susmeratayA saha saMmelana

Holding a trident he arrived at the great smashANa at the foot of kollagiri from the subterranean temple of nR^isiMha where he had practiced the mantra of the adhomukha. It was in the midst of a storm: the trees in the cemetery shook as though they had been struck by the fist of the great ape vAlin. The shadows of their moving branches made the spectacle look like the dance of the great karAlA holding severed heads and diverse weapons in her hands. The clatter of the rain and the occasional hail was like the drumming of the gaNa-s during the tANDava of sharva. As each strike of lighting was followed by the great roar of parjanya he uttered the vaShaT call. He proceeded to the shrine housing the kShetrapAla upon which the great karAlA, also known as chaNDAkhyA, looked upon. Seated at his chosen corner he silently witness a corpse being consumed by the fierce kravyAda, with hissing and crackling noises even as the long bones and skull exploded in the fury of yamavaha. In his mind he was intoning the ancient bahurUpI mantra of the southern face even as he turned the beads of his rudrAkSha rosary. Some time after the anti-meridian hour the sky cleared completely revealing the silver soma cup of the heaven. There was a rustling noise and shadows indicated a new presence. The silence of the night was interrupted by some voices. He heard the familiar voice of an Apastambin ritualist who was negotiating with the cemetery guard for a fresh human head to place beneath the chiti for his impending agnichayana. As the guard was thus distracted in his duties, someone else slipped into to the smashANa. He could tell that this was someone very different from the dancing shadow and the enlivening scents of a female unguents though she hid herself behind a karNamoTa tree. Raising his arm he showed the Chomma of the bull-horns. She responded with the Chomma of the lion-claw, which he picked up via the shadow cast in the shrine’s courtyard. He then displayed the Chomma of the ghost. She responded with that of the of the great reptile. He then showed the Chomma of eagle and she that of the many-formed rudra. Finally they both simultaneous displayed that of the “conjunct-churner”. She then came out into the open: He was shocked as though he had come face to face to chAmuNDA herself, even as the breeze blew her flowing locks in all direction revealing a skull in place of the face. She laughed and raised her mask revealing her beautiful face beneath.

He called out: “O susmeratA come forth we have been waiting for you hoping to attain siddhi. Why did you come thus masked ?”
susmeratA: “Wandering from the draviDadesha we arrived here and felt that the the cemetery guard might block out way. Hence, we planned to get in by either behaving like an unmatta-strI or frightening him with that mask of ours. But to our luck we ran into an old acquaintance, the Apastambin named mAra somayAjin, who in the path of the secret shaiva shAstra was a student of our own teacher vijayA~NkA from the karNATa country who conquers like sarasvatI.”
He said: “Indeed, you need to conceal yourself. What would people think and say if they saw a respectable brAhmaNa girl, the daughter of a great vaiyAkaraNa uddyotana, wandering thus in the midst of taverns and cemeteries, when she should be tending the fire at her hearth. O conduit of siddhi, we seek the 11-fold kaula path and its foundation of bhairava-s.”
susmeratA: “O vIra first reveal your former course in full.”
He said: “We come from anahilapattana and are among the few who attained complete siddhi of the practice of the kArttikeya mantra-s that hardly anyone achieves. We then proceeded to study the oceanic shAstra of the yoginI-s in the realms of kashmIra. There we dreamt that we should proceed from towards the south and that you would come from the draviDa country to take us on the path of attaining the state of a vidyAdhara. O susumeratA, mistress of the saMmelana, we seek the yoga of klinnAnvaya.”
susmeratA: “We shall first embark on the 8-fold path which form the base of the great throne of klinnA.”

There after she began revealing him the 8-fold mantra paths of: niShkala-svachChanda, sakala-svachChanda, bahurUpa-bhairava, aghorIsha, the vyAdhibhakSha-bhairava, chandragarbha-bhairava, vij˜nAnabhairava, tumburu, and amR^iteshavara. For an year he practiced the mantra-s devoted to constant purashcaraNa and the offering of agni-kriyA-s on the specified days. There after susmeratA summoned him one darsha night and said the test for your mantra attainment is will be via a mantra contest. He on the path of the vidyAdhara should not be afraid of one. She took out her rAvaNahasta and played the following song:

“Bent on delighting in siddha-bhoga
the vidyAdhara-s pour surabhi’s ghR^ita
into the fire of the great klinnA’s trikoNa.

In the space known as the kha-vyoman,
though the space is within vyoma-vyApin,
the vidyAdhara worships the wild vyoma-loman.

I am the one in the midst of the yoginI-jAla,
exhibiting the high magic of the shambara,
the sole sun blazing in the mayUkha-chakra.

I dance along with wild band of hR^illekhA and kledinI,
with nandA, madanAturA and the restive kShobhanI,
then with the glorious nira~njanA and rAgavatI

With khekalA and the bewitching madanAvatI,
ecstatically with drAvinI, speedily with vegavatI,
I am the great rudra of the churning!”

He felt an uncontrollable force tearing him apart. He felt lifted of the ground and hurled as though he was shambara being hurled by maghavan from atop his mountain fort. Coursing in the sky he flew like a vidyAdhara passing over the many hued lands of the triangle of southern jambudvIpa, occasionally bypassing a vulture and other times a flock of waterfowl. Finally, he landed in an unfamiliar port town. He saw some sights he had seen in the port near his own home town of anahilapattana but this was an entirely different place. It seemed to be in the chera country. Some vaNjia-s were offloading merchandize from Africa whereas others were loading commodities to set out to Egypt or Iran. He wondered how he would make his way here and why he had landed there in the first place.

-An excerpt from “mantra-nAyaka”

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