Etymology and Meaning in Siddha Dharma
- 1 Etymology and Meaning in Siddha Dharma
- 2 Origin of Ḍākinī
- 3 Classification of Ḍākinī Kula Maṇḍala
- 4 Kulā Ḍākinī Yantra Manḍala
- 5 Understanding the Worship of Ḍākinī Shakti
- 6 Ḍākinī and Kula Kunḍalinī
- 7 Kinds of Ḍākinī
- 8 Source Manuscripts
- 9 Misconception
The term Ḍākinī (Sanskrit: डाकिनी) originates from the Sanskrit word Ḍāka (Sanskrit: डाक). However, the etymological connection between Ḍākinī and Ḍāka is not straightforward. In spiritual contexts especially in Siddha Dharma, it refers to a male entity akin to the Ḍākinī. The word Ḍāka, when interpreted in the context of Ḍākinī, is sometimes associated with the concept of हरण (haraṇa), which generally means ‘seizure’ or ‘taking away.’
In this context, Ḍākinī can be understood as an embodiment of dynamic energy or shakti that ‘seizes’ or ‘captures,’ though not in the literal sense of physical taking. Unlike the conventional notion of हरण, which implies the removal of something from its original place, the ‘seizure’ attributed to the Ḍākinī (and by extension, to the Ḍāka) is more auspicious and benevolent, representing the transmission or duplication of spiritual knowledge or energy. Thus, if a Ḍākinī were to ‘take’ something like knowledge or a spiritual attribute, it would not result in its absence from the source; rather, it is akin to creating a ‘copy’ or facilitating its spread, thereby multiplying its presence.
This interpretation emphasizes the role of Ḍākinīs in spiritual practices as carriers and transmitters of wisdom and energy, rather than as entities that deprive or diminish.
Additionally, the concept of हरण (haraṇa) in relation to Ḍāka and Ḍākinī reveals another dimension of their benevolent nature within spiritual practices. This notion extends beyond the mere transmission or duplication of spiritual knowledge. In Siddha Dharma, Ḍākinīs (and Ḍākas) are believed to possess the power to ‘take away’ or ‘absorb’ the accumulated sins or negative karma of individuals. This aspect of हरण symbolizes a profound spiritual cleansing, a transformative process where the Ḍākinīs actively participate in alleviating spiritual burdens.
In this way, the ‘seizure’ or ‘taking’ performed by Ḍākinīs and Ḍākas is seen not as an act of deprivation but as a compassionate act of liberation. By ‘removing’ negative energies or impurities, they facilitate spiritual growth and enlightenment. This interpretation highlights the multifaceted role of Ḍākinīs and Ḍākas in spiritual traditions, embodying both the transmission of wisdom and the alleviation of spiritual obstacles.
Maha Siddha Ishaputra explains that Ḍākini shaktis are inherently independent and unrestrained energies. These energies exist in women in a latent or potential form by nature.
Origin of Ḍākinī
The origin of Ḍākinīs is a complex and multifaceted concept in Siddha Dharma. According to Siddha Dharma teachings, Ḍākinīs are considered companions of Goddess YogaMaya and are associated with various manifestations of Shakti.
Ḍākinīs are revered as the companions of Goddess YogaMaya in Siddha Dharma. In this Siddha Dharma, Maha Siddha Ishaputra informs us that when Kāla (time) manifested, it contained within itself numerous kalās or facets that determine the speed and flow of time, as well as moments of stillness or dissolution. These kalās are profoundly intricate, and human understanding of them remains limited.
Among the Ḍākinīs, there are those known as guhya ḍākinīs, signifying hidden or secret ḍākinīs about whom little is known. These ḍākinīs are said to have manifested even before the emergence of time itself and hold the power to dissolve time.
In one account within Siddha Dharma, Maha Siddha Ishaputra shares insights about events preceding the creation. At that time, Bhagwāna Svacchanda Bhairav Shiva existed beyond all forms of existence. It was during this phase that Shiva manifested Shakti from within, known as Ati Kālā or supreme darkness. This form of Shakti is considered the primal Ḍākinī, and from her, all other ḍākinīs are believed to have originated.
Another account involves Ma Parvati, who, while receiving tantra lessons from Shiva at Kailasha, manifested her Kālī form. This manifestation gave rise to diverse forms of light, from which Krityā and Ḍākinī are said to have emerged. Ati Kālā first manifested during the creation of the universe, and later, this form manifested as Sati and Pārvatī.
In some interpretations within Siddha Dharma, it is believed that all Ḍākinīs are manifestations of RomKūpa (body hair), symbolizing the first manifested Shakti, Ati Kālā, or supreme darkness. However, other siddhas hold the belief that Ḍākinīs are companions of the goddess.
Ḍākinīs are often associated with the divine manifestations that occur when Goddess intervenes to stop the atrocities of asurās (demons). They are also present during the worship and practice of the das mahāvidyās (ten great goddesses).
