“This classic battle, from which the ancient Mothers famously emerged victorious, represents the war between the inmost Divine Self and the ego. Victory over ego and destruction of illusion alone is the great battle of every sincere soul in their journey to enlightenment. On a macrocosmic level it heralds the ultimate victory of the collective divinity in achieving full awareness of the one limitless undifferentiated consciousness.”
Ancient Mothers (Sapta Matrikas), Tanjavore, Tamil Nadu
From the Mists of Antiquity
A small group of ancient Mother-Goddesses have emerged from hoary antiquity, possibly as early as 2000-3000 BCE or earlier. Tantric literature from the 6th century which has survived to our present time, tell us that worship of these Goddesses became a standard feature in temples throughout India by the 9th century. It is said that each of these eight Goddesses manifested as eight themselves, resulting the the celebrated 64 Yoginis, so central to Tantra. Each of these Goddesses represents the core energy and potency of the primary male deities. Each is associated with a certain level of perfection in the awakened woman and man. This ultimately leads to the attainment of miraculous powers (siddhis) which are manifested in the yantras, mantras, kriyas and pujas associated with these Goddess energies. Seven in number, the Goddesses are Brahmani, Maheshvari, Kaumari, Vaisnavi, Varahi, Indrani, and Chamunda. These Goddesses are found in power shrines throughout the Indian subcontinent. The individual mothers can be identified in various ancient temples by their weapons, ornaments, animal mounts (vahanas), and banner emblems, which are in some cases the same as that of their corresponding male deities. Artifacts from the ancient Indus Valley civilization suggest that this or a similar shakti cluster connected to the constellation Pleiades, emerged many thousand years ago.
The image at right, more than 4000 years old, is sometimes referred to as the Seven Mothers of Harappa. It is considered by adherents of Goddess worship, (Unmani Shaktism) to be the first representation of the the ancient mothers, so treasured by Tantra. These seven Mothers are thought to be connected to Pleiades and in turn, by Muruga, the dravidian God of war and beauty, whose origins are identified with a constellation in Ursa Major and described in Ancient Tamil texts. During medieval times, an eighth mother, Sri Lakshmi, was added to the Shakti Cluster resulting in the Ashta Matrikas (the eight mothers of wisdom).
Although the specific origins of the ancient mothers are shrouded in the mists of antiquity, the Matrika tradition was popular and well established by the 6th century, and reached a further peak in terms of followers prior to the 11th century The tradition continues today in tantric and shakti traditions, in whom the divine female is worshipped.
Advent of the Goddesses Kali and Durga
Two overarching Goddesses emerge from ancient times. Kali and Durga. Kali is Durga and Durga is Kali. Although they are differentiated, they are also seen as one. The texts record that even the residents of the celestials in the Divine realm (Deva Loka) could not defeat the buffalo-demon Mahisha, who was running amok creating problems for all those in the light. Mahisha, in fact, is the personification of ego and darkness of consciousness. Turning to Shiva, the celestials were advised to release their inner spiritual power, for the benefit of all. In doing so, Kali Durga was born. Yoga and Tantra have always taught that the impetus and capacity for action comes from the inner divine female and that the capacity for discrimination emerges from the inner divine male. Thus, the inner power, the shakti energy of the Gods emerged in female form – Maheshvari from Shiva, Vaishnavi from Vishnu, Brahmani from Brahma, Indrani from Indra, and Kaumari from Kumar (Muruga). The Matsya Purana states that Chamunda, both primal and fierce against illusion and ego, was created by Shiva. Although each of the Goddesses maintained their form, they merged their inner power together into a grand light form from which arose a magnificent Goddess with many arms. She would come be known as the invincible Goddess, Ma Durga.
Each of the ancient mothers in turn further aided Durga by arming her with their magical weapons – Maheshwari gave her his trisul (trident) to awaken the fullness of her inner power, Varahi gave her a rope with which to bind illusion; Indrani, master of electrical energy, offered her thunderbolt; Brahmani gave the shield of knowledge for protection, Vaishnavi his powerful mysterious discus weapon; Kumari a magical lance, the embodiment action energy (kriya shakti). Surya, the sun-god, contributed his magical bow and arrow, which could reach its target at distance with astounding force and accuracy. Chandra, the Goddess of the moon, gave her convulsive axe, and Yama, the god of death, gave his deadly mace; Vayu, the wind-god, gave his conch-horn, which Durga ultimately blew to herald her victory in battle.
Thus armed, Durga, with cosmic wisdom, laid a clever trap for the evil Mahesha. She rode to the top of a mountain on her lion, where she remained silent and still, in majesty and power. As anticipated, Mahisha, seeing her and attracted by her beauty, came to the mountain. Dumbfounded by her latent sexuality and the raw power of her aura, he lost his thinking mind. Unconscious of her intent and her vast potential to destroy him, he proposed marriage. Durga then broke her silence, “I will marry only he who can defeat me in battle,” she said.”
Immediately taken up by his lower vital, and lost in illusion, Mahisha attacked the Goddess Durga with glee. Legions of demon warriors faced off with Durga’s attendants, the ancient Mothers, and the fight was on.
The illustration above demonstrates the chaotic collision of battle, led by Maha Kali (with dark skin) and Durga (on her lion).
As the battles between the demon army and the Matrikas raged on, Durga’s epic fight continued with the great demon general, Mahisha. She hurled many magic weapons at him to no avail, for each time he arose unscathed. Due to powers gained earlier from Brahma, Mahisha was immune even to the weapons of the Gods. Inspired by higher power, Durga kicked him and he immediately succumbed to the powerful touch of her foot. Durga then impaled him with her most powerful weapon of all, Shiva’s trisul, and blew her conch in victory over the demon king.
Durga fought with great power against the Demonic Mahisha but due to a boon received earlier from Brahma, he was immune to her powerful weapons.
MahaKali destroyed Raktabija by capturing his life force from each drop of blood,.
The Devi Mahatmya records the story of Raktabija, who was a demon that was thought to be immune from death. That is because whenever a drop of his blood fell to the earth, a duplicate Raktabija demon would rise up. Durga herself could not vanquish Raktabija so the great Goddess Kali stepped forward to battle Raktabija. As she fought the demon, MahaKali caught each drop of blood with her own tongue. Thus, Raktabija was annihilated. With the help of the eight Mother Goddesses, the entire demon army was vanquished. After the battle, the Matrikas danced and became drunk from the blood of their victim’s. The mystical interpretation of this particular battle is that Kali, Durga and the Divine Mothers have complete mastery over life force, symbolized by blood, and the capacity to conserve and recirculate that life force.
As the war against the demons concluded, all the Gods descended from the celestial realm and saluted this great warrior-Goddesses and celebrated their triumph. Thus, Durga became known as Mahisha-mardini, the killer (mardini) of the great demon (mahisha).
This classic battle, from which the ancient Mothers famously emerged victorious, represents the war between the inmost Divine Self and the ego. Victory over ego and destruction of illusion alone is the great battle of every sincere soul in their journey to enlightenment. On a macrocosmic level it heralds the ultimate victory of the collective divinity in achieving full awareness of the one limitless undifferentiated consciousness.
Durga’s story appears many sacred texts, including the Skanda Purana, The Brahmanda Purana, Devi Mahatmya, Kulachunamani Tantra and the celebrated epic, the Mahabharata. The Markendeya Purana links the eight Mothers to the eight cardinal directions which places them at the core of many yantra pujas. The Matrikas are also described in the Matsya, Vamana, Varaha, and Kurma Puranas, as well as the Supra-bhed-agama.
The Devi Bhagavata Purana states that the Supreme Mother, Kali Durga, promised that the Matrikas would fight and conquer demons whenever needed. These eight mothers represent and are extoled as the protectors of the directions and, like the ten Mahaviyas, can be used in puja to seal the energy of the puja.
Above – Ancient stone reliefs of the mothers are scattered through the Indian subcontinent.
Hearing about these primal Goddess will elevate consciousness, but learning the practical yogic techniques, as well as the ritual and meditative practices associated with them provides a powerful source of protection and transformation that can be drawn on whenever needed. The practices lead to freedom, power, inner light, and massive energy. There are two forms of Shakti sadhana, (1) Samani, or active and (2) Unmani, or inactive. These sadhanas require practical kriyas which are linked to specific initiations and must be learned from an authorized teacher (adihardi guru), as there are energy transmissions that occur with each, through the Grace of the Sathguru and lineage of teachers. All of these aspects related to the Great Goddesses cannot be overemphasized and cannot be obtained from a book. A fundamental principle of yoga and tantra is that the Sathguru imparts shakti into the mantra as it is passes on from teacher to student. In this way, there are many aspects of Shakti Sadhana that require a teacher, and books cannot be that teacher. Nevertheless, in order to introduce these great Mothers to the reader, their own self descriptive words are recored below. The following are excerpts from an as yet unpublished text, Kali Yogini Tantra, channeled recently, with commentary by the author. It is a work that has required decades of preparation.
Thus Chamunda Devi Spoke…
“I am the great goddess who is loved by the strong, worshipped by the noble, and experienced as the one of transcendent light by the enlightened. I am by nature the wind itself and of the character of perpetual motion. I swirl about chaotically creating confusion and consequences for those who gossip and tell tales. I am the original witch of whispers. I will clear the air and heal the wounds of gossip pain inflicted by this confusion. I bring forth great clarity, focus and intensity. I have been with you from the beginning as a seed, and I am that which is attained at the end of desire. I am Yamas own,”
Chamunda is known as parianganatha, the ruler of sacred erection, for she is the primal source of creative energy. She sits upon a razors edge of pleasure and pain. She is dynamic to the extreme, securing for her devotees anything to advance their spiritual aspiration. Chamunda is the first of the eight ancient mothers. She has the nature of the wind (marut/vayu). Chamunda obtains her name from two great demons that she destroyed during the great battle between the celestial Mothers and the demon army. The demons, Chanda and Munda, were slain by her and thus her name became Chamunda. Chamunda shares much with the Goddess Bagala Mukhi especially in her fight against gossip. The demon of gossip, Paisunya Asura, is said to be deathly afraid of Chamunda. She is propitiated to free ones life from gossip mongering and tale bearers. She is otherwise rarely propitiated by worldly devotees who find her austerity bordering on fearful. The seriousness of her approach should be noted and regular sadhana to her is to be avoided by the ego clingers, mystic power dabblers, and psychic window shoppers, for she is the real thing! She is the fast track from emancipation from the triple demons, karma, ego and maya, but she will exact a price, to be paid in service to the dharma. Against the recommendation of saints, advanced yogis and tantriks, she is sometimes propitiated by those who seek supremacy over an enemy but beware of unintended consequences. In spite of her intensity, she is quite willing to bestow blessings all around. For the yogi or tantric she offers great assistance in any activity or inner growth that requires discipline for she is the embodiment of self discipline. Linked to the God of death, Yama, she is an ultimate enforcer of the inevitable pendulum of karma. Ironically, for the courageous few who seek her confidence, she will tenderly guide the soul to its spiritual destiny as well.
Chamunda herself is intense beyond any recognized standard. In her stance for truth, she embodies self sacrifice. She is connected anatomically to the inner thighs. Mantra sadhaks who are focussed on the inner goal should understand that She presides over Bij Kshara, the root-letter or the seed-letter in which resides the latent power of all mantra.
Yantra: Her yantra has two small inverted equilateral triangles, one within the other. This, in turn, is surrounded by two intersecting triangles forming a six pointed star. Surrounding that are two interlocked squares, one rotated 45 degrees from the other. These squares thus form an octagon design. This is encompassed by a circle of ten petals, then one of twelve petals, then one of fourteen and finally a sixteen petaled pericarp surrounded by a circle.
Her Appearance and Sadhana: Chamunda appears in both a black as well as red form. She rides upon an owl and displays a necklace of human heads. In her two armed form, she carries a trident (trisul) and sword (khadga). In her four armed form, she carries a sword, shield, battle axe and spear, all symbolic of the powers of protection which she gives those who approach her. She sometimes appears as the emaciated and terrifying dark Mother with sunken eyes, sagging breasts and skeletal body. She has a third-eye with veins defined over the course of her entire body. She appears toothless, with heavily hanging earlobes and snake-entwined arms. Her hair is aflame and pulled upwards, wrapped and held in place by a band created from a snake. She is adorned with all manner of scorpions, serpents and other poisonous creatures. The center of her hair bears a terrifying skull. She is witch-like among Goddesses and the Great Powerful Mother among witches. She is meditated upon seated on and engaged in sex with a corpse (maithuna preta). She has full mastery of all mystical powers (siddhis) and can bestow them to those whom she chooses. Her matted hair, like Shiva himself, is adorned with a crescent moon. With an ancient link to both liquor and maithuna, puja to her can include both of these elements and any chakra puja should honor her in some way. She is best worshipped at night with a black or red cloth. Approach her with humility and sincerity and you will be rewarded.
Pilgrimage: Chamunda can be seen at the Hiripur 64 Yogini Temple. She is also present at the Bheraghat 64 Yogini Temple.
Thus Varahi Devi Spoke…
“I am Satya Ekakini, the Oneness of Truth. I am the expeller of impurities, the multiplier of power. I am the essence of strength, power, and energy. I have dominion over the intellect (Buddhi). As the inner power the boar God Varaha, I enabled his rescue on the physical plane when the demon Hiranya Kashipu, tossed the earth into the cosmic ocean. I plunged into the cosmic waters and destroyed the demon. The spirit of earth, manifesting as a beautiful woman, was carried safely to its place in the universe. I am telling you these things so that you may understand my phenomenal power to rescue any soul caught in unfavorable circumstances. Stand strong within yourself, and look not to others for your power for you have ample strength in your own core, if you care to see it. Doing this, you will find me residing ever within. I am the destroyer of envy, for I free souls from its demonic interference. I am the mystical perfect balance of masculine and feminine energy, divided, yet harmonious. I am the ultimate protection of the pure maiden of 16 summers, guarding all youth and especially females.”
Varahi brings about destruction of ego and self pride and is the second of the eight ancient mothers. She is the cosmic vessel for the God of great tusks, the Boar Avatar. She is the very mother of the peerless Tripurasundari, the youthful Goddess of 16 summers, and is identified as such in the Tantra-raja-tantra. The text Varaha Purana states that Varahi represents the potential to overcome the demon of envy (asuya asurya). Varahi is a granter or boons who rules over the northern direction. Her yantra then is utilized in the north during chakra pujas and other secret tantric practices. Varahi is the goddess with boar form, fighting demons with her tusks while seated upon a corpse (preta). In other times, she powers through Mahamaya on a buffalo. She is the activating force of Lord Yama. She is connected anatomically to the skull, a symbol which reflects her role in the realm of transformation of the intellect. Ruling over manas tatva, she presides over the mind and senses. It is said that her pingala is the mantra “Ham” and her Ida is the mantra “Sah”, thus she integrates with perfection alchemical polarities of kundalini balance.
Yantra: Varahi’s yantra is a bindu around which is an inverted triangle. This in turn, is surrounded by a circle, beyond which is a hexagon followed by two concentric circles.
Her Appearance and Sadhana. Her highest form rests on an island of nine gems, reflecting her reign over the planets. The island of gems rests within an ocean of sweetness, an allegory for the divine elixer (soma) extracted from the depths of the subconscious during Sambhavi mudra, a mystical practice. She is the color of molten gold, with fiery continence, golden clothes, and voluminous hair. She carrying a plough in one hand and a spear in the other. In yet another of her forms, she is the two-armed boar form she wields a magical discus (chakra), and fights with a sword (khadga). In her eight armed forms holds a discus, conch, hook, lotus, noose, and club and displays the mudras of dispelling fear and granting boons. In all her forms, she is worshiped through dhyana yoga, especially at night, with the Ham-Sah mantra and kundalini pranayam as well as any of the 64 tantric kriyas. Sambhavi mudra is particularly appropriate for her puja.
Pilgrimage: She can be seen at the Hiripur 64 Yogini Temple. Varahi is worshipped at Panchasaagar Varahi Shakti Peeth located near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, India. Here, Devi Sati’s lower teeth fell to earth. She is also present at the Bheraghat 64 Yogini Temple.
Kaumari Devi Spoke…
“I am the one with overarching will, who experiences the awakened fire, and who awakens the fire in others. I am the very energy of the Muruga Avatar. I am the warrior among warriors, the single minded and horrendous destroyer of separateness and illusion. I am master of the rising up energy, the primordial power in the great staff of life. I clear the fog of confusion and fear and enable those who approach me with humility to overcome the limitations of fear, illusion and fallacy. I free the devotee from the interference of falseness. The ultimate aspect of falsity is the cosmic illusion of Maya that I control with mere will. I lift the veils of the dream-like state and awaken the sadhak to spiritual reality. I have dominion over vacuity, Divine space (akasha), and the realm where the ancient records of all souls are stored, for I am the record keeper of the book of life. Thus, I am propitiated to those who seek long lost or hidden knowledge.”
Koumari is the embodiment of Kriya Shakti, the energy of dedicated action. She is the third of the eight ancient mothers. She attacks illusion (moha asura), promotes unity and oneness, engenders acceptance and inclusion, and rules over both sexual bliss and progeny in intimate relationships. Her namesake, Kumar, is the second son of Yogi Shiva and deeply connected to the three great powers that are needed before any accomplishment can be realized. (1) Iccha Shakti, (2) Jnana Shakti and (3) Kriya Shakti. Iccha Shakti is the energy of desire. Without desire, no advancement can be made in any arena of life, as there is no motivation. Jnana Shakti is the energy directed in a knowledgeable way. One must have the knowledge to direct the motivation, without which there is no further advance. Kriya Shakti is the energy of action, essential for progress and completion of any goal. Iccha Shakti and Jnana Shakti are concentrated in the avatar Kumar through his two consorts (Valli and Devanai). Kriya Shakti, which he obtained from his magical spear or Vel, was given to him by his mother, Parvati, which she pulled out of her own body, as he approached a great battle with the demon, Soorapadman, who was enslaving even the Gods. Ultimately, the enslavement is lack of knowledge of Self. The result is that Goddess Kaumari has inherited massive Shakti grace, and particularly the end stage Kriya Shakti to accomplish any task for her devotees. Anatomically, she is connected to Scarpas’ triangle in the upper inner thigh. She presides over Urdhvamnaya Bhava, the ultimate absorption and recirculation of the sexual energy.
Her Appearance and Sadhana: Kaumari appears on her vahana, the peacock. She is clad in red and holds the trisul of Shiva in her upper right hand. In her upper left she holds the battle spear (vel) of Muruga. In her two lower arms she displays abhaya mudra and vara mudra. All of the Urdhvamnaya practices, including Bhairavi Kriya are desirable when performing sadhana specifically to her. Meditation upon space (akash) is ideal.
Yantra: Careful observation of her yantra reveals that it has twelve stars, each with six points. In the center is an inverted triangle and within that, a circle. On the outside of the pericarp is sixteen petals.
Pilgrimage: She can be worshipped at the Hirapur 64 Yogini Temple. She can also be worshipped at the Bheraghat 64 Yogini Temple where her image is found.
Thus Indrani Devi spoke…
“I preside over adi – the beginning; the first. I am the Divine warrior, born at the birth of bindu itself, repelled by the brutality of the unenlightened, who emerges with world shaking force, fully dedicated to the destruction of every jealousy in the three worlds. I attack jealousy even in the realm of the Devas. I uproot such limitations and release them to the vastness above for I am the Goddess of the sky. I will remove compulsive attachment to brute lust and expunge jealousy that destroys heart and brings unnecessary suffering to friends and lovers. I release the devotee from the bonds of fault finding and misplaced criticism.”
Commentary: Indrani is mukti niyantri, the guide to bliss. She is the guide to bliss because she shows the way of escape from the clutches of jealousy and fault finding (matsanya asura), which pollutes every relationship it touches, and destroys self respect. It is one of the greatest barriers to both human and cosmic bliss. Indrani Devi stands firmly against fault finding whether to ones self or others. Indrani is the fourth of the eight Matrikas. She is highly auspicious to all male-female relationships. She is connected anatomically to the outer thighs. She presides over those crucial points of change within nature which create change (Bindu Kshara Bhava).
