The Devi Gita: Chapter Ten
(THE GODDESS SETS FORTH THE PRELIMINARIES OF TANTRIC WORSHIP)
The Goddess Spoke:
Rising at dawn, one should call to mind the radiant lotus on the top of the head, shining like camphor. On that lotus one should recollect the form of
One’s own blessed guru, kindly disposed, adorned with shining ornaments, conjoined with his consort. The wise person will bow to them, and then calling to mind the coiled Goddess Kundalini, will reflect:
“She shines brilliantly in her ascent; she appears like nectar in her descent; I take refuge in that woman who wanders along the middle channel in the form of bliss.”
Meditating in this manner, focusing on my form as infinite being, consciousness, and bliss that dwells in the internal flame, one should meditate on me. Next one should complete all those rites beginning with personal cleansing.
The best of Brahmans should then offer oblations into the sacred fire in order to please me. After the fire offering one should take a firm set and resolve to complete the worship ceremony.
(The Goddess summarizes the procedures for transforming the physical body into a divine body)
First one should purity the material elements within oneself. Then install upon the body the natural powers embedded in the alphabet. One should always install next the maternal powers embedded in the Hrllekha mantra.
Fix the letter H in the root Support Center, the letter r in the heart, the letter I between the brows, and install the entire syllable Hrim on the top of the head.
One should then finish all other mystic installations, which will be empowered by this mantra.
(THE GODDESS DESCRIBES THE INSTALLATION OF HER SACRED THRONE)
One should further visualize within the body my sacred throne with its legs consisting of righteousness and the like.
The wise person should then meditate upon the Great Goddess, visualizing me in the breath-expanded Lotus of the heart, on my sacred resting place that is the seat of the five corpses:
Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Isvara and Sadasiva. These five great corpses reside under my feet.
They have the nature of the five elements, and also the nature of the five states of consciousness. But I, in the form of unmanifest consciousness, transcend them altogether.
Thus they have come to constitute my throne forever, according to the Tantras of Shakti. After completing the above meditations, one should worship me with mental offerings and practice recitation.
(THE FODDESS SUMMARIZES THE PREPARATORY STAFES FOR EXERNAL WORSHIP)
One should surrender the fruits of this recitation to me, the blessed Goddess. Then one should prepare the general water offering. Setting out next the sprinkling vessel and purifying the materials for worship
With that water while intoning the protective missile mantra, the worshiper should secure at once the surrounding space. Then bowing to the teacher
And receiving the latter’s consent; one should focus on the external altar. Recalling that divine and pleasing form of mine visualized in the heart.
One should then summon me to that altar, using the life-infusing incantation. A seat, an invitation, a respect offering, water for washing the feet, and for rinsing the mouth,
(THE GODDESS ENUMERATES THE VARIOUS SERVICES AND OFFERING TO BE RENDERED DURING EXTERNAL WORSHIP)
A bath, a set of clothes, ornaments of all kinds, perfume, and flowers, all these as is proper one should present to the Goddess, inspired by one’s own devotion
One should duly perform the worship of the protective deities abiding in the sacred diagram; If unable to worship them every day one should set aside Friday to do so.
One should regard the attendant deities as manifesting the splendor of the chief goddess; and one should consider the whole universe, including the nether regions, as pervaded by her splendor.
Again one should worship the chief goddess accompanied by her surrounding deities. With perfumes, fragrances and the like, including sweet-scented flowers,
As well as with food and refreshing water, along with Tambula and various gifts. Then one should please me by reciting the hymn of my thousand names that you composed.
Recite my protective mantra and my hymn beginning “I, with the Rudras…” O Lord, along with the mantras from the Hrllekha Upanisad otherwise known as the Devi Atharva Siras.
With those great mystic spells and great mantras one should please me again and again. The person whose heart overflows with ecstatic love should seek absolution from the World Mother.
