Detail from Kali picture (c) and courtesy Yoganath 1999

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The Heart of Kali

Final liberation is attained by the knowledge that the atma is the witness, is the truth, is omnipresent, is one, free from all deluding distractions of self and not-self, the supreme, and though abiding in the body is not in the body. - Mahanirvana Tantra XIV, 116.

[The following stotra (hymn), published in the Kali Rahasya, a Kali puja compendium, is intended to stave off bad fortune and give success. However, it also touches on many of the hidden left-hand (vamachara) practices of Kali. It is translated here into English for the first time.]

Shri Mahakala said: Listen, dearest, to Dakshina's supreme secret, very hidden and difficult to obtain, her very marvellous hymn known as the Hridaya. Unvocalised before, I reveal it now because of your love. It should be concealed from others! This is true, true, O Mountain Born One.

Shri Devi said: Shambhu Maheshvara, ocean of compassion, in which yuga did my hymn arise, and how was it created? Tell me all of this.

Shri Mahakala said: A long time ago I decapitated Prajapati, and due to this evil act of slaying a brahmana came to be Bhairava (1). I created this hymn to destroy the sin of brahminicide, dearest. This hymn destroys the consequence of killing brahmins (2).

Application: Om. Shri Mahakala is the rishi of this heart mantra of Shri Dakshina Kalika. Ushnik is the metre. Shri Dakshina Kalika is the devata. Krim is the bija. Hrim is the shakti. Namah is the peg. Its application follows from its continual recitation.

Heart nyasa etc.

Om. Kram to the heart namah.
Om. Krim to the head svaha.
Om. Krum to the peak vasat.
Om. Kraim to the armour hum.
Om. Kraum to the three eyes vausat.
Om. Krah to the missile Phat.

Meditate on Kali Mahamaya with three eyes, of different forms, with four arms, a rolling tongue, bright as a full moon, the colour of a blue night lotus, dispeller of the assembly of enemies, holding a man's skull, a sword, a lotus, and giving boons.

Her mouth is bloody and fanged, she has a fear inspiring form, she is addicted to very loud laughter and completely naked.

The Devi sits on a corpse and is adorned with a garland of skulls. After meditating on Mahadevi like this, then read the Hridaya.

Om Kalika, primordial and terrifying form, bestower of the fruit of all desires, hymned by all gods, destroy my enemies.

Hrim, you who are the essence of Hrim, the most excellent thing in the three worlds, hard to obtain, out of love for me, deny anything whatsoever to he whom I name!

Now I speak of the meditation, O supreme self, the essence of night. Whoever knows this becomes liberated while still living.

Meditate on her having dishevelled and matted hair, decorated with strings of serpents, a half moon as her diadem, in union with Mahakala.

Boon giver, visualising her like this causes all people to become liberated in every way. This is true, true.

Now listen to the yantra of the supreme goddess, the giver of success in whatsoever is desired. Hide this greatly quintessential secret of secrets with every effort.

The Kali yantra, the giver of true siddhi, is made from five triangles, an eight petal lotus, surrounded by a bhupura, and encompassed by skulls and funeral pyres (3). The mantra, previously spoken of, should always be worn on the body dearest!

Now Devi Dakshina Kali's garland of names is revealed: Kali, Dakshina Kali, black of body, the supreme self, wearing a garland of skulls, large eyed, cause of creation and dissolution, self of maintenance, Mahamaya, the power of yoga, the essence of good fortune, the female serpent, intoxicated with wine, the sacrificial offering, with the vagina as her banner, primordial one, always ninefold, terrifying, the greatly effulgent one, formidable, with a corpse as her vehicle, Siddhi Lakshmi, Niruddha, Sarasvati.

Whoever recites this garland of names daily causes me to become their slave. Maheshvari, this is true, true.

Kali, destroyer of time, goddess of skeletal form, taking the form of a raven, blacker than black, I worship you O Dakshina Kalika!

I bow to you Kalika, Maharaudri, fond of the night, Devi liking kunda, gola and svayambhu flowers (4).

I bow to you Duti (5), the Duti causing yoga to arise from sexual intercourse, you who are the great Duti, fond of Dutis, the supreme Duti, the Lady of Yoga.

Those who recite the mantra Krim seven times over water and then sprinkle themselves with it destroy all disease. There is no question about this.

Those who seek any object who charge sandal paste with the great mantra Krim Svaha and then make a forehead mark of it become the most intelligent of people, and always able to subjugate.

Dearest, those who offer unhusked rice while reciting the mantra Krim Hram Hrim seven times, destroy great worries and obstacles, there is no doubt of it.

Those who pronounce the mantra Krim Hrim Hrum Svaha over the cremation pyre, then encircle the house of their enemies with the ashes kill their enemies.

Those who offer seven flowers and pronounce the mantra Hrum Hrim Krim uproot their foes, no doubt of it.

If, after reciting Krim Krim Krim, while offering unhusked rice, it causes the object of attraction to swiftly come from a distance of even 1,000 yojanas (6).

Those who recite the mantra Krim Krim Krim Hrum Hrum Hrim Hrim seven times, purifying water and making a forehead mark of it, delude the whole world.

Parameshani, this Hridaya is the destroyer of all evil, a million million times greater than Ashvamedha and other sacrifices. The fruit it gives is one million million times better than the offerings given to virgins (7). Its results, it is said, are greater by one million million than those obtained from offering to Dutis.

It is a million times greater than the results obtained from bathing in the Ganges and other sacred waters. Reciting it only once bestows these results. This is true, true, I swear it.

The initiated person who, after worshipping a kumari of beautiful form, and then recites this hymn, becomes liberated whilst living, O Maheshani.

If, after having seen the vagina full of menses, one should recite it with one-pointed mind, Varanane! he gains the supreme place in Deviloka, the heaven of the goddess.

In great sorrow, suffering great disease, in great conflicts, in great anxieties, in fearful terrifying places, if one should recite this ultimate stotra. (one is freed from them) in a day.

This is true, true and again true. It should be hidden like a mother's yoni.


(1) This story is related in the Skanda Purana. Brahma liked his daughter and wanted to couple with her. But that didn't meet with the approval of Shiva, who cut off his fifth head. Brahma and Shiva had a great fight, which the latter won. Shiva, however, had committed the sin of killing a Brahmin, an act requiring expiation. Forever afterwards, Shiva in his form of Bhairava, the terrible one, bears the fifth head of Brahma.

(2) So followers of Shiva have a licence to kill brahmins! This probably stems from a time when the Aryan race was entering India and faced opposition from the indigenous tribes already occupying the subcontinent.

(3) Kali has eight different cremation grounds. They are enumerated in the voluminous work called the Mahakalasamhita, Guhyakali Khanda.

(4) The three primary types of menstrual blood in the tantrik tradition.

(5) Duti means messenger. Yet the meaning is She who makes Shiva Her messenger.

(6) A Hindu measure of distance.

(7) Kumari Puja - to this day performed in Nepal, where a young girl is treated as an incarnation of the goddess.

Artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1995. Translations are © Mike Magee 1995. Questions or comments to [email protected]

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