It goes without saying that “Mantravidya” constitutes an integral part of our multi-dimensional cultural heritage. We are already aware of the tradition of the uninterrupted oral transmission of Vedic mantras beginning 5000 B.C. or 2000 B. C. or even earlier, down to the present times, as recorded by Yaska (900 B. C.), there was a school of thought (Kautsa’s name is specifically mentioned by Yaska) which regarded the mantras just as a collection of utterances of divine sounds with their irreversible sequence, devoid of any sematic relevance (mantra anathakah). Even the Saundaryalahari ascribed to Sankara (? 800 A D.) concludes with dedication of utterances of prayers consisting of words generated by Mother goddess Herself to Herself (tvadiyabhir vagbhis tava janani vacam stutir iyam ).
It seems to be the generally accepted principle, both in Vedic and Pauranic/tantric schools, that each and every sound has an esoteric/mystic significance. The sounds being the inherent audible attributes of the invisible Space (Akasa), perhaps represent the most significant connecting links between the visible mortals and the invisible immortal divine powers. So the Sabdabrahman (sphota) is also considered to be the primary causative factor of the Universe.
The mimamsakas have raised and solved a very pertinent question in relation to the “worshiper-worshiped” communication. The question raised is that the worshiped invisible divine power being one single individual entity and the worshipers being many, worshiping the same divine power simultaneously, how could there be any direct communication between single divine power on the on hand and numerous worshipers on the other at the same time ? The answer given is that it is the utterances of the mantras that answer given is that it is the utterances of the mantras that transform themselves into the relevant divine powers with unlimited generous benevolent or malignant potentialities. Thus a sort of Advaita is accepted between the mantras and the gods; the gods are mantras and the mantras, the gods.
It also pointed out that the mantras represent a double-edged razor. If recited properly, the mantras or the latent potentialities of the utterances of sequential sounds can manifest themselves in the form of peace, prosperity, victory, health, etc. to the worshiper and the world On the other hand, even a single mistake even in respect of accentuation in the mantras recited, can lead to disastrous results (mantrohinah svarato varnato va mithyaprayukto na tam artham aha/sa vagvajro gajamanam hinasti yathe’ndrasatruly svarato’ paradhat).
It is also pointed out that “there are no letters or sounds that do not have a mantric sinificance; there are no plants that do not have any therapeutic efficacy. There are no human beings who are devoid of talents whatsoever. A knowledgeable person who is well-versed in the art of utilizing these entities properly can enable all of them to manifest their latent potentialities in the interest of peace and prosperity in the world” (amantram aksaram nasti nasti mulam anausadham/ayogyah puruso nasti yojakas tatra durlabhah//).
Thus there is quite a lot to know about the Indian mantric tradition that has maintained its distinctive character and continuity despite some peripheral evolutionary transformations from time to time Apart from its utilitarian value among devout worshipers there are quite a few items available here which are of immense historical, anthropological, sociological and even botanical interest.
It is in this context that the Mantramahodadhi (a vast ocean of mantras) enjoys special significance This Sixteenth Century work. According to Pt Shukadeva chaturvedi, is ascribed to Mahidhara who himself also contributed a commentary (Nauka) thereon The very titles “Mantra-mahodadhi” and “Nauka” of the text and commentary respectively are suggestive of the unfathomability of the intricacies of mantra-vidya outlined in the text.
The text with the above commentary was perhaps originally edited by Pt. Jibananda Vidyasagar. Even it second edition (Siddheshwari Press, Calcutta) is dated 1892. Thanks to Pt. Shukadeva Chaturvedi of Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapitha (Head of the department of Jyautish) that the entire text, with Hindi translation and a critical and exhaustive Hindi commentary ‘Mohini’, was brought out (Prachya Prakashan, Varanasi, 1981). The “Mahodadhi”, that was too vast even for the author’s own “Nauka”, could now be crossed a little more easily through Dr. Chaturvedi’s “Mohini”.
But the fact remains that the work is still not accessible to the vast majority of non-Hindi speaking readers, specially to scholars and students all the world over deeply interested in our cultural heritage. It is with this end in view that I undertook the arduous task of English translation of the text with an exhaustive commentary. But the to my decaying health and vision it would have been rather impossible for me to complete this voluminous work single-handed without the whole-hearted cooperation and assistance of my two younger brothers Krishna Kumar Rai and Vinaya Kumar Rai, who devoted lot of time and took great pains in giving the work its final shape.
