(Last Updated on : 29/07/2011)
Worship of Chinnamasta in Tantra comprises of regular preliminaries, tantric regular preliminaries, invocation of the deity and the fire ceremony.
Tantric Regular Preliminaries
There are various Regular Preliminaries that are performed for the worship of Goddess Chinnamastika.
: This ritual comprises of washing of one's lips and hands. With these purified lips the practitioner chants certain mantras while touching specific parts of the body. According to Vidyamava acamana is the purification par excellence. It is to be performed after every act when there is slightest suspicion of impurity.
Pranayama and Sixfold Nyasa
: This consists of pranayama which is the control of the two of the subtle wind and apana, the downward moving subtle wind. Jointly they represent as ones respiration. The winds run through three main subtle channels also called nadis, the central channel, susumna, the left channel, ida and to the right channel, pingala. When the two subtle winds run through the left, ida, the mind is concentrated. On the other hand when the two subtle winds flow through the right known as pingala, the mind remains scattered. Pranayama is a method of regulating the breath so that inhalation puraka, maintaining the breath (kumbhaka) and exhalation (recaka) are all equal in length. One inhales through one channel and exhales through the other, then reverses the process. This is done in order to arouse the kundalini, dormant in the Mooladhara Chakra and causes it to ascend to the Sahasrara Chakra at the top of the head.
The sixfold nyasa is a process of touching one's body and uttering specific mantras. By performing this one transforms one's body into a divine body. This sixfold nyasa is the ruler of all the nyasas.
: It comprises of placing a different syllable of the alphabet at each part of the body. By the empowerment of a specific syllable of the Sanskrit alphabet, each part of the body becomes divine. This Matrkabija Nyasa is both the touching of specific parts of the skin with mantras and also the visualising of letters on each petal of the six cakras with the body.
: In this ritual the practitioner is explained about the seer who exposed the text, the meter of the text, its deity, its power and the results. In non-tantric texts this was the criteria for establishing authority, thus it was incorporated in tantric texts for the same reason of establishing authority of the texts.
: It is the change and sublimation of the fingers, hands and limbs with the help of the mantras. Here one touches the right and left small fingers while chanting a particular mantra. One performs this ritual with his ring fingers, middle fingers, index fingers and thumbs. Thereafter he puts one's palm together and ends by touching together the back of one's hands reciting the mantra.
: This ritual secures the body and once the particular parts of the body have been touched from head to feet and in the reverse order thrice. It concludes with flicking of fingers around the head thus binding all the directions, also known as digbandhana. With this practise ones body gets transformed into a divine one thus giving the practitioner the authorization to begin meditating on the deity.
Meditation of Chinnamasta
: Meditation also known as dhyana.
Making the Yantra
: This ritual consists in the drawing a yantra on the ground in front of the practitioner. The word yantra has been derived from the Sanskrit yam meaning to sustain or to support the power of a particular object or concept. In Goddess Chinnamasta's yantra a devotee needs to draw a yantra which is an abstract geometrical form. The yantra is made of outer, middle and inner sections. The outermost section known as the Bhupura enfolds everything and thus stops anything from entering the iner section where the deity resides. The middle section comprises of eight parallel lotuses that are related to various goddess. Finally the inner section is made of two inverted triangles in which the mantras are inscribed. The mantras represent the Goddess Chinnamasta. Once the yantra is made the practitioner can begin his worship.
Meditation of Inner Yantra
: This ritual relates to the visualized meditation of Chinnamasta and her abode within the body of the worshipper. This has been divided into meditations of the goddess. The first one is practised by the yogis who perceive the goddess in a form and the second one is for the householders who perceive the goddess in an abstract form.
: This forms an important ceremony of Hindu ritual worship. Here the worshipper sprinkles consecrated water from the conch shell on the practitioners. It is believed that this holy water purifies them. According to rituals of Tantra the conch shell is never moved during the pujas because it is said that the goddess resides in it.
: It is the ritual of worshipping the seat of the goddess. This sacred is a combination of cosmological places as well as philosophical concepts.