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Patanjali’s Yoga System

The text that is often considered to be the most significant in the yoga tradition is Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. This text, composed sometime between 100 BCE and 500 CE, contains pithy aphorisms on classical yoga, called the ‘eight-limbed’ (astanga) or ‘the best’ (raja) yoga. The Yoga Sutra represents a codification of yoga ideas and practices, which had been developing for many centuries.
Patanjali gives a succinct definition of yoga in the second sutra: “yoga is the cessation of mental fluctuations.” That is, yoga is a state of concentration in which the wandering mind, fed by sense impressions and memories, is controlled and made to be one-pointed (ekagratd). This mental control occurs through developing eight aspects or limbs of the yogic path (ashtanga). These are:

  1. ethics or restraint (yama), comprising nonviolence (ahimsa), telling the truth, not stealing, celibacy and not being greedy
  2. discipline (niyama), comprising cleanliness, serenity, asceticism, study, devotion to the Lord
  3. posture/seat (asana)
  4. breath-control (pranayama)
  5. sense-withdrawal (pratyahara)
  6. concentration (dharana)
  7. meditation (dhyana)
  8. absorbed concentration (samadhi)

Having developed ethical behavior and discipline, the yogin stills the body and the breath and withdraws attention from the external world, as a tortoise pulls its limbs and head into its shell, in order to control the mind through various degrees of concentration or meditation. There is a clear connection here between consciousness, breath and body; the body is stilled through posture, the breath through pranayama and the mind through concentration. In the state of concentrated absorption or samadhi the yogin is no longer conscious of the body or physical environment, but his consciousness is absorbed in a higher state, free from greed, anger and delusion. The states of samadhi are classified by Patanjali into various degrees of subtlety and refinement until the transcendent state of ‘isolation’ is finally achieved (kaivalya). These degrees of absorption represent levels of consciousness purified of limiting constraints.
While the experience of samadhi leading up to liberation (kaivalya) is ineffable, kaivalya is nevertheless conceptualized within a framework of dualist metaphysics, namely the metaphysics of the Samkhya School of philosophy. In this school there is a complete distinction between the self or the passive, conscious observer {purusa) and matter (prakrti). In his exposition, Patanjali assumes this system as the philosophical backdrop to his thinking. Kaivalya, in Patanjali’s system, is liberation from the wheel of transmigration. However, unlike the monistic Upanisads, liberation is here not the realization of the self’s identity with the absolute, but rather the realization of the self’s solitude and complete transcendence. This is a condition of pure awareness in which the self has become completely detached from its entanglement with matter. It is a state beyond worldly or sensory experience, in which consciousness is absorbed in itself without an object, or is reflexive, having itself as its own object.
As we shall see, however, modern yoga does not derive from this system.

Gorakhnath – Founder of Hatha Yoga


The techniques and philosophical framework of the Saiva Tantras form the basis for the teachings of haṭha yoga, which flourished from the thirteenth century CE and which entered its decline in the eighteenth. The term haṭha means “forceful” or “violent,” but it is also interpreted to indicate the union of the internal sun (ha) and moon (ṭha), which symbolically indicates the goal of the system. The corpus of haṭha yoga is not doctrinally whole and does not “belong” to any one single school of Indian thought. It is nevertheless closely associated with Gorakṣanāth and his teacher Matsyendranāth, who is credited with founding the Saiva Nāth saṃpradāya (between the ninth and thirteenth centuries CE ).

According to the account in Matseyendra’s Compendium, in the 13th century a man from the royal family of the Chola Kingdom (present day Tamil Nadu) who later would be called Goraksa Natha, met a master named Matseyendra (clearly named after the founder of Kaula Tantra from five centuries earlier). This meeting so impressed Goraksa that he wandered India for two years looking for Matseyendra, finally finding him in the Western country. Matseyendra was cavorting with wine and women, when Goraksa humbly approached him with no indication of judgment of such conduct; he passed the test and received initiation from the master.

Goraksa is now considered by many to be the founder of the hatha-yoga system, which he inherited from the Tantric guru, Matseyendra. Goraksa saw (in the 13th century) the Muslim invasion and rule that led to the lack of state-sponsored support for institutions, universities, and temples of Saiva Tantra. Goraksa saw that there was no way to keep this complex religion going with no state support. So he, with others, created Hatha Yoga, a simplified form of yogic practice.  Compared to Saiva Tantra, the hatha-yoga texts have a marked lack of philosophical teachings. They also jettisoned the complex mantra-system that largely defined classical tantric practice. Yet most of the practices found in the hatha-yoga texts are simplified from those of classical tantra. Thus these texts can be seen as an attempt to capture the most essential tantric practices, especially those of the subtle body, in the face of the dissolution of the classical tradition. This explains why the language of these texts is relatively simple: they wanted to be understood by people who could not undertake the years of education required by the classical tantric systems. A lot was lost, of course and if you read Hatha Yoga texts and compare them to Tantric texts on yoga they are very simplified. But that is exactly what we would expect from the culture where there is no longer state support for the religion- simplify or else it`s going to die out.

The purpose of hatha-yoga is the realization of liberation during life, in which the self awakens to its innate identity with the absolute (sahaja), a realization made possible through cultivating a body made perfect or divine in the ‘fire’ of yoga. While Patanjali’s yoga is primarily concerned with developing mental concentration in order to experience Samadhi, hatha  yoga develop a system of elaborate and difficult postures and breathing techniques to produce an immortal body.  Haṭha yoga is concerned with the transmutation of the human body into a vessel immune from mortal decay and it is the system that emphasized the subtle body system of the nadis, chakras, and kundalini, which it inherited from the tantric tradition.

There is widespread misunderstanding today that hatha-yoga derives from or relates to the yoga of Patanjali (some modern postural yogis even chant to him before the beginning of practice, especially the Ashtanga school of Pattabhi Jois).

The practices of hatha yoga and modern yoga (other than concentrative meditation) can`t be found in the Yoga Sutra except for the brief mention of pranayama, whereas in Tantric texts we have a detailed description of many pranayamas. Yoga scholar Christopher Tompkins has done a ground-breaking study in which he documents dozens of passages in the Hundred Verses of Goraksa that are drawn from much earlier scriptures of Tantric yoga (specifically the influential Transcendence of Time). Material currently thought by some scholars (and the general public) to originate in hatha yoga that Tompkins proves comes from Tantric yoga includes the following:

  • The subtle body physiology of 72,000 channels (nadis) with 10 primary channels, of which three are the most important (the ida, the pingala, and the sushumna).
  • The analogizing of those three primary channels to the three radiances of the sun, moon, and fire.
  • The explanation of the functions of the ten vital energies (prana-vayus).
  • The installation and activation of mantras in the subtle centers of the body.
  • The mantra of the “recitation of the Self” (hamsa, so’ham) occurring naturally 21,600 times a day
  • The opening of the heart center analogized to a blossoming lotus
  • The ascension of the soul through the central channel (sushumna) by means of pranayama, dharana, and dhyana.
  • The description of the primal Goddess who affects this process as the “coiled power” (kundalini)
  • The fructification of yoga-sadhana, known as the experience of “nectar-pervasion.”
  • The subtle body physiology was taken directly from the Kaubjika tradition of Tantra

All of these concepts are taken by Gorsaka (the founder of Hatha Yoga) directly from The Transcendence of Time or from an intermediate source that faithfully transmitted them, such as the Kubjika Tantras.

There is NO direct connection between Patanjali’s pre-tantric yoga and the discipline of hatha-yoga, whose respective periods of ascendency are separated by well over a thousand years. In fact, many of the hatha-yoga traditions explicitly see themselves as inheriting practices from the tantric tradition. The Tantra itself had absorbed Patanjali’s practice teachings early on, though rejecting its philosophical dualism. In Patanajli’s system, there is a metaphysical dualism, which means that human beings are considered to be separate from God/dess. This contrasts starkly with Tantra’s assertion of non-dualism, which states that we are, in fact, co-existent with God/dess and direct embodiments of that same source.  Additionally, in Patanjali’s system, the goal is to transcend the body and the world (kaivalya) in a kind of transcendenatlist escapsim. This again constrasts with Tantra’s goal, which is union with God/dess (mukti) and the enjoyment of earthly life and pleasure (bhukti). Such a distinction is important when considering the goal of your spiritual practice.

Though quotes from the Yoga-Sutras are very rare in tantric literature, none of the techniques the Yoga-Sutra taught were forgotten by the tantric tradition. The part of the Yoga-Sutra that appears again and again in the medieval period is its formulation of the eight primary practices of yoga (astanga-yoga). All eight were absorbed by the Tantra and passed on to hatha-yoga.

All of Patanjali`s practices get adopted and developed further in tantra. They clearly know his Ashtānga Yoga, they cite his Ashtānga Yoga, they discuss it and give much more elaborate instruction on it, as well as other practices that are not found in Patanjali, mainly visualization, subtle body practices and energy practices; that`s what Tantra adds that is very different from Patanjali. Tantra incorporates all of Patanjali`s methods but not his philosophy. Of course Tantra does incorporate the 25 tattvas (of Samkhya), but that became part of a much more elaborate philosophical system, that is very different from Patanjali, focusing on unity. There is no duality, not only in terms of spirit and matter, because of course the Tantra says this matter is just a denser form of energy, which Einstein ended up proving — so matter and energy are one and both are forms of spirit, a single divine consciousness in the Tantra philosophy. So, what we find quoted in Tantra is always just Patanjali`s practices, not his philosophy.

In an early modern Sanskrit source, we see clearly that authorities of that time did not think of astanga-yoga (the “yoga of eight components”) as something different from hatha-yoga. In fact, they see hatha-yoga as a tantric amplification of the astanga-yoga. We see this in the 18th century presentation of a yoga of fifteen components in which nearly all of the additional components (angas) come from tantric sources. Moreover, we can prove that people in the 16th-18th centuries didn`t differentiate between Patanjali and Hatha Yoga, because we have sources that say Patanjali`s yoga and Hatha Yoga are synonyms. What I`m trying to say is that Patanjali does not survive at all as a separate school; nobody is preserving Patanjali`s practices apart from the Tantra-influenced Hatha Yoga schools.

The bold items below constitute the astanga-yoga of Patanjali while the non-bolded items are the tantric additions. Explanations of the practices given in the brackets are particular to this early modern text, which understands them differently from Patanjali.

  1. The five yamas of Patanjali (moral codes)
  2. The five niyamas of Patanjali (self-purification and study)Tyaga, renunciation (the non-attachment of mind and body to worldly things)Muana, silence (speaking only the truth if one has to speak at all)
    1. The ten niyamas of the Hatha-Pradapika
  3. Desa, the place for practice
  4. Kala, time (the auspicious astrological moments)
  5. Mulabandha, the root lock (energetic locks to seal in prana)
  6. Asana, posture
  7. Pranayama, breath-control (understood as purification of the nadis)
  8. Deha-samya, equanimity of the body
  9. Drk-sthiti, fixed gaze
  10. Additional angas (optional)
    Pratyahara, sense withdrawal

    1. Satkarma, the six purifications
    2. Asta-Kumbhaka, eight subtypes of breath retention
    3. Nadi-suddhi, purification of bodily channels
    4. Kundalini
    5. Khecari-mudra, raising energy to the level of the ajna chakra and dissolving it in meditation.
  11. Dharana, fixation of attention
  12. Dhyana, visualization of self as Parama-Siva 
    1. Dissolving the mind in the turya-pada, state of the fourth
  13. Samadhi, absorption 
    1. Nada, sonic experiences in Samadi
    2. Unmani, trans-mental liberation
    3. Mukti, liberation

Examining all of the evidence forces us to conclude that presenting the Yoga-Sutras separately from the Tantra is to engage in an artificial revivalism divorced from the organic history of the yoga tradition. Yet somehow, with more than a hundred English translation of the Yoga-Sutra published over the last 120 years and a segment on the Yoga-Sutra required in nearly every modern yoga teacher training, the realization is still not widespread that the yoga that text describes bears little resemblance to our modern practice of the same name. For example, there are only two sentences on posture in the entire Yoga-Sutra; however, the intrinsic value of the text is quite high for anyone practicing meditation. This is the overlooked elephant in the room of Modern Postural Yoga (MPY).