Trembling with thrills of joy in all limbs, speechless, with eyes flooded by tears, one should please me again and again with the tumultuous sounds of dancing, singing, and other celebrations
In the whole of the Vedas and in all the Puranas I am truly proclaimed; thus by reciting these one will please me.
One should offer to me daily all possessions, including the body. Next one should perform the daily fire offering and then to Brahmans to well dressed virgins,
To young boys, to the poor and others, one should give food with the conviction that they are none other than the Goddess. One should bow down and then bid her farewell leading her back again into one’s heart.
(THE GODDESS SINGS THE PRAISES OF HER SPECIAL MANTRA, THE HRLLEKHA)
One should perform the whole of my worship with the Hrllekha mantra, O you of firm resolve. The Hrllekha is regarded as the supreme director of all mantras.
I am ever reflected in the Hrllekha as in a mirror. Therefore, whatever one gives while reciting the Hrllekha is offered with all mantras.
(THE GODDESS CONCLUDES HER DESCRIPTION OF DEVI PUJA, BRIEFLY ENUMERATIONG THE FRUITS OF PERFORMING IT)
After honoring one’s teacher with ornaments and the like one will attain complete fulfillment. Whoever in such manner worships the Goddess, the auspicious, world-charming beauty,
For that person nothing is difficult to attain anytime anywhere. Upon leaving the body, that one most certainly will go to my Jeweled Island.
Such a person may be recognized as bearing the form of the Goddess herself. The gods constantly bow before that one. Thus O King, I have narrated to you the procedures of worship for the Great Goddess.
Consider all this is detail. And in accord with your qualifications, perform my worship. Thereby you will be wholly fulfilled.
(THE GODDESS CAUTIONS AGAINST THE INDISCRIMINATE DISSEMINATION OF THE DEVI GITA AND INDICATES ITS APPROPRIATE RECIPIENTS)
One should never utter the teachings of my song to one who is not a disciple; nor should it be given to one who lacks devotion, or is deceitful and wicked-hearted.
Displaying this publicly is like exposing breasts of a mother. Therefore by all means this is to be diligently guarded always,
It may be given to an ardent disciple and to an eldest son, if they are well behaved, properly dressed and devoted to the Goddess.
At the time of offerings to the dead, one should recite this in the presence of Brahmans; all one’s ancestors will be satisfied and go to the supreme abode.
(THE GODDESS DISAPPEARS, AND VYASA BRIEFLY REVERTS TO THE FRAME STORY REGARDING THE BIRTH OF GAURI AND THE SLAYING OF TARAKA)
The glorious one finished her speech and then vanished from sight, while all the gods rejoiced for having seen the Goddess.
Later she was born to Himalaya as the goddess Haimavati, who would be renowned as Gauri. She was given in marriage to Siva.
Afterward Skanda was born, who slew Taraka. Earlier during the churning of the ocean, precious jewels arose, O King.
On that occasion the gods, eager to gain prosperity in the form of Lakshmi, praised the Goddess. Then, to favor the gods, Lakshmi herself came forth.
The gods gave her in marriage to Vishnu, who thereby attained peace of mind. Thus I have recounted to you, O King, this sublime glorification of the Goddess.
Dealing with the births of Gauri and Lakshmi and granting all desires.
(VYASA IN CONCLUSION, LIKE THE GODDESS, CAUTIONS AGAINST THE INDISCRIMINATE DISSEMINATION OF THE SECRET TEACHINGS OF THE DEVI GITA)
Do not reveal this secret mystery that I have narrated to just anyone, anywhere.
Diligently guard the secret mystery of this Song. I have briefly answered all your questions, Faultless One.
This account is purifying, sanctifying and divine. What further do you wish to hear?
As I Understand It:
In the Devi mythology one’s own body is regarded as extraordinarily powerful tool for spiritual transformation. The goal of the Goddess worship is identification with Devi Bhuvanesvari, the World Mother, as Brahman.