With the blessings of Mother Goddess this work has now been completed. It is divided into XXV Chapters which speak for themselves It will be seen that the minutest details about the relevant mantras vis-à-vis the relevant divine powers are given in the text. The daily regime of the worshipper, the initiation of the worshipper (Diksa), the process of inner and outer cleanliness, the various mudras, oblations, including the specific material for oblations, for specific purposes, offering of different types of Bali, suitability of relevant mantras for different individuals, the yantras (talismans), etc. are all enumerated here, with instructions for maintaining secrecy in relation to certain mantric rituals.
Without going into further details, I would leave it to my esteemed readers to enjoy reading the original through this humble translation and commentary and favour me with their invaluable suggestions, if any, about the organisational and/or other improvements to be brought about in future editions.
Taranga One 1-77
Prayer 1, Daily routine o Sadhaka 1, Worship of the door 4, Bhuta-suddhi 5, Prana-pratistha (Infusion of life) 17, Rsydi-nyasa 19, Nyasa of Pitha-devata 24, Dhyana (meditation) of Prana-sakti 27, Extrication of Prana-pratistha mantra 30, Matrka nyasa (Srsti nyasa) 33, worship of the Pedestal deities and the coverings 35, Rules of Purascarana 46, Havisyanna 46, Vahni-pujana Yantra and the method of its worship 49, Navarna mantra for placing the Fire 52, Agni (twenty-four syllabled) mantra 53, Agni (twenty-six syllabled) mantra 54, Sapta-jihva mantra 55, Meditation of Agni 58, Worship of Agni 60, Names o eight Bhairavas 60, Invocation and worship of Brahma 62, Purificatory rituals of Sruva and Sruci (Sacrificial Laddles) 63, Purificatory rite of Ajya and Ajyasthali 65, consecration of Agni 68, Purnahuti 74, Tarpana, Abhiseka and Brahmana bhojana 76
Taranga Two 78-126
Six-syllabled mantra of Ganesa, Viniyoga, Nyasa and illustration of the Nyasa 78, Dhyana, Procedure of Purascarana, Pitha-puja, Various desire-fulfilling rituals 80, Other mantras of Ganesa, Nyasa, etc., Number of Japas and Purascarana 87, Another six-syllabled mantra of Ganesa 89, Mantra of Ucchista Ganapati, Procedure of experiments, Bali-mantra 90, Other mantras of Ucchista-Ganapati : twelve-syllabled, ten-syllabled, nineteen-syllabled, thirty-seven-syllabled, thirty-two-syllabled mantras, Procedure of experiments 96, Some points to be kept in mind 107, Mantra of Sakti-vinayaka 108, Mantra of Laksmi-vinayaka 111, Mantra of Trailokyamohana Ganesa 116, Mantra of Haridra-Ganesa 121.
Taranga Three 127-161
Mantra of Daksina-Kali 127, Procedure for Kali worship 136, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 144, Other Mantras of Kali 147, fourteen-syllabled mantra 148, Single syllable mantra of Kali 149, six-syllabled mantra 150, Three five and seven syllabled mantras 150, Mantra of Sumukhi 152, Experiment for the fulfilment of desires 159.
Taranga Four 162-220
Mantras of Tara 162, Ekajata mantra and Nila Sarasvati mantra 163, Sodha-nyasa, etc. 166, Dhyana of Ugratara 179, Pitha-mantra 181, Procedure for offering Sacrificial oblations 182, Bhutasuddhi 185, Mantras for inviting the ground, etc. 188, Procedure for the worship of Tara 196, Rahasya Purascarana (Mysterious Purascarana) 213, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 218.
Taranga Five 221-253
Various kinds of Tara-mantras : worshipped by Brahma, worshipped by Visnu worshipped by Caturmukha Brahma 222, Mantras of Ekajata, worshipped by Narayana 223, Mantra of Ekajata 226, Mantra of Nila-sarasvati 227, Vidyarajni-mantra (Mahavidya mantra) 230, Avarana-puja (worship of the Coverings) 234, Three kinds of Dhyanas of Mahavidya 249, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 251.
Taranga Six 254-294
Mantras o Chinnamasta 254, Procedure for the worship of Chinnamasta 258, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 265, Method of unsealing (utkilana) 267, Mantra of Renuka-Sabari 268, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 272, Mantra of Svayamvara-kala 273, Mantra of Madhumati 280, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 284, Another mantra of Madhumati 285, Mantra of Pramoda 285, Mantra of Pramoda and Experimental procedure 287, Mantra of Bandi 289, Eighteen-syllabled mantra 293.