The Vijñānabhairava – the Bhairava of Consciousness –  (sometimes spelled in a Hindicised way as Vigyan Bhairav Tantra) is a key text of the Trika school of Kashmir Shaivism in Sanskrit language. declares itself to be,  a Trika teaching preserved in the Rudrayāmala. It briefly presents 112 meditation methods (dharanas), rather than ritual, mantra, yantra, etc as most other tantra’s do.

The text appeared in 1918 in the Kashmir Series of Text and Studies (KSTS).The Kashmir Series published two volumes, one with a commentary in Sanskrit by Kshemaraja and Shivopadhyaya and the other with a commentary, called Kaumadi, by Ananda Bhatta.


Sanskrit text of the Vijñāna bhairava Tantra

(Devanāgarī and transliteration)

श्रुतं देव मया सर्वं रुद्रयामलसम्भवम्।
त्रिकभेदमशेषेण सारात्सारविभागशः॥ १॥
śrīdevī uvāca
śrutaṃ deva mayā sarvaṃ rudrayāmalasaṃbhavam |
trikabhedamaśeṣe.na sārāt sāravibhāgaśa.h || 1 ||

अद्यापि न निवृत्तो मे संशयः परमेश्वर।
किं रूपं तत्त्वतो देव शब्दराशिकलामयम्॥ २॥
adyāpi na nivṛtto me saṁśayaḥ parameśvara |
kiṁ rūpaṁ tattvato deva śabdarāśikalāmayam || 2 ||

किं वा नवात्मभेदेन भैरवे भैरवाकृतौ।
त्रिशिरोभेदभिन्नं वा किं वा शक्तित्रयात्मकम्॥ ३॥
kiṁ vā navātmabhedena bhairave bhairavākṛtau |
triśirobhedabhinnaṁ vā kiṁ vā śaktitrayātmakam || 3 ||

नादबिन्दुमयं वापि किं चन्द्रार्धनिरोधिकाः।
चक्रारूढमनच्कं वा किं वा शक्तिस्वरूपकम्॥ ४॥
nādabindumayaṁ vāpi kiṁ candrārdhanirodhikāḥ |
cakrārūḍhamanackaṁ vā kiṁ vā śaktisvarūpakam || 4 ||

परापरायाः सकलमपरायाश्च वा पुनः।
पराया यदि तद्वत्स्यात्परत्वं तद् विरुध्यते॥ ५॥
parāparāyāḥ sakalamaparāyāśca vā punaḥ |
parāyā yadi tadvatsyātparatvaṁ tad virudhyate || 5 ||

न हि वर्णविभेदेन देहभेदेन वा भवेत्।
परत्वं निष्कलत्वेन सकलत्वे न तद् भवेत्॥ ६॥
na hi varṇavibhedena dehabhedena vā bhavet|
paratvaṁ niṣkalatvena sakalatve na tad bhavet|| 6 ||

प्रसादं कुरु मे नाथ निःशेषं चिन्द्धि संशयम्।
prasādaṁ kuru me nātha niḥśeṣaṁ cinddhi saṁśayam |

भैरव उवाच।
bhairava uvāca |

साधु साधु त्वया पृष्टं तन्त्रसारम् इदम् प्रिये॥ ७॥
sādhu sādhu tvayā pṛṣṭaṁ tantrasāram idam priye || 7 ||

गूहनीयतमम् भद्रे तथापि कथयामि ते।
यत्किञ्चित्सकलं रूपं भैरवस्य प्रकीर्तितम्॥ ८॥
gūhanīyatamam bhadre tathāpi kathayāmi te |
yatkiñcitsakalaṁ rūpaṁ bhairavasya prakīrtitam || 8 ||

तद् असारतया देवि विज्ञेयं शक्रजालवत्।
मायास्वप्नोपमं चैव गन्धर्वनगरभ्रमम्॥ ९॥
tad asāratayā devi vijñeyaṁ śakrajālavat|
māyāsvapnopamaṁ caiva gandharvanagarabhramam || 9 ||

ध्यानार्थम् भ्रान्तबुद्धीनां क्रियाडम्बरवर्तिनाम्।
केवलं वर्णितम् पुंसां विकल्पनिहतात्मनाम्॥ १०॥
dhyānārtham bhrāntabuddhīnāṁ kriyāḍambaravartinām |
kevalaṁ varṇitam puṁsāṁ vikalpanihatātmanām || 10 ||

तत्त्वतो न नवात्मासौ शब्दराशिर् न भैरवः।
न चासौ त्रिशिरा देवो न च शक्तित्रयात्मकः॥ ११॥
tattvato na navātmāsau śabdarāśir na bhairavaḥ |
na cāsau triśirā devo na ca śaktitrayātmakaḥ || 11 ||

नादबिन्दुमयो वापि न चन्द्रार्धनिरोधिकाः।
न चक्रक्रमसम्भिन्नो न च शक्तिस्वरूपकः॥ १२॥
nādabindumayo vāpi na candrārdhanirodhikāḥ |
na cakrakramasambhinno na ca śaktisvarūpakaḥ || 12 ||

अप्रबुद्धमतीनां हि एता बलविभीषिकाः।
मातृमोदकवत्सर्वं प्रवृत्त्यर्थम् उदाहृतम्॥ १३॥
aprabuddhamatīnāṁ hi etā balavibhīṣikāḥ |
mātṛmodakavatsarvaṁ pravṛttyartham udāhṛtam || 13 ||

दिक्कालकलनोन्मुक्ता देशोद्देशाविशेषिनी।
व्यपदेष्टुमशक्यासाव् अकथ्या परमार्थतः॥ १४॥
dikkālakalanonmuktā deśoddeśāviśeṣinī |
vyapadeṣṭumaśakyāsāv akathyā paramārthataḥ || 14 ||

अन्तःस्वानुभवानन्दा विकल्पोन्मुक्तगोचरा।
यावस्था भरिताकारा भैरवी भैरवात्मनः॥ १५॥
antaḥsvānubhavānandā vikalponmuktagocarā |
yāvasthā bharitākārā bhairavī bhairavātmanaḥ || 15 ||

तद् वपुस् तत्त्वतो ज्ञेयं विमलं विश्वपूरणम्।
एवंविधे परे तत्त्वे कः पूज्यः कश्च तृप्यति॥ १६॥
tad vapus tattvato jñeyaṁ vimalaṁ viśvapūraṇam |
evaṁvidhe pare tattve kaḥ pūjyaḥ kaśca tṛpyati || 16 ||

एवंविधा भैरवस्य यावस्था परिगीयते।
सा परा पररूपेण परा देवी प्रकीर्तिता॥ १७॥
evaṁvidhā bhairavasya yāvasthā parigīyate |
sā parā pararūpeṇa parā devī prakīrtitā || 17 ||

शक्तिशक्तिमतोर् यद्वद् अभेदः सर्वदा स्थितः।
अतस् तद्धर्मधर्मित्वात्परा शक्तिः परात्मनः॥ १८॥
śaktiśaktimator yadvad abhedaḥ sarvadā sthitaḥ |
atas taddharmadharmitvātparā śaktiḥ parātmanaḥ || 18 ||

न वह्नेर् दाहिका शक्तिर् व्यतिरिक्ता विभाव्यते।
केवलं ज्ञानसत्तायाम् प्रारम्भोऽयम् प्रवेशने॥ १९॥
na vahner dāhikā śaktir vyatiriktā vibhāvyate |
kevalaṁ jñānasattāyām prārambho’yam praveśane || 19 ||

शक्त्यवस्थाप्रविष्टस्य निर्विभागेन भावना।
तदासौ शिवरूपी स्यात्शैवी मुखम् इहोच्यते॥ २०॥
śaktyavasthāpraviṣṭasya nirvibhāgena bhāvanā |
tadāsau śivarūpī syātśaivī mukham ihocyate || 20 ||

यथालोकेन दीपस्य किरणैर् भास्करस्य च।
ज्ञायते दिग्विभागादि तद्वच् चक्त्या शिवः प्रिये॥ २१॥
yathālokena dīpasya kiraṇair bhāskarasya ca |
jñāyate digvibhāgādi tadvac caktyā śivaḥ priye || 21 ||

श्री देव्युवाच।
śrī devyuvāca |

देवदेव त्रिशूलाङ्क कपालकृतभूषण।
दिग्देशकालशून्या च व्यपदेशविवर्जिता॥ २२॥
devadeva triśūlāṅka kapālakṛtabhūṣaṇa |
digdeśakālaśūnyā ca vyapadeśavivarjitā || 22 ||

यावस्था भरिताकारा भैरवस्योपलभ्यते।
कैर् उपायैर् मुखं तस्य परा देवि कथम् भवेत्।
यथा सम्यग् अहं वेद्मि तथा मे ब्रूहि भैरव॥ २३॥
yāvasthā bharitākārā bhairavasyopalabhyate |
kair upāyair mukhaṁ tasya parā devi katham bhavet|
yathā samyag ahaṁ vedmi tathā me brūhi bhairava || 23 ||

भैरव उवाच।
bhairava uvāca |

ऊर्ध्वे प्राणो ह्यधो जीवो विसर्गात्मा परोच्चरेत्।
उत्पत्तिद्वितयस्थाने भरणाद् भरिता स्थितिः॥ २४॥
ūrdhve prāṇo hyadho jīvo visargātmā paroccaret|
utpattidvitayasthāne bharaṇād bharitā sthitiḥ || 24 ||

मरुतोऽन्तर् बहिर् वापि वियद्युग्मानिवर्तनात्।
भैरव्या भैरवस्येत्थम् भैरवि व्यज्यते वपुः॥ २५॥
maruto’ntar bahir vāpi viyadyugmānivartanāt|
bhairavyā bhairavasyettham bhairavi vyajyatevapuḥ || 25 ||

न व्रजेन् न विशेच् चक्तिर् मरुद्रूपा विकासिते।
निर्विकल्पतया मध्ये तया भैरवरूपता॥ २६॥
na vrajen na viśec caktir marudrūpā vikāsite |
nirvikalpatayā madhye tayā bhairavarūpatā || 26 ||

कुम्भिता रेचिता वापि पूरिता वा यदा भवेत्।
तदन्ते शान्तनामासौ शक्त्या शान्तः प्रकाशते॥ २७॥
kumbhitā recitā vāpi pūritā vā yadā bhavet|
tadante śāntanāmāsau śaktyā śāntaḥ prakāśate || 27 ||

आमूलात्किरणाभासां सूक्ष्मात्सूक्ष्मतरात्मिकम्।
चिन्तयेत्तां द्विषट्कान्ते श्याम्यन्तीम् भैरवोदयः॥ २८॥
āmūlātkiraṇābhāsāṁ sūkṣmātsūkṣmatarātmikam |
cintayettāṁ dviṣaṭkānte śyāmyantīm bhairavodayaḥ || 28 ||

