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Feeding the Enemy to the Goddess: War Magic in Śaiva Tantric Texts

Asia-Orient Institute, University of Zurich, CH-8001 Zurich, Switzerland
Religions 2022, 13(4), 278;
Submission received: 25 January 2022 / Revised: 27 February 2022 / Accepted: 2 March 2022 / Published: 24 March 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Representations in and around War)


This article deals with the war magic as described in Sanskrit Śaiva tantric texts written between the 5th and the 12th Century A.D. This period marks a shift from the invocation of Aghora/Bhairava as the main war-helping god to the rituals invoking terrible goddesses, mātṛkās, yoginīs. At the same time, tantric religious specialists were invited to exchange their magical knowledge for kings’ patronage in such contexts as war, drought, epidemics and such. The original presupposition was that the rituals related to war shall be most violent and transgressive in the texts of the tantric initiated, compared to the Śaiva purāṇas written for broader public, and that of the “mixed” literature (that is one written by the initiated for the kings). However, this was contradicted by the text-based evidence, and it is the “mixed” literature that proposes the most violent rituals, while the whole subject of war happened to be of minor importance in the tantric literature. The war-prayogas were included to attract attention of the kings, but the aim of that was for the internal ritual use. The explanation of this contradiction is based on the fact that somewhere between the 10th and the 12th century, the tantric specialists working for the kings actually duped them into performing violent war-magic rituals, while the real intent of those procedures is actually calling the yoginīs in order to achieve a higher state in religious practice for the initiated himself. The article includes the materials from the Jayadrathayāmala and the Ṣaṭsāhasrasaṃhitā edited and translated for the first time.

1. Introduction

The question of magical procedures in the context of war cannot boast of a rich bibliography. The studies fall into a limited number of directions, among which we could mention the studies of the Mahābhārata war, the rise of warrior-Goddess (Sarkar 2017; Yokochi 2004); or an overview of general military techniques (Ramachandra Dikshitar 1944; Thapliyal 2021); however, all of them mention war-magic only occasionally, and mostly in reference to the Arthaśāstra, written by Kauṭilya in 3rd–2nd Century B.C. (Olivelle 2013). The text mentions Atharvavedic magic, but also aindrajāla (Olivelle 2013)1, or “the net of Indra”. The main purpose of war magic is the creation of various illusions, i.e., tricks to frighten or disorient the enemy. Later on, the forms of Śiva, especially Aghora, were invoked to help in battle, the function of war magic shifting from producing illusion for the enemies to securing divine intervention by means of magical procedures2.
The aim of the present article is to provide an overview of such magical procedures as described in Sanskrit Śaiva tantric texts written between the 5th and the 12th Century A. D., concentrating in particular on the Śākta texts dated between the 10th and the 12th. This later period is marked by a definite shift from the invocation of Aghora/Bhairava as the main war-helping male Śaiva divinity to the invocations of terrible goddesses, mātṛkās, yoginīs, etc. This evolution also provokes shift from milder lacto-vegetarian rituals to the ritual acts done in terrifying places with offerings of flesh and blood (Sanderson 1995, p. 23). These female entities are called only at the time of the utmost distress, and usually the procedures are governed by a separate set of religious laws (āpad-dharma) (Serbaeva 2006)3, allowing and prescribing transgressive features, considered forbidden at times of peace and prosperity. During the same period, tantric religious specialists4, especially those dealing with difficult problems such as drought, war, epidemics, began to receive patronage from the kings. This can be clearly seen from the materials presented in the Agni- and Liṅga-purāṇas (Serbaeva 2006)5. The shift towards goddess worship happened within the texts of the initiated in ritual context much earlier than in those written for the general public, probably as early as the 6th–7th century. This fact has thus already led to the radicalisation of the rituals of the initiated. Some glimpses of this major change in the religious fashion has also reached the texts of the noninitiated, namely the Śaiva purāṇas, where the warrior goddesses are integrated into the narrative context.
However, during the period between the 10th and the 12th century, a body of “composite” literature emerges, mixing together the interests of the kings in war and of the ritual needs of the tantric specialists. This composite literature, written by the initiated but promising victory to kings in battle provided that they engage in those rituals suggested by the initiated, shall constitute the core material of this article. We will find here the purāṇas integrating the tantric prayoga materials on massive scale and the tantras posing as manuals for the kings and their religious specialists.
If we tried to imagine the possible development of the ritual practices, we would see during this period three independent, but clearly rising tendencies towards the radicalisation of the rituals.
First of all, there is a general evolution from the worship of male gods towards the worship of goddesses and the embracing of transgression in the ritual practices. This was outlined by Alexis Sanderson who even suggested that a ladder from 1 to 5 could be used for dating of the texts (Sanderson 1995)6. Secondly, the close relationship between the kings and the priests related to the above Goddess-traditions, the initiated now receiving patronage. This means that those priests who regularly practiced nonvegetarian offerings and performing sacrifices were more likely to suggest to the kings in difficult war situations some form of the same; and finally, the application of different laws and procedures in case of the āpad-dharma, of which war would be the epitome in the context of the literature for the noninitiated.
Besides this implied tendency towards the radicalisation of the rituals, the reader should be aware of the polarity between the culturally accepted practices prescribed in the purāṇic texts meant for a large part of population on the one hand, and secret tantric tradition, invoking various demon-like beings and performing human sacrifices, on the other. The “composite” literature mentioned above is thus contradictory and is difficult to inscribe into either “pure” initiated or “pure lay” context.
We can preliminarily suggest that the more tantric and goddess-oriented the source is, the more bloody and transgressive the rituals would normally be, especially in the war context. The aim of this article is to verify the validity of this presupposition. We shall also try to answer the question if the passages dealing with the invocation of the goddesses were introduced for the purpose of helping the kings to win battles in exchange for their patronage, or if there were more grim and purely tantric reasons.

2. Sources and Methods

We shall look at the war-oriented prayoga passages in Sanskrit medieval Śaiva texts only7, and the scope of the overview will cover a period from about the 5th–6th to the 12th century. As for the tantric sources8, these are all linked texts, constituting some sort of line of transmission that can be traced based upon citations: the Niśvāsatattvasaṃhitā (NTS, around the 5th century) (Goodall and Bisschop 2009) influenced the Svacchandabhairavatantra (SVT, around 7th century) (Kaul 1921–1935); which, in its turn, was partly incorporated into the Tantrasādbhavatantra (TST, 8th century) (Dyczkowski 2005), which, finally, shares a lot of material with the Kubjikāmatatantra (KMT, probably around 9th) (Goudriaan and Schoterman 1988). The latter influenced some vidyā codes and was mentioned in the Jayadrathayāmala (JY, 10th century) (Serbaeva and Serbaev 2022).
As for the texts of the noninitiated, i.e., the Śaiva purāṇas written for the larger public, these do not constitute a clear line of transmission, as we have seen in the case of the tantras, and their dates remain rather approximate and based on the presence of the tantric elements (Serbaeva 2009). We could mention a roughly 5th century Vāyupurāṇa (VP) (Tagare 1987–1988), a dated around the 6th century Devī-(DP) (likely a later date, probably 9th, see further) (Kumāra and Miśra 1976), and the Ur-Skandapurāṇa (USP, 6th to 8th) (Bhaṭṭarāī 1988), the 7th–8th century Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa (MAP) (Joshi and Pargiter 2004), closely followed by around 9th or later century Matsya (MP) (Āpaṭe 1907), and the Kūrmapurāṇas (KP) (Gupta 1971).
A number of texts do not fit into these two clear-cut categories, and these are included into a “mixed” category, standing halfway between the purāṇasand the tantras, mostly constituted by tantric encyclopaedias written by the initiated for the kings, precisely to incite them to invest into magical rituals promising help in war. It is necessary to mention here the Netratantra (NT) (Kaul 1926–1939), dated by A. Sanderson to the 8th–mid-9th century (Sanderson 2004b)9. We could include here as well an undatable (since as of yet unstudied) body of the war-divination manuals, many of which bear the title Yuddhajayārṇava (YJA) (Serbaeva 2018), and some of which include the war prayogas. Here also comes Narapatijayacaryāsvarodaya (NJS) (Miśra 2016), incorporating in chapter 3 some of the Brahmayāmala materials (see further under NJS). We should place into this “mixed” category the composite, tantra-influenced purāṇas, i.e., the 2nd part of the Liṅgapurāṇa (LP.2, post-10th century) (Bhattacaryya 1885; Shastri 1980), and the Agnipurāṇa (AP, late 12th–13th century) (Upadhyaya 1966). Both texts incorporate the Kubjikā-materials, and while for the Liṅgapurāṇa it could still be the Kubjikāmatatantra (Goudriaan and Schoterman 1988), the Agnipurāṇa could not have appeared before the Ṣaṭsāhasrasaṃhitā (ṢSS) (Serbaeva 2012b). For example AP includes the list of 64 yoginīs that ṢSS externalises and adds to KMT internal yogic structures, and, following ṢSS, it calls them forth in the context of war10.
We shall, after a brief overview of the mentioned sources, concentrate only on those texts that call goddesses and female beings as the main agents helping in war. Having located such passages, we shall evaluate the degree of transgressivity of the rituals required to call them forth. Thus, we shall start with the texts that we expect to be milder and move towards the core of the transgressive and almost exclusively goddess-oriented Jayadrathayāmala and Ṣaṭsāhasrasaṃhitā. The question that will be attempt to answer is whether the war-oriented prayogas were more goddess-oriented and more transgressive rituals as we move through the texts in time. Would the texts of the initiated feature more terrible and transgressive procedures?
For each addressed passage we set a degree of “transgressivity”, that is, lacto-vegetarian offerings with mantras is level “1”; animal sacrifices and nonvegetarian offerings would constitute level “2”, and the rituals requiring human sacrifices and use of human body-constituents as “3”. We shall apply this scale to the whole text and to the war passages separately. Another “measurable” aspect is the part of the war-oriented prayogas within the whole text: are we talking about random passages, complete chapters dedicated to war magic, or the totality of the text dedicated to resolving the war issues of the kings by magic rituals? Particular attention shall be paid on the probable authorship and the intentions of war-related magical procedures.

3. Results: The Overview of the Three Groups of Sources

We begin with a brief overview of the (1) tantric line, that will culminate in the JY, two chapters of which shall be presented here for the first time, then (2) the purāṇic line, and (3), we conclude with the “mixed” literature, also featuring previously unpublished materials. See Figure 1.

3.1. The Tantric Line

3.1.1. The Niśvāsatattvasaṃhitā (NTS)

The war-related magical procedures are known from the earliest strata of the śaiva tantric texts. As an example, we could cite the Niśvāsatattvasaṃhitā, where in book 5 (Niśvāsaguhya), chapter 14, in a prose passage, one can find an outline of war-related magical rituals. The text prescribes to make a knot on the rope that would represent a particular aspect of the deity, here, the Southern face of Śiva, that is Aghora, over which the mantras are recited 1008 times:
Having grasped the rope dyed in five colours, he should make a knot on it, having recited 1008 times the mantras [over it] near the Southern Face of God. If it is placed in one’s own hand, or that of another, one will become uncontrollable to various dangers. He will be invincible and impossible to overcome in gambling, conversation, battle, or worldly affairs [refers to business or court].
A similar practice related this time to the Vāmadeva aspect of Śiva are described in the same chapter: “He should recite the mantras in battle over man armed with weapon and armour, he will become unconquerable everywhere.” (Goodall and Bisschop 2009)12.
The level of transgressivity of the passage here is “1”, the text in general registers also as a “1”, but has some passages of the level “2” and even tending towards “3”. For example, the use of one’s own blood to kill the enemy (Goodall and Bisschop 2009)13, the ritual invocation of the terrible feminine figure as if coming from the Goddess-oriented tantric traditions, called “Time” (Goodall and Bisschop 2009)14. There is even a case of use of human skull for invisibility practice:
Then he should enter cremation ground, grasp a skull [...] he should recite 1008 times mantras over it placing it towards the Southern face of God [i.e., Aghora], if he smears his own eyes, he will become invisible.
Finally, it is necessary to metion the homa with cow flesh (Goodall and Bisschop 2009)16.
The war material, nevertheless, constitutes a minor part of the whole. The aim of the text in general is rather religion with an after-death liberation.

3.1.2. The Brahmayāmala (BY)

This text, one of the rare survivors of the Yāmala-class of Vidyāpīṭha tantras, is being edited and translated by Shaman Hatley (Hatley 2018). Hatley dates it between 6th and 8th century and recognises multiple layers of composition (Hatley 2018, pp. 71–75). As for the war-related prayogas, the text is written rather for the internal tantric practice than for the kings, and references to battles and kings are rare. A vidyā called Yantrapramārdinī given in BY.17 in a form of a yantra promises victory to the king in battle as well as within his own court:
He will not be bound by the enemy’s ways, people (such as kings and relatives). In battle he will win without doubt as well as in gambling. In worldly affairs he will be forever impossible to conquer, by the remembrance of the vidyā, I tell you the truth.
However, the main purpose of the vidyā is definitely meeting the yoginīs and mysteriously knowing the tantric procedures. War and other prayogas are secondary:
The best of sādhakas who learns the samayavidyā properly becomes an initiate who knows the pledges18. In no time he will achieve the vision of yoginīs. O Mahādevi, by the powerful great vīrya, one who has heard the pledge-vidyā, becomes simultaneously endowed with the knowledge of the pledge (samaya).
The BY has, however, a set of multiple repeating references to magical yantras that allow one to stop enemy armies (Hatley 2007)20. These references, although the BY (Picumata) does not, to my knowledge, provide those yantras, could have given rise to some intermediary tantric creation that got incorporated into NJS with a reference to the BY21. The BY itself, however, refers to a certain Yantrārṇava, “The Ocean of Yantras”, as the source of yantra-related materials22.

