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Devirahasya Tantra

As water merges in water, as fire merges in fire, as (the void within) a broken pot dissolves in aether, and as air merges with air, so too the brahmana and brahmani dissolve in the supreme essence by drinking wine. Mountain Born One, there is no doubt about it! - Matrikabheda Tantra, III,34-35

There are many compilations or tantrik digests, discussing a variety of topics a sadhaka or sadhvini needs to know. Below is a summary of the contents of the Devirahasya, which will give an idea of the scope of this type of work. There is little philosophy here; practically the entire contents of the work deals with mantra, yantra, puja and sadhana of the different gods and goddesses discussed.

Rahasya means secret and the work does cover most of the topics a practitioner would need to know. These include purashcarana, which is the preparatory work before puja proper can start. This is very arduous, involving the recitation of mantra and a ritual which spans many hours. The Devirahasya, however, introduces some short-cuts for the Kaula initiate.

The panchangas (five limbs) in this work give essential puja information for a sadhaka or sadhvini and give intriguing insights into various aspects of devata worshipped by the Hindu tantrikas. (An example, translated on this site, is the Bala Panchanga.)

Chapter 1

This deals with the characteristics of guru and pupil, with the planetary positions and times of initiation, and with the attendant disqualifications on both pupils and gurus. It also deals with the sequence of initiation, the purification of the disciple, and the initiation of shaktis.

Chapter 2

The different mantras of the Devis are given. The Devis mentioned are Bala (an aspect of Tripurasundari as a young girl), Panchadashi and Sodasi (Tripurasundari), Tripura, Vidyarajni (Queen of Vidya), Bhadrakali, Matangi, Bhuvaneshvari, Ugratara, Chinnamasta, Sumukhi (Pretty Face), Sarasvati, Annapurna (Full of Food), Mahalaksmi, Sarika(Small Bodied), Sarada(Autumnal), Indraksi(Indra's eyes), Bagalamukhi, Mahaturi(The Transcendent Fourth), Maharajni(Great Queen), Jvalamukhi (Fire-Mouth), Bhida, Kalaratri (Night of Time), Bhavani, Vajrayogini, Dhumravarahi(Smoky Varahi Devi), Siddhalakshmi, Kulavagisvari, Padmavati, Kubjika (Crooked One), Gauri (Fair One), Khecari, Nilasarasvati, Parasakti.

Chapter 3

Gives the different Saiva mantras such as: Mrtyunjaya (Siva as Conqueror of Death), Amrtesvara, Vatukabhairava (Siva in His aspect as a terrifying boy), Mahesvara, Shiva, Sadasiva, Rudra, Mahadeva, Karala(Formidable One), Vikarala, Nilakantha, Sarva, Pasupati (Lord of Beasts), Mrda, Pinaki, Girisa, Bhima, Mahaganapati, Kumara, Krodhanesa, Isa, Kapalisa, Krurabhairava (Cruel Bhairava), Samharabhairava (Dissolution Bhairava), Isvara, Bharga, Rurubhairava, Kalagnibhairava, Sadyojata (instantly arising -- a name of Siva as penis), Aghora, Mahakala and Kamesvara.

Chapter 4

The different mantras of Visnu are here given. These are the Laksmi-Narayana mantra, and the mantras of Radhakrsna, Visnu, Laksmi-Nrsimha, Laksmi-Varaha, Bhargava, Sita-Rama, Janardana, Visvaksena and Laksmi-Vasudeva;

Chapter 5

The different Utkelana (laying open) of the mantras given above are given. These are mantras which themselves open the mantras up to use.

Chapter 6

Gives the vitalising mantras of the Devatas described in chapters 2,3 and 4.

Chapter 7

In this chapter the mantras used for reminding any curses that may have become attached to the mantras in chapters 2, 3 and 4 are given.

Chapter 8

The method of reciting mantras is here described. The guru puja mantra is given.

Chapter 9

Deals with the method of putting together the mantras already described in chapters 2,3 and 4.

