kumAra vidyA-s

Of the mUrti-s of kumAra [Note 1] that are worshiped by the educated kaumAra sAdhaka there are few having a special significance. The first of these is of great import for a dvija in devoted the yAj~nIkI perfection. It is the form known as ajArUDha. Here the great lord of the beautiful ShaShThi is meditated upon in the bindu of the maNDala thus:
dvimukhaM chAShTa-bahuM cha shvetaM vA shyAMa-skandharaM |
sruvAkShamAlAM khaDgaM cha svastikaM dakShiNe kare ||
kukkuTaM kheTakaM vajraM Ajya-pAtraM tu vAmake |
agnihotra-vidhi devaM agni-jAta svarUpakaM ||

His mantra in this form is:
OM hrAM ~NaM ||

This form of kumAra has 2 heads, 8 arms and is white in complexion with a dusky neck. In his right hands he holds a sruva, rosary, a straight-sword and shows the svastika mudra, in his left hands he holds a cock, a shield, a vajra, and Ajya-pAtra. He is visualized as making oblations in the fire rite. He is seated on a large well-fed goat.

Beside him is standing his gaNa vIrabAhu with a sword and shield. In the first AvarNa is present the large Arya-deva, mounted on his horse, embracing the shapely goddesses, pUrNa and puShkalA, with enchanting smiles. He holds a vajradaNDa and a paTTishi, the long flexible razor. shAstA and his wives are surrounded by a band of hideous ghosts of skeletal forms. In the next AvarNa stand two terrifying agents of skanda, namely skandApasmara and skanda-graha. They both wield tridents are jet black in color. Outside his maNDala, nArada the kANva R^iShi is performing worship of kumAra.

In the gA~Ngeya form he is meditated upon thus:
eka-vaktraM trinayanaM dADimI-kusuma-prabhaM |
karaNDa-makuTopetaM kukkuTa-dhvaja dhAriNaM ||
nIlotpala-dharaM vande makarArUDhaM avayayaM |
parashuM pUrNa-kuMbhaM cha savyahaste tu dhAriNaM ||
araNiM kukkuTaM vAme gA~ngeya-sama-rUpakaM |
His mantra in this form is:
OM hrAM ghaM ||

He is mediated as having a single head with 3 eyes of the deep scarlet color of a pomegranate flower. He bears a braided turban on his head and beside him is his cock-banner. He is adorned with blue water lilies and he is seated on a gharial. In his right hands he holds an axe and full pot, whereas in his left hands he holds a cock and the araNi used to generate fire for the vedic rite.

In the first AvarNa is present the beautiful riverine goddess jAhnAvI. In the next avarNa is present the pretty araNyAnI of green color with a wreath of wild flowers on her head. She holds a fresh twig in her hand. In the next AvarNa are present a series of goddess like saramA, vinAtA, kadru and the like with heads of a bitch, female eagle, cobra etc.

The saurabheya form of kumAra is the form in which he behaved roguishly, bewitched the goddesses and dallied with them. Hence his form is described accordingly with the accouterments of ratipati with which shR^i~NgAra is inflamed. He is meditated upon thus:
chatur-vaktrAShTa-nayanaM bhujAShTa kamalAsanaM |
kun~nchitaM vAmpAdaM cha susthitaM dakShiNaM padaM ||
shaktyutpate puShpa bANAM abhayaM dakShiNe kare |
vajraM chekShu dhanush-shUlaM varadaM vAmake dadhaM ||
padma puShpa-nibhaM chaiva saurabheya svarUpakaM |

He has 4 heads, with 8 eyes, and 8 arms and is seated on a lotus. His left leg is bent while his right leg is straight. He is adorned with a spear, flower arrows, and the abhaya mudra in his right. In his left he holds a vajra, sugar-cane bow, trident and the varada mudra. His color is that of a red lotus.
His formula is:
OM klIM ghaM dhUrtAya namaH ||

In the first AvarNa dwells the shakti of his brother vishAkha drawn to skanda in amorous delight. In the next AvarNa are circles of goddesses of incomparable beauty with the girdles around their waists splitting and their garments slipping off as they run in passion towards saurabheya skanda.

In the skanda-svAmin form of kumAra he is flanked by two gaNa’s on either side: On his left is srauSha (a manifestation of shiva) and on his right is rAj~na (a manifestation of sUrya) [Note 2]. In his four arms he holds a spear, bow, vajra and arrow. He is mediated upon thus:
eka-vaktraM trinetraM cha hema-ratna-kiriTinaM |
chatur-bhujair vajra shakti shara-kArmuka dhAriNaM||
udyat-bhAnu-sahasrAbhaM cha shukla-yaj~nopavItinaM |
bhUta-vetAla-gaNAkIrNaM rAj~na srauSha sevitaM ||

He is worshipped with the mantra:
OM hrAM svAmine svAhA ||

Surrounding him in the AvarNa are hordes of piShAcha-s and vetAla-s.

Note 1: The text detailing the upAsana of the kumAra mUrti-s is the obscure skandArchana-kalpa-druma of which I am unaware of any complete manuscript though the hand-written transcripts, including those fragments used for the above account, amount to its core mantra expositions. The shri-tattva-nidhi of the Wodeyar of Mysore gives related kumAra-mUrti-s to those of SAKD with identical iconographic details although it lacks the form with srauSha and rAj~na. The kaumArAgama also provides descriptions of some of these forms but they are very distinct in iconography. The forms described in the siddhAnta tantras- kAmika, suprabheda, kAraNa and amshubheda are also distinct from these. These forms constitute one form of worship, which is distinct from the mahachakra nIrUpaNaM of the great and mysterious mayurashikhA and gauhAsphandA.

Note 2: Here the two attendants of kumAra indicate syncreticism with Iranian deities. In the Iranian pantheon mithra is flanked similarly by rashNu razishta and sraosha, who are the cognates of rAj~na and srauSha of the Hindu world. This rUpa of kumAra with his two attendants is also mentioned in the bhaviShyat purANa.

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