Mahanirvana Tantra - Chapter 2

Hindu marriage

by Arthur Avalon / Sir John Woodroffe

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Introduction to the Worship of Brahman

HAVING heard the words of the Devi, Shangkara, Bestower of happiness on the world, great Ocean of mercy, thus of the truth of things spoke.

Sadashiva said:

O Exalted and Holy One! Benefactress of the universe, well has it been asked by Thee. By none has such an auspicious question been asked aforetime (2). Worthy of all thanks art Thou, Who knoweth all good, Benefactress of all born in this age, O Gentle One! Thou art Omniscient. Thou knowest the past, present, and future, and Dharmma. What Thou hast said about the past, present, and future, and, indeed, all things, is in accordance with Dharmma, and is the truth, and is without a doubt accepted by Me.

O Sureshvari! I say unto you most truly and without all doubt that men, whether they be of the twice born or other castes, afflicted as they are by this sinful Age, and unable to distinguish the pure from the impure, will not obtain purity or the success of their desired ends by the Vedic ritual, or that prescribed by the Sanghitas and Smritis (3-6). Verily, verily, and yet again verily, I say unto you that in this Age there is no way to liberation but that proclaimed by the Agama (7). I, O Blissful One, have already foretold in the Vedas, Smritis, and Puranas,' that in this Age the wise shall worship after the doctrine of the Agama (8). Verily, verily, and beyond all doubt, I say to you that there is no liberation for him who in this Age, heedless of such doctrine, follows another (9). There is no Lord but I in this world, and I alone am He Who is spoken of in the Vedas, Puranas, and Smritis and Sanghitas (10). The Vedas and the Puranas proclaim Me to be the cause of the purity of the three worlds, and they who are averse to My doctrine are unbelievers and sinners, as great as those who slay a Brahmana (11). Therefore, O Devi! the worship of him who heeds not My precepts is fruitless, and, moreover, such an one goes to hell (12). The fool who would follow other doctrine heedless of Mine is as great a sinner as the slayer of a Brahmana or of a woman, or a parricide; have no doubt of that (13).

In this Age the Mantras of the Tantras are efficacious, yield immediate fruit, and are auspicious for Japa, Yajna, and all such practices and ceremonies (14). The Vedic rites and Mantras which were efficacious in the First Age have ceased to be so in this. They are now as powerless as snakes, the poison-fangs of which are drawn and are like to that which is dead (15). The whole heap of other Mantras have no more power than the organs of sense of some pictured image on a wall. To worship with the aid of other Mantras is as fruitless as it is to cohabit with a barren woman. The labour is lost (16-17). He who in this Age seeks salvation by ways prescribed by others is like a thirsty fool who digs a well on the bank of the Jahnavi (18), and he who, knowing My Dharmma, craves for any other is as one who with nectar in his house yet longs for the poisonous juice of the akanda plant (19). No other path is there to salvation and happiness in this life or in that to come like unto that shown by the Tantras (20). From my mouth have issued the several Tantras with their sacred legends and practices both for Siddhas and Sadhakas (21). At times, O My Beloved! by reason of the great number of men of the pashu disposition, as also of the diversity of the qualifications of men, it has been said that the Dharmma spoken of in the Kulachara Scriptures should be kept secret (22). But some portions of this Dharmma, O Beloved! have been revealed by Me with the object of inclining the minds of men thereto. Various kinds of Devata and worshippers are mentioned therein, such as Bhairava, Vetala, Vatuka, Nayika, Shaktas, Shaivas, Vaishnavas, Sauras, Ganapatyas, and others. In them, too, are described various Mantra and Yantra which aid men in the attainment of siddhi, and which, though they demand great and constant effort, yet yield the desired fruit (23-25). Hitherto My answer has been given according to the nature of the case and the questioner, and for his individual benefit only (26).