Daily morning worship is a significant part of the devotee’s proper living. Even the most spiritual person, who in one sense has transcended the necessity for worship, remains committed to the daily fulfillment of such worship. The Devi’s devotee rises at dawn and meditates on the Self and the Goddess. It makes him realize his oneness with the Goddess as Brahman. Only after the morning puja does he take care of the personal hygiene.
The Goddess worship is divided into three segments: First, the purificatory rites that involve cleansing of the self, the deity, the place of worship and all ritual ingredients. Second, the performance of rites to remove potential obstacles and to prevent the interference of malevolent spirits. And third, the actual offering of gifts and service to the Goddess.
The devotee prepares ingredients such as water, flowers, fruit, bells, vessels, lamp and a Goddess image. These all are infused with the presence of goddess. The devotee focuses on internal worship. The process involves the destruction of the old body and the creation of a new, purified and divine. One’s evil tendencies are visualized as a symbolic person who is then burnt with the fire of breath control. With the help of divine nectar the ashes are transformed into a new, divine body. This body is infused with the life-breath of the Devi. It becomes the body of the Goddess herself. When the devotee feels the presence of the Goddess within he remains absorbed. After certain duration that varies for individual devotees, it is time to lead the Goddess energy out from within one’s heart. The material entities are waiting to be infused back by the spiritual energy. Without the ritual ingredients the energy will remain dispersed and incapable of being fully utilized. The Devi’s presence is transferred from the heart, to the puja ingredient and back into the Goddess image where it remains protected until the next morning.
Noteworthy in this ritual is the sensuous nature of the offerings that appeals to the five senses and the mind. The lamp (sight), bells (hearing), flowers (smell), fruit (taste), infusing the objects (touch), and internalizing the puja (consciousness). The Goddess takes delight in such worldly pleasures. They are gifts from the Goddess in the first place and thus it befits that we share them with her.
The internal worship of the Goddess as pure consciousness into which one merges, albeit temporarily, is considered higher than external types of puja. Such gifts and ritual acts earn the devotee Jeweled Island, the celestial paradise of the Goddess.
The devotee visualizes the Devi’s throne as situated on top of an ascending series of cosmic supports upon which rests the world-supporting tortoise, the serpent Ananta and the Earth. The Earth is surrounded by ocean in which is the Jeweled Island. On this island is a chamber of gems surrounded by celestial Kalpa trees. Beneath the trees is a brilliant altar, on which Goddess rests upon her throne. Here she resides as Bhuvanesvari, the World Mother. On the splendorous throne she sits on the corpse of Sadasiva. Ten stairs lead to her seat with Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra and Isvara as its posts.
In Hindu mythology, this seat of five corpses situated in the Jeweled Island is associated with the Goddess alone. It dramatically illustrates her utter supremacy over all other gods. The five chief Hindu gods oversee the functioning of the cosmos and symbolize the Devi’s various functions and subservient powers. They are corpses until empowered by her Shakti. This image symbolizes the Goddess as supreme overlord of the universe and transcendent beyond all the cosmic gods. It is this image of the goddess as Bhuvanesvari that a devotee is to install in her heart during daily worship. There is no need to wait for death and ascension to the Jeweled Island to attain Supreme satisfaction. It is available in the very act of her worship.
At the end of the tenth chapter when the Goddess disappears, the gods rejoice, for they have just received the Devi’s auspicious sight, darshan. Receiving her vision is an extremely holy event. The sight involves not only seeing but also being seen by her and thereby absorbing some thing of her divine power. The gods rejoice when they realize that they have been touched by, infused with, a portion of the World-Mother’s Shakti.
The mystery of the Goddess is to be revealed only to those who are properly qualified. The basic qualifications, the Devi Gita announces, is: devotion to the Goddess.
Brown, C. Mackenzie, The Devi Gita, The Song of the Goddess: A Translation, Annotation, and Commentary, Albany: State University of New York Press. 1998.
___________, The Triumph of the Goddess: The Canonical Models and Theological Visions of the Devi-Bhagavata Purana. Albany: State University of New York Press. 1990.