3.1.3. The Early Trika (SYM, TST)

The Siddhayogeśvarīmata suggests the use of Mālinī-mantra and the nyāsa for the purpose of victory in battle: “If he repeats the mantra in battle, he will obtain victory, no doubt.” (Törzsök 2009)23. The passage is brief and would be considered a level “1”, the text itself is level “3”. War-related passages are rare, and the text is almost exclusively dedicated to the “internal” tantric practice (Törzsök 2006)24.
The Tantrasadbhāvatantra, a SYM-influenced Trika text, in chapter 20 provides, following the NTS tradition, a variant of the Aghora-mantra which, when recited 10,000 times, magically destroys one’s enemies. The old procedure is updated by the use of the mudrā: “[One who follows his pledge] having observed in battle the coming of the enemies, should perform 10,000 recitations having displayed a terrible mudrā. That [enemy] will die in this very moment.” (Dyczkowski 2005)25.
Chapter 9 and 24 provides a prediction ritual about victory or possible death in battle. The passages are of level “1”, the text is of the level “3”, prescribing human sacrifices and using human blood (Dyczkowski 2005; Serbaeva 2022). However, although there are more war-related passages in TST than in SYM, these depict mainly the male-god-oriented practices.

3.1.4. The Kubjikāmatatantra (KMT)

The Tantrasadbhāva materials were incorporated into the Kubjikā tradition, to the point that the two texts share more than 20% of the KMT’s length (Serbaeva and Serbaev 2022). In the KMT and in texts post KMT we find a very original way to destroy one’s enemies—by feeding them to the tantric goddesses (here mātṛkās):
During the battle he should visualise [the deity]] in the heart of the blade of a sword, while the enemies should be imagined as surrounded by the mātṛs; he should repeat “eat, eat”.
The link between this feeding of the mātṛkās and the purāṇic tradition of legends of the Great Goddess defeating demons with the help of demon-devouring and blood-drinking mātṛkās is yet to be analysed in detail. If KMT itself is a rather purified and codified text in which war prayogas are mentioned without details, the Ṣaṭsāhasrasaṃhitā, which repeats 60% of the KMT material (Serbaeva and Serbaev 2022), updates it with a multitude of war-related prayogas, filling the old rituals with a new set of female deities: yoginīs, ḍākinīs and mātṛkās, etc. These are to destroy enemies, they possess now a new set of functions, well beyond KMT-based kuṇḍalinī arrangements. The difference between the two texts was so pronounced that I have decided to include ṢSS into the “mixed” category.

3.1.5. The Jayadrathayāmala (JY)

This is a very long text consisting of 4 books called ṣaṭkas, and supposed to have some 24,000 ślokas. We would expect it to be the most extreme when it comes to the antinomian and transgressive character of the described rituals, because it brings together the materials of some 400 plus earlier tantras, summarised and standardised in this encyclopaedia to represent the forms of Kālī, that is the aspects of the same absolute goddess. However, the primary aim of the composition is definitely the internal tantric practice, and in its 202 surviving chapters only two are clearly dedicated to the war-related forms of Kālī. Other war prayogas appear in the lists of siddhis resulting from the mastery of major vidyās. The two chapters and some additional materials shall be translated and commented upon below.
The Saṃgrāmavijaya vidyā from the JY.4.21 is the first chapter to be translated and analysed here. This vidyā is to be found in the last book of the JY, after a set of Krama-related chapters. It belongs to the set of prayoga-oriented vidyās, i.e., the invocations of the forms of Kālī for a particular “practical” magical purpose. This chapter is called Saṃgrāmavijaya, i.e., “victory” (vijaya) in “battle” (saṃgrāma). Interestingly, although Alexis Sanderson suggests an independent character of the ṣaṭka 1 of the JY as well as its more ancient composition27, the 1st ṣaṭka actually mentions the Saṃgrāmavijayatantra (Serbaeva 2021)28, and, parallel to the other chapters, it might be possible that the whole tantra that existed at the time of JY’s compilation was reduced to the size of a single chapter, that is JY.4.21. This is also confirmed by the fact that Bhairava tells the Goddess that the explanation he provides is samyag, which can be translated as “somewhat in brief”, “in a reduced format”. Although JY.1 is a set of multiple distinguishable layers, more research is needed, but it would be possible to preliminarily suggest that the set of chapters JY.1.35–45 is linked to the other 3 ṣaṭkas in a much stronger way, and this part of JY.1 is not independent from the rest.
The chapter JY.4.21 survives in four manuscripts, all of JY itself, these have never been edited or translated to the best of my knowledge. The three manuscripts of the Jayadratha-yāmala-mantroddhāra-ṭippanī (JYM) (Serbaeva 2012a) provide a ready-to-use vidyā, but do not repeat the whole chapter, as they would often do with some other chapters of JY. The fact that we only have four manuscripts makes this a rather provisional edition and translation.
As for the dates, JY.4(B) is probably a 12th century manuscript according to the information provided by Diwakar Acharya. See the palaeographical grounds discussed in (Serbaeva and White 2021). JY.4(A) is dated to 1626–1627 A.D., preceded by JY.4(D) dated to 688 Saṃvat, that is 1567 A.D. The latest copy is probably a 19th–20th century JY.4(C) in clear Devanāgarī.
As for the parallels within the JY, there are some similarities with the language of JY.2.10–25, in particular 2.1629. However, these are rather generic introductions into the chapter or the marking point of raising vidyās, or again, the long comparison of the Goddess to the “fire of universal destruction” in the dhyāna-lines30.
Translation, JY.4.21:
1. Now I will explain the great Saṃgrāmavijaya [vidyā], [It is when] the Goddess herself makes sādhaka win as he pleases.
2. Having resorted to an auspicious place, full of flowers, there he should worship the Queen of Mantras (Mantreśī) by means of offerings [proper to] heroes.
3. There he should raise31 the vidyā which provokes multiple wondrous visions. Having raised the “Lord of the Elephants”, the 6th, standing on the “kṛtānta”.
4. [All that] again should be made stationed on “fire”, decorated with the “bindu” and “Viṣṇu”. This piṇḍa32, similar to the Universal Delusion, has been explained.
5. Having raised the “two-tongued”, one should somewhat add to it the “wind”. [Then] is one after “trident”, standing on the “cutter” and extremely shining with the “three bindus”.
6. Again the “two tongued” with bindu, as before, stroke by “bhīmaśaṅku”. The [vidyā] “Great Savior in Battle”, having seven syllables, has been explained.
7. One should worship [this vidyā] when it is installed in a sword, with full heroic mode, with multiple divine33 oblations (upahāra) of alcohol, meat and juices.
8. One should visualise her [the Goddess] shining like thousands of millions of the fires of the end of a kalpa, resounding like the Great Dissolution, and drying up even an ocean of weapons.
9. Roaring like agitated ocean, very skinny, terribly powerful, with bare fangs, standing hair, endowed with a necklace of heads.
10. Enjoying frightening the triple world, destroying the enemy side, sitting on the bones34, she should be visualised with a shining half-moon.
11. One should imagine her as having Universal form, stationed in everything, and [howling like a jackal]. Having done this [i.e., the following] worship first, he will then win goddess Śivā over.
12. Having resorted to the great mountain, he should repeat the vidyā 100,000 times with full concentration. After that, O Beautiful, one should do homa for the syllables.
13. Having offered into the middle of the fire pit the human omentum 10,000 times combined, he will see Parameśvarī.
14. Karaṅkiṇī in her peaceful form arises from the middle of the fire. Having seen her, the sādhaka should give the welcoming drink (arghya) consisting in his own blood.
15. Having pierced his left limb. Then she becomes very happy and she gives choicest gifts to the sādhaka.
16. [He will be led to] the same place where the Goddess herself is stationed, otherwise, having repeated the vidyā for 10,000 times, he will obtain victory in battle.
17. Having worshipped by means of the previously explained procedure, he should set in motion for the battle. The Leader of Heroes, maintains silence except to mutter the vidyā35.
18. He should regard the entire enemy army as being for the sake of sacrifice, then the enemies will be destroyed, in a second, by one who has performed the sacrifice36.
19–20. The choicest conches, drums, flags, elephants, horses and chariots, the weapons and shields, all that he should be sprinkle with water seven times, o Goddess of Gods. They become indestructible and they will not be defeated, they win over the army of enemy37.
21. Otherwise, having made a brass receptacle, he should draw on it the Goddess of Gods, Karaṅkiṇī, endowed with her previously explained form.
22. Having worshipped it by means of previously explained procedure, the leader of sādhakas should recite [the vidyā] 1000 times over it, hitting it while reciting the mantra.
23. Having heard that terrible sound, the assembly of elephants, bulls and chariots will wipe away suddenly the enemies like wind destroys a dense cloud.
24. They [the enemies] will be completely destroyed and deluded without any doubt. O Bhairavi, not only one wins frivolously by means of that same but one is also protected.
25. Even if Śakra himself arrived, he would be destroyed38. Thus every battle will be completely won by the leader of sādhakas.
26. Otherwise he can also employ the incense over which he has personally recited mantras 108 times.
27. O Worshipped by gods, he should go in front [of the army] holding it up, once they feel that smell, the enemy soldiers are destroyed39.
28. The Supreme Leader of Heroes will win by the power of the Goddess of Gods. That is why this vidyā, endowed with terrible power, is called “Saving in Battle”.
29. It has been somewhat explained by me to you, and it is rich in qualities of all accomplishments.
[Colophon] This is a chapter called the "Procedure of the War Kālī” of the forth ṣaṭka of the 24,000-verses long Great Tantra called the Jayadrathayāmala, belonging to the division of the Śiraccheda, i.e., “Cut-off head” within the Vidyāpīṭha, i.e., the “Throne of vidyās”, that itself is [lies] within the Bhairavasrotas, that is Stream of Revelation from Bhairava.
Why is this chapter important? Because here we see a first example of symbiosis of a tantric ritual and the interests of a king: the killing of enemies in war is presented as an offering to the Goddess. The whole procedure is a religious ritual supposed to bring positive results to the king, however, for a sādhaka himself the war is secondary. It is only one of the possible by-effects of the internal practice aiming at getting closer to the Goddess. The fact that, as presented, the Goddess herself is possessing the objects and she herself is getting the enemies killed, and at the same time she receives them as an offering40.
How should we classify this chapter? The text belongs to the level “3 plus”, however, the transgressive elements occur only at the stage of mastering the mantra (level “3”), but not specifically in the process of the empowering objects for the actual battle. The chapter is clearly written in view to advance the sādhaka, while the war prayoga constitutes an optional outcome.
The procedure of the Weapon Kālī (Astrakālī), from JY.4.45, is the second chapter that is to be translated in full below. This chapter is very short, only 14 verses, and it is different in character from the above one because the issue of war is given a very important role: the Goddess herself asks about it in the opening verses of the chapter41.
Translation JY.4.45:
The goddess said:
1. Tell me, how a leader of heroes can somehow obtain victory in the time of battle by means of the mantra-empowerment of the weapons together with the king?
2. Tell me that method of the incomparable fire-ritual (yāga), performed by those who are in a dangerous circumstances, the way by which, O Īśvara, the enemies are drove away.
Venerable Bhairava said:
3. Well, out of compassion for devotees, I will tell what you have asked out of my love, I will explain the procedure that deludes everyone42.
4. O Goddess, having worshiped the alphabet goddesses, he should raise [the vidyā of] Kālī.
The “two-tongued” one should be made riding “fire”43, joined with “creation”.
5. One after “karttāna” alone, Śakra (i.e., Indra)44 standing on the “fire of universal destruction”, joined with “bindu”. O Fortunate, the one before “moon” with “three bindus”.
6. One should raise three times the one after [KA]45, and the last one should be endowed with “creation”. This Queen of Terrible Vidyās has seven syllables, and brings siddhis to people [just] by recitation46.
7. She is also called Rāviṇī47, and this one is that same. She has that same might, same empowerment and the same form.
8. O goddess, same is the worship, and the procedure does not differ [...]48, and [in the same way] by the yāga, siddhis are obtained in the immovable heart[-mantra].
9ab. There is nothing in the triple world that cannot be conquered by the accomplished heart[-mantra].
9cd–10ab49. For those who are against the yāgas in the world, and who powerfully destroy [them], in order to destroy those, the practitioner should remember [the present vidyā]50.
10cd. If swords and other arms are sprinkled with [mantras water] 100 times, in the manner of a paśu51.
11. Having grasped those arms, he overthrows the army of enemies52. Be [his enemies] equal to Indra in power, he will kill and delude them in an instant.
12. At the end of letters [i.e., recitation] he will appear like the one, whose body looks like the end of Time. The sādhaka will appear as Bhairava to the enemies53.
13. O goddess, having killed all of those paśus [i.e., sacrificial beings], he will fly up. At this, the Weapon-Kālī54 [procedure] bringing success has been told to you.
14. O Beloved Bhairavi, tell me, what else should I tell you.
[Colophon] This is a chapter called the "Weapon Kālī” of the forth ṣaṭka of the 24,000-verses long Great Tantra called the Jayadrathayāmala, belonging to the division of the Śiraccheda, i.e., “Cut-off head” within the Vidyāpīṭha, i.e., the “Throne of vidyās”, that itself is [lies] within the Bhairavasrotas, that is Stream of Revelation from Bhairava.
As it is clear from the passage, killing enemies here, similar to in JY.4.21, is represented in the same terms as offering sacrificial beings to the goddess, and that the sādhaka is supposed to actively participate in the process. This chapter is thus closer to the ṢSS.15, and it is a chapter of level “3” within a level “3” text, war-oriented, but the same as in ṢSS55, this war is only a means to please the tantric goddess. The chapter is more about identification of the goddess with Rāviṇī than about helping kings at war.
Finally, we shall address some selected passages from the Lokeśvarīcakra chapter, JY.2.16, it deals with a circle of the “Worldly protectors”, i.e., lokāpālas56. The coded vidyā, given in v. 24–36, identifies the goddess as Ghorakaṅkālī, and the code takes the main elements from the mūla-vidyā of Kālasaṃkarṣiṇī, i.e., the “Mahācaṇḍayogeśvarī” part, surrounded by seven bījas. In the first part of the dhyāna-passage, she has no human shape, and in v. 43–56 she is presented as kuṇḍalinī. However, describing her yāga, the text prescribes offerings of human flesh and blood, humans bodies forming a maṇḍala and multiple victims to be sacrificed. In her description, which is not anymore formless, but of the cosmic goddess decorated with the skulls of the god-leaders of the worlds, she accepts the offerings of human flesh into fire57.
Translation JY.2.16 (selected passages):
56cd. Having raised that mantra, o Goddess, he should proceed with the ritual.
57. In the maṇḍala accomplishing all desires, in which there are many burst-open heads of the great cadavers58, [in the maṇḍala] having 16 spokes, four doors, and endowed with four lanes.
58. With gates, flags, umbrellas, and funeral pyres. In this maṇḍala which has been drawn with powder made of human bones, with pots filled with human blood in major directions.
59. With human flesh offered in sacrifice, with the scent incense and saffron, with the multitude of flowers and sweets. The Goddess should always be worshiped there.
60. By sacrifice of great victims59, and the “heroic nectars” of five kinds and bali.
It is important to note that all these extremely transgressive elements, such as human sacrifices (“great victims” are the human victims), occur here at the stage of gaining power after the initiation. This level “3” of transgression is normal for the JY, and occurs throughout the text. Let us look at some elements of visualisation:
61cd. Resounding with the roaring sound of the humming of the frightening HUṂ sound.
62. Like a sun of destruction, shining like a stream of blazing meteors. She should be visualised shining as half of Śiva, [at the same time white] like an autumn cloud and black as crow60.
63. Completely flaming and shining, she is endowed with five faces with red frowning glances, she is eager to destroy the multitude of the Universes.
64. Her 18 arms, with which she is endowed, form the divine maṇḍala [...].
69cd. The multitude of heads of 100 rudras hang heavily on her apron.
70. The heads of the leaders of the worlds hang down as her necklace [...].
Further in the text, it is described that the body parts of Bhairava, Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Rudra and Īśvara form her decorations61.
75. She is surrounded by the multitude of heroes and vetālas, whose teeth play rhythm when touching each other [in fear]. She is adored by Ḍākinīs, Dikcarīs, Lāmās, Bhūcarīs and Śākinīs.
76. She loves the dance of destruction performed by Khecarīs in the cakra of Mahāḍāmarikā. Her embodied form is worshipped with the lotus of the heart of the “great sacrificial victim” [i.e., human beings].
79cd. She is extremely terrible, very frightening, beyond the fear of the terrible [implying that she is also beyond Bhairava].
80. Having visualised Mahākālī in this manner, he should worship her with heroic offerings. At the end, he should offer “the great flesh” [i.e., human flesh] into fire 1008 times.
It is only after obtaining siddhisof the Goddess’s vidyā, that the sādhaka gets to the practices related to the Protectors of the World (lokapālas). The practices are activated by the same coded mantra and the visualisation of the goddess as above, however, the colour changes according to the effects of the practice. The first described practices provoke various sorts of delusion: sādhaka becomes able to show illusion to the public within “a shadow,” i.e., subtle body. This can be a city of gandharvas, or the whole universe, from Śiva down to earth. In this context, we find two passages that are to be used for war, and these are also a sort of magical delusions. This is related to Indra (Śakra) as a lokapāla, and likely preserves the elements of the most ancient war-magic strata, called Aindrajāla, that is mentioned in the Arthaśāstra62.
The semi-independant subchapters within JY.2.16 include some of these ancient forms of war magic, for example, "The elephant-tusk procedure" to be found in JY.2.16.144cd–152:
144cd. Now, o Maheśvari, I will explain out of my love for you63.
145. O Gaṇāṃbika, the mantra related to Your very secret name, listen. Having extracted elephant tusk of the length of 12 fingers.
146. O beloved, [he should also get] [a stick on which a man was impaled]64, it can be extracted any time and should be equal [in length to the tusk]. Having grasped those two, the sādhaka should in the temple of Śiva.
147. In the middle of the vedi, having performed [lacuna] make a ritual bringing under control. First of all, he should repeat the mantra 50,000 times, and make fire offerings as [stated] in the Āgamas.
148. Near that he should place a hand [lacuna, conj.: near the tusk], on the 14th night of the dark half65. [As he worships the goddess] that [object] becomes warm, O beloved.
149. Then it starts to give whitish smoke [marked lacuna], and suddenly flares up66. The heroic sādhaka should then grasp67 the tooth and the stick.
150. Whatever he draws with them, that very form becomes real, no doubt, with two legs or with four legs.
151. It will stay for five years, like a slave of the sādhaka. The great powerful indestructible army comprising four elements [i.e., elephants, chariots, cavalry, and infantry].
152. With elephants and horses, good for every use. No doubt, it will be difficult to conquer for the enemies of the sādhaka.
[Colophon]: The ritual of the tusk in the procedure of the Indra’s “flag” in the Jayadratha[yāmala].
Another procedure allows manifesting an illusory army that can even make a lot of noise. This is probably supposed to frighten the army of the enemy. The sādhaka, however, can always escape by a mantra-empowered rope that stands vertically in the sky. This is the vidyā of the vidyādharas calling the celestial army, to be found in JY.2.16.161–69:
161. Now I will explain the great practice of “the invisible passage”68, by this, one can lead the whole world to delusion, no doubt.
162. Having resorted to the frightening forest of pitṛs, he should repeat the mantra 300000 times, O Maheśvari, he should offer “that of earth” to fire 1/10th of that.
163. Having grasped a good string of 100 arms in length, standing in the middle of the assembly, he will be able to show the invisible.
164. Listen to the lofty vidyā[higher than anything] that is related to the assembly of vidyādharas69, he will show in that very moment the elephants, horses and chariots.
165. He will make apparent the great battle in the sky in a blink of an eye. Having heard that [army] produces a terrifying roar “halahalā”.
166. He should place the string in the intermediate space [between earth and sky], and that will become evident to all. He will become endowed with power, shield and sword, and these are the complete proofs70.
167. He should rise up, with a terrible speed71, having done a lot of compassionate acts. If the army is destroyed, it comes back again in that very second.
168. There is nothing beyond that, so do it. Thus, by the power of the great vidyā, he will be able to.
169. Make and display in the world thousands of soldiers very powerful and [fully armed]72.
[Colophon]: The ritual of the “secret passage” in the procedure of the Indra’s “flag” in the Jayadratha[yāmala].
Although the ritual procedures of the tantric line imply the use of extreme rituals (use of body products and parts, human sacrifices) from the period of the Yāmalas and Early Trika on, the war procedures in the JY do not stand out by their particularly transgressive character compared to the overall text. On the contrary, compared to the rituals aiming at calling the yoginīs or winning the attention of Devī, these war prayogas are less transgressive. The transgression happens in JY at the stage of winning power, but the JY, the same as the lineage of tantric texts mentioned before it, aims rather at religious ends. The question of war has no influence on the degree of the ritual transgression in case of the tantric line, and it is generally of minor importance. Let us now see if the same would apply to the epic and purāṇicliterature.

