With the holy nine nights under way we decided to talk about the kAlikA purANa. It may be considered a mixture of traditional purANa and a tantra shAstra manual. The purANa part is dominant in the first 45 chapters of the text. The tantra-shAstra portion with a clear spatial connection to the yoni pITha of kAmAkhyA is seen in the remain 45 chapters. Together, the 90 chapters contain 8394 shloka-s. The story frame is in the form of the brAhmaNa-s questioning the bhArgava mArkaNDeya, who in turn narrates the stories as his is usual custom. In the later half it becomes a discourse between sagara and his preceptor the bhArgava aurva.
Chapter 1 contains an account of the emergence of uShA and kAma from brahmA.
Chapter 3 contains a description of the charms of rati.
Chapter 4 contains a description of vasanta.
Chapter 5 contains a description of how viShNumAyA is invoked by brahmA to delude rudra. She is described as yogamAyA. This description is consistent with ekAnaMshA seen in the harivaMsha and they are the same continuous deity. She rides on a lion and has a deadly sword, is dark of complexion like a mass of collyrium and has untied, free-flowing long hair. She is hence kAlI and thus the purANa acquires its name kAlikA as it goes on describe her glories.
Chapter 6 contains the account of shiva’s gaNa-s and also has a notable stava of kAlikA.
Chapter 7-18 contains the satI cycle. It begins with rudra being primed for the life of a gR^ihasta by kAma, followed by dakSha invoking mahAmAyA to be born as his daughter satI and the marriage of satI to shiva. Then dalliance of shiva and satI, followed by the dakSha yAga events leading to the death satI and the destruction of dakSha’s yAga. The final part narrates the emergence of the shakti-pITha-s from satI-s a~Nga-s. The peculiar twist of the kA.P is that brahmA, viShNu and Saturn enter into satI-s corpse and break it up into pieces. The involvement of Saturn in the tale suggests its relatively recent provenance.
Chapter 19-23 brahmA narrates various tales to rudra like that of arundhati the wife of vasiShTha, the conflict of dakSha and chandra over his nakShatra daughters, origin of tIrtha-s like chandrabhAga and shipra.
Chapter 24-29 material typical of the sarga section of purANa. Chapter 25 mentions the origin of the varAha.
Chapter 30 contains a stuti of viShNu, followed by shiva assuming the sharabha form to battle the varAha. sharabha defeats the varAha
Chapter 31 contains the famous paurANIc motif of the origin of various yaj~nA~Nga-s from the different parts of the varAha (parallels an orthologous paragraph in many texts).
Chapter 32-35 more sarga material, the mastyAvatara of viShNu, episodes of unexpected pralaya-s, recovery of the world after such a pralaya and rudra relinquishing the sharabha form after saving the world from the varAha-s ravages.
Chapter 36-40 The partial cycle of naraka: His birth from the varAha and pR^ithivi, his coronation in pragjyotiSha, his tapasya to obtain power and his rise to stupendous power.
Chapter 40-45 The pArvatI cycle: The birth of kAlI as pArvatI to himavAn, the attempt of kAmadeva to delude shiva and his destruction, pArvatI’s tapasya and encounter with shiva coming to test her and their marriage.
The uttara-kANDa or the tantric manual section of the kAlikA purANa comprises the remaining part of the text. It is a collection of vidhi-s and prayogas fitted into the narrative of aurva to student king sagara.
Chapter 46 The narrative of the emanations of bhairava-s and vetAla-s from rudra. It also contains a stava to sha~Nkara.
Chapter 47-50 The incarnation of shiva and umA as chandrashekhara and tArAvatI. It narrates a bizarre tale of how shiva and pArvatI fought and pArvatI ran away from him. shiva saw sAvitrI and thought it was umA and went to her full of passion. She cursed him to be born as a man. To get back to shiva, umA incarnated as tArAvatI. However, chandrashekhara and tArAvatI did not remember that they were respectively the deva and devI. A lecherous brahmin named kapota tried to have sex with tArAvatI when he saw her coming out of a river after a swim. She evaded him by sending her sister, but he figured it out and laid a spell on her that she would be violated by a hideous bone-ornamented being. She mentioned this to chandrashekhara, who tried to protect her by placing her on high terrace. But duly, rudra assuming his original form inseminated her and two terrifying vAnara-headed bhUta-s were born to tArAvatI. chandrashekhara thought that a demon had raped his wife but a brAhmaNa informed them it was shiva and he himself was shiva. They closed their eyes and realized their sAyujya with the shivau. But once they opened their eyes they continued life as a mAnava-s. They had an additional 3 sons whom chandrashekhara favored over the original two vAnara-faced sons. But it was they who became bhuta-gaNeshvara-s of rudra’s hordes.
Chapter 51 The tantric vidhi of vasiShTha for the worship of the pa~nchabrahma mUrti-s of rudra.
Chapter 52-56 The vaiShNavI tantra or mahAmAyA-kalpa. Expounds the vaiShNAvI mahAmantra: OM hrIM shrIM vaiShNAvyai namaH | It also describes the worship of the AvarNa-s of vaiShnavI with 64 yoginIs and 8 yoginIs. These yoginIs are distinct from those of other AvaraNa-s and include devatA-s like guptadurgA, bhuvaneshvarI, saptakoTeshvarI, vindhyavAsinI etc (in the 64 circuit) and those headed by skandamAtA in the 8-circuit. The animal and human sacrifices for the yoginI-s of vaiShNavI are also detailed. 56 gives a devI-kavacha.
