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

p. 86


HE who at night, when in union with his Śakti1 meditates with centred mind 2 on Thee, O Mother with gently smiling face, as on the breast of the corpse-like Śiva, lying on a fifteen-angled yantra 3 deeply enlisted in sweet amorous play with Mahākāla, 4 himself becomes the destroyer of the God of Love. 5


'Mother' (Jananī)

The Progenitrix.

'At night' (Naktaṁ)

Midnight. Brihannīla-Tantra says, 'He who is intent on meditation at midnight or early dawn surely sees the supremely blissful aspect of Devī.'

'Meditates' (Dhyāyet)

'On Thee as not different from the Sādhaka's own Ātmā, who art Cidābhāsa in his body as a Yantra.' Gandharva-Tantra says, 'He who is in Advaitabhāva, and thinks of the self as Devatā in the three forms of body thinks of Her and his Ātmā as one. He should worship the Devī as Ātmā with the articles prescribed. The Yantra which is one's own body should be considered the best of all Yantras.' Again 'He who meditates on the Nirguṇa, unattached pure Ātmā of Tripura as not being different from his own Ātmā becomes one with Her.'

'Thee' (Tvāṁ)

That is, Brahmamayī.

p. 87

'Smiling face' (Smera-vadanāṁ)

Because She is ever blissful, being Bliss itself.

'On the breast' (Mahākālenoccāih)

On the breast of Śiva who is inactive like a corpse. She divides Herself into two parts like a grain of gram, namely, Śiva and Śakti by means of Māyā associated with Iccā, Kriyā, Jñāna, whilst at the same time remaining established in Her Nirguṇa-Brahman state.

'Fifteen-cornered seat' (Tripancāre pithe)

This is the Sādhaka's own body conceived as the Yantra in which Avidyā is the encompassing circle, the eight-fold Prakṛti consisting of Earth and so forth is the eight-petalled lotus, the five Jñānendriya, the five Karmendriyā, and five Prāṇa are the five Triangles and the Bindu which is Consciousness reflected in Māyā composed of pure Sattvaguṇa is the adorning Bīja. The Gandharva-Tantra says, 'The Cakramantramaya is the Devatā's Supreme Body which is Śiva-śakti.' The Bhagavadgītā says, 'Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether, Manas, Buddhi, Ahaṁkāra, these Tattvas constitute my eightfold Prakṛti.' Gandharva-Tantra says, 'The subtle body composed of uncompounded (Apañcīkṛta) Bhūta and equipped with five Prāṇas, Manas, Buddhi and ten Indriya is the vehicle for Enjoyment. Unbeginning and undefinable (Anirvācyā) Avidyā is the causal Upādhi. Know Ātmā to be different from the three-fold Upādhi.'

'Deeply enlisted' (Madanarasalāvaṇyaniratāṁ)

Always united in the reverse (Viparīta) way with Paramaśiva the Saguṇabrahman. The Gandharva-Tantra says, 'When that Supreme Śakti by putting that Puruṣa down, of Her will appears as the universe then She becomes passionate. And then becoming Herself active the Devī rises upon Bhairava and enhances Her own bliss with waves of natural pleasure.'

'Himself also enjoying' (Svayam api ratānandaniratah)

Enjoying the bliss of union in Laya with Paramātmā by Yoni-mudrā and becoming Śaktimaya himself. The Gheraṇda-Saṁhitā says, 'He should do Yoni-mudrā and himself become Śaktimaya.

p. 88

[paragraph continues] He should move in Paramātmā with the good Śṛngārarasa. Becoming Ānandamaya he should be one with Brahman.'

'Destroyer of Kāma' (Smarahara)

The Advaita-sādhaka attains Kaivalya by being merged in Thee who art Paramātmā.


86:1 p. 88 Svayam api ratānandaniratah, of which the meaning is as follows: yadā sādhakah śaktyā saha maithunakriyāsakto bhavati, tadā sa ślokokta-dhyāna-prakārānusāreṇa deviṁ dhyāyati.

86:2 Samāsaktah, concentrated on Thee.

86:3 Kālīkalpalatā says it is a kind of yantra (diagram).

Tripūñcāre pīthe. The Yantra. The Kāli-Tantra says, 'First draw a triangle. Outside it put another. Next draw three triangles. In the centre draw the Baindava-Cakra adorned with the Māyā Bīja. Draw a circle outside the six-cornered figure. Next draw the eight petals attached to the outer circle and Bhūpura. He who knows this great Yantra surely attains liberation.' Bhūpura is the gross body composed of the five Bhūtas (V). It is made with five triangles superimposed.

86:4 Mahākalenoccair-madana-rasa-lāvaṇya-niratāṁ. Mahākāla is Paramaśiva (V). Madana-rasa-lāvaṇya-niratāṁ refers to Viparītarati (V).

86:5 Smarahara. The destroyer of Kāma is Śiva Himself (V).

That is, he becomes Śiva Himself, who destroyed Smara the Deva of Love (Kāma), with Fire from His central eye, when the latter, by the excitation of desire (towards Pārvatī), sought to detract him from his yoga. Or it may be translated 'excels in beauty the God of Love.'

Next: Verse 19