kumAra trishatI: commentary

The kumAra-trishatI, also known as the shatruMjaya trishatI, the rahasya trishatI, the guhya ShaNmukha-nAma-saMgIti or the skanda-nAma-sAgara had recently been only orally transmitted. In this sense it is reminiscent of the vinAyaka rahasya sahasranAma that was taught by bhAskararAya makhIndra or that secret collection which completes the sAdhana of vArAhI. In past from the paramapITha of rohitaka it had been transmitted to the pashchiMaugha in the two achala-s (in the modern Punjab and Rajasthan), to the pUrvaugha in deep va~Nga country and to the dakShiNaugha in the sahyAdri-s (the modern Konkan). From there it was transmitted to the glorious massif of kumAra-parvata (modern Kukke-Subramanya) and the shores of the dakShiNa sAgara (Tiruchendur of the drAviDa poet nakkIranAr). The dakShiNaugha and pashchimaugha were lost over time. The kaumArAcharya-s of the va~Nga retreating from the demonic shashidhvaja-s came to Bellary in the karnATa country and established a tapovana near the might rock of mahAmukha (a granite prominence still seen in Bellary). Here the learned tAntrika rAmAnuja deshika acquired the stotra and transmitted it.

Long ago we wended our way up to the hilly spur in the city of our youth on which the peshvA bAlAjI nAnAsAheb had resided. Atop it among several other temples was a shrine of skanda which was installed by raghunAtha-rav after his conquest of Attock — the farthest north the mahArATTa-s reached. But the installation of kumAra was repeatedly botched up by the mahArAShTrI brAhmaNa-s who had little knowledge of the kaumAra lore*.
1) The idol was broken by Moslems during the invasion of the Nizam of Hyderabad.
2) nAnA phaDnavis made a new idol an installed it next and it broke up on its own an year later.
3) A new idol was again made by phaDnavis and installed and insufficient rites were done at its installation. Several years later a lightning strike brought down the temple, so a new idol was made.
4) After the British conquest of India the temple was taken away from the peshvA-s and given to a local trust. In the late 1800s the metal crown made for the idol by mAdhava-rav fell down and broke the idol’s hand. So a new idol was made for the 4th time, this time funded by some vaishya.
5) In the 1980s the right eye of one of the faces of the idol fell out and was lost.
This was when the muni and I arrived at the top of the hill spur on the ShaShTI after the dIpAvalI. The prashnaka had informed me that the idol was botched up and needed a mahAshAntI, but the complete ritual system was not available to the purohita at hand. We lent him what ever aid we could, but went away a bit dissatisfied and not having the complete thing ourselves. The great student of our Acharya finally set things right through a secret prayoga. We went back to hill and stood silent in the afternoon quiet. It was then that we started receiving the secret instructions in the trishatI to perform the lengthy purashcharaNa to be able to understand the secret mantra embedded in it. Refraining from kAma-bhoga we performed it for a while. The mantra flashed briefly like lightning but we were unable to see anything more — in fact it looked like skanda vara given the brAhmaNa-s in quest of vyAkaraNa. Then the mantra revealed itself in stages. We saw the most basic level when it revealed its power to us, even as we were attacked by madaghUrNita and simultaneously by rasagola and darsha in the fifth year after dvAdashAnta. We then saw a vaiShNava who had attained a kShudra siddhi during a climb to the kumAra-gR^iha and were way laid for a while trying to attain the same.

After years of trying to force attain the kShudra siddhi and reaching nowhere we witnessed two apparitions of the deva. They were followed by dismal troughs in course of which we said to ourselves: “surely this mantrashAstra is hocus-pocus and we should move on in life”. But unlike shabara we did yet throw away our rosary into the commode. Then finally the veil of ignorance was pierced, at least partially, and beyond that is something a man does not speak about.

* I am aware of perhaps 3 exceptions including the one in the lineage of lakShmaNa rANADe who raised on objection to this statement :-).

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