3.2. The Epic and Purāṇic Line

3.2.1. The Mahābhārata (MBH)

The Mahābhārata (MBH), which is dedicated to the description of war to a large extent, invokes in an interpolated passage a Goddess for help (Belvalkar 1947)73 Right before the main battle, in book 6, chapter 22, verses 16ff, Arjuna is asked by Kṛṣṇa to make a hymn for the goddess Durgā:
Having purified himself, the powerful one, standing in front of the imminent battle, should sing a hymn to Durgā in order to win over the enemies.
The whole hymn is only 13 verses long, and it identifies Durgā with Kālī, Mahākālī, Caṇḍī and many other names of Goddess. She is praised as bestowing victory in every battle and she is said to live in Pātāla and win the war against the Dānavas: “Let me be victorious in every battle by your grace” (Tokunaga 1999)75 and “You live forever in Pātāla and you are victorious over the Dānavas” (Tokunaga 1999)76. The goddess appears and predicts victory to Arjuna before immediately vanishing. The same interpolated passage promises protection and victory to anyone reciting the hymn: “He will always be victorious in battle, and will obtain singular wealth” (Tokunaga 1999)77. The transgression is of level “1” because it is a nonritual text, and besides the hymn we have no indication about the quality of the possible offerings to the Goddess.

3.2.2. The Earlier Śaiva Purāṇas

As it has already been discovered (Serbaeva 2006)78, the purāṇas include very early a female figure helping to fight demons. The Vāyupurāṇa (VP), which is generally considered one of the earliest (Hazra 1963; Serbaeva 2006)79, includes a description of a divine female figure, who is the Māyā of Viṣṇu, in the context of fight with Madhu and Kaiṭabha (Tagare 1987–1988)80. The Matsyapurāṇa includes tantric female deities of the Vidyāpīṭha tradition in the context of fighting the demon Andhaka (Āpaṭe 1907; Serbaeva 2006)81. The Kūrmapurāṇa (Gupta 1971) includes a long hymn to Devī, but these texts do not depict any goddesses as the main agent in war prayogas, same concern the Śivapurāṇa, where the tantric female deities are included into the ritual maṇḍala, but the main deity is Śiva (Serbaeva 2006, pp. 53–54). The situation changes in Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa (Joshi and Pargiter 2004), which includes the famous 700 verses to Durgā (Durgāsaptaśati). Although in the text itself it is a purāṇic development of demon-fighting mythological story (Yokochi 2004), it gives rise to many ritual procedures in the later literature (Sarkar 2017).
Although the goddesses were incorporated into the war context in the purāṇas very early, they belong to the narrative and not to the ritual context. In earlier purāṇas, where the level of transgression is “1”, and in very rare cases “2”, the prayoga passages calling for terrible goddesses are rather rare. However, within this pure purāṇic tradition, a group of texts that are more radical than the tantras distinguishes itself from about the 10th century.

3.3. The “Mixed" Line

I classify under “mixed texts” the purāṇas and the tantras that invoke the goddesses as the main war-agent, but they do it in the ritual passages written for the kings, and not in the context of an amusing narrative. Another important aspect, is, on the one side, the inclusion of the antinomian tantric rituals, and, on the other side, the “rounding of the corners,” i.e., disguising the tantric deities as their milder general equivalents (Bhairava to Śiva, Kālī to Umā, etc.), in order to fit the religious fashion of general public in a particular historical context. These texts appear to be written by the tantric specialists offering their magical prayogas in exchange for the king’s patronage.
Among those “mixed” texts, we should distinguish the “technical” literature, which, although aware of the tantras, does not prescribe any war prayogas by invoking the Goddess, but concentrates on the astrological or breath-related calculations that allow one to know the outcome of battle in advance. Here belong the YJA and NJS. There is also a tendency towards the expurgation of the original tantric elements, leaving only yantras and calculations.

3.3.1. The Devīpurāṇa (DP)

This text poses as a purāṇa, but includes a very important number of the tantric elements that occur not only in narrative, but also in the ritual context. The tantric mantras are employed for the victory in battle and welfare of the kings. The Devīpurāṇa is a manual for the king and his tantric gurus dealing with goddess worship. It is a text that starts with the invocation of Caṇḍikā and its main goddess is Cāmuṇḍā under various names and titles, including Sarvamaṅgalā (Kumāra and Miśra 1976)82. It mentions Brahmā- and Viṣṇuyāmalas (Kumāra and Miśra 1976)83. The names of tantric goddesses and texts are all-pervasive, and I will comment on two chapters only that mention war.
Chapter 9 describes various tantric rituals, marking the danger from viṣakanyās, or poisonous women, and outcaste women for the king, underlining a danger that women can curse when improperly treated. It is important to note that the mentioned categories of women are conceptualized as yoginīs in the tantric texts (Serbaeva 2006, Appendix 3.10). In this context, the speakers bring in the vidyā that is able to wipe away all sins. That is the worship of the goddess Cāmuṇḍā performed with human flesh. Her vidyā, called the padamālā vidyā (Serbaeva 2006, Appendix 6.3), includes some of the war actions, but these are simply listed. For example, padaOṃ mahāpretasamārūḍhe namaḥ” paralyses all weapons (Kumāra and Miśra 1976)84. “Oṃ sphuritavidyutprabhe namaḥ” is intended specifically for the swords (Kumāra and Miśra 1976)85. “Oṃ cala cala cakoranetre namaḥ” arrests the movement of armies of the enemies (Kumāra and Miśra 1976) parasainyasambhanam. “Oṃ karaṅkamālādhāriṇi namaḥ” makes the enemies tremble and brings them under control with a ḍamaru (Kumāra and Miśra 1976)86. The rest of the results are either the magical attraction of men and women or of purely tantric needs, such as āveśa, that is, provoked oracular possession, or seeing the goddess. The mantra bears similarities in structure and words with the one coded in Niśisaṃcāra 1.54cd–67 (Sanderson 2004a), and the list of goddesses from DP fits that of the NS.4–5 assigning goddesses to various geographical places.
Chapter 50 is of particular importance. It deals with devī-pratiṣṭhā, or installation and empowerment of the images of the Goddess. A total of 60 forms of Devī are to be installed and worshipped by the king (Serbaeva 2006, Appendix 6.7). It is important to note that the chapter itself does not call them yoginīs, but devīs, i.e., goddesses, while other sources, citing the same list of deities, classify them as 64 yoginīs. The speakers argue for the necessity of the Goddess worship by the kings, because, among other things, it helps in war-related issues: “It destroys great fears and binds the great enemies” (Kumāra and Miśra 1976)87, and it helps to expand the kingdom: “And he will win over the other countries in great numbers with their kings” (Kumāra and Miśra 1976)88. The text’s intention is not that the king just uses the tantric specialists, but that he effectively participates in the worship of the same pantheon: the Goddess is called “making kingdom grow” (Kumāra and Miśra 1976)89. In this chapter of 342 verses, featuring the images and installation of some 80 different gods and goddesses, we find only a few references to the war and the kings.
Chapter 128, the very last one, promised to the worshipper of the Goddess that he will not face an untimely death and he will not be killed by the śaktis (Kumāra and Miśra 1976)90. The last statement makes sense only if one is aware of the aggressive yoga of the yoginīs in the tantric texts, such as the Netratantra (Kaul 1926–1939, chp. 20), etc. However, śakti can also mean “spear” in this passage, and shall be more related to war in this case.
The particularity of the text consists in the fact that the tantric vidyās and the modes of worship are not given as separate from the main narrative chapters, but incorporated into the narrative. I would go for a much later date than suggested by Hazra and Rocher. Hazra places the Devīpurāṇa in the 8th century (Hazra 1963)91, but Rocher dates it by the 6th, while still referring to Hazra (Rocher 1986)92. The text is far too tantric, and it has features more common to Ṣaṭsāhasrasaṃhitā than to the tantras preceding the Vidyāpīṭha, that is, the 9th–10th century. To summarise, it is a Kāpālika-influenced text, of which the closest neighbour is the Niśīsaṃcāra, rather than any early purāṇa.