Chapter 10

Purascarana, or the performance of acts by which a given mantra may be made efficacious, is described in this chapter. This is performed by reciting it 400,000, 200,000 or 100,000 times. It should be performed under a fig tree, in the wilderness, in the cremation ground, in a desert, at crossroads, and should be started at midnight or midday. Purascarana should be done under auspicious astrological configurations after having worshipped one' s own guru. A yantra is described which should be used in its application. The sadhaka has to fill four pots at the cardinal points. At the end of the chapter alternative methods of doing this necessary act are described. These are through sexual intercourse with an initiated sakti, by reciting the mantra during the birth of a child of the in-group, on a dead body in a cremation ground, during the time the Sun takes to rise and set, in a solar or in a lunar eclipse.

Chapter 11

Continues the topic of the previous chapter, and describes the homa which should be done.

Chapter 12

Describes in code form the unfolding of the different yantras of the Devatas described in chapters 2,3 and 4.

Chapter 13

This chapter describes how an amulet (kavacha) may be made of the yantra of one's own Istadevata, bound into a ball, and carried upon the person. This amulet is said to give miraculous results. The yantra should be drawn upon birch-bark using 8 different kinds of scent. These are described as svayambhu, kundagola, Rocana, Aguru, camphor, musk, honey, and that arising from Malaya (i.e. sandal). The first two are well-known in the tantras as arising from various Kula women at the menstruation time. The others have similar significance in the left handed and Kaula tantras. Various methods of purification are given in the text, and it is declared that the 1,000 names of the particular Devata should be written around the yantra.

Chapter 14

Gives details of the Rishis or seers of the various mantras.

Chapter 15

The sadhana of the cremation ground. begins to be described. This chapter contains only 13 verses but there is an extensive commentary provided.

Chapter 16

Continues the topic. The different Bhairavas of the elements have to be worshipped. Mahakala-bhairava is the Seer of the mantra, Ushnik is the metre, Sri Smasana is the Devata, Hrim is the bija, Hum is the sakti and Krim is the kilaka. The application of the mantra is in the attainment of the four aims of mankind.

Chapter 17

Purification of the rosary formed from human skulls is discussed here.

Chapter 18

In this chapter rosary and yantra purification is dealt with. The nature of the five products of the cow and the Yantresvari mantra are also discussed.

Chapter 19

The origin of wine is the subject of this chapter. Nine vessels which form the receptacles in which wine is kept are discussed. The presiding Devatas of these are Sadasiva, Isvara, Rudra, Visnu, Paramesti, Indra, Guru,(Jupiter), Sukra (Venus) and the Sun and the Moon taken together.

Chapter 20

Gives further details concerning wine.

Chapter 21

The Santi Stotra commences this brief chapter. This hymn removes the curse attached to wine.

Chapter 22

This continues the topic of wine, and discusses how the same may be purified. It gives details concerning Anandabhairava and his Sakti Suradevi. The gayatri of the former is given as: Anandesvaraya vidmahe Sri Suradevyai Dhimahi tanna Ardhanarisvara pracodayat. (Let us think of the Lord of Bliss, let us contemplate the Auspicious Suradevi. May that half-Siva and half-Sakti form direct us.) The dhyana of Tiraskarani Devi is given towards the end of the chapter together with Her prayogas (rituals) etc. She confers invisibility on a sadhaka.

Chapter 23

This chapter deals with the purification of nine Saktis, who are Nati (actress), Kapaliki(bearing skulls), Vesya (whore), Rajaki (washer-woman), Napitangana (barber' s wife), Brahmini, Sudrakanya (Sudra's daughter), Gopalakanyaka (Cowherd' s daughter) and Malakarakanya (Daughter of a Garland-Maker). The Devata of this rite to follow is called Parambika-. The best time for the rite is at midnight. The puja sequence is given, and it is stated that the girl should be placed on the left of the sadhaka in a Sri Cakra. She has to have dishevelled hair, be free from shame, and adorned with jewels. The various mantras of each of these nine Kumaris are given. Details are given of the left handed cakra of eight or eleven couples and the mantras to be used.