Her Appearance and Sadhana: She appears with golden skin displaying massive allure and great sensuality. She rides upon an elephant, has four arms, with which she blesses with two, (vara andabhaya mudras), while carrying a bolt of lightening in one and a spear in another.
Yantra: The central bindu of her yantra is surrounded by an inverted triangle. Beyond that are two interlaced triangles, one inverted. This forms a six pointed star on a pericarp which supports eight petals. Around those eight petals are two concentric rings.
Pilgrimage: She is present at the Hiripur 64 Yogini Temple. There is a temple in Sri Lanka dedicated to Indrakshi, while pneumatically different is nevertheless identical with Indrani. Known as Nellore Shakti Peeth it is believed to be the spot where Sati’s Anklet fell. She is also present at the Bheraghat 64 Yogini Temple.
Brahmani Devi Spoke…
“I am Ananda Moorthi, the form of bliss. I am the quintessential earth goddess. I am at the center of all creation energy. I have the power to move all souls to the realm of timelessness and unlimited wisdom. I reside within as the force that opens Manipura to mystic light. I am the lover of all men, expansive as the universe, and with the qualities of irresistible passion. I have dominion over all that is solid (Prvhti) and am the very essence of stability. I create stability and security in the lives of those who entreat me. In my hands, the devotee will overcome the limitations of pride and ego. I free the sadhak from all arrogance for I am the great goddess who liberates all who approach me from false pride.”
Brahmani Devi Matrika
Brahmani rescues the sincere sadhak from the demon of pride (mada asura). Spiritual pride, left unchecked, leads to ignorance, confusion and darkness. Brahmani presides over the Kalaa Vidya Tatva. Kalaa is the quality that reduces the reality of timelessness to time that is limited in the relative plane of human experience. As consciousness expands, the experience of time is slowed. Vidya is the quality that reduces wisdom to that limited to human knowledge. In full realization eternity shines as the present moment. Brahmani is the fifth of the eight ancient Matrikas. She can be relied on to assist whenever the need arises to obtain proficiency in any language. Brahmani is Kshiti, the goddess of the earth. She is connected anatomically to the mound of Venus in the supra-pelvic area. She also works in harmony with Lakini Devi to transmute gross energies within the solar plexus vortex and all of the lower chakras into high vibratory light energy (tejas). She is the first of the three divine forms (trimurtis) in the Tantric sadhana of Hong Sau. This focused practice leads to the transformation of the umbilical, heart, and the third eye chakras.
Yantra: Her yantra is an inverted triangle around which is a pericarp surrounded by two rings both identically divided into eight segments, around which are eight petals.
Her Appearance and Sadhana: With four heads, Brahmani sits atop her carrier, a white swan, wearing all white. In her two upper arms she holds a water pot and a mala. With her two lower arms gives blessings and carries a book of wisdom (erdu). She is associated with Hong Sau Kriya and meditation on the manipura chakra. Her yantra is adorned with white cloth.
Pilgrimage: She can be worshipped at the Hiripur 64 Yogini Temple. She is also present at the Bheraghat 64 Yogini Temple.
Thus Vaishnavi Devi Spoke…
“I am the sacred sovereign of the preservation principle. Take refuge in me and be protected from every threat or challenge. Wealth and comfort of every type are at my feet. Seek my blessing, or seek me, for I am Satya Rupini, the form of truth. I am the calm one, the shakti of inexhaustible compassion, the goddess in the heart of every woman. I help the devotee overcome the limitations of fear, anxiety, envy and especially covetousness. I destroy the darkness within which yearns for the possessions of others. I am fluid in nature for I am the Goddess who presides over all things fluid.Thus I always take the form that the devotee holds dear for the benefit of their soul.”
Vaishnavi Devi Matrika
Devotees often see Vaishnavi, the inherent shakti energy of Vishnu, as the giver of wealth and abundance. Vaishnavi is the antidote when souls covet the possessions or abilities of others, for she destroys the covetousness illusion (lobha asura) In doing so, she liberates souls caught up in materialism, ironically permitting room for true abundance. Vaishnavi is the Goddess who rules the liquidity element (Ap). Although that would suggest a connection to svatisthana, she actually resides within the Hridaya, the spiritual heart. Thus, she works with Kakini Devi to help the sadhak transmute fear and gross vital thought-forms into pure love. She is the sixth of the ancient Matrikas and the essence of Vishnu Bhava. She is a combination of cosmic love (prema) and giver of permanence in all things. Purity springs from her unconditionally and transforms motives which are limited in scope and based in fear. She is part of the critical triad for mystic tantra, Brahmani, Vaishnavi and Maheshwari. The nature of Vaishnavi is preservation of those who approach her. Bhava is her very special domain and thus she is the ruler of ecstasy and self surrender. She is the great doorway to higher consciousness. She is associated anatomically with the perineum, the pelvic floor.
Yantra: Her yantra is a six pointed star atop a circle. That circle sits atop a pericarp with eight petals. Beyond that are three circles with eight petals. Beyond the petals are four concentric circles surrounded by an inverted triangle.
Her Appearance and Sadhana: Vaishnavi, residing within Hridaya, the spiritual heart, rides a sacred half human, half bird (Garuda). She has four arms. In her upper right she holds a conch and in her upper left she holds a discus. In her lower right she holds a scepter and in her lower left, an open lotus blossom.
Pilgrimage: Vaishnavi is present at the ancient Hiripur 64 Yogini Temple. She is also present at the Bheraghat 64 Yogini Temple.
Thus Mahesvari Devi Spoke…
“I am absolute reality. I am ever new joy. I am the apex of yogic and mystic power. When in the relative plane, my energy and consciousness is centered within the third eye. Beyond that, I am consciousness itself. I was born out of flames from the mouth of my beloved Shiva. I am his eternal power. I am the goddess of fire and light (agni/tejas). I am constantly regenerating the grand energies of the Divine mind. I preside over deconstruction and reconstruction for I am the primal cause of positive change. I am the essence of discrimination and the ultimate weapon against illusion. Sweeping down from Deva Loka on Shiva’s massive bull, I come to the aid of yogis, tantrics and mystics in their path to overcome any lingering remnant of anger and rage. I am Para Shakti; the Goddess of Transcendental energy. Anger and ignorance flee from my presence, for I am the ultimate embodiment of emotional balance.”
9th Century Chola Mahesvara
In the human sphere, Mahesvari resides within the Ajna chakra and works with Hakini Devi in helping the soul plunge into thee sphere of non duality. This links her directly to mastery to the third eye practices (kuthasta) particularly eka neeli kriya, known to initiates of Kriya Tantra Yoga. Mahesvari presides over the absolute final tatva of the complete array of 36 which elevate the embodied soul to mystic truth. She presides over Parama Shiva Tatva. By understanding these tattvas, we progressively come to realize that the individual self (atman) is identical with the Supreme Lord. Due to the influence of Maya, the cosmic illusion, the individual self has forgotten its divine nature, and thinks itself to be different from the very oneness that it imagines itself to be separate from. Mahesvari is the ultimate balm to the grand illusion. She is the embodiment of discrimination. She is the seventh of the ancient Matrikas. She controls the demon of anger (Krodha Asura) and is propitiated to bestow steadiness in the emotional field. She is connected anatomically to the inguinal ligament.
Yantra; Her yantra is the five pointed star of Shiva surrounded by an inverted triangle of Shakti.
Her Appearance and Sadhana: Mahesvari rides upon a bull, holding a trisula in her upper right hand and cobra in her upper left. In her lower right she displays the mudra of blessing (vara) and in her lower left she holds the bowl of a mendicant (wandering sadhu). Eka Neeli Pranayam kriya is a highly auspicious practice for Mahesvari sadhana. Due to her connection to agni and tejas, is very auspicious to include arti and yagna in her sadhana. Tradak kriya is also appropriate.
Pilgrimage: She is present at the Hiripur 64 Yogini Temple. She is also present at the Bheraghat 64 Yogini Temple.
Thus Lakshmi Devi Spoke…
“I am the essence of Divine sweetness, the epitome of celestial beauty and the ultimate in captivating grace. I am the supreme goddess of abundance, prosperity and spiritual unfolding. Even when I am sought for limited means, I give the soul the deeper blessing as well, as the Divine Mother will always do for her child. Whenever good fortune appears, I am present. When I am present, security and abundance prevail. I am the original goddess of love and mercy who emerged from the churning of the ocean of milk when the devas and asuras sought the nectar of immortality. I rose up, resplendent upon a lotus, reclined upon the chest of my beloved Hari, and gazed upon the enraptured Devas. I am the goddess of fulfillment for both health and wealth. I am the supreme Brahman, the all-pervading Atman and the Mother of the universe. I am always one with the supreme consciousness. I am the giver of success. I am without beginning and without end. I am ever pure, both gross and subtle, and giver of both worldly enjoyment and liberation. I am the remover of pain, the giver of boons, and the very essence of the great Mahamantra.”
Lakshmi Devi Matrika
Sri Lakshmi is Monoramayoni, the one with a beautiful yoni. She is the primary source of strength, even to Maha Vishnu. She is the last of the eight ancient Matrikas. Mahalaksmi joined the Matrika Shakti cluster during early medieval times and is found at the great shakti temples of Aihole and Ellora. She is viewed as a dignified Goddess of great prestige and honor. She is the supreme Goddess, the Divine Mother Herself. As an Aphrodite figure, she emerged from the ocean of milk, when the devas and asuras churned the ocean. The ocean, of course, represents the subconscious and she herself is the divine inner light of truth, beauty and knowledge. She is connected anatomically to the face and her face is always a thing of beauty. She presides over the last moments before the Brahman consciousness is entered and the first experience of Brahman. Although she is popularly know to be a powerful of abundance by the masses, her role mystically is far more important. Her very own body is the source of the six great qualities. (1) Jnana, all wisdom (2) Shakti, transcendental energy or power to create change (3) Aisvarya, or omnipotency and lordship over creation (4) Bala, power to perform creation, preservation and destruction at all times (5) Virya (vigor and valor to do all things (6) Tejas, the source of all light.
Yantra: Lakshmi Devi has a number of yantras, including one for physical health and another for abundance. Specifics should be learned from an authorized teacher.
Her Appearance and Sadhana: Lakshmi holds a night lotus in each of her upper right and upper left hands, symbolic of the spiritual potential which she reveals in all devotees. The night lotus awakens with the emergence of the light. With her lower right hand she blesses with the abaya mudra of fearlessness and with her left she offer vara mudra of incessant grace and abundance.
Pilgrimage: Because Lakshmi is the most beloved Shakti in India, her temples are nearly everywhere. She has a powerful presence at the ancient Hirapur 64 Yogini Temple, an excellent place to meditate. Another ancient and powerful vortex of her incredible energy, is the very spot where Satis neck fell to earth, her temple near Sri Sailam in the village of Joinpur village, in Andhra Pradesh. The Shri Mahalakshmi Temple of Kolhapur, Maharashtra is a shakti peeth whose energy is grand and of great antiquity. There she is worshipped as AmbaBai.
Review of the preceding text would have revealed to the careful reader that for each of these Great Mother Goddesses, there are several appropriate practical yogic and tantric techniques by which they are specifically propitiated. These techniques assist the sadhak in overcoming human limitations to experience knowledge of Self. Integration of the energy and personality of the Goddesses lead to miraculous yogic powers (siddhis). When the sadhak has connected to the subtle essence of the Goddess energy, and it has permeated the suble bodies (koshas) and subconscious, it will reach the soul level (atma). This is achieved through an integrated path of mantra, dhyana, yantra and puja. Many things are not approriate to this forum such as the link between the Ashta Matrikas and the eight forms of oral congress (aparistaka linga kriyas), an important aspect of the 64 tantric kriyas. The author has observed over the many years that reflection on and allignment with these Great Mothers literally transforms consciousness. Sincere aspirants who seek a close relationship with the Mother Goddesses should learn the mantras, method of yantra construction, and kriyas directly from an authorized teacher (adikadi guru). Any soul who truly seeks to reach divine realms would benefit from a more direct connection to these great Mothers. They are each just as real as the incarnated souls who seek clarity and truth. Everything in nature is part of Shakti, including the grand illusion. The siddhas maintained that we should use the form to transcend the form. My Adi Guru, Yogiar S.A.A. Ramaiah, strongly reccomended that we do so. In the process, as the Great Ramakrishna discovered, one finds truth in every part of nature. Jai Ma !!!
Om Tath Sath
Om Kriya Babaji Nama Aum! Your Swami
Web Site: yoginiashram.com
Swami can be reached at 562 556 0390
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By Swami Ayyappa Giri, Tantracharya, Yogini Ashram
Published on the Sacred New Moon & Winter Solstice 2014
A Sacred Puja in the Sanctum of the 64 Yogini Temple at Hirapur.
“Sixty and four are the instruments of enjoyments that tempt the individual soul (jiva). Sixty and four are the divisions (kalas) within jiva; Sixty and four are the chambers ofjiva’s chakras; Sixty and four; where Shiva-Shakti reside.“
The Sacred 64
An examination of the ancient Tantric tradition reveals a particular sanctity assigned to the number eight. The eight mother faculties (tatvas) of the manifested universe, the eight directions with four cardinal and four intermediate points (digbandahs), the eight miraculous yogic powers (ashta siddhis), eight “limbs” of Yoga (ashtanga), eight forms of the Divine Mother (ashta matrikas) are just a few examples. Following the Aryan migration into the Dravidian Indus region, the number eight, sacred to the Dravidians, was merged with the numbers 100 and 1000, sacred to the Aryans. Thus, they formed the sacred numbers 108 and 1008, which have come down to us from those ancient times.
The Peerless Avatar Kriya Babaji is at the headwaters of all Kriya Tantra and Yoga traditions the world over.
The square of eight, or sixty-four, occupies an even more profound position in the field of Tantra which, from the point of view of the Kaula Marg practitioner, identifies both the sixty-four Yoginis and the sixty-four tantric kriyas. Although the Yogini tradition of early medieval times also produced temples featuring forty-two and eighty-one Yoginis, the bulk of tantric temples have venerated sixty-four yoginis. A representation of the sixty-four Yoginis is found on the ancient Khechari Yantra. Each of its sixty-four petals represent one of these ancient feminine deities of Tantra, the Yoginis. Within this yantra is also obscured the sacred geometry of Kriya Babaji, the reviver of Kriya Tantra Yoga for this age. Babaji’s yantra is a bindu, centered in a triangle, and encompassed by a square, surrounded by a circle. This sacred geometry has often been associated with the root chakra. Within the Khechari Yantra, Babaji’s triangle is shrouded within, and as a portion of, the hexagram star. There can be no doubt that the Khechari Yantra is rich with mystic symbolism. Its very name, transcribed from the mystical mudra of tongues tip, suggests its esoteric importance as unbounded space itself. (Kha=space)
The millennia old Khechari Yantra, described in the Mantotara Tantra, with its 64 petals, is associated with both the 64 Yoginis and the 64 Tantric Kriyas.
The sixty-four practical techniques (kriyas) of trance and transformation correspond with the Yogini energies within nature, all of which interact together to produce spiritual growth when the appropriate catalyst is available. Their purpose is to pull souls out of illusion. This is precisely the significance of both the sixty-four hexagrams seen in the Taoist tradition as well as the sixty-four yoginis of the Shakti Tantric tradition. The Tantric literature itself is said to be composed of sixty-four spiritual books, also referred to as Tantras. In this sense, the word tantra conveys the meaning of “canonical manuscripts”. The sixty-four sacred texts of Kaula Tantra are enumerated in classical texts such as the Vamakeshvara-tantra.
Similar references in classical literature includes the sixty-four yogic induced paranormal powers(siddhis), the sixty-four divisions of the arts (kalas), and, within the ancient Saiva Siddhanta tradition, the sixty-four saints (nayanars). There are also sixty-four forms of Bhairava, sixty-four tantric mudras, as well as sixty-four siddhas, beyond even the 18 Maha Siddhas, which are more commonly celebrated, and so on.
This sacred number is intimately associated with power and life itself. In the Indian classic,Mahabharata, Lord Krishna fired sixty-four arrows and in a separate skirmish, Bhishma’s armor was pierced sixty-four times. The Aitereya Brahmana speaks of the sixty-fourth and final step into the heavenly world.
Most importantly, the sixty-four Yoginis are understood within Babaji’s Kaula Marg tradition of Kriya Tantra Yoga as fundamental emanations of Maha Kali. Each of them rules over different aspects of creation, has a very distinct personality, and offers a doorway into undifferentiated awareness. Thus, it is eventually understood that the number sixty-four has a profound association with the classical path of Kriya Tantra Yoga, the tantric literature of India, and the mystical experiences of sunyata and other forms of samadhi.
Babaji and the 64 Tantric Yoginis
The Pranayam Siddha, Yogiar Ramaiah, often referred to, but did not teach, the 64 tantric kriyas. He extolled the greatness of Sri Ramakrishna in his ability to “master all the 64 tantric kriyas without a fall.”
As seen, there is a strong correlation between the tantric Yoginis and the sixty-four tantric kriyas. The word Kriya often suggests a very specific set of techniques, and the actual practice will vary slightly, according to the lineage. Nonetheless, Babaji stands at the headwaters of all of these sacred paths. In its broadest sense, kriya suggests far more, and includes any practical technique that expands consciousness. Of the thousands of practical techniques (kriyas) used for the purpose of revelation of the inmost Self, sixty-four have been referred to in the classical training as the core or hub of the Kaula Tantra Yoga tradition. Although he taugh 144 Siddha Yoga techniques, close disciples of my diksha guru, Yogi Ramaiah, under whose direct training I spent more than two decades, would recall that he referenced the sixty-four tantric kriyas, but did not teach them, save for one technique, in his advanced training. His intimacy with Kali, the great Goddess of Tantra, however, was profound, evidenced by his massive aura and by the fact that she directed him to construct a Kali Temple in upstate New York. He often referred to her as the favorite diety of the tantrics.
One particular Maha Kali bija mantra, coming directly from Sathguru Babaji, has always been considered the most powerful bija mantra by Yogiar. Close initiates of Yogiar will recall that he expressed that its energy was driving the dharma of the Kriya Yoga teachings. Yogiar had explained the story of this great Kali Chew Mantra both in his lectures, and in an early issue of Kriya magazine. Babaji, in the late 1800’s, had manifested before a Tamil textile trader who was traveling through a Malaysian jungle village. The great Sathguru, emerging magnificently from the forest, dripping wet from a bath and wearing a simple dhoti, asked the trader to stick out his tongue. Babaji then proceeded to write the sacred mantra on the man’s tongue.Through a mystic process, the trader heard the mantra from within. That textile trader was Yogiar’s maternal grandfather. In due course, Yogiar’s grandfather passed it to his daughter (Yogiar’s mother) who, after many years of sadhana, passed it to Yogiar. The circle of dormitory Kriya Yoga sadhaks will remember that Yogiar extoled the power of that mantra above all others. It appeared to me that he considered it his connection with Kali. These two great forces of Maha Kali and Babaji served as the energetic driving force of Babaji’s dharma expressed through Yogiar during his incarnation. He had stated on more than one occasion that if the mantra was inappropriately utilized, it would cause damage to the individual or even others, but if chanted silently with a pure heart, great blessings would accrue for all. In that way, he reminded us, many of the siddha techniques are double edged swords. Yogiar used this reference to explain why the Siddhas were so cautions about releasing the most powerful Kriyas. In the end, the teacher shares in the karma of any damage done by the student. Used properly, they will benefit humanity but if misused, ego and illusion may prevail and become harmful to the user or others. As we learn to control and contain the descending Shakti incrementally and use the grace of discrimination (viveka) to protect us from illusion, more blessing ensue. Kriya Yoga Sadhaks who lived in the Sangam dormitory and ashram will remember that Yogiar passed down this great Kali Chew Mantra to only one soul in his lifetime. That soul was Shivagami, my life partner, who transitioned to the subtle planes seven years ago. She used the mantra with great intensity. She was a sadhana wolf, attacking her practices with great focus. I attribute her Kali sadhana to the successful development of Kali Loka, our forest retreat in the San Bernardino mountains, where many souls benefited from the training and initiations provided. Through the grace of Babaji, after more than a decade of sadhana with it herself, she initiated me into the mantra. I must say, It has been the greatest blessing of my life. It has become apparent that the mantra works differently in each soul.