None before has ever questioned Me as Thou hast done for the advantage of all mankind nay, for the benefit of all that breathes, and that, too, in such detail and with reference to the Dharmma of each of the different Ages. Therefore, out of My affection for Thee, O Parvati! I will speak to Thee of the essence of essences and of the Supreme (27-28). O Deveshi! I will state before Thee the very essence distilled from the Vedas and Agamas, and in particular from the Tantras (29). As men versed in the Tantras are to other men, as the Jahnavi is to other rivers, as I am to all other Devas, so is the Mahanirvana Tantra to all other Agamas (30).

O Auspicious One! of what avail are the Vedas, the Puranas, or the Shastras, since he who has the knowledge of this great Tantra is Lord of all Siddhi? (31). Since Thou hast questioned Me for the good of the world, I will speak to Thee of that which will lead to the benefit of the universe (32).

O Parameshvari! should good be done to the universe, the Lord of it is pleased, since He is its soul, and it depends on Him (33). He is One. He is the Ever-existent. He is the Truth. He is the Supreme Unity without a second. He is Ever-full and Self-manifest. He is Eternal Intelligence and Bliss (33-34). He is without change, Self-existent, and ever the Same, Serene, above all attributes. He beholds and is the Witness of all that passes, Omni-present, the Soul of everything that is. He, the Eternal and Omnipresent, is hidden and pervades all things. Though Himself devoid of sense, He is the Illuminator of all the senses and their powers (35-36). The Cause of all the three worlds, He is yet beyond them and the mind of men. Ineffable and Omniscient, He knows the universe, yet none know Him (37). He sways this incompre-hensible universe, and all that has movement and is motionless in the three worlds depends on Him; and lighted by His truth, the world shines as does Truth itself. We too have come from Him as our Cause (38-39). He, the one Supreme Lord, is the Cause of all beings, the Manifestation of Whose creative Energy in the three worlds is called Brahma (40). By His will Vishnu protects and I destroy, Indra and all other Guardian Devas of the world depend on Him and hold rule in their respective regions under His command. Thou His supreme Prakriti art adored in all the three worlds (41-42). Each one does his work by the power of Him who exists in his heart. None are ever independent of Him (43). Through fear of Him the Wind blows, the Sun gives heat, the Clouds shower seasonable rain, and the Trees in the forest flower (44).

It is He who destroys Time at the Great Dissolution, of Whom even Fear and Death itself are afraid. He is Bhagavan, Who is known as Yat Tat in the Vedanta (45).O Adored of the Devas! all the Devas and Devis nay, the whole universe, from Brahma to a blade of grass are His forms (46). If He be pleased, the Universe is pleased. If aught be done to gratify Him, then the gratification of All is caused (47). As the pouring of water at the root of a tree satisfies the wants of the leaves and branches, so by worshipping Him all the Deathless Ones are satisfied (48). Just as, O Virtuous One! all the beautiful Ones are pleased when Thou art worshipped and when men meditate on and make Japa and pray to Thee (49). As all rivers must go to the ocean, so, O Parvati! all acts of worship must reach Him as the ultimate goal (50). Whoever be the worshipper, and whoever be the Devata, he reverentially worships for some desired end, all that is given to him through the Deva he so worships comes from Him as the Supreme (51). Oh, what use is it to say more before Thee, O My Beloved?

There is none other but Him to meditate upon, to pray to, to worship for the attainment of liberation (52). Need there is none to trouble, to fast, to torture one s body, to follow rules and customs, to make large offerings; need there is none to be heedful as to time nor as to Nyasa or Mudra, wherefore, O Kuleshani! who will strive to seek shelter elsewhere than with Him? (53-54).

End of the Second Joyful Message, entitled "Introduction to the Worship of Brahman."

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Source: Mahanirvana Tantra Tantra of the Great Liberation, Translated by Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe) [1913]. While we have made every effort to reproduce the text correctly, we do not guarantee or accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions or inaccuracies in the reproduction of this text.