chitrabandha-s are widely represented in classical works on kAvya. The bandha-s of the form of the sword find mention in agni-purANa, the kAvyAlaMkAra of rudraTa and the praise of chaNDI by the other Kashmirian Anandavardhana. Sword-shaped yantra-s comparable to the poetic chitrabandha-s are to our knowledge seen first in the kubjikAmata texts in the pashchimAMnAya of kaula tradition. This sword with the mantra’s arNa’s on it was said to be like the vidyAdhara’s sword. Such inscriptions on swords were also transmitted to other cultures which acquired tantrika traditions – for example, the inscription of the marIchI mantra on the swords in Japan [the solar goddess marIchI was homologized on occasions to the native deity Amaterasu]. Below is the verse of the sword, a shAkta praise of umA as the supreme deity.
sArArabdhastavA nityaM tad Arti-haraNa-kShamA ||
mAtA natAnAM saMghaTTaH shriyAM bAdhita-saMbhramA
mAnyAtha sImA rAmANAM shaM me dishyAd umAdimA ||
mArAri= the enemy of death (shiva); shakra= indra; rAma=the dark one(viShNu) ibhamukha=the elephant-headed god; AsAra-raMhasA=by them who are rapidly assailed; sArArabdhastavA->sAra-Arabhdha-stavA= One whom them eloquently commence to praise; nityaM= always; tad= then; Arti-haraNa-kShamA= one who is the pain-removing forgiving one.
mAtA natAnAM=Mother to the supplicants; saMghaTTaH shriyAM=collection of riches; bAdhita-saMbhramA: one who removed confusion; mAnyAtha sImA rAmANAM= moreover venerable as the chastity of auspicious women; shaM me dishyAd= may confer felicity to me; umAdimA->umA-AdimA= umA the primal goddess
[I would like to thank shrI vishvAso vAsukiputra for pointing a proper reading for an element of this verse]
The forgiving one, who when the enemy of death (shiva), the powerful one (indra), the dark one (viShNu) and the elephant-headed one (vinAyaka) are rapidly assailed, commence to eloquently praise always removes pain; mother to the supplicants; richly endowed removeress of perplexity; moreover one venerable as the chastity of auspicious women; may umA the primal goddess confer felicity on me.
A biochemical aside: We had earlier compared some chitrabandha-s as the linguistic analogs of the histone-tails and such other low complexity sequences such as silaffins which constitute a protein component of diatom shells, where many different meanings can be written via epigenetic modifications. Such examples, like the sarvatobhadra, are by definition low in complexity but different meanings are obtained by means of differential saMdhi splits, which act like “epigenetic” information superimposed on the underlying low complexity. Extending such analogies, one might compare chitrabandha-s, such as the one provided in this note, with well-structured RNAs such as tRNAs, rRNAs or riboswitches, which enforce regions to maintain complementarity (stem) and those that do not (loops). These loops in such RNAs contain the key binding sites: In tRNAs the anticodon loop supported by a rigid stem is central to reading the genetic code by complementarity. In riboswitches one or more loops or bulges might come together to form a binding site for a ligand (see figure below). This may be compared to this class of chitrabandha-s wherein the stem like constraints like the sword haft support the structure of the sword (the loop).