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

p. 61


O MOTHER, even a dullard becomes a poet who meditates upon Thee raimented with space, 1 three-eyed 2 Creatrix 3 of the three worlds, whose waist 4 is beautiful with a girdle made of numbers of dead men's arms, and who on the breast of a corpse, 5 as Thy couch in the cremation-ground, 6 enjoyest Mahākāla. 7


'Dullard' (Jadacetāh)

One whose mind is smitten with passion for the world.

'Poet' (Kavīh)

A great Jñānī.

'Meditates' (Dhyāyan)

Who in mental vision sees Thee who art Saccidānandarūpiṇī.

'Whose loins' (Bāhuprakarakṛta-kāñcīparilasannitaṁbām)

At the end of each Kalpa all Jīvas abandon their gross bodies, and existing in their subtle bodies in which their respective Karmas inhere, form part of the Avidyā which is in the causal body of the Brahmarūpiṇī associated with Her own Gūṇās (Svaguṇa) until they are liberated at some future time after the commencement of the next Kalpa. Hence the girdle adorning the loins, lower belly and generative organ of the Mahādevī virādrūpiṇī, capable of producing children is fashioned of the arms and hands of dead Jīvas. For these arms and hands were their principal instruments for the doing of work (Karma). The Śāktānandataraṅgiṇī says, 'With Karma is a Jīva born, with Karma he dies, and in the next body again that Karma is

p. 62

attached to him.' Devīgītā says, 'In Her at dissolution Jīvas and their Karmas are merged in undifferentiated mass, just as all which is done (Vyavahārā) merges in dreamless sleep (Suṣupti).' Again the Devī says, 'It is I who create the whole world and enter therein with Prāṇa, Māyā, Karma and so forth.'

'Raimented with space' (Digvastrām)

Raiment is the covering of Māyā. She is without that and above Māyā.

'Three-eyed' (Triṇayanām)

Having knowledge of the three divisions of Time, past, present and future.

'Creatrix' (Vidhātrī)

She who at the beginning of the next Kalpa gives birth and enjoyment to Jīvas according to their respective Saṁcita Karma.

'On the breast of a corpse' (Śavahṛīdi)

The corpse is Nirguṇa-Brahman. The couch is the support (Ādhāra). On Nirguṇa-Brahman as Thy Ādhāra. that is established in Thine own state (Pada) as Nirguṇa-Brahman. Gāyatrī-Tantra says, 'By the word corpse is indicated Brahman as the dead body (Preta).' Gandharva-Tantra says Sadāśiva is the couch on which lies the subtle Tripurasundarī.

'In the cremation ground' (Śṁaśānasthā)

The cremation ground (Śmaśāna) is the great Ether (Mahākāśa) in which all creatures are merged as corpses in the Great dissolution (Mahāpralaya). In dissolution even the greatest of creatures are but corpses and hence it is a cremation ground.

'Dost enjoy Mahāhāla' (Mahāhāla-surata-prayuktām)

At the end of a Kalpa, there being no creation, She being inactive, and there being nought but supreme Brahman, She being in-separate from Paraśiva, experiences Herself as unlimited (Akhaṇda) Bliss.

p. 63


61:1 p. 63 The Devī is naked, as is Śiva, for, like Him, She is clothed with space, and is the great void itself (Mahāśūnya).

61:2 Triṇayanāṁ. The Three eyes are Sun, Moon and Fire (V). Mahānirvāṇa-Tantra says, 'Three eyes are attributed to Kālikā because She observes the whole world with such eyes as the Sun, the Moon, and so forth'. See as to the meaning of these three terms which do not merely denote these luminaries and elements, A. Avalon's 'Serpent Power' and Studies in Mantra-Śāstra'.

61:3 Vidhātrim, who provides Enjoyment and Liberation for all Jivas. (V).

61:4 Nitaṁba, literally, buttocks but the girdle goes all round. Kālī is represented as so girdled.

61:5 The corpse (Śava) represents Śiva (V) because He is inactive whilst his Śakti it is who does everything. Śavahṛdi—that is, on the breast of Śiva (Viparītarati). The Devī is given the dominant position in her union with Her consort, because She is Kartri (actress), and He is Bhoktā (unacting enjoyer). According to Sāṁkhya, Puruṣa is neither producer nor produced, but passive, and a looker-on upon the actions of Prakṛti. It is not the Puruṣa who is active in the creation of the world, but it is She who, in the light of His gaze, dances the world-dance. So Kubjikā-Tantra says: 'Not Brahmā, but Brahmānī, creates; it is Vaiṣnavī, not Vishnu, who protects; Rudrānī, not Rudra, who takes all things back. Their husbands are like dead bodies.' For in respect of power they are dependent on their Śakti. As to the Sādhana, see Prāṇatoṣinī 622, Viparitaratau japtvā nirvāṇapadavīṁ vrajet. Two corpses are sometimes pictured, the lower being the eternally quiescent Śiva, and the upper being the Śiva united with Śakti in creation. Similarly the Devī is represented as reclining on a couch made of five corpses, which are the Mahāpreta (see Bhairavayāmala, Lalitā verse 174, etc). The Mahāpretas, whose Bīja is Hsau, are Sadāśiva, Īśāna, Rudra, Viṣṇu, and Brahmā.

61:6 The site of certain forms of Tantrik Sādhana, such as Śavāsana Muṇdāsana, etc., as to which the Phetkāriṇī-Tantra says that it is an excellent place for Sādhana. He who makes japa a number of times on a corpse in a cremation-ground attains all manner of success (Siddhi).'

61:7 Parama-Śiva.

Next: Verse 8