This section is from the book "Karpuradistotram. Karpuradi Stotra Tantrik Texts", by Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe). Also available from Amazon: The Serpent Power: The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga.
At the Feet of Shri Shri Kalika. May the Maha-Devi who is called Kalika, Because She is without beginning or end,
Whose Body is imagined to be blue of colour, Because like the blue sky She pervades the World, And because She is Chidghana,1 Sattvagunamayi Who is imagined to be black
Because She is colourless and above the coloured Gunas, Whose hair is dishevelled (Muktakeshi)
Because though Herself changeless She binds infinite numbers of Jivas by bonds of Maya, symbolized by Her dishevelled hair and because She makes liberated (Mukta) Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshvara who are Kesha,2
Who is imagined as having the Sun, Moon and Fire as Her three eyes,
Because as the Virat, the Witness of the world past, present and future She sees everything,
Who is pictured as wearing the dead bodies of two boys as Her ear-ornaments,
Because as said in Agama and Nigama the childlike and unperturbed (Nirvikara) Sadhaka is very dear to Her, who being the sole Creatrix, Preserver and Destructress of infinite millions of Worlds, has on Her Body the mark of the Yoni signifying creation, full and high breasts denoting
1 This is a play on the word Ghana which means mass and black or dark blue cloud. Chidghana is massive, compact, unmixed, pure Consciousness (Chit). Again She is Nirpuna and stainless but is also Meghanggi (cloud-bodied) because through Adhyasa of the three Gunas She appears varicoloured just as a cloud in itself colourless appears white, blue, and so forth by contact with the sun's rays. So Devi Purana says, 'Just as the uniform cloud appears as of many colours, so does She too through the instrumentality of the Gunas.'
2 Kesha=K + A + lsha. And K = Brahma, A=Vishnu, and Isha = Rudra. The Niruttara Tantra says, 'Kali who is Anirnddha-sarasvatt, is the great desire-granting tree, the sole Cause of Enjoyment and Liberation for Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha.' preservation, and a terrible visage signifying the withdrawal of all things,
Who is said to have large teeth, and a lolling tongue and to hold in Her hand a cup made of human skull, Because the Chinmayi Mahadevi drinks the wine of delusion arising from the Tamas Guna of Her Sadhaka by means of Sattva-pradhana rajoguna,1 Who is pictured as wearing a garland of severed heads Because She is Shabdabrahman (Shabdabrahmarupinl) and the heads are the fifty letters, Whose upper and lower right hands are seen to be making the
Abhaya and Vara Mudras Because She both destroys the dangers, and grants the desires of Sakama Sadhakas, Whose upper left hand is depicted as wielding a sword Because She severs the bonds of illusion for the Nishkama Sadhaka Whose lower left hand is seen to hold a human head Because She grants him Tattvajnana, Who is called Digambari (space-clad) Because being Brahman (Brahmarupini She is free from the covering of Maya2 and unconcerned (Nirvikara ,3
1 White Teeth stand for the white Sattva Guna, the red Tongue stanch for the red Rajo Guna and Delusion is the Tamo Guna. The meaning is, the Mahavidya is represented with a lolling tongue because She first destroys the Sadhaka's Tamo Guna by increasing his Rajo Guna, and large teeth because by increasing his Sattva Guna and suppressing his Rajo Guna She grants him the state of Nirgnua Brahman. In the Dhyana of Titra it is said, ' Ugratara Herself destroys the Jadya (unconscious nature) of the three worlds by putting it in her skull-cup.'
2 In the eighteenth century work of Kamalakanta called Sadhaka-ranjaua it is said: 'Of the Nirakaia Brahman, understand, Maya to be the Akara' (Niriikara-brahmer akara dekha Maya). The Shunya has no form until encircled by Maya.
3 Vikara is also ' change'. She is then in Her changeless aspect.
Who is pictured as having a waist-chain of human hands
Because hands are the principal instrument of work (Karma) and at the close of a Kalpa all Jivas with their Karmas are merged in the Avidya Shakti of Mahamaya,
Who is seen standing on the breast of corpse-like Shiva, Because the Supreme State (Parainapada) and Svarupavastha or Mahadevi (one with Shiva) is Nirguna and changeless (Nirvikara), Who is seen in Viparita-inaithuna1 with Mahakala, Because at the beginirng of a Kalpa She who is ever blissful (Nityanandamayi), and being united with Shiva, feels pleasure in the work of creation which She effects by bringing the changeless Parashiva under Her dominion (Vashibhuta), Who is again said to live in the cremation ground, Because when at the end of a Kalpa all things in the universe from Brahma to a blade of grass are dissolved in Mahakala, She is in and one with that Mahakala, who may be thus compared to a cremation ground, and because at the death of Jivas She exists as the individual (Vyashti) Jivatma in the burning ground, Whose Yantra for worship is composed of a circle symbolizing Maya, an eight-petalled lotus denoting the eightfold Prakriti, three Pentagons representing the fifteen Avayavas and a Bindu denoting Shiva-Shakti, Because She is, as Paramatma, in the gross and subtle bodies consisting of the three Gunas and twenty-four Tattvas, Whose Bija 'Krim ',2 the Queen of Mantras is pure Sattva Guna, and consciousness (Chaitanyamayi) and grants both Enjoyment and Liberation,
1 Coition in which the woman assumes the dominant roll. Shakti is active and Shiva is the passive principle.
2 The Svami also points out that the ' Kr ' sound in this Mantra are also to be found in the word Christ and in the Mussulman's Karim. See Maya Tantra Ch. vii for the Yavana Bija.
Who is worshipped as Dakshina because She alone grants the full fruits of all forms of Upasana and Yajna. May She, this Mahadevi, who is Sachchidanandarupint and forgiveness itself, pardon all offences committed by me in the explanation of this Her Hymn. Shambhu with His five mouths is unable to relate Thy qualities. Pardon all my childishness. Be propitious. Guard my life, guard my repute and guard my wife, sons and wealth. And at death grant me Liberation.
O Mother of the World, obeisance.
Shri Shri Vimalananda Svami.