3.3.2. The Netratantra (NT)

The Netratantra, analysed by Alexis Sanderson, brings up an extensive list of magical procedures for the welfare of the kings as the text was written for the ritual specialists at the royal service (Sanderson 2004b)93. I shall bring here only a few passages that deal with war issues. For the purpose of protection kings in battle various cakras are drawn and empowered with mantras:
He should make apparent the procedure of the king’s protection to those in power; in war there will be a gift related to the destruction of enemies.
Netra, according to Sanderson, was written probably around the 8th to mid-9th century. It is a text that switches from the worship of the forms of Śiva to that of the terrible goddesses, or yoginīs, and they precisely secure victory. In chapter 18, it is the goddess Mahālakṣmī with 18 arms who is visualised for this purpose:
In battle she should be visualised as slender95, having the sword and the bowl, by which he will obtain victory, and there will be the destruction of enemies. She should always be worshipped in battle by the one who wishes to conquer other countries. He won’t be controlled [by anything] and will obtain victory by the grace of the Goddess.
These short passages could be assigned to level “1”, however, the text is influenced profoundly by the Vidyāpīṭha tantras, and in chapter 20, there are references to human sacrifices alias yogic practices performed by the yoginīs, or rather, by the sādhaka for the yoginīs (Serbaeva 2010). It reproduces a whole maṇḍala of the terrible goddess disguised into Durgā like Goddess in NT.10.32–36ab. Nothing, however, implies such rituals for war prayogas. The text does not prescribe animal or human sacrifices for victory, but it rather poses as level “1”. So, we could assign “2” to it. The text blends together the interests of the kings and those of the tantric specialists, although carefully disguises the latter.

3.3.3. The Yuddhajayārṇava (YJA)

The Yuddhajayārṇava, “The Ocean of Victory in Battle”, appears to be around 10th century composition consisting of 10 chapters and dealing with prediction of the outcome of the battle. Goudriaan and Gupta characterise it as follows:
A few tantric texts specialized in astrology. Probably the oldest one preserved is the Yuddhajayārṇava “Ocean of (means to ascertain) victory in battle”, a work of ten paṭalas preserved in a Newari Ms. of N.S. 217 (AD 1097) (RASB Cat., p. 292f (No. 6110). There are other old MSS in the same library and in the National Archive of Nepal (for the latter see Nepal Cat., I, p. LXX, 81). Its main concern is svarodaya, prediction of future events with the help of uttered sounds: the colophon gives Bhaṭṭotpala as the author’s name. Another text of the same title, also found in Nepal, is introduced by Devī’s request for explanation of the means of conquering demoniac influences by various devices of prediction and astrology. (Nepal Cat., I, p. LXX, 81—A third work of this title has been incorporated in the AP.123–49).
The NGMPP manuscripts98 feature a number of texts called YJA, and four such codices were examined. However, as these do not call forth the Goddesses to win the battle, I will stop here only at the elements that are important for the relative chronology. The codices can be divided into 2 groups. The first group includes a text in 10 chapters on divination (Serbaeva 2018)99. To this group also belong the MSS B, which can be dated to about the 12th century on palaeographical grounds, and the MSS C in modern Devanāgarī. This group contains the instructions on the constructions of various cakras, mainly used to predict the outcome of the battle. The logic and the language are very close to the NJS, but more work is needed to ascertain the precise relation. The manuscripts D and E, forming the second “group”, are in fact the same codice filmed twice by the NGMPP100. It is important to note that it is precisely this version of the YJA has multiple parallels with the Agnipurāṇa’s block of chapters 122–49 that are said to be based on the YJA101.

3.3.4. The Narapatijayacaryāsvarodaya (NJS)

This text is dated 1070, or 992 of Śaka era (Miśra 2016)102, however, there is probably also a later copy (Mundkur et al. 1978)103. It consists of five chapters, and the introductory part mentions a long list of tantric texts, including Yāmalas.
First is the Brahmayāmala, the 2nd is the Viṣṇuyāmala, Rudrayāmala, and Ādiyāmala as number four. Skandayāmala, Kūrmayāmala as number 6, the 7th is the Devīyāmala, such are the seven Yāmalas. First heard the seven Yāmalas, and [then] the Yuddhajayārṇava, Kaumarī, Kauśala and Yoginījālasaṃcara. The text called Rakṣoghna, Trimuṇḍa, Svarasiṃha and Svarārṇava. [Finally,] Bhūbala-bhairava, a paṭala of the Svarabhairava. At this the tantra[s] belonging to Siddhānta, and constituting the ritual procedures bringing victory (jayapaddhati) dealing with war-subject, have been told.
NJS refers to BY throughout the text, however, there is only one subject where there could be some real connection (Miśra 2016)105, as the yantras arresting the movement of the armies are effectively mentioned in the BY (Hatley 2007)106. NJS, however, provides the detailed usage of those yantras. The majority of them are used for the divination purposes, but a select few promise victory if drawn correctly and taken to the battle. The NJS, however, does not feature any of the tantric war-related prayogas. Some drawn arrangements mention eight mothers, or yoginīs; the bhūmis, i.e., “grounds”, listed in chapter 4 have sometimes the names of the tantric goddesses (Karālī, etc.). However, it is only in chapter 5, which differs in style, that one can find some tantra-like vidyās, for example that of Amṛteśvara (Miśra 2016)107, of planets, or Cāmuṇḍā (Miśra 2016)108. None of those, however, are included into a clear war-prayoga context. The biggest part of the chapter is given to the prayogas with Hanuman’s mantras, only one of which promises victory in battle, doing so in one word only (Miśra 2016)109.

3.3.5. The Ṣaṭsāhasrasaṃhitā (ṢSS)

We will bring in a few selected passages from the ṢSS.14–16 where the information provided is not reflected in the KMT. Originally, the corresponding chapters of KMT cover the structures of the subtle body, including the arrangements of multiple devīs, dūtīs, yoginīs in the cakras, however, ṢSS adds the practical value to these theoretical structures by explaining the prayogas, including the war-related ones. The issue of war is so important for the Ṣaṭsāhasrasaṃhitā (in contrast to the KMT), that it even appears in the question of the Goddess, who asks about the killing of enemies (Serbaeva 2012b)110.
Chapter 14, after providing a coded mantra of Guhyakubjikā and her visualisation, gives a long list of prayogas, including a śloka on feeding enemies to the mātṛkās:
During the battle he should visualise in his heart the sword and the bowl, while the enemies should be imagined as surrounded by the mātṛs; he should repeat ‘eat, enjoy!’
Chapter 15 is dedicated to the invocations and visualisations of the 64 yoginīs. In the prayoga part of the chapter, the vedic Aghora mantra, consisting of 32 syllables in transformed into a cakra of 32 mātṛkās, which, when properly worshipped, is said to secure kingdom and give victory:
By the worship of the cakra, the king will get victory, the sick person—will be liberated from sickness, one looking for victory will become endowed with it.
After that, the other list of mātṛkās, this time eight in number, include Indrāṇī as number six who stops pregnancy and enemy armies: “The number six, o Beautiful-bodied, is used for paralysis in case of enemies’ army or pregnancy” (Serbaeva 2012b)113. Classified according to these eight mātṛkās (from Brāhmī to Mahālakṣmī) are the 64 yoginīs. ṢSS describes their appearance one by one, and explained the prayogas related to them, where they are arranged into the maṇḍala of nice lotuses and they bring victory, among other benefits (Serbaeva 2006, Appendix 7.6).
The key passage for our exploration starts in ṢSS.15.172. This passage does not provide a magic recipe of how to win a war, but it brings us into a battlefield once the battle is already over. It explains in detail that, having won a battle, the sādhaka should install a ritual tent (mandapa) on the battle field and offer bali (flesh offering) to the terrible gods and goddesses. Although it is not said where the human flesh encoded by tantric code words should come from, the war context makes it clear. One of the dead bodies is hanged secretly in that same tent, feet up and head down, and from the open brahmarandhra of that body the brain is offered to the fire as the “great nectar”114.
172cd. Now I will explain another great supreme procedure.
173. Of the Tuft-limb of [the mantra] of the Svacchandabhairava, joined with eight-times-eight [yoginīs]. O beautiful-bodied, it realises any desire of the king.
174. In a higher state of consciousness, brave hero, of unfailing devotion, free from doubts, having won in a terrible war and resorting to the battle field.
175. Should make a ritual tent of 16-hands size, equal on all sides. [There] should be done eight altars in the core part of the tent.
176. There should be four doors, o Beautiful-bodied, and it should be surrounded by a circle of beautiful flags. In the middle of it, the fire pit of six hands and having six sides (i.e., hexagonal) should be erected.
177. There during the “Great night” in the middle of the night that yāga should be done. He should worship the lords of fields (kṣetras) beginning with Hetuka, each in his direction.
178. The lords of the space-quarters beginning with Brahmā with a corresponding deity, and the mātṛkās. They should be worship with the “great phalgu” [a code for human flesh], each in their direction.
179. The eight-times-eight [yoginīs], o Beautiful-bodied, should also be worshipped in the corresponding places. In the proximity of that kuṇḍa one should make seat of human bones115.
180. O beautiful one, that destroys all obstacles. In the Southern direction, one should give bali to kṣetrapālas and Gaṇeśa.
181. To Caṇḍī, Mahācaṇḍī, Pracaṇḍā, etc. In the North, o Beautiful, in three places, one should give them bali.
Further, the text describes making fire, invocation of Śikhāsvacchanda and Guhya-kubjikā, and the offerings to the seven tongues of fire (Serbaeva 2012b)116.
196. O beautiful, the Guru should come close to the fire pit, on the four sides of the kuṇḍa he should offer four dead bodies.
197. O goddess, in order to make the seats. [He himself] should resort to the Southern part, he should ride a dead body facing towards north [or up].
198. O goddess, he should visualise the form of Bhairava previously explained by me, O beautiful-bodied, he should be fully immersed in dhyāna in a higher state of consciousness.
199. In the middle of the night, with the mind impregnated by that supreme greatness, he should offer 1000 times in the fire [some part of human body, corrupted], in the same state of consciousness.
200. For each of the 100 repetitions of the mantra he should give an āhuti [offering into fire], he should make a gate of Khādira-wood, o Goddess, [over the] central part of the fire-pit.
201. In the middle of that [he should hang] a divine dead body, with legs up and head down, [so that] from the broken brahmarandhra(top of the head), the “the great nectar” should run [in the fire pit].
202. For the purpose of the full oblation, this should be done over the fire pit.
It is important to note that as for the results, there is a switch from the interests of war to the internal tantric needs: this ritual calls the yoginīs who descends from sky, and if the sādhaka gives them argha, they bestow the boons; this is his primary interest:
203. As he does these actions, at the same time in the middle of the tent, he will see the multitude of yoginīs and the supremely divine goddesses.
204. They are of various forms, very terrible, with red-hair, with frightening faces. Having seen this great form, he should offer the argha to them.
205. It consists of blood drawn from [one’s own] left leg117, mixed with human flesh and fat. Joining it with “sandal”118, one should offer it to them.
206. Once argha has been given, the yoginīs give boon to the sādhaka. Those powerful ones give yogic powers beginning with aṇimā, etc.
It is as if in exchange that the yoginīs that can further devour the enemies, protect the kingdom, etc., when this practice becomes a part of the abhiṣeka ritual for a king:
207. By pot-abhiṣeka the king will be all-conquering. O faithful to the practice, the sword, horse, elephant, etc.
208. If those things get ablution, they become invincible. Once the enemy’s army, be it consistent of the multitude of Indras, sees them.
209. It will be shattered, without doubts, like the darkness is destroyed by the sun. In that place will be hunger and death.
210. [While the king himself] will neither have any illness, nor the accidents will happen. The yoginīs that are near the kings are of three kinds119.
211. He will gain peace, he will be protected [as their] son, O goddess, his enemies, by simply thinking about it.
212. Will be destroyed and without any doubts will be eaten by the yoginīs. By the power of Śikhādeva, the multitude of yoginīs comes near.
213. And [he] will win the capacity to curse and bless, no doubt. The actions, from bringing peace to killing (i.e., eight kinds of magical acts).
214. O goddess, he will be able to perform by [simple] words on the earth.
This part of the chapter looks as if a symbiosis, however, not a magic ritual in exchange for money/patronage, but one in which the sādhaka obtains the transgressive components he needs to invoke the yoginīs, while the king, evidently aware of the ritual and helping to keep it secret, is promised in return the magical protection from those same yoginīs. However, the primary interest of the sādhaka is to get closer to those yoginīs. This extreme ritual empowers a whole set of magical objects that are said to bring victory. A cakra with the same set of deities is drawn on the birch bark and empowered with a "magic pill" guṭikā, this is said to destroy fear and secure victory: “He will know no fear, and will always win in battle.” (Serbaeva 2012b)120. The guṭikā, obtained by sexual rituals, should be kept for the purpose of victory and in case of heavy sickness:
O Goddess, o beloved, one should keep guṭikā in order to get victory in battle, to overcome the terrible diseases, and to obtain progeny (Serbaeva 2012b)121.
The concluding part of the chapter brings it back to the greatness of the Aghora mantra, and it is clear that this vedic anchor is dragged into the tantric stream in order to make the new material, which is transgressive and Goddess-related, more acceptable. However, the text insists on the “previously explained yāga” (human flesh offering described above) in order to win a battle:
280cd. O beloved, by the single previously explained great yāga.
281. With firm mind will he obtains greatness. In the battle field. he should grasp what’s left and do the yāga as before.
282. Having offered to fire human flesh, and human blood as oblation, one should first give “full oblation”122, and by that he will obtain success in the king of mantras.
283. The mantra-practitioner will playfully perform the attractions of bhūtas, nāgas, and such, will be able to call the fruits and flowers out of season, attract women, and will be loved by yoginīs.
Chapter 16 provides a coded kavaca mantra. Following the logic of chapter 15, it calls yoginīs to the cremation ground, and they, when given argha by the sādhaka, bestow the boons on him, that include the ability to stop the army of the opponent by lifting a feather:
40. On the cremation grounds, near solitary tree, in the temple of Caṇḍikā, where the rivers meet, or near the solitary liṅga again.
41. Facing west, o Goddess, without companions or trident123, having resorted to the above places, the great hero, the practitioner eager to get siddhi.
42. Should, having done pūjā as explained before during the 14th night of the light half of the month, with free hair, naked, silent and looking like a mad person [...].
[He further uses the fish and alcohol].
Then he sees the very terrible shapes of the yoginīs.
46. The argha should be given to them, joined with ali and phalgu124, by that, the yoginīs become satisfied and give boon to this sādhaka [...].
O Beautiful-bodied, he will paralyse the army of enemies, by moving the feather up.
50. If he moves it to the left, he will make all fall, if to the right—will release. If he places the feather on the palm of the hand, and whatever he sees with the eyes.
51. All that will come under control, be it male, female, or non-male. He will get proficiency in jugglery (kuhuka or kuhaka) and indrajāla, and whatever else is difficult to obtain.
52. O beautiful, he will become the leader of bhūcarīs125. Kavaca according to the procedure in Kula has been explained.
It is important to note that both practices, kuhuka and indrajāla, are related to Indra’s war magic, the latter mentioned in the Arthaśāstra (Olivelle 2013), and both also summarised in ṣaṭka 2, chapter 16 of the JY.
In the ṢSS we can also see the evidence of the new cult emerging for the purpose of the victory in battle, and it is Guhyakālī, representing an astra-limb of the mantra of Kubjikā (Serbaeva 2012b)126.
Generally, ṢSS is on the level “3” of the transgression scale. The issue of war is extremely important for the text and occurs in multiple chapters. One can say that KMT was expanded by the practical ṢSS prayogas. Another important aspect is the fact that the proper tantric aims are more important for the sādhakasthan winning over the patronage of the kings: the war is a pretext to “legally” use human bodies in the way required for the invocations of the yoginīs. The text is written for the sādhakas working closely with the kings, however, rather than for the initiated themselves, and is putting forward their interests, even providing useful explanations to the kings duped into allowing a transgressive set of rituals. It is important to note that it is precisely this chapter 15 of the ṢSS that was incorporated into chapter 146 of the Agnipurāṇa, dealing with the worship of the 64 yoginīs (Serbaeva 2006)127.
The “mixed” texts propose very radical ritual practices, including human or animal sacrifices, openly. It is clear that all of the texts of the “mixed” category are profoundly influenced by the Vidyāpīṭha tantras, but they present themselves as publicly acceptable as would be the purāṇas. The reuse of the tantric vidyās is open, and it is only the Liṅgapurāṇa in its part 1 that introduces the practices as a big secret, and the Netratantra that tries to avoid frightening the king with ferocious tantric deities. DP, LP.2, ṢSS and AP present tantric secrets and violent procedures rather openly. Compared to the purāṇic but also to the tantric texts, the war prayogas in the mixed texts are given major importance. As for the antinomian character of the rituals, it is again not in the tantric texts themselves that we would find war prayogas with human flesh, but, rather surprisingly, in this “mixed” literature written for kings.

