The mahAkaumara mantras in AstIka and nAstIka parlance
|| OM namaH kumArAya ||
namo.astu te raktavarNAya shaktidharAya nilakaNThavAhanAya mahAsvamine
We bow to the great red-hued wielder of the shakti, who is seated atop a fierce peacock.
Sadly, many of the great tantras pertaining to the god kumAra appear to have been lost. However, the obscure tantric manuals like the skandArchana-kalpadrUma and mahA-kaumAra-kalpa preserve several of the mantras that are used, and those well-versed in the kaumara ritual use them to perform the various rites of kArttikeya. Amongst these mantra are the tryAkShara mahAvidyA that is recommended especially when one is a youth, the mahAkumAra vidyA and the bhUtaDAmara mantra that was mastered by the great Eastern kaumArAchArya-s from the va~Ngadesha who latter settled in Bellary. Interestingly, variants of these mantras were adopted by the nAstIka-s early in the development of their tantric literature. These mantra-s in a bauddhized form appear in the ma~NjushrI-mUla-kalpa one of the few Sanskrit originals of the tantras of the nAstIkas that survived in India. It was discovered by gaNapati shAstrI in the midst of the nambuthiris in early 1900s of CE (but in the discussion below I am following the text provided by the Vaidya edition). This appears to be one of the earliest tantric manuals of the bauddhas probably going back to the period around 500-600 CE at the earliest. In this tantra ma~NjushrI is identified with kumAra and a bauddhized “myth” is created to incorporate him into the nAstIka fold. The tantra itself is composed in a peculiar vulgar Sanskrit: It is understandable, but probably not that of a well-educated brahmin tantrik.
ma~NjushrI of the MMK is explicitly described as ma~NjushrI kumArabhUta (the ma~NjushrI who has become kumAra), right from the begining of the text and is repeatedly called that throughout the text. He is also called kARttikeyA-manjushrI and ShaNmukha-bodhisattva repeatedly in the text. His mUla-mantra given in the text is clearly a bauddhized derivative of a kaumara mantra:
namaH sarva-tathAgatAnAm-acintyApratihata shAsanAnAM OM ra ra smara | apratihata-shAsana kumAra-rUpadhAriNa hUM hUM phaT phaT svAhA || (MMK2)
This matches with the iconography of ma~NjushrI kumArabhUta who is shown as kumAra.
After giving the mahAkumara-ShaNmukha mantra (mahAkumAra vidyA) the MMK provides the following narrative which includes the tryAkSharI vidyA of kumAra and a bauddhized variant of the kaumAra-bhUtaDAmara mantra. It also alludes to the kaumAra mahAmudra:
bhAShitA bodhisattvena ma~NjughoSheNa nAyinA |
ShaDvikArA mahI kR^itsnA prachachAla samantataH ||
It was said by the bodhisattva ma~NjughoSha, the leader, whose six-faced form shook the entire world
hitArthaM sarva sattvAnAM duShTa sattva nivAraNam |
maheshvarasya suto ghoro vaineyArtham ihAgataH ||
To oppose the evil-doers for the sake of all beings’ good, the terrible son of maheshvara came here to teach everyone.
skandam-a~ngAraka~N chaiva graha chihnaiH suchihnitaH |
ma~Nju-bhAShiNI tato bhAShe karuNAviShTena chetasA ||
Well-adorned with the emblems of Mercury and other planets, he with a good voice, spoke to skanda with a consciousness filled with compassion.
mahAtmA bodhisattvo .ayaM bAlAnAM hita kAriNaH |
sattvacharyA yataH prokto vicheruH sarvato jagat ||
This great boddhisattva for the cause of the good of children, expounded where ever beings wandered throughout the world.
mudrA shakti yaShTyAnu saMyukto sa mahAtmanaH |
Avartayati brahmAdyAM kiM punar mAnuShaM phalam ||
When combined with the mudra of of the great one, [known as] the shakti of the rod it leads one to brahmA and others, let alone earthly [human] fruits.
kaumAra-bhittam-akhilaM kalyamasya samAsataH |
kArttikeya-ma~NjushrIH mantro .ayaM samudAhR^itaH ||
One would be completely free from all illness during the time of youth due to this mantra expounded by kArttikeyama~NjushrI.
sattvAnugraha kAmyarthaM bodhisattva ihAgataH |
tryakSharaM nAma hR^idayaM mantrasyAsya udAhR^itam ||
For the sake of benefits for all the bodhitsattva came here to expound the three syllabled heart of the mantra.
sarva-sattva-hitArthAya bhogAkarShaNa-taptaraH |
mudrayA shaktiyaShTyA tu vinyastaH sarva karmikaH ||
For the good of all he engages in attracting enjoyment; with the mudra of shakti-yaShTi on complete all deeds.
