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The Dasa(Ten) Mahavidyas

Dr Krishnendu Chakraborty 24th Feb 2017

In Tantra, worship of Devi-Shakti is referred to as a Vidya. Of the hundreds of tantrik practices, the worship of the ten major Devis is called the Dasa Mahavidya. These major forms of the goddess are described in the Todala Tantra. They are Kali, Tara, Maha Tripura Sundari (or Shodasi-Sri Vidya), Bhuvaneshvari, Chinnamasta, Bhairavi, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi, and Kamala. These ten aspects of Shakti are the epitome of the entire creation. Chapter 10 also outlines their consorts, although Dhumavati, the widow form, is not allocated a consort.

Dasa Mahavidyas

durga-surrounded-by-das-mahavidya

There are several “levels” at which these Devis can be worshiped with the prescribed Mantra and Yantra. Like a simple worship of the yantra with the mantra recitation, as a remedial astrological measure, elaborate worship with all tantrak rituals for attaining various siddhis associated with these tantras and for spiritual salvation.

Successful sadhana of these Vidyas gives several boons to the practitioner. The Tantrik-Yogi who has control over his senses and positively inclined uses the boons to guide people and for the benefit of mankind. The ones whose head starts spinning with success use them for the gratification of the senses, gather a bunch of disciples around them and become fake gurus.

The last chapter of todala Tantra equates Vishnu’s ten incarnations with the ten Mahavidyas as follows:

“Shri Devi said: Lord of Gods, Guru of the universe, tell me of the ten avatars. Now I want to hear of this, tell me of their true nature. Paramesvara, reveal to me which avatar goes with which Devi.

“Shri Shiva said: Tara Devi is the blue form, Bagala is the tortoise incarnation, Dhumavati is the boar, Chinnamasta is Nrisimha, Bhuvaneshvari is Vamana, Matangi is the Rama form, Tripura is Jamadagni, Bhairavi is Balabhadra, Mahalakshmi is Buddha, and Durga is the Kalki form. BhagavatÌ Kali is the Krishna murti.” (Todalatantra, chapter 10)

The worship of these is also prescribed as an astrological remedy – for the 9 planets and the Lagna as follows:

Kali for Saturn, Tara for Jupiter, Maha Tripura Sundari (or Shodasi-Sri Vidya) for Mercury, Bhuvaneshvari for Moon, Chinnamasta for Rahu, Bhairavi for Lagna, Dhumavati for Ketu, Bagalamukhi for Mars, Matangi for Sun, and Kamala for Venus.

The tantrik worship of these most powerful Vidyas must be practiced only under the guidence of a siddha Guru.

Kali Tara mahavidya Sodashi Bhuvaneswari.
Bhairavi Chhinnamasta cha vidya Dhumavti tatha.
Bagala siddha vidya cha Matangi Kamalatmika.
Etaaha dasamahavidyaaha gupta vidyaaha prakeertitaaha.

 

1.Kali

kali

Kali. Seated on a corpse, greatly terrifying, laughing loudly, with fearful fangs, four arms holding a cleaver, a skull, and giving the mudras bestowing boons and dispelling fear, wearing a garland of skulls, her tongue rolling wildly, completely naked (digambara – clad in the directions), thus one should meditate on Kali, dwelling in the centre of the cremation ground.

The Kali Mantra as given in the Mantra Mahodadhi is:
“Kreem Kreem Kreem Hum Hum Hreem Hreem Dakshine Kaalika
Kreem Kreem Kreem Hum Hum Hreem Hreem Swaha”
It bestows the eight supernatural powers.

The Kali Tantra gives details of the puja of Kalika:-

“Now I speak of the ritual injunction which is the all-nectar-giver of the Devi. Doing this, a person becomes like Bhairava.

“Firstly, I speak of yantra, the knowing of which conquers death. At first draw a triangle. Outside, draw another. Then draw three more triangles. “Draw a circle and then a beautiful lotus. Then draw another circle and then a bhupura with four lines and four doors. This is how the cakra should be drawn.

“Worship the guru line, the six limbs, and the dikpalas (The eight, or according to some, ten guardians of the directions, ed.). Then the mantrin should place his head at the feet of the guru.

“O dearest one, after worshipping the pedestal, set down the offering. Place the mantra in the six limbs. Then, within the heart lotus, the ultimate Kala blossoms.

“Place her in the centre of the yantra by invoking her (via the breath). After meditating on the great goddess, dedicate the ritual offerings. Bow to Mahadevi and then worship the surrounding deities.