Taranga Seven 295-343
Mantra of Bata-Yaksini 295, Another mantra of Vata-yaksini 304, Mantra of Mekhala-yaksini 305, Mantra of Visala-yaksini 306, Mantra of Vartali (mantra which is a killer of enemies), 308, Dhumavati (Jyestha) mantra 310, Mantra of Karnapisacini 314, Mantra of Sitala 316, Mantra of Svapnesvari 318, Mantra of Matangi 320, Experiment for the fulfilment of desires 330, Mantra of Banesi 332, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 339, Mantra of Kamesi 340
Taranga Eight 344-397
Mantra of Bala 344, Navayoni-nyasa 346, Ratyadi-nyasa 347, Murti-nyasa 348, Yantra for worship 350, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 358, Various mantras according to the differences in desires 368, Bala-dharana Yantra 370, Kinds of Bala 374 Mantra of Laghu-syama 378, Nyasa of Laghu-syama 379, Matangi Gayatri 396, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 396.
Taranga Nine 398-452
Mantra of Annapurna 398, Mantra for the worship of Varaha 403, Mantra for the worship of Narayana 403, Other mantras of Annapurna 408, Mantra of Trailokyamohana Gauri 412, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 417, Another mantra of Gauri 418, Mantra of Jyestha-Laksmi 421, Another mantra of Jyestha 427, Kubera-mantra 435, Mantra of Pratyangira 435, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 440, Mala-mantra of Pratyangira 442, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 445, Mantra for the destruction of Enemies 445.
Taranga Ten 453-494
Mantra of Bagalamukhi 453, Experiments for the Fulfilment of desires 460, Mantra of Svapna-Varahi 465, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 471, Dharana Yantra of Svapna-Varahi 475, Mantra of Vartali 477, Various Bali mantras 486, Mudras for Bali 489, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 490.
Taranga Eleven 495-552
Salutation (Srividya) 495, Mantra of Sodasi 496, Worship of Srividya 545.
Taranga Twelve 553-623
Worship of Sri Vidya 553, Mantra of Kamesvari 555, Mantra of Bhagamalini 556, Mantra o Nitya-klinna 557, Mantra of Bherunda 557, Mantra of Vahnivasini 558, Mahavidyesvari Mantra 558, Mantra of Sivaduti 559, Mantra of Tvarita 559, Mantra of Kulasundari 560, Mantra of Nitya 560, Mantra of Nilapatakini 561, Mantra o Vijaya 561, Mantra of Sarvamangala 562, Mantra of Jvalamalini 563, Mantra of Vicitra 563, Mantra of Laksmi 569, Mantra of Mahalaksmi 569, Mantra of Trisakti 569, Mantra of Sarva-samrajya 569, Mantras of the Goddesses of Kosa-pancaka 570, Mantras of the Goddesses of Kalpalata 571, Mantra of Parijatesvari 572, Mantras of the Goddesses of Kamadhenu-pancaka 573, Mantras of the Goddesses of Ratna-pancaka 575, Worship o six sects of Philosophy 577, Procedure of Srividya worship 578, Experiments for the fulfilment of wishes 607, Kinds of Sri-vidya 609, Technical names of Sodasi mantras 609, Bijavali Sodasi mantra 611, Guhya Sodasi mantra 611, Maha-sodasi mantra 611, Gopala-sundari mantra 614.
Figures of Yantras 625
Taranga Thirteen 639-674
Hanumana Mantra 639, Experiment for the fulfilment of desires 647, Experiment for Eradication 650, Taming a Vetala (Vampire) 651, Release of a prisoner 652, Havana for the fulfilment of various desires 653, Yantra o Hanumana for wearing as amulets 655, Mala mantra 660, Pancakuta mantra 662, Eleven-syllabled mantra and Eighteen-syllabled mantra 663, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 666, Mantra for the destruction of spleen ailments 668, Experiment which bestows victory 669, Banner which bestows victory 670, Protective armous 671, Eight-syllabled mantra 672, Mala mantra 673.
