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Hymn to Kali, by Arthur Avalon (Sir John George Woodroffe), [1922], at

p. 50


O KĀLIKĀ, O auspicious Kālikā 1 with dishevelled hair, 2 from the corners of whose mouth two streams of blood trickle, 3 they who recite another doubled Bīja of Thine composed of Īśa4 Vaiśvānara5 Vāmanetra6 and the lustrous Bindu, 7 destroy all their enemies, and bring under their subjection the three worlds. 8



Ka is Brahmā, A is Ananta, La is Ātmā of the universe, I is subtle, Ka is Brahmā, A is Ananta. (Tantrābhidāna). Thus it is said that Mahādevī is the subtle, beginningless and endless Ātmā of the universe. 'Thou who art Brahman without beginning or end.' In the Asitāstotra in the Adbhutarāmāyaṇa Śrī Rama says, 'I bow to that Thine aspect which is Puruṣa without beginning and end, the unmanifest Kūtastha superior (to Thine aspect) as Prakṛti, the Ātmā of the universe appearing in multiple and differing forms.'

[Durgārāma-Siddhāntavāgīśa derives the word Kālikā as follows:—He who dissolves (Kalayati) the world is (Kāla or Śiva). And She who shines (Dīvyati) that is plays (Krīdati) with Him is Kālika Kāla + ikan + ā = Kālikā.]

'With dishevelled hair' (Vigalitacikure)

That is one who is free from all Vikāras such as the passion for arranging the hair and so forth.

'Streams of blood' (Asradhūrā)

This blood indicates (the red) Rajas Guṇa. Mahādevī is without that for She is Śuddha-sattva-guṇa.

'Recite' (Japati)

Meditate upon.

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Of dual aspect (Dvandvaṁ)

The Bījā Hrīṁ is both Śiva and Śakti. In the Devīgītā Mahādevī says, 'H is the gross body, R is the subtle body, I is the causal body. I am Hrīṁ the Turīya.'


Who is the aspect of subtle Bīja.


Which is full of Tejas.


That is, with Māyā consisting of pure Sattva-Guṇa.


This is, the Śakti which gives immortality.

'Three syllabled Dakṣiṇā'

Dakṣiṇe is Dakṣinā in the vocative, and the latter is the Saccidānanda aspect which grants Kaivalya and is indicated, by the three-syllabled Mantra. Nirvāṇa-Tantra says, 'The Sun's son (Death) is established in the south (Dakṣiṇa). The name of Kālī makes him flee in all directions with fear. Hence She is called Dakṣiṇa in three worlds.' Kāmākhyā-Tantra says, 'Just as guerdon (Dakṣīṇa) given at the end of rite, causes it to be fruitful and gives Liberation, so this Devī grants the fruit of all Karma and hence She is called Dakṣiṇa-Kālī.' The same Tantra also says, 'Puruṣa is on the right (Dakṣiṇa) and Śakti on the left. The left conquers the right and becomes the grantor of great Liberation. Hence She is called Dakṣiṇakālī in the three worlds.'

[Durgārāma construes these words as follows: Dakṣiṇe tryakṣare ati (by Saṁdhi tryakṣare’ti) that is Dakṣiṇe ati tryakṣare. As Upasargas can shift their position 'ati' has been placed in the verse after Tryakshare. Atitryakshare is the vocative of Atitryakṣarā. Atitryakṣarā means Atikrāntah (Adhahkṛtah or placed under) Tryakṣarah (Śiva) yayā (by whom) She: that is, She who has placed Śiva under Her. The whole then means 'Oh Dakshiṇa who dost stand on Śiva.' Tryakṣara literally means the three lettered one which is the Praṇava (Oṁ) and is used for Śiva. The Mahiṁnastotra

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[paragraph continues] (see 'Greatness of Śiva' Ed. A. Avalon) calls Śiva 'Oṁ' and another Stotra calls Him Tryakṣaramaya.

The same commentator then says that there is a different reading for Dakshiṇe tryakṣareti, namely, Dakshiṇe Kāliketi which he explains in two ways (a) Dakshiṇe Kālike’ti = Dakshiṇe Kālike ati = Dakshiṇe atikālike. The last word is the vocative of Atikālikā which means Atikrāntā (Sadṛśīkritā, made similar to) Kālikā (Meghajālaṁ; a bank of cloud) yayā (by whom) She—that is, She who looks like a bank of cloud; the whole then meaning 'Oh Dakshiṇā who hast the appearance of a bank of clouds' (b) Dakṣiṇe Kāliketi = Dakṣine Kālike iti which means Oh Dakṣiṇā Kālikā. The word 'iti' is Svarūpārthaka that is simply indicates that She is addressed as Dakṣiṇā Kālikā. Examples of the elision of 'I' after 'E' in Saṁdhi are Śakuntaleti and Meghajāle’pi Kāliketi.]


50:1 p. 52 The Devī. See Mahānirvāṇa-Tantra, chap. xiii and chap. iv, verse 31: 'At the dissolution of things it is Kāla who will devour all, and by reason of this He is called Mahākāla; and since Thou devourest Mahākāla Himself, it is Thou who art the supreme primordial Kālikā'.

Kālikā is Brahmarūpiṇī (V).

50:2 Vigalitacikure, as is the worshipped nāyikā. See post.

50:3 Sṛkkadvandvāsradhārādvayadharavadane. Kālī is so represented as having devoured the flesh of the demons. The Mahānirvāṇa-Tantra, chap. xiii, verse 9, says: 'As She devours all existence, as She chews all things existing with Her fierce teeth, therefore, a mass of blood is imagined to be the apparel of the Queen of the Devas.' Esoterically blood is Rajas Guṇa.

50:4 That is, Ha, as to which see Kāmadhenu-Tantra, chap. ii; and Prānatoṣinī, 53 et seq.

50:5 Lord of Fire, whose Bīja is Ra.

50:6 'Left eye,' or fourth vowel long ī.

50:7 Nāda-bindu; the Bīja is thus H + r + ī + m = Hrīṁ Hrīṁ. In Svatantra-Tantra Ha (Vyoṃa) is said to denote manifestation; Ra (Vahni) is involution; and Ī maintenance of the worlds.

50:8 The earth, upper and nether worlds (see Viśvasāra-Tantra and Phetkāriṇī-Tantra). Tribhuvanaṁ, that is Devas, Men, Nāgas and so forth inhabiting Svarga (Heaven), Martya (Earth) and Pātāla (Nether world) (V).

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