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

p. 91





I CONTEMPLATE the good Guru who is Light itself, 3
Sitting with his Śakti 4
In the lotus of the head, 5
Two-armed, gracious, very gracious,
Whose moon-like face is full of grace,
Making with his hands the gestures which grant boons and dispel fear. 6


Such as recite 7 thy primordial golden bīja 

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Attain all prosperity and fortune.


O Mother!
He who contemplates Thy second bīja,
Adorned by numbers of Devas,
"HRĪM," 2
Gains all prosperity.


The chiefs of men who meditate upon Thy bīja,
Lustrous as the sun,

p. 93

"KLĪM," 1
Charm the three worlds,
And by recitation thereof become like unto Īśvara.


O beloved of the enemy of Smara! 2
Those who contemplate Thy body 3 thrice 4 and recite these three bījas 5
Render their enemies speechless,
Lakṣmī shines in their house,
And they become the God of Love 6 to women.


The presiding Devatā of Speech
Blesses their mouth with poetry and prose.
Harmful animals cause them no harm,
Even the Suras 7 salute them.

p. 94

Their feet are the head ornaments of kings, 1
The siddhis 2 are in their hands,
Malignant stars relinquish them.


Let the Sādhaka meditate upon an eight-petalled lotus 3
Set upon a throne studded with various gems,
Placed upon an altar
Standing on the floor of a jewelled house
Amidst a forest of Pārijāta trees. 4


Let him then meditate upon two angles 5 in the lotus,
And the Devī Herself in the lotus as follows:
Her lustre is that of molten gold,
With earrings 6 on her ears,
Three-eyed, of beauteous throat,
Her face like the moon,
And bending from the weight of Her breasts. 7


She holds in many arms, decked with diamonds and other gems,

p. 95

Two lotuses, a noose, 1 bow, golden goad, 2 and flowery arrows. 3
Her body is adorned with great jewels,
Slender is She of waist 4 and beautifully girdled. 5


Her lotus feet glitter with beautiful anklets, 6
Crowned, adorned, and gracious,
Holding two white fly-whisks, 7 a mirror, jewel-case, 8 and a box filled with camphor. 9


Creatrix of the three worlds,
Destructress of the pain of the world,
Destructress and ruler of the world,
Ever full of Bliss,

p. 96

Half of the letter 1 of the nature of the three-fold Bindu2
The threefold Śakti3
It is Her I worship.


The Sadhaka who, having thus for a long time contemplated Her
On a yantra 4 set before him,
And welcomed 5 her with great devotion,
Worshipping Her with Svayambhu flower 6
Attains, even though he be of the lowest 7 siddhi 8 in the caturvarga9

p. 97


Whoever after having done worship 1
Of Śrī, 2 Śrīpatī, 3 Pārvatī, 4 Īśvara, 5 Ratī, 6 and Kāmadeva, 7
Together with the Ṣādanga Devatā 8 of the Devī,
Recites 9 the mantra on Thy yantra10
Becomes a King among men.


Having worshipped the two nidhis, 11 Śankha and Padma,
On the two sides of the lotus,

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And the Mahīṣīs, 1 regents of the quarters, 2 and their weapons,
Attains, even though he be of the most vile, 3 the eight siddhis 4 of Śiva.


Thou art the earth, Vidhātrī5 creatrix of the world; 6
Thou art water, and in the form of Viṣṇu preserveth the world;
Thou art fire, and in the form of Rudra destroyeth the world;
Thou existeth in the form of Aiśvarya7
Thou art the air of the world.


Thou art the primeval 5 and auspicious one, 8
Spouse of Śambhu, 9 refuge (of Thy worshippers).

p. 99

Who ever moves in the Brahmarandhra 1 of the world
The supporter of all, yet Thyself without support.
The only pure One in the form of ether. 2
O Bhavānī! be gracious to me.


Thou hast humbled the pride even of the Rṣis
By plunging them into the ocean of the world.
Thou art intelligence and bliss and light itself. 3
How, then, can I know thee?
O Bhavānī! be gracious to me.


O Bhavānī! even an ignorant man 4
Who, meditating on Thy form, recites 5 Thy mantra a lakh of times
Acquires all poetic power,
And those things in the three worlds which are most difficult of attainment.
O Bhavānī! be gracious to me.


Thou art that which supports 6 and that which is supported. 7
Thou pervadeth the world,

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And art in the form of the world which is pervaded by Thee. 1
Thou art both negation 2 and existence. 3
O Bhavānī! be gracious to me.