Taranga Fourteen 675-731
Visnu mantra 675, Nrsimha mantra 675, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 682, Nrsimha mantra which destroys all fears 685, Laksmi-Nrsimha mantra 687, Dasavatara Nrsimha mantra 691, Abhaya Nrsimha mantra 693, Gopala mantra 694, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 707, Govinda mantra 709, Twelve-syllabled Gopala mantra 715, Rukmini-vallabha mantra 716, Eight-syllabled mantra 719, Four-syllabled mantra 721, Santana-gopala mantra 724, Poison-destroyer Garuda mantra 726, Eulogy 731
Taranga Fifteen 732-773
Poverty-destroyer Ravi mantra 732, Mantra of Mangala 749, Son-bestowing fast of Bhauma (Mangala) 753, Angaraka Gayatri 761, Sukra mantra 765, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 768, Vyasa mantra 768, Vyasa mantra preceded and followed by Mrtyunjaya mantra 772
Taranga Sixteen 774-830
Mahamrtyunjaya mantra 774, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 792, Ten-syllabled mantra 793, Fruits of the worship 814, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 814, Kubera mantra 815, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 817, Other mantra of Kubera 817, Ganga mantra 818, Eulogy of Dasahara 824, Other mantra of Ganga 825, Manikarnika mantra 827, Another mantra of Manikarnika 829.
Taranga Seventeen 831-867
Mantra of Kartaviryarjuna 831, Yantra for worship in experiments for the fulfilment of desires 840, Varieties of mantras of Kartavirya 844, Ten mantras of Kartaviryarjuna 844, Ten other varieties of Kartavirya mantra 845, Other mantras of Kartavirya 847, Gayatri mantra of Kartavirya 851, Establishing of the lamp and worship 856, Daily offering of lamp 867, Things of the liking of Gods 867.
Taranga Eighteen 868-940
Mantra of Kalaratri 868, Captivation 882, Mantra for consecrating the collyrium 884, Immobilisation (Stambhana) 886, Enchantment (Mohana) 888, Attraction (Akarsana) 890, Aversion (Uccatana) 893, Dissension (Vidvesana) 894, Eradication (Marana) 897, Nine-syllabled mantra of Candi 899, Procedure of Nyasas 900, Candi-patha 926, Viniyoga of the three characters of Saptasati 927, Procedure of Satacandi-candi 938.
Taranga Nineteen 941-989
Caranayudha (Kukkuta) mantra 941, Number of japas and Balidana in experiments for the fulfilment of desires 947, Balidana in various experiments 950, Various experiments for the fulfilment of desires 954, Mantra of Sasta 957, Gayatri of Mahasasta 961, worship of Parthivesvara 962, Mantra for constructing Bala-ganesvara 964, Construction of Kumara and his mantra 966, Mantra of Pinaki 967, Sadasiva mantra 970, Mahadeva mantra 971, Seven mantras of Hara, etc. 971, Lhyana of Parthivesvara for the fulfilment of various desires 972, Frits of the worship of Linga 975, Dharmaraja mantra 978, Citragupta mantra 980, Asuri vidya 982, Experiments for the fulfilment of desires 986.
Taranga Twenty 990-1032
Yantra Sadhana 992, Yantra-gayatri 993, Bhuta-lipi 994, Yantras for captivation 996, Divine Immobilisation (Divya stambhana) Yantra 1000, Raja-mohana Yantra 1002, Mrtyunjaya Yantra 1003, Richman’s captivation (Dhanika vasikarana) Yantra 1005, Dusta-mohana (Captivating the wicked) Yantra 1006, Vijayaprada (bestowing victory) Yantra 1008, Yantra for the captivation of King 1011, Lalita Yantra which destroys misfortune and captivates the husband 1014, Bija-yantra for the destruction of misfortunes 1016, Yantra for Attraction (Akarsana) 1017, Yantra which seals the Mouth (Mukhamudrana) 1018, Yantra which dispels the fear of Fire 1018, Vidvesana (Dissension) Yantra 1019, Marana (Eradication) Yantra 1020, Uccatana (Aversion) Yantra 1022, Pacifying (Santikaraka) Yantra 1023, Sakini-nivartaka (Dispelling the Sakinis) Yantra 1025, Sarpabhaya-nasaka (Destroying the fear of serpents) Yantra 1025, Yantra for securing the release of prisoner 1026, Sadhana for the activation of Yantra 1027, Svarnakarsana Bhairava mantra 1027.
Taranga Twenty-One 1033-1092
Daily worship, morning rites 1033, Remembering the Guru and prayer of the desired Deity 1034, Varieties of Bathing 1035, Tilakas of Vaisnavas and Saivas 1045, Mantra Sandhya 1048, Gayatri mantras of various Gods 1049, Procedure of Acamana 1052, Worship of Dvarapalas 1054, Eradication of obstacles 1056, Procedure of sitting on the seat 1057, Placement of materials of worship and the vessels 1058, Srikantha-matrka mantra 1073, Kala-matrka mantra 1078, Pitha-nyasa 1087, Manasa-puja (mental worship 1091).
