Detail from wall at Amber Fort, Jaipur

© 1975-2000. All rights reserved. None of this material may be reproduced, apart from purely personal use, without the express permission of the Webmaster

Web pages designed by Mike Magee.
[email protected]
Original artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1996. Translations are © Mike Magee 1996.

The U.K. Main Site
at is
Hosted by Hubcom
The North American Mirror Site
at is
Hosted by Gene R. Thursby

Hindu Tantrik Home Page

Shri Vidya Ratna Sutras

Thou who has stolen the left half of the body of Shambhu art yet methinks dissatisfied therewith. It would seem that the other half has been stolen also, so that Thou art now red and three-eyed, weighted with two breasts, and with the whole of the crescent moon Thou art crowned - Wave of Bliss V23, Woodroffe translation

This brief work, available in an iTrans Sanskrit version elsewhere on this site, gives in a concise form details of Devi Lalita, the Triple Goddess, Mahatripurasundari, along with her attendant and subsidiary forms with their yantras and mantras.

It is apparent from the work below that Lalita is outside or above the cardinal points, in the palace of gems on the paradise island. The throne she occupies is surrounded by four gates, each presided over by a vidya (Devi as sound). The whole work, in the original Sanskrit, uses a number code for the yantras and vidyas (mantras) of the different retinues, with consonants representing numbers, vowels zero.

The vidya (translated here as female excellence), the form of the Devi, and her yantra are all one.

Below, and before our translation, is the English introduction to the Sanskrit text, published in 1924 as Volume II of the Princess of Wales Sarasvati Bhavana series, written by Narayana Shastri Khiste, and out of copyright. The Sanskrit text as published in that text has jumbled the numbers.

We apologise in advance for any defects in our translation, and welcome corrections.


The Vidyaratna Sutra is an interesting work on Tripura Agama attributed to Gaudapada. Though the identity of this author is not yet established, it seems probable that he was the same as the Parama Guru of the great Shankaracharya. That Shankaracharya was also a Tantric teacher of the Tripura Line is now beyond doubt; and it is well known that Gaudapada was the author of a stotra called Subhagodaya, which sings the glories of the Supreme Goddess in the form of Tripura.

Bhaskara Raya in his Saubhagyabhaskara refers to and quotes from Shri Vidyaratna sutra as a work of Gaudapada.

The author of the Commentary on the sutras, also published with the text (as far as available), was one Shankararanya who calls himself a pupil of Vidyaranya muni. He must be distinguished from Shankarananda, another pupil of Vidyaranya, whose style of composition as evident from his numerous commentaries on the Upanisads is widely different from that of the present author.

Though Shankararanya associates himself with the name of the great Vidyaranya, his fame will not thereby be ensured. The whole commentary bears traces of grammatical aberrations, faulty Sanskrit and lack of mastery of the subject.

Assuming that the author did not wilfully beguile his relations, he may be assigned to the 14th or 15th Century AD.

The sutras of Gaudapada are 101 in number, of which the first 21 only have been commented upon. The commentary did not extend further, the author observing that as the remaining sutras are plain in meaning they do not call for notes.

The subject matter of the sutras may be touched upon in a few words:

Brahma is described by the author as the Principle of Light, which is its Essence and Power. It is self-luminous in character, and the relation between Brahma and Shakti is one of non-difference. This Power is called anAmA, better known as Shrividya, which though one becomes manifold by means of the three tattvas.

The Tattva is the same as Brahma or Shakti.

It is threefold, viz. Atma, Vidya and Shiva. In the guru too we have a triple Ogha (viz. Divya, Siddha and Manava), Krama otherwise known as Adhisthana, Sadhana, Tattva, charana, or as Shakti, Kamaraja and Vagbhava Kutas, or as Para, Pashyanti and Madhyama.

The Shakti as thus triplicated, becomes Vidya, Shyama and Shambhavi, which are associated respectively with Brahma, Vishnu and Shambhu.

The lords (Purushas) of these three powers, are Parama Shiva (of Para Vidya), Sadashiva (of Shyamala) and Rudra (of Shambhavi).

The Vidya is by reason of perfection of Saundarya called Tripurasundari.

She is also called Kameshvari after the name of her Purusha Parama Shiva who is called Kameshvara.

She is referred to as Rajarajeshvari, Shodashi, &c. also.

From the above sketch it will appear that Shyama and Shambhavi are respectively the Purva and Uttara Vidyas of Shrividya, from which many Vidyas appeared and came to be regarded as belonging to the family of Maha Vidya.

Thus the Vidyas issuing from Shyama of the Purvamnaya preside over the Rgveda at the Eastern Gate. The Shambhavi Vidyas are of the Uttaramnaya and preside over the Samaveda at the Northern Gate.

The Supreme Vidya Tripurasundari, as Anuttara, is mistress of the Baindava Chakra within the Chintamani grha.

The above will suffice, I believe, to give an idea of the general contents of the book now published.

The present edition of the sutras and their commentary is based upon the following data:

(1) Ms, marked as ka obtained from my friend Pandita Gopinatha Shastri Dravida BA Rajaguru of Jaipur State (for which I thank him very much) and now deposited in the Govt. Sanskrit Library, Sarasvati Bhavana, Benares. Fols 1-18. Size, 9-2" x 4-5". Lines, 13 in a page, and letters, 40 in a line. Script, Nagari. Material, country made paper. Date, Samvat 1838 (= 1781 AD).

(2) Ms. marked as kha. It is a transcript prepared from a Ms of the Govt. Oriental Mss Library Madras and collated with another Ms of the same Library. Fols 1-11 (sutras); 1-59 (commentary). Size, 8.2" x 6.3". Lines, 11 in a page, and letters, 14 (Text) - 24 (commentary) in a line.