Thou art the atom 4 and ever-pervading. 5
Thou art the whole universe.
No praise of Thee is sufficient.
Yet Thy qualities prompt me to sing Thy praise.
O Bhavānī! be gracious to me.


To him who reads and recites 6 at morn, noon, and evening
This most secret hymn,
There is nothing impossible in the three worlds, Such an one attains Thy nature. 7
O Bhavānī! be gracious to me.


91:1 Tripuṭā and Tripurā are separate Devīs, but the former is antargatā of Tripurā--that is, forms part, is included in, and a particular manifestation of Tripurā. In the same way the Devīs Ekajaṭa, Nīlasarasvatī, Ugratārā, Mahogrā, are each antargatā of Tārā.

91:2 Tantrasāra, p. 571.

91:3 Prakaśasvarūpa. Prakāśa is light and manifestation.

91:4 Spouse.

91:5 That is, the Sahasrārapadma.

91:6 That is, he is making the two mudrās called vara and abhaya respectively.

91:7 Literally, "make japa".

92:1 As is frequently the case in Tāntrik works, the mantra is not given in the text, but must be spelt out. Thus the Sanskrit is vakamvahnisamstham trimurtyā prajuṣtam saśānkenayuktam--that is, as "vakam with vahni attended by trimurti, combined with śaśāngka." Vakam = "Ś" (tālavya). Vahni is the "fire." = "r," trimūrti = the long vowel ī, and śaśāngka, the moon in "whose lap is the hare," or "man in the moon" = "m" (anusvāra). Ś + r + i + m = śrīm the Lakshmībīja (see the Ādyakālīstotra of Mahānirvāṇa Tantra).

92:2 Literally, Nabhovahni (not vāyu, as the text has it, for the vāyu bīja is yam); miśram (not mitram as Prasanna Kumāra Shāstrī’s edition has it); tatovāmanetram sudhā dhāmavimbam niyojyaikāvaktram--that is, nabhas combined with vahni, and then vāmanetra and the receptacle of nectar (the moon) applicable in the case of Ekavaktra. Nabhas = "ha" or "bha" (here the former), vahni = "ra," vāmanetra = long ī, and the moon is anusvāra ("m"), H + r + ī + m = Hrīm, known as the māyā bīja. Then the śloka more clearly points to the bīja meant by saying it is that applicable to Ekavaktra. The latter is the Bhairava of Bagalāmukhī, whose bīja is also Hrīm.

93:1 Literally, Virinchim kṣitistham tatovāmanetram vidhum nādayuktam--that is, virinchi, kṣiti and vāmanetra, together with moon combined with nāda. Virinchi = "ka", kṣiti = "La," vāmanetra =long ī, the moon = "m" (anusvāra). K + l + ī + m = Klīm. The three elements of the mantra are given--viz., Śrīm, Hrīm, Klīm--but the actual bīja of Tripuṭā is Śrīm, Hrīm, Klīm, Hrīm, Śrīm, Klīm, Klīm, Śrīm, Hrīm.

93:2 The Deva of love (Kāma), of whom Śiva is described as the enemy, for he burnt him with the fire of his eye (see p. 40, note 1).

93:3 Anga.

93:4 Literally, make japa. "Thrice," as follows Śrīm, Hrīm, Klīm, Hrīm, Śrīm, Klīm, Klīm, Śrīm, Hrīm."

93:5 See last note.

93:6 The beautiful youth Kāma. Cf. Verse 5 of Karpūrādistotra.

93:7 The Devas.

94:1 That is, he sets his feet on the heads of kings.

94:2 The great powers, aṇimā, laghimā, etc. (see p. 18, note 6).

94:3 The heart lotus (not anāhata) in which the Iṣṭadevatā is worshipped.

94:4 One of the celestial trees (see HYMN "Wave of Bliss", post).

94:5 Yoni. There are five yonis or śakti angles in the Śrīcakra.

94:6 Kuṇḍala.

94:7 Subakṣojanamrām.

95:1 Pāśakam.

95:2 Angkuśa.

95:3 Puṣpavānām (see Comm. Lalitā, verse 2) According to the Yoginihṛdaya, the noose is Ichchā; the goad, jnāna; and the bow and arrows the kṛyā śaktis respectively.

95:4 Sumadhyām.

95:5 She wears a candrahāra, so called because it has a moonlike ornament in its centre.

95:6 Tulākota.

95:7 Cāmara or chowrie, the bushy tail of the Cāmara (the yak; bos grunniens), used as a fly-whisk or fan, an insignia of royalty, and also used as a streamer on the heads of horses.

