Sacred Texts  Tantra  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

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

p. 217




Īśvari, 2 who ever bestoweth happiness,
Granting gifts and dispelling fear.
O mine of gems of beauty,
Who washeth away all sin,
Who giveth purity to Thy devotees,
Who purifieth the mountain range, 3
Which is undestroyed even at the time of dissolution, 4
Presiding Deity of Kāśī, 5
Maheśvarī 6 in every truth,
O vessel of mercy! grant me aid.


O Thou who hast clothed Thyself in cloth of gold,

p. 218

Decked with ornaments made of many and varied gems,
Whose breasts rounded like a water jar,
Are resplendent with their necklace of pearls,
Whose beauty is enhanced by the fragrance of the Kashmir aloe.
O Devī! who presidest over the city of Kāśī, 1
O Mother Annapūrṇā Iśvarī, 2
O vessel of mercy, grant me aid!


O giver of the bliss of Yoga3
Destructress of enemies, 4
Inspirer of devotion to dharma and artha5
Who art lustrous as the light waves of sun, moon, and fire,
Protectress of the three worlds 6
Giver of all dominion 7 and all desires,
Presiding Devī over the city of Kāśī,
O vessel of mercy, grant me aid!

p. 219


Thou who maketh Thy dwelling in the cave of Mount Kailāsa, 1
Who art Gaurī, 2 Umā, 3 and Śankarī, 4 Kaumārī, 5
Who giveth us power to understand the meaning of Nigama6

p. 220

Thou art the letters of the bīja 1 Om 2,
Opener of the panels of the door of liberation, 3
Presiding Devī over the City of Kāśī,
O vessel of mercy, grant me aid!


Thou supporteth all beings visible and invisible,
Whose belly is the vessel which contains the universe. 4
Thou discloseth the subject of the drama of Thy own play,
And art the fount of the light of wisdom,
Pleasing the mind of the Lord of the universe,
Presiding Devī over the City of Kāśī,
O vessel of mercy, grant me aid!


Īśvarī of all men on earth,
The waves of Thy blue-black hair look (beautiful) like plaits.
Īśvarī who ever giveth food,
Bestower of happiness to all, who advanceth all people,

p. 221

Presiding Devī over the City of Kāśī,
O vessel of mercy, grant me aid!


Thou givest all instruction onwards from the time of initiation, 1
And art the cause of the threefold manifestation of Śambhu. 2
Scented with the Kashmir aloe, Thou art the Īśvarī of the three regions. 3
Thou art triple waved, 4
And the night of dissolution.
Thou art the cause of all lasting things,
And fulfiller of the desires of those who desire.
It is Thou who maketh the greatness of peoples.
Presiding Devī over the City of Kāśī,
O vessel of mercy, grant me aid!


Thou, Devī, art adorned with all various kinds of gems,
Daughter of Dakṣa, 5

p. 222

Beautiful, pleasing the world
With the sweet milk of Thy left breast. 1
Thou art Maheśvarī, for Thou givest prosperity to all,
For Thou givest welfare,
And fulfillest the desires of your devotees.
Presiding Devī over the City of Benares,
O vessel of mercy, grant me aid!


Thou art She who shinest with the brilliance of millions of suns, moons, and fires.
Whose earrings are brilliant as the sun, moon, and fire,
Who art the cause of the colour of both sun and moon,
Who holdeth a rosary, 2 a book, 3 a noose, and a goad. 4
Presiding Devī over the City of Benares,
O vessel of mercy, grant me aid!


Protectress of Kṣatriyas, 5
Great dispeller of all fear,
Mother, who art an ocean of mercy,
In very truth the ever auspicious giver of salvation,
The cause of the beauty of Viśveśvara, 6

p. 223

It was Thou who made Dakṣa to weep. 1
Remover of all ills,
Presiding Devī over the City of Benares,
O vessel of mercy, grant me aid!


O Annapūrṇā! who art ever full (of bounty),
Who art dear to the life of Śankara, 2
O Pārvatī, give me aid!


My mother is Devī Pārvati,
My father is Deva Maheśvara, 3
My friends and relatives are those who are devoted to Śiva,
And the three regions 4 are my fatherland.


217:1 The name of the Devī, the "bountiful Lady" who gives food and presides over Kāśī, the Holy City of Benares.

217:2 Feminine of Īśvara or Lord.

217:3 The Himalaya purified by the presence of the Devī, who there incarnated as Pārvatī, daughter of Himavat, the Mountain-King.

217:4 Pralaya, the destruction of the world.

217:5 Benares (see note 1.)

217:6 Great Īśvarī (see note 2).

218:1 Benares.

218:2 Feminine of Īśvara or Lord.

