Hymn to Kali, by Arthur Avalon (Sir John George Woodroffe), , at sacred-texts.com
O MOTHER 1 and Spouse of the Destroyer of the three cities, 2 they who thrice recite 3 Thy Bīja 4 formed by omitting from Karpūra, the middle and last consonants and the vowels, but adding Vāmākṣī and Bindu, 5 the speech of such, whether in poetry and prose, like that of men who have attained all powers, 6 issues of a surety with all ease from the hollow of their mouth, O Thou who art beauteous with beauty of a dark rain cloud. 7
With respectful obeisance to the beauteous feet of Svāmī Ramānanda I write this Svarūpa-vyākyā named the Grantor of Pure Bliss (Vimalānandadāyini). 8
'Oh Mother' (Mātah)
The root Mā = to measure, to which is added the suffix tṛch = Mātṛ: that is, She who measures out or gives: She who grants enjoyment or Liberation according as the Sādhaka is desire-ridden or free from desires.
'Spouse of the Destroyer of the three cities'
The three cities are three bodies, gross, subtle, causal. She is the Śakti of Him who grants Liberation from these bodies. As the
[paragraph continues] Power-holder (Śaktimān) and His Power (Śakti) are one, it is She who is grantor of such Liberation. Kaivalya-Upaniṣad says, 'From the Ātmā, the root, the bliss, looking on all alike who abides within the three cities, is born the multiple and various world and into Him these three cities are merged.'
'They who recite'
That is meditating on the same as being one with the Ātmā of the Sādhaka. Kālikā-Śruti says, 'One should always think of Ātmā as Kālī. Those who do, attain the fourfold Puruṣārtha whether directly desired or not.' Todala-Tantra (Ch. vi) says, 'Oh Devī, K grants Dharma, R grants Kama, I grants Artha and M grants Mokṣa. Oh Beloved, the recital of these combined gives Nirvāṇa Mokṣa.'
Thy Sattva saccidānanda aspect denoted by the Bīja 'Krīṁ'.
That is the triple aspect Sāttvika, Rājasika, Tāmasika.
Denotes the aspect in which Thou art the Cause or the World. Although as Saccidānandarūpiṇī Thou art Nirguṇa when free of Māyā characterized by the Karma of Jīvas and Kāla, Thou becomest the seed in the creation of the world, what time Jīvas must enjoy the fruit of their Karma. In the Devīgītā, Devī says 'Then I who am Ātmā, Cit, Parabrahman and called the "One" assume the Bīja (seed) aspect through union with My own Śakti. The causal body of which I have aforetime spoken is Avyakta in which the world exists as seed (Bīja) from which issues the subtle body.'
Saguṇa-Brahman the Kalpaka or fashioner of the World.
Omitting from Mūlaprakṛti composed of Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas Guṇas the middle Rajas Guṇa which is Ū and the last Tamas
[paragraph continues] Guṇa which is M. It is thus composed of Sattvaguṇa alone. The Jñānasaṁkalinī-Tantra says, 'A is Sāttvika, U is Rājasa, M is Tāmasa. Prakṛti is these three.'
Powerful to give Nirvāṇa Mokṣa and by Māyā to grant the desires of Sādhakas; and in whom the pure Sattvaguṇa predominates. The Tantra Kalpadruma says, 'K on account of its brilliance is the Citkalā, Jñāna. 'Associated with the fiery letter (R) She is auspicious and full of all Tejas. As "I" She grants the desires of Sādhakas. As Bindu She grants Kaivalya.'
'Beauty of dark clouds'
Thou who should be meditated upon as of a dark (Nīla) colour because Thou art Cidākāśa and dost possess the compact Tejas Śuddhasattvaguṇa. In the Nirvāna Prakaraṇa of Yogavāśiṣṭa it is said, 'Because Śivā is Vyoma She is seen as black.' Tripurāsārasamuccaya says, 'As being Liberation, She who is attained by devotion (Bhakti) should be meditated on as being like the sky itself free from clouds.'
43:1 p. 45 The Divine Mother of the World in Her aspect as Dakṣiṇa-kālikā that is the beneficent Grantor of Nirvāṇa.
The Kālikāhṛdaya says: 'I worship Kālī the Destructress of Kāla the Shining One, who is the Bīja Krīm who is Kāma who is beyond Kāla and who is Dakṣinakālikā.' Gandharva-Tantra says: 'Hrīm, I bow to Mahādevī who is Turīya and Brahman. He who remembers Her does not sink in the ocean of existence.' Candī says: 'Oh Thou whose Body is pure Plana who hast three divine eyes, who weareth the crescent moon, to Thee I bow for the attainment of all good.' (V)
43:2 Śakti of Maheśa who destroyed the Asura named Tripura (Tri = three; Pura = city) along with his three cities in Heaven, Earth and the Nether regions (V).
43:3 Recite (Japanti); utter repeatedly with mind fixed on the meaning of the Mantra (V). Lit, 'make Japa.' The word 'recite' is employed as the nearest English equivalent, but is not accurate, in so far as in p. 46 mānasa Japa the action is purely mental, and in Japa of the next lower degree (Upāṁśu) there is movement of the lips only, but no utterance.
43:4 The 'seed' mantra. Bīja is seed, the cause of the Mantra body (V). According to the Nityā-Tantra, Mantras are of four kindsPinda, Kartarī, Bīja and Mālā according to the number of syllables, See as to Bīja, A. Avalon's 'Garland of Letterś.
43:5 That is, Karpūraṁ, less the vowels a, ū, a, and the consonants pa and ra m = Kṛ + Vāmākshī ('the left eye' or long vowel ī), with the Nādabindu superimposed = Krīṁ which accomplishes all desire (Tantrasāra), is Mantrarāja (Śyāmārahasya-Tantra) (K.B.). Tantrarāja says, 'letter Ka is Thy form.'
43:6 Siddhi, or success. Siddhi is that which is sought for (Sādhya) and is the result of sādhana, the training of the higher psychical and spiritual faculties. It includes the eight great powers, Aṇimā, Laghimā, etc., the power of motion and suspension in space, and others mentioned in the Skanda Purāṇa and other works. The Devī is Herself Mahāsiddhi (Lalitāsahasranāma, v. 55).
43:7 Dhvāntadhārādhararucirucire. Just as dark clouds, by shedding nectar-like rain, cool the earth parched by the sun's rays, so too dost Thou, by shedding the nectar of Thy Grace, give immortality to Sādhakas tormented by the three forms of pain (Ādhyātmika, Ādhibhautika, Ādhidaivika). The Rudrayāmala says, 'Devī is Supreme Śakti and delivers from all difficulties. She is dark with the refulgence of a million suns and is cooling like a million moons.' (V).
43:8 Vimalānanda is also the name of the Commentator.