This Kali mantra has been pushing me toward the sixty-four Yoginis since I received it two decades ago, first in establishing the mountain retreat (Kali Loka), where great work with the Yoginis was performed, and then developing Yogini Ashram and its activities. The Kali temple at Yogini Ashram has a collection of sixty-four engraved yantra plates containing the sacred geometry of each of these Yoginis, as Babaji has given. Behind the sadhana, Kali and her sixty-four Goddess entities were ever present. These manifestations of Kali are not “witches” as some misguided but well meaning academics have proposed, but literal doorways to the highest consciousness, the oneness of Brahma, knowledge of self, the goal of the great Chakra Pujas as described in the Mahanirvana Tantra and performed with Kali and her magnificent Goddess clusters.
Swami Tantraraj Rudranath Giri, a Tamil Saint living in Tara Peeth, initiated Ayyappa into Babaji’s Kriya Tantra Yoga, Bhairavi Breath of Ecstasy,, and the 64 Tantric Kriyas,
Later, my esteemed Tantric guru, who was also a direct disciple of Sathguru Kriya Babaji, Swami Rudranath Giri Maharaj of Tara Peeth, provided the training into the sixty-four tantric kriyas that I had sought, as well as a powerful doorway of experience to the Yoginis. While instructing me on the path of Babaji’s Kriya Kaula Marg Tantra, I could see that he lived the great message of the Yoni Tantra. Therein, Shiva spoke to Parvati as follows, ““O My Beloved… in other systems a Yogi cannot be a person of sensual enjoyment (bhogi) nor can such a person of sensual enjoyment be a Yogi, but in the Kaula Tradition, both Yoga and Bhoga have a joyful union”. Similar or identical quotes are found in other texts within tantric literature.
A fundamental principle of spiritual life is that we do no harm. Beyond that, Tantra aspires to break through the barriers in human consciousness that separate human illusion from divine vision. In this way, the tantric reaches a state of seeing the oneness in every aspect of nature. The original source alone exists, in and through all that exists. The Yogi and Tantric have a shared goal. To turn the search light of consciousness back to its very source. Oneness pervades the source of the light from which all creation has come. Like one universal hologram, that same oneness is present in the light beams that project to form all creation as well as the background upon which the beams terminate. Thus all aspects of the manifested universe are to be seen as one with the yet fully un-manifested source.
Through the grace of Kali, the knowledge obtained has not been theoretical or based from a book. Books cannot be ones guru. My guru once advised that for those who are too attached to the intellect and books, would be better off simply throwing the texts in the ocean. Books are a means to an end. Direct mystical experience is more important even than holy books. No one, Yogiar stated, has ever attained samadhi by reading a book.
With the inspiration of Babaji, I have plunged into extensive use of sacred geometry (yantras), and particularly of the sixty-four yoginis. The classical methods of sadhana have been employed dedicated to all these amazing forms of Devi. In this avenue of spiritual growth, the practice of the pancha-makaras was used for decades. During the 1990‘s, a group of dedicated southern California residents joined these exclusive chakra pujas at Kali Loka, the mountain retreat of Yogini Ashram, near Big Bear. Since then, this work has continued at Yogini Ashram with the practice and teaching of the sixty-four Tantric Kriyas. Coexisting harmoniously with Kriya Kundalini Pranayam and the advanced Kriyas, a few select souls have been initiated into Babaji’s Kaula Marg. The seminal practice is Bhairavi Kriya (Babaji’s Breath of Ecstasy Technique). All this has been the manifested work of Maha Kali and her sixty-four emanations.
There are five Yogini Temples in sacred India that have, to varying degrees, survived the centuries. All have received deliberate and significant damage but the original energy generated by the powerful techniques of tantra remains in each of them. Each Yogini temple in India has a unique shakti cluster. None are the same. The identification of these sixty-four varies, both in the temples and the literature. A stated goal of Kriya Tantra Yoga has always been to bring souls into direct communication with the great Mahasiddha, Kriya Babaji. To receive his training and discipline directly is an opportunity of lifetimes.
The immortal maha yogi once instructed, “These sixty-four practices include the techniques taught to Ramakrishna by Yogini Bharavi Brahmani, who was an incarnation of your beloved Mataji. Other forms are also valid. Some of these you have learned and others will be given…(long pause)…This should be the basis of the work which you have been attempting on my behalf. Know that my consciousness is beyond all practices.” Through a process directly experienced yet not fully understood by the author, a long phrase can be received in a fraction of a second and the words, when recorded, are burned into the consciousness. Nonetheless, the blissful ring-of-truth echoes even now as I reflect on his message. They have left me saturated with profound peace and joy but also a determination to continue to work in this direction until the death of these mortal coils. Reflecting on Babaji’s words, one could not help from musing on similar experiences described by previous disciples of Babaji.
A muni, it is said, is one who has attained perfection in Mananam. Mananam is the process of thought, investigation, testing, and reflection which marks the independent thinking mind as opposed to mere acceptance on blind faith by the lower intelligence toward what is heard. In the Mahabharthya it is stated, “The vedas differ, and so do the smrtis. No one is a muni who has no independent opinion of his own.”
The Maha Siddha Macchindranath, also known as Macchamuni, codified tantra.
One such Muni is Machendranath, also known as Macchamuni, who codified tantra from disparate sources in the ninth century. He must be identified specifically, as he has been a great source of inspiration for this sacred work. Yogiar placed him as one of the elite siddhas that the earth has spawned and experience has shown me that his grace can propel the sincere soul to great heights in this razor path. Swami Rudranath Giri too extolled his many contributions to tantra. Machendranath attained perfected knowledge in both Saiva Siddhantha and Kaula Marg tantra. His incarnation is legendary. He integrated both with seamless consummation. May he bless this work as well.
It is with humility and appreciation of the great ones that this unique presentation of Kriya Tantra Yoga and the sixty-four Yoginis is being enumerated, some of it publicly for the first time in modern history. Such is the mystery of the Divine, whose role seems to be to both obscure and reveal eternal truth. The sixty-four Yoginis are powerful assets in providing growth and development of the gross, subtle, and causal planes within each of us. This is the very foundation needed for soul awakening on the highest level. As far as the sixty-four kriyas are concerned, many of these techniques may be practiced by the sincere sadhak, even with limited training. Others require specific instruction and in some cases, a psychic transmission and direct cosmic assistance from the Sathguru. This high esoteric tantra can never be learned from a book and involves an awareness of the divine source behind the transmission. There are things that cannot be stated, things that must be experienced directly. Those who have touched the higher reaches find it difficult to express, as such expression is most often misunderstood or misconstrued by the darkness of human ego. Spiritual initiation (diksa) is understood to the degree with which one has found connection to their own inner power through yogic practice (sadhana) and internal surrender (saranam).
Ramakrishna and the 64 Tantric Kriyas
The great sage Ramakrishna was initiated and trained in the 64 tantric kriyas by Mataji Bhairavi over a four year period.
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, broadly acknowledged as one of India’s foremost holy men, was initiated into Tantra in 1859 and was comprehensively trained in the sixty-four tantric kriyas. Following four years of secret nighttime meetings with his tantric guru under a peepal tree in a secluded area of the temple garden, he mastered the sixty-four sadhana practices. His tantric guru, Bhairavi Brahmani, recognized
Ramakrishna as an Avatar. Progressing through the practices, she introduced Ramakrishna to the sacred panchamakaras, the five forms of worship performed during a chakra puja. The practice culminates in ritual intercourse (maithuna) but according to Ramakrishna’s biographers, the mere suggestion of ritual maithuna was enough to send Ramakrishna into a spiritual ecstasy. Although Ramakrishna steered his young brahmachari students toward celibacy, the great Avatar nonetheless affirmed that Tantra and the sixty-four Tantric Kriyas were a valid path and method which leads to the highest Samadhi.
Any visit to Dakshineshwar Kali temple by Kaula Marg Tantrics should include a meditation under that sacred peepal tree, which was still alive at my last visit in 2009. Few souls know that Brahmani is actually an avatar of Kriya Mataji, who mastered the Sahajiya-Kaula branch of Gaudiya Vaishnava Tantra, and had successfully trained two other disciples prior to meeting the great Ramakrishna.
Shridi Sai Baba and the 64 Yoginis
The Avatar, Sai Baba of Shridi, had a close relationship with the 64 Yoginis as recorded in the Shri Guru Charitra.
Like Babaji and Ramakrishna, Sai Baba is a Sathguru and Avatar as well. The peerless sage was born in 1838, and lived on the physical plane until the age of 80. In our current time, his fame has literally spread throughout the world. The sage of Shridi has a powerful connection with the sixty-four yoginis. In this respect, he is a great source of inspiration to all tantrics. The inspired text Shri Guru Charitra describes his connection to the sixty-four Yoginis.
The great Sathguru Shridi Sai Baba lived under a tree by a river near a rural village for many years. He was treated pretty much as an outcaste by the village. As he was never seen in the village seeking or eating food, local Brahmins were puzzled about how he survived. In fact Baba, like Babaji, did not require food to live.
One morning, several Brahmins began secretly to observe Baba. In a most mysterious way, at mid-day, the energy changed dramatically. Inexplicably, the Brahmins were seized with fear. Alarmed, they promptly abandoned the idea of watching him and returned to the village. Word spread and the mystery continued. After some time, a great lover of God, and mystic in his own right, was tending his field by the river side. He was a struggling but devout humble farmer named Ganganuj. Grace descends to the humble. At mid-day he observed that sixty-four divinely radiant females, each bearing multiple arms, emerging from the depths of the river. He watched in wonderment as they each bowed to Baba in turn, and then escorted him directly into the river as they danced with joy. Through Babas‘ siddhi, a passage was created by movement of the river water, into which they all entered. After some time, Ganganuj observed that Baba emerged from the same passage and returned to his tree. The next day, promptly at noon, Ganganuj, observed the same divine event. He summoned his courage, and discretely followed Baba and the Yoginis through the passage. There, to his amazement, he saw a magical temple filled with precious stones, and a beautifully decorated elevated throne. Upon the throne, Baba was seated lovingly by the Yoginis. Ganganujh observed that Baba was being ceremoniously worshipped by the these sixty-four Yoginis with an Arati Fire.
Abruptly, Baba directed his gaze at Ganganuj and asked him. “How did you get here?” Ganganuj replied, “I came here to see thy holy Self.” and he too bowed at the feet of Baba. Baba then said to him, “Your miseries are wiped away. Henceforth, your desires will all be fulfilled. However, you must not disclose to anyone what you have seen here, else you will lose all that you have gained.” Then, in bliss, they both returned to the sacred tree under which Baba lived.
Within days, while Ganganuj was working in his field, he discovered a treasure buried under the soil. He was an evolved soul in his own right, and understood that this was literally a soul gift from Baba, and that the greatest treasure of all was the true wisdom of Brahma consciousness (Jnana Siddhi) which Baba had also given him. Thereafter, Baba became his guru, to whom he and his family served with great devotion.
Later in his life, Ganganuj aspired to visit the sacred river at Kashi and Prayag for a holy bath. He asked Baba if such a pilgrimage would be possible, since a bath in the sacred waters holds great spiritual merit (punya). A true Sage sees the divine equally in everything. Referring to the local rivers, Baba replied “Panch Ganga Sangam is as holy as the Prayag, and the river Jugul is as sacred as Kashi. However, If you wish to see Kashi and Prayag, I shall show them to you.”
Shridi Sai was sitting on a tiger skin. He asked Ganganuj to shut his eyes and to hold the rear portion of the skin firmly. Miraculously, they instantly reached Prayag. The whole incident certainly reminds one of a flying carpet. After having a morning bath they went to Kashi at midday. They had darshan of Kashi and returned to Babas’ sacred tree that very same evening. Siddhas like Shridi Sai, Ramalinga Swami and Babaji have the yogic power to transport themselves and others instantaneously to anyplace in the physical world.
Later, when Baba decided to leave his sacred tree, the sixty-four Yoginis were distraught and appealed to him, “Why are you leaving us?” they said. “All our miseries are wiped away when we see you.” Shridi Sai smiled and said, “I will always be at this sacred tree. Therefore, be joyful in your life here.” Tantrics can benefit greatly by meditating at the holy site. Here, the energy and consciousness of Baba and the Yoginis is massively tangible.
Baba and the Yoginis have stated that all the desires of the devotee will be fulfilled, and they will gain in spiritual duty (dharma), prosperity (artha), pleasure (kama), and liberation from illusion (mosksa). Baba has promised that “One who worships the sacred tree and Baba’s sandals (padukas) for seven days will achieve every desire. If one recites a mantra at this sacred spot with a pure mind, great virtue (punya) is attained. One hundred thousand rounds of mantra under this tree will wipe off all disease and one’s body would become bright as gold. Such is the power of this site.”
The words of Sathguru Kriya Babaji and Sathguru Shridi Sai Baba and their amazing relationship with the 64 Yoginis remind us that spiritual power and truth is not merely in the ancient past but is alive and vibrant in the present. One can still visit that sacred tree and in meditation, feel the vibrant pulse of the living Sai Baba and the sixty-four Yoginis.
History and Archeological Evidence
The ancient Yogini temples were typically round and open to the sky.
Worship of the divine female has always been linked to Tantra and emerged prehistorically. One unique characteristic of tantra was the use of round temples. The Raja and Rani of Kashmir, King Jalauka and Queen Isanadevi, built circular Tantric temples dedicated to the mothers (matrikas) as early as the third century BCE. Worship of the tantric mothers (matrikas) is identified to have existed as a continuation in the first century and continued until our present time. There is abundant scriptural evidence that each of the eight mothers manifested eight extensions of herself, thus arriving at the sixty-four Yoginis that remain a core feature of Kaula Marg Tantra. Archeological and textual evidence leaves no question that the full development of the sixty-four Yogini Tantric tradition was well established by the eighth or ninth century. Typically, the yoginis were placed around the circumference of the open air temples, each looking in toward the center. Often, and perhaps always, a Bhairava Shiva form was placed in the center. The author noted during a pilgrimage to the Ranipur-Jhural temple that the Bhairava Shiva form is ithyphallic, showing an erect phallus. This might explain why the Bhairava is missing from the other temples, particularly Hiripur. It was likely offensive to conservative fundamentalists, both Hindu and Muslims. Muslim extremists have been notorious for destroying these temples over the centuries, and would most easily explain the destruction of most of the sixty-four Yogini temples. It is likely in fact that the central Shiva forms were all ithyphallic and would explain their nearly complete disappearance.
In these temples chakra pujas, including ritual intercourse (maithuna) were performed. No comprehensive training and experience of Kaula Marg Tantra could be complete without participation in the chakra puja. Among other things, it has been an historical forum for initiation into the tradition. This is the most classical form of group sadhana in tantra. Chakra means wheel. Chakras often refers to the vortexes of energy in our subtle bodies. In Tantra, the chakra puja is also used as a tool for inner realization and empowerment. Chakra puja also refers to a circle formed by Tantric couples who utilize the vortex of energy created by the closed circumference to enhance the power of their practice. The circle represents the zodiac, the all-seeing eye, time, and energy itself. It is the ultimate symbol of the inmost self.
The author (in red) conducted many chakra pujas offering the panchamakaras during the late 1980’s and 1990’s.
This process incorporates many aspects of yogic practice including mantras and yantras and will include sexual intercourse with a partner as a sacrament. One type of energy can be converted into another type of energy. The practitioners are referred to as hero (vira) sadkaks, as a great deal of courage is required to circumvent the established social protocol. Many fears must be faced and ones social programing rebooted. The chakra puja uses the tremendous sexual energy generated with the partner to achieve a transcendental experience of the divine in the partner and ones self, embracing the physical plane to transcend the physical plane, converting lust into an ocean of love for the partner and then riding on that sea of love to embrace all humanity leading to the great mystic universal vision of love which is referred to as vinjnana samadhi in yogic literature. God alone exists. The Tantric embraces the divine in all things and thus attains to the Brahman consciousness. Utilization of this powerful group energy technique requires spiritual maturity from all participants. Yoga has always maintained that every act of human existence can be made sacred. Tantra refuses to shy away from that reality. The process is admittedly a challenging prospect for so many who have been socialized to artificially separate these two vital areas of life; sexuality and spirituality. In doing so our societies has created a neurotic fragmented consciousness.
Orthodox Hindus are sometimes upset by the Tantrics insistence on the worship of the Divine Mother through the use of the panchamakaras, or five sacred M’s; grains (mudra), fish (matsya), meat (mamsa), wine (madya) and sexual intercourse (maithuna). The only one of these items which is culturally acceptable within the Brahman traditions is the use of grain. The Tantras authorize that some of these items could be substituted. Kulanarva suggests that garlic or ginger can replace meat but nothing can replace maithuna.
While the vast bulk of Tantric literature relating to the chakra puja has been written over the most recent millennium, references to chakra pujas can be found in much earlier texts. Sage Kalhana is said to have made numerous references to yogini chakras nearly 2000 years ago in his Rajatarangini Manuscript.
Chakra pujas, such as this one, are performed by family clans (Kulas). They are family not by blood but by their mutual connection to Mother Kali and Her 64 eminations.
Because of the sensitivity of the subject, few souls have bona fide experiences with which to share with the world. Although many people have written books on the chakra puja, few participants have related actual experiences. Some apologists have even suggested that they are theoretical or symbolic, particularly in our current era. The author is obligated to inform the reader that they are not! Over the last three decades, dozens of traditional chakra pujas have been conducted by the author with increasing success at building and containing group spiritual energy, both for the individual and collective benefit of participants and those whom their life touches. The challenge is overcoming the negative conceptions of sexuality and simultaneously accessing high consciousness with mantras and kundalini practices. Our experience has focused around a puja which honors structure as a means to an end. Without having realized Self one should not give up ritual altogether. If a teacher is not available, following the method outlined in the Mahanirvana Tantra is an excellent methodology. When the fruit representing Love of God appears, the blossoms of ritual drop off entirely by themselves. They need not be pulled off prematurely. In fact, ritual serves as an important tool. One buys a tool at a hardware store to construct something. Later, one might give the tool to another who needs it. The tool served as a means to an end. Chakra puja is such a tool. One should continue with ritual until tears of joy are shed at the very thought of God, the divine mother.
Like Stonehenge, Gobekli Tepe, and other ancient temples, all of the sixty-four Yogini temples are open to the sky. Like these other early temples, most of the Yogini temples are round in construction. As it should be, there is no single sixty-four Yogini temple having identical deities to any other. Each Yogini temple is wonderfully unique in that respect. In these temples, each Yogini has their own individual recess or seat and all Yoginis face the center of the temple.
Yogini sadhana by tantrics of Kriya Kaula Marg involves many aspects but a key principle is that, for the Shakta, each of the sixty-four Yoginis is worshipped in turn over time as verily ones sexual partner. Shiva becomes the central form of devotion for the Shakti. When combined with the sixty-four tantric kriyas and performed with high consciousness, the practice leads to a massive increase in auric energy and experiences of inward bliss. The techniques must be learned from a qualified teacher (adihari guru). It is widely understood that these practices including the chakra puja were conducted by spiritual clans (kulas) at these great temples. Below is a brief outline of the temples which have survived the ages.
Khajuraho 64Yogini Temple.
The 64 Yogini Temple at Khajuraho is an ideal location to do sadhana.
Known as the Chausath Yogini Temple, this tantric temple lies adjacent to the main temple complex of Khajuraho in Madya Pradesh. This Yogini temple is a most wonderful location to perform early morning sadhana in, as it receives very few visitors compared to the other temple of the region. There are no images that have survived the onslaught of intolerant centuries, but the energy remains nonetheless after more that a millennia. All that is required to tap into their majesty is to plunge into the inner stillness of meditation. The author has performed tantric sadhana here and initiated several aspirants into advanced practices.
