This celebrated Kaula Stotra, which is now translated from the Sanskrit for the first time, is attributed to Maha-kala Himself. The Text used is that of the edition published at Calcuttain1899 bytheSanskritPressDepository,witha commentary in Sanskrit by the late Mahamahopadhyaya Krishnantha Nyaya-panchAnana, who was both very learned in Tantra Shastra and faithful to his Dharma. He thus refused the offer of a good Government Post made to him personally by a former Lieutenant-Governor on the ground that he would not accept money for imparting knowledge.

Some variants in reading are supplied by this commentator. I am indebted to him for the Notes, or substance of the notes, marked K. B. To these I have added others, both in English and Sanskrit explaining matters and allusions familiar doubtless to those for whom the original was designed, but not so to the English or even ordinary Indian reader. I have also referred to the edition of the Stotra published by Ganesha Chandra Ghosha at Calcutta in 1891, with a translation in Bengali by Gurunatha Vidyanidhi, and commentary by Durgarama Siddhantavagisha Bhattacharyya. I publish for the first time Vimalananda Svamt's Commentary to which I again refer later. When in this Introduction or in the Commentary I have not mentioned these two works my authorities are the Tantras or Taqntrik works which I cite, or the information I have gathered from those whom I have consulted.

One of the chief features of this Stotra is that it gives the mantroddhdra of the Dakshtna Kalika. It not only gives us the Dhyana, Yantra, Sadhana and Svarupa-varnand of the Mahadevi, but it also contains the chief Mantras of Dakshina-kalikA. The adjective "Tava manu-samuddharanajanu" qualifying "idam stotram" in Shloka 21 expressly states this fact.

Among the various Mantras of Dakshina Kalika the greatest is the "Vidya-rajni" consisting of 22 syllables (Dvavimshakshari).

This mantra gives the fullest and the truest symbol of the Svarupa of Her. This mantra is contained in the first five Shlokas.

The first Shloka contains Krim, Krim, Krim (3 aksharas)

2nd Shloka contains Hum, Hum (2 aksharas )

3rd Shloka contains Hrim, Hrim (2 aksharas )

4th Shloka contains Dakshine Kalike (6 aksharas )

5th Shloka contains Krim, Krim, Krim, Hum, Hum,

Hrim, Hrim, Svaha (9 aksharas)

So the first five Shlokas give us altogether 22 aksharas i. e. the full Vidyarajni.

In Vimalananda Svami's Tika of the 5th Shloka in the revised Sanskrit text he has proved by quotations from the 9th patala of Shaktananda-tarangini that this 22-syllabled mantra is the full and true representation of the Svarupa of the Mahadevi. See the quotation which begins with

"Krim-karo mastakam devi Krim-karashcha lalatakam" and ends with

"Sva-shabdena pada-dvandvam ha-karena nakham tatha"

The words "Svarupam' (5th sl.) and "Sakalam" (6th sl.) point to this Vidyarajni. After the full Vidya-rajni has been given in the first five Shlokas, the 6th Shloka gives the various other Mantras of less importance and significance - ranging from one syllabled to nine-syllabled, 15-syllabled, 21-syllablec and so forth.

This Mantroddhara has been made following the authority of Kalika-shruti, Niruttara Tantra and other Tantras. Many commentators, however, have apparently in the view o! Vimalananda failed to consult the above authorities, and have thus fallen into errors and have given a different Mantrod-dhdra. Some take the 1st Shloka to give a one-syllabled mantra the 2nd sloka as also the 3rd, two two-syllabled mantras the 5th a nine-syllabled one and so on: a view which it is contended is opposite to such passages as "atha hainam brahma randhre brahma-svarupinim apnoti........... vrihad-bhanu-jayam uchcharet" in the 1st Sukta of Kalikopanishad ; or passages in Niruttara-Tantra (Ch. II) beginning with "Atha vakshyt

Kuleshani Dakshina-kalika-manum' and ending with "Sarva-mantra-mayi vidya srishti-sthilyanta-karint" The Svami further, refers me to the end of the kadikopanishad where dealing with the various Mantras of the Dakshina Kalika it is said "Atha sarvam vidyam prathamam ekam dvayam va trayam va nama-trayaputitam va kritva japet" The great Tantrik Purnananda Giri explaining the passage says "Sarvam vidyam-iti purvokta-dvavimshatyakskaryah prathama vijam va vija dvayam va etc. (vide Shyama-rahasyam Rasikamohan's edition p. 36.)

From the above consideration, it is clear that at the very beginning in the first 5 Shlokas the 22-syllabled Mantra is given and then the others. It may be added here that the fact of Mahakala's composing the Hymn in 22 Shlokas not more nor less - is also an indication of the correctness of the Savmi's view, who, in further support of it cites 5 Shlokas dealing with the Mantroddhdra from the Krama-stava of the Dakshina-kalika under the first 5 Shlokas of the Karpuradi, which will be found in the printed text,

In course of revising his Vyakhya Vimalananda Svami has in the first six Shlokas given good grounds to prove that the Stotra not only contains the Mantroddhara and the Sadhana of Shri-Shri-Dakshina Kalika but also in it are given the Mantras and Rahasyapuja of Shri-Shri-Tara, and Shri-Shri-Tripura-sundari.

In addition to the Mantroddhara the following matters are contained in the Stotra.

No. of slokas.

Dhyana

1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 6, 7, 8, 11

Yantra

18.

Sadhana

10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

Madya

13.

Mamsa

19.

Maithuna

10.

Phala-shruti

21, 22.

The Shlokas 9, 12, 14 contain stuti only.

Shlokas 10, 15-18, 20 refer to the Tantrik virachara-sadhana. Virachara is for the class of sadhaka who are virabhava and abhishikta. To those who follow pashvachara this ritual is strictly forbidden. The nature of the rahasyapuja is indicated in the text, to which I have added an explanatory commentary in English and Sanskrit.

To the Pashu, sadhana by night is prohibited, for it connotes in Shakta-sadhava, worship with the Panchatattva. The Pashu is still bound by the pasha (bonds) of desire, etc., and he is, therefore, not adhikarl, for that which, if undertaken by the unfit, will only make these bonds stronger. For him, on the contrary, there are severe restrictions in this matter, for, as the Shaktakrama cited by the commentator says, "Maithunam tatkathalapang tadgoshthing parivarjjayet." (The Pashu should avoid maithuna, conversation on the subject, and the like.) The Pashu should avoid the eight forms of maithuna known as ashtanga maithuna - viz., smaranam (thinking upon it), kirtanam (talking of it), kelih (play with women), prekshanam (looking upon women), guhyabhashanam (talk in private with women), sangkalpah (wish or resolve for maithuna), adhyavasayah (determination towards it), as well as kriyanish-pattih (actual accomplishment). The Nitya Tantra, which the commentator cites, says: "Ratrau naiva yajed deving sandhyayang va'parahnake " - " He (the Pashu) should never worship the Devi during the latter part of the day or in the evening or at night." To this, from amongst many other authorities, I may add the Svatantra, which says that the Pashubhava Sadhaka should do one lakh of japa in day time and that a Vira devoted to his own Achara should do one lakh of japa at night;