The vaidika kaumAra kula vidyA

We had earlier discussed the root mantra of the kumAra shAsana as provided in the vaikhAnasa mantra-prashna. The complete formulation, which includes the mantra-s of kumAra and devyaH, represents an early form of the kula vidyA. Another early vaidika kula vidyA is provided by the bodhAyana mantra prashna (mantra-s: 181-182). Its correct form is only known to those who understand the foundations of the kumAra-shAsana.
The kumAra mantra:
OM aghorAya mahAghorAya nejameShAya namo namaH ||
The mantra of the kula devyaH:
AveshinI hy ashrumukhI kutuhalI hastinI jR^iMbhiNI staMbhinI mohinI cha |
kR^iShNA vishAkhA vimalA brahmarAtrI bhrAtR^ivya-saMgheShu patanty amoghAs tAbhyo vai mAtR^ibhyo namo namaH ||

The textual corruptions have resulted in some confusion among the readings of the mantra-s. The most common problem is the correct interpretation of the number of the mAtR^i-s of the kumAra kula. One tAntrika interpretation notes 14 mAtR^i-s as part of a 14 pointed maNDala. However, the version given above is the form preserved in the oral tradition of the taittirIyaka-s who follow the bodhAyana sUtra (like my maternal clan). The published bodhAyana mantra pATha (and its otherwise best-preserved manuscript) and the sUtra text have corrupt readings at different points which can be recombined to create a “critical” reading completely concordant with the oral version. In this reading the kumAra kula consists of only 12 mAtR^i-s. These are: 1) AveshinI (the possessor); 2) ashrumukhI (bloody faced); 3) kutuhalI (the eager one); 4) hastinI (the elephant headed one); 5) jR^imbhiNI (the stretching one); 6) staMbhinI (the paralyzer); 7) mohinI (the deluder); 8) kR^iShNA (the black one); 9) viShAkhA (having he form of vishAkha, one of the 4 kaumAra mUrti-s); 10) vimalA (the unblemished one); 11) brahmarAtrI (the epoch of universal dissolution); 12) bhrAtR^ivya-saMgeShu-patanti (one who falls upon the enemy hordes).
The last name has been broken up into two separate names in certain interpretations but this is not the case in original vaidika form because it neither supported by manuscript nor oral tradition. Some might also interpret the amoghAH as a further name of a mAtR^ikA. This interpretation is supported by the presence of the name amoghA as one of the mAtR^ikA-s in the trayodasha-prAkArIya pa~nchadashi kaumAra chakra and the equivalent kaumAra circuit described in the mahAbhArata. However, it being in plural, in the vaidika mantra provided above it is likely to be a description of all the mAtr^i-s of the kula (i.e. meaning they are infallible). The accentation (i.e. positions of the udAtta-s) of few of the names in second hemistich of the devInAm mantra is corrupt in the published form of the mantra prashna and needs to be known from oral tradition.

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