The Yogini temple is the oldest temple in the Khajuraho complex and stands well apart from the others. This Yogini temple was constructed with local course granite blocks and thought to have been completed in 885 AD. Other later temples in Khajuraho are constructed in sandstone. The temple is built on an elevated platform that rises fifteen feet (4.6 meters). At this temple, each of the sixty-four Yoginis had their own small temple, placed around the circumference of the elevation in a rectangular shape. A regional legend explains why no images of the Yoginis have survived. It is said that due to inadequate pujas by the Chandella Priests, the moorthis left the site centuries ago and established themselves in the Bheraghat Yogini temple 250 kilometers to the south.
The rectangular shape of the temple makes Khajuraho an exception, as most other yogini temples are round. This Chausath Yogini Temple is the oldest temple in Khajuraho and the only local temple which is not oriented due north and south, but rather northeast to southwest. The temple is in partial ruins but carefully protected at present by the Indian Archeological survey. Comfortable hotels and even an airport nearby make access particularly painless. The celebrated tantric guru, Osho, brought a number of his students to this temple, where they performed a tantric practice.
Bheraghat 81 Yogini Temple.
Centuries after the construction of the 64 Yogini Temple at Beraghat, this Shiva temple was added. On the positive side, it might have served to save the temple.
This temple, located in Jabalpur district of Madhya Pradesh, overlooks the beautiful Narmada river. In the early 1960’s, Osho did sadhana here, attaining samadhi, as MahaShakti prepared him for the fulfillment of his dharma to bring tantra to the modern world. The author too, had a profound bliss experience in the ashram by the temple road, which was related to the readers of this blog in an earlier posting. (see “Samadhi Secrets of the Himalayan Mahavatar Babaji”)
The temple, which has 81 Yoginis, was unknown to all but locals for many centuries. It is the largest of the Yogini temples, with an inner diameter of 125 feet. It was discovered to scientific archeology in 1874. This temple is one of the four major extant temples containing carvings of the yoginis. Only a very few of the images have escaped damage. Built between the years 945 and 1000 ad, the temple mount commands a marvelous view of the river flowing through the marble rocks far below. Artisans abound in the area and sacred Shiva lingams, birthed by the Narmada river, can be obtained.
Some of the yoginis can be seen in Beraghat. Each of them has a dedicated space between pillars.
Tantrics of the early middle ages had many enemies. Over centuries, their temple moorthies were destroyed and the tantrics were not infrequently killed by ignorant zealots. Therefore, the construction of secret emergency escape tunnels was not uncommon. Bheraghat Swami Maharaj, who enjoys a small ashram next to the temple grounds, exuberantly showed me the exit to such a tunnel, situated about a half kilometer up river from the Yogini temple itself. Given its dilapidated condition, I chose not to enter the tunnel. The vibrations of the entire region are profoundly affected by the temple and the great souls that have done sadhana there for so many centuries. The usual central Shiva platform is not present here. Instead, an out of proportion and oddly positioned Shiva temple was constructed over the destroyed Shiva platform hundreds of years after the original construction. It was placed so that it would be difficult or impossible for faithful devotees of Shakti to walk around the temple and communicate with each of the Yoginis.
Mitauli 64 Yogini Temple,
The Mitauli 64 Yogini Temple rests peacefully atop a hill overlooking paddy fields.
The Mitauli Yogini Temple is a beautifully round stone structure situated on a hilltop overlooking the village of Mitauli, in the state of Madhya Pradesh. From the hilltop on a clear day, one can view the green countryside for kilometers. The temple has a radius of 170 feet (52 meters). Thus it is a mid sized Yogini temple, larger than Hiripur and smaller than Ranipur-Jharial. This temple, built in the tenth or eleventh century, and was a model for the design of the Indian Parliament House, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker, before it was known to be a Yogini temple.
The author enjoyed the peaceful setting at Mitauli 64 Yogini Tantra Temple.
As with other yogini temples, the goddesses were positioned inside the temple looking toward the center, where Bhairava Shiva resided. There are sixty-four pedestals on the inside circumference. An additional pedestal may have held Maha Kali Durga. In Tantric cosmology, this represents the original Shakti energy which gave birth to first sixty-four emanations, and then an infinite number of manifestations. Each pedestal contains a Shiva lingam where its missing shakti once stood. Unfortunately none of the sixty-four Yogini images, or that of Durga, remain. The engraved names of only four Yoginis have survived. Ironically, their absence has a positive benefit for tantrics, as few people visit the temple. For meditation and accessing the Yoginis in the subtle planes, the energy remains quite high and their presence tangible.
Hiripur 64 Yogini Temple
In 1989, the authors late Shakti enjoyed the beauty of Hirapur 64 Yogini Temple.
Generally attributed to the ninth century, this temple is located at the very small village of Hirapur, Odisha. It is quaint and beautiful, the smallest of all the Yogini temples. I have had the good karma to visit this temple many times over the last four decades. Years ago, it was difficult to find, as it was not adjacent to a paved road, the route was unmarked, signage did not exist, and its existence was nearly unknown by cab drivers. Now thanks to its close proximity to Bhubaneshwar, increasing fame, and due to its designation as a national historic site, it is visited frequently, not so much by mystics or devotees, but by curious vacationers and international travelers. Approaching the temple now, the road is good and the route well marked. Further, most cab drivers in Bhubaneshwar are aware of it. The deities are carved out of black chlorite stone in standing posture. The author led a secret sadhana here four decades ago with a group of eight tantrics, but that is no longer possible, as the old tantric priest who lived in an adjacent mud hut is long gone, the site is far more developed, and many visit this temple each day. Surrounding the outside of the temple are images of nine protective dieties. No other Yogini temple has external dieties. There is only one entrance, which some have noted, gives the temple an appearance of a yoni when viewed from above. The top of the entrance is so low that nearly everyone is required to bow ones head in passing through. The central platform has survived, but not the Bhairava Shiva that it supported. The Yogini images are massively inspiring, though many have been broken. The open roof above this quaint and cozy temple is a delight !
Ranipur-Jharial 64 Yogini Temple
The Ranipur-Jharial 64 Yogini Temple, overlooking a serene ancient lake, has both power and beauty.
Located in the Balangir district of Odisha, next to the twin hamlets of Ranipur and Jharial, this Chausath temple is adjacent to many other ancient temples. The beauty of the Yogini temple is magnificent. It is constructed with stone and sits upon a massive round rock that overlooks a serene lake and a landscape dotted with many early brick temples. One approaches the temple advancing on a gentle inclined plane of the rounded rock upon which it is built. The entrance is simple but elegant with four steps up and no overhead arch. Between the gates one sees the stylish elevated platform upon which Bhairava rests.
The central Bhairava form at Ranipur-Jharial, with three heads, representing Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, is ithyphallic
The author did sadhana at the Ranipur-Jharial 64 Yogini Temple. The site is a complex of many ancient temples.
The Bhairava form, with three heads, represents Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The dynamic form is ithyphallic, showing an erect lingam and a snake, which winds around his waist. The snake crawls between his body and his phallus, which it touches. This eroticism might explain why the Bhairava is missing from other Yogini temples, particularly nearby Hiripur, which has a similar elevated space in the center of the temple. Around the Bhairava form, the sixty-four Yoginis dance in ecstasy. The thighs of all 64 Yoginis are abducted suggestively. I have enjoyed deep and reflective meditations at this site and later enjoyed a puja in the Shiva mandir by the lake just below the Yogini temple. The priest was highly conscious.
The nearest railway station from the temple is Titlagarh, where a few hotels are available. From there one can get a taxi to Ranipur Jharial which is about thirty km from Titlagarh. One way travel time is about 1 hour so one should plan for a four hour excursion at minimum, as there are many other ancient temples in the area worth exploring.
Bodah Yogini Temple
The kindness of the Kalhar station master near the ancient temple complex at Bodah knew no bounds. He was a delightful intelligent and generous man.
The authors pilgrimage to the Ashta Matrikas and Yogini Temple of Bodah was an adventure. In planning the travel, I had understood from internet reports that the ancient Shakti site was a few kilometers from Kulhar train station, Madya Pradesh. Surely, I thought, there would be public transportation, like nearly any other small village in India. Arriving at the station, I was greeted by a sign indicating the site was eighteen kilometers away. Given a few kilometers to navigate the massive site, I understood that I was looking at a round trip of about forty kilometers. Stepping out of the station, I surveyed the area. No hotels and no vehicles were available. I returned to the station and introduced myself to the station master. He explained that there were no rickshaws, no bus stops, and no public transportation of any type within kilometers. The kindness of that station master knew no bounds, however. He invited me to leave my bags in his office and I went out to begin a long foot pilgrimage to the sacred site. Om Babaji ! Just as I began the foot pilgrimage, a motorcycle pulled up next to me and a warm hearted soul, discovering my destination and intent, asked me if I wanted a ride to the site. Apparently someone had passed the word that I needed transportation. When I returned to the station hours later, the station master had requested that his wife prepare an extra lunch and the station master and myself sat together and enjoyed it. Jai Ma!
A carved relief of the sapta matrikas at this site is one of the oldest in India.
The first stop at this ancient complex of temples was a tree covered hill which led to a shakti cave-temple, perhaps the oldest at the site. As I followed the rugged trail up the hill toward the temple by foot, a tree covered cave was seen adjacent to a rock carving which displayed eight images seated together in line. Archeologists have identified this as one of the earliest representations of the seven mothers (sapta matrikas) with Veera Bhadra on the far left. The Sapta Matrikas are primordial emanations of Kali Durga, assisting her in her role as a ego-demon killer and grantor of siddhis. These Matrikas, or divine mothers, represent the inner power (also referred to as shakti) of the primary male deities responsible for creation, preservation and destruction. In later centuries, Lakshmi was incorporated with the Matrikas to round out the mothers as eight (ashta matrikas). The hill breeze and wonderful shade makes this an excellent area for meditation. During the dhynam, Mataji, consort of Mahavatar Babaji, made her presence known. On a hot summer day, one might well remain here for hours without encountering another soul. The entire complex at Badoh is rarely visited, making it ideal for tantric practice.
Although some travel reports refer to a round yogini temple, the author was not able to locate a round Matrika Yogini Temple. The locals I met were not familiar with it either. A Jain temple which is said to have been built from the ruins of another ancient shakti temple is a likely candidate. Its reincarnation from an earlier temple is clear even to a layman, as the cut stones used to build the retaining walls and other structures has script and images inconsistent with a Jain temple. Perhaps this makes it an excellent place to reflect on the reasons for reincarnation, protected by the echoes of the Divine Mothers ancient past.
The pillars frame the ancient Garimal temple. This whole area was an ancient shakti region.
The main claim to fame for the Badoh complex is the Gardamal temple, which has largely survived the onslaught of the ages. Beautiful carvings of of apsaras and siddhas are displayed on its walls. I suggest, for those who wish to visit the Badoh complex, they obtain a hotel room in Lalitpur and negotiate a round trip by taxi.
Kaula Marg Tantra and the ancient lineage that gave birth to the 64 Yogini temples is a living tradition. I have endeavored to give a general accounting of these amazing structures which are literally shrines to eternal tantra. Every true and sincere tantric would be massively graced to visit these great temples. They are all monuments to the infinite forms of the Goddess, the Tantric Siddha Macchendranath and Mahavatar Babaji. They are a grand tribute to the tens of thousands of hero-tantrics that had the courage to perform the ancient secret rituals like Chakra Puja in order to achieve transcendental bliss. They were not just risking their reputation in a judgmental world. At times they were risking their very life, as thousands were massacred for their beliefs. May Maha Kali saturate their souls with peace. May all souls rise to glorious heights with high tantra!
Namavali of the 64 Yoginis
Chatuhsasthi Kali Yogini Mantra
First published in 1990, with minor error corrections in 2009, including at the yoginiashram.com site, these mantras come directly from Sathguru Babaji. Devotees of the Mother and her 64 forms will be pleased to know that they have been posted extensively in multiple sites throughout the internet. All are welcome to use these sacred sounds which will elevate humanity.
For the absolving of sins, clarity of consciousness, a peaceful heart, massive protection, dynamic aura, robust health, and the magnificent grace of abundance of every type, one should chant the sacred names of the sixty-four Yoginis. We should never minimize their potential. They are not minor deities. They are none other than emanations of the one cosmic Prakriti residing over every aspect of the relative plane. They can pull a soul from the lowest depths of illusion into the most elevated heights of grace- light.
To perform this puja, simply prepare a copper yantra with sixty-four petals and chant the following mantras with an open heart. If copper is not available, draw the yantra with India ink using Bhoj Patra. The daily repetition of these mantras with purify all darkness, jealousy and resentment within. Seek out direct spiritual guidance from a soul animated by the Divine. As the Siddha Rama Devar said, “Surrender to the young Shakti, and she will not forget you for the rest of your life.”
1. Om Kali Nitya Siddhamata Swaha
Mother of the Siddhas
2. Om Kapalini Nagalakshmi Swaha
Lakshmi of Naga
3. Om Kula Devi Svarnadeha Swaha
Of golden body
4. Om Kurukulla Rasanatha Swaha
Ruler of physical pleasure
5. Om Virodhini Vilasini Swaha
Residing within Self
6. Om Vipracitta Rakta Priya Swaha
Who loves passion
7. Om Ugra Rakta Bhoga Rupa Swaha
Enjoyer of passion in the form
8. Om Ugraprabha Sukranatha Swaha
Ruler of the seminal essence
9. Om Dipa Muktih Rakta Deha Swaha
Liberation through the body of passion
10. Om Nila Bhukti Rakta Sparsha Swaha
Who receives pleasure from the touch of passion
11. Om Ghana MahaJagadamba Swaha
Great Mother of the world
12. Om Balaka Kama Sevita Swaha
Attended by the God of Love
13. Om Matra Devi Atma Vidya Swaha
The Goddess with knowledge of Self
14. Om Mudra Poorna Rajatkripa Swaha
Who completely radiates compassion
15. Om Mita Tantra Kaula Diksha Swaha
Initiatress of the Tantric Kaula Path
16. Om Maha Kali Siddhesvari Swaha
Queen of the Siddhas
17. Om Kameshvari Sarvashakti Swaha
Shakti of All
18. Om Bhagamalini Tarini Swaha
Who delivers from calamity
19. Om Nityaklinna Tantraprita Swaha
Fond of Tantra
20. Om Bherunda Tatva Uttama Swaha
Essence of Sexual Fluid
21. Om Vahnivasini Sasini Swaha
Radiance of the moon
22. Om Mahavajreshvari Rakta Devi Swaha
23. Om Shivaduti Adi Shakti Swaha
Original Feminine Energy
24. Om Tvarita Urdvaretada Swaha
Giver of the Upward Ecstasy
25. Om Kulasundari Kamini Swaha
26. Om Nitya Jnana Svarupini Swaha
The Great form of Wisdom
27. Om Nilapataka Siddhida Swaha
Giver of perfection
28. Om Vijaya Devi Vasuda Swaha
Goddess who is Giver of wealth
29. Om Sarvamangala Tantrada Swaha
Who Bestows Tantra
30. Om Jvalamalini Nagini Swaha
31. Om Chitra Devi Rakta Puja Swaha
Goddess who is worshipped with passion
32. Om Lalita Kanya Sukrada Swaha
33. Om Dakini Madasalini Swaha
Shining with rapture
34. Om Rakini Papa Rasini Swaha
Destroyer of sin
35. Om Lakini Sarvatantresi Swaha
Ruler of all tantras
36. Om Kakini Naganartaki Swaha
Who dances with Nagaraj
37. Om Sakini Mitrarupini Swaha
38. Om Hakini Manoharini Swaha
39. Om Tara Yoga Rakta Poorna Swaha
Who in union bestows complete passion
40. Om Shodashi Latika Devi Swaha
41. Om Bhuvaneshwari Mantrini Swaha
Energy of all mantras
42. Om Chinamasta Yoni Vega Swaha
With dripping yoni
43. Om Bhairavi SatyaSukrini Swaha
44. Om Dhumavati Kundalini Swaha
Primordial energy of self
45. Om Bagla Muki Guru Moorthi Swaha
Form of the guru
46. Om Matangi Kanta Yuvati Swaha
Youthful beauty enhanced by Love
47. Om Kamala Sukla Samsthita Swaha
Residing in the Semen
48. Om Prakriti Brahmandri Devi Swaha
Goddess residing in the crown
49. Om Gayatri Nitya Chitrini Swaha
Eternal core of the energy of Self
50. Om Mohini Matta Yogini Swaha
51. Om Saraswathi Svarga Devi Swaha
Goddess of Heaven
52. Om Annapoorni Shiva Samgi Swaha
53. Om Narasimhi Vamadevi Swaha
54. Om Ganga Yoni Svarupini Swaha
Energy of the Yoni
55. Om Aprajita Samaptida Swaha
Who Bestows Orgasm
56. Om Camunda Parianganatha Swaha
Ruler of sacred erection
57. Om Varahi Satya Ekakini Swaha
Oneness of Truth
58. Om Kaumari Kriya Shaktini Swaha
Energy of dedicated action
59. Om Indrani Mukti Niyantri Swaha
Guide to bliss
60. Om Brahmani Ananda Moorthi Swaha
Image of bliss
61. Om Vaishnavi Satya Rupini Swaha
Form of truth
62. Om Mahesvari Para Shakti Swaha
63. Om Lakshmi Monoramayoni Swaha
With beautiful yoni
64. Om Durga Satchitananda Swaha
Truth consciousness and bliss
You can reach Swami Ayyappa Giri at yoginiashram.com or
By Swami Ayyappa Giri, Tantracharya, Yogini Ashram, Norwalk Ca.
Article Rewritten and Published on 4 December 2014
Mahavatars Babaji and Mataji, Peerless Masters of Vedanta, Siddhanta, and Kaula Marg Tantra Kriya
“In the copulatory yoga that is practiced
By the Hero and Heroine
Upward they drive the coach of breath
That has its wheels in regions right and left;
There they collect the waters of the heaven
And never the organs tiring know.”
Thirumantaram V 827
WHAT IS BHAIRAVI KRIYA AND WHERE DOES IT COME FROM ?
The words of the Siddha Thirumoolar above disguise this ancient powerful tantric technique of Bhairavi Kriya to all but the initiated. Bhairavi Kriya is an elegant and precise breathing practice in which the tantric practitioner uses breath and visualization to mentally direct the essence of sexual energy upwards toward the center above the crown of the head, wherein resides the divine presence. The technique conserves the light-energy so that it is not lost outside the body. Bhairavi is the core technique of Babaji’s Kaula Marg Tantra. The technique is practiced daily. It takes about eight minutes of dedicated time both morning and evening to complete. Thirumoolar’s reference to the hero and heroine is an acknowledgement of the courage that the vira sadhak displays in reprograming the consciousness to see sexuality as a divine event rather than the prevailing social viewpoint. The term vira sadhak is used frequently in tantric texts.
A sketch of how Babaji and Mataji attained mastery of Kaula Marg Tantra has been described on an earlier blog post. The specific technique of Bhairavi Kriya (Breath of Ecstasy) was named after Bhairavi Brahmani, the celebrated female Bengali tantric from the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. She was a high soul indeed! She was none other than an incarnation of Kriya Mataji, and she taught the great Ramakrishna the entire range of 64 tantric kriyas including Bhairavi Breath of Ecstasy.
Ramakrishna is broadly considered one of the greatest sages the world has ever known in our current era. He was initiated into Tantra by an incarnation of Mataji, Bhairavi Brahmani, and mastered the breath of ecstasy technique and 64 tantra kriyas.
Ramakrishna is considered one of the greatest holy men in modern India. In his time, however, due to the judgments of the locals, he was forced to sneak out each night for four years and meet with Bhairavi under a vilva tree in a corner of the temple gardens, where he became a student of the tantric teachings. That very tree survives today in the garden of Dakshineshwar, near Kolkata. As revealed by Mataji, the technique is an alchemical practice of breath control which utilizes the Kuhu nadi system to awaken kundalini and move the primordial light-energy through the central channel (sushumna chitrini nadi). The technique captures, balances, and recirculates the sexual essence throughout the nadi system, specifically the higher centers (chakras). The exact process must be learned from a qualified teacher (adihari-guru). The technique, as with all primary kriyas, cannot learned from a book but has always been passed down through a living oral tradition and lineage. The alchemy of transmission of the cosmic energy (para shakti) relies upon the energetic and heart connection between the sadhak and the Sathguru through the teacher to access the massive power of astral entities or Shaktis of the lineage, specifically Maha Kali and her forms. The heart must be opened. The initiation pledge requires the practitioner to accept Sathguru Kriya Babaji as their ideal, without detriment to earlier ideals. The training can be given to an individual, to couples, or to a group.
