Chants and Prayers (Mantras)
English rendering of chants, prayers, and mantras
to the Divine Mother
This Hymn was composed by Sri Kalipada Tarkyacharya. The "dhyan mantra" is a meditation hymn, written for Adya Kali and used during the puja (worship). It is a mechanism to focus on her "form" (roop or akaar) as opposed to the "formless" (niraakaar) nature of the divine.
Nikashaw-prastara-shyamang shirshay mukuta-manditaam.
Lalatey netra-chinhena trinetri-krita- bigrahaam.
Aghoraang padma-patraava bishaala-smita-lochanaam.
Sukrishna prajalla-drupa netra-dwaya-kaninikaam.
Drishtyaa sakarunaa-vaasaang jataa-tritaya-shovitaam.
Suprasanna mukhaad-vojang naanaa-bhushana-bhushitaam.
Urdhay baama-karay khargang nrimunda bibhrati-madhah.
Abhayancha barang dakhsha-karayo kathita-kramam.
Saalang-kaarang baraa-kaarang kara-kaanchi-bibarjitaam.
Sthitang-dakhsha-padang nasya-tadah-kharou paranm padam.
Ameyam-abhayang debing para-bramha-swarupinim.
Dhyaey-Adyang manaa-adyantang chitra-rupa dharang-Paraam.
Hymn of Adya Kali
om karAla-badanAm ghorAm mukta-kEshim chatur-bhuryAm.
mahA-megha-prabhAm shyamAm tathA chaiba digambarim
shabanAm karasanghAtayi krita-kAnchim hasan-mukhim
danturam dakshina-byapi lambomAn kaccho-choyAam
Meditation Hymn of Dakshina Kali
The color of the monsoon clouds, and clothed by the
Girdled with a skirt of severed arms, she smiles.
Her unbraided locks covering her left side,
This mantra is depicted in the hymn to kAli named ‘dakhshinA kAli stotram', which is also called the ‘karpurAdi stotram' stemming from its first word ‘karpUr' which literally means camphor. The word ‘dakhshinA' in this context means ‘south' as She is traditionally seen as facing south. One meaning of the word ‘dakhshinA' is ‘a fee paid to a priest', inappropriately alluded to by some in this context. The base word, ‘dakhshin' also means right (as opposed to left), like referring to the right hand. The root ‘dakhsha'means ‘skilled' or ‘ expert'. This is in semblance with the Latin ‘dexter' for right- handed, with the same root giving ‘dexterous' and ‘dexterity'. (The left is ‘sinister').
One puja text explains that the departing souls who are heading south towards ‘hell' are rescued by the goddess, who is facing in the same direction. The Southern transit of the sun is also connected to the ‘night of the gods', so She may be said to be facing the ‘night'.
‘dakhsha' is also the name of the father of the Goddess in another form as ‘satI'. And in there is the story of the death of Sati because her father did not invite her consort shiva to his great fire-ceremony. The gods ended shiva's ensuing dance of destruction by slicing the body of satI into fifty-one parts. The sites at which her body fell gave rise to the 51 ‘shakti-pithas' all over the Indian sub-continent.
The dakhshinA kAli mantra is described in the first six verses of the karpurAdi stotram in terms of its individual parts and letters. The mantra consists of 22 syllables. In Sanskrit, the syllable is the ‘akhshara'. The word could mean letter (vowel or consonant) but also means ‘that which is not dissipated'. The root ‘khsara' means ‘that which is destructible'. So, Brahman, ‘the ultimate reality' is expressed in the ‘akhshara'. The Bhagabat Gita thus refers to ‘akhshara Brahman'.
(aum) krim krim krim, hum hum, hrim hrim,
The mantra is preceded by ‘om' or ‘aum'. It consists of three ‘bija' or seeds, krim, hum and hrim, and the name ‘dakhshinA kAlike' and ‘swaha' signifying offering. The Sanskrit script shows the first seven terms of the mantra preceded by the ‘Aum' on the first line. The ‘dakh-shi-nA-kA-lI-ke' (six syllables) on the second line. The last line shows the last nine syllables ending in ‘swA-hA'. The end sound of the seeds are between ‘m' and ‘ng' and are nasalized; krIm ~ krIng, hUm ~ hUng, hrIm ~ hrIng.