“Worship Kali, Kapalini, Kulla, Kurukulla, Virodhini, Vipracitta in the six angles. Then Ugra, Ugraprabha, Dipta in the middle. Then Nila, Ghana and Balaka in the inner angle. Then Matra, Mudra and Mita within this triangle, and then the very dusky one holding the sword, adorned with human skulls, with her left hand showing the threatening mudra and having a pure smile.

“Worship the eight mothers Brahmi, Narayani, Maheshvari, Chamunda, Kaumari, Aparajita, Varahi and Narasimhi.

“In equal shares, give these devis animal sacrifice and worship them, smearing them with scent and offering incense and flame. After doing the puja, worship using the root mantra.

“Give food and so forth to the Devi again and again. The sadhaka should offer flame ten times. So also he should offer flower with mantra according to the rules of ritual.

“After meditating on Devi, recite the mantra 1,008 times. The fruit of reciting, which is light, place in the hands of the Devi.

“Then, placing the flower on the head, do prostration. With supreme devotion, then rub out (the yantra).”

2.Tara

IMAGE_002_TARA

Tara is described as seated in the pratyalidha asana, on the heart of a corpse, supreme, laughing horribly, holding cleaver, blue lotus, dagger and bowl, uttering the mantra Hum, coloured blue, her hair braided with serpents, the Ugratara.
She is the bestows all supernatural powers.

Her mantra is given in Mantra Mahodadhi as: Om Hreem Streem Hum Phat

If Om is removed it becomes the Ekajata Mantra.

If Om & Phat both are removed it becomes Nila Saraswati Mantra.

3. Maha Tripura Sundari (or Shodasi-Sri Vidya)

IMAGE_004_SHODASHI

The worship of Devi in Shreechakra is regarded as the highest form of the Devi worship. Originally Lord Shiva gave 64 Chakras and their Mantras to the world, to attain various spiritual and material benefits. For his consort Devi he gave the Shreechakra and the highly coveted and the most powerful Shodashakshari mantra, which is the equivalent of all the other 64 put together.

It is said that in the beginning God, who was one, wanted to become many and enjoy himself. As the first step to creation he created Devi – the total cosmic Female force. For the male part, out of his left he created Shiva, out of his middle he created Brahma and out of his right he created Vishnu. That is why many regard the Devi as more powerful than the Trinities and hence She is called Parashakti or Paradevi – Para meaning beyond . Brahma created the universe.

Vishnu controls and runs the universe. Shiva along with Shakti is engaged in the eternal dissolution and recreation of the universe. The Bindu in the center of the Shreechakra is the symbolic representation of the cosmic spiritual union of Shiva and Shakti. Apart from that the Shreechakra also embodies countless number of deities and represents the whole of creation. Hence by worshipping the Devi in Shreechakra one is actually worshipping the highest ultimate force in the Tantrik form.

The Shodashakshari mantra is one of the most guarded secretes of tantra. Usually the Guru gives it to a highly deserving and tested disciple. Very few get it. Even in the Mantra Shastra, where all other mantras are openly and clearly given, the Shodashakshari Mantra is not directly given. Several hints about the mantra are given and you are asked to get the mantra if you are capable and deserving. The opening versus of the mantra shastra chapter on Shreechakra says, “Your head can be given, your soul can be given but the Shodashakshari Mantra of the Devi can not be given”.

Various books and websites on Shreechakra have published what the publishers thought is the Shodashakshari Mantra. Let me make it clear that those who know it will never publish it and those who publish it do not know it. So don’t waste your full moon nights chanting those long mantras.

However, Shreechakra can also be worshipped by other Devi mantras. There are several traditions of the worshipping the Shreechakra. We are giving here a very simple and still very effective pooja of Shreechakra. It is known as the Shreechakra Navavarana pooja as per the Khadgamala Vidhi. For all round spiritual and material benefits it is a highly effective pooja. Any one can perform it.