This amazing process leads to expansion of ones charisma by energizing the aura (pranamayakosham), the establishment of shakti-light within the body of the practitioner, the transformation from a karmic centric life to a dharmic centric life, and at its terminal end, the attainment of super conscious experience. One introduces the highest spiritual vibration into sexual intimacy. This precise meditative breathing practice opens subtle channels of energy that lead to higher consciousness while the heart space is purified and expanded. These channels are both within the astral body as well as outside. Incrementally, the descent of light-grace occurs from the akashic field. In the broad picture, the practices of Babaji’s Kriya Tantra Yoga are a scientific art which function to clear the debris of accumulated lifetimes stored in the sub conscious mind, establish divine vibrations, and transform fear into love.
The practices of tantra are the result of the culmination of many generations of developments of tantra and the archeological finds, such as prehistoric inscriptions, coins, yonis and lingams, which have emerged from the Indus Valley civilization beginning as early as Mehrgarh from 6000 B.C. or earlier.
My Experience with Tantra
Traditional tantra, as opposed to the “neo-tantra” popular in the west, is very rarely taught, even in its homeland of India. Therefore, it is helpful to explain how I was brought by Babaji into Kali’s sphere of Tantric Shakti knowledge. This is not being shared for ego purposes, but rather to inform tantric aspirants of the origins of Kriya Tantra Yoga, acknowledge the sources, and recognize the ultimate headwaters of all Tantra, Mahavatar Babaji and Mataji.
From the early 1970’s, my diksha guru, Yogiar S.A.A. Ramaiah would occasionally refer to the 64 tantric kriyas in his lectures. This always piqued my interest. While he did practice tantra, he did not teach tantra, except for one technique in his advanced training. Throughout that period I was celibate with no masturbation or loss of semen throughout the first decade of my Kriya Yoga practice. My reason for sharing this is to assure the reader that celibacy is not neccessary.
Shivagami performed tantric sadhana with the author as the 64 Yogini Temple, Hiripur, 1988. A separate blog post on the 64 Yogini Temples of India will soon be available.
After that decade of celibacy, Babaji put me together with a very elevated Shakti. Our union was blessed by Yogiar. She was beautiful and her life was centered around Babaji, Kali and her sadhana. A few years after our union, Shivagami and myself were formerly initiated together into Tantra and practiced the kriyas with great success. Her special status was recognized by more than just myself. She is the only soul to whom Yogiar gave the sacred Maha Kali Chew Mantra. The story of this great mantra is known to Kriya Yoga Sadhaks within the sangam and is briefly discussed elsewhere in this blog. Shivagami and myself lived together for 20 years before she passed away from cancer. Through the grace of Kali, she initiated me into the Kali Chew mantra prior to her passing. Kali’s grace has enabled much progress for this sadhak since that time. Yogini Ashram and Babaji’s work continues to grow in strength. Recently, another high soul has come into my life and the work goes on. Jai Babaji!
Tantracharya Swami Rudranath Giri Maharaj initiated and trained the author in Kaula Marg Tantra at Tara Peeth, India
Swami Rudranath Giri Maharaj
In the 1980’s, on a pilgrimage to the tantric temple of Tara Peeth, I met my tantric guru, Swami Rudranath Giri Maharaj. He initiated and oversaw my training of Bhairavi Breath of Ecstasy and other practices, primarily the 64 tantra kriyas. Shivagami and myself practiced Bhairavi Kriya and many of the 64 tantric kriyas. We had many experiences, which led to a much deeper understanding of the practices.
Around 1988, Babaji guided us to purchase a retreat property in the San Bernardino mountains. In that remote forest, a beautiful center was constructed. There, Shivagami and myself hosted many events and trainings in every aspect of Babaji’s Kriya Tantra Yoga. We shared rare practices including Chakra Pujas offering the Panchamakaras in the classical way. In fact, we were the first to perform Chakra pujas in America. Some readers of this blog attended those events. Dynamic energy descended. Minds and hearts were certainly opened. In the near future, I will describe them on this blog site, though the participants will always remain secret for obvious reasons.
Over the years, I have connected with a number of high energy, high consciousness Shaktis which have brought about great transformations in the subtle planes. This includes working with a mystical Shakti for three years who helped me draw down the sacred geometry energies of the 64 yoginis. The divine has sent me the right souls and I believe that they benefited powerfully as well. The 64 Yogini yantras, inscribed on large, thick copper plates, help to energize Yogini Ashram even now. Sincere tantrics, regardless of path, are welcome to visit and meditate in the Yogini Ashram Babaji temple or the Kali temple with these power instruments.
The Urdvamnaya technique is an important aspect of the precise and elegant technique of Bhairavi Kriya.
One form of Bhairavi Kriya is urdvamnaya. The classical text, Kulanarva Tantra, identifies the five amnayas, or “great traditions” associated with different forms of yoga, such as Hatha Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, etc. Kulanarva states that the greatest is “urdvam” or “upwards directed”. This upwards direction refers to the movement of kundalini energy and ones light essence upward through the Tantric nadis to the crown. This is the light essence (tejas) that is within the semen and vaginal fluids (ojas). This urdvamnaya Kriya is exalted as the highest of all kriyas and is performed either by itself or in conjunction with the appropriate mantra. The technique used with the mantra is an ajapa pranayam, a silent mantra. Its importance is underscored by an entire chapter of Kulanarva Tantra which is devoted to praise of these two conjoined techniques. Lord Shiva speaks to his beloved thus, “Oh deveshi! Know the urdvamnaya as the direct single means for emancipation yielding a greater fruit than all others and better than the best of them…Neither the vedas, agamas, sastras, puranas, austerities, pilgrimages, mantras, or herbs can understand or contain urdvamnaya. The Bhairavi technique makes significant use of bandhas, mudras, specialized pranayams, and other Kriyas and must be learned from a qualified teacher. When the siddhas referred to the technique in classical works, the technique was recorded in code as it can only be known through the mouth of the teacher in the ancient oral tradition.
“Lest the silvery liquid into the golden flow
The artful goldsmith covered it up with yogic breath
The sparks (of Kundalini) that flew travels up by way of spinal tube
There above, he contained them with tongues tip.”
Thirumandiram V. 834
Om Tath Sath
Om Kriya Babaji Nama Aum! Your Swami
Facebook: Yogini Ashram or contact yoginiashram.com
Swami can be reached at 562 556 0390
This post may be reproduced wholly or in part with the provision that the source is cited as Kalipath.com.
By Swami Ayyappa Giri, Acharya, Yogini Ashram, Norwalk Ca.
Article Rewritten and Published on Babaji’s Birthday 30 November 2014
Though known by Kriya Yogis for centuries, details of the life and birth of the deathless Mahavatar Babaji were not made public until the late 1940’s, when the saintly Swami Yogananda Paramahamsa was permitted to release a few details of Babaji’s incredible incarnation. Later, the great saint included a chapter about Babaji in his magnus opus, “Autobiography of a Yogi”.
In 1952, the celebrated and eternally youthful avatar revealed his birth details to two of his very close disciples. One had authored several books on Kriya Yoga, V.T. Neelakantan. The other was my own Gurudev, the Tamil Pranayam Siddha, Yogiar S.A.A. Ramaiah.
In the last few decades, Babaji has become a worldwide phenomena, particularly among mystics, yogis and tantrics. He works in all levels and has integrated into the consciousness of awakened souls everywhere. He was born in Swethanathapuram, an ancient seaport near Chidambaram, India on 30 November, 203 A.D. The town is now known as Parangipettai. In the early 1950’s, Babaji led Neelakantan and Yogiar to the sacred site at the very beginning of Yogiar’s decades long spiritual mission.
During 1971, I did intensive sadhana at Babaji’s Birthplace on many occasions. The plot of land was filled with thorns and rocks, but to me, it was a place of great peace, power and bliss. There were no shade trees and the summer sun of south India was scorching hot. Nevertheless, I was determined that the mind not be influenced by the physical discomfort. With the help of the vibrations present and a strong effort to go deep within, I was floating in and out of a timelessness; a place of no thought, One hour, then two hours passed. After some time a wetness, movement, and distinct pressure was felt on the face and body, as I was not wearing a shirt. The sensations gradually pulled me out of that deep state. As I opened my eyes, I was delighted to see that a lovely cow was licking my face and chest. I am sure that he was enjoying the salt from my perspiration but at the time, I could only think of Lord Krishna!
Soon after that, Yogiar asked Kriya Yoga Sadhaks Marshall Govindan and myself to fly to Delhi to meet with the Minister of Aviation and Tourism, Dr. Karan Singh. The purpose was to purchase from the Indian government the small plot of land on which Babaji was born, in order to build a temple open to all. With the full authority of Babaji, Yogiar made that request of us, and it never even occurred to me for a moment that it would not be achieved. I remained in India working on the project and after more than a year of effort and massive grace from Babaji who was pulling strings behind the scenes, the dream was realized.
The Pranayam Siddha, Yogi Ramaiah,, stands behind me, (as I am seated in the snow) on Mt Shasta at the completion of 18 years of Yogic Practice.
Yogiar then asked me to supervise the construction of a granite temple dedicated to Babaji on the holy site. The rough granite slabs were quarried near Kanadukathan and moved by bullock cart to the carving location. The carvings and reliefs were performed in the town of Karakudi in the ancient tradition. I remember doing mantras for many hours while the tic, tic, tic of the stapadi carvers worked in the background. When the carved blocks and images were complete, and the temple was ready to assemble, all were transported by trucks to Babaji’s birthplace. For the next two months of construction, monsoon season peaked and it rained constantly as we approached the deadline for dedicating the temple, which had been determined astrologically far in advance. The workers were corragously moving the massive stone blocks with levers as they sloshed through mud and rain chanting the names of God to maintain the rhythm of the work and keep their energy high.
When the construction was complete, even as the rain continued, I was given the massive honor of working with the Brahmin priests as we prepared the astabandha (a special kind of cement) to secure Babaji’s moorthi to his pedestal.
Miraculously, as we began the Mahakumbh Abeshak (the first ceremonial bath) at the sacred hour, the rains stopped for the very first time in many weeks. The clouds parted and a beam of light descended directly on the temple itself. The light beam remained on the temple until the puja was complete. Dear friends, I am not exaggerating one iota. One single beam of light maintained its position on the temple throughout the puja, while no other light in any direction could be seen.
Yantras and other secret things of which I cannot speak were placed strategically and in a safe hidden place within the granite itself. Then, just at the conclusion of the puja, the rains began again and showered the region for yet another two weeks. It was more rain than the region had received in many years. In yoga, rain is considered a great blessing from the divine, for with it, crops flourish and people are nourished.
The temple is built to last for thousands of years. The quality of granite holds up extremely well over the centuries. Although small, it is very artful and energetically magnificent. The tranquility of the grounds is amazing. Scenes from Babaji’s life are depicted in granite reliefs around the top of the temple. All Kriya Yoga Sadhaks and devotees of Babaji should should go to this power spot at least once in their lifetime.
BABAJI IN OUR CURRENT ERA
“The breath that arose 12 matras long; if you can control and absorb within, well may you live a thousand years on land and sea; for the body, perishes not.”
This painting of The Immortal Master was painted in the early 1950’s when Babaji was manifesting to Yogi Ramaiah and V.T.N; the original was destroyed by termites in the .early 70’s. Yogiar always liked it because previous images made Babaji’s neck look tense. Since then, there are great artists that have produced inspired images, but I still like this one.
High in the remote rocky mountains of the Kumoan Himalayas, the eternal Babaji lives today, as he has for millennia, retaining his physical form only for the benefit of humanity. It has long been understood that those who descend from the celestial realm (avatars) often bring with them outward signs of their inward freedom. Thus, there have been other Avatars that cast no shadow or footprint. There are others as well who have breathed life into a corpse or instantly moved through time and space with impunity. There have been others too, who lived without food or drink, who walked upon water, or moved upon air. But few are they whose physical form, manifesting the golden light of immortality, does not decay or age. And few indeed are they who can move through the physical world with mastery of every plane of existence, fully active and yet with breathing and mind perfectly stilled. Babaji reigns supreme as the great avatar of Vedanta, Siddhantha, and Kaula Marg Tantra. He is at the headwaters of all the sacred tributaries of Yoga and Tantra. From him has emerged every stream of Kriya itself and his guiding hand is ever present.
He is seen and recognized only by those whom he chooses. Although he has appeared in many forms over the centuries, he frequently manifests as a timeless youth. His black hair is aflame with copper-golden rays of light-energy and his well toned body reflects that of an athletic youth. His dark eyes, awash with light and love, penetrate the soul. His countenance is surrounded with authority and mystery. He is approachable and seen only by those of purified consciousness. He is known as the great yogi, the ancient youth of sixteen summers, as he attained immortality at a young age. His presence is not frightening at all, as some have thought. His presence is massively calming. In his presence one can think only what he allows. It is impossible to approach him without his inward permission. He is the great guiding father who was the loving guide behind all ones earthly fathers in every lifetime.
I brought a number of international practitioners of Kriya Yoga and other Pilgrims to Babaji’s Birthplace over the years
Who is this great mysterious yogi who cannot be reduced to a rule? Lahiri saw him as an incarnation of Krishna. Yogi Ramaiah maintained that he and Muruga, the Dravidian Lord of beauty, were one and the same. He has been revealed to us as an avatar of Maha Shiva. Still other Kriya yogis have identified him with Kali or Christ. Like the cosmic Lord, he manifests the form and energy held dear by the devotee, nor can any mortal reduce him to a rule. The stellar star of his attainment is impossible for the mortal mind to comprehend. He is both multicultural and multi-linguistic and demonstrates a freedom from any limit. Every aspect of his remarkable life reflects this freedom. Miraculous stories of his life, including bringing the dead to life, manifest multiple bodies at the same time, and the ability to appear and disappear at will abound. He is so much more than an astral being, limited to a ghost body. He manifests a physical body with toes that have form and substance like an human being, except that they project light, fragrance and bliss when touched.
In the 1980’s, this Sadhu hut, barely 30 yards from Babaji’s Cave was abandoned, and Ayyappa had the blessing of meditating in front of it’s yagya fire, enjoying visions of great sages and rishis who had lived in those sacred vibrations, Life is full of miracles when we look for them.
In 1888 Madam Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society described Babaji in her great treatise, the Secret Doctrine, as follows, “It is He who changes form, yet remains ever the same, and it is He, again, who holds spiritual sway over the initiated adepts throughout the world. He is, as said, the nameless one who has so many names and yet, whose names and very nature are unknown. He is THE INITIATOR, called the GREAT SACRIFICE for sitting at the threshold of Light, He looks into it from within the circle of darkness which He will not cross, nor will He quit His post until the last day of this life-cycle. Why does the solitary watcher remain at His self chosen post? Why does He sit by the fountain of primeval wisdom, of which He drinks no longer, for He has naught to learn which He does not know – aye, neither on this earth nor in its heaven? Because the lonely sore-footed pilgrims, on their journey back to their home, are never sure to the last moment of not losing their way, in this limitless desert of illusion and matter called earth-life. Because He would show the way to that region of freedom and light from which He is a voluntary exile himself, to every prisoner who has succeeded in liberating himself from the bonds of flesh and illusion. Because, in short, He has sacrificed Himself for the sake of mankind, though but few elect may profit by the great sacrifice.”
Swami Ayyappa Giri, with his Kaula Marg Tantric Guru, Swami Rudranath Giri Maharaj, of Tara Peeth., who was born and raised in Tamil Nadu, Swami Rudranath was a great disciple of Kriya Babaji.
The Tamil Tantric, Rudranath Giri, has revealed that Babaji is the avatar of great sacrifice for the emerging golden age of Kriya and that his glorious Shakti, taking form as Bhairavi, has regenerated the Kaula Marg tantric path as well, for the benefit and spiritual growth of all humanity. For Babaji and Mataji, a hundred years is but a day. Together they performed dynamic tantra sadhana in a small triangular cave near Gangotri. They have always worked quietly behind the scenes. Thousands of world and spiritual leaders are influenced by their “taps” at critical times, although most in an unconscious way. They seek absolutely no acknowledgment as they guide many toward spiritual awakening. They work on all planes and are literally “a bridge for those who seek the farther shore”. A siddha in the ultimate sense is one who has attained perfection in all planes, including the physical. As defined in the upanishads, a siddha is one who has progressed from the exalted state of freed while living (jivan mukta) to supremely free with full power over death (para mukta). This state is referred to in the Siddhantha tradition as soruba mukti or soruba samadhi.
Who is Babaji? Like God himself, he morphs into the forms that the devotee holds dear. He resides in the formless forms as well, such as the great tradition of Monism expounded by Adi Shakaracharya (who he initiated). Speaking in Ecstasy, Babaji once demonstrated his mastery of the Advaita Vedanta path as he literally described his consciousness to his chosen disciples, V.T.N and Yogiar as follows.
“I am existance-knowledge-bliss absolute. I am the absolute and supreme Self, both within and without the finitude. I am truth, eternal and everlasting. I am the only one, all in myself: None exist save I, in and through all that exists. I am ever all-existence itself. I am the changeless one in the midst of all changes. I am the formless in all forms…I am the living ocean of ecstasy that rages wild and surges and storms and levels down the earth and heavens. I beat in every breast, see in every eye, throb in every pulse, smile in every flower, shine in the lightning and roar in the thunder. I flutter in the leaves, I hiss in the winds, and I roll in the surging seas. I am the wisdom of the wise, the strength of the strong, the heroism of the heroic. I am the impersonal personality of the whole universe. I am the infinite, the eternal, and the immortal Self. Truth flows from me just as light radiates from the sun and fragrance emanates from a flower am the immutable and indescribable Atman, the dynamic principle of existence and the infinite ocean of everlasting conciseness.”
HIS EARLY YEARS
The Muruga temple priests have done a wonderful job in caring for the temples of Muruga and his Avatar manifestation, Sathguru Babaji. The two swamis on the left share the grace of having had darshan of the 12 Jotir Lingams..
Babaji has revealed that he was kidnapped at an early age from his home town and taken to north India to be sold into slavery. In present day Kolkata, he was purchased and soon released where he migrated to Varanasi. In due course he pondered the principles of Vedanta and Siddhanta, reflecting on the works of other Siddhas, and attempting to understand how they integrate. Having reached the limitations of academic knowledge, he began an extensive pilgrimage and course of sadhana. From the coast of Bengal, he undertook a pilgrimage by boat to the powerful Chittagong Hill in Bangladesh. There, following intense sadhana, he had daily exchanges with the energy of Shakti and became intimate with her power and grace, mastering Kaula Marg Tantra. He experienced Kali very tangibly in all her 64 emanations (64 Yoginis). Later, Babaji influenced other Siddhas like Macchendranath (Macchamuni) who elevated Kaula Marg Tantra to a grand tradition. This led to the construction of 64 Yogini Temples, mostly in north India. That hill, where Babaji performed tapas, later became a Bhavani Shakti temple, and in later centuries, identified as one of the celebrated 52 Shakti Peeths, or vortex shrines of Devi. It seems that he returned to that hill temple in later centuries. Imagine my surprise when, after more than 20 years of yogic practice, I received the Maha Kali Chew Mantra, and observed the name of this very Shakti Peeth of Chittagong embedded within the mantra. This is the same powerful mantra that had been given by Babaji himself directly to Yogiar’s maternal grandfather, and then passed on to Yogiar’s mother (Sm. Solachi). It was then passed to Yogiar, then to Shivagami (Swami Mantradikshananda).
Returning to Kolkata, Babaji sailed to Katirgama, Sri Lanka, where he ultimately experienced Nirvakalpa Samadhi, the breathless state of God and Truth union. In doing so, he reestablished an ancient and powerful link with the 18 Siddhas, particularly the scientific Siddha, Bogar.
Coutrallam Falls in Tamil Nadu is the site where Babaji was initiated into Kriya by the great Siddha Agasthiya.