218:3 Union of the human (jivātmā) with the supreme (paramātmā) soul effected through the practice of Yoga.

218:4 That is, sin.

218:5 Two of the fourfold aims (Caturvarga) of sentient being--viz., dharma (religion, duty, etc.), artha (wealth, wherewith life is sustained and religious sacrifices are effected), Kāma (desire which prompts great achievements and fulfilment), and mokṣa or liberation.

218:6 That is, Bhuh, Bhuvah, Svah, the terrestrial atmospheric and the heavenly spheres.

218:7 Aiśvarya (lordship).

219:1 The sacred mount and paradise of Śiva; esoterically the Sahasrāra whereto as Kuṇḍalinī She repairs.

219:2 The daughter of Guru, the King of mountains (see p. 187, note 4). Gaurī also means "fair".

219:3 A name of the Devī. When of the age of sixteen she practised great austerities that She might be the Spouse of Śiva, upon which Her mother, endeavouring to persuade Her, said, U ("Oh"), Mā ("not"). As it is said by Kālidāsa in the first Canto of the Kumārasambhavam; "Umeti mātrā tapaso niṣiddhā paschā dumākhyāng sumukhijagāma." ("By the words U, Mā, She was thus forbidden by Her mother to practise austerity, thereafter the pure Umā obtained Her name.") Umā is Kumārī, who has renounced all attachment, and is devoted to Her Lord. A sūtra runs, "Icchāśaktih Umā kumārī" (The energy of will is Umā the unmarried). The Commentary on this sūtra, cited by Bhāskararāya, says: "The eternal state is his whose mind has ascended the degrees of yoga called vismaya, and who realizes the supreme Bhairavata (an aspect of Śiva). That Yogi obtains at length the Icchāśakti called the Supreme Queen (Parābhattārika) known also as Kumārī."

219:4 Name of the Devī as Spouse of Śankara, the benefactor.

219:5 Name of the Devī as one of the aṣtanāyikā and Spouse of Deva Kārtikeya.

219:6 This term, applied to the Veda generally, means particularly the Tantra in the form in which the Devī is guru and Śiva, śiṣya. As it is said:

Nirgato girijā vaktrāt,
Gatāscha girija śrutim,
Matascha vāsudevasya,
Nigamā parikathyate

[paragraph continues] In the Lalitā the Devī is addressed as nijājnarūpā nigamā (the nigama are the expressions of Thy commands).

220:1 The Tāntrik ("seed") mantras, such as Hrīm, Hūm, Klīm, etc. Mantras are classified according to the syllables they contain.

220:2 The Mahāmantra Om, composed of A + u + m, coalesced by sandhi into Om. The three varṇas signify the three members of the Trimurti, Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Śiva, who, as the Rudrayāmala says, are born of the Praṇava (Om), and though in appearance three, are yet one (ekamūrtistrayo devāh). From the Praṇava all Devas, Vedas, sun, moon, and all being comes by the power of Devī, the supreme Śakti.

220:3 Mokṣā, or unity with the supreme, and therefore liberation from rebirth in the phenomenal world.

220:4 Brahmāṇḍabhāṇḍodari. The Brahimāṇḍa (universe) is the "mundane egg" of Brahmā.

221:1 Dīkṣā, through which each Hindu passes, by reception of his mantra. It is said sometimes that initiation is the third birth, the first being that from the mother, the second is upanayana (investiture with sacred thread), and the third is initiation. The Tantras speak of thirty-two Dīkṣās, from Sudhavidyā to Anuttara.

221:2 That is, as creator, maintainer, and destroyer.

221:3 Bhuh, Bhuvah, Svah (see p. 151, note 7)

221:4 For She flows in the form of the three sacred rivers: Gangā, Yamunā, and Sarasvatī.

221:5 The father of Satī, a manifestation of Devī, who, dying at the Dakṣayajna reappeared as Pārvatī.

222:1 Because Ganeśa and Kārtikeya, Her children, suck Her right breast.

222:2 Mālā.

222:3 Pustaka, which is also known as the Vidyāmudrā.

222:4 See p. 173, note 6.

222:5 The warrior caste.

222:6 Lord of the universe.

223:1 When his yajna was destroyed by Her husband Śiva. There are two Dakṣas--Prajāpati, and a human king, an incarnation of the former. Though Śiva destroyed the sacrifice, Devī was the instrument. The Lalitā, verse 120, addresses the Devī both as Dākṣāyanī (daughter of Dakṣa) and Dakṣayajna vināsinī (destroyer of the sacrifice of Dakṣa).

223:2 Śiva.

223:3 Ibid.

223:4 See p. 151, note 7.

Next: Gangā (Gangāstotra) by Vālmīki