95:8 Karanda--alangkāra pātra.

95:9 Samudgam, translated in the Bengali as a pān-box with camphor, which is put into pān (betel).

96:1 Hakārārddhavarṇām--that is, She is Kāmakalā-svarūpā (see Ādyākālīstotram, p. 43, and the Kāmakalāvilāsa, cited in the Lalitā sahasranāma, verse 73.) Another name for Kāmakalāsvarūpā is Kāmapurasvarūpā. The half Ha resembles a bindu, of which there are three--viz., the bindu at the base of the triangle from which the A-ka-tha trikoṇa emanated and the visargah above. See Kālīcarana's commentary on the Pādukāpancakam, in The Serpent Power.

96:2 Tribindusvarūpā--there are three such in Kāmakalā.

96:3 Jnāna, ichchhā, and kṛyā śaktis of the Devī.

96:4 Diagram used in Tāntrik worship (see Introduction to Tantra Śāstra.)

96:5 With the āvāhana mantra--viz., iha āgacha iha āgacha, iha tishtha, iha tishtha atra adishthānam kuru mama pujām, grihāna. ("Come here, come here! Stay here, stay here! accept my worship").

96:6 See Mātṛkābheda Tantra. The word puṣpa (flower) has here a technical sense. Puṣpaśabdena atra riturucyate. Mātṛkābhedatantra pramānānusārena anurāyāh kanyāyāh prathama eva riluratrā uccyate. Tantrāntaretu vivāhitāyāh eva bālāyāh rituratra vivakṣitah.

96:7 Pāmara, one who is low or vile, a very contumelious term.

96:8 Success, perfection, fruition.

96:9 That is, Dharma (religion, piety), artha (wealth), Kāma (desire and its fulfilment), and Mokṣa (liberation). (See Introduction to Tantra Śāstra).

97:1 Pūjā.

97:2 Lakṣmī.

97:3 Viṣṇu.

97:4 Devī as daughter of Himavat.

97:5 Śiva.

97:6 Spouse of Kāma, the God of Love.

97:7 The God of Love.

97:8 That is, the six āvarana or attendant Devatās on the Devī.

97:9 Makes japa of.

97:10 See Introduction to Tantra Śāstra.

97:11 There are eight gems or treasures (nidhi) of Kubera--viz., padma, mahāpadma, makara, kachchapa, mukunda, nīla, nanda, śankha. The Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa gives the meaning of nidhi in the following śloka ("Lakṣmī is the presiding Devatā of the vidyā, called Padminī. The nidhis are Her supporters. Listen while I speak of them"):

Padminināma yā vidyā,
Lakṣmī stadadhi devatā,
Tadādhārāsca nidhaya,
Stan me nivadatah śrinu

98:1 That is, the Śaktis Brāhmī, etc.

98:2 The lokapālas or guardians of the points of the compass (N., N. W., W., S. W., N.E., E., S.E., and S. Indra, Yama, Varuna, Kubera, Vivasvat, Soma, Agni and Vāyu).

98:3 Pāmara.

98:4 Aṇimā, Laghima, etc.

98:5 Vidhātrī = Creatrix; but both the terms Vidhātrī and Creatrix of the world are used in the text.

98:6 The six aiśvarya are Śrī (beauty and auspiciousness), Vīrya (power), jñāna (Wisdom), Vairāgya (dispassion), Kīrti (glory) and Māhātmya (greatness). Bhagavān is He who is possessed of these six aiśvarya. All these are in the Devī who is hence called Bhagavatī (see Devī Bhāg. Pr., Saktirahasya; Bhāskararāya, op. cit., verse 65), and as here, Aiśvarya rūpā.

98:7 Ādyā.

98:8 Śivé, voc. of Śivé, feminine of Śiva.

98:9 Śiva.

99:1 The opening in the top of the head, whence in the case of yogis the soul on death issues.

99:2 Ākāśakalpā.

99:3 Prakāśasvarūpā.

99:4 Mandaceta.

99:5 Makes japa.

99:6 Ādhāraśakti.

99:7 Tvāmādheyarūpā.

100:1 Jagatvyāpyarūpā.

100:2 Abhāva, the last of the seven categories of Kanāda's system (Vaiśeṣika Sūtra). Thus darkness is the abhāva of light.

100:3 Bhāva.

100:4 Aṇu.

100:5 Vibhu.

100:6 Makes japa.

100:7 Svarūpam labhante--that is, he attains that form of liberation which is known as svārūpya mukti (receiving the same form as that of the Devatā worshipped).

Next: Hymns to the Devī from Purāṇa