उद्गच्चन्तीं तडित्रूपाम् प्रतिचक्रं क्रमात्क्रमम्।
ऊर्ध्वं मुष्टित्रयं यावत्तावद् अन्ते महोदयः॥ २९॥
udgaccantīṁ taḍitrūpām praticakraṁ kramātkramam |
ūrdhvaṁ muṣṭitrayaṁ yāvattāvad ante mahodayaḥ || 29 ||

क्रमद्वादशकं सम्यग् द्वादशाक्षरभेदितम्।
स्थूलसूक्ष्मपरस्थित्या मुक्त्वा मुक्त्वान्ततः शिवः॥ ३०॥
kramadvādaśakaṁ samyag dvādaśākṣarabheditam |
sthūlasūkṣmaparasthityā muktvā muktvāntataḥ śivaḥ || 30 ||

तयापूर्याशु मूर्धान्तं भङ्क्त्वा भ्रूक्षेपसेतुना।
निर्विकल्पं मनः कृत्वा सर्वोर्ध्वे सर्वगोद्गमः॥ ३१॥
tayāpūryāśu mūrdhāntaṁ bhaṅktvā bhrūkṣepasetunā |
nirvikalpaṁ manaḥ kṛtvā sarvordhve sarvagodgamaḥ || 31 ||

शिखिपक्षैश् चित्ररूपैर् मण्डलैः शून्यपञ्चकम्।
ध्यायतोऽनुत्तरे शून्ये प्रवेशो हृदये भवेत्॥ ३२॥
śikhipakṣaiś citrarūpair maṇḍalaiḥ śūnyapañcakam |
dhyāyato’nuttare śūnye praveśo hṛdaye bhavet|| 32 ||

ईदृशेन क्रमेणैव यत्र कुत्रापि चिन्तना।
शून्ये कुड्ये परे पात्रे स्वयं लीना वरप्रदा॥ ३३॥
īdṛśena krameṇaiva yatra kutrāpi cintanā |
śūnye kuḍye pare pātre svayaṁ līnā varapradā || 33 ||

कपालान्तर् मनो न्यस्य तिष्ठन् मीलितलोचनः।
क्रमेण मनसो दार्ढ्यात्लक्षयेत्लष्यम् उत्तमम्॥ ३४॥
kapālāntar mano nyasya tiṣṭhan mīlitalocanaḥ |
krameṇa manaso dārḍhyātlakṣayetlaṣyam uttamam || 34 ||

मध्यनाडी मध्यसंस्था बिससूत्राभरूपया।
ध्यातान्तर्व्योमया देव्या तया देवः प्रकाशते॥ ३५॥
madhyanāḍī madhyasaṁsthā bisasūtrābharūpayā |
dhyātāntarvyomayā devyā tayā devaḥ prakāśate || 35 ||

कररुद्धदृगस्त्रेण भ्रूभेदाद् द्वाररोधनात्।
दृष्टे बिन्दौ क्रमाल् लीने तन्मध्ये परमा स्थितिः॥ ३६॥
kararuddhadṛgastreṇa bhrūbhedād dvārarodhanāt|
dṛṣṭe bindau kramāl līne tanmadhye paramā sthitiḥ || 36 ||

बिन्दुं शिखान्ते हृदये लयान्ते ध्यायतो लयः॥ ३७॥
dhāmāntaḥkṣobhasambhūtasūkṣmāgnitilakākṛtim |
binduṁ śikhānte hṛdaye layānte dhyāyato layaḥ || 37 ||

अनाहते पात्रकर्णेऽभग्नशब्दे सरिद्द्रुते।
शब्दब्रह्मणि निष्णातः परम् ब्रह्माधिगच्चति॥ ३८॥
anāhate pātrakarṇe’bhagnaśabde sariddrute |
śabdabrahmaṇi niṣṇātaḥ param brahmādhigaccati || 38 ||

प्रणवादिसमुच्चारात्प्लुतान्ते शून्यभावानात्।
शून्यया परया शक्त्या शून्यताम् एति भैरवि॥ ३९॥
praṇavādisamuccārātplutānte śūnyabhāvānāt|
śūnyayā parayā śaktyā śūnyatām eti bhairavi || 39 ||

यस्य कस्यापि वर्णस्य पूर्वान्ताव् अनुभावयेत्।
शून्यया शून्यभूतोऽसौ शून्याकारः पुमान् भवेत्॥ ४०॥
yasya kasyāpi varṇasya pūrvāntāv anubhāvayet|
śūnyayā śūnyabhūto’sau śūnyākāraḥ pumān bhavet|| 40 ||

तन्त्र्यादिवाद्यशब्देषु दीर्घेषु क्रमसंस्थितेः।
अनन्यचेताः प्रत्यन्ते परव्योमवपुर् भवेत्॥ ४१॥
tantryādivādyaśabdeṣu dīrgheṣu kramasaṁsthiteḥ |
ananyacetāḥ pratyante paravyomavapur bhavet|| 41 ||

पिण्डमन्त्रस्य सर्वस्य स्थूलवर्णक्रमेण तु।
अर्धेन्दुबिन्दुनादान्तः शून्योच्चाराद् भवेच् चिवः॥ ४२॥
piṇḍamantrasya sarvasya sthūlavarṇakrameṇa tu |
ardhendubindunādāntaḥ śūnyoccārād bhavec civaḥ || 42 ||

निजदेहे सर्वदिक्कं युगपद् भावयेद् वियत्।
निर्विकल्पमनास् तस्य वियत्सर्वम् प्रवर्तते॥ ४३॥
nijadehe sarvadikkaṁ yugapad bhāvayed viyat|
nirvikalpamanās tasya viyatsarvam pravartate || 43 ||

पृष्टशून्यं मूलशून्यं युगपद् भावयेच् च यः।
शरीरनिरपेक्षिण्या शक्त्या शून्यमना भवेत्॥ ४४॥
pṛṣṭaśūnyaṁ mūlaśūnyaṁ yugapad bhāvayec ca yaḥ |
śarīranirapekṣiṇyā śaktyā śūnyamanā bhavet|| 44 ||

पृष्टशून्यं मूलशून्यं हृच्चून्यम् भावयेत्स्थिरम्।
युगपन् निर्विकल्पत्वान् निर्विकल्पोदयस् ततः॥ ४५॥
pṛṣṭaśūnyaṁ mūlaśūnyaṁ hṛccūnyam bhāvayetsthiram |
yugapan nirvikalpatvān nirvikalpodayas tataḥ || 45 ||

तनूदेशे शून्यतैव क्षणमात्रं विभावयेत्।
निर्विकल्पं निर्विकल्पो निर्विकल्पस्वरूपभाक्॥ ४६॥
tanūdeśe śūnyataiva kṣaṇamātraṁ vibhāvayet|
nirvikalpaṁ nirvikalpo nirvikalpasvarūpabhāk || 46 ||

सर्वं देहगतं द्रव्यं वियद्व्याप्तं मृगेक्षणे।
विभावयेत्ततस् तस्य भावना सा स्थिरा भवेत्॥ ४७॥
sarvaṁ dehagataṁ dravyaṁ viyadvyāptaṁ mṛgekṣaṇe |
vibhāvayettatas tasya bhāvanā sā sthirā bhavet|| 47 ||

देहान्तरे त्वग्विभागम् भित्तिभूतं विचिन्तयेत्।
न किञ्चिद् अन्तरे तस्य ध्यायन्न् अध्येयभाग् भवेत्॥ ४८॥
dehāntare tvagvibhāgam bhittibhūtaṁ vicintayet|
na kiñcid antare tasya dhyāyann adhyeyabhāg bhavet|| 48 ||

हृद्याकाशे निलीनाक्षः पद्मसम्पुटमध्यगः।
अनन्यचेताः सुभगे परं सौभाग्यमाप्नुयात्॥ ४९॥
hṛdyākāśe nilīnākṣaḥ padmasampuṭamadhyagaḥ |
ananyacetāḥ subhage paraṁ saubhāgyamāpnuyāt|| 49 ||

सर्वतः स्वशरीरस्य द्वादशान्ते मनोलयात्।
दृढबुद्धेर् दृढीभूतं तत्त्वलक्ष्यम् प्रवर्तते॥ ५०॥
sarvataḥ svaśarīrasya dvādaśānte manolayāt|
dṛḍhabuddher dṛḍhībhūtaṁ tattvalakṣyam pravartate || 50 ||

यथा तथा यत्र तत्र द्वादशान्ते मनः क्षिपेत्॥
प्रतिक्षणं क्षीणवृत्तेर् वैलक्षण्यं दिनैर् भवेत्॥ ५१॥
yathā tathā yatra tatra dvādaśānte manaḥ kṣipet||
pratikṣaṇaṁ kṣīṇavṛtter vailakṣaṇyaṁ dinair bhavet|| 51 ||

कालाग्निना कालपदाद् उत्थितेन स्वकम् पुरम्।
प्लुष्टम् विचिन्तयेद् अन्ते शान्ताभासस् तदा भवेत्॥ ५२॥
kālāgninā kālapadād utthitena svakam puram |
pluṣṭam vicintayed ante śāntābhāsas tadā bhavet|| 52 ||

एवम् एव जगत्सर्वं दग्धं ध्यात्वा विकल्पतः।
अनन्यचेतसः पुंसः पुम्भावः परमो भवेत्॥ ५३॥
evam eva jagatsarvaṁ dagdhaṁ dhyātvā vikalpataḥ |
ananyacetasaḥ puṁsaḥ pumbhāvaḥ paramo bhavet|| 53 ||

स्वदेहे जगतो वापि सूक्ष्मसूक्ष्मतराणि च।
तत्त्वानि यानि निलयं ध्यात्वान्ते व्यज्यते परा॥ ५४॥
svadehe jagato vāpi sūkṣmasūkṣmatarāṇi ca |
tattvāni yāni nilayaṁ dhyātvānte vyajyate parā || 54 ||

पिनां च दुर्बलां शक्तिं ध्यात्वा द्वादशगोचरे।
प्रविश्य हृदये ध्यायन् मुक्तः स्वातन्त्र्यमाप्नुयात्॥ ५५॥
pināṁ ca durbalāṁ śaktiṁ dhyātvā dvādaśagocare |
praviśya hṛdaye dhyāyan muktaḥ svātantryamāpnuyāt|| 55 ||

भुवनाध्वादिरूपेण चिन्तयेत्क्रमशोऽखिलम्।
स्थूलसूक्ष्मपरस्थित्या यावद् अन्ते मनोलयः॥ ५६॥
bhuvanādhvādirūpeṇa cintayetkramaśo’khilam |
sthūlasūkṣmaparasthityā yāvad ante manolayaḥ || 56 ||

अस्य सर्वस्य विश्वस्य पर्यन्तेषु समन्ततः।
अध्वप्रक्रियया तत्त्वं शैवं ध्यत्वा महोदयः॥ ५७॥
asya sarvasya viśvasya paryanteṣu samantataḥ |
adhvaprakriyayā tattvaṁ śaivaṁ dhyatvā mahodayaḥ || 57 ||

विश्वम् एतन् महादेवि शून्यभूतं विचिन्तयेत्।
तत्रैव च मनो लीनं ततस् तल्लयभाजनम्॥ ५८॥
viśvam etan mahādevi śūnyabhūtaṁ vicintayet|
tatraiva ca mano līnaṁ tatas tallayabhājanam || 58 ||

घतादिभाजने दृष्टिम् भित्तिस् त्यक्त्वा विनिक्षिपेत्।
तल्लयं तत्क्षणाद् गत्वा तल्लयात्तन्मयो भवेत्॥ ५९॥
ghatādibhājane dṛṣṭim bhittis tyaktvā vinikṣipet|
tallayaṁ tatkṣaṇād gatvā tallayāttanmayo bhavet|| 59 ||