Taranga Twenty-two 1093-1145
Establishment of Special Arghya 1095, Vessels for Padya, etc. 1100, Procedure of Antaryaga (internal sacrifice) 1101, Worship of pedestal in External worship 1102, Invocation (Avahana) 1105, Order of the Devatas in Pancayatana (five primary Deitics) worship 1106, Offering seat and making the Deity to sit (Asana and Upavesana) 1108, Sannidhana 1109, Sammukhikarana 1110, Avagunthana 1110, Amrtikarana and Paramikarana 1111, Welcome and cordial welcome 1111, Padya 1112, Acamana 1112, Arghya 1113, Madhuparka 1114, Punaracamana (Resipping) 1114, Oil, Unguents and bathing cloth 1117, Upavita and Abhusana (sacred thread and ornaments) 1117, Loka-mohana 1118, Gandha (Fragrance) 1119, Puspa (Flowers) 1119, Flowers prohibited in worship 1120, Leaves acceptable in worship 1121, Recommended fruits 1122, Worship of Bell and offering of Dhupa-dana 1127, Lamp 1128, Naivedya 1131, Bali Vaisvadeva 1134, Ucchista-bhoji 1135, Arati and service of betel leaves, etc. 1136, Japa and its dedication 1137, Number of circmambulation of various Devatas 1138, Procedure of Brahmarpana (Self dedication) 1139, Visarjana (Dispersal) 1139, Mid-day and Evening worship 1140, Pancopacara (five ancillary rites 1142, Five kinds of Sadhana 1143).
Taranga Twenty-three 1146-1171
Offering of Pavitra and Damana 1146, Mantras of Kamadeva and Rati 1148, Adhivasana 1151, Kamagayatri 1153, Damana worship 1154, Pavitra worship 1157, Adhivasa 1161, Time for festival of Devatas 1169.
Taranga Twenty-four 1172-1212
Testing the suitability ;and veracity of the mantra 1172, Akathaha Cakra 1174, Necessity of testing the suitability and veracity of the Mantras 1176, Akadama Cakra 1179, Testing the Naksatra 1182, Testing of Rna-Dhana 1184, Yet another method for testing the suitability of Mantras 1190, Exception about testing of Mantras 1191, Method of discarding an Ari (enemy) Mantra 1193, Removing the defect of a Mantra 1195, Mantras which fructify in different circumstances 1196, Consideration of Kul -Kula 1198, Graha-Naksatra 1201, Ten rituals (Sams-karas) of the Mantras 1201, Mantras which fructify in Kaliyuga 1206, Mantras which can be given to Vipra, etc three Varnas (castes) 1208, Mantras which can be given only to Brahmanas and Ksatriyas 1208, Mantras which can be given to all the four classes (Brahmanas, Ksatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras) 1209, Materials for Homa 1211, Method of Brief Purascarana 1212.
Taranga Twenty-five 1213-1248
Pacification, etc. Sadkarmas 1213, Devatas and their colour 1214, Rtus (Seasons) 1215, Disa (points of the compass) 1216, Days of six rituals 1216, Posture 1217, Vinyasa (Special arrangements) 1218, Mandala (mystic diagram) 1219, Mudra 1220, Varna 1221, rise of the Five Elements 1222, Samidha (Fuel) 1223, Mala (Rosary) 1224, Agni (Fire) 1225, Worship of the tongues of Fire 1226, Number of Brahmanas to be fed 1227, Materials for writing 1228. Materias on which the Yantras should be written 1229, Kunda (Sacrificial pit) 1229, Sruva and Sruci 1229, Lekhani (Pen) 1230, Eatables 1230, Materials for Tarpana 1231, Precautions in rituals meant for fulfilment of desires 1232, Results of rituals meant for the fulfilment of desires 1232, Reasons for fulfilment of desires 1233, Unattached and motiveless devotion: a means to self-knowledge and Emancipation 1234, The method of determining the future before beginning a Purascarana 1236, Auspicious and Inauspicious dreams 1237, Indications of fructification of the mantra 1239, Author’s prayer at the conclusion of this work 1240, Contents the Author 1245, Prayer 1247, Period of creation of the work 1248.
Diagram of Yantras 1249