Pinakasena was visiting Somakhya and Lootika. He was seeking instruction on the Sadyojāta-mantra from his hosts: “O Ātharvaṇa and Śāradvatī, I wish to learn the rahasya-s pertaining to the deployment of the Sadyojāta-mantra to the great god Kumāra, the patron deity of all our clans. We have borne his worship since the time our ancestors were in the now fallen lands of Gandhāra in Uttarāpatha. Then they bore it to the Yaudheya republic and then to Kānyakubja during the reign of emperor of Harṣavardhana and finally to Dakṣiṇāpatha.”
His hosts led him to their fire room and seated him on the western side of their aupāsana-vedi. There, they asked him to purify himself for the ritual with the sprinkling using the mantra-s to divine horse Dadhikrāvan and the waters. Lootika then signaled to him: “Offer the pouring with with incantation to the daughters of Rudra”. Pinakasena did as instructed:
namo rudriyābhyo .adbhyaH svāhā ||
Obeisance to the daughters of Rudra. Hail to the waters.
Somakhya: “Now invoke Prajāpati the lord of the Bhṛgu-s and Aṅgiras-es and offer fire sticks to him”.
He did as instructed:
namaḥ parameṣṭhine prajāpataye svāhā hiraṇyagarbhāya svāhā bhṛgūṇāṃ patye svāhā .aṅgirasāṃ pataye svāhā ||
Then he offered tarpaṇa-s:
vasubhyo namo rudrebhyo nama ādityebhyo marudbhyo namo mārutebhyo namo .aśvibhyāṃ namo vaiśravaṇāya namo dharmāya namaḥ kāmāya namo ṛṣibhyo nama ārṣeyebhyo namo aṅgirobhyo nama āṅgirasebhyo namo atharvebhyo nama ātharvaṇebhyo namaḥ ||
Then he recited after his hosts and made oblations at the appropriate calls:
yaś chandasām ṛṣabho viśvarūpaś chandobhyaś chandāṃsy āviveśa | satāṃ śakyaḥ provācopaniṣad indro jyeṣṭa indriyāya ṛṣibhyo namo devebhyaḥ svadhā pitṛbhyo bhūr-bhuvaḥ-suvaś chanda oṃ ||
He [Indra], who is the bull among the meters, of all forms, emerging from the meters entered into the meters. The great one, Indra, who is possible to be [reached] by the good, proclaimed the upaniṣat to the Ṛṣi-s for attaining powers (full experience). Obeisance to the gods, for the ancestors the good station, the 3 vyāhṛtis, the Veda, OṂ.
Then stressing to Pinakasena that his instruction was a continuation of the tradition imparted by the god Indra to their ancient ancestors, Somakhya began his instruction after placing a fire stick for the repelling of the non-sacrificing foes:
|| ayajvanaḥ sākṣi viśvasmin bharo3m ||
Thereafter he instructed Pinakasena to offer a fire stick after he recited the incantation:
tvaṃ devānām asi rudra śreṣṭha
tavas tavasām ugrabāho |
hṛṇīyasā manasā modamāna
ā babhūvitha rudrasya sūno || + svāhā + idaṃ na mama |
Somakhya: “The ṛṣi of the Sadyojāta-mantra is Gopatha. Its meter is anuṣṭubh, though it has an additional bhakti that is non-metrical and its devatā is Kumāra Bhavodbhava. Alternatively depending on the prayoga there is a variant form where the devatā is Skanda-Viśākhau. The mantra itself goes thus:
sadyojātaṃ prapadyāmi sadyojātāya vai namaḥ |
bhave-bhave nādibhave bhajasva māṃ bhavodbhava ||
I take refuge in the one who had instantly arisen (Sadyojāta). Verily obeisance to him who has arisen instantly. In existence and after existence do not partition my share; provide me a share of the ultimate existence, O one born of Bhava!
This is the core anuṣṭubh to which in regular practice the bhakti: bhavāya namaḥ || is appended at the end.
There are some key points that you must understand in relation to this ṛk: Why is Skanda known as Sadyojāta? It relates to him arising instantly from the semen of Rudra in the Śaravana or Gaṅgā river. The term is also used for Agni, the father of Skanda, in the ancient Āprī of the Bhārgava-s:
sadyo jāto vy amimīta yajñam agnir devānām abhavat purogāḥ |
At birth he instantly measured out the ritual [space]; Agni became the leader of the gods.