Script, Nagari. Material, English paper. The Ms is useless except for purposes of collation.

Govt. Sanskrit Library,
Sarasvati Bhavana,
March 31, 1924


Now the investigation into the Shakti mantra agama.
This indivisible creatrix is the self.
Chit-Shakti is the very essence of consciousness (chaitanya).
She, known as Anama, is called Shri Vidya.
Through the three tattvas, she becomes many.
The multitude of triangles and petals is her chakra.
She is the sum total of Shambhavi, Vidya and Shyama, who are the three tattvas and the three types.
She is the sum total of the various vidyas from east [clockwise] to north.
These vidyas are, therefore, her retinue.
Shyama is in the east.
Saubhagya, herself a composite-aggregate, is in the south.
Another composite-aggregate is in the west.
Shambhavi, with her retinue, is in the north.
There is another composite-aggregate above.
Mahavidya Tripurasundari, the Anuttara, is in the palace made from the wish-fulfilling gem (Chintamani).
She, in order to kill (the anti-god) Bhandasura, became many.
From her arose the many mantras, yantras and tantras.
With their various kinds of devotion and their various principles of worship (upasana).
From these arise various results (fruits).
The dwelling place of Shri is said to consist of bindu, triangle, eight triangles, two series of 10 triangles, 14 triangles, eight petals, 16 petals, three lines, and a rectangle.
This consists of nine enveloping gems.
Out of herself the mother created Saubhagya's yantra.
Having produced this, she created the western place.
These three have various attendants.
The yantra of Shuddhi Vidya, her dwelling place, has two, three, six and sixteen petals.
The abode of Kumari has two, eight and 16 petals.
Each of these has a yantra with one, three, six, eight, five, eight, eight, 12 and six petals.
The yantra and dwelling place of Shyama has bindu, four, five and eight triangles, and 16 and eight petals.
This is the supreme abode of all the collectivity (?).
The yantra of Hari is bindu, eight, eight, six, 14 petals, and two sets of eight triangles.
The yantra of Shri Guru consists of bindu, eight, three, eight petals, three circles and a bhupura.
Or the abode of Shri Guru consists of the letters A-Ka-Tha within a triangle.
All of the vidyas of the Anuttara consist of Shuddha Vidya.
Vartali has five avaranas or subsidiary circles.
Vatuka has six.
Tirodhana has the same number.
Bhuvaneshi has seven.
Sannihita has six.
Kameshi has three kalas.
Turiya has five.
Maharddha has six.
Shambhavi has five.
Mrigeshi has six.
The abode of the female excellence Bodhaka has four avaranas.
The female excellence Saubhagya has 15 letters.
Similar to her is the western Vidya.
Shyama has 100 letters.
The female excellence (vidya) Pushpini has 22 syllables.
The female excellence Shuka Vidya has 42 letters.
The female excellence Hasanti Devata has 35 syllables.
The excellence known as Shuddhavidya has three letters.
This is the yantra of Pushpini.
Shri has, therefore, all these different kinds of flowery circles.
Sharika is the parrot-coloured one.
She has hosts of attendants.
Of all these, She (Shyama) is the world-gladdener.
Her own yantra is bindu, three, six, and eight triangles, eight petals and an eight fold Earth square.
This number is (the number of) her hosts of attendants.
The yantra of Samaya Vidyeshvari originates from Shuddhi Vidya.
Saubhagya's yantra has three, six and six triangles and two sets of eight petals with an earthsquare.
She has give attendants.
Vartali's yantra has bindu, three petals, three triangles, 16 petals and an earthsquare.
Vatuka's yantra has a bindu, three and eight triangles, eight petals and 16 petals.
Tirodhana's yantra has 16 and eight petals and an earthsquare.
Bhuvaneshi's yantra consists of bindu, three and six angles, eight triangles, eight petals, and an earthsquare.
Annapurna's abode is bindu, six and eight triangles, 16 petals, eight petals and an earthsquare.
Bhuvaneshi has a secret yantra of bindu, triangle, four angles, a beautiful circle of 16 petals and an earthsquare.
Maharddha has a bindu, eight angles, two petals, 16 petals, eight petals and an earthsquare.
Svanayaki has a yantra of six angles.
Mishra Vidya's yantra is 16-fold.
Vagvadini's consists of eight lines.
Shambhavi's yantra is four fold.
Kumari is the female excellence (vidya) of three letters.
Dvadasharddha has 10 letters.
Saubhagya Sannihita has 36 letters.
The mantra of Maha Heramba is of 28 letters.
The mantra of Vatuka is of 28 letters.
The Boar-Faced One (Varahi) has both a mantra of 108 syllables and nine syllables.
The female excellence (vidya) Yavantika has 56 letters.
The female excellence Bhuvaneshi is of one syllable.
Or else the female excellence of 27 letters.
The Kadi is the 15-lettered (vidya) starting with the letter Ka as first of the 15 letters.
Kamakala, the union of two things, the female excellence (vidya) of the fourth letter.
Mukhya's vidya is one syllable.
The vidya Turya is of 13 letters.
Maharddha is the female excellence (vidya) of 109 letters.
Ashvarudha is the 12 syllabled female excellence.
The Mishra Vidya is the vidya of one syllable.
The Vagvadini is the vidya of 13 letters.
Para is the female excellence (vidya) of one syllable.
The Paraprasada form has two letters.
Parashambhu has both a six-fold and an 11-fold vidya of long and short vowels.
Para Shambhavi has a vidya which is fivefold and of both long and short vowels.
The chief vidya, the Annutara aggregate, has a vidya of 17 letters.
There is an infinite number of her divisions and sub-divisions.
These sutras were declared by Gaudapada.

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

Home Page