निर्वृक्षगिरिभित्त्यादिदेशे दृष्टिं विनिक्षिपेत्।
विलीने मानसे भावे वृत्तिक्षिणः प्रजायते॥ ६०॥
nirvṛkṣagiribhittyādideśe dṛṣṭiṁ vinikṣipet|
vilīne mānase bhāve vṛttikṣiṇaḥ prajāyate || 60 ||

उभयोर् भावयोर् ज्ञाने ध्यात्वा मध्यं समाश्रयेत्।
युगपच् च द्वयं त्यक्त्वा मध्ये तत्त्वम् प्रकाशते॥ ६१॥
ubhayor bhāvayor jñāne dhyātvā madhyaṁ samāśrayet|
yugapac ca dvayaṁ tyaktvā madhye tattvam prakāśate || 61 ||

भावे त्यक्ते निरुद्धा चिन् नैव भावान्तरं व्रजेत्।
तदा तन्मध्यभावेन विकसत्यति भावना॥ ६२॥
bhāve tyakte niruddhā cin naiva bhāvāntaraṁ vrajet|
tadā tanmadhyabhāvena vikasatyati bhāvanā || 62 ||

सर्वं देहं चिन्मयं हि जगद् वा परिभावयेत्।
युगपन् निर्विकल्पेन मनसा परमोदयः॥ ६३॥
sarvaṁ dehaṁ cinmayaṁ hi jagad vā paribhāvayet|
yugapan nirvikalpena manasā paramodayaḥ || 63 ||

वायुद्वयस्य सङ्घट्टाद् अन्तर् वा बहिर् अन्ततः।
योगी समत्वविज्ञानसमुद्गमनभाजनम्॥ ६४॥
vāyudvayasya saṅghaṭṭād antar vā bahir antataḥ |
yogī samatvavijñānasamudgamanabhājanam || 64 ||

सर्वं जगत्स्वदेहं वा स्वानन्दभरितं स्मरेत्।
युगपत्स्वामृतेनैव परानन्दमयो भवेत्॥ ६५॥
sarvaṁ jagatsvadehaṁ vā svānandabharitaṁ smaret|
yugapatsvāmṛtenaiva parānandamayo bhavet|| 65 ||

कुहनेन प्रयोगेण सद्य एव मृगेक्षणे।
समुदेति महानन्दो येन तत्त्वं प्रकाशते॥ ६६॥
kuhanena prayogeṇa sadya eva mṛgekṣaṇe |
samudeti mahānando yena tattvaṁ prakāśate || 66 ||

सर्वस्रोतोनिबन्धेन प्राणशक्त्योर्ध्वया शनैः।
पिपीलस्पर्शवेलायाम् प्रथते परमं सुखम्॥ ६७॥
sarvasrotonibandhena prāṇaśaktyordhvayā śanaiḥ |
pipīlasparśavelāyām prathate paramaṁ sukham || 67 ||

वह्नेर् विषस्य मध्ये तु चित्तं सुखमयं क्षिपेत्।
केवलं वायुपूर्णं वा स्मरानन्देन युज्यते॥ ६८॥
vahner viṣasya madhye tu cittaṁ sukhamayaṁ kṣipet|
kevalaṁ vāyupūrṇaṁ vā smarānandena yujyate || 68 ||

यत्सुखम् ब्रह्मतत्त्वस्य तत्सुखं स्वाक्यम् उच्यते॥ ६९॥
śaktisaṅgamasaṅkṣubdhaśaktyāveśāvasānikam |
yatsukham brahmatattvasya tatsukhaṁ svākyam ucyate || 69 ||

लेहनामन्थनाकोटैः स्त्रीसुखस्य भरात्स्मृतेः।
शक्त्यभावेऽपि देवेशि भवेद् आनन्दसम्प्लवः॥ ७०॥
lehanāmanthanākoṭaiḥ strīsukhasya bharātsmṛteḥ |
śaktyabhāve’pi deveśi bhaved ānandasamplavaḥ || 70 ||

आनन्दे महति प्राप्ते दृष्टे वा बान्धवे चिरात्।
आनन्दम् उद्गतं ध्यात्वा तल्लयस् तन्मना भवेत्॥ ७१॥
ānande mahati prāpte dṛṣṭe vā bāndhave cirāt|
ānandam udgataṁ dhyātvā tallayas tanmanā bhavet|| 71 ||

भावयेद् भरितावस्थां महानन्दस् ततो भवेत्॥ ७२॥
bhāvayed bharitāvasthāṁ mahānandas tato bhavet|| 72 ||

योगिनस् तन्मयत्वेन मनोरूढेस् तदात्मता॥ ७३॥
gitādiviṣayāsvādāsamasaukhyaikatātmanaḥ |
yoginas tanmayatvena manorūḍhes tadātmatā || 73 ||

यत्र यत्र मनस् तुष्टिर् मनस् तत्रैव धारयेत्।
तत्र तत्र परानन्दस्वारूपं सम्प्रवर्तते॥ ७४॥
yatra yatra manas tuṣṭir manas tatraiva dhārayet|
tatra tatra parānandasvārūpaṁ sampravartate || 74 ||

अनागतायां निद्रायाम् प्रणष्टे बाह्यगोचरे।
सावस्था मनसा गम्या परा देवी प्रकाशते॥ ७५॥
anāgatāyāṁ nidrāyām praṇaṣṭe bāhyagocare |
sāvasthā manasā gamyā parā devī prakāśate || 75 ||

तेजसा सूर्यदीपादेर् आकाशे शबलीकृते।
दृष्टिर् निवेश्या तत्रैव स्वात्मरूपम् प्रकाशते॥ ७६॥
tejasā sūryadīpāder ākāśe śabalīkṛte |
dṛṣṭir niveśyā tatraiva svātmarūpam prakāśate || 76 ||

करङ्किण्या क्रोधनया भैरव्या लेलिहानया।
खेचर्या दृष्टिकाले च परावाप्तिः प्रकाशते॥ ७७॥
karaṅkiṇyā krodhanayā bhairavyā lelihānayā |
khecaryā dṛṣṭikāle ca parāvāptiḥ prakāśate || 77 ||

मृद्वासने स्फिजैकेन हस्तपादौ निराश्रयम्।
निधाय तत्प्रसङ्गेन परा पूर्णा मतिर् भवेत्॥ ७८॥
mṛdvāsane sphijaikena hastapādau nirāśrayam |
nidhāya tatprasaṅgena parā pūrṇā matir bhavet|| 78 ||

उपविश्यासने सम्यग् बाहू कृत्वार्धकुञ्चितौ।
कक्षव्योम्नि मनः कुर्वन् शममायाति तल्लयात्॥ ७९॥
upaviśyāsane samyag bāhū kṛtvārdhakuñcitau |
kakṣavyomni manaḥ kurvan śamamāyāti tallayāt|| 79 ||

स्थूलरूपस्य भावस्य स्तब्धां दृष्टिं निपात्य च।
अचिरेण निराधारं मनः कृत्वा शिवं व्रजेत्॥ ८०॥
sthūlarūpasya bhāvasya stabdhāṁ dṛṣṭiṁ nipātya ca |
acireṇa nirādhāraṁ manaḥ kṛtvā śivaṁ vrajet|| 80 ||

मध्यजिह्वे स्फारितास्ये मध्ये निक्षिप्य चेतनाम्।
होच्चारं मनसा कुर्वंस् ततः शान्ते प्रलीयते॥ ८१॥
madhyajihve sphāritāsye madhye nikṣipya cetanām |
hoccāraṁ manasā kurvaṁs tataḥ śānte pralīyate || 81 ||

आसने शयने स्थित्वा निराधारं विभावयन्।
स्वदेहं मनसि क्षिणे क्षणात्क्षीणाशयो भवेत्॥ ८२॥
āsane śayane sthitvā nirādhāraṁ vibhāvayan |
svadehaṁ manasi kṣiṇe kṣaṇātkṣīṇāśayo bhavet|| 82 ||

चलासने स्थितस्याथ शनैर् वा देहचालनात्।
प्रशान्ते मानसे भावे देवि दिव्यौघमाप्नुयात्॥ ८३॥
calāsane sthitasyātha śanair vā dehacālanāt|
praśānte mānase bhāve devi divyaughamāpnuyāt|| 83 ||

आकाशं विमलम् पश्यन् कृत्वा दृष्टिं निरन्तराम्।
स्तब्धात्मा तत्क्षणाद् देवि भैरवं वपुर् आप्नुयात्॥ ८४॥
ākāśaṁ vimalam paśyan kṛtvā dṛṣṭiṁ nirantarām |
stabdhātmā tatkṣaṇād devi bhairavaṁ vapur āpnuyāt|| 84 ||

लीनं मूर्ध्नि वियत्सर्वम् भैरवत्वेन भावयेत्।
तत्सर्वम् भैरवाकारतेजस्तत्त्वं समाविशेत्॥ ८५॥
līnaṁ mūrdhni viyatsarvam bhairavatvena bhāvayet|
tatsarvam bhairavākāratejastattvaṁ samāviśet|| 85 ||

किञ्चिज् ज्ञातं द्वैतदायि बाह्यालोकस् तमः पुनः।
विश्वादि भैरवं रूपं ज्ञात्वानन्तप्रकाशभृत्॥ ८६॥
kiñcij jñātaṁ dvaitadāyi bāhyālokas tamaḥ punaḥ |
viśvādi bhairavaṁ rūpaṁ jñātvānantaprakāśabhṛt|| 86 ||

एवम् एव दुर्निशायां कृष्णपक्षागमे चिरम्।
तैमिरम् भावयन् रूपम् भैरवं रूपम् एष्यति॥ ८७॥
evam eva durniśāyāṁ kṛṣṇapakṣāgame ciram |
taimiram bhāvayan rūpam bhairavaṁ rūpam eṣyati || 87 ||

एवम् एव निमील्यादौ नेत्रे कृष्णाभमग्रतः।
प्रसार्य भैरवं रूपम् भावयंस् तन्मयो भवेत्॥ ८८॥
evam eva nimīlyādau netre kṛṣṇābhamagrataḥ |
prasārya bhairavaṁ rūpam bhāvayaṁs tanmayo bhavet|| 88 ||

यस्य कस्येन्द्रियस्यापि व्याघाताच् च निरोधतः।
प्रविष्टस्याद्वये शून्ये तत्रैवात्मा प्रकाशते॥ ८९॥
yasya kasyendriyasyāpi vyāghātāc ca nirodhataḥ |
praviṣṭasyādvaye śūnye tatraivātmā prakāśate || 89 ||

अबिन्दुमविसर्गं च अकारं जपतो महान्।
उदेति देवि सहसा ज्ञानौघः परमेश्वरः॥ ९०॥
abindumavisargaṁ ca akāraṁ japato mahān |
udeti devi sahasā jñānaughaḥ parameśvaraḥ || 90 ||

वर्णस्य सविसर्गस्य विसर्गान्तं चितिं कुरु।
निराधारेण चित्तेन स्पृशेद् ब्रह्म सनातनम्॥ ९१॥
varṇasya savisargasya visargāntaṁ citiṁ kuru |
nirādhāreṇa cittena spṛśed brahma sanātanam || 91 ||

व्योमाकारं स्वमात्मानं ध्यायेद् दिग्भिर् अनावृतम्।
निराश्रया चितिः शक्तिः स्वरूपं दर्शयेत्तदा॥ ९२॥
vyomākāraṁ svamātmānaṁ dhyāyed digbhir anāvṛtam |
nirāśrayā citiḥ śaktiḥ svarūpaṁ darśayettadā || 92 ||

