Dearest Ones, the Toni Tantra flew into my temple early one morning as I practised my solo oblations. It's eight sweet patalas surrounded me and sang, successively, their particular and pungent songs. The tune was so familiar. Maybe you will find it to be sweet as well. Printed here for your researching pleasure is Lokanath's introduction which is chock fall of tasty literary and publishing reference. We will print the translation of the Toni Tantra in it's entirety over the course of the next four issues of the SL, which will be Vol. 3, one of my favorite one digit numbers (actually, they're all good and much the same, but that issue has been adequately covered elsewhere) and a remarkably appropriate one for this particular piece of work. If you just can't wait all year to read the Tantra, or if serialisation drives you to distraction, you can send me $2—or better yet, something interesting to read pertaining to sex and immortality and I will send you a copy. So it's not free; but it is easy. What I'm really looking for is source material, but sometimes those anecdotal accounts and magical records make for fascinating reading. So send them along to me!
This translation of the Yoni Tantra1 is a revised version of the serialised translation published in Azoth Magazine numbers 16-19. That translation used the Sanskrit text of Yoni Tantra edited by J.S. Schoeterman and published by Manohar in 1980.
For reasons probably of 'delicacy' Schoeterman did not issue a translation of the text with his edition. But there is an excellent introduction dealing with the texts he used and other topics relating to Kulachara2.
The statements by many Western commentators that the 'secret sadhana'3 was hidden by an allusive style are completely exploded by Yoni Tantra. Kaulas4 were never prone to mince words and the consumption of Yoni Tattva—the mixture of menses and semen—is described in the clearest of terms in Yoni Tantra.
While ritual sexual intercourse is often alluded to in Kaula and Shri Tantras there are only a few places where the Yoni Tattva5 is referred to. The chief of these is Yoni Tantra, which could be described as a eulogy of the Yoni and the Yoni Tattva.
As long ago as 1913 some details relating to this matter were published by Arthur Avalon in his 'Hymn to Kali' (Luzac 1913). Unfortunately, it was obviously felt to be too sensitive a matter and Sir John left un-translated the crucial parts of the commentary which deal with consumption of Yoni Tattva.
The first reference to the consumption of menses and semen in English I have come across is in the Indian magazine Values, Vol. XIX No. 5. In an article called “The Occult World of a Tantrick Gum” by a living representative of the Uttara Kaula and Adinath Sampradayas, Shri Gurudeva Mahendranath, this matter is discussed plainly.
In the course of research into this subject other English books have been discovered which deal (with) this subject. The first of these is Elizabeth Sharpe's Secrets of the Kaula Circle, (Luzac 1936), a factional [sic] account which, while not spelling out what was involved in the process gave dark hints.
The earliest references to Yoni Tattva in Kaula Tantras seems to be in the Kaula Jnana Nimay of Matsyendranath (AMMOOKOS 1984):
"In Kaula Agama the 5 pure and eternal substances are ashes, wife's nectar, semen, menstrual blood and ghee mixed together... In occasional rites and in acts of Kama Siddhi the great discharge without doubt and most certainly is what one should do in Kula Agama... One should always consume the physical blood and semen. This, 0 Dearest One, is the oblation of the Yoginis and Siddhas" (Chapter 8).
"Dearest One, a Brahmin goes to heaven by endless washing of the feet and mouth, whereas one who repeatedly makes a forehead mark of Kundagola or Udbhava menses can destroy various illnesses such as leprosy and smallpox, and is free from all disease in the same way that a sepent sloughs its skin." (Ibid, Chapter 8).
"Blood is the female (Vama) elixir—mixed with wine and semen it is the Absolute itself!" (Ibid, Chapter 18).
Other Kaula Tantras deal with the subject of menstrual blood in very plain terms. Matrikahheda Tantra (English translation Sothis-Weirdglow 1973) describes the different types of menstrual blood: "Shri Shankara said—The first menses appearing in a woman who has lost her virginity gives rise to Svayambhu blood. In a maiden born of a married woman and begotten by another man, 0 Auspicious One, that which arises is Kunda Menses—the substance which causes any desire to be granted. Deveshi, the maiden begotten by a widow gives rise to Gola Menses, which subdues gods. The menses arising in the first period after a virgin becomes a wife is the All Bewildering Svapushpa." (Matrikahheda Tantra, Chapter 5).
The very first chapter of the Tantra deals with a substance called shambal, which is described by the commentary as a wife's menstrual discharge. This substance allows the Tantrik adept to perform various sorts of alchemy.
Vajrayana is a cult of Tibetan Lamaism. In a tantra called Chandramaharoshana (Harvard Oriental Series, 1976) the Lord Chandramaharoshana is made to say:
"Optionally he (the yogin) may secrete or not secrete, having his mind solely on pleasure. If he does, he should lick the Lotus, on the knees. And he should eat with his tongue the white and red of the Lotus. And he should inhale it through a pipe in the nose, to increase his power." (Chandramaharoshana, Ch.6 v.150.)
There are many points of contact between the Vajrayana and Indian Kaula cults. Matsyendranath, alleged author of Kaula Jnana Nirnay, is also by some accounts the founder of both Vajrayana and Kaula. He is also the human progenitor of the Nath Siddha tradition.
Kaulavali Nirnayah (Agamanusandhana Samiti, Calcutta nd), edited by Sir John Woodroffe, is a digest or compendium of other Kaula tantras. One of the works it deals with is the Shandramaharoshana Tantra (see above). Summarising Chapter 18, Woodroffe quotes the Tantra as stating:
"...there are people who regard semen and menstrual fluid with disgust, but they forget that the body by which they hope to attain Liberation is composed of these two forms of matter, that the marrow, bone and tendons have come from the father and the skin, flesh and blood from the mother. It further says that there is no reason for man's disgust for excreta or urine, for these are nothing but food or drink which has undergone some change and contains living creatures and the Brahman substance is not absent therefrom...All things are pure. It is one's mentality which is evil." (Ibid, Introduction pp 19-20).