Babaji then journeyed to Coutrallam in Tamil Nadu, where we was initiated into Kriya by another of the 18 Siddhas, Sage Agasthiya. He then migrated to a cave in the high Himalayas and performed tapas for five years. In the process, the very atoms of his physical body were permeated with and transformed by divine light-vibration. From that point on, he had no shadow and he had no footprint.
His dynamic second cousin, Mataji, soon joined him and following his lead, attained a similar state, the golden deathless body of Soruba Samadhi. Yogananda introduced Mataji as Babaji’s sister or cousin-sister, a common term of endearment in Indian culture. Yogi Ramaiah, who also spent time with Babaji in the physical body, explained a different reality than that. Let there be no ambiguity about the relationship of Babaji and Mataji. Yogiar many times confirmed that Babaji and Mataji were in a Shiva-Shakti union. Every disciple of Yogiar would be aware of this. My Kaula Marg Tantra Guru, Swami Rudranath Giri Maharaj, has revealed that together, Babaji and Mataji worked through the 64 Tantric Kriyas without a fall. Thus, having mastered the paths of Vedanta, Siddhantha, and Kaula Marg Tantra together, Mataji ascended into her predestined avatarship.
In the late 1980,s, a much younger Swami Ayyappa did intensive sadhana in the cave where Babaji initiated Lahiri Mahasaya. Back then, one could meditate for hours alone.
After centuries, they continue to reside in the Himalayas, but are also present in all things at all times, guiding many saints and yogis, either directly or behind the scenes. Yogiar spent decades with his students, clearing out the trash of ego and low vibration hiding in the subconscious mind and lower vital plane as he assisted them in their spiritual progress. In the 1960’s, I too had a vision of Babaji. In due course, he led me to my two Gurus, both great disciples of the immortal Babaji. Following decades in training with Yogi S.A.A. Ramaiah and Sri Rudranath Giri Maharaj, Babaji took over directly.
Ayyappa and Candiswamy are two Gurubi’s (brother disciples) who worked together in India and Sri Lanka as early as 1971. I recently visited him. He is such a dynamic loving soul, that I have no doubt that he has won Babaji’s Grace forever.
Until I pass on I will continue to share what Babaji has given me, particularly Kriya Kundalini Pranayam and Bhairavi Kriya. Advanced Yoga Teacher training is available as well as advanced classical Tantra training in the Kriya tradition. The training utilizes an ancient and powerful breathing practice revealed by Mataji as Bhairavi Kriya or Breath of Ecstasy. Additionally, a teachers training program offers incremental training in the 64 tantric kriyas of Kaula Marg, the path of energy, transmutation of sexual essence and mastery of the nadis relating to procreation and sexuality. A major key is understanding the relationship and energies between the 64 tantric kriyas and the 64 Yoginis, all forms of MahaKali.
Babaji, you are our light and guide. Awaken us from the slumber of the ages, Please guide every thought, every action, every desire toward purity and light. Humble us, that we may be receptive to your Grace. Above all, shepherd us through the transition at the end of each life with a firm but kind hand that we may reside eternally at your lotus feet and serve the light forever. May Atman alone dominate the consciousness! May the power and majesty of your light and love manifest in every plane and every cell. Let the akashic record reflect that we lived nobly in each moment.
Om Tath Sath
Om Kriya Babaji Nama Aum! Your Swami
Facebook: Yogini Ashram or contact yoginiashram.com
Swami can be reached at 562 556 0390
This post may be reproduced wholly or in part with the provision that the source is cited as Kalipath.com.
The Holy of Holy’s – The Mahamaya Cave Temple and Ice Shiva Lingam of Amarnath
By Swami Ayyappa Giri, Tantracharya, Yogini Ashram, Norwalk Ca.
Article Published on Full Moon, 8 September 2014
Why This Pilgrimage ?
The annual pilgrimage to the holy cave of Shiva and Mahamaya Devi, nestled high in the Kashmir Himalayas, is one of the most sacred yatra events on the path of tantra and yoga. The energy of this great peeth will increase ones charisma, alter karma, and transform consciousness. At this site, Shiva initiated Parvati into the science of immortality, Kriya Kundalini Pranayam. At this site, the vortex of energy was forever marked as the Kriya Tantra Yoga peetam (power spot) of Parvati, and where the two cosmic Deities found union.
Parvati melted the heart of Mahadev through sadhana and pure love. He initiated her into Kriya Kundalini Pranayam, the key to the Golden Body.
Parvati was reborn from the deathless soul of Sati (Shiva’s first wife). Though not fully self aware, she nonetheless recognized in the shadows of her ancient soul its grandeur with memories of her countless births, including those with her Lord, Shiva. She yearned to be once again close to Shiva, her immortal love, and that he would reveal to her the secret of the golden body of immortality, so as to escape from the cycle of rebirth. With that goal, she performed intense yogic sadhana (tapas) dedicated to Shiva. After undergoing many tests and postponements, she melted the heart of Mahadev with pure love and he agreed to initiate her into the greatest secrets of Tantra, Yoga, and Brahma consciousness. This Amarnath Cave is the sacred bindu, the epicenter of power, which Shiva chose for passing to her the understanding of cosmic consciousness and universal creation, preservation, and destruction. It was an ideal location, far from human habitation, where no one could overhear their discourse or be shattered by the energetic detonation.
It is said that Shiva, accompanying Parvati to the cave shrine, left his beloved bull, Nandi, in the nearby village of Pahalgam. At Chandanwari, he laid down the crescent moon from his hair. At the banks of lake Sheshnag, he released the snakes adorning his body. At Panjtarni the colossal lord of the elements (tatvas), left even the tatvas. These are the elements that form all animate and inanimate objects. After leaving behind everything in the relative plane, Shiva and Parvati entered the Holy Cave to fulfill their Dharma. This is a great mystic principle. Yogis and tantrics establish focused sankalpas to transcend attachment to objects as well as the siddhis that might have been achieved over the elements in order to merge in Nirvakalpa samadhi. The mergence of the male and female principles points to their triumph in dropping attachments and merging in Sahasrara, where oneness alone prevails.
Shiva brought Parvati to this secluded natural setting to sanctify their marriage.
Lord Shiva then entered into Samadhi, absorbed in transcendental knowledge and bliss to prepare for Parvati’s initiation. To ensure that no living being was present to avoid them being overwhelmed by the massive energy created during the kriya and samadhi transmission, Shiva created a generator of fire, Kalagni, and ordered him to rebuff every living thing that might approach the holy cave. To Parvati’s eternal debt of gratitude, she was taken up into that bliss state where thought and time do not exist and every differentiation is absorbed into singularity.
Thus, it is a monumental grace for mortals to make this arduous trek in homage to Divine union at the sacred cave of Shakti, and in the divine form of Shiva’s phallic ice lingam.
Shiva brought Parvati to this secluded natural setting to sanctify their marriage and to open a doorway of liberation from rebirth for his chosen partner. Here Parvati could fully absorb the experience of her previous incarnation as Sati. As one of the famous fifty-two Shakti Peeths, the throat of Sati fell to the earth at this very spot after she immolated herself in fire. In this particular natural temple, Shakti manifests as Mahamaya Devi. Mahamaya casts illusion but also takes away illusion. Her worship and course of sadhana is extremely auspicious as it liberates the embodied soul from maya and bestows the bliss-awareness of non-duality; God consciousness.
Some say the lingam waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon, reaching its height during the June festival when pilgrims make the sacred trek. Those who worship the lunar cycles, through yantra, mantra, tantra and pranayama, benefit profoundly.
The origins of this gleaming natural lingam and yoni are shrouded in the mists of hoary antiquity. The Amarnath cave was a place of pilgrimage and sadhana for thousands of years. There are ancient references to the cave shrine in the annals of the celebrated ruler of Kashmir, Arya Raja, whose reign has been ascribed to third century BCE. Ancient texts record that the Raja would go on pilgrimage to the cave and worship the lingam which formed naturally of ice.
Subsequent royalty patronized the temple as well, including the Kashmiri Queen Surya Mathi in the eleventh century AD, who gifted to the shrine trishuls and a bana lingam, a sacred Shiva lingam which has been naturally formed in the waters of the Narmada river.
The cave is situated at an altitude of 3,888 meters (12,756 feet). The entire area is covered with snow most of the year except for a short period of time in summer when it is accessible for pilgrims.
Registering for the Amarnath Yatra
Due to thousands of pilgrims, my Jeep unintentionally became part of a caravan winding through the pleasant forests from Srinagar to Pahalgam
The yatra typically opens in late June for only a few weeks. Indian nationals can register at certain locations throughout India. It is best for non-Indians to register at Srinagar. Things change so check with authorities. Since the registration office is not open on weekends, it is best to arrive in the early part of the week to ensure you have several days before the weekend to register and obtain a pass. On arrival at Srinagar airport, I stayed on a houseboat, which Srinagar is so famous for. The morning after obtaining the pass, I took a taxi to Pahalgam, a journey of about three hours and 100 kilometers. Here, I found lodging in Pahalgam. Although I did not have one, I suggest that Pilgrims obtain a hotel reservation in advance.
The map above shows the route from Pahalgam to Amarnath and return by way of Baital. Following this route, the pilgrimage can be comfortably done in three days
After a good nights sleep at a Pahalgam hotel, I took a jeep taxi 16 kilometers (10 mi) to Chandanwari. Chandanwari lies at an elevation of 2896 meters (9,500 ft). This is the end of the line for auto transportation as there are no roads beyond this point. From here, arrangements can be made for a horse. There are many horses and horsemen that can be enlisted throughout the journey but the best bargain can be obtained by negotiating the entire pilgrimage in advance.
The pilgrimage to the cave can be made either by foot or horse, depending upon ones capacity. The aged and physically challenged can be carried on a palanquin. A helicopter from the Baital area can take one part way up the mountain, but it does deny its users the full spiritual merit (punya) as well as the satsang, the heart warming camaraderie of the foot pilgrimage. Also, even with a helicopter, portions of the yatra must be performed by foot, horse, or palanquin.
Pahalgham to Chandanwari.
A few light moments with local Baba’s.
Pahalgam was once the base camp for the foot pilgrimage (pada yatra). Here, you can negotiate for a horseman and a horse. Some begin their pilgrimage in Pahalgham. Others take a taxi to Chandanwari, which has effectively become the new base camp due to road improvements and taxi availability over the last decades. Horses are also available at Chandanwari. The best hotel accommodations are at Pahalgham, however. If you leave from the Pahalgham – Chandanwari area in the morning, expect to spend the night at Sheshnag. On the next day, you would spend the night near the holy cave. This is ideal, as it permits an early morning darshan on the third day. Then you can descend by way of Baital on the same day, arriving at that base camp in the late afternoon. The path is very steep, and not recommended for the ongoing portion of the pilgrimage, but is ideal to return to Srinagar. This arrangement would then take three nights and three days, including the first night at Pahalgham base camp. Pilgrims can negotiate with the taxi driver to drop them off in Pahalgham and pick them up at Baital, which was my choice.
Chandanwari to Sheshnag
The 13 kilometers (9 mi) trail from Chandanwari at 2,856 meters (9,500 ft) to Sheshnag is uneven terrain at a challenging elevation. Chandanwari is a mountain pass situated at the junction of two large streams. From here, the trail climbs to Pissu Top and continues to Zoji Bal, situated at 3,352 meters (11,000 ft) elevation.
A Painful Fall
I had negotiated a horse in Chandanwari. At the very peak near Zoji Bal, both front legs of the horse abruptly collapsed, throwing me to the side and forward. As the horse staggered, I fell and my right rib cage impacted a sharp rough eight inch rock. I was in massive pain and sat by the trail for about thirty minutes just trying to allow the pain to subside, regain my composure and catch my breath. I then proceeded on by foot. Even after more than a year my rib cage still hurts when I press on it. I feel that this was a small offering of my body to Shiva and Mahamaya. I remember that my Guru said that to a yogi or a mystic, a physical injury occurring during a divine event is a sign of burning karma and a grace to the soul. I reflected upon that as I rested by the trail. After some time, I stood up carefully and began the long trek to Sheshnag.
Sheshnag Lake photo
Rounding a bend in the trail I caught an amazing glimpse of a rushing glacier stream feeding into beautiful Sheshnag Lake. As the sun descended and the wind increased, a chill was in the air. Later, I learned that mountains around Sheshnag are the windiest, and due to the wind chill factor, coldest location in that part of the Himalayas.
The pristine beauty of Sheshnag Lake was striking, especially if one attends the pilgrimage as soon as it opens and before the land accumulates rubbish due to the traffic of the pilgrims. The government of India and Jammu-Kashmir does a superb job of maintaining portable toilets and other amenities at the camps. In Sheshnag, I had dinner and stayed overnight in a warm sleeping bag within a comfortable tent.
The next morning, after a short satsang with a number of Baba Swamis, it was time to move on. Some ancient souls ply this route. Pure is the river that flows – pure is the sadhu that goes. God bless those rare and illustrious souls who vow detachment to the world.
Sheshnag to Amarnath – My Introduction to Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson, a beautiful Cremello stallion, carried me safely to the feet of Shiva.
Mohammed, my horseman produced a massive horse (at least for the Kashmir region), who was curiously named Michael Jackson. Amazing, is it not, that popular culture has made it to the remote recesses of the Kashmir Himalayas? At any rate, I myself am quite fond of the music of Michael Jackson (the artist). The pain did not keep me from enjoying the pilgrimage and Michael Jackson (the horse) and he and myself had no problem negotiating the rest of the pilgrimage together.
Mohammed, the proud horseman, affably maintained that he was the strongest horse in all of Kashmir. After only a few seconds riding with him, I was convinced that Mohammed was right. Thus, I left Sheshnag campsite for Panchtarni (Panitarni) on Michael Jackson. The first five kilometers are a constant uphill gradient until I reached Mahagunas Pass. The pass is the highest point along the Amarnath trail at 4,276 meters (14,028 ft). For contrast, this is a trail that is comparable to the elevation of the peak of Mount Whitney, the highest summit in the contiguous United States with an elevation of 14,505 feet. From the Mahajunas Pass, it is a gradual descent to Panchtarni, at an elevation of 3657 meters (11,998 ft).
The Sangam area overlooks the confluence of the Amarnath river and a tributary from Panchtarni.
From Panchtarni, pilgrims ascend along many hairpin turns and switchbacks as the trail rises once again to the Sangam area, which overlooks the confluence of the Amarnath river and a tributary from Panchtarni. The Sangam trail rises far above the river valley below and is close to the Amarnath Cave (a distance of only three kilometers). The entire journey from Sheshnag to Amarnath took about eleven hours. I could hardly believe the traffic jams of people and horses in the midst of the Himalayas. I found an excellent tent accommodation at the Amarnath tent village, and, following a good meal, and exhausted from the trials of the day, fell fast asleep.
Approaching the Cave Temple
The next morning, I awoke very early in great pain, resulting from the rib injury the previous day. I gathered my courage and proceeded to the sacred grotto. The cave itself is one of the great Shakti Peeths identified in ancient literature and is the world’s energy center for Mahamaya Devi, the Shakti who both manifests illusion and also, when the soul is ready, lifts illusion to enable that soul to experience the oneness that has no second. The mouth of the mammoth cavern could easily hold thirty elephants. Nearby the cave, I washed my feet in the ice-cold water of the Amarnath Stream, which flows a short distance outside and below the cave. The cave is situated at an altitude of 3,888 meters (12,756 ft). As one ascends the multitude of stairs which take you inside the gigantic cavern, there is feeling of calm tranquility mixed with high energy. Nothing can adequately capture the grandeur of the cathedral like expanse of this massive cavern. Its height must be forty meters (130 ft) but its power makes it feel unbounded. The primary lingam within the cave is formed due to the freezing of water droplets that fall from the roof of the cave onto the floor. This allows the lingam to grow up vertically from the cave floor. I was in awe at this massive tantric corona of radiance; all centered around the natural ice lingam residing within the great cave. The energy was magnetic and electric. The experience elevated my mind and emotions into divine realms. At first, I could not take my eyes off of the glistening white lingam. Then my eyes began to close involuntarily and I felt myself being pulled into deep meditation. Within my being, a light exploded at my third eye. Thought and time disappeared. Out of the inner light itself, I saw a large Shiva Lingam, standing erect, white and glimmering in the light, As the meditation progressed, Shiva, Parvati, Babaji and Mahamaya dissolved into oneness. The energy of every saint and siddha seemed to merge as one. Like a divine black hole, both bad and good merged with all forms, all principles, all religions. As I was having the experience I was one with the experience itself. As breath and thought returned to my body, my consciousness became aware of the surroundings.
The sacred Ice Shiva Lingam of Amarnath cave is formed naturally from water within the mountain dripping on the cave roof. The energy that it produces is magnificent !
The priest distributing prasad was quite curious and delighted to see a western swami, and we conversed for some time about the great and noble principles of Shiva Yoga. As we talked, he became increasingly blissful and animated. He was justifiably proud to explain that his family had been priests at the holy cave shrine for many centuries. After a delightful discussion, I received prasad and descended down the many stairs to the river trail, and on towards the tent which had been my welcome home during the previous night.
Due to other pilgrimage destination, I chose to return by way of Baltal on the same day. The route is almost entirely downhill and I arrived in Srinagar by evening. The Baital route is far shorter but also far steeper, and thus a difficult path to approach the cave, but an excellent path for returning to Srinagar when time is limited. By the time I reached Baital, the pain in my chest was much more manageable.
After Effects of the Pilgrimage
I could not complete this pilgrimage to Amarnath without expecting massive subsequent restructuring in my life. It is the cosmic law. I set a high intention from the beginning; and knew that big changes in my life would be immediate, and so they were! I knew that the pilgrimage would burn great karma, and so it did! My life has not been the same since the yatra. The spiritual tempo has quickened, and I am grateful to Shiva and his entourage for that.
Take the plunge, Dear Atman! Make the commitment to the great consciousness within you. Don’t waste a minute, for every second of life is precious. Live nobly in the moment, dear Atman, for no man can undo a fraction of a moment, once done.
Om Nama Shivaya! Your Swami
Facebook: Yogini Ashram or contact yoginiashram.com Swami can be reached at 562 556 0390
This post may be reproduced wholly or in part with the provision that the source is cited as Kalipath.com.
By Swami Ayyappa Giri, Tantracharya, Yogini Ashram, Norwalk Ca.
Article First Posted on New Moon, 25 Aug 2014
The Main Temple of Kamakhya, home of Shodashi, Matangi, and Kamala.
Festival time at the Kamakhya Yoni temple draws a variety of tantrics and tantric clans (kulas) from the region, many clad in crimson and black. Pilgrims and shakti devotees of every stripe arrive mostly from India’s northeast frontier and West Bengal. Souls from throughout India are mixed with a sprinkling of tantrics and Shakti devotees from western countries. The Kamakhya temple in Assam is widely accepted as one of the most powerful Shakti temples on the Indian subcontinent. It is graced by an energy vortex that has drawn practitioners of yoga and tantra to her for more than two thousand years.
This image, Ambubachi menstrating, is thought by some to be one of the most ancient reliefs in the temple.
In ancient times, the marriage of Shiva and his lovely Sati was celebrated by the forces of light. Sati had aspired to marry Shiva but her father, Daksha, the king of Devaloka, forbade it. He had always despised Shiva for hanging out in graveyards with ghouls and goblins and all manner of disembodied souls. When Sati married Shiva against his will he was incensed. “I am a king”, he bellowed, “I refuse to have a son-in- law who crudely rides on a bull and spends his time meditating on animal skins with snakes.” Thus, when he organized a great yajna, he deliberately did not invite Shiva or Sati to the fire ceremony. Sati was distraught when she heard about the plans for the sacred fire. Shiva advised her not to go, but out of attachment to the social etiquette, she did nonetheless. When she arrived, Daksha ignored her, mocking and ridiculing the divine couple in front of all the guests. His scathing attack left her emotionally crushed and mortified. Overcome with the illusion of shame, both for herself and for Shiva, she jumped into the flames of the yajna and perished. When Yogi Shiva heard of her immolation, he emerged from tranquility in great turbulence. He sent his lieutenants to destroy the palace and fire sacrifice. In his monumental grief, he lifted her half-burned body in his arms and began wandering aimlessly through the either. The great disturbance was felt throughout the universe. Puja, meditation and sadhana could not be done due to the disturbance in the universal web of consciousness, into which Shiva is so fully integrated. Assembling in urgency, and seeking to restore balance to the universe, the Devas determined that if the body were to disappear, Shiva would be able to regain his transcendental state. Thus, the principle of “out of sight – out of mind” was applied. Vishnu agreed to follow Shiva and gradually dismember Sati’s body with his alchemical discus. He did so, and at the locations where her body parts fell, Shakti temples sprang up to become fifty-two in number, each with a unique and powerful energy. The Pitha-nirnaya Tantra recorded that these fifty-two peeths are found in sites in present day India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and Pakistan. Most of these temples are located in India’s Northeast region.