Chapter 57 Expounds the kAmarAja mantra as per the uttara-tantra.
Chapter 58 Expounds the worship of mahAmAyA-yoganidrA-ekAnamshA as the primary deity of kAmAkhyA.
Chapter 59 chaNDikA pujA vidhi. Describes the worship of chaNDikA with her AvarNa of 7 terrifying yoginI-s: ugrachaNdA, prachaNDa, chanDogrA, chaNDanAyikA, chaNDA, chaNDavatI, chAmuNDA.
Chapter 60 durgA tantra. Describes the mahiShamardini pujA performed on mahAnavamI.
Chapter 61 The procedures for the worship of the 18 handed ugrachaNDA on the aShTami, the 16-handed bhadrakAlI on the navamI of navarAtrI and the 10-handed jaya-durgA on the vijaya-dashami day.
Chapter 62 The kAmAkhyA-pujA-tantra. Details the procedures for the worship of the goddess in the form of the great yoni at kAmAkhyA.
Chapter 63 The tripurA-tantra. Describes the worship of baTuka-bhairava and tripurA along with her yoginI-s as per the lineage of the shrIkula path.
Chapter 64 The kAmeshvarI tantra. Expounds the worship of kAmesvarI in the ShaTkoNa yantra in the midst of the triad of pITha-s of jAlandhara, oDDIyAna and kAmarUpa as per shrIkula tradition.
Chapter 65 The shAradA-tantra. Expounds the worship of the 10-armed lion-borne vajra-shAradA, especially in the context of the navarAtrI rite.
Chapter 66 Descriptions of namaskAra-s and mudras.
Chapter 67 Descriptions of animal sacrifices. The alternative of making piShTa-pashu-s is also suggested and detailed (e.g. with barley flour).
Chapter 68 Making of Asana-s for installation of mUrtI-s of devI-s. Metal, stone, wood, and hide Asana-s are described, as well as decorations with gems.
Chapter 69 Making of vastra-s for the goddess from cotton, wool, silk and flax is described. Then the specifications for dhUpa (incense), dIpa (lamps), flowers and a~njana-s (ointments) are provided.
Chapter 70 The preparation of naivedya-s is described, with injunctions for what are bhojya.
Chapter 71 The performance of circumambulations and the final namaskAra-s are described. Thus, chapters 66-71 cover the details of ShoDashopachAra pUjA for the shakti.
Chapter 72 A sectarian praise of kAmAkhyA with an anti-viShNu slant. The goddess garuDagAmI throws viShNu into the sea, and by worshiping kAmAkhyA he is relieved of his troubles. The kAmAkhyA kavachaM is provided.
Chapter 73 The mAtR^ikA nyAsa for kAmAkhyA worship method is detailed.
Chapter 74 various mudra-s, yantras and prayogas for sundry purposes are described.
Chapter 75 The purashcharaNa, kavacha and pUjAvidhAna of tripura-bhairavI is provided here.
Chapter 76 The description of the types of mantra-s and vasiShTha expounds kAmAkhyA pUjA.
Chapter 77-79 A geographic dilation on the pITha of kAmAkyA and the holy spots in its environs.
Chapter 80 A description of the worship of other deva-s, particularly concentrating on the worship of viShNu as ordained in the pA~ncharAtra tantras.
Chapter 81 A bizarre tale regarding the prevalence of vAmAchAra worship is narrated: rudra was asked by vasiShTha to bring kAmarUpa in the control of yama. shiva sent ugratArA and his gaNa-s to drive everyone out of kAmarupa. In the process they tried to drive out the powerful brAhmaNa vasiShTha too. He cursed the gaNa-s that they would become unclean mlechCha-s and shiva would become mlechCha-priya. He cursed ugratArA that she would only receive vAmAchara worship. As a consequence the whole of kAmarUpa was occupied by barbarous mlechCha-s and the pA~ncharAtra tantras were lost in the land. Instead the vAmAchara tantras became the norm, which eventually bore fruit for its practitioners. The tale also mentions how lauhitya, the son of brahmA, flooded the region in the form of a river.
Chapter 82 Another tale of the birth the river lauhitya as the son of shantanu and amoghA. He was placed in a Himalayan lake but he grew in size and burst forth flooding the plains “like a second sea”. His waters cleansed rAmo bhArgava of the sin of killing his mother.
Chapter 83 The narrative of the exploits of rAmo bhArgava.
Chapter 84-85 A description of rAjadharma and dharma shAstra. This section is commonly cited in smR^iti manuals from eastern India.
Chapter 86 The important shAkta ablution and pUja performed on a tR^itiya in the constellation of puShya is described.
Chapter 87 The performance of the indra festival on the dvAdashi of the month of prauShTapada is described. A medieval version of the vedic festival of the erection of the dhvaja of indra is detailed.
Chapter 88 More rAjadharma and injunctions for a sacrifice to viShNu on a jyaiShTha dashami and a puja of lakShmI on shrIpa~nchamI are provided.
Chapter 89 The tale of khANDava dahana. The tale of the sons of the bhairava.
Chapter 90 A tale of the sons of the vetAla. The praise of the kAlikA purANa.