4. Discussion

If we visualise the levels of transgression in the mentioned texts in the form of a table, arranging the 17 texts chronologically, it becomes clear that the original presupposition—that the tantric texts of the initiated would be the most extreme when it comes to the war-related magical procedures—does not appear to be true. As for the tantric texts, the transgression in the war-related rituals grows with time. However, unexpectedly, the character of the non-war-related rituals is in a majority of cases more extreme than that of war prayogas. The whole question of war is of minor importance, and generally, war prayogas are rather difficult to find. The phrases about victory are rather general. The tantric texts are written for internal use of the initiated, who were not interested in particular in war questions. The JY slightly stands out in this respect, having more passages on war prayogas than the other texts; however, this is because of the enormous size of the text itself and the fact that it incorporated the material of some 400 lost tantras. The findings are summarised in the tables below (see Table 1, Table 2 and Table 3).
As for the epic and purāṇic texts, the war passages they contain, although large in number, are narrative and nonritual in nature. For the texts that can be dated to the period prior to the 10th century, the passages of ritual nature for the kings are rather exceptional, and again, they do not prescribe transgressive practices of the tantric kind.
As for the “mixed” texts, the group of which was constituted precisely based on their special character concerning the war prayogas, namely, the subject of war is very important and is dealt with in a ritual and not in a narrative context. Among those texts, two kinds can be specified according to the degree of transgression. Contrary to the expected, it does not match the tantra versus purāṇa class separation, but the technical and “general” character of the text. YJA and NJS, as well as the chapters of the AP incorporating similar materials, function as technical calculations used to predict the outcome by divination or quasimathematical means, and they feature minimal transgression, generally level “1”. However, the remaining body of the “mixed” texts, written for the kings precisely as encyclopedias of magical solutions for war, are extremely transgressive and include cremation ground practices, animal and human sacrifices and human flesh used in the rituals. We should mention here in particular DP, ṢSS and AP. AP incorporated precisely the arrangement of the yoginīs that we have seen in the most transgressive passage in ṢSS.15. Although the AP’s arrangement is not that transgressive, the war-related chapters have no meaning without their tantric source, which is the ṢSS.
Based on this evidence, it is possible to conclude that the orientation of the text (leaning towards personal liberation or rather towards the search of royal patronage) largely defines the outline of the war-related magical procedures. The importance of this orientation overshadows the importance of the “class” of the text (i.e., purāṇic or tantric), and we have effectively defined a corpus of mixed texts sharing the same prayogas regardless of their status as “pure” purāṇas or transgressive tantras.
The studied texts confirm the historical transition in the identity of the entity that is asked for help in the war effort: from Indra to Śiva (Aghora, Bhairava) to the Goddess. The search for the materials related to the magical help in war allowed the discovery of some more ancient layers: integrated into the Goddess’ cakra, one of the “world protectors” (lokapāla) called Indra, suddenly has not just a single passage dedicated to him, but a whole text with multiples parts. Although in the JY this indrajāla, or “magical net of Indra” is integrated into a much later Vidyāpīṭha text, the roots of this practices are found as early as the Arthaśāstra. The fact that we have a 10th century reference to it not only furthers our understanding of how the JY was constructed, but also throws the new light on the Arthaśāstra magical practices which are not given in details. This “magical net of Indra” is in itself a very early strata of war-related magical texts digested within JY. As for Śiva/Bhairava as the entity helping in the war, the logic of integration is he same as for Indra—the more ancient agency here becomes a part of the maṇḍala of the more recent one. This is especially clear in JY.2.16, where ancient gods becomes simple servants of the Goddess, one in each direction.
The motif of feeding enemies to the goddess appears to be a specific adaptation of the internal tantric practice to the war context. I would argue that even if the symbiosis of kings and tantric specialists is a historical fact, as for the war rituals, when these are related to a Goddess of the Vidyāpīṭha type, there is a very little adaptation to the context of war. In essence, the war ritual is a sacrifice for the yoginīs that are called forth. The primary beneficiary here is by no means the king, but the tantric worshipper who is believed to obtain the desired transformation. It is interesting to note that even the verbal expressions in the JY, for example, allow us to interpret the war passages as yoginī-related theodicy: the sacrificed victims obtain higher rebirth or become liberated, the whole war is presented as a meritorious act of offering victims to the Goddess, and finally, the sacrifice is done by Her alone (Serbaeva 2010, 2022).
The JY war-related passages, where the weapons and even the armies were empowered by the Goddess mantras, also allow us to bring a question of “possession” (āveśa). Those possessed objects, guided by the Goddess, perform a (liberating) sacrifice of the enemies for that same Goddess. That is the mode of the tantric sacrifice for the yoginīs is extended to the context of war. Based on the passages in JY and in ṢSS, I am led to conclude that, especially in ṢSS.15, the tantric specialists, in need of legal means to obtain human flesh for their rituals, duped the kings into believing into their war magic, and not, as I originally suggested, that the desperate kings would resort to the desperate means (āpad-dharma) and request the help of the tantric specialists. Even in the most extreme rituals for war in the “mixed” texts, the results first are intended primarily to benefit the tantric specialists; the war issues is only an optional by-product of the tantric practice, not its main aim.
Thus, the motif of feeding enemies to the goddess in the Vidyāpīṭha text is an example of tantric specialists using the war context for their own benefit.


This research received no external funding.


I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers and Shaman Hatley for excellent suggestions concerning the provisional editions and translations. All remaining mistakes are mine.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


The following abbreviations for the primary texts (with corresponding):

Appendix A. JY Passages

The appendix includes transcripts of the manuscripts of JY and further of ṢSS. These are not critical editions, but simple collations, and no attempt to rewrite Aiśa into classical Sanskrit were made. Only a few misspellings that can confuse the reader were corrected below.

Appendix A.1. JY.4.21, B139v4, D53r7, C117r9, A99r1

This transcript here is based on JY(B), doubtful cases are verified with other codices (A, C, D).
athānyaṃ saṃpravakṣyāmi saṃgrāmavijayaṃ mahat/
yadā devyā prajayeta līlayā sādhakātmanām129//1
śubhaṃ deśaṃ samāsādya pūṣpapra[ka]ralālasaṃ/
tatra prapū130 mantreśīṃ sarvvavīropacārataḥ//2
tataḥ samuddhared vidyāṃ anekādbhuta-darśanāṃ/
gajendraṃ ṣaṣṭham udhṛtya kṛtāṃtāsane saṃsthita//3
punar vāhnigataṃ kuryād viṣṇubinduvi(B140r1)bhūṣitaṃ131/
piṇḍam etat samākhyātaṃ jaganmohanatatparaṃ//4
punar dvijihvam uddhṛtya samyag deyaṃ samīraṇam/
triśūlāṃtaṃ karttanasthaṃ tribiṃdvaṃkaṃ sudhāmakam//5
punar dvijihvaṃ biṃdvādyaṃ bhīmaśaṅkunirodhitam/
saptārṇṇeyaṃ samākhyātā mahāsaṃgrāmatāriṇī//6
yajed enāṅ khaḍgagatām sarvvavīropacārataḥ/
surāmāṃsāsavair divyair upahārair anekadhā//7
dhyāyet kālpāntakālāgnilakṣakoṭyāyutaprabhām/
mahāsaṃhārarasitāṃ śastrārṇṇavapiśoṣaṇaṃ132//8
kṣobhitāmbhodhisannādāṃ sukṛṣāṃ133 bhīmavikramām/
daṃṣṭrālām ūrddhakeśāṃ134 ca muṇḍasragdāmadhāriṇīṃ//9
trailokyatrāsaniratāṃ śatrupakṣakṣayaṃkarīm135/
kāṇḍāsanagatāṃ136 dhyāyed arddhacaṃdraṃ tadullasam137//10
viśvarūpāṃ viśvagatāṃ yathā [śi]vārutāṃ138 smaret/
evaṃ yāgaṃ purā kṛtvā paścāt saṃsādhayec śivāṃ//11
girīṃdrapṛṣṭham ārohya japel lakṣaṃ samāhitaḥ/
akṣarāṇāṃ varārohe yasmād homaṃ139 samācaret//12
madhyato vahni(B140v1)kuhare tyaktaṃ ca naraphuphusaṃ/
ayutaikaṃ samāhṛtya dṛṣyate parameśvarīṃ//13
vahnimadhyāt samuditāṃ saumyarūpāṃ karaṅkiṇīm/
tāṃ dṛṣṭvā sādhakendreṇa deyam arghyaṃ svalohitaṃ//14
bhitvā vāmāṃgam evātra140 tadā tuṣyati141 sā bhṛśaṃ/
yatheṣṭaṃ ca varaṃ tasmai142 sādhakāya dadāty143 asāu//15
sadanaṃ nayate144 sthānaṃ yatra devī svayaṃ sthitā/
athavāyutajāpena145 saṃgrāme vijayaṃ labhet//16
pūjya pūrvvoktavidhinā146 yuddhāya pracalet tataḥ/
maunam āsthāya vīrendro147 vidyām e(B140v4)va tadāharet//17
upahārārtham manyeta148 śatrusainyaṃ samastakaṃ/
tadā vinaśyate sainyaṃ yadi sākṣāt kṛtakratuḥ//18
śaṅkhabheryadhvajavarāṃ149 gajāny aśvāny adātayaḥ150/
kavacān āyudhān151 sarvvān saptena vāriṇā [marked lacuna]//19
prokṣayed devadeveśi152 avadhyās te153 bhavanti hi/
parābhavaṃ na yāsyanti154 jinaṃti ṛpuvāhinīṃ//20
athavā kāmsajātīyaṃ pātra[ṃ] kṛtvā samullikhet/
pūrvvarūpasamāyuktāṃ devadevīṃ karaṅkinīṃ//21
saṃpūjya pūrvvavidhinā sahasrāvarttitaṃ kuru/
tam āharet sādhakendro tāḍayen maṃtram uccare155 [//22]
(B141r1)śabdaṃ śrutvā tu taṃ ghoraṃ gajavājirathākulam/
vidravet sahasā sainyaṃ vāyonmeghaṃ yathā ghanaṃ//23
vinaśyate ca sakalaṃ mohayanti156 na saṃśayaya/
jinaty anādareṇaiva157 rakṣitaṃ yadi bhairavi//24
śakreṇa sākṣād abhyetya tathāpi pravinaśyati/
evaṃ vinirjitaṃ sarvvaṃ saṃgrāmaṃ sādhakeśvaraḥ//25
athavā dhūpayet samyag ātmānamantritaṃ158/
anyadhūpaṃ samāvartya śatam aṣṭādhikaṃ purā//26
tam uccagatam evātra dhāryam agre surārcite/
tasya gaṃdhaṃ samāghrāya naśyaṃte satrusainikāḥ159//27
jayaty evātivīrendro devadevyāprabhāvataḥ/
evaṃ saṃgrāmataraṇī vidyeyaṃ ghoravikramā//28
tavākhyātā mayā samyak sarvvasiddhiguṇāvahā/
iti bhairavaśrotasi vidyāpīṭhe śiracchede jayadrathayāmale mahātantre caturvi[ṃ]śati-sāha(B141r6)sre caturthaṣaṭke saṃgrāmakālyāvidhiḥ paṭalaḥ//.

