled' (Tryakṣarī)--that is, the bīja of the three divisions of the p. 27 Panchadaśi, Vāgbhava, Kāmārāja and Śakti. According to the Vāmakeśvara Tantra, Vāgiśvarī is the jnānā śakti, which is in the vāgbhava division, and confers salvation, the kāmārāja and śakti divisions being the kriyā and ichchhā sākti (see the Lalitā, verse 126).

27:1 Sacchinmayī, the Brahman being sat and chit.

27:2 That is, they ultimately so appear, though previously existing as subtle elements of sound.

27:3 The six sins: Lust (kāma), anger (krodha), greed (lobha), delusion (moha), pride (mada), envy (mātsaryā).

27:4 Akunchya vayam by pūraka of prānāyāmā.

27:5 As Śakti of Śiva.

27:6 Śiva. The Androgyne form ardhanārīśvara.

28:1 A lower order of Devas (devayoni).

28:2 Wives of the Siddhas, also celestial spirits (devayoni) inhabiting the atmospheric plane (bhuvah).

28:3 Asvāditāsavarasāruna netrapadma.

28:4 Pādapa, so called because the tree drinks by its roots. As to the celestial trees (see "Wave of Bliss" post).

28:5 Seat or shrine.

28:6 Sumeru.

28:7 For She as Kuṇḍalinī goes from the mūlādhāra to the śivasthāna in the sahasrāra and returns moist with the nectar of Her union with Him.

28:8 Rajādhani. Literally capital city of Śiva.

28:9 That is from the mūlādhāra cakra to the śivasthāna.

28:10 The suṣuṁnā is the central "nerve" (nādī), or, rather, channel of energy in the body in which the lotuses (ṣatcakra) are threaded with their heads normally downwards. As Kuṇḍalinī becomes stirred by the yoga process, She ascends from the p. 29 mūlādhāra and enters the higher cakra. As She does so, the lotuses upturn and expand again, closing on her departure.

29:1 The text which has sausuvartma kamalāni vikāshayantim, is not, however, intelligible, and the metre is short. Possibly it is a misprint for saumyang.

29:2 That is, nothing but intelligence caitanyamātra tanu.

29:3 Nādā, as Rāghava Bhatta says, exists in the three states of nibodhikā or bodhinī, nāda, and in the form of bindu, according to the predominance of the guṇa. These three and the śaktis, jnānā, kriyā and ichhā, of which they are special manifestations, are said to be in the form of sun, moon, and fire respectively. The moon (indu) is ichchhā (will and desire), the eternal precursor of creation. Kriyā is like the sun, which makes all things visible. Jnānā is fire, as it burns up all actions (see Ṣatcakranirūpaṇā, verse 49, and Sāradā Tilaka, chap. i.).

30:1 As Viṣṇu.

30:2 Narakārnatārinī.

30:3 Spouse of Śiva. The Devī Purāṇa says; "She who was burned by the fire of yoga was again born of Himālaya; as She has the colour of the conch, jasmine, and moon, she is called Gaurī." Her colour is golden. Śiva said to Pārvatī: "O Daughter of Himalaya, I am white as the moon and thou art dark. I am the sandal-tree, and thou art, as it were, a snake entwined round it." Pārvatī, taking umbrage at this remark upon Her dark complexion, went away to the forest, and there, by the performance of austerities, gained for herself a golden complexion beautiful as the sunlit sky.

30:4 Khedāshāmine.

30:5 Śiva.

30:6 Devī of speech and learning.

30:7 Vāksiddhi or siddhi of words.

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