OM hUM jaH |
[kaumAra tryAkSharI mahAvidyA]
eSha mantraH samAsena kuryAn mAnuShakaM phalam |
This mantra completely accomplishes human fruits.
namaH samanta-buddhAnAM samantodyotita-mUrtinAm ||
Salutations to all the buddha-s whose forms rise all over.
om vikR^itagraha huM phaT svAhA ||
[The kaumAra bhUtaDAmara vidyA]
upa-hR^idayaM chAsya saMyukto mudrA-shaktinA tathA |
Avartayati bhUtAni sa-grahAM mAtarAM tathA ||
The deployment with the shakti mudra of this upa-hR^idyaM (the sub-heart), averts bhUtas, possessing-goblins and female goblins.
sarva-mudrita-mudreShu vinyastA saphalA bhavet |
vitrAsayati bhUtAnAM duShTAviShTavimochanI ||
Deploying it with the display of the mudra of mudras it becomes fruitful; it terrorizes all ghosts releases one from the possession of the evil [ghosts]
eSha ma~Njushriyasya kumArabhUtasya kArttikeya-ma~NjushrIr-nAma kumAraH anucharaHsarva-karmikaH | japa-mAtreNaiva sarva-karmANi karoti, sarva-bhUtAni trAsayati, AkarShayati, vashamAnayati, shoShayati, ghAtayati, yathepsitaM vA vidyAdharasya tat sarvaM sampAdayati ||
This is the emanation of ma~NjushrI kumArabhUta, kumara named kArttikeya ma~NjushrI who achieves all deeds. By merely japa of [these mantras] one can achieve all deeds, terrify all goblins, attract, control, torment, slay and what ever the holder of these vidyA-s desires that is conferred by them.
Prior to this section a bauddhized version of the mahAkumAra vidyA is given thus:
OM | kumAra mahA-kumAra krIDa krIDa ShaNmukha-bodhisattvAnuj~NAta mayUrAsana sa~nghodyata-pANi raktA~nga rakta-gandhAnulepana-priya kha kha khAhi khAhi khAhi | huM nR^itya nR^itya | raktA-puShpArchita-mUrti samayamanusmara | bhrama bhrama bhrAmaya bhrAmaya bhrAmaya| lahu lahu mAvilamba sarva-kAryANi me kuru kuru chitra-rUpa-dhAriNe tiShTha tiShTha huM huM sarva-buddhAnuj~NAta svAhA ||
Elsewhere the MMK provides a bauddhized version of the kaumara vighna-ghAtaka vidyA:
he he mahAkrodha ShaNmukha ShaTcharaNa sarva-vighna-ghAtaka hUM hUM |
The MMK provides a dhyAnaM of kumAra that matches the classical dhyAnaM used by the Astika tantriks:
kArttikeyash-cha mayUrAsanaH shaktyudyata-hastaH kumAra-rUpI ShaNmukhaH raktA-bhAsa-mUrtiH pIta-vastrAnivastaH |
kArttikeya is seated on the peacock with his hand bearing a shakti weapon, he is of a youthful with six heads and a glowing red form, clad in yellow robes.
A similar description is given by the MMK in describing the bauddha maNDala where kumAra appears as the guardian of the second door:
dvitIya-dvAra-samIpe kArttikeya-ma~NjushrIH mayUrAsanaH shaktipANiH raktAvabhAsa-mUrttiH pIta-vastra-nivastottarAsa~nginaH dakShiNa-haste ghaNTA-patAkA-vasaktaH kumAra-rUpI maNDalaM nirIkShamANaH |
Beside the second door, guarding the maNDala is the kArttikeya form of ma~NjushrI, seated on a peacock, shakti in hand, of red glowing form, wearing a yellow robe and upper garment, holding a bell and flag in his right hands and having a youthful form.
The MMK also goes on to appropriate the atharva veda for the bauddhas by claiming that it was summarized by ma~NjushrI kumArabhUta:
namaH samanta-buddhAnAm-apratihata shAsanAnAm | tadyathA:
Salutations to all the buddhas whose ordinances are unassailable. Now the mantra:
OM brahma subrahma brahmavarchase shAntiM kuru svAhA ||
eSha mantro mahAbrahmA bodhisattvena bhAShitaH |
This mahAbrahmA mantra was expounded by the boddhisattva
shAntiM prajagmur-bhUtAni tat-kShaNA-deva shItalA||
the beings attained peace; from this moment on the god is pacified.
mudrA pa~nchashikhA yuktA kShipraM svastyayanaM bhavet |
When combined with the pa~nchashikhA mantra one quickly attains well-being.
AbhichArukeShu sarveShu athavo* cheda paThyate |
It is stated for all abhichAra rites in the atharva veda. [* note the vulgar prakritized form of the word atharva. The association of the brahma mantra with the atharva veda derives from the fact that it is the brahma veda and its mantra are the brahma mantras.]
eSha saMkShepata ukto kalpamasya samAsataH ||
This is indeed the abbreviated teaching of that text.
Thus, it appears that in course of the origin of the MMK’s the subversion of the nAstIkas by the brahmins had begun. A brahmin educated in the rahasya of the kaumara-vidyas and other tantric mantras evidently flowed into the bauddha mata and incorporated these formulae into their fold. It is possible that he was an exponent of the atharva veda- both the worship of shANmukha in the form described in gopatha’s dhUrta-kalpa of the atharvan school and the mention of the atharvan as the root teaching of the mahAbrahmA support such a view. With this the revolution was set rolling. In the meantime after the 1200s of CE the mantramarga worship of kumAra faded away and the memories of the mantra became highly restricted to the practioners of the kaumara vidyAs. The AstIka versions of the above ShaNmukha mantras are critical in different circuits of the AvarNas of the worship of kumAra and his hordes in the ShaTkoNa-maNDala (the heart of which contains the ShaDakSharI vidyA-s only known to the AstIkas).