The sri sri chandi or sati saptashati is to the Tantra what the bhagabad gitA is to the Vedic scriptures. It is considered the essence of the tantra teachings. The text is traditionally divided into three segments. In the first, the goddess defeats the demons madhu and kaitava , representing the untying of the first binding knot of existence, the brahma granthi. In the second, She defeats the demon mahiShAsura, representing the second binding knot, the bishnu granthi . In the third the demons shumbha and nishumbha are demolished, untying the rudra granthi or the third binding knot.
In the physical level ( adhi-bhoutik ) the text presents the battle between the Goddess and the many denizens of this world who have not kept the dharma. In the divine level ( adhi-daibik ) She uproots the forces of the different desires and affects of humans such as lust and anger. In the spiritual level ( adhyatmik ) it presents the development of the individual seeker as he proceeds with his development in untying the bindings of existence.
The reigning deity of the first segment of the sri sri chandi is mahA kAli, of the second, mahA-lakhshmi and of the third, mahA-swaraswati.1. mahA kAli dhyanam
pratham charitasya brahmA Rishi, mahA kAli debatA, gAyatri chhanda, nandA shaktI, raktadantikA bija, agnistatwang, rikbeda-swarupam, mahakAli pritArthe jape biniyoga.
om khargang chakra-gadeshu-chapa-parighAn shulang bhushundIng shirah
Line 1: om; kharga: scimitar; chakra: disk; gadeshu: mace;chapa: arrow; parighA: bow; shula: lance; bhushundI: club; shirah: skull;
Aum, holding a scimitar, disk, mace, arrows and bow, lance, club, a skull and a conch shell in Her ten hands. The three-eyed goddess, Her body covered with ornaments, Her countenance with the brilliance of blue diamonds, with ten limbs. We offer our service to mahAkAli, She who Brahma praised for protection from the demons madhu and kaitava, when Bishnu was in sleep.2. mahA lakhshmi dhyanam
madhyam charitasya bishnu Rishi, mahA lakhshmi debatA, ushnik chhandah, shAkambhari shaktI, durgA bija, bayustatwang, yajur-beda-swarupam, mahalakhshmi pritArthe jape biniyoga.
om akSha-sraka parashung gadeshu kulishang padmang dhanuh kundikAng
Line 1: om; akSha: rosary; sraka: garland; parashung: axe; gadeshu: mace; kulishang: thunder-bolt ; padmang: lotus flower; dhanuh: bow; kundikAng: water pot;
Om, holding in Her hands, a rosary, garland, axe, mace, thunder-bolt, a lotus, bow, water-pot, baton, sword, shield, conch-shell, bell, chalice, lance, noose and sudarshan disk, with smiling countenence. We serve Her, She who destroyed the demon mahiShAsura, mahAlakhshmi, seated on a lotus.3. mahA saraswatI dhyanam
uttar charitasya rudrah Rishi, sarwasaIi debatA, anushtup chhandah, bhImA shaktI, bhrAmari bija, suryatatwang, sAma-beda-swarupam, mahasarwasatI pritArthang jape biniyogah.
In the third character, the sage (rishi) is rudra, the deity (debatA) is sarwasati, the meter (chanda) is anushtup, the energy (shakti) is bhImA, the seed (bija) is bhrAmari, the principle (tatwa) is sun (surya), it is the heart of the sAma-veda, it is recited in honor of mahA-saraswatI.
om ghantA shula halAni shankha musale chakrang dhanuh sayakang
Line 1: om; ghantA: bell; shula: lance; halAni: plough; shankha: conch shell; musale: club; chakrang: disk; dhanuh: bow; sayakang: arrow;
Om, with bell, lance, plough, conch shell, club, disk, bow and arrows in Her hands, with Her face as radiant as the full moon in a cloudless sky, She who appeared from the body of Gouri, who contains the three worlds, the immensely beautiful mahA- saraswatI we focus on and praise; the destroyer of the demons shumbha and others.