The mantra of aghorA according to the tradition of the kAlI-kula

The devI aghorA, as we have seen before, emerged first as the shakti of aghora in the root tantra-s of the bhairava srotas. She was described under several related names such as aghoreshvarI and appears to be the foundation from which the primary devI-s of the trika and pashchimAmnAya emerged. Under the name aghorA itself she was worshiped in the tradition emerging from the glorious yoginI-jAla-shaMvara tantra. The worship of the great bhairava yoginI-jAla-shaMvara and his parivAra is taught as an auxiliary a~Nga of the system of the brahma-yAmala, which gives his highly secret mantra as a means of achieving khecharI siddhi and this yoga is declared to be “amitAtmaka”, i.e. of unlimited nature. This tradition was expanded in the yoginI-jAla-shaMvara tantra and from that text transmitted to the yoginI-samchAra tantra. The tradition of this latter tantra was then incorporated into the composite jayadratha-yAmala. The yoginI-saMchAra lays out worship the devI aghorA in the company of the great bhairava. The YS states that the tAntrika after undergoing dIkSha and abhiSheka performs vrata-s such as the bhairava-vrata, the kapAla-vrata or the chAmuNDA-vrata. In the rite of dIkSha which is performed in the shmashAna the AchArya wearing an osseous garland and smeared with the bhasma from the funeral pyres draws the maNDala of the great bhIma-vikrama bhairava (yoginI-jAla-shaMvara) conjoined with the devI aghorA. Then the student after a bath is lead to the maNDala where the AchArya touches him on the head with a skull and performs the nyAsa on his body with the khaTvA~Nga. Then in the typical tAntrika fashion the student is lead to the image of shiva with face covered and is asked to cast flowers on it, standing to its right, after a pradakShiNa. Based on which face the flower falls he is given his dIkSha kula. After receiving the mantra he finally worships aghorA accompanied by the 63 yoginI-s of this system.

The devI aghorA in this aspect as a shmashAna deity with “kApAlika” attributes has been retained as is in the kAlI kula. Here mantra is taught in the kAmakalA kAlI khaNDa (8.277-283) of the pa~nchAshat sAhasryAM mahAkAla saMhitA. But here her iconography has some unusual features:

athaaghorA manuM vakShye yena siddhyanti sAdhakAH |
karaamlaka-vad vishvaM yasya saMsmaraNAd api ||
mAyA-ramA.a~Nkushaana~Nga-vadhu-vAgbhava-gAruDaiH |
yoginI-shAkinI-kAlI-phetkArI-krodha-bIjakaiH ||
saMbodhanam aghorAyAH siddhiM me dehi choddharet |
tatash cha dApayet yuktvA svAhAnto munir iShyate ||
pa~nchaviMshaty akSharo .ayaM mantro vA~nchita siddhikR^it |
atha dhyAnaM vyAharAmi yena mantraH prasiddhyati ||
susnigdha-kajjala-grAva-tulyaavayava-rochiShaM |
viShAla-vartulA-rakta-nayana-tritayAnvitAM ||
shveta-nrasthi-kR^itAkalpa-samujjvala-tanuc-ChaviM |
digambarAM muktakeshIM nR^i-muNDa-kR^ita-kuNDalAM ||
shavopari samArUDhAM daMShTA-vikaTa-darshanAM |
dvi-bhujAM mArjanI-shUrpa-hastAM pitR^ivana-sthitAM ||

The 25-syllabled mantra of aghorA specified here is:
hrIM shrIM kroM klIM strIM aiM krauM ChrIM phreM krIM hskhphreM huM aghore siddhiM me dehi dApaya svAhA ||
The devI is meditated upon as residing in the cremation ground with limbs glistening like a moist mountain of black collyrium, with three large red eyes, with a shapely body decorated with sparkling ornaments of white human bones, space-clad, with free-flowing tresses, with earrings made from human skulls, standing on a corpse, with dreadful saber teeth and with two arms holding a broom and a winnowing fan. While the general description of her matches the ancestral state as in the tradition of the YJS, the broom and the winnowing fan are unusual. This appears to be the prototype on which emergent deities like dhUmAvatI were partly based.

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