This Sanskrit word means a spiritual state in which an individual may act according to her or his own Will. As she or he is Shiva incarnate there can be no morality, only amorality—freedom from the rules of the Pashu or beast who is fettered by the mind:
"Bhairava said—Listen Vira Chamunda to the characteristics of vessels and the way of acting. One may be a child, or a madman, or a king, or like one in a swoon, or like an independent being, or a Lord Hero, or like one who teaches Veda for gain. The way to be is to act howsoever one Wills, Dearest!" (Kaula Jnana Nirnaya, Chapter 8).
The Yoni Tantra advocates this course in Chapter 7, stating that the ordinary rules for worship are suspended for one who follows Mahacina practice. This word Mahacina is often encountered in Kaula tantras—it seems to refer to the the regions bordering Tibet and China. One following this path is free of all distinctions as she or he is one with Shiva and Shakti, and may act therefore according to Will.
Sveccacharya is the way of the Avadhoot, that is to say a person beyond any qualifications or distinctions. The type and symbol of this way of acting is the Guru figure of India, Dattatreya. The Avadhoot is always in a blissful state, one with Shiva. According to Woodroffe in his introduction to Kaulavali Nirnayah:
"It is very difficult for any one to know his true nature. When alone he is like one mad, dumb or paralysed and when in the society of men he sometimes behaves like a good man, sometimes like a wicked one, and on occasions he behaves like a demon. But the Yogi is always pure whatever he may do and by his touch everything becomes pure." (Introduction p. 22)
These descriptions of an Avadhoot echo the Mala or chain mantra of Dattatreya, in which he is described as "Madman, Child, Devil."
In the Avadhuta Upanishad (Sannyasa Upanishads, Adyar 1978) Dattatreya is questioned by Samkriti:
Venerable Lord, who is an Avadhoota? What is his condition? What is his characteristic? What is his worldly existence? [Dattatreya then replies] The Avadhoot is so called as he has discarded worldly ties, and he is the essence of the sentence 'Thou art That'...His worldly existence consists in moving about freely, with or without clothes. For them there is nothing righteous or unrighteous, nothing holy or unholy. (ppl-3).
For him there is no such thing as sin or virtue. The ethical system of sin and virtue is to protect the minds of the worldly, since the mind is the measure of all things and all things last only a moment. (Chandramaharoshana Ch. 8 v. 60).
Again in the text of the Nath Siddhas:
Bad smells and perfume one should sense as equal. Just as a lotus petal in water is without stain, so a Yogi is unmarred by merit or sin. In one in whom this mental disposition has blossomed there is no difference between killing a Brahmin or the Ashvamedha sacrifice, nor is there any difference between bathing in all the sacred waters or contact with barbarians (Mlecchas). (Kaula Jnana Nirnaya, Chapter 11).
Reverence For Women
The Kaulas regarded women Gurus very highly, and there are many examples of Yoginis or female Tantriks. In the Yoni Tantra, Chapter 7 we find:
Women are jewels, women are life, women are, truly, jewels.
This sentence is echoed in many other tantras such as Shakti Samgama Tantra, Devirahasya and elsewhere. A woman is the Goddess:
One should worship carefully a woman or a maiden, as she is Shakti, sheltered by the Kulas. One should never speak harshly to maidens or women. (KIN Ch.23)
In Kaula every woman is thought of as a manifestation of the Goddess. No man may raise his hand, strike or threaten a woman. When she is naked, men must kneel and worship her as the Goddess. She has equal rights with men on all levels. ('Occult World of a Tantrik Gum', Dadaji in Values Vol.IX)
In both Kulachudamani Tantra (Azoth Magazine nos. 20-24) and the Brihad Nila Tantra the Kaula is instructed to recite a mantra inwardly whenever he sees a woman.
Women are heaven; women are Dharma; and women are the highest penance. Women are Buddha; women are the Sangha; and women are the perfection of Wisdom. ('Chandamaharoshana' Ch.8 v. 30)
Although the Yoni Tantra seems to hail from Cooch Bihar (Kocha), many of the Kaula Tantras are set at Kamarupa, a word which means 'Body of Sexuality'. In Puranic legend this place is the spot at which the Yoni of the Goddess fell to earth after it had been sliced up into 50 parts by the Discus of Vishnu.
According to legend, Matsyendranath, founder of Kaula and Natha traditions, pounded the Kaula Shastra6 at Kamarupa. The famous temple of Kamakhya in Gauhati is illustrated below. [Sr. C.F. Note —Actually, not. If you happen to be the proud possessor of this illustration, or one just like it, why not send it along to me in care of the SL and perhaps I'll send you a valuable prize.] This form of Goddess is hymned in the Kalika Purana, and in very many Varna or Kaula tantras:
It is said that female magicians knowing Yoga dwell at Kamakhya Pitha. If one joins with one of these one obtains Yogini Siddhi (KJN Ch. 16)
The Ten Mahavidyas
These are enumerated in the third chapter of Yoni Tantra as Kali, Tara, Sodashi Chinnamastaka, Bhagalamjkhi, Matangi, Bhuvaneshvari, Mahalakshmi and associated with the diffent parts of the female Yoni. This list is slightly different from that in Todala Tantra (Kalika Magazine Nos.1-4).
A Mahavidya is a Great Mantra, and these ten seem to be mainly Bengali forms. Sodashi is identical with Tripurasundari. Tara has close affinities with the Tibetan Tara. Reference should be make to Rituals of Kalika (Sothis Weirdglow, 1983) for details of this great Goddess.