This is reminiscent Skanda becoming the leader, i.e. senāni, of the gods. In the old tradition of the Bhāllavi-s, he is said to have emerged from Rudra as the dual of Agni to burn down the piśācī when invoked by Vṛśa Jāna, the badger-like purohita of the Ikṣvāku lord Tryaruṇa. That is why this ṛk is associated with the mūlamantra of Kumāra: OṂ vacadbhuve namaḥ || or that of Bodhāyana: OṂ bhuve namaḥ svāha ||. Indeed, one may do japa of the mantra using the following yantra. In the corners of the central tryaśra-yamala (forming the hexagonal star) one must place the syllables of one of the above ṣaḍakṣari-s. The in a circle around the central star one must place the 32 syllables of the core anuṣṭubh. Then in the central hexagonal hub of the star one must place the bhakti of 5 syllables. The name of Kumāra, Vacadbhū, is evidently an old linguistic fossil and indicates the emergence of the god from the piśacī-repelling incantation.”
PS:“How is the second part of the mantra to be understood?”
Lootika: “The imperative verb bhajasva is to be applied twice once with the negation particle na and once without it. The na is coupled with the locative āmreḍita bhave-bhave. When with the negation particle bhava is understood in more than one way depending on the votary and their interests. For people of the world, like us, a bhava can be each unit of conscious existence — it could be each time we get up from sleep and return to conscious ahaṃ-bhāva. Here the negated verb na bhajasva might be understood as do not divide what is ours. In the positive sense it is applied to ādibhava — the primal state or when the consciousness associated with you is in an identity loop — a state of bliss. For the yati-s, like the practitioners of the pūrvāṃnāya of yore in the Vaṅga or the Karṇāṭa country, it implies not being partitioned into multiple rebirths and being instead given mokṣa (ādibhava).”
Somakhya: “While performing japa you may meditate on the deva mounted on a peacock with a fowl-banner surrounded by the troops Marut-s bearing spears, backed by Agni riding a rhinoceros. He is in the midst of a fierce battle leading the deva-s against the daitya-s and showering arrows on his foes. Thus one must meditate on him for the destruction of brahmadviṣ-es and dasyu-s. Alternatively, you may meditate on him in his dual form as Skanda-Viśākha. In this case one must replace the terminal bhakti with: namo bhavāya ca śarvāya cobhābhyām akaraṃ namaḥ ||. One may also perform the prayoga where Skanda is visualized as surrounded by the 12 awful goddesses:
1) Vimocinī; 2) Mohinī; 3) Sunandā; 4) Pūtanā; 5) Āsurī; 6) Revatī; 7) Śakunī; 8) Piśācikā; 9) Pāśinī; 10) Mahāmārī; 11) Kālikā; 12) Bhāminī.
Certain traditions holds them to be Paulastyā-s, the 12 sisters of Rāvaṇa and call it the Rākṣasī-prayoga but we do not subscribe to that. This may be done for pediatric purposes.
One may also deploy the mantra visualizing Kumāra along with Viśākha, Śākha, Nejameṣa and Ṣaṣṭhī along with Kauśikī, the daughter Rudra and Umā. They should be accompanied by the following therocephalic and avicephalic goddesses who accompany Kauśikī:
1) Vāyasī, crow-headed; 2) Upakā, owl-headed; 3) Pracaṇḍā, lion-headed; 4) Ugrā, tiger-headed; 5) Jayā, elephant-headed; 6) Jayantī, peahen-headed; 7) Jayamānā, horse-headed; 8) Prabhā, goose-headed; 9) Śivā, jackal-headed; 10) Saramā, dog-headed; 11) Vijayā, falcon-headed; 12) Prabhāvatī, sheldrake-headed; 13) Mṛtyu, crane-headed; 14) Niyati, grebe-headed; 15) Aśani, fowl-headed; 16) Vṛṣadaṃśā, badger-headed; 17) Śakunī, thrush-headed; 18) Potakī, munia-headed; 19) Vānarī, monkey-headed.
