Hymn to Kali, by Arthur Avalon (Sir John George Woodroffe), , at sacred-texts.com
O MOTHER, they who recite Thy charming Bīja, composed of the first of the group of letters, 1 followed by Vahni, 2 Rati, 3 and beautified by Vidhu, 4 thrice, the Kürca Bīja 5 twice, and thereafter, O Smiling Face, the Lajjā 6 Bīja twice, followed by the two Thas, 7 they, O Spouse of the Destroyer of the Deva of Desire 8 contemplating Thy true form, 9 become themselves the Deva of Love whose eyes are as beautiful as the petals of the lotus which Lakṣmī holds in Her playful dance. 10
'Whoever' (Ye, ye)
Even the most sinful. The Kālīkularahasya says, 'Whoever he be who remembers Durgā with or without reverence is delivered from evil and attains the supreme end.'
[Durgārāma Siddhāntavāgīśa calls it the nine syllabled Bīja.]
First letter (Vargādyaṁ)
The aspect of Consciousness (Cinmayarūpa) which is the beginning of creation.
Placed on Vahni (Vahnisaṁsthaṁ)
Full of Tejas.
That is cooling and beautiful.
'That is the three aspects of Sattva, Rajas, Tamas.
Is Brahman associated with Māyā.
Svāhā the revealing Śakti of Fire.
'Smiling face' (Smitamukhi)
Because She is always blissful.
'Spouse of the Destroyer' (Smara-hara-mahile)
Śakti of Śiva who is the Destroyer of passionate Desire; that is She destroys the lust, anger and so forth of Her Sādhakas.
'Thy true form' (Śvarūpaṁ)
That which is not different (in essence) from Jīvātmā. Śvarūpa is explained here as the Rūpa of Śva, that is Ātmā, meaning the Oneness of Paramātmā and Jīvātmā. Kālikā-Śruti says, 'One should always think of Ātmā as Kālī'. Kālīkulasarvasva says, 'He who worships the spouse of Śiva thinking that his Ātmā is Kālikā's Ātmā and meditating on the Śiva-like Guru is Sadāśiva Himself.' Yoginī-Tantra says, 'He who thinks, even if it were for a moment, "I am Brahman" to him the Devī gives unending fruit. One's own body should always be thought of as the body of the Iṣtadevatā. And so the whole world should be considered as Her body.'
[Durgārāma explains Svarūpa in the following ways: (a) The true form is that indicated in the previous or following verses. (b) It is that of the nine-syllabled Mantra. (c) It is that indicated by the letters composing the Mantra. For instance Varadā-Tantra says that in 'Krīṁ', K is Kālī, R is Brahmā, I is Mahāmāyā, Nāda is the Matrix of the universe and Bindu is the Dispeller of Sorrow. In 'Hūṁ', H is Śiva, Ū is Bhairava, Nāda means the Supreme and Bindu is the Dispeller of Sorrow. In Hrīṁ, H is Śiva, R is Prakṛti,
[paragraph continues] I is Mahāmāyā, Nāda the Generatrix by the Universe and Bindu the dispeller of pain. Contemplation on Mantras constituted of these letters reveals their Caitanya. Japa of Mantra without knowing its Caitanya is useless.]
'Become themselves' (Kāmarūpā bhavanti)
They acquire the power of assuming whatever form they desire and of charming the whole world with their beauty.
56:1 p. 58 That is, Ka.
56:2 Deva of Fire, or Ra.
56:3 Śakti of Kama, God of love, or long Ī.
56:4 The moon, or Nāda-bindu. The Bīja is, therefore, K + r + ī + ṁ = Krīṁ.
56:5 That is, Hūṁ.
56:6 Hrīṁ, literal meaning of Lajjā, is modesty.
56:7 Or Svāhā, Śakti of Agni. The mantra is, then, Krīṁ, Krīṁ, Krīṁ, Hūṁ, Hūṁ, Hūṁ, Hrīṁ Svāhā, or the nine-lettered Vidyā, or feminine mantra, which ends with Svāhā (see Viśvasāra-Tantra).
56:8 Smarahara or Siva, who destroyed Manmatha with fire from his central eye of wisdom when the latter sought to distract him by passion from his Yoga. The Devī, according to the Brahmavaivarta-Purāṇa, restored Manmatha to life (see as to this Bhāskararāya's Commentary on the Lalitā, verse 34).
56:9 Svarūpaṁ, that is true form as described in the first and other verses (V).
56:10 Lakṣmī is associated with, holds, and stands on the lotus, hence Her titlesKamalā, Padmā, Padmālayā, Padmadhārini (see Lakṣmīstotra in Tantrasāra, p. 577, Rasik Mohan Chatterjee's edition).