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

p. 56





O MOTHER, Devī Nīlasarasvatī 3 Tārā,

p. 57

Refuge with Thee I crave.
Giver of prosperity and wealth art Thou
To those who worship Thee. Standing on Śiva,
Thy right foot upon His breast and left upon His thigh.
Ever art Thou, with smiling lotus-like face.
Thy three eyes are, as it were, full-blown lotuses.
In Thy hands Thou holdest a knife, 1 a skull, a lotus, and a sword.


Thou art the presiding Devī of speech.
Thou art the creeper which grants all desires. 2
Thou art the giver of all siddhi3
And the power to write both verse and prose.
Three are Thine eyes, as it were blue lotuses.
Ocean of kindness and compassion art Thou.
I pray Thee of Thy mercy shower upon me the nectar of prosperity.


O Sharbhā, 4 I pray Thee remove my fears.
Proud Lady, brilliant are Thy garments,
Bright with coiling serpents.
Thou art clad in tiger skin.
Thy waist is adorned with tiny tinkling bells.
Thou holdest the heads of two demons
Dripping with blood, just severed by the sword.
Thy waist is girdled with heads of demons,

p. 58

As it were with a garland.
Thus art Thou beautiful, O formidable One. 1


O Devī Tārā, attained with difficulty,
I take refuge with Thee.
Thou art beautiful with form both amorous and charmful. 2
Thou art Bindu and the half-moon, 3
Whose substance is Hrīm and Phat4
Thou art mantra 5 and the shelter of all.
Thy forms are threefold
Gross, Subtle, and Supreme.
Thou art beyond the reach of Veda. 6

p. 59


By the service of Thy lotus feet,
Men of good deed attain sāyujya 1 liberation.
O Parameśvarī, Thou art the Spouse of Him 2
Who is Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and the three-eyed One.
O Mother! he who neglects to serve Thy lotus feet,
But serves instead the Devas, Indra, and others,
Who are themselves plunged in the ocean of samsāra, 3
Is indeed and most truly ignorant.


O Mother! those Devas who receive on their crowns
The pollen which comes from Thy lotus-like feet, 4

p. 60

Are able to keep their promise of conquest,
And to gain victory over their enemies in battle--
Such, without a doubt, are sheltered in Thy lap.
But their enemies who send forth the defiant challenge,
"I am a Deva, and none is equal to me in the whole world,"
Perish and meet such death as befits them.


Bhūta, Preta, Piśācha, Rākṣasa,
Daitya, foremost of Dānava, Yakṣa, Lords of Naga, 1
Wrathful Dākinī, 2 great birds, 3 tigers, and other dreadful creatures
Forthwith take flight at but the remembrance of Thy name,
And are powerless to do aught of evil.


Who serves Thy lotus feet, to him siddhi 4 is given.
He surpasses the Lord of speech, 5
And obtains the beauty of Kāma. 6
He can charm and paralyze 7 multitudes of elephants upon the field of battle,

p. 61

And has power to stay the flow of water. 1
The Siddha 2 and prosperity are under his control.


Whoever, being pure and self-controlled,
Reads this eight-versed hymn to Tārā,
At morn, at noon, at evening,
To him is given
The power to write beautifully in prose or verse, 4
Knowledge in all Śāstra,
Imperishable fortune,
The enjoyment of whatsoever he may desire,
Fame, beauty, and wealth,
The love of all men,
And at the end liberation.


56:1 The Matsyasūkta, Tārārṇava, and Nīla Tantras deal with particulars or Tārā or Tāriṇī, one of the Mahāvidyā, whose bīja is Hrīm Strīm, Hūm (Kurccha), Phat (see verse 4). She is called Nīlasarasvatī, because She playfully gives the power of speech. She is called Tārā on account of her being deliverer or saviour (tārakatvāt). She gives both pleasure (sukha) and liberation (mokṣa). She is called also Ugratārā, because She saves from formidable and horrible calamities. Ṛṣi Vaśiṣṭha is said to have cursed this vidyā, and then raised the curse so that siddhi might be gained from Her by japa of the bīja Hrīm, Strīm, Hūm, Phat, after which She again became glorious. Her Mantra is also given as Śrīm, Hrīm, Strīm, Hūm, Phat (giver of wealth and beauty); another is Hrīm, Hrīm, Strīm, Hūm, Phat (giver of all desires); another is Aim, Hrīm, Strīm, Hūm, Phat (giver of speech), and Hrīm, Strīm, Hūm, Phat (giver of liberation). Her Yantra is an eight-petalled lotus surrounded by a circle, with inverted triangle in the centre with Hūm. On the petals are Hrīm, Strīm, Śrīm, Hūm. There is also a Tantra (Tārāṣatkoṇa) of two superimposed triangles, making a star.

