Miscellaneous points of note in the skanda-sadabhAva

kaumAra dIkSha: The SS is one of the few surviving texts giving an account of the kaumAra dIkSha. In its general pattern it follows the dIkSha-s seen in the pA~ncharAtra and saiddhAntika systems. In a pure spot a maNTapa is erected with 4 doors and a fire altar is installed on a shukla pa~nchami. The maNTapa is anointed with pa~nchagavya and paddy is spread on the floor. The rite occurs after a clean bath and by wearing clean clothes. Water is then sprinkled by hand from a pitcher, and the pitcher then filled up and is taken to the NE and installed on a spread of paddy. There the guru invokes kumAra using the mUla mantra into the pitcher and worships the deva with flowers and the like. In the middle in the fire altar the fire rite to kumAra is performed. Then to the west of the altar a charu is cooked with rice and milk. The guru then cuts the charu into 4 equal portions. One portion is offered as a naivedya to the deity, the second portion is offered as an oblation into the sacrificial fire with the mUla mantra, the third portion is offered as a bali and the fourth portion is eaten by the student and the guru. Then they perform Achamanam and the guru gives the student a fresh toothbrush. Then they observe where the toothbrush falls – if it falls in the indra, varuNa, soma or ishAna directions then the initiation is unsuccessful and a prAyashcitta is performed with oblations of the mUla mantra. If it falls in the other directions then the initiation continues. The student sleeps in the maNTapa with his head facing east. [The next day] the AchArya asks the student his dreams. If he has beheld kings, brAhmaNa-s, young women, a milk pail, flowers and fruits, a tree with fruits, cows or fire then the initiation is a success. The guru then draws the kaumAra maNDala and beginning the initiation into the kaumAra ritual.The initiation is available for all 4 varNa-s and is done for each varNa in each of the 4 main seasons starting in spring beginning with the brAhmaNa. Spring may also be used for the remaining varNa-s.

The instructions for constructing the kaumAra maNDala at the time of initiation and the ensuing rite of initiation are thus:
It should be made of one, two or four spans in length. One desiring prosperity should never make it raised. It is made with strings and colored sand. First square is made and divided into 16 equal squares. In the central 4 squares a circle is inscribe. In the circle a lotus is made. This lotus is trisected by 3 filaments or kesara-s. The angles between them are further trisected by 3 more kesaras. In the center of the lotus a pericarp is made in the form of a circle [in tradition one usually places a bindu in the middle though it is not mentioned in the text of the SS]. Then one inscribes a circle in the big square. Inside it touching the sides is constructed a six-petalled lotus figure. Outside 4 doors are made with the doors determined by the size of the lotus. The pericarp and filaments are painted yellow. The mUla-matra is written in the pericarp. The lotus petals are painted blue. The intervening spaces are then painted smoky color. The grid lines are colored red with sand. The 4 bounding lines of the grid are painted yellow, white, red and black. Thus, is constructed the kaumAra maNDala that confers all siddhi-s.

The maNDala is constructed on a pITha by the guru and skanda is invoked into it. The god is worshiped with flowers, scents, incense, charu and bhakShaNa-s. On the 4 margins in the 4 directions water pitchers with flower wreaths are placed. Flower garlands are draped around and free flowers are scattered all over. Then the fire oblations are made in the kuNDa. The calm student is then led blindfolded with a flower in hand (specific for the respective varNa-s?). Then the student is tapped with a bundle of darbha grass, sprinkled with water and honorably led forward. Then he is touched on the head, endowed with the guNas, and taken to the west door and asked to circumambulate in pradakShiNa order and let the flower fall on its own. Depending on where the flower a [dIkSha] name is chosen for him. Then the blindfold is removed and he is allowed to see the maNTapa and worships silently. Then he performs pradakShiNa and namaskaraM and is raised by the AchArya. Then he is initiated into the procedures of the fire rituals with the kaumAra mUla mantra-s. Finally the student pays the AchArya his fees. This ritual in its basic form is close to the tantric initiations seen in the saiddhAntika and pa~ncharAtra systems with the kAlAtman and chakrAbja maNDala-s, the mUla mantra-s of those systems like vyomavyApin and mantra-rAja and the generation of a new dIkShita identity based on the flower falling.

Installation of the kumArAgni: The sacrificial fire is consecrated as the kumArAgni as per the tradition of the skanda-sadbhAva. The general procedure follows the tantrIka-agnimukha which is common to all tAntrIka traditions. The allowed samidh-s are those of vaika~Nkata palasha and khadira. The oblations may be made of dry or cooked rice, sesame, cakes (apUpa), coarsely ground meal, lotuses, fruits, and dUrva and darbha grasses.

Deities receiving bali as per skanda-sadbhAva: 1)lokapAla-s; vasu-s; rudra-s; Aditya-s; rivers; indra pArShada-s; loka-mAtR^i-s; aShTa-mAtR^ikA-s; skanda graha-s and diverse graha-s; vetAla-s; vinAyaka; virabhadra; shyAma and shabala; shAstA and his pArShada-s; vIrabhadra; ananta-nAga; gaNa-s of the following groups: 1) kumuda with the kumuda-s, sha~NkukarNa, puNDarIka, vAmana, sarvanetra, sumukha; 2) dhUrtasena and 1008 skanda troops; 3) shUrasena, ugrasena, shikhisena, jayasena, dyumatsena, chaNDasena, kunDAsena, vIrasena, pi~Ngala and skandasena.

This entry was posted in Heathen thought. Bookmark the permalink.