The following devī-s are visualized with human heads:
20) Revatī (some say she is cat-headed); 21) Pūtanā; 22) Kaṭapūtanā; 23) Ālambā; 24) Kiṃnarī; 25) Mukhamaṇḍikā; 26) Alakṣmī or Jyeṣthā; 27) Adhṛtiː 28) Lakṣmī; 29) Spṛhā; 30) Aparājitā.
Along with Ṣaṣṭhī and Kauśikī these constitute the 32 aṛṇa-devī-s of the Sadyojāta-ṛk and should be worshiped with bīja-s derived from each of the syllables of the ṛk. The meditation on Kumāra and his emanations visualized in the midst of these devī-s is the highest sādhanā of his mantra and may be deployed for Ṣaṭkarmāṇi. This sādhanā may be accompanied by the use of the pan-diagonal magic square that adds up to 34 comprised of numbers from 1:16 with each representing a pair of the 32 goddesses. Of the sum, 32 are the goddesses that I’ve just mentioned. The remaining 2 are are Skanda and Ṣaṣṭhī.
Now, Pinaki, what śruti-vākya do these goddesses with an avicephalic emphasis bring to your mind?”
PS:“I’m reminded of the mysterious words of my ancestor Atri Bhauma:
vayaś cana subhva āva yanti
kṣubhā martam anuyataṃ vadhasnaiḥ |
And like mighty birds [the Marut-s] swoop down here, turbulently, to the mortal pursued by deadly weapons.
They are again compared to birds by Gotama:
vayo na sīdan adhi barhishi priye |
Like birds [the Marut-s] sit down on the dear sacred grass.”
Given the genetic connection of Skanda and his retinue to the Marut-s, who are said to descend like birds to the sacrificer, I find this avicephalic emphasis resonant.
Lootika “Good. Indeed, these goddesses accompanying Ṣanmukha are the precedents of the yoginī-s of kula practice. They reveal themselves to the sādhaka usually in the form of certain reptiles and mammals. Thus, you may get the confirmation of your mantra-sādhana with your dūtī Shallaki by the apparition of yoginī-s in the form of certain birds in quiet sylvan spots.”
Somakhyaː “To conclude, Lootika will show you how to prepare the dhatturādi-viṣa for the viṣa-prayoga.”
After Lootika showed him how to prepare the guhyaviṣa from oṣadhi-s, she said: “The details of these plants are not something you might know offhand. You can get them from your brother or my sister. In addition to Skanda, Viśākha, Śākha and Nejameṣa you have to invoke and worship the 32 aṛṇa-devī-s when making the viṣa. When a devadatta is subject this prayoga he is seized by a dreadful graha and with a crooked look on his face he wanders yelling and singing: Rudraḥ Skando Viśākho .aham Indro .aham | even as old Vagbhaṭa has described the graha seizure. Such a seizure could also happen due to other reasons by agents of Kumāra such as the ovine sprite or the caprine sprite or the Āpastamba sprite. It could also happen among the ritually weak when they visit Lankā, Mālādvīpa or Kāshmīra where various piśāca-graha-s naturally reside. The seizure often manifests differently among males and females. In females it might manifest as the state of pinning for ones lover as the old Drāviḍa-s would say. In such cases one may deploy this mantra with the visualization of Kumāra with the Mātṛ-s. One also worships them when goes to the special holy spots around Eurasia.”
PS: “Indeed, I heard from Shallaki of such a seizure of one of her relatives when he visited Kāshmīra. My brother informs me of the Kaubera-vrata-s that need to be performed in Kāshmīra to invoke Kaubera-piśāca-s to counter seizures.”
Somakhyaː“Thus, go ahead an practice this mantra. Sleep on the ground, avoid eating sweets and drinking sweet beverages, and sitting on cushions. Now you should conclude by performing the tarpaṇa as promulgated by Bodhāyana”:
OṂ skandaṃ tarpayāmi | Om indraṃ tarpayāmi | OṂ ṣaṣṭhīṃ tarpayāmi | ṣaṇmukhaṃ tarpayāmi | OṂ jayantaṃ tarpayāmi | OṂ viśākhaṃ tarpayāmi | OṂ mahāsenaṃ tarpayāmi | OṂ subrahmaṇyaṃ tarpayāmi | OṂ skanda-pārṣadāṃs tarpayāmi | OṂ skanda-pārṣadīś ca tarpayāmi ||