Appendix A.2. JY.4.45, A144v5, B207v5-208v3, C162r9-163r1, D Missing

Basic transcript based on B.
śrīdevy uvāca/
vada saṃgrāmasamaye yathā hy āyudhamantraṇāt/
jayam āpnoti vīrendro160 rājñā161 saha kadācana//1
kurvato yāgam atulaṃ dviṣaṃto vā162 [p]adāgatāḥ/
yena pāthās tu te duṣṭās tam upāyaṃ vadeśvara163//2
śrībhairava uvaca/
sādhu pṛcchasi bhadraṃ te vā[kṣy]aṃ bhaktānu(A145r)kaṃpayā/
vakṣyāmi tat tava snehād vidhānaṃ sarvvamohanaṃ//3
saṃpūjya mātṛkāṃ devī paścāt kālīṃ164 samuddharet/
dvijihva[A marked lacuna]m a[C 1 lacuna] saṃruḍhaṃ sṛṣṭiyuktaṃ tataḥ kuru//4
karttanāṃtam kevalinaṃ cakraṃ kālāgnisaṃsthitaṃ/
binduyuktaṃ mahābhāge caṃdrādyaṃ satribimdukaṃ//5
[C 2 lacunas] tridhana paryaṃtaṃ [A marked lacuna]165 caparaṃ sṛṣṭimūrcchitaṃ/
saptārṇṇā ghoravidyeśī pāṭhāt siddhipradaṃ nṛṇāṃ//6
yathā sā rāviṇī166 prokta tadvad eṣā167 prakīrttitā/
tat prabhāvaṃ ca tad vīryaṃ tad rūpaṃ tad vijṛṃbhitaṃ//7
tathā ca pūjanaṃ devi kāryaṃ matrat abhedanat168/
tathā yāgena siddhiḥ syād hṛdayesmin mahācale//8
siddhasya hṛdayasyāsya trailokye169 nasty asādhitaṃ/
lokāntarāṇī170 yāgāni yadā kurvvan dviṣaṃti ye//9
sahasaiva vinighnanti171 teṣāṃ nāśe smaret sadā/
khaḍgādyāyudhajātāni prokṣāvat pāśutaṃ172 sakṛt//10
tātryāyudhāni173 saṃgṛhya kṣobhayed ripuvāhinīṃ/
ekas[tv]imdrabalaṃ174 sākṣān mārayen mohayet kṣanāṭ//11
varṇṇāntaṃ dṛśyāte sākṣāt kālāntakayam upamāṃ175/
sādhakaṃ śatrusainyasthair176 yodhair177 bhairavarūpinaṃ//12
sarvve te paśavo devi ghātayitvā kham utpatet178/
evaṃ tava samåkhyātāṃ hy astralakṣmī179 prasiddhidā//13
kiṃ bhūyaḥ kathayiṣyāmi vada bhairavi bhāmini/
iti bhairavaśrotasi vidyāpīṭhe śiracchede jayadratheyāmale mahataṃtre
[C + caturviṃśatisāhasre] caturthaṣaṭke [astra]180 kālyāvidhiḥ paṭalaḥ

Appendix A.3. JY.2.16, A55v2-4, C80r2-6, B117r4-117v1, E85v7-86r1

The transcript here is based on the A.

Appendix A.3.1. JY.2.16.56cd-60ab

evam uddhṛtya deveśi181 paścād yajanam182 ārabhet//56
mahāśavaśirasphīte maṇḍale sarvvakāmite183/
ṣoḍaśāre caturdvāre caturvīthyopaśobhite//57
toraṇadhvajasaṃcchatre pretāmbaracitā[+g]niniṃ184/
naramāṃso185 pahārādi sadhūpāṃ186modamanthare187/
kusumāmodavahale188 tatra devī yajet sadā//59
mahāpaśūpahārādyair189 vīrapañcamṛtolbalaiḥ [BC vīrapañcamṛtolbaṇaiḥ]/

Appendix A.3.2. JY.2.16.61cd-64ab, A55v4-6; C80r6-9; B117v2-4; E86r2-3

jvalanulkākalāpoghāniryattapana191 bhāsurām192/
śaradgaganakṛṣṇāliharakādhva193 nibhāṃ smaret194//62
vaktra195 pañcakatiṣṭhyaṃtāṃ jvalanajvalitākhilām/
piṅgabhrū196 kṣepasaṃdaṣṭa-brahmāṇḍārbudaghasmarām//63

Appendix A.3.3. JY.2.16.68ab, A55v8; C missing; B118r1-2; E86r6


Appendix A.3.4. JY.2.16.69cd-70ab

bhuvaneśāt199 tasan muṇḍa-lambasragdāmabhāsurām/

Appendix A.3.5. JY.2.16.75-76, A56r2-3; C80v6-8; B118v1-2; E86v2-3

mahāḍāmarikācakre khecarītāṇḍavapriyām/

Appendix A.3.6. JY.2.16.79cd–80, A56r4–5; C80v10-81r; B118v3–4; E86v5–6

atiraudrāṃ mahāghorām atibhairavabhāsurām//79
evaṃ dhyātvā mahākālīṃ201 yajed vīropacārataḥ/
juhet paścān mahāmāṃsaṃ sahasraṃ cāṣṭasaṃmitam//80

Appendix A.3.7. JY.2.16.144cd-152, A58r1-5, C83v-84r2, E89r9-89v5, B122v3-123r5

Transcript is based on MSS A, as B is partially defaced. C fills in important lacunas in earlier transmission.
athānyaṃ saṃpravakṣyāmi tava snehan maheśvari//144
radaṃ202 nāma mahāguptaṃ śṛṇu mantraṃ gaṇāmbike203/
gajadantaṃ204 samānīya dīrghatvā dvādaśāṅgulaṃ205//145
śavaśūlatthitaṃ daṇḍaṃ206 tatvāṃgula207samaṃ priye/
eta dvayaṃ gṛhītvā tu haraveśmani sādhakaḥ//146
vedimadhyopaviṣṭas tu kṛtvā[-]to va208 vāśagau/
pūrvvaṃ japtvā pañcalakṣāṃ209 hutvānāmam210 athottamaṃ211//147
tatpṛṣṭhagaṃ karaṃ sthāpya rātrau bhūtāhni212 saṃjape[t]/
sahasraṃ yāvad evābhair213 tāvad ūṣmāṇate214 priye//148
dhūmāyate sitenaiva215 [s]phuntareṇa jvalet tataḥ/
tatasto gra216 hayed vīro daṇḍadantau va217 sādhakaḥ//149
tābhyāṃ218 ca lekhayed219 vastu tattat220 sadrūpam eva hi/
bhavaty eva na saṃdehaṃ dvipadādi catuṣpadam//150
tiṣṭhet saṃvatsarāḥ pañca sadhākasyaiva221 kiṅkaram/
caturaṃgaṃ mahāsainyaṃ gajavājimahābalam222//151
mahābalaṃ cākṣayaṃ223 te sarvvaṃ prakaraṇeṣu ca/
durbhedyam224 sarvaśatrūṇāṃ sādhakasya na saṃśayaḥ//152
[iti jayadrathe śakradhvajāprakaraṇe radantāmaḥ225]

Appendix A.3.8. JY.2.16.161-168, A58v1-5, C84r9-84v7, E90r1-6, B123v5-124v1

athātaḥ226 saṃpravakṣyāmi mahāntaṃ227 cādṛśaṃ caram228/
yena sarvaṃ229 jaganmohaṃ nayate nātra saṃśayaḥ//161
gatvā pitṛvanaṃ bhīmaṃ maṃtraṃ230 lakṣatrayaṃ japet/
juhuyāt kṣmābhavaṃ231 tatra daśāṃśena maheśvari//162
tataḥ kalpāmikaṃ232 gṛhya233 sūtraṃ hastaśatāṃ bahum234/
sabhāmadhye235 tataḥ sthitvā darśaye236 cādṛśaṃ caram237//163
śṛṇu238 vidyāṃ sare239 dūrve240 vidyādharasamāgamam/
gajavājirathānīkaṃ tatkṣaṇād dṛśyate mahat//164
gaganasthaṃ mahāyuddhaṃ kṣaṇālokā prapaśyati/
tato halahalāśabdaṃ samākarṇya sudāruṇam241//165
sūtraṃ242 kṣipeś cāntarikṣe stambhākāraṃ bhavet tadā/
khaḍgacarm[m]ābalāmvīt tu243 sarvvapratyakṣam eva hi//166
āruhed bhūtave gosau kṛtvā tatkaruṇaṃ244 mahat/
nipātya senāṃ245 sakalāṃ246 kṣaṇād āyāty247 asau punaḥ//167
punar eva na kiñcit248 syāt punar eva tathā kuru/
evaṃ sainyasahasrāṇi mahāvidyā249 prabhāvataḥ//168
kṛtvā pradarśayel loke250 samvarānye251 mahābalāḥ252/
[iti jayadrathe śakradhvajā253 prakaraṇe adṛśaḥ caraḥ254]

Appendix B. The ṢSS Passages

Appendix B.1. ṢSS.15

Appendix B.1.1. ṢSS.15.172–181, 126v3–127r3

athānyaṃ saṃpravakṣyāmi mahāyajanam uttamaṃ/172
śikhāsvacchandadevasya aṣṭāṣṭakayutasya ca/
rājā caiva varārohe sarvakāmasamīhitaḥ//173
udyuktaḥ sāhasī vīro dṛḍhabhaktiḥ suniścitaḥ/
jitvā caiva raṇaṃ ghoraṃ raṇasthāne upāgataḥ//174
maṇḍapaṃ tu prakarttavyaṃ karaiḥ ṣoḍaśabhiḥ samaṃ/
vedikāṣṭakarau kāryā garbhe vai maṃḍapasya tu255//175
caturdvāraṃ varārohe dhvajamālākulaṃ śubhaṃ/
tatra madhye tu ṣadhastaṃ kuṃḍaṃ caiva ṣaḍaśrakaṃ//176
tatra yāgaṃ prakarttavyaṃ arddharā(127r)tre mahāniśi/
pūjaye[c] caiva kṣetreśān hetukādi svakediśi//177
brahmādyāś ca diśāpālā [tair] ādyāś caiva mātarāḥ/
mahāphalgupahāreṇa pūjanīyā disi svake//178
aṣṭāṣṭaka varārohe yathāsthaṃ saṃprapūjayet/
tatra kuṃḍasamīpe tu viṣṭaraṃ tu mahāsthitāṃ//179
karttavyaṃ tu varārohe sarvavighnavināśanaṃ/
kṣetrapālagaṇeśasya dadyād vai dakṣiṇe baliṃ//180
caṃḍī caiva mahācaṃḍī pracaṃḍā ca tathaiva ca/
uttare tu varārohe triṣṭhe teṣu baliṃ dadet//181

Appendix B.1.2. ṢSS.15.196–202ab, 128r3–129r4

gurus tato varārohe gatvā kuṃḍasamīpataḥ/
caturdikṣu ca kuṃḍasya śavās tu caturo dadet//196
viṣṭarārthaṃ tu deveśi dakṣiṇā[+ṃ]śāṃ tato vrajet/
śavāsane samāruhya uttarābhimukhe sthitaḥ//197
tataḥ saṃcintya deveśi rūpaṃ pūrvoditaṃ mayā/
bhairavasya vararohe dhyānayuktottarātmanaḥ256//198
arddharātre tu saṃjāte [m]ahātisyāṃta gocara/
homayeta mahām[/bh]aujāṃ sahasraṃ tadgatātmanā//199
śataṃ japtaṃ ekaikam āhutya tat pradāpayet/
khā(128v)dirāṃ toraṇaṃ devi kuṃḍā[lyā]rddhe tu kārayet//200
tatra madhye śavaṃ divyam ūrddhvapādam257 adhaḥśiraṃ/
bheditaṃ brahmaraṃdhre tu sravaṃtaṃ tu mahāmṛtaṃ//201
pūrṇnāhuti nimittārthaṃ kuṃḍasyopari kārayet/

Appendix B.1.3. ṢSS.15.203–206, MS Cont.

yāvat karmmahame258 kuryāt tāvan259 maṇḍapamadhyataḥ/
paśyaṃte yoginīṃ vṛṃḍaṃ devyā divyetaraṃ tathā//203
nānārūpaṃ mahograṃ tu piṃgakeśyo bhayānanā/
dṛṣṭvā caiva mahārūpaṃ arghaṃ tāsāṃ pradāpayet//204
vāmajaṃghodbhavaṃ cāsṛk-mahāphalgvālisaṃyutaṃ/
caṃdanena samāyuktaṃ arghaṃ tāsāṃ pradāpayet//205
dattārghāś caiva yoginyaḥ sādhakasya varapradā/
aṇimādi260 gunaiśvaryaṃ dadante tā mahābalāḥ//206

Appendix B.1.4. ṢSS.15.207–214ab, MS Cont.

kalasasyābhiśekena rājā sarvajayo bhavet/
khaḍgaṃ caiva turaṃgaṃ ca gajam caivātha suvrate//207
abhiṣiktaṃ varārohe sarvaṃ tad ajayaṃ bhavet/
tena(129r)tena dṛṣtaṃ bhuyat sainyaṃ śakrasaṃghasamanvitaṃ//208
bhajyate nātra saṃdeha tamam caiva ravir yathā/
tatra deśe tadurbhikṣyaṃ [va] ca mārī pravarttate//209
na rogāś ca prajāyante notpātāḥ prabhavaṃti ca/
trividhāś caiva yoginyas tasya rājñas tu sannidhai//210
śānti caiva prayacchanti rakṣaṃte putravat sadā/
tasya śatrūṃś ca deveśi cintīmātraprayogataḥ//211
vinasyaṃti na saṃdeho yoginyo bhakṣayanti tān261/
śikhādevaprabhāveta sānnidhyaṃ yoginīgaṇaṃ//212
śapānugrahakarttaḥ262 ca jāyate nnātra saṃśayaḥ/
śāntikādīni karmmāṇī māraṇāntāni yāni tu//213
vācāmātreṇa deveśi tasya sidhyanti bhūtale/

Appendix B.1.5. ṢSS.15.280cd–283, 133v2–5

pūrvoktaṃ ca mahāyāgam ekaṃ tu subhaṭaṃ yadā//280
prāpyate ca mahāsatvaṃ raṇabhūmihataṃ priye/
anucchiṣṭaṃ ca tadgrāhyaṃ kṛtvā yāgaṃ ca pūrvavat//281
mahāphalgvayutaṃ hutvā mahāmbhojena cāhutim/
pūr[ṇṇ]āpūrvvaṃ pradātavyā tasya siddhyati maṃtrarāṭ//282
bhūtādipannagākṛṣṭi phalapuṣyastṛyādiṣu263
kurute lilayā mantrī264 yoginīnāṃ priyo bhavet//283