56:2 From the Nīla Tantra (see also Tantrasāra, p. 610, R. M. Chatterjee's edition, and the Brihatstotraratnākara, p. 283, where a more correct text is given).

56:3 The blue Sarasvatī, Devī of speech (see note 1, ante). Nīla Tantra says She is in the form of all language (sarvabhāṣā ayī). The Nīlasarasvatī Yantra is figured at p. 93 of the Dashamahāvidyā.

57:1 Karttri (for dhyāna see p. 94 Daśamahāvidyā).

57:2 As did the celestial Kalpa tree in Indra's heaven.

57:3 Material success, psychical powers, spiritual attainment.

57:4 Spouse of Śiva (Sharbha).

58:1 Her dhyāna is given as follows: The Devī is in the midst of four blazing funeral pyres; Her feet as described in verse 1; formidable, with garland of severed heads; short of stature; big-bellied; tiger skin round the waist; youthful; four-armed; protruding tongue; giving vara; holding the articles mentioned in verse 1 (the skull and lotus in left hands); a ṛṣi Akshobhya in the form of a serpent on her head; her body lustrous as that of the moonbeams; formidable teeth; smiling face; three eyes blazing like the morning sun.

58:2 Māyānanga vikārarūpalalane.

58:3 Ardhacandrātmike--that is, the crescent sign below the bindu in candra bindu. She is both bindu and Nāda (see Introduction). It is also said that there are eight varṇa above the bindu of Hrīm, commencing with ardhacandra, and ending with unmani, of which the third is Nāda. Here, as the Mahāsvachchanda Tantra states, the Devī should be contemplated.

58:4 Two tantrik bīja mantras: as to Hūm (see , note 1, ante). Phat is the astra or weapon mantra (see note 1, p. 50, ante).

58:5 Mantrātmike (see p. 2, ante).

58:6 Vedanāngnahigocharā, as to her three forms (vide ante).

59:1 Literally, "becoming one with the Deity." Identification of the self and the Deity with attributes; one of the four forms of qualified liberation--Sālokya, Sārūpya, Sāmīpya, Sāyujya. Those who know the Brahman and such worship to be imperfect reject them, and attain the unconditioned bliss (kaivalya) which transcends all other states. But these others must be passed before the end is reached, which the Śaktirahasya summarizes by a short verse: "A mortal who worships by ceremonies, by images, by mind, by identification, by knowing the self attains kaivalya."

59:2 That is Parameśvara, in whom the threefold energies which manifest in the trimūrti are contained tasyastri parameśvari trinayanabrahmādi samnyātmanah.

59:3 The Deva, in this like man, is a samsārin or inhabitant of the samsāra, which comprises earth, the antarikṣa, and heaven (svarga), the abode of the Deva. The latter has wife and children, is engaged in conflict with demons, and so forth. When the merit which gains the Deva heaven is exhausted, he descends to earth again.

59:4 That is, the Deva bow their heads at the feet of the Devī, receiving on their heads the dust of Her feet.

60:1 Various spirits and inferior divinities of more or less evil and malignant character.

60:2 A form of Śakti attendant on the Devī in Her terrible forms.

60:3 Khacara (vultures, eagles, etc.).

60:4 Vide ante, p. 57, note 3,

60:5 Brihaspati.

60:6 Deva of Love.

60:7 He has the powers of mohanam and stambhanam, the latter being one of the Tāntrika Ṣatkarma.

61:1 A particular form of Stambhanam called jalastambha.

61:2 Devayoni of that name inhabiting the antarikṣa.

61:3 Fruit or result of the stotra.

61:4 Labhate devyām kavitvām.

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