Kamakhya henceforth became the most sacred shakti peeth of all since her organ of manifesting both pleasure and life landed at the sacred spot. Thus her yoni ended up at the very place where their marriage had been consummated; the sacred hill of Kamakhya. The tantras correctly state that only though the grace of the divine can a pilgrim visit all of them.
No one knows exactly how many centuries Kamakhya has been a place of pilgrimage. Radiocarbon isotope studies by the department of Geo-Sciences, University of Guwahati, determined that there are two ancient levels of construction under the temple. The oldest is 2200 years and the second 1500 years. The location may have been a tribal pilgrimage long before more extensive constructions. Taken together with other evidence, it is accepted that the temple has been rebuilt multiple times over the millennia. No inscriptions could be found associated with the 200 BC construction. A stone inscription dating to 500 AD attests to the latter. The current temple was constructed in 1520 AD. In the 11th and 12th centuries, there were repeated lootings by Muslim commanders at which time damage to the temple occurred and was repaired.
The temple was an important and long established tantric center described in the Hevajra Tantra, (800 AD). Adding to the sanctity of the great temple the Kalika Purana, a work from the 10th century, glorifies the temple as the ancient spot where Sati, the spouse of Shiva, would retire in secret to satisfy her physical love with Shiva. The Yogini Tantra, a latter work, associates Kamakhya with the goddess Kali and emphasizes the creative symbolism of the yoni.
The ten Mothers of Wisdom, shown here as emanations of Maha Kali , are integral to Tantra. Each holds an important place at the Kamakya.
The ten great Mother Goddesses of Wisdom, collectively known as the Das Mahavidyas, are integral to Tantra and each holds an important place at the Kamakhya Yoni Temple. They are Shodashi, Matangi, Kamala, Dhumavati, Tara, Kali, Bhairavi, Baglamukhi, Chinnamasta, and Bhuvaneshwari. They are familiar to Shakti devotees and are sometimes displayed in relief at various temples in India’s northeast region.
Shodashi AKA Kamakshi Devi
Kamakshi Devi, the resident diety of Kamakhya, is indeed Shodashi, the youthful goddess of sixteen summers, named so as she is perpetually sixteen years of age. Pronounced locally as Surashi, and also referred to as Tripura Sundari, she is beloved by all who approach her. The most sacred point in the planet for Kaula Marg Tantrics is the location of her Yoni, called the Yoni Mudra Peeth. Approaching the goddess, the power increases in intensity. One enters the temple, descending down a dark narrow staircase with many uneven and irregular steps. The subterranean vault is hot and humid and yet one feels completely safe and protected in the dim light. The underground cavern has a dome high above, and barely visible. Voices echo beautifully off the ancient stone chamber. Devi sits in a pool of holy spring water with a canopy over the top. A stone crack under the water is naturally formed in the shape of a yoni, from which water flows. Here, devotees make offerings of red kumkuma to Devi. The pundit guides the inexperienced through the process of paying homage and receiving darshan at the sacred Yoni of Kamakshi Devi. Then all in turn move to the right to where Lakshmi, Sri, and Saraswati reside. Saraswati, too, is in the form of a yoni and Lakshmi is partly represented by a three dimensional Sri Yantra. Once again, one kneels in humility, touching the water and offering kumkuma. The priest sometimes gives Shaktipat by firmly tapping the center of the back. It has the functional benefit of reminding people to keep moving, as the lines are long and the space in the sanctum is very limited. The priests are kind and supportive amid high energy.
Shodashi is Latika Devi, the creeper goddess, inferring that she is intertwined with her legs wrapped around and embracing Shiva’s legs and body, as he lies in repose. Shodashi is the third of the Mahavidyas. She is ravishing in her beauty and soft in her aura, although her energy can occasionally be challenging. Anatomically she resides in the outside upper right quadrant of the yoni lips. As a digbanda force, she rules the northeastern direction from whence she gives grace and protection. Astrologically she is linked to Mercury. The Shodashi Tantra refers to Shodashi as the “Beauty of the Three Cities,” or Tripura Sundari. As Shodashi, Tripura Sundari is represented as a sixteen-year-old girl, and embodies sixteen types of desire. Shodashi also refers to the sixteen syllable mantra, which consists of the fifteen syllable (pancha dasakshari) mantra plus a final seed syllable. Shodashi is said to have taken birth to save the celestial world. Kama, the incarnation of sexuality and physical love attempted to distract Shiva from his meditations. Shiva burned him to ashes with his third eye. Well meaning attendants to Shiva used the ashes, mud and other elements to form the shape of a man. Then using yogic powers, they breathed life into him in such a way that he was animated and very capable of sadhana. He began sadhana to gain power over others. Fully conscious of an emerging scheme, Shiva played along when he was asked for a boon by the man to have half of the power of his adversaries. Since one of his adversaries had been Shiva himself, he gained massive Shakti and began creating great harm and tribulations in all the three worlds. Facing great humiliation and defeat, the divine beings approached Tripura Sundari for help. Taking up all her weapons she charged into battle with the demon and vanquished him, thus saving the realm of the Gods.
On the way toward the outside of the temple, there are additional opportunities to pay homage in small alcoves dedicated to Matangi and Kamala.
Within the walls of the main temple of Kamakshi Devi also resides the form of Matangi, who is essentially the tantric Saraswati. Matangi is placed in the innermost sanctum (garbhagriha) of the main temple to the east of the Yoni Mudra Peeth, easily visible as one leaves the sanctum sanctorum. Outside, Tantrics can meditate upon her as she sits on a bejeweled throne. On her forehead she displays a white half-moon. In her four arms she holds a kharga, khetak, lasso and spear. Puja is done for her with offerings of rice custard sweetened with sugar.
She is the embodiment of kanta yuvati, youthful beauty enhanced by love. Matangi is the ninth of the great shaktis of wisdom. As a digbanda force, she offers grace and protection from the northwestern direction. She is associated with the upper left quadrant of the yoni. Matangi and Baglamukhi are the two Mahavidyas for whom tantric sadhana is done which leads to the attainment of siddhis, or miraculous powers. Matangi is a young sixteen-year-old woman with fully developed breasts. Matangi is a Goddess for those in relative poverty. Because of her affinity to the poor and downtrodden, she prefers to be offered left-over, even partially eaten, food. Matangi is considered as the Tantric form of Saraswati, the goddess of music and learning. Like Saraswati, Matangi governs speech, music, knowledge and the arts. The two goddesses are one. Her sadhana is prescribed to acquire supernatural powers, especially gaining control over enemies, attracting people to ones self, acquiring mastery over the arts and gaining supreme knowledge
Kamala Devi is considered the tantric form of Lakshmi at Kamakhya and she too, resides in the main temple. She is placed in the temple next to Matangi. She is meditated upon as she wears a crown of jewels, attired in crimson, and seated on a lotus. Like the popular Lakshmi form, she holds two lotuses, one in each hand. In her other two hands, she displays abhaya and vara mudras. Four white elephants surround and protect her as they perform a ritual bathing of her (abhisheka).
Kamala is sukla samsthita, that is, residing within the semen. Kamala is the tenth and last of the great shaktis of knowledge. As a digbhanda force, Kamala rules the southwestern direction. Kamala means “she of the lotus” and is a common epithet of goddess Lakshmi, who is identified in tantric temples, such as at Kamakhya. She is associated with the lower left quadrant of the external portion of the yoni.
Priest of Dhumavati Temple
The Dhumavati Temple has recently had a new black marble floor and walls retaining the original moorthi in the back. The temple is very enticing looking but appropriate. Water runs through a channel in the sanctum sanctorum which was about three steps down from the main interior of the temple. There is a large annex to the left of the temple where, on occasion, groups of priests and special guests feast upon meat (mamsa). Though I appreciate the principle, I declined the offer. The sacred texts state clearly that of the five “M’s” all can be substituted except for ritual intercourse (maithuna). During my last visit, one of the priests identified a New York tantric and introduced him. The priests proudly showed an extremely rare buffalo head cutter in front of the temple which had recently been installed.
Dhumavati is Kundalini Shakti, the primordial energy of Self She is the seventh of the ten Mahavidyas. She is mostly seen as inauspicious but the great tantrics and yogis understand her much differently. Although she is a harbinger of illness, pain and death, this is a surface quality. Her sacred mantras (namavali) describes positive qualities as well. Most pointedly, she is the great teacher, is tender hearted and a grantor of boons. As the great teacher, she is the one who reveals ultimate knowledge of the universe, which is beyond the illusory divisions. She will absolutely grant success even in mundane endeavors and raise any sincere sadhak up through the mundane to the grand sublime spiritual goals that are consciously or unconsciously sought. She reveals the ultimate knowledge of the universe, oneness, beyond all differentiation. She offers grace and protection from evil or unconscious forces from the southeast. She is associated with the lower right quadrant of the external part of the yoni. Meditation on Dhumavati as chaotic but sacred energy results in high samadhi. The most powerful sadhana for Dhumavati is done completely naked in a cemetery during the descending moon cycle.
Swami Ayyappa outside the Tara Temple
The Tara temple is located very near the Kamakhya temple, about 20 yards short of the main temple gate. It is inset about 30 yards from the path of steps. One finds a gate and arch on the right and steps leading up to the temple. It is usually very quiet, offering an excellent place for sadhana.
Tara Devi is poorna rakta yogini, the one who in union bestows complete passion. Following Maha Kali, Tara is the second of the great Shaktis of wisdom, the Mahavidyas. As a force of grace and protection, she rules the northern region. Astrologically she is linked to Jupiter, the Guru. Lord Shiva is said to have drunk the poison (alahala) that was created from the churning of the ocean in order to save the world. In the process it turned his throat blue. He fell unconscious under its powerful effect. Tara Ma appeared and took Shiva on her lap. She suckled him, the milk from her breasts counteracting the poison, and he recovered. This story demonstrates her great power. Her consort is Akshobhya, the Shiva form who calmed the agitation of the Gods and Goddesses when the deadly yellow poison first emerged by the churning of the ocean. She is seductive and draws those souls who are hers closer to her where she will expand their power from within. She cuts through the illusion once its purpose is served with her magical scissors as she places her leg upon the chest of her blessed chosen, to whom she reveals as none other than a form of Maha Shiva. She is associated with the upper hood of the yoni.
The celebrated tantric Sage Vashistha performed Tara sadhana here at Nilacala hill in Kamakhya for many years, yet Tara did not materialize. The frustration of Vashistha was reaching a zenith when the great goddess finally appeared before him. She instructed him to find Janardana-Visnu Buddha who had perfected her path. “Learn my secret from him for he is a master and from that, you will be successful” she said. When Vashistha found the Buddha surrounded by beautiful women practicing the five great practices (panchamakaras). Learning the techniques directly from Lord Buddha, Vashistha returned to Kamakhya, and blossomed into a tantric master. His legendary ashram is a short drive from Kamakhya and most definitely worth a visit.
The sacred fire inside the Kali Temple. This is a wonderful and clean place to meditate, especially on days when there are fewer pilgrims.
The Kali temple often quiet and is right next to the stair path leading to the main temple complex. It is maintained and very clean. Next to the yagya peeth is a great place to meditate. I always have a good experience at this lovely place.
The great devi spoke with power and authority, “I manifest with infinite forms and am one with all elements, permeating fire and water, earth and sky. I reside even within space itself and am yet outside space and time as well. I have siddhi over time. My body is nature and I am verily within natures laws and at once outside of natures laws. I am present in every joy and sorrow, resident in all light and darkness. I am the mother of the universe. I direct the spiritual family of tantrics (kula), the soul clusters that travel together from one life to the next. I am the reigning queen of all divine beings. I lead the Yoginis in their cosmic play. Like the commander of a divine army, I animate all beings in the performance of the dance of destruction of unconsciousness. Within my being are all the goddess of the waxing and waning moon. I am verily the eight original mothers. I am the ten great mothers of wisdom. I command the 64 yoginis and I am always one with the hordes of background goddesses as well. I am the sole source of expansion. I offer every devotee my eternal blessings through the awakening of Kundalini Shakti with the trident held firmly in my lower right hand. Indeed, no part of any universe exists without me. I nurture the devotee, I discipline the yogi and fill him with bliss. I give inexpressible joy to the tantric. My power is understood in the human sphere when the light of the moon recedes. As the lunar cycle darkens my true energy emerges. I am dark as the moonless night and as you approach closer I become ever more translucent until I am realized pure light. I appear to those in the relative plane to be purely dark. For those who are face to face I am nothing but pure light for I am the essence of every sacred tire and flame.
Ayyappa and the Temple Priest pose for a photo outside the Bhairavi Temple. Jai Ma!
There are two Temple beautiful buildings in front of the “Turtle pond”. The Bhairavi temple is the building on the right as one looks at the temples from their front. The one on the left is a Durga temple. The priest is elderly and very obliging.
Bhairavi is Satya Sukrini, the Goddess of Supreme Purity. She is the sixth of the ten Mahavidyas Goddesses. As a digbhanda force, She rules the direction of the Nadir, the base, below, the root and provides protection and safety from that direction. At the last stage in the spiritual evolution of a sadhak, Bhairavi, the Divine Mother of Tantra turns into Vaishnavi Mata while awarding liberation to Her devotee, because only in the form of Vaishnavi does She award liberation. She is associated with the g-spot of the yoni.
The Bagalamukhi Temple has been recently renovated.
Proceeding to the Baglamukhi temple, one is struck by the mammoth new temple structure. It had been several years since I had visited Kamakhya complex and it was obvious that this temple has undergone recent massive developments. The building itself is a pilgrimage as one wanders from one amazing relief to another each more interesting than the one before it. All of the ten Mahavidyas are beautifully depicted in relief.
After a short puja and meditation on that level, I wound my way up through stairways to the sanctum of the temple, the ancient grotto of Baglamukhi. Here, I offered a yellow cloth and the priest laid it upon the small alter. To worldly folks, Baglamukhi is propitiated to prevent others from gossiping against them. She does indeed respond to those prayers but she is a far more complex consciousness that that. She is certainly strong against ego. The ancient site was a very small grotto, a rock overhang not deep enough to be called a cave. The old site remains and is the epicenter of the energy, but the new site is amazing as well.
Bagalamukhi Devi – The Celestial Rani who stops gossip in its tracks.
Baglamukhi is Guru Moorthi, the form of the guru. She is the eighth of the Mahavidyas. As a digbanda force, she rules the southern direction and offers grace and protection from all evils that emerge from the south. Baglamukhi and Matangi are the two Mahavidyas for whom their sadhana leads directly to Siddhis, or miraculous powers. Baglamukhi means “The Crane-Headed One”. The crane implies the essence of deceit. She rules magic for the suppression of an enemy’s gossip. She holds the tongue of a transgressor of gossip with her right hand while she drives a spike through the tongue with her left. Her third eye is always open. Her Shakta is Maha Rudra. Together, they dissolve the universe at the end of time. Worshiping them in union brings about oneness of consciousness. She is associated with the lower portion of the yoni.
Chinnamasta is the Queen of Siddhas who teaches how one can reabsorb their own tejas.
Chinnamasta’s temple is appropriately dark and mysterious. More than a dozen steps deep into the earth, each seeming to be more irregular and rough than the last, with no hand rail. It only adds to the mystery. There was a priest doing puja on reaching the depths and so we sat reverently behind him. After some time, he left and we enjoyed a short meditation. The energy was powerful.
She is the Goddess known as Yoni Vega, with dripping yoni. Chinnamasta is the fifth of the ten great shaktis of knowledge. Her name means one who is beheaded, a condition which reflects her mastery of the thinking mind, for mystic peace lies beyond all thought. As a protection force, she rules the easterly direction. She is associated with the right portion of the exterior portion of the yoni. I drink the stream of life blood flowing from my self decapitated body while my attendant shaktis, voluptuous and naked, absorb the energy of life blood from streams right and left. In my headless condition, I transcend the thinking mind. which flows like a fountain from the arteries of my very own neck. The jewel on my forehead is tied with the serpent of awakened kundalini. My full breasts are adorned with lotus blossoms. I sit erect above the god of love, who in union with his Shakti, is in bliss in my presence. By worshipping me with my beloved Shiva-Kabandha in union, one becomes lord of all siddhis.
Swami Ayyappa reflecting on the Transcendental Lady of the space element, Bhuvaneshwari.
The Bhuvaneshwari temple sits atop Nilacala Hill and is the highest point of the Kamakhya temple complex, 700 feet below. The walk up the hill offers a magnificent view of the Brahmaputra river. The natural scenery is inspiring. The wide open space at the top of the hill in all directions reminds one of Bhuvaneshwari herself since the root word “Bhu” means space. Lighting a clay ghee lamp and offer incense just outside the temple entrance prepares the mind and heart to enter into the sacred space.
Bhuvaneshwari is mantrini, the energy of all mantras. She is the fourth of the great shaktis of wisdom. Her universality and presence in all space establishes her as the supreme Goddess of the Universe. She provides grace and protection coming from the westerly direction. She can turn any situation according to her will. It is said that even the nine planets and the three forms: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are subject to her will.
Some Practical Suggestions
One should plan to carry Rs 20 to Rs 50 notes to offer at each temple or moorthi. The priests encourage all to give more at the end but this is not necessary. It’s a good idea to check out the quality of the energy around the temple and how long and crowded the line is before buying your ticket. That is because within the walls of the temple enclosure, there is an option to pay Rs 502 and gain a ticket. Doing this, one can bypass long queues to see Devi. On light days it may be beneficial as there is not much queue. Personally, I prefer to go to these main temples at mid week when there is no festival. There, one can tune into the profound underlying energy and peace produced by generations of mystics and devotees without much distraction. May Shakti Bless you on your pilgrimage.
See more on our website at yoginiashram.com You can reach Swami at (562) 556 0390 Swami’s e-mail: email@example.com
This post may be reproduced wholly or in part with the provision that the source is cited as Kalipath.com.
Every inch of the sacred central spire of the tibetan plateau is saturated with divine vibrations.
By Swami Ayyappa Giri, Tantracharya, Yogini Ashram, Norwalk Ca
Article First Posted (2nd Edition) on Full Moon, 10 Aug 2014
For Yogis, Mt. Kailash is the ultimate Holy of all Holies. The massive dome emerges out of the Tibetan plateau as a beautiful white snow capped Shiva Linga and is embraced by valleys on both sides forming a natural yoni of unimaginable beauty. Also known as Mt. Meru, the sacred mountain is the most physically challenging and singularly powerful pilgrimage in the world. It is especially sacred and empowering for those who seek to strengthen their personal relationship and experience with Shiva directly. The great Tibetan Yogi, Milarepa, did sadhana in a cave and performed many miracles here. Kriya Babaji Nagaraj and many of the 18 Yoga Siddhas have also done tapas on the mountain. Every inch of the region is drenched in divine vibrations. Kailash is the very epicenter of Shiva’s energy on this planet. Sathguru Kriya Babaji too has established a seat of power and performed siddhis here in a cave high on the mountain as well. Other Siddhas are reported to have received diksha directly from Shiva at the holy site, particularly Nandi Devar and Thirumoolar. Some of the Shaivite Saints (Nayanars) of South India are known to have transported their physical bodies to this great snow capped alter of light in an instant. The siddha Ramalinga Swami brought several children to the holy mountain through a similar siddhi and returned them home safely for their dinner.