Appendix B.2. ṢSS.16

ṢSS.16.40–52, 137r2–137v5

śmaśāne ekavṛkṣe tu caṃḍikābhavane tatḥā/
nadyās tu saṃgame vātha ekaliṃge [’]thavā punaḥ//40
paścimābhimukhe devi gaṇa[śūla]vivarjite/
tatra gatvā mahāvīraḥ sādhakaḥ siddhikāṃkṣaye//41
caturdaśyaṃ tu śuklāyāṃ pūjāṃ kṛtvā yathocitaṃ/
muktakeśaś ca digvāśā maunī unmattarūpadhṛk//42 [...]
tāvat saṃpaśyate rūpān yoginīnāṃ subhīṣaṇāt//45
arghaṃ tāsāṃ pradātavyaṃ m aliphalgusamanvitaṃ/
tasya tuṣtās tu yoginyo varadaḥ sādhakasya tu//46 [...]
arisainyaṃ varārohe piṃccakorddhina stambhayet//49
savyena pātayet sarvaṃ m apasavyena mocayet/
picchakena karasthena yaṃ yaṃ paśyati cakṣuṣā//50
tatsarvaṃ vaśam āyati strīpumāṃ ca napuṃsakaṃ/
yat kiṃcit tasya duḥprapyaṃ kuhukaṃ iṃdrajālakaṃ//51
sādhakasya varārohe bhūcarīṇāṃ patir bhavet/
kavacasya samākhyāto vidhir eṣa kulānvaye//52

Appendix C. The Parallels of the YJA (MSS D) and the AP.124–25

Here is a short list of found parallels, and there is definitely more. By order of appearance in the AP:
1. mantrapīṭhaṃ pravakṣyāmi pañcamantrasamudbhavaṃ/AP.124.004ab
mantrapīṭham pravakṣyāmi pañca[mantrasamudbh]avaṃ/YJA.1.13cd
2. kāṣṭhamadhye tathā vahnir apravṛddho na dṛśyate/AP.124.007ab
kāṣṭhamadhye yathā vahnir apravaddho na dṛśyate/YJA.1.44
3. vidyamānā tathā dehe śivaśaktir na dṛśyate//AP.124.007cd
vidyamānā tathā devī śivasaktir na dṛśyate/YJA.1.44
4. cintayec chvetavarṇantaṃ muñcamānaṃ parāmṛtaṃ//AP.124.017cd
cintayec chveta[1 defaced] varṇṇan tu muñcāmānaṃ parāmṛtaṃ/YJA.2.54
5. ajaratvaṃ bhaved devi śivatvam upagacchati//AP.124.018cd
ajaratvaṃ bha[vet]tv evaṃ śivatvam upagacchati/YJA.2.55
6. kālānalasamākāraṃ prasphurantaṃ śivātmakaṃ/AP.124.023ab
kālānalasamākara[ṃ] prasphuttaṃ śivovyayaṃ/YJA, f. 27r
7. nābhihṛdyantaraṃ yāvat tāvac carati mārutaḥ/AP.125.003ab
nābhihṛdyantaram yāvat tavac carati māru[...]/YJA, f. 27v
8. caṇḍaghaṇṭā karālī ca sumukhī durmukhī tathā/AP.125.007ab
caṇḍaghaṇṭakarāla ca sumukhyā d[ur]mukhīs tathā/YJA, f. 18r
9. pipīlikā puṣṭiharā mahāpuṣṭipravardhanā/AP.125.011ab
pipīlikā tathā canya anyā puṣpasya hārikāḥ/YJA, f. 18r
10. eka eva raviś candra ekaś caikaikaśaktikā/AP.125.013ab
eka eva raviṃ proktaḥ eka ca candrā mahā tathā/YJA, f. 18v