किञ्चिद् अङ्गं विभिद्यादौ तीक्ष्णसूच्यादिना ततः।
तत्रैव चेतनां युक्त्वा भैरवे निर्मला गतिः॥ ९३॥
kiñcid aṅgaṁ vibhidyādau tīkṣṇasūcyādinā tataḥ |
tatraiva cetanāṁ yuktvā bhairave nirmalā gatiḥ || 93 ||

चित्ताद्यन्तःकृतिर् नास्ति ममान्तर् भावयेद् इति।
विकल्पानामभावेन विकल्पैर् उज्झितो भवेत्॥ ९४॥
cittādyantaḥkṛtir nāsti mamāntar bhāvayed iti |
vikalpānāmabhāvena vikalpair ujjhito bhavet|| 94 ||

माया विमोहिनी नाम कलायाः कलनं स्थितम्।
इत्यादिधर्मं तत्त्वानां कलयन् न पृथग् भवेत्॥ ९५॥
māyā vimohinī nāma kalāyāḥ kalanaṁ sthitam |
ityādidharmaṁ tattvānāṁ kalayan na pṛthag bhavet|| 95 ||

झगितीच्चां समुत्पन्नामवलोक्य शमं नयेत्।
यत एव समुद्भूता ततस् तत्रैव लीयते॥ ९६॥
jhagitīccāṁ samutpannāmavalokya śamaṁ nayet|
yata eva samudbhūtā tatas tatraiva līyate || 96 ||

यदा ममेच्चा नोत्पन्ना ज्ञानं वा कस् तदास्मि वै।
तत्त्वतोऽहं तथाभूतस् तल्लीनस् तन्मना भवेत्॥ ९७॥
yadā mameccā notpannā jñānaṁ vā kas tadāsmi vai |
tattvato’haṁ tathābhūtas tallīnas tanmanā bhavet|| 97 ||

इच्चायामथवा ज्ञाने जाते चित्तं निवेशयेत्।
आत्मबुद्ध्यानन्यचेतास् ततस् तत्त्वार्थदर्शनम्॥ ९८॥
iccāyāmathavā jñāne jāte cittaṁ niveśayet|
ātmabuddhyānanyacetās tatas tattvārthadarśanam || 98 ||

निर्निमित्तम् भवेज् ज्ञानं निराधारम् भ्रमात्मकम्।
तत्त्वतः कस्यचिन् नैतद् एवम्भावी शिवः प्रिये॥ ९९॥
nirnimittam bhavej jñānaṁ nirādhāram bhramātmakam |
tattvataḥ kasyacin naitad evambhāvī śivaḥ priye || 99 ||

चिद्धर्मा सर्वदेहेषु विशेषो नास्ति कुत्रचित्।
अतश्च तन्मयं सर्वम् भावयन् भवजिज् जनः॥ १००॥
ciddharmā sarvadeheṣu viśeṣo nāsti kutracit|
ataśca tanmayaṁ sarvam bhāvayan bhavajij janaḥ || 100 ||

बुद्धिं निस्तिमितां कृत्वा तत्तत्त्वमवशिष्यते॥ १०१॥
kāmakrodhalobhamohamadamātsaryagocare |
buddhiṁ nistimitāṁ kṛtvā tattattvamavaśiṣyate || 101 ||

इन्द्रजालमयं विश्वं व्यस्तं वा चित्रकर्मवत्।
भ्रमद् वा ध्यायतः सर्वम् पश्यतश्च सुखोद्गमः॥ १०२॥
indrajālamayaṁ viśvaṁ vyastaṁ vā citrakarmavat|
bhramad vā dhyāyataḥ sarvam paśyataśca sukhodgamaḥ || 102 ||

न चित्तं निक्षिपेद् दुःखे न सुखे वा परिक्षिपेत्।
भैरवि ज्ञायतां मध्ये किं तत्त्वमवशिष्यते॥ १०३॥
na cittaṁ nikṣiped duḥkhe na sukhe vā parikṣipet|
bhairavi jñāyatāṁ madhye kiṁ tattvamavaśiṣyate || 103 ||

विहाय निजदेहस्थं सर्वत्रास्मीति भावयन्।
दृढेन मनसा दृष्ट्या नान्येक्षिण्या सुखी भवेत्॥ १०४॥
vihāya nijadehasthaṁ sarvatrāsmīti bhāvayan |
dṛḍhena manasā dṛṣṭyā nānyekṣiṇyā sukhī bhavet|| 104 ||

घटादौ यच् च विज्ञानम् इच्चाद्यं वा ममान्तरे।
नैव सर्वगतं जातम् भावयन् इति सर्वगः॥ १०५॥
ghaṭādau yac ca vijñānam iccādyaṁ vā mamāntare |
naiva sarvagataṁ jātam bhāvayan iti sarvagaḥ || 105 ||

ग्राह्यग्राहकसंवित्तिः सामान्या सर्वदेहिनाम्।
योगिनां तु विशेषोऽस्ति सम्बन्धे सावधानता॥ १०६॥
grāhyagrāhakasaṁvittiḥ sāmānyā sarvadehinām |
yogināṁ tu viśeṣo’sti sambandhe sāvadhānatā || 106 ||

स्ववद् अन्यशरीरेऽपि संवित्तिमनुभावयेत्।
अपेक्षां स्वशरीरस्य त्यक्त्वा व्यापी दिनैर् भवेत्॥ १०७॥
svavad anyaśarīre’pi saṁvittimanubhāvayet|
apekṣāṁ svaśarīrasya tyaktvā vyāpī dinair bhavet|| 107 ||

निराधारं मनः कृत्वा विकल्पान् न विकल्पयेत्।
तदात्मपरमात्मत्वे भैरवो मृगलोचने॥ १०८॥
nirādhāraṁ manaḥ kṛtvā vikalpān na vikalpayet|
tadātmaparamātmatve bhairavo mṛgalocane || 108 ||

सर्वज्ञः सर्वकर्ता च व्यापकः परमेश्वरः।
स एवाहं शैवधर्मा इति दार्ढ्याच् चिवो भवेत्॥ १०९॥
sarvajñaḥ sarvakartā ca vyāpakaḥ parameśvaraḥ |
sa evāhaṁ śaivadharmā iti dārḍhyāc civo bhavet|| 109 ||

जलस्येवोर्मयो वह्नेर् ज्वालाभङ्ग्यः प्रभा रवेः।
ममैव भैरवस्यैता विश्वभङ्ग्यो विभेदिताः॥ ११०॥
jalasyevormayo vahner jvālābhaṅgyaḥ prabhā raveḥ |
mamaiva bhairavasyaitā viśvabhaṅgyo vibheditāḥ || 110 ||

भ्रान्त्वा भ्रान्त्वा शरीरेण त्वरितम् भुवि पातनात्।
क्षोभशक्तिविरामेण परा सञ्जायते दशा॥ १११॥
bhrāntvā bhrāntvā śarīreṇa tvaritam bhuvi pātanāt|
kṣobhaśaktivirāmeṇa parā sañjāyate daśā || 111 ||

आधारेष्व् अथवाऽशक्त्याऽज्ञानाच् चित्तलयेन वा।
जातशक्तिसमावेशक्षोभान्ते भैरवं वपुः॥ ११२॥
ādhāreṣv athavā’śaktyā’jñānāc cittalayena vā |
jātaśaktisamāveśakṣobhānte bhairavaṁ vapuḥ || 112 ||

सम्प्रदायम् इमम् देवि शृणु सम्यग् वदाम्यहम्।
कैवल्यं जायते सद्यो नेत्रयोः स्तब्धमात्रयोः॥ ११३॥
sampradāyam imam devi śṛṇu samyag vadāmyaham |
kaivalyaṁ jāyate sadyo netrayoḥ stabdhamātrayoḥ || 113 ||

सङ्कोचं कर्णयोः कृत्वा ह्यधोद्वारे तथैव च।
अनच्कमहलं ध्यायन् विशेद् ब्रह्म सनातनम्॥ ११४॥
saṅkocaṁ karṇayoḥ kṛtvā hyadhodvāre tathaiva ca |
anackamahalaṁ dhyāyan viśed brahma sanātanam || 114 ||

कूपादिके महागर्ते स्थित्वोपरि निरीक्षणात्।
अविकल्पमतेः सम्यक् सद्यस् चित्तलयः स्फुटम्॥ ११५॥
kūpādike mahāgarte sthitvopari nirīkṣaṇāt|
avikalpamateḥ samyak sadyas cittalayaḥ sphuṭam || 115 ||

यत्र यत्र मनो याति बाह्ये वाभ्यन्तरेऽपि वा।
तत्र तत्र शिवावास्था व्यापकत्वात्क्व यास्यति॥ ११६॥
yatra yatra mano yāti bāhye vābhyantare’pi vā |
tatra tatra śivāvāsthā vyāpakatvātkva yāsyati || 116 ||

यत्र यत्राक्षमार्गेण चैतन्यं व्यज्यते विभोः।
तस्य तन्मात्रधर्मित्वाच् चिल्लयाद् भरितात्मता॥ ११७॥
yatra yatrākṣamārgeṇa caitanyaṁ vyajyate vibhoḥ |
tasya tanmātradharmitvāc cillayād bharitātmatā || 117 ||

क्षुताद्यन्ते भये शोके गह्वरे वा रणाद् द्रुते।
कुतूहलेक्षुधाद्यन्ते ब्रह्मसत्तामयी दशा॥ ११८॥
kṣutādyante bhaye śoke gahvare vā raṇād drute |
kutūhalekṣudhādyante brahmasattāmayī daśā || 118 ||

वस्तुषु स्मर्यमाणेषु दृष्टे देशे मनस् त्यजेत्।
स्वशरीरं निराधारं कृत्वा प्रसरति प्रभुः॥ ११९॥
vastuṣu smaryamāṇeṣu dṛṣṭe deśe manas tyajet|
svaśarīraṁ nirādhāraṁ kṛtvā prasarati prabhuḥ || 119 ||

क्वचिद् वस्तुनि विन्यस्य शनैर् दृष्टिं निवर्तयेत्।
तज् ज्ञानं चित्तसहितं देवि शून्यालायो भवेत्॥१२०॥
kvacid vastuni vinyasya śanair dṛṣṭiṁ nivartayet|
taj jñānaṁ cittasahitaṁ devi śūnyālāyo bhavet||120 ||

भक्त्युद्रेकाद् विरक्तस्य यादृशी जायते मतिः।
सा शक्तिः शाङ्करी नित्यम् भवयेत्तां ततः शिवः॥ १२१॥
bhaktyudrekād viraktasya yādṛśī jāyate matiḥ |
sā śaktiḥ śāṅkarī nityam bhavayettāṁ tataḥ śivaḥ || 121 ||

वस्त्वन्तरे वेद्यमाने सर्ववस्तुषु शून्यता।
ताम् एव मनसा ध्यात्वा विदितोऽपि प्रशाम्यति॥ १२२॥
vastvantare vedyamāne sarvavastuṣu śūnyatā |
tām eva manasā dhyātvā vidito’pi praśāmyati || 122 ||

किञ्चिज्ज्ञैर् या स्मृता शुद्धिः सा शुद्धिः शम्भुदर्शने।
न शुचिर् ह्यशुचिस् तस्मान् निर्विकल्पः सुखी भवेत्॥ १२३॥
सर्वत्र भैरवो भावः सामान्येष्व् अपि गोचरः।
न च तद्व्यतिरेक्तेण परोऽस्तीत्यद्वया गतिः॥ १२४॥
समः शत्रौ च मित्रे च समो मानावमानयोः॥
ब्रह्मणः परिपूर्णत्वातिति ज्ञात्वा सुखी भवेत्॥ १२५॥
kiñcijjñair yā smṛtā śuddhiḥ sā śuddhiḥ śambhudarśane |
na śucir hyaśucis tasmān nirvikalpaḥ sukhī bhavet|| 123 ||
sarvatra bhairavo bhāvaḥ sāmānyeṣv api gocaraḥ |
na ca tadvyatirekteṇa paro’stītyadvayā gatiḥ || 124 ||
samaḥ śatrau ca mitre ca samo mānāvamānayoḥ ||
brahmaṇaḥ paripūrṇatvātiti jñātvā sukhī bhavet|| 125 ||