In ancient times, Brahma is said to have applied his spiritual power to form Lake Manasarovar as a gift to his acetic sons in order that they would have a place to bathe following tapas on Mt Kailash. Lake Manasarovar is one of the celebrated 52 Shakti Peeths. When Shiva, going mad at the death of his wife, carried her lifeless body over the earth. Due to his cosmic consciousness, all of creation vibrated in concert with his sorrow. Vishnu, in an attempt to distract him from his grief, dismembered Satis body with his mysterious discus. Out of sight, out of mind did help Shiva reach equilibrium again, and Satis right hand fell into this lake. The energy produced a goddess who emerged as Dakshayani, one who blesses all who touch its sacred water. The cold water is certain to cleanse each and every weary soul. Puranas record that the waters of Lake Manasarovar, like the Ganges, will cleanse every sin and purify body and mind. Thus, the lake (sarovar) cleanses the mind (manas).
The sacred Trisul and Dumaru (drum) of Shiva are reported by the celebrated Karnataka Siddha, Sri Swami Kaleshwar, to have been placed by Shiva himself in the depths of Lake Manasarovar, massively increasing the overall energy vortex of the region. My diksha guru, Yogi Ramaiah, a direct disciple of the immortal Kriya Babaji Nagaraj, praised the sanctity of this lake and reminded Kriya Yoga sadhaks to visit it at least once in their life time. For many centuries yogis and sadhus hiked over the nearby Indian himalayas on the ancient Kailash-Manasorovar trail. The trail skirts along the border of India and Nepal as it moves north and then eastward until it crosses the Tibetan border and reaches Burang, only 20 miles south of Lake Manasarovar. Recent incursions of individuals via that route have been reported but they are very rare, dangerous, and not recommended, as anyone who enters the region in such manner is subject to arrest and imprisonment by the Chinese authorities. Therefore, there are no longer sadhus who make the trek through that route. Pilgrims arriving from the main route through Kathmandu by vehicle arrive on the eastern side of Lake Manasarovar after several long days of travel overland in a highway from the Nepal. The journey is rugged but significantly improved since around 2006, when much of the arduous dirt roads became an impressive highway. Arriving at Lake Manasarovar, the off-road vehicles begin encircling the Holy Lake clockwise with their pilgrims, generally stopping somewhere on the south side of the lake for those who wish to bathe in the icy waters. When the author went on yatra, the travel group traveled and slept five days above the 15,000 foot elevation (roughly 460 meters) in order to reach Manasarovar in the jeep safari. The vehicles moved in a northwestern direction from Kathmandu across Tibet. The time was helpful as it allowed pilgrims to gradually accommodate to the relatively higher elevations at Kailash before attempting the exhausting foot pilgrimage. Beautiful deer were seen during the journey, two separate herds of deer were seen as we approached Lake Manasarovar and additional deer even as we were bathing in its sacred waters. How sacred! We could not help but think of the ancient association of Shiva with the deer. He holds a deer firmly in one hand. Like the untrained mind, the deer jumps restlessly from one place to another reminding one of the mind leaping about uncontrollably. Shiva holding the deer became the ultimate role model for Yogis as he shows firmness and stability in thought. It is said by some that the musk deer, smelling an alluring aroma, travels through forest and field erratically looking for the source of the intoxicating musk, not realizing that it comes from his own being. Such is the nature of the embodied soul as we seek the Divine sweetness in every place but within our own being. There is an important place for pilgrimage, but ultimately, knowledge of Self is to be found within.
Lake Manasarovar is one of the largest high altitude lakes in the Himalayas. Manasarovar is the source of the Sutlej River which is the eastern most tributary of the Indus. Also nearby are the sources of the Brahmaputra River, the Indus River, and the Karnali River (Ghaghara R.), an important tributary of the Ganges.
Swami Ayyappa Giri at the base of the sacred mountain on which sits the ancient Ji’ Wu Monastery on the shores of Lake Manasarovar.
On the northeast corner of Lake Manasarovar is the Sonam Dorje, or abbot of the Ji’ Wu Monastery where, in the cave directly below the small temple, the great Padmasambhava did sadhana. Swami Ayyappa Giri is shown with the temple in the background.
After a bracing bath in the glacier lake, the author used a yogic process to establish personal seat of power by the banks of the lake. After two days of sadhana and adventure, we proceeded on to Tarchen Village.
Swami Ayyappa in Tarchen village at the foot of Mt. Kailash. The snow covered peak can be glimpsed in the background.
Tarchen aka Darchen is a small village located at the foot of Mt. Kailash. It is regarded as the base camp for pilgrims planning to circumambulate around the holy mountain. Hotels, although rustic, are available here, as is food and most of the items that a pilgrim would need. Pilgrims will begin their “kora” or circumambulation from here.
The Kora of Kailash
Circumambulation, or walking around the sacred mountain vortex (the seat of energy), has always had an important significance for yogis and pilgrims from India, Tibet and and all parts of world. It is done in a clockwise direction, just as with the great temples of south India, and referred to as Parikrama. The parikrama of Kailash begins at Tarchen, although jeeps shuttle pilgrims to a slightly higher elevation to begin the foot pilgrimage. Here one can also take a horse, but one should know that the horse cannot be used during the highest elevations, during places were the trail is narrow, or rocky, or steep. In this pilgrimage, more than any other, there is no substitute for a robust cardio vascular capacity.
Most of the seven hour trek to Dehara Puk on the first day by the author was accompanied by an unexpected and severe snow storm which carpeted the trails and mountains.
The snow remained on the mountain at the 16,000 foot level and became deeper as we trekked to higher elevation. Miraculously, the snow stopped for a few minutes and the clouds parted to reveal the majesty of Kailash at Dehara Puk camp just as the setting sun cast its final light; a brief moment in time that allowed this amazing photograph.
During the night additional snow fell and the cold was biting as the pilgrims awoke and crawled out of their sleeping bags. The snow and ice increased as pilgrims hiked up to higher elevations and as one approached the Dolima Pass, the highest point of the route at 18,458 feet. With Shiva in thier heart, pilgrims pushed through the hail and snow. One has to avoid the temptation to fall asleep during rest periods. The author had given his oxygen to a fellow pilgrim and was nearly overcome with exhaustion. Yaks loaded with food and supplies move around the sacred mountain surprisingly frightened of the pilgrims around them. The author was told that later in the summer the trek is easier, especially for the south Indians, who are more sensitive to the cold weather. Many decided not to complete the parikrama, as they crawled out of their sleeping bags, stunned by the bitter cold and ice. Even those who had horses were not spared as the horses cannot be used in the presence of a narrow path, whenever the descent is icy, and when a cliff or ledge poses a manner of risk. Along with hindus and yogis, mostly from all parts of India and western countries are a curiously disproportionate number of Tamils from the hottest, southern most state of India. God bless them all. Many Tibetans and other Buddhists from around the world can be seen on pilgrimage as well, some halting at the holy cave in high elevation where Milarepa performed great Siddhis.
A freak summer storm left a challenging blanket of snow throughout the trail.
Due to unexpected extreme cold and heavy snows during the night, half of the group which this pilgrim had left with on the first day choose not to continue on the second day. A year of aerobics barely prepared this pilgrim for the experience, especially on the second day facing snow and ice. Now I am so grateful and I will never forget the joy of completing this difficult trek. Just beyond the Dolima Pass, pilgrims were slipping on ice as they began the descent, forcing them to slide down segments near the pass on their butts, which was the only way to avoid injury from slipping and landing upon rocks. The author was particularly grateful for being challenged nearly to his breaking point and for the opportunity to face the fear of death and injury. Pilgrimage later in the month of June may not be as arduous.
Exhausted but totally blissful descending from the highest pass on the second day of Treking. Jai Shiva !
As I descended from Dolma Pass to about the 1600 foot level, the thin air was behind me, the snow and wind had died down, and it became pretty obvious that I was indeed going to finish this pilgrimage alive. I sat down on a rock to gather within my soul the amazing energy of Shivas presence as I soaked up the grace of pilgrimage. At that very moment, Anna, a Russian friend whom I had met several days earlier at Ji’ Wu Monastery happened by. She took this picture of the author which she sent to me electronically just a few days ago.
A pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash is far more than an opportunity of a lifetime, regardless of any risk. Some say that it occurs only when Shiva allows it. Still, I pray that all practitioners of Yoga and those who belong to Shiva will experience it in this life, the life after, and the life eternal. It represents the indwelling Self. What is inside becomes outside. What is outside becomes inside.
You can see more on our website at yoginiashram.com Swami’s telephone # is 562 556 0390
The Bliss of the Peerless Masters of Kriya Tantra Yoga
by Swami Ayyappa Giri, Tantracharya, Yogini Ashram, Norwalk Ca U.S.A.
Article First Posted (2nd Edition) on Full Moon, 12 July 2014
The Immortal Master & Mahavatar, Sathguru Kriya Babaji
“The divine is to be experienced, not expressed, and the mystic greatness of a saint, sage, or siddha lies not on the surface for men to see.”
What makes greatness? There are so many men and women of high achievement that one has to wonder, what is a saint, a sage, a siddha, and how do they differ? What is the relationship between these attainments and their inner bliss experience; their samadhi. What is this celebrated samadhi with all its variant names? These are questions that had puzzled the author for years. As I sat before my master, I was exhilarated to hear him describe samadhi, not from theory, or academic book knowledge, but by his own direct experience.
My diksha guru, Yogi S.A.A. Ramaiah would, on rare occasions, speak to his students about the consciousness of chakras as the kundalini rose to higher states. He had complete mastery of the nadis and could enter into the breathless state of Nirvakalpa Samadhi at will. Once he delivered a lecture to a group of several hundred persons in Colombo, Sri Lanka, while three physicians monitored his pulse and heart beat. They were amazed to report in real time to the crowd their observations: the quickening of his pulse on one side of the body simultaneous to the slowing of the pulse on the opposite side. 2 minutes later, while Yogiar delivered a spiritual discourse to the assembly, he had reversed the phenomenon switching sides. By current medical understanding this is not possible, and yet he did it as he was examined by three well known allopathic physicians and witnessed by 250 members of the audience. The entire event was published the next day in the Nov 30th, 1958 edition ofTimes of Ceylon. I have a copy of that document at Yogini Ashram.
Several years later, Yogiar agreed to enter into the breathless state of samadhi while a team of Australian physicians monitored his heart rate. When his heart stopped, as he had told them it would, the medical professionals became terrified and injected a substance in his body to restart his heartbeat. He survived but later said that the physicians had almost killed him in their terror. He never again demonstrated samadhi to the public.
Yogiar emerging from samadhi – 1958
45 years ago, I was a young newly initiated practitioner of Kriya Yoga. I was thrilled beyond description to have been accepted for training in the grand and powerful practices of Maha Siddha Babaji. The goals of a Kriya Yogi, Yogiar had explained, may be as varied as the individuals who trod the path. Yogiar S.A.A. Ramaiah frequently reminded his innermost circle of disciples at the time that the greatest goal in Babaji’s grand lineage was complete unconditional surrender to the Sathguru. Surrender to divine will, it seems, plays an important role in achieving the highest meditative states.
In 1971, I lived in Sri Lanka at the behest of Yogiar. One of my very beloved friends and yoga sadhaks, Sri Rajendram, gave me a photograph of Yogiar in samadhi. It was one of a kind and I have kept it with me only to publish it on this page about three years ago. I was pleased to see that it had made its way as a popular photo in google images. I have posted it again here for the benefit of yoga sadhaks.
Living and serving Babaji for decades, I have been in the presence of Yogiar when he emerged from the divine bliss of samadhi. A glimpse of his ecstasy as his eyes descended downward from God consciousness is a powerful sight. Remembering such an event causes the body to tingle with electricity. How wonderful that the divine gives us these examples of extraordinary souls.
Sarvikalpa and Nirvikalpa Samadhi
There is an old and beautiful swami, a true Maharaja, who lives next to the 64 Yogini tantric temple at Bheraghat, near Japalpur. His humble ashram is graced with a magnificent banyan tree under which he sits every evening and is visited by his chelas and devotees. The grandeur of an ashram cannot be assessed by counting the number of occupants, but rather by its energy. There is a local oral tradition which maintains that sadhus and holy men have lived and shared satsang under that sacred tree in Bheraghat for a thousand years. Spiritual activity of this type changes the vibration of the area. The atmosphere is charged with divine energy and if a spiritual aspirant is properly prepared, the consciousness can be taken up to celestial realms with relative ease.
Swami Bheraghat Baba Giri
Our recognition of the divine in each other was profound and immediate. Sadhus and those who have realization recognize each other by looking at the face, the eyes and the energy around the head and shoulders. Members of a vast spiritual family, they are brothers and sisters appearing to live in the world yet navigating through it without attachment.
Each night, I was doing sadhana with Bheraghat Baba under the banyan tree. Through the grace of the master, I was pulled into a state of bliss without thought, unaware of the physical plane. As the bliss gave way to the relative plane and all thought, Babaji spoke, “The difference between sarvikalpa samadhi and nirvakalpa samadhi is not always apparent during the experience but is clarified at the moment the initial breath occurs following the experience. It is at that time that the mind again functions and the differentiation between the experience and the one who enjoyed the experience can be understood”. I am reporting to you the message of Babaji, his message was not verbal, and occurred as a revelation. Soon after, a breath was taken by the body and I returned to the physical plane. In the background, I could hear the sound of the Maharajah speaking softly to his Chela about sarvikalpa and nirvikalpa samadhi. Amazingly, the Maharajah was completely synchronized with my experience. The Maharaja then got up from his mat, went into his ashram, and returned with a small box of cumcum. He placed the sacred red powder on my third eye, acknowledged my experience of samadhi and then enthusiastically embraced me, a rare event for swamis. He pointed to his heart with the fingers of both hands. “Maharajah”, he said. He then moved his fingers to my heart as he said with joy and exuberance “Maharajah” as he laughed deeply from the heart.
Any description of samadhi that claims full authority is misleading. That is because the world of name and form and words are not present in the state. When efforts are made to explain samadhi, they are poor reflections at best. When the mind and breath are truly stilled, one enters into the state of samadhi. The actual experience seems to be infinitely varied, but transcends all mental activity, piercing through time and words to a direct experience of the oneness. The soul that tastes the oneness-bliss experiences sarvikalpa samadhi. When there is a complete mergence of the oneness bliss, nirvikalpa samadhi is experienced.
Chitta is the mind-stuff which lingers around the innermost self and percolates through the koshas, or sheaths surrounding the self into the external consciousness. Patanjali has stated in Raja Yoga Sutras that yoga consists of cleansing the chitta. He is referring to the release of the unconscious memories, thought forms, sense of separateness from the inner oneness, and the erroneous conception that the being is actually the external ego, elemental qualities, and associated consciousness. These limited memories, and inaccurate aspects of the mind-stuff have often been stored for lifetimes in the subtle space of self. Here the reference to memories is made even though the mind-stuff is not remembered by the external self. It is the mind-stuff that interferes with the divine will manifesting from soul (atman) in an individual and drives the actions of the external being into areas that are not consistent with divine will.
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa experienced Nirvikalpa Samadhi. He was initiated into the 64 sexual tantra practices by the Avatar of Mataji, Bhairavi Brahmani.
As an individual begins to be liberated from the influence of the mind-stuff, the divine attributes of the atman or self manifest in the very subtle sheath of bliss (anandamaya kosham) that surrounds the atman. When the transformation of that very subtle part of the being has been given fully to the divine, the individual becomes literally a beacon of bliss-light. Simply being in the presence of such a being is uplifting. Such an elevated individual is appropriatly acknowledged as a saint. When one looks into the eyes of such a being, one will feel the depth of bliss and peace and be blessed and gradually transformed. The divine can initiate a sincere aspirant through such means. The transformation of the bliss sheath, however, does not occur in a vacuum. Anyone whose spiritual practices have thus resulted in the awareness of the divine working through them has already begun the transformational process and surrendering of the sheath of the intellect (vinjnanamaya kosham).
When the analytical or intellectual component of the being is fully informed and integrated by the divine light-attributes, we may be in a position to recognize such a being as the sage that they are. Such an individual is truly a muni‚ or one who has had their accumulated experiences and knowledge enlightened by the higher, deeper, lighter aspects of self. When the transformation of the intellect is complete the speech and communication skills are highly evolved and express a consciousness, which is focused, penetrating, broad and vast. It is a misconception to think that such persons are clones of each other. The divine essence manifests with variety in the intellect of every soul, not only because the external experiences vary, but also because of the unique qualities that are inherent in the deepest part of the being, the atman. It is said that no one is a muni who has no independent opinion of their own. Such a sage has digested and integrated the informed divine light into the analytical aspects of the being. A siddha is essentially a perfected being in some aspect, usually through transformation of the mental, vital or physical sheaths. The word “siddha” is derived from the word “chitta”. As the intellect undergoes this transformation, the mental sheath (manomaya kosham), associated with the senses, is similarly transformed. This is, of course, an individual who is fully aware of the divine as the prime mover. Since the ego has been given to the divine, every action related to the senses is observed and understood to be none other than the indwelling god or goddess doing the experiencing and enjoying. Such a Buddha-sage can enjoy all the senses without fear of confusion or being lost spiritually in them. For the great tantrics who have attained to this state, conventional rules which guide and provide stability, safety and structure to society are no longer important for their further advancement. As the divine light descends into the sheath of energy (pranamaya kosham) the entity becomes a siddha in the most transformed sense of the word.
As defined in the upanishads, A siddha is one who has progressed from the exalted state of freed while living (jivanmukta) to supremely free with full power over death (para mukta).
The great Swami Paramahamsa Yogananda entered samadhi at will. His body did not decompose at death.
Jeeva Samadhi is sometimes mistaken for death. In Jeeva samadhi, the pranic energy remains in and around the body. It comes flooding into the body from the Ajna and Crown chakras, as well as the spiritual heart (Hridaya) and animates the body as if it were still alive. There is no decay of the body, sometimes for many, many days. This is a state wherein the Yogi enters into the samadhi state at their own will following completion of their dharma on earth. Depending on their achievement, and their intellect, mind, and energy field become completely dissolved into the divine. When Paramahamsa Yogananda left his physical body, his mortal coils did not decompose for many days. The same thing happened to the great sage Aurobindo as well as my guru, Yogiar, and it is known to have happened to many others.
Samadhi is not the highest goal. A strong desire to escape the world is a great hiding place for the subtle spiritual ego. Many souls seek absorption in the divine but the greatest sages have reminded us that an even higher life can be service. Personal salvation is a limited aspiration. Yogi Ramaiah has always reminded his inner circle that complete surrender to Sathguru Babaji is a goal even greater that Soruba Samadhi. Once Sri Ramakrishna asked Narendra (Swami Vivekananda) what his ideal in life was. “To remain absorbed in Samadhi,” replied Narendra. “Can you be so small-minded as that?” the Master said, “Go beyond Samadhi. Samadhi is a trifling thing for you!” It is ok to aspire for samadhi, but remember that it is a means to an end. Great souls go beyond samadhi.
There is yet another samadhi described in Siddhantha literature as soruba mukti or soruba samadhi. It cannot be explained by Vedanta. It was eloquently described by Sri Aurobindo as the supramental evolution. It was achieved by the siddha, Ramalinga Swami. This para mukta will rarely retain the transformed physical frame and when so, remains as an avatar. The physical body (anamaya kosham) of the siddha glows with the fire of immortality. Such a siddha, like Babaji, can be identified by having no shadow or footprint. The transformation of the physical plane is rare indeed, even among the celestial siddhas. An accurate rendering on the life of such a siddha is precisely as difficult as reducing the cosmic to a rule. The divine is to be experienced, not expressed, and the mystic greatness of a saint, sage, or siddha lies not on the surface for men to see. It is clear that certain siddhas have attained the light body, and and work together with other saints and avatars to guide the advance of man’s consciousness on our planet and elsewhere. Humanity truly owes a deep debt of gratitude to these God-Men, of which 18 are acknowledged as the greatest. The climax of the siddha tradition is the immortal Himalayan Kriya master, Babaji Nagaraj.
Swami Ayyappa Giri Maharaj experienced samadhi in an Himalayan cave.
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