The path of Kaula – കൗളമാർഗ്ഗം

It is impossible to perceive the subtle form with the external senses. Only through manana and dhyana (meditation), we could understand that aspect.

Lalita Sahasranama says Devi has emerged from the fire pit of Pure Consciousness. cid agni kuṇḍa sambhūtā. It is Devi’s face that was seen first. Sound and the words dissipate from the face. Face means mouth also.

That’s why the first part of the mantra, क ए इ ल ह्रीं is known as Vagbhavakuta. ह स क ह ल ह्रीं, the form of Devi from the neck to the waist is known as Madhyakuta. स क ल ह्रीं, the last part below the waist is known as Saktikuta.

Mantra has mainly three aspects; mananam, dharanam or thrananam. Mananam means thinking repeatedly one object or subject and becoming one with that. Thrananam means uplifting or escaping from three types of pains. From birth to death, from the mother’s womb to the coffin, we are experiencing various types of suffering.

The three types of suffering we undergo because of the materialistic world, the nature, from supernatural powers are known as Tapa trayas (1. Adibautika, 2. Adi Daivika 3. Adhyatmika ).

By understanding and chanting the mantras in the right way, we can be liberated from the tapa trayas. Mananat-trayate iti Mantrah. By the Manana (constant thinking or recollection) of which one is protected or is released from the round of births and deaths, is Mantra.

How could we escape from this cycles of birth and rebirths (samsara)? The only path is the one that is shown to us by our guru. The most important among those is the mantra that we receive from the master. We need to progress from the gross to the subtle aspect after receiving the mantra deeksha from a guru.

The mantra needs to be chanted and contemplated during whatever actions we are indulged in. We should remember our favorite aspect of the divine (ishta murthi). Then only we will be liberated from the ocean of samsara, reminds the mantra

śrīmad vāgbhava kūṭaika svarūpa mukha paṅkajā
(whose lotus face is the auspicious vagbhavakuta (the first five syllables of the panchadasakshari mantra).)
This part is describing the mantra form of Devi. The coming parts of Lalita Sahasranama are also mentioning about the subtle form.

It is impossible to perceive the subtle form with the external senses. It is only possible to use our minds. Only through manana and dhyana (meditation), we could understand that aspect.

kulāmṛtaika rasikāyai (who is especially fond of the nectar known as kula.)
kula saṅketa pālini (who protects the code of rituals of the path of yoga known as Kula.)

kulāṅganā (who is well-born (who is from a good family).)
kulāntasthā (who resides in Kulavidya.)
kaulini (who belongs to the Kula.)
kula yogini (who is the deity in the Kulas.)

akulā (who does not have a family.)
samayāntasthā (who resides inside Samaya (mental worship).)
samayācāra tatparā (who is attached to the Samaya form of worship.)

These are the next set of the description on Devi’s form. If we understand the meaning of the two words ‘kulam’ and ‘akulam’, we will be able to easily grasp the essence of this entire part. One meaning of ’ku’ in Sanskrit is earth. There are 6 adharas / cardinal energy centers in our body. Mooladhara, Svadisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishudhi & Ajna.

Above these 6 adharas lies the 1000 petaled lotus named Sahasrara. At the center of sahasrara is the abode of Shiva & Parvati. One’s focus should be to realize that Shiva & Sakti. I’m explaining the meaning of the word ‘kula’. Muladhara symbolizes the principle of prthvi (earth). The word ‘kulam’ is derived from this concept. kula kuṇḍālayā, who abides in Kulakunda (the center of Muladhara chakra).

Kunda as in Homa Kunda means a pit in which things can stay. Scriptures say that the Kundalini sakti , our vital life force stays dormant in the form of a serpent in the muladhara chakra. Through Bhakti, Yoga Sadhana & Knowledge this kundalini wakes-up and slowly climb through various chakras from muladhara to svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishudhi & Ajna and finally reaches the Sahasrara. Then the union of our life force with Shiva & Sakti happens.

In fact, they are not two, we cannot separate Shiva from Sakti. It is said that there are 72,000 Nāḍīs (the subtle energy channels) in our body. When the Kundalini reaches the Sahasrara, all the channels overflow with Amrit (ambrosia), the eternal life force.

sudhā sārābhi varṣiṇi
(who pours out streams of ambrosia.)
This stream of abrosia liberates one from jiva. The cycle of birth and death is broken.

There won’t be any change in the physical appearance of such people. But they won’t be the same again. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa uses an anecdote to explain this. A burnt rope will have the shape of the rope. But one cannot use that to tie anything.

In the same way, the liberated souls are no more an ordinary person. Each word, actions, breath, and their presence is beneficial to everyone in the world. Each word of them becomes the word of God. Their glance becomes that of God. Even each breath of theirs is for the good of others.

So the word ‘kulam’ indicated muladhara and the path through sushumna to the sahasrara. ‘akulam’ indicated the Sahasrara, which is above all the 6 adharas. Devi abides in Kulakunda (the center of Muladhara chakra), indicated by the mantra kula kuṇḍālayā.

kaula mārga tatpara sevitā
(who is worshipped by those devoted to the Kaula tradition.)
Devi appreciates those who choose the path of kaula. A path that is not of kaula is also mentioned in the mantras akulā, samayāntasthā, samayācāra tatparā