Classification of Ḍākinī Kula Maṇḍala
In Siddha Dharma, Ḍākinīs are venerated as divine beings, akin to goddesses. They are regarded as a distinct class or yoni, separate from other celestial entities such as Devīs (goddesses) and Apsarās (nymphs). These beings are collectively known as the Ḍākinī Kula Maṇḍala, which signifies the assembly or circle of Ḍākinīs. Each Ḍākinī within this grouping adheres to their own tradition and embodies unique attributes and qualities.
The Ḍākinī Kula Maṇḍala encompasses seven primary ḍākinis and their male counterparts or ḍāka:
|Ḍākinī Name (Sanskrit/Devanagari)
|Dāka Name (Sanskrit/Devanagari)
|रक्त वर्ण(Red Colour)
|नारंगी वर्ण(orange Colour)
|पीत वर्ण(Yellow Colour)
|हरित वर्ण(Green Colour)
|प्रगाढ़ नील(indigo Colour)
|नील वर्ण(Blue Colour)
|हिरण्य साम्राज्ञी (Hiraṇya Sāmrāgyī)
|हिरण्य गोत्र (Hiraṇya Gotra)
|सुवर्ण वर्ण(Golden Colour)
Each of these Ḍākinī have their own diverse manifestations.
|हिरण्य साम्राज्ञी (Hiraṇya Sāmrāgyī)
The sixteen forms of Ḍākinīs are elaborated more in the section titled Kinds of Ḍākinī
Although the seventh type, Hiraṇya Sāmrāgyī, does not include Ḍākinī in her name, she is classified under the supreme category of Parmā Ḍākinī. And her male counterpart is Hiraṇya Gotra. Here Gotra implies source.
The concept of हरण (haraṇa) varies across different lokas (realms) in the cosmos, each with its distinct beings and qualities. Consequently, the manifestation and impact of हरण by the Ḍākinīs differ according to the realm.
Some Ḍākinīs reside in the seven lower realms or adholokas. The adholokās are are
अतल (Atala), वितल (Vitala), सुतल (Sutala), तलातल (Talātala), महातल (Mahātala), रसातल (Rasātala), पाताल (Pātāla)
Ḍākinīs dwelling in the lower realms are referred to as “निकृष्ट डाकिनी” (Nikriśṭha Ḍākinīs) or “निम्न डाकिनी” (Nimn Ḍākinīs). They do not hold a place of reverence or serve as objects of worship or invocation, which is why they do not belong to specific kulās or categories. In various Hindu scriptures, such as the Purāṇas, these Ḍākinīs are often depicted with negative characteristics and attributes.
Conversely, the Ḍākinīs residing in the upper realms or lokas are categorized as mentioned above. This implies that in Bhu loka we find Ḍākinī, in Bhuvar loka there is Rākinī, in Svah loka resides Lākinī, in Maha loka one finds Kākinī, in Jana loka there is Hākinī, in Tapa loka resides Śākinī, and in Satyaloka, we encounter Hiraṇya Sāmrāgyī.
|Corresponding Realm (Loka)
|भू लोक (Bhu Loka)
|भुवर लोक (Bhuvar Loka)
|स्वः लोक (Svah Loka)
|महा लोक (Maha Loka)
|जन लोक (Jana Loka)
|तप लोक (Tapa Loka)
|हिरण्य साम्राज्ञी (Hiraṇya Sāmrāgyī)
|सत्य लोक (Satya Loka)
It is one shakti Ḍākinī but the nature of Ḍākinī changes in different loka and that is why they are called with different names. So one cannot just invoke or worship only one realm ḍākinī and think that covers all. One has to approach them as per their respective realm. For example in bhu loka where we are residing, ḍākinī reside in nature, under earth, in water, in space and they can be practically anywhere.
Kulā Ḍākinī Yantra Manḍala
For sādhanā of ḍākinis, one has a sacred geometric yantra known as kulā ḍākinī yantra manḍala. Unlike common yantras with bhupur, kulā ḍākinī yantra manḍala is a circular manḍala without a bhupur. Although individual ḍākinī have their own yantras, but this kulā ḍākinī yantra manḍala is a combined yantra of all ḍākinīs. kulā ḍākinī yantra manḍala has its own unique ritual system that one learns in Kulāntaka Pīṭha.
Understanding the Worship of Ḍākinī Shakti
The worship of Ḍākinī Shakti in spiritual practices stems from their unique role in imparting knowledge. Unlike human categorizations of information as good or bad, moral or immoral, Ḍākinīs provide knowledge that transcends these human-imposed distinctions. This results in the delivery of raw, unfiltered knowledge. While Ḍākinīs themselves may not possess extensive knowledge innately, they acquire it through the power of हरण (haraṇa), drawing wisdom from their realm to bestow upon seekers.
For instance, if one inquires about water from a water Ḍākinī, the response would encompass all aspects of water – its origin, composition, properties, and everything related to it, without human biases or moral judgments.
The power of Ḍākinī Shakti is both potent and significant. They are often perceived as embodying a form of ‘negative’ energy, not because they are harmful, but due to their impartiality in knowledge transmission. They do not distinguish between right and wrong or moral and immoral. For example, if asked about destroying an enemy, a Ḍākinī would provide a straightforward answer, devoid of moral commentary. This is in contrast to deities like Devīs or Devtās, who tend to offer guidance that includes considerations of right, wrong, and potential consequences. A Devī or Devtā might advise on the changing nature of relationships or the repercussions of destructive actions. However, Ḍākinīs refrain from such ethical evaluations, focusing solely on the factual response to the query.
