(Last Updated on : 21/04/2011)
In chapter 6 of Mahanirvana Tantra, Parvati
asks Shiva to tell her more about the Pancha Tattvas, (wine, meat, fish, parched grain and coition). He also delves into the Shri Patra, Homas in Tantra, the formation of Chakras and other rituals. Shiva first answers her by classifying wine, meat and parched grain into three classes, or superior, middling and inferior, and divides the plants and animals and grain according to their quality. He informs Parvati that any form of food offered to Shakti along with wine is called Shuddhi, and no observance, whether it is offering or austerity, can succeed without Shuddhi, thus illustrating the importance of the pancha tattvas in Shakti worship.
Shiva then asserts that in the Kali age, the worshipper's consort herself is the fifth tattva, which is devoid of all defects. He then specifies numerous initiatory and propitiatory rites for honouring one's consort, which differ according to whether one's wife is initiated into Tantra or not. The Shripatra should be placed first near one's wife, and she must be sprinkled with wine or pure water from the common offering with purificatory mantras.
After drawing a specific yantra, the disciple must worship the six parts of the body in the corners of the various geometrical figures of the Yantra. He must then worship, in the following order, the fire god (Vahni), the Sun, and the Moon according to their respective parts, using specific mantras recited by Shiva. The ishta-devata (the deity to whom one feels the greatest devotion) should then be invoked as the wine is charged with yet more mantras.
This is the consecration of the Shri-patra in Kaulika worship. Without such purification the disciple is guilty of sin, and the worship is fruitless.
More rites follow for the propitation of one's Ishta-Devata, and the Devi or Shakti, with rituals resembling those surrounding one's own consort.
The chapter on Shakti worship contains the most elaborate rituals in the Mahanirvana Tantra, replete with several Yantras, Mantras
and variations on the same. Diverse anya-devatas are also worshipped in the same, and these rituals often involve the drawing and redrawing of the Yantra relevant to them.
Propitiatory rites follow for the Guru
and a final consecration of the Ishta Devata along with the supreme Prakriti. There is some element of prayaschitta (repentance) in this final observance, wherein the mantra translates to "O Primordial Kalika! I have worshipped Thee with all my powers and devotion, forgive me,"
Then, distributing Naivedya (consecrated offerings) to Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, and all the other Devas, the worshipper should consume it himself. The disciple must then seat his consort or Shakti next to himself and make a 'pleasing drink' with the cup.
Then the Sadhaka should serve the sacred food and wine either himself or using his nephew's aid among the worshippers according to the order of their seniority. The purified wine should be served in the drinking-cups, and the purified food in plates kept for that purpose, and then the food and drink should be taken with those present.
Then the Sadhakas should each take his own cup and meditate upon the Kula-Kundalini, and, uttering the Mula-Mantra, let each, after taking the otherspermission, offer it as oblation to the mouth of the Kundali. When the Shakti is of the household, the smelling of the wine is the equivalent of drinking it. Worshippers who are householders may drink five cups only. Excessive drinking is prohibited, and is said to prevent the attainment of success by Kula worshippers. They may drink until the sight or the mind is not affected. To drink beyond that is considered bestial.
Thus Shiva concludes the chapter with decreeing the consumption of the consecrated food that has been purified ritually by offering to one's Ishta Devata and Shakti, and to one's own consort.