More encounters with padmAvatI and the tantras of the jaina nAstikas

Continuing with our encounters with padubai (padmAvatI), we come to that expedition that opened to us the secrets of this deity. The our nAstIka astronomer acquaintance of the 3rd varNa had mentioned that there was a large idol of padmAvatI in the depression to the south of our city where also lay an old temple of rudra. That leader amongst the shUdra-s told us right then that he recalled that there also lay an old aniconic rock of padubai. We desired to see this site and set out with our henchmen of the 3rd and 4th varNa-s. We rode along on our “ashva-s” and reached the said hamlet where vIrakals of old cattle herders, including perhaps the ancestors of the Bhosles lay scattered. There shUdra-shreShTha led us to a large scarlet-painted rock that was worshiped extensively by the local tribesmen and cowherds as padubai. The vaiShya pointed us to a ruined shrine where there was a large exquisite rock image of padmAvatI, which he claimed was installed by a jinendra named pradyumna-sUri. We noted that on the pedestal of the image of the devI was inscribed a peculiar mantra:
OM hrIM namo.astu bhagavati padmAvatI ehi ehi saM vauShaT ||
There was something about the icon — one could feel the great goddess with many arms, holding many weapons inspire a sense of awe. I had the same feeling as what I felt only in the presence of another old idol of the great mantrinI, who is sangIta-yoginI, at some other point in time. I kept this in mind and was to learn more of it some months later.

Both me and the muni had enjoyed the excellent hospitality of a remarkable jinendra during our expeditions to the north of the city of my birth in the kAlAmukha country. This jinendra was remarkable in that he doubled both as priest of temple of rudra and as an AchArya of the nAstIka-s! As a result he was familiar with both traditions and was free from the rancor that characterized the medieval nAstika mantravAdin-s who fought their fierce abhichAra battles with AstIkas, bauddha nAstIkas and their digambara nAstIka cousins. It is well-known that that the jaina nAstIkas were tantrics right from their early days- the jaina hero kovalan of the draviDa epic shilapadhikAraM is described as performing different mantra prayogas. But their mantra-shAstra has remained more hidden than the famous activities of their bauddha rivals. One evening after an exploration we were returning to the house of the jinendra, when we noted him performing a homa with several mantras. This piqued our interest and we made inquiries and he was kind enough to reveal to us over some time period the details of the nAstIka mantrashAstra. He was himself in the parampara of the following great nAstIka prayoga adepts who attained siddhi of the mantras of our goddess pratya~NgirA as per the nAstIka traditions. Each one of them had composed tantric kalpa-s on the prayogas of shrI pratya~NgirA devI: 1) the ShaT-karma master sAgara-chandra-sUri 2) bAlachandra-sUri 3) pradyumna-sUri 4) devabhadra. Of great interest was the fact that nAstIkas admitted possessing a class of mantras termed AtharvaNI from which stem the pratya~NgirA prayogas.

The jinendra explained that some of the main prayogas of great importance (other than pratya~NgirA) were those of padmAvatI, ambikA and saravatI. But he also possessed some other really tantalizing vidyAs: 1) shaivAgamokta padmAvatI sAdhana with prayogas known as haMsa padmAvatI, mokSha-padmAvatI, rakta-padmAvatI and shabarI padmAvatI 2) kAmeshvarI mantra 3) bhairavI mantra 4) nityA mantra 5) tripurA mantra 6) chakreshvarI mantra 7) kurukullA mantra 8) baTuka bhairava prayoga 9) svarNAkarShaNa bhairava prayoga 10) mR^ityu~n-jaya prayoga.
The jaina forms of these prayogas are not identical but related to their AstIka counterparts in most cases. The jinendra explained that in the padmAvatI kalpa that he followed for his worship she is termed: tvaritA, nityA, tripurA, tripurabhairavI and kAmasAdhinI. One of the prayogas for stambhana in the kalpa, with which an medieval jaina siddha had destroyed a Sufi subversionist invoked vArtAlI-vArAhI. The mantra used in the kalpa for escaping ordeal inflicted by rulers is the rAja-shyAmalA or sangIta-yoginI mantra. The nityaklinnA prayoga is provided for bewitching women. vidyA-s are also provided for chandeshvara, garuDa (for countering snakes) and kurukullA.

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