If you cannot do a detailed worship, simply worship the Sri Yantra 108 times with the simple Devi Mantra:

“Om Aim Hreem Shreem Sri Lalita Tripurasundari Padukam Poojayami Namah”

Or better still with the Panchadasakshari Mantra, also known as Panchadasi Mantra) which is one of the greatest mantras of Devi and next only to the Shodasi Mantra:

“Ka E i La Hreem – Ha Sa Ka Ha La Hreem – Sa Ka La Hreem”

 

4.Bhuvaneswari

IMAGE_005_BHUVANESHWARI

Bhuvaneshwari – Means the Queen of the Universe, Maya, power of love, peace within, as void. She is like the red rays of the rising sun, with the moon as her diadem, and with three eyes, a smiling face, bestowing boons, holding a goad, a noose and dispelling fears. On the right side of Bhuvaneshvari, who in the heavens, on earth, and in the underworlds is known as the Adya, worship Tryambaka.
The mantra is: Om Hreem Bhubaneswaraye Hreem Namah

5.Chinnamasta

IMAGE_003_CHHINNAMASTA

Her left foot forward in battle, she holds her severed head and a knife. Naked, she drinks voluptuously the stream of the blood nectar flowing from her beheaded body. The jewel on her forehead is tied with a serpent. She has three eyes. Her breasts are adorned with lotuses. Inclined towards lust, she sits erect above the god of love, who shows signs of lustfulness. She looks like the red China rose. -

Chinnamasta Tantra
Her mantra as per Mantra Mahodadhi is:

Om Shrim Hreem Hreem Aim Vajra Vairochaniye Shrim Hreem Hreem Phat Svaha
It yields all desired benefits quickly.

6.Bhairavi

IMAGE_006_TRIPUR_BHAIRAVI

Tripura Bhairavi is Supreme Energy, Supreme Goddess of speech, as Tapas, as woman warrior. Her head garlanded with flowers, she resembling the red rays of 1,000 rising suns, smeared with red, holding milk, book, dispelling fears and giving boons with her four hands, large three eyes, beautiful face with a slow smile, wearing white gems.

The mantra is: Om Bhairavi Saham

7.Dhoomavati

IMAGE_007_DHUMAVTI

Matangi. Dhumavati. The colour of smoke, wearing smoky clothes, holding a winnowing basket, dishevelled clothes, deceitful, always trembling, with slant eyes, inspiring fear, terrifying.
The Dhumavati Mantra as per Mantra Mahaodadhi:
“Dhum Dhum Dhumavati Swaha”

8.Bagalamukhi

IMAGE_008_BAGALAMUKHI

Bagala or Bagalamukhi is the eighth Mahavidya in the famous series of the 10 Mahavidyas.She is identified with the second night of courage and is the power or Shakti of cruelty.

She is described as the Devi with three eyes, wearing yellow clothes and gems, moon as her diadem, wearing champaka blossoms, with one hand holding the tongue of an enemy and with the left hand spiking him, thus should you meditate on the paralyser of the three worlds.

Bagalamukhi means “The Crane-Headed One”. This bird is thought of as the essence of deceit. She rules magic for the suppression of an enemy’s gossip. These enemies also have an inner meaning, and the peg she puts through the tongue may be construed as a peg or paralysis of our own prattling talk. She rules deceit which is at the heart of most speech. She can in this sense be considered as a terrible or Bhairavi form of Matrika Devi, the mother of all speech. According to Todala Tantra, her male consort is Maharudra.

Seated on the right of Bagala is the Maharudra, with one face, who dissolves the universe.

The Bagalamukhi Mantra as per Mantra Mahodadhi:

“Om Hleem Sarva Dusthaanaam Vaacham Mukham Paadam stambhaya jihvyam kilaya buddhim vinaashaya Hleem Om Swaha”

The tantrik worship of these most powerful Vidyas must be practiced only under the guidence of a siddha Guru.

9.Matangi

IMAGE_009_MATANGI

Matangi. Dusky, beautiful browed, her three eyes like lotuses, seated on a jewelled lion-throne, surrounded by gods and others serving her, holding in her four lotus-like hands a noose and a sword, a shield and a goad, thus I remember Matangi, the giver of results, the Modini.

The Matangi Mantra as per Mantra Mahaodadhi:

“Om Hreem Aim Shreem Namo Bhagavati Ucchisthachandali Sri Matangeswari Sarvagyanavashamkari Swaha”

10.Kamala

IMAGE_010_KAMALA

Kamala: With a smiling face, her beautiful lily-white hands hold two lotuses, and show the mudras of giving and dispelling fear. She is bathed in nectar by four white elephants and stands upon a beautiful lotus.
The Dhumavati Mantra as per Mantra Mahaodadhi:
“Hasauh Jagatprayutai Swaha”

Mahavidya StotraMAHAVIDYA_STOTRA

 

 


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