न द्वेषम् भावयेत्क्वापि न रागम् भावयेत्क्वचित्।
रागद्वेषविनिर्मुक्तौ मध्ये ब्रह्म प्रसर्पति॥ १२६॥
na dveṣam bhāvayetkvāpi na rāgam bhāvayetkvacit|
rāgadveṣavinirmuktau madhye brahma prasarpati || 126 ||

यद् अवेद्यं यद् अग्राह्यं यच् चून्यं यद् अभावगम्।
तत्सर्वम् भैरवम् भाव्यं तदन्ते बोधसम्भवः॥ १२७॥
yad avedyaṁ yad agrāhyaṁ yac cūnyaṁ yad abhāvagam |
tatsarvam bhairavam bhāvyaṁ tadante bodhasambhavaḥ || 127 ||

नित्ये निराश्रये शून्ये व्यापके कलनोज्झिते।
बाह्याकाशे मनः कृत्वा निराकाशं समाविशेत्॥ १२८॥
nitye nirāśraye śūnye vyāpake kalanojjhite |
bāhyākāśe manaḥ kṛtvā nirākāśaṁ samāviśet|| 128 ||

यत्र यत्र मनो याति तत्तत्तेनैव तत्क्षणम्।
परित्यज्यानवस्थित्या निस्तरङ्गस् ततो भवेत्॥ १२९॥
yatra yatra mano yāti tattattenaiva tatkṣaṇam |
parityajyānavasthityā nistaraṅgas tato bhavet|| 129 ||

भया सर्वं रवयति सर्वदो व्यापकोऽखिले।
इति भैरवशब्दस्य सन्ततोच्चारणाच् चिवः॥ १३०॥
bhayā sarvaṁ ravayati sarvado vyāpako’khile |
iti bhairavaśabdasya santatoccāraṇāc civaḥ || 130 ||

अहं ममेदम् इत्यादि प्रतिपत्तिप्रसङ्गतः।
निराधारे मनो याति तद्ध्यानप्रेरणाच् चमी॥ १३१॥
ahaṁ mamedam ityādi pratipattiprasaṅgataḥ |
nirādhāre mano yāti taddhyānapreraṇāc camī || 131 ||

नित्यो विभुर् निराधारो व्यापकश्चाखिलाधिपः।
शब्दान् प्रतिक्षणं ध्यायन् कृतार्थोऽर्थानुरूपतः॥ १३२॥
nityo vibhur nirādhāro vyāpakaścākhilādhipaḥ |
śabdān pratikṣaṇaṁ dhyāyan kṛtārtho’rthānurūpataḥ || 132 ||

अतत्त्वम् इन्द्रजालाभम् इदं सर्वमवस्थितम्।
किं तत्त्वम् इन्द्रजालस्य इति दार्ढ्याच् चमं व्रजेत्॥ १३३॥
atattvam indrajālābham idaṁ sarvamavasthitam |
kiṁ tattvam indrajālasya iti dārḍhyāc camaṁ vrajet|| 133 ||

आत्मनो निर्विकारस्य क्व ज्ञानं क्व च वा क्रिया।
ज्ञानायत्ता बहिर्भावा अतः शून्यम् इदं जगत्॥ १३४॥
ātmano nirvikārasya kva jñānaṁ kva ca vā kriyā |
jñānāyattā bahirbhāvā ataḥ śūnyam idaṁ jagat|| 134 ||

न मे बन्धो न मोक्षो मे भीतस्यैता विभीषिकाः।
प्रतिबिम्बम् इदम् बुद्धेर् जलेष्व् इव विवस्वतः॥ १३५॥
na me bandho na mokṣo me bhītasyaitā vibhīṣikāḥ |
pratibimbam idam buddher jaleṣv iva vivasvataḥ || 135 ||

इन्द्रियद्वारकं सर्वं सुखदुःखादिसङ्गमम्।
इतीन्द्रियाणि सन्त्यज्य स्वस्थः स्वात्मनि वर्तते॥ १३६॥
indriyadvārakaṁ sarvaṁ sukhaduḥkhādisaṅgamam |
itīndriyāṇi santyajya svasthaḥ svātmani vartate || 136 ||

ज्ञानप्रकाशकं सर्वं सर्वेणात्मा प्रकाशकः।
एकम् एकस्वभावत्वात्ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं विभाव्यते॥ १३७॥
jñānaprakāśakaṁ sarvaṁ sarveṇātmā prakāśakaḥ |
ekam ekasvabhāvatvātjñānaṁ jñeyaṁ vibhāvyate || 137 ||

मानसं चेतना शक्तिर् आत्मा चेति चतुष्टयम्।
यदा प्रिये परिक्षीणं तदा तद् भैरवं वपुः॥ १३८॥
mānasaṁ cetanā śaktir ātmā ceti catuṣṭayam |
yadā priye parikṣīṇaṁ tadā tad bhairavaṁ vapuḥ || 138 ||

निस्तरङ्गोपदेशानां शतम् उक्तं समासतः।
द्वादशाभ्यधिकं देवि यज् ज्ञात्वा ज्ञानविज् जनः॥ १३९॥
nistaraṅgopadeśānāṁ śatam uktaṁ samāsataḥ |
dvādaśābhyadhikaṁ devi yaj jñātvā jñānavij janaḥ || 139 ||

अत्र चैकतमे युक्तो जायते भैरवः स्वयम्।
वाचा करोति कर्माणि शापानुग्रहकारकः॥ १४०॥
atra caikatame yukto jāyate bhairavaḥ svayam |
vācā karoti karmāṇi śāpānugrahakārakaḥ || 140 ||

अजरामरताम् एति सोऽणिमादिगुणान्वितः।
योगिनीनाम् प्रियो देवि सर्वमेलापकाधिपः॥ १४१॥
ajarāmaratām eti so’ṇimādiguṇānvitaḥ |
yoginīnām priyo devi sarvamelāpakādhipaḥ || 141 ||

जीवन्न् अपि विमुक्तोऽसौ कुर्वन्न् अपि न लिप्यते।
jīvann api vimukto’sau kurvann api na lipyate |

श्री देवी उवाच।
śrī devī uvāca |

इदं यदि वपुर् देव परायाश्च महेश्वर॥ १४२॥
idaṁ yadi vapur deva parāyāśca maheśvara || 142 ||

एवमुक्तव्यवस्थायां जप्यते को जपश्च कः।
ध्यायते को महानाथ पूज्यते कश्च तृप्यति॥ १४३॥
evamuktavyavasthāyāṁ japyate ko japaśca kaḥ |
dhyāyate ko mahānātha pūjyate kaśca tṛpyati || 143 ||

हूयते कस्य वा होमो यागः कस्य च किं कथम्।
hūyate kasya vā homo yāgaḥ kasya ca kiṁ katham |

श्री भैरव उवाच।
śrī bhairava uvāca |

एषात्र प्रक्रिया बाह्या स्थूलेष्व् एव मृगेक्षणे॥ १४४॥
eṣātra prakriyā bāhyā sthūleṣv eva mṛgekṣaṇe || 144 ||

भूयो भूयः परे भावे भावना भाव्यते हि या।
जपः सोऽत्र स्वयं नादो मन्त्रात्मा जप्य ईदृशः॥ १४५॥
bhūyo bhūyaḥ pare bhāve bhāvanā bhāvyate hi yā |
japaḥ so’tra svayaṁ nādo mantrātmā japya īdṛśaḥ || 145 ||

ध्यानं हि निश्चला बुद्धिर् निराकारा निराश्रया।
न तु ध्यानं शरीराक्षिमुखहस्तादिकल्पना॥ १४६॥
dhyānaṁ hi niścalā buddhir nirākārā nirāśrayā |
na tu dhyānaṁ śarīrākṣimukhahastādikalpanā || 146 ||

पूजा नाम न पुष्पाद्यैर् या मतिः क्रियते दृढा।
निर्विकल्पे महाव्योम्नि सा पूजा ह्यादराल् लयः॥ १४७॥
pūjā nāma na puṣpādyair yā matiḥ kriyate dṛḍhā |
nirvikalpe mahāvyomni sā pūjā hyādarāl layaḥ || 147 ||

अत्रैकतमयुक्तिस्थे योत्पद्येत दिनाद् दिनम्।
भरिताकारता सात्र तृप्तिर् अत्यन्तपूर्णता॥ १४८॥
atraikatamayuktisthe yotpadyeta dinād dinam |
bharitākāratā sātra tṛptir atyantapūrṇatā || 148 ||

महाशून्यालये वह्नौ भूताक्षविषयादिकम्।
हूयते मनसा सार्धं स होमश् चेतनास्रुचा॥ १४९॥
mahāśūnyālaye vahnau bhūtākṣaviṣayādikam |
hūyate manasā sārdhaṁ sa homaś cetanāsrucā || 149 ||

यागोऽत्र परमेशानि तुष्टिर् आनन्दलक्षणा।
क्षपणात्सर्वपापानां त्राणात्सर्वस्य पार्वति॥ १५०॥
yāgo’tra parameśāni tuṣṭir ānandalakṣaṇā |
kṣapaṇātsarvapāpānāṁ trāṇātsarvasya pārvati || 150 ||

रुद्रशक्तिसमावेशस् तत्क्षेत्रम् भावना परा।
अन्यथा तस्य तत्त्वस्य का पूजा काश्च तृप्यति॥ १५१॥
rudraśaktisamāveśas tatkṣetram bhāvanā parā |
anyathā tasya tattvasya kā pūjā kāśca tṛpyati || 151 ||

स्वतन्त्रानन्दचिन्मात्रसारः स्वात्मा हि सर्वतः।
आवेशनं तत्स्वरूपे स्वात्मनः स्नानम् ईरितम्॥ १५२॥
svatantrānandacinmātrasāraḥ svātmā hi sarvataḥ |
āveśanaṁ tatsvarūpe svātmanaḥ snānam īritam || 152 ||

यैर् एव पूज्यते द्रव्यैस् तर्प्यते वा परापरः।
यश्चैव पूजकः सर्वः स एवैकः क्व पूजनम्॥ १५३॥
yair eva pūjyate dravyais tarpyate vā parāparaḥ |
yaścaiva pūjakaḥ sarvaḥ sa evaikaḥ kva pūjanam || 153 ||

व्रजेत्प्राणो विशेज् जीव इच्चया कुटिलाकृतिः।
दीर्घात्मा सा महादेवी परक्षेत्रम् परापरा॥ १५४॥
vrajetprāṇo viśej jīva iccayā kuṭilākṛtiḥ |
dīrghātmā sā mahādevī parakṣetram parāparā || 154 ||

अस्यामनुचरन् तिष्ठन् महानन्दमयेऽध्वरे।
तया देव्या समाविष्टः परम् भैरवमाप्नुयात्॥ १५५॥
asyāmanucaran tiṣṭhan mahānandamaye’dhvare |
tayā devyā samāviṣṭaḥ param bhairavamāpnuyāt|| 155 ||