See (Olivelle 2013, p. 550), Arthaśāstra 2.18.19.
Called karma in the Niśvāsa corpus and prayoga in the later and more śākta-oriented tantras.
Discussed based on the Skanda purāṇa in (Serbaeva 2006, pp. 27–28).
Often called rājapurohita.
For the outline see (Serbaeva 2006, pp. 26–36).
For the tabular representation of the growing transgressive features in the rituals see (Sanderson 1995, p. 23).
This includes both Śaiva and Śākta literature.
I.e., written for the initiated for the internal rituals.
For the discussion of the dating see (Sanderson 2004b, p. 243).
To be discussed in detail further down.
NTS.5.14, towards the line 80: pañcaraṅgikasūtraṃ pratigṛhya devasya dakṣiṇāyāṃ mūrtau aṣṭasahasrābhimantritaṃ kṛtvā pratinamaskāreṇa granthiṃ kuryāt/ ātmanasya parasya vā haste vā sarve pratibhayaṅkarāvaśyā bhavanti/ avadhyo dyūtavivādasaṃgrāmavyavahāreṣv apratihato bhavati/.
NTS.5.14, around the line 96: saṃgrāme śastrakavacasannaddhaṃ puruṣam abhimantrayet/ sarvatrāparājito bhavati//.
“By means of one’s own blood one introduces Death into the house of the enemy”. NTS.5.10, towards line 91: svaraktena mārī[ṃ] śatrugṛhe praveśayet/.
“At this point on should always visualise Death, who is [a feminine being] of black colour, having red eyes, long teeth, very hairy, with reddish hair standing on her head, having solid body and big belly” NTS.4.3.33-34ab: evaṃ kālaṃ sadā dhyāyed yena siddhiś ca śāśvatī/ kṛṣnavarṇā ca raktākṣī dīrghadantā sulomaśā// kucordhvapiṅgakeśī ca sthūlakāyā mahodarā/.
NTS.5.14 towards line 129: tadā śmaśānaṃ praviśya kapālaṃ samputaṃ gṛhya [...] devasya dakṣiṇāyāṃ mūrtau cāṣṭasahasrābhimantritaṃ kṛtvā akṣīṇyañjayet antarhito bhavati//.
“One does the practice related to piśāca (class of demons) with the homa with cow flesh, and the red sandal” NTS.5.10 towards line 87: piśācagomāṃsahomād raktacandanena ....
BY.17.606–7: na bādhyante ripumārggeṇa lokaiḥ rājakulādibhiḥ/ saṅgrāme jayam āpnoti dyūte caiva na saṃśayaḥ// vyavahāre tathā caiva ajayo bhavate sadā/ smṛtimātreṇa vidyāyā satyaṃ satyaṃ vadāmy ahaṃ//.
I thank Shaman Hatley for elegantly bringing together the two half ślokas with his suggestion.
BY.17.60-2–604ab: samayajño dhikāraś ca bhavate nātra saṃśayaḥ/vidyācakrān tu yo vetti yathāvat sādhakottamaḥ/acirenaiva kālena yogesyo darśanam vrajet/ samayavidyāṃ mahādevi mahāvīryāṃ mahābalāḥ//śṛṇute yaḥ sakṛt kaś cit samayajño bhaved asau/ Yogesyo can be understood as the reference to Yogeśī (goddess and mātṛkā) or as an appellation of yogeśīs, plural, i.e., yoginīs.
BY.5.59ab: saṃgrāmikāni yantrāṇi s tathā stambhayate bhṛṣaḥ/); See also BY.4.826cd and its parallel in BY.19.68ab: melake jayayantre ca nijasainyasya rakṣaṇe/, etc.
See further NJS.
It is mentioned in colophon of the BY.49, and in BY.51.11ab and BY.51.14ab. A text with the same name occurs in JY.4.68.1cd and JY.4.68.4ab. Hatley (2018, p. 6, fn. 7) has identified a different Brahmayāmala as the source of the Narapatijayacaryā’s Brahmayāmala materials.
SYM.7.32cd: japet saṃgrāmakāle tu jayam prāpnoty asaṃśayaḥ//.
See also an article by (Törzsök 2006) on the Siddhayogeśvarīmata.
TST.20.157cd–158: dṛṣṭvā [g:dṛṣṭā] samayasaṃgrāme śatrūṇāṃ [g:sa-] ca samudbhavam// mudrāṃ badhvā raudrarūpeṇa daśasahasrāṇi [g:dasa-] japet/ etat kṣaṇād eva mriyati.
KMT.8.95: saṅgrāmakāle smartavyam asipattragataṃ hṛdi/ veṣṭantaṃ mātṛbhiḥ sainyaṃ bhakṣa bhakṣeti bhāṣayet//. I thank Shaman Hatley for resolving the asipattragatam issue here.
Alexis Sanderson. Personal communication, ca. 2007.
JY.1.40.116cd: tārakābhyudayaṃ caiva saṃgrāmavijayaṃ param//.
This chapter is discussed further below.
Transcript is to be found in Appendix A.
The practitioner extracts the mantra from a given code. The verb used, “samuddharet”, suggest both bringing the pieces together “sam-”, and “lift up”, uddhara. Each syllable is encoded by a code-word, and the text also explains the positions of the syllables in space, reflecting the ligatures. For example, if one syllable is standing on the other, it means that the first one is used without vowel and is combined into one ligature with the 2nd.
This a a technical term in JY standing for rather complicated seed-syllable, in which multiple consonants are joined with a single vowel and a nasal, for example.
Divine in this context means of the best quality.
Kāṇḍa has a meaning of long bone, such as those of arms and legs.
Translation corrected based on text emendation by Shaman Hatley.
Translation of this verse is based on text emendations by Shaman Hatley.
I thank Shaman Hatley for the correction of the original translation of this verse.
Original translation for this half-verse was corrected by Shaman Hatley.
I would like to thank Shaman Hatley for the emendation of the last part of the verse.
See the development of it further in the text here.
Transcript in Appendix A.
I thank Shaman Hatley for the corrections of this verse.
Syllable is supplemented from JYM code (Serbaeva 2012a).
Sanskrit has there “cakra”, but what we need here is “LA” syllable according to JYM, that is we have to correct “cakra” to “śakra”.
“One after KA”, supplemented from JYM.
Code gives JRAḤ KHA LŪṂ ṢI KHA KHA KHAḤ//7 syll.
The main form of the goddess Kālasaṃkarṣiṇī in the 4th ṣaṭka of JY.
Matrat abhedanat is unclear.
Tentative translation.
Shaman Hatley suggested here “When those who hate [you, i.e. enemies] are performing yāgas concerned with the next world (?), they are suddenly obstructed. One should always contemplate their ruin”.
I would correct prokṣāvat pāśutaṃ to proṣātaṃ pāśuvat.
I thank Shaman Hatley for the correction of ripuvāhinī.
Tentative translation.
I would correct astralakṣmī prasiddhidā to astralakṣmīṃ prasiddhidāṃ. The goddess is called Astralakṣmī here and Astrakālī in the colophon. The interchangeability between Lakṣmī and Kālī is one of the important features of the JY.
See further below.
“This is a hard to conquer cakra of Kuleśvarī who govern over lokapālas”, and the goddess is also called Lokeśvarī, evidently as a short form (JY.2.16.17cd, JY.2(A), 54v1–2: lokapālakuleśvaryā cakram eta durāsadam//.
Transcript in Appendix A.
Great cadaver, mahāśava, is a human cadaver.
Great animal, mahāpaśu, is a technical term in JY referring to precisely human victims, in opposition to the usual animals.
Tentative translation of kṛṣṇāli. Another possibility would be to emend kṛṣṇāli to kṛṣṇādi, and it would mean that the Goddess is black like all black things, beginning with autumn cloud.
See Introduction here and (Goudriaan 1978).
Snehan should be emended to snehād.
MSS C only.
MSS C only. Bhūtāni makes no sense, as there is no mantras of bhūtas here, and we should emend it to bhūtāhni, i.e., the day of the bhūtas, that is 14th of the dark half of the lunar month. This picks up also similar formulations in JY.2.13.10ab, JY.2.25.403cd, JY.3.14.59cd, JY.4.67.21ab.
MSS C only.
MSS C only.
Word corrupted in all MSS, meaning is unclear. We shall accept the reading adṛśaṃ caraṃ, “invisible passage”, for all three occurrences, v. 161, 163, and colophon. The reading was suggested by one of the reviewers. With the same rate of success I could also suggest the reading cakram, which has the meaning of "army", yet it is too far from what is actually written.
Tentative translation to pick up the end of the passage in which the practitioner becomes himself a vidyādhara, i.e., holder of vidyā, a supernatural flying being.
These all are signs of vidyādhara state.
Tentative translation of bhūtavego[’]sau.
Conj.: samvarāṇye to saṃvarmita.
It is marked as an interpolation in the online critical edition from GRETIL and does not appear in the critical edition of the MBH.
MBH.6.22.16*3–4: śucir bhūtvā mahābāho saṃgrāmābhimukhe sthitaḥ/ parājayāya śatrūṇāṃ durgāstotram udīraya//.
MBH.6.22.16*26: jayo bhavatu me nityaṃ tvatprasādād raṇe raṇe/.
MBH.6.22.16*28: nityaṃ vasasi pātāle yuddhe jayasi dānavān/.
MBH.6.22.16*48: saṃgrāme vijayen nityaṃ lakṣmīṃ prāpnoti kevalām/.
Discussed in (Serbaeva 2006, chp. 1).
For the discussion of dating see (Serbaeva 2006, p. 23).
Matsya references are discussed in (Serbaeva 2006, pp. 25, 85, 93–95).
DP.1.6cd: cāmuṇḍā yena vā devī yena vā sarvamaṅgalā//.
DP.1.10ab: śivasya ca tathā stotraṃ yāmalaṃ viṣṇubrahmagoḥ/. Viṣṇubrahmagoḥ is to be emended to viṣṇubrahmaṇoḥ, conj. Hatley.
DP.9, prose after v. 69: anayā sarvaśastra stambhanam/.
ripukṣobhaṇam vaśīkaraṇañ ca ḍamarukeṇa/.
DP.50.4ab: mahābhaya vināśāya mahāripu badhāya ca/.
DP.50.60cd: rāṣṭrasyasya nṛpāṇāñ ca jāyate vṛddhir uttamā//.
DP.50.127ab: sarvvakāma pradā devyo nṛpa rāṣṭra vivarddhanāḥ/.
DP.128.45ab: nākāle mriyate rāja hanyate na ca śaktibhiḥ/.
Dating discussed in (Hazra 1963, pp. 94–95).
Compare (Rocher 1986, pp. 166–67).
For the date of the NT see (Sanderson 2004b, p. 243).
See (Kaul 1926–1939, vol. 1, p. 138), NT.6.35cd–36ab: rājarakṣāvidhānaṃ tu bhūbhṛtāṃ tu prakāśayet// saṃgrāmakāle varadaṃ ripudarpāpahaṃ bhavet/.
Latāsthitā is elliptic: “stationed on a creeper”, but no such iconographic forms are known to me, so I take it as a reference to the Goddess’s body.
See (Kaul 1926–1939, vol. 2, p. 109), NT.18.85cd–87ab: saṃgrāmakāle dhyātavyā khaḍgapatralatāsthitā// jayaṃ prayacchate tasya ripudarpāpahā bhavet/ saṃgrāmāgre sadā yājyā pararāṣṭrajigīṣuṇā//avaśyaṃ jayam āpnoti devadevyāḥ prasādataḥ/.
The YJA manuscripts were first analysed by (Goudriaan and Gupta 1981, p. 126).
NGMPP/NGMCP. The Nepalese-German Manuscript Preservation/Cataloguing Project. Available online: (accessed on 1 March 2021).
MSS A, dated by the very beginning of the 11th century, if we believe the date in a late hand: Vi. Saṃ. 952 (1008 or 1009 A.D.). Colophon mentions that the Yuddhajayārṇava was written in the kingdom of the king Malladeva, who could be the king of the 11–12th century in Mithila: śrī śrī jayathitirājamalladevasya vi(+ja)yarāje likhito//.
The online manuscript of the YJA lacking the information on provenance and date can be found here: Yuddhajayārṇava. n.d. 36 Folios in Devanāgarī. Available online: (accessed on 10 January 2022).
For parallels, see Appendix C.
For this dating see (Miśra 2016, p. 8).
See (Mundkur et al. 1978, p. 554), dated it by 1170 or 1176.
NJS.1.4–7ab: brahmayāmalam ādau syād dvitīyaṃ viṣṇuyāmalam/ rudrayāmalam ākhyātaṃ caturthaṃ cādiyāmalam// skandaṃ ca yāmalaṃ caiva ṣaṭhaṃ kūrma yāmalam/ saptamaṃ yāmalaṃ devyā iti yāmala saptakam// śrutvādau yāmalān sapta tathā yuddhajayārṇavam/ kaumarīṃ kauśalaṃ caiva yoginījālasaṃcaram// rakṣoghnaṃ ca trimuṇḍaṃ ca svarasiṃhaṃ svarārṇavam/ bhūbalaṃ bhairavaṃ nāma paṭalaṃ svarabhairavam// tantraṃ raṇāhvayaṃ khyātaṃ siddhāntaṃ jayapaddhatim//.
NJS.3.940ab: śṛṇu devi pravakṣyāmi brahmayāmalanirmitam/, NJS.3.1076a: yathoktaṃ yāmale tantre ...; NJS.4.193cd: trividhaṃ yoginīcakram ityuktaṃ brahmayāmale//; NJS.5.94cd: paicchikasya vidhiścāyaṃ brahmayāmalabhāṣitaḥ//.
BY.5.59ab: saṃgrāmikāni yantrāṇi s tathā stambhayate bhṛṣaḥ/; BY.4.826cd: melake jayayantre ca nijasainyasya rakṣaṇe//.
NJS.5.8: Oṃ jūṃ saḥ// iti mṛtyñjayamantraḥ/.
NJS.5.19: Oṃ aghoreśvari cāmuṇḍe mahācāmuṇḍe chrāṃ chrīṃ chrūṃ chraiṃ chrauṃ chraḥ bhagavatīmūrtaye kātyāyanī churikāyai namaḥ//.
NJS.5.174cd: raṇe rājakule dyūte vyavahāre ca parājaye//.
ṢSS.14.4ab, 109r5: ripumardakaraṃ caiva bilayaṃtra prasādhanaṃ/.
ṢSS.14.91cd, 114v5: saṃgrāme deva smarttavyaṃ asipatragataṃ [hṛdi]// [ve]ṣṭitaṃ mātribhiḥ[115r] sainyaṃ bhakṣabhukteti bhāṣayet/, parallel to KMT.8.95 (see above).
ṢSS.15.68, 119v4: rājā tu jayam āpnoti rogastho rogavarjitaḥ/ jayārthe jayavṛddhiḥ syāc cakrasyāsya prapūjanāt//.
ṢSS.15.84ab; 120v4-5: ṣaṣṭhamaṃ tu varārohe stambhane garbhasainyayoḥ/).
Transcript in Appendix B.
mahāsthitāṃ could possibly be emended to mahāsthikam, to pick up vistaraṃ. I thank the reviewer for this suggestion.
ṢSS.15.182ab–187, 127r3–128v3.
Taking blood from the leg is very unusual, as in the previous traditions, for example Trika, blood drawn from the arm. It adds more transgression to this already extreme ritual context.
Candanabesides sandal, means also “something most excellent of its kind”. If we go with this interpretation, it would be a synonym to “mahā-” in this context, and one could suggest that it is likely human flesh or fat, but those have been already mentioned in this same line. So could it be real sandal for once?
These kinds are not explained in the text.
ṢSS.15.257ab, 132r2–3: na bhayaṃ vidyāte tasya saṃgrāme ca sadā jayaḥ/.
ṢSS.15.269cd–270ab, 132v5–133r1: yuddhe ja[133r]yārthitir devi ugravyādhijayārthibhiḥ// prajāvasyārthibhiś caiva guṭikādhāritā priye/.
Reference to the previously explained practice in a ritual tent.
This can concern both liṅga and the practitioner. I would opt for the 2nd variant because such practices are done while being alone and facing a particular direction. Liṅga’s western face would be Sadyojata, a form of Śiva which is not related to war or transgressive practices at all.
Human flesh and fat or flesh and blood.
Particular kind of yoginīs.
ṢSS.16.85, 140r1: guhyakālī tu nāmnā tu sarvāyuddhavimardanī/ rakṣaṇī kālapāśānaṃ śatrūṇāṃ kṛṃtanī tu sā//. For long mantras of Guhyakālī employed for the purpose of victory one should also address the Mahākālasaṃhitā, Guhyakālī khaṇḍa (Caturvedī 2010).
The history of the appartion of the list of the 64 yoginīs in the Agnipurāṇa is discussed in (Serbaeva 2006, pp. 113–17).
Star means that non-war passages are describe more transgressive rituals than the war-related ones.
D sādhakātmanā.
Conjecture: prapūjayet/prapūjya, D prapūrṇṇa.
D viṣṇindrevibhūṣitaṃ.
D śastrārṇṇavaviśoṣiṇīṃ.
Corr. from sukṛṣaṃ.
Correct spelling ūrdhvakeśāṃ.
Corrected from śatrupakṣakṣayaṃkarim.
CD kāṇḍāsana-, B chandāsanā, A cchāṃ[ḍā/ṭhā].
D tadusramam.
Śi is supplied from other dhyāna passages in JY, where the Goddess is associated with jackals.
B yasyād vāmaṃ, A yasyād homaṃ. Shaman Hatley suggested to emend to paścāddhomaṃ, which makes a good sense.
A bhitvā vāmāṃgame cātra.
Corrected from tūṣyati.
Corrected from tāsmai.
Aiśa corrections for this verse suggested by Shaman Hatley.
Conjecture: sadanaṃ nayate, “lead to the abode”. B sadavānayane, C sadevām ayane, D sadavā nayate, A sadacānayane. Shaman Hatley suggested to correct sadanaṃ nayate to tadaiva nayate, which also makes a good sense.
Corrected from athavāyujatāpena. AB athavā yujatā yena.
Corrected from pūrvvoktavidhina.
Corrected from virendrā.
C upahārārthābhyeta, D -marmmeta, A -marmyata, B -martyeta. The translated reading upahārārtham manyeta was suggested by Shaman Hatley.
Corrupted. Shaman Hatley suggested to resolve it as śaṅkhabheryo dhvajavarān.
This is a standard list (elephants, hourses and chariots), and according to Shaman Hatley is could be corrected to aśvān rathādayaḥ.
Corrected from āyudhāṃ.
Corrected from devadeveśīṃ.
B avavyāste.
D parābhavaṃta vāsyaṃti, C parābhavaṃ na vāsyaṃti, A parābhava na vāsyaṃti. Corrupted. Emendation to yāsyanti is suggested by Shaman Hatley.
D gāḍayet matram uccaretra, A tā[tra]yen mantram uccaret.
Corrected from mohaṃyāti, as suggested by Shaman Hatley.
D jinaty enādareṇaiva.
Two syllables missing in all MSS.
Emendation from satrusainikāṃ to satrusainikāḥ suggested by Shaman Hatley.
Corrected from vīrendrā.
B rājñāṃ.
C na.
C vadasva me.
Corrected from kalīṃ.
Unclear and cannot be resolved at present.
ABD rāvinī.
Corr. from eśā.
Unclear and cannot be resolved at present.
Corrected from trailokya.
Other MSS nīrvighnaṃti. Variant C accepted.
Corrupted. Shaman Hatley suggested to emend to prokṣayet paśuvat.
Corrupted. Shaman Hatley suggested tāny āyudhāni as a solution.
Conjecture of Shaman Hatley: evam indrabalaṃ.
Corr. from kālāntakayamopamāṃ. Corrupted.
Corr. from śatrusainyasthai.
A yodhe.
Corrected from utpatat.
C astralakṣmīḥ.
Supplied from JYM appellation of the vidyā.
Corrected from deveśī.
C paścājana.
Kāmite to be understood as kāmike.
BC pretāmbaracitāniti; B -nini.
C naramāṃsā.
BC sadhūpā.
A modamacchare.
Vahale is to be understood as bahule.
BC mahāpaśūpahārādyai.
BCE -niśvanāṃ.
BC niryantapana.
CE bhāsurāṃ.
Conj. śaradgaganakṛṣṇādiharakārddha.
C smare.
E vaktraṃ.
C viṅgabhrū-.
Corrected from A -uddasa, BCS -uddhaśa.
JY(A)55v8-9; C80v2-4; B118r2-3; E86r7.
CE bhuvaneśān.
CE lāsā.
C mahākālī.
A tava.
C śaśāṃbike.
C gajapantaṃ.
B defaced.
Other MSS: sarvakālotthitaṃ. Variant C accepted.
Other MSS [-]tatvāya ca, B defaced. Variant CE accepted.
BCR [-].
AB pañcalakṣā.
A hutvānām.
AB athāgamam.
CE rātrau bhūtani (corr. to bhūtāhni), other MSS - 8 lacunas, B defaced.
BE evāmair. AB have only [- - - - ] va devyam etāvad. Line reconstructed based on CE.
C ūṣyāmate.
E setenaiva, rest of the line reconstructed based on C.
Based on CE. Lacuna in all other MSS.
CE ca.
E tasyāṃ.
BC lepale, E ravayet.
Other MSS tatrat, B unreadable, defaced.
A tāvakasya iva.
BCE gajavājisamākulaṃ.
CE cākṣayan.
E unreadable.
A radagrāma.
A adhātaṃ.
C mahānte; E ihantaṃ.
Conjecture adṛśaṃ caraṃ, meaning “invisible passage”, was suggested by one of the reviewers and I am most grateful for this, as it allows also to resolve the problematic name of the whole practice. A cādṛsambaram, C cādṛsam[v]mṛ; E cādṛmaṣṭharam; B cā[dṛ|hṛ]samvaram.
C sadaṃ.
A mantra, BCE tatra.
CE dyābhavaṃ.
E kalyāmikaṃ.
E accepted, other MSS–gūhya.
E vadūm.
C -madhya.
E darśaya.
BCE cādṛsaṃś caram.
BC srṇu.
CE sara.
E dūrvve[d ūrddhve?].
CE mudāruṇā.
Other MSS sūtra.
C balambāru, E balamboru, B balamcīt.
Corrected from tatkarūṇaṃ.
BCE sainī.
C sakalī.
E kṣaṇāyāti.
C kicit.
CE vidyā.
CE lokyake.
C samvarārānye, B samvarā[x]ye.
C mahābalā.
E śakradhvajo.
C ahasamvara; E ahasamvaraḥ, B a[dū/hū]sambaraḥ. Corrected to adṛśaḥ caraḥ, see verse 163 above.
Corrected from ta.
An example of Aiśa compound.
Corrected from -m ūddhi pādam.
Corrupted, unclear.
Corrected from kuryā tāvan.
Corrected from aṇīmādi.
Corr. from tāṃ, to pick up the “enemies” in 211ab.
Corr. from śaponugrahakartta.
A typical case for JY and for writing and also coding ri and . JY, for example, writes Yogeśvarī as Yogeśvaṛ.
Corrected from maṃtri.


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Figure 1. Relative chronology of the three lines: tantric (up), purāṇic (down), and mixed (middle).
Figure 1. Relative chronology of the three lines: tantric (up), purāṇic (down), and mixed (middle).
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Table 1. The degree of transgression in war prayogas in the tantric texts compared to the overall character of each text and the importance of war-related materials.
Table 1. The degree of transgression in war prayogas in the tantric texts compared to the overall character of each text and the importance of war-related materials.
TextPrayoga LevelText LevelImportance of War
NTS11 (2–3 *128)1
SVT11 (2–3 *)1
Table 2. The degree of transgression in war-prayogas in the epic and purāṇic texts compared to the overall character of each text and the importance of war-related materials.
Table 2. The degree of transgression in war-prayogas in the epic and purāṇic texts compared to the overall character of each text and the importance of war-related materials.
TextPrayoga LevelText LevelImportance of War
MAP11 (2–3 *)3
MP11 (2–3 *)2
KP11 (2–3 *)1–2
Table 3. The degree of transgression in war prayogas in the mixed texts compared to the overall character of each text and the importance of war-related materials.
Table 3. The degree of transgression in war prayogas in the mixed texts compared to the overall character of each text and the importance of war-related materials.
TextPrayoga LevelText LevelImportance of War
NT1 (2–3 *)1 (2–3 *)1–2
LP.222 (3 *)2
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Serbaeva, O. Feeding the Enemy to the Goddess: War Magic in Śaiva Tantric Texts. Religions 2022, 13, 278.

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Serbaeva O. Feeding the Enemy to the Goddess: War Magic in Śaiva Tantric Texts. Religions. 2022; 13(4):278.

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Serbaeva, Olga. 2022. "Feeding the Enemy to the Goddess: War Magic in Śaiva Tantric Texts" Religions 13, no. 4: 278.

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