Chapter 24

This gives various materials of which a rosary may be made, as also the way knots and so on are to be tied. The rosary made of human skulls is described, as well as rosaries made from various trees, tulasi rosaries, crystal, rudraksha, jewels, gold, and rosaries made from lotus seeds and human teeth. The last, and the first, are to receive specific kinds of purification.

Chapter 25

The purification of yantras and the various materials from which they are made are discussed in detail. Yantras are spoken of as eightfold as being made from gold, silver, copper, crystal, birch, bone, hide and Visnu-stone. The mantras for purifying these eight materials are given, and rites performed at night are discussed at the end of the chapter.

Chapters 26-30

These chapters comprise the Ganapati Pancangam (5 limbs). These limbs are (i) Mantra, Yantra, Dhyana and the six karmas or magical acts (ii) The worship of Mahaganapati (iii) The Kavaca or Armour of Mahaganapati (iv) The 1000 Names of Mahaganapati and (v) the Mahaganapati Stotra or Hymn.

Chapters 31-35

The Surya Pancangam or the Five Limbs of the Sun.

Chapters 36-40

The 5 limbs of Laksmi-Narayana.

Chapters 41-45

The 5 limbs of Mrtyunjaya.

Chapters 46-50

The 5 limbs of Durga Devi

Chapter 51

Deals with the rahasya or secret of Durga Devi.

Chapter 52

This brief chapter describes the mantra sadhana of the Durgarahasya, deals with enlivening of the mantra, and with its putting together.

Chapter 53

Discusses Nilakantha, or the blue-throated manifestation of Shiva, when he drunk the poison produced by the churning of the Milk Ocean. It gives his mantra, dhyana, and the seer.

Chapter 54

Discusses initiation, and its time, and deals with Guru initiation..

Chapter 55

This chapter discusses purashcharana and deals with the same done for the disciple by the Guru. It describes, in addition, the best places for doing the same.

Chapter 56

Pancaratnesvari, or the Devi of the five jewels, together with the mantra unfolding of Durga, Sarada, Sarika, Sumukhi and Bagala are dealt with here.

Chapter 57

Homa done at night in the cremation ground forms the substance of this section.

Chapter 58

Deals with the characteristics of cakra worship, the nature of those sadhakas entitled to it, the placing of the pot (kumbha) and the giving of bali or animal sacrifice. At the end Kanyapuja, or worship of virgins, is described.

Chapter 59

This chapter discusses the different paths, such as Daksinacara, Vamacara, and Kulacara.

Chapter 60

Deals with the guru.

Thus ends the Devirahasya proper


(i) The 5 Limbs of Jvalamukhi-Devi (ii) The 5 Limbs of Sarika-Devi (iii) The 5 Limbs of Maharajni-Devi (iv) The 5 Limbs of Bala-Tripurasundari (v) Uddharakosa, a compilation which deals with the mantras and dhyanas of a host of Tantrik deities, and also contains a compendium of the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet and their tantrika meaning.

There are 48 tantras mentioned in the text. They are Agamalaharitantra, Agamasiromani, Agamasindhu, Agamamrtatantra, Agamamrtmanjari, Agamarnavapiyusatantra, Agamalankaratantra, Agamadotatantra, Uddamaratantra, Kaminikalpa, Kamesvaratantra, Kalaratrikalpatantra, Kalikasarvasvatantra, Kalipatalatantra, Kalirahasyatantra, Kalisarvasvatantra, Kubjikasiromani, Kulacudamani, Kulasiddhasantana, Kulikarnava, Chinnarahasya, Chinnasiromani, Jvalasiromani, Tantramuktavali, Tripurasundarisarvasvam, Tripuratika, Tripuratilakatantra, Tripurasiromani, Tripurarasasarasarvasvam, Bhairavatantra, Bhairavasarvasvam, Mantrasagara, Mundamalatantra, Rudrayamala, Vamakesvaratantra, Visvanathasaroddhara, Visvayamala, Saradatilaka, Saradapatala, Saradatika, Syamatantra, Syamarahasya, Siddhasarasvatatantra, Sundarisiromani, Sundarisarvasvam, Svatantratantra. Many, if not most of these, are not available.

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

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