षट्शतानि दिवा रात्रौ सहस्राण्येकविंशतिः।
जपो देव्याः समुद्दिष्टः सुलभो दुर्लभो जडैः॥ १५६॥
सकारेण बहिर्याति हकारेण विषेत् पुनः।
हंसहंसेत्यमुं मन्त्रं जीवो जपति नित्यशः॥१५६॥
ṣaṭśatāni divā rātrau sahasrāṇyekaviṁśatiḥ |
japo devyāḥ samuddiṣṭaḥ sulabho durlabho jaḍaiḥ || 156 ||
sakāreṇa bahiryāti hakāreṇa viṣet punaḥ |
haṁsahaṁsetyamuṁ mantraṁ jīvo japati nityaśaḥ ||156||

इत्येतत्कथितं देवि परमामृतम् उत्तमम्।
एतच् च नैव कस्यापि प्रकाश्यं तु कदाचन॥ १५७॥
ityetatkathitaṁ devi paramāmṛtam uttamam |
etac ca naiva kasyāpi prakāśyaṁ tu kadācana || 157 ||

परशिष्ये खले क्रूरे अभक्ते गुरुपादयोः।
निर्विकल्पमतीनां तु वीराणाम् उन्नतात्मनाम्॥ १५८॥
paraśiṣye khale krūre abhakte gurupādayoḥ |
nirvikalpamatīnāṁ tu vīrāṇām unnatātmanām || 158 ||

भक्तानां गुरुवर्गस्य दातव्यं निर्विशङ्कया।
ग्रामो राज्यम् पुरं देशः पुत्रदारकुटुम्बकम्॥ १५९॥
bhaktānāṁ guruvargasya dātavyaṁ nirviśaṅkayā |
grāmo rājyam puraṁ deśaḥ putradārakuṭumbakam || 159 ||

सर्वम् एतत्परित्यज्य ग्राह्यम् एतन् मृगेक्षणे।
किम् एभिर् अस्थिरैर् देवि स्थिरम् परम् इदं धनम्।
प्राणा अपि प्रदातव्या न देयं परमामृतम्॥ १६०॥
sarvam etatparityajya grāhyam etan mṛgekṣaṇe |
kim ebhir asthirair devi sthiram param idaṁ dhanam |
prāṇā api pradātavyā na deyaṁ paramāmṛtam || 160 ||

श्री देवी उवाच।
śrī devī uvāca |

देवदेव माहदेव परितृप्तास्मि शङ्कर।
रुद्रयामलतन्त्रस्य सारमद्यावधारितम्॥ १६१॥
devadeva māhadeva paritṛptāsmi śaṅkara |
rudrayāmalatantrasya sāramadyāvadhāritam || 161 ||

सर्वशक्तिप्रभेदानां हृदयं ज्ञातमद्य च।
इत्युक्त्वानन्दिता देवि कण्ठे लग्ना शिवस्य तु॥ १६२॥
sarvaśaktiprabhedānāṁ hṛdayaṁ jñātamadya ca |
ityuktvānanditā devi kaṇṭhe lagnā śivasya tu || 162 ||

The Kulamarga

An Overview of the Kulamarga

The Kulamarga departs markedly from the Mantramarga. We are offered two distinct cults of their deities, one following the Mantramarga (tantra-prakriya) and the other, seen as more elevated, following the Kulamarga (kula-prakriya). In the latter, instead of the elaborate and time-consuming process of initiation through offerings into a consecrated fire (hautri diksa) seen throughout the Mantramarga, we see initiation through the induction process (avesah) by the Goddess and the consumption of “impure” sacramental substances (caruprasanam, virapanam). We also find sexual intercourse with a consecrated consort (duti) as a central element of private worship (adyayagah), sanguinary sacrifices, and collective orgiastic rites celebrated by assemblies of initiates and women of low caste. These are the two ritual components of Abhinavagupta’s system: Tantra prakriya, the exoteric, normative liturgy of the entire Tantric community, centered on the God Bhairava; and kula prakriya, the secret and esoteric rites of the inner circle of the “clan” of initiates, centered on the Goddess and her proliferation into multiple goddesses. In his exegesis of the kula prakriya, Abhinavagupta sublimates, cosmeticizes, and semanticizes many of its practices into a type of meditative asceticism whose aim is to realize a transcendent subjectivity, but one which is imminent in the world and the Self. In the process, he transforms ritual from a form of doing to a form of “knowing.”

The Kulamarga, also called the Kula Teaching (kulasasanam, kulamnayah, and the like), or simply the Kula, was focused on the propitiation of the Goddess Kulesvari with or without Bhairava (Kulesvara) surrounded by the eight Mothers, and attended by Ganesa and Vatuka, with ancillary worship of the four Siddhas who propagated the tradition with their consorts, ending with Matseyendra (Macchanda) and his consort, Konkana, and the six non-celibate “princes” (rajaputrah) who were the sons of this couple together with their consorts; but this was variously inflected and modified in liturgical systems most obviously by the identity of the central deity.

In an early classification, seen in the Cincinimata, we are told of four forms of the Kaula cult, called the “transmissions” (anvayah) or “teachings” (amnayah), each assigned to one of the four cardinal directions: the Eastern (purvamnayah) associated with the goddess Kulesvari and closely related to that taught in the Trika; the Northern (uttaramnayah) associated with the goddess Kali (Kalasamkarsini); the Western (pascimanamnayah) with the goddess Kubjika and her consort, Navitman; and the Southern (daksinamnayah) with Kamesvari and the goddess known as the Nityas. This last transmission was eclipsed in time by its own outgrowth, the cult of the mild goddess Tripurasundari, also known as Sri Vidya, which eventually became the most widespread and popular form of Sakta worship, surviving with some vigor down to the present day. This was the situation up until the 12th century CE.

The creativity of these traditions was not exhausted. In later times, probably in eastern India after the decline of Buddhism in that region, various goddesses not encountered in earlier Kaula/Sakta sources, such as Syama (Daksinakali), Tara, Chinnamasta, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, and Bhuvanesvari, made their appearance in a new wave of Saiva-Sakta scriptural literature, eventually forming with Tripurasundari a fixed repertoire known as the Ten Mahavidya Goddesses, and preserving in the cults of Tara and Chinnamasta two deities of the Buddhist Tantric traditions that had formerly been so strong in the region comprising the modern states of Bengal, Bangladesh, Bihar, and Orissa.

The Kulamarga

Antecedents of the Kulamarga: The Kapalikas and the Cult of the Yoginis

The traditions of the Kulamarga are Kapalika, the basic form of their ascetic observances being that of the skull. The Kapalika background is evident from iconography of the divine couple. Worshipped within an enclosure of cremation grounds, they themselves wear the bone ornaments and brandish the skull-staff of the Kapalika tradition.  The Kapalikas, the ‘skull-men, so called because, like the Lakula ascetic of the higher path, they carried a skull-capped staff (khatviraga) and carried a cranium begging bowl; that is, they had undertaken the ‘great vow ’ (mahdvrata), the penance for Brahmanicide.

The Kapalika ascetic was quite the opposite of the respectable Smarta Brahman householder or even Saiva Siddhantin. Yet his doctrines and practices were developed on the basis of Saiva Siddhanta ideology, which lie radically re-interpreted. The Kapalika ascetic lived in the cremation grounds, imitating his fierce deities and appeasing these deities with offerings of blood, meat, alcohol and sexual fluids from ritual intercourse unconstrained by caste restrictions. These were highly polluting activities to an orthodox Brahman and even the sight of such an ascetic would pollute him. While meat and wine were common enough among the lower castes, they were impure for a Brahman. An orthodox Brahman would make only pure, vegetarian offerings to his gods and sexual activity would be constrained by the code of varnasrama-dharma, and excluded from the world of puja. In place of vegetarian food the Kapalika offered meat, in place of milk the Kapalika offered wine. The goal of the Kapalika was power (siddhi) which he thought he could achieve through breaking social taboos, appeasing his deities with offerings which would be anathema to the vedic practitioner, and harnessing the power of his deities through controlled possession.

While the right current Siddhanta modeled their religion on the Vedic prototype that had been dominant in an earlier Indian religion (especially 1000BCE – 400CE), the left current Kulamarga or Kaula emerged out of an equally old but more “populist” stratum of Indian religion, a fascinating and strange shamanistic visionary world of propititation of nature goddesses and animal headed yoginis. This is an area of Indian religion that is not well documented because it was largely illiterate, though we see many signs of its influence on literate religion. This shamanistic world, which was the older cultural background of the Kaula stream thus provided its aesthetic template, involving rituals and power-seeking rites that might seem disturbing, unbelievable, or even abhorrent to us. The sadhaka or ascetic practitioner performed these rites in frightening places such as cremation grounds, using mortuary elements like human skulls and ash from the funeral pyre. The rites invoked group of wild and fierce goddesses, often envisioned as nature spirits (called apsaras, dakinis, matrs, grahis, etc), and were led by a chief goddess or by the firece form of Siva himself – Bhairava.    If the sadhaka’s practice wa successful, the deities appeared to him, at which point he woujld make a blood or sacrificial offfering. Mythologically, he would be accepted by the goddesses and would rise into the sky with them, becoming the leader of their wild band – in other words, becoming like Bhairava Himself.

Around the 9-10th century, a paradigm shift of sorts occurred century, away from these earlier forms of Kaula practice which had involved cremation ground-based asceticism featuring the use of blood sacrifice and alcohol as a means to feeding and satisfying a host of terrible Kula (clan) deities. The emphasis moved away from feeding those ravenous deities towards a type of erotico-mystical practice involving a female horde, collectively known as the Yoginis, led by the terrible male Siva-Bhairava, together with his consort, the Goddess (Aghoresvari, Uma, Candi, Sakti, etc.). The Kaula rites were grounded in the cults of the Yoginis, medieval heiress to the Matrkas (Mothers), Yaksinis (female Dryads), and Grahinis (female Seizers) of earlier traditions who, like them, were often represented as supernatural or preternatural hybrids between human, animal, bird, and plant worlds. These petulant female deities, located at a shifting threshold between the divine and the demonic, were by turns terrible and benign with regard to humans, who traditionally worshipped them with blood offerings and animal sacrifice. Once gratified by said oblations, the Yoginis would reveal themselves as ravishing young women and gratify their human devotees in return with supernatural powers (siddhis), most particularly the power of flight.

64 Yoginis in a Temple

Induced possession by these Yoginis was the prime means to the ends of the Kaula, the “clan-generated” practices, also termed the “clan-practice” (kulacara), “clan religion” (kuladharma), or the “clan generated gnosis” (kulajnana). Kaula practitioners were primarily concerned with worldly powers (siddhis) and bodily immortality (jivanmukti) with the enjoyment (bhukti) of said powers and immortality taking precedence over any ideal of consciousness raising or disembodied liberation from cyclic rebirth (mukti), embraced by more conventional Tantric practitioners. These powers were gained by transacting with the Yoginis, who, in the Kaula context, were also identified with the female ritual consorts of the male practitioner. That is, the Yoginis of the Kaula Tantric tradition were at once regarded as flesh-and-blood women with whom male practitioners interacted, and the devouring semi-divine beings who were the object of their worship cults. In the secular literature, these Yoginis were often portrayed as witches or sorceresses, ambiguous, powerful, and dangerous figures that only a heroic male would dare approach, let alone attempt to conquer. It is for this reason that the fully initiated male practitioners of the Kaula termed themselves Champions or Virile Heroes (Viras); alternatively, they referred to themselves as Perfected Beings (Siddhas), by way of identifying themselves with another order of semi-divine beings, the male counterparts to the Yoginis of Epic and medieval Indian mythology.

On certain nights of the lunar month and solar year, Kaula practitioners would assemble on cremation grounds, or at “clan mounds” or “seats” (pithas), “clan-mountains” (kula-parvatas) or “fields” (ksetras). These gatherings were called “mingling” (melakas, melanas, melapas), involving the union of male and female initiates, of Yoginis whose presence and interaction with their heroic (Vira) or perfected (Siddha) male counterparts was the sine qua non of Kaula practice.

At these gatherings the Yoginis would descend from the sky to meet their male consorts awaiting them on the ground. These Yogini’s flight was fueled by the man and animal flesh that was their diet; however, the Siddhas or Viras, by virtue of their own practice, were able to offer the Yoginis a more subtle and more powerful energy source. This was their semen (virya), the distilled essence of their own bodily constituents. The Yoginis, gratified by these offerings, would offer their form of grace to the Siddhas or Viras. Instead of devouring them, they would offer them a counter-presentation of their own sexual discharge, something these male partners would have been as needful as the Yoginis were of male semen. Why? According to the Kaula tradition, the Godhead externalized himself (or herself in the Krama) in the form of a cluster of 8 great goddesses, who in turn proliferated into the multiple circles of feminine energies (usually 64) that was the Yogini entourage. These semi-divine Yoginis and the human women who embodied them carried in their bodies the germ plasm of the Godhead, called the “clan nectar” (kulamrta), “clan fluid” (kuladravyam), “vulval essence” (yoni-tattva), the “command” (ajna), simply the “fluid (dravyam), or the “clan” (kula). While this divine essence naturally flowed through women, it was considered absent in males. Therefore, the sole means by which a male could access the flow of the supreme godhead at the elevated center of the mandala, the clan “flow-chart,” was through the Yoginis who formed or inhabited its outer circles.

Yogini Mandala

Only through initiation by and continued interaction with the Yoginis could these male practitioners access the fluid essence and boundless energy of the godhead. It was therefore necessary that male practitioners be “inseminated” or more properly speaking “insanguinated,” with the sexual or menstrual discharge of the Yoginis – rendering the “mouth” of the Yogini their sole conduit to membership in the clan and all its prerequisites. Here, the “mouth” of the Yogini was her vulva, and “drinking female discharge” (rajapana), the prime means to fulfill the male needs. Therefore, the erotico-mystical practice, the “Tantric sex” practiced by the Kaula practitioners, mainly involved the drinking of these power substances that were sexual fluids, either through mutual oral congress or through a form of genital sex called vajroli mudra (urethral suction) by which the male partner used his penis as a straw to suck up the sexual discharge of the female partner. The ending of this encounter was the much coveted ability of flight, which was later to be internalized and reinterpreted along the means of experiencing God-Consciousness, but which more likely reflected the seeking of supernatural power among the Kaula.

Since its origins, the Kaula has essentially consisted of a body of techniques for the control of multiple, often female, beings, both for one’s own benefit and as tools to use against others. These may be reduced to three principal types: 1). Mantras, acoustic formulas that, when enunciated properly under the proper conditions, control said beings; 2). Techniques of possession, in which the same beings act through one’s own body; 3). The gratification of these beings through sacrificial offerings, with or without the transformative medium of vedic fire. In this last case, the supreme offering is none other than the bodily constituents of the practitioner himself. Here, human practitioners make the supreme sacrifice of their own person, moving the Tantric deity to reciprocate with untold powers and supernatural enjoyments. It is these three types of practice that have constituted the Tantric mainstream in the history of South Asian religions.

White essentially argues that “tantric” sex was a means of transmitting esoteric knowledge through the transmission of sexual fluid from the mouth (vulva) of the Yogini, which served to initiate the practitioner into the Kaula lineage via fluid gnosis or sexually transmitted messages.

Veneration of the Yoni

The Early Kaula

Kaula is sometimes referred to as the whole left side of Tantra, – the non-dual, transgressive, goddess-worshipping side, but within this general rubric, there was also a specific lineage grouping called Kaula, what we have been calling the Kulamarga. It is headed by the semi-historical, semi-legendary figure of Macchanda Natha (Matseyendra) “Lord Fisherman,” possibly of the 8th century. Macchanda is one of the most highly revered masters of the Tantra, considered a maha-siddha in both Saiva and Buddhist camps and has even been made into a deity in Nepal’s Kathmandhu valley, which still celebrates an annual festival in his honor, though they have long since forgotten his teachings.

In the original sources, he is revered as the avatar or revealer of the Truth in the fourth and current age of the Kali Yuga.  He was from Kamarupa (modern Assam) in the Far East, but must have traveled widely, for we know that his partner and consort was nick-named Konkanamba, “the Mother from Konkan,” a place on the western coast of modern Bombay. Unfortunately, her name is not as well remembered as that of her partner’s, even though the two were originally praised as a pair of awakened masters. They worshipped Siva and Sakti as a conjugal pair, under the names Kulesvara and Kulesvari (Lord and Lady of the Family). Later practitioners influenced by Kaulism often used those names for whatever specific forms of Siva and Sakti they worshipped.

Macchanda (a.k.a. Matseyendranatha) was a siddhi who incorporated the teachings of a the Kapalikas and their associated Yogini cult into his Kaulajnananirnaya (KJnN), for which reason he is exalted, in later works, as the founder of the Kaula. The KJnN is arguably a foundational text of the Kaula dated to around the 9th or 10th century. This final derivation of the Kaula is termed the “Fish-Belly.” In a mythological account, we read of Bhairava, having transformed himself into a fisherman, retrieving the Kaula scriptures from the belly of a fish. The other motif of the fish belly is suggestive of the evocative and sexual practices of the Yogini Kaula because the belly expands and contracts like the sexual organs.


Macchanda and Konkanamba are said to have had twelve sons. Six became celibate ascetics and six became married householders. It was the latter six whom Macchanda and Konkamba initiated, transmitting to them their wisdom-teachings. Interestingly, the names of these six sons are not Sanskrit, but rather are associated with tribes beyond the pale of normal Indian society, thus alluding to early shamanic origins of the Kaula teachings. These six sons (together with their consorts) became the six heads of six lineages, called ovallis. The lineages developed into specific clans, which maintained networks of lodges near sacred sites around the subcontinent and had special hand-signals so members could recognize each other. The name of the six clans were Ananda, Bodhu, Avali, Orabhu, Pada, and Yogi, and their members, accordingly, had names ending in one of the six clan names.

This “original” Kaula lineage is not included amongst the nine main samparadayas that we will discuss because it is not a separate school in the same sense, with its own sectarian doctrines and specific cult of worship. It was rather a particular way of practicing the Tantra, with a greater emphasis on the sensual, and its real significance lay in the profound influence it exerted on some of the left current schools, so that in time two variants of some sects were acknowledged. For example, there is the Trika of the Mantramarga and the Kaula Trika of the Kulamarga.  This influence served to counter the transcendentalist emphasis seen in some parts of the tradition, for what characterized the Kaula above all else was its emphasis on the primacy of the body and on the immanent aspects of the divine. A totally practice-based lineage, it taught the use of sensual experience as a springboard into divine Presence. Therefore it is solely within the Kaula influenced lineages that sexual rites were practiced and that transgressive substances were both offered to God and consumed by the offerer (as is considered necessary in a non-dual view that “walks the talk”).

The Reformation of the Kaula

By the late 9th century the Kaulas were often highly educated people and refined aesthetes and sometimes were connected to the royal court. Still, they had to deal with an earlier scriptural tradition that at times emphasized otherworldly magical rites, some of which were offensive to Indian society. You see, ancient India was a deeply traditional society in which there was no possibility of simply rejecting an earlier layer of one’s tradition. If the earlier tradition did not fit the current paradigm, it had to be reinterpreted. This is precisely what the more sophisticated Kaulas of classical tantra did. They did not take the shamanistic rites described above literally; rather, they argued that the wild goddesses were expressions of the various energies of the human mind and body. The mortuary symbols were taken to represent transcendence of the ego and the attachment to body-based identity. When the ego is suspended, they taught, external objects lose their otherness and shine within consciousness as the flavors of pure aesthetic experience. The goddesses of the sense-energies are gratified by this offering of “nectar” and thereby converge, fusing with the practitioner’s radiant and expansive awareness. He thereby experiences himself as a single mass of blissful consciousness. Finally, flying through the sky as Bhairava himself, was taken to indicate an awe-inspiring divine state in which the liberated practitioner flies free in the sky of pure awareness, unbound by ordinary limiting cognitions, but still embodied, (i.e. possessed of his senses and faculties).

This process of reinterpretation (sometimes called “hermeneutics”) is central to all religions. The important thing to understand is that from inside the religion, it has no quality of artificiality. Rather, the interpreters believe that they are simply drawing out the real, deeper meaning of early scriptures, the meaning that God had always intended. (This is not to say that the sophisticated Kaula interpreters totally rejected those ascetics who chose to pursue cremation ground ritual and power-seeking; such ascetics, who had become the minority, were benignly tolerating as something like an eccentric and socially inappropriate cousin, embarrassing at times, but still part of the family).

So the sophisticated and literate expression of the left-current of non-dual Saiva Tantra “purified” the shocking or repellent elements of earlier goddess worship, not by rejecting them but by reinterpreting them as the elements of an interior spiritual experience. These Kaulas were great aesthetes, especially in Kashmir, where the left current flourished. For them, the highest state of consciousness was that of camatkara, that is, wonder or aesthetic rapture, the experience of amazement at the raw and vivid beauty of embodied existence. Their “aestheticization” of earlier tradition fit in well with their non-dualist beliefs; now they could confront even the most apparently horrific states of death and so-called impurity as aspects of their own divine inner being, aspects of the total beauty of existence. You can see this perspective in certain varieties of tantric art, depicting fierce yet benevolent deities.  Fierce deities are an exclusive characteristic of the non-dual type of tantra.

Abhinavagupta, marginalized the ritual of fluid exchange and sublimated it into wider body of ritual and meditative techniques. These techniques were designed not to threaten the purity regulations that were requires for high caste social functioning. These theoreticians eliminated the major goal of those “hard core” practices – the transformation and consumption of sexual substances to gain supernatural powers – by interpreting such antinomian practices metaphorically and switching the goal post from siddhis to the expansion of consciousness, now viewed as the cultivation of a divine state of mind homologous to the bliss experienced in sexual orgasm. This was a revisionist Tantra form orthopraxy to orthodoxy, from doing to knowing. Thus, for example, the drinking of female menstrual discharge became abstracted into a program of meditational mantras.

For all intense and purposes the Kaula disappeared in the 12th and 13th centuries, with a catastrophic break in most of the guru-disciple lineages, a break most likely occasioned by the progressive Muslim conquest of north India. Thereafter, it is only appropriate to speak of Tantric or Kaula revivals.


  1. Sanderson, Alexis. “Saivism and the Tantric Traditions” in The World’s Religions. Hardy, F., Clarke, P., Houlden, L., and Sutherland, S. (Eds). Routledge Press, London, 1990.
  2. Sanderson, Alexis. “The Saiva Age – The Rise and Dominance of Śaivism during the Early Medieval Period.” In The Genesis and Development of Tantrism. Einoo, Shingo (Ed). University of Tokyo, Tokyo, 2009, pp. 41–349.
  3. Samuel. Geoffrey. The Origins of Yoga and Tantra: Indic Religions to the 13th Century. Cambridge University Press, NY, 2008.
  4. White, David Gordon. Kiss of the Yogini: “Tantric Sex” in its South Asian Contexts. The University of Chicago Press, IL, 2003.
  5. Wallis, Christopher. Tantra Illuminated: The Philosophy, History, and Practice of a Timeless Tradition. Anusara Press, TX, 2012.