Ḍākinī and Kula Kunḍalinī
In the yogic philosophy, the adage “यथा ब्रह्माण्डे, तथा पिण्डे” (Yatha brahmande, tathā piṇḍe) holds significant meaning. It translates to “As is the macrocosm, so is the microcosm,” suggesting that the individual (piṇḍa, or microcosm) mirrors the entire universe (brahmāṇḍa, or macrocosm). This principle implies that everything existing in the cosmos can also be found in a smaller scale within each individual.
This concept extends to the system of seven chakras, where each chakra is associated with a specific Ḍākinī. These Ḍākinīs represent various aspects of Kunḍalinī shakti within the body:
|हिरण्य साम्राज्ञी (Hiraṇya Sāmrāgyī)
Kinds of Ḍākinī
Ḍākinī have sixteen forms. These forms are classified under four kinds of ḍākinīs.
निकृष्ट डाकिनी or Nikriśṭha Ḍākinīs whose rituals and worship is forbidden by Siddhas as they are harmful for human beings. They reside in lower seven realms. Each realm has sixteen Ḍākinī . But since siddhas have stopped their rituals, we will not list them here.
Deva Ḍākinī देव डाकिनी have nature just like goddesses or devī. They are also known as Shuddha Ḍākinī. They are sātvik Ḍākinī. One uses refined offerings in rituals like flowers, essential oils, incence dhūpa , dīpa etc.
Deva Ḍākinī have their tantra sadhana , mantra sadhana and also yoga sadhana through dhyāna meditation. They are companions of gods and goddesss in himalaya and even accomplish or enable works of devī devtā. So when one does sadhana of these deva Ḍākinī then one obtain knowledge of devī devtā .
The four mahā siddhās who are known as founder siddhā of dev dākinī sadhanā tradition are listed in the table below. They have obtained the knowledge from Shiva Svacchanda Bhiarava Mahadev himself. They have taught who are the sixteen Deva Ḍākinī, why one should do sadhana of these Deva Ḍākinī , what is the benefit of worshipping them.
|Mahā Siddha Vritabīja Nātha
|महासिद्ध वृतबीज नाथ
|Mahā Siddha Turmāṇa Nātha
|महासिद्ध तुर्माण नाथ
|Mahā Siddha Tāraṇa Nātha
|महासिद्ध तारण नाथ
|Maha Siddha Kośira Natha
|महासिद्ध कोशिर नाथ
The sixtīn Deva Ḍākinī are
|Siddha chakrā Ḍākinī
|सिद्ध चक्रा डाकिनी
|Tri Śringī Ḍākinī
|त्रि शृंगी डाकिनी
|Vajra Bhangā Ḍākinī
|वज्र भंगा डाकिनी
|Gyāna Garbhā Ḍākinī
|ज्ञान गर्भा डाकिनी
|Śukla Dehā Ḍākinī
|शुक्ल देहा डाकिनी
Ucchiṣṭha implies impure. Ucchiṣṭha ḍākinī are tantra aghora and vāma mārga ḍākinīs. They are considered to be of medium level and not so high level. They are of ferocious nature. They have potency for inflicting suffering and harming. However for the practitioners they are benevolent and protects them. Ucchiṣṭha ḍākinī protects and helps her sādhaka or practitioners but can harm others. Therefore there is a strict guideline to only do their sādhanā only after taking permission from guru and the sādhanā is to be performed under the guidance of guru of Ucchiṣṭha tradition or kula.
The four mahā siddhās are
|Mahā Siddha Makara Varṇa Nātha
|महासिद्ध मकर वर्ण नाथ
|Mahā Siddhā Madra Kunjarī Nātha
|महासिद्धा मद्र कुंजरी नाथ
|Mahā Siddhā Parṇatuṣṭi Nātha
|महासिद्धा पर्णतुष्टि नाथ
|Mahā Siddhā Nāgabhūṣaṇī Nātha
|महासिद्धा नागभूषणी नाथ
Ucchiṣṭha ḍākinī are also sixteen in number.
|Śoṣaṇa Krityā Ḍākinī
|शोषण कृत्या डाकिनी
|Avadhūta Kāmā Ḍākinī
|अवधूत कामा डाकिनी
Kāla Ḍākinī are companions of Mahākāla Shiva Svacchanda Bhairava. Just like Vīra Bhadra and Bhadra Kālī manifested from shiva dreadlocks or jaṭā, these sixteen Kāla Ḍākinī also reside in his dreads.
Sixteen Kāla Ḍākinī are
|Vidyā Balā Ḍākinī
|विद्या बला डाकिनी
|Ati Vārāhī Ḍākinī
|अति वाराही डाकिनी
|Mahā Siddhā Dharma Tārā Nātha
|महासिद्धा धर्म तारा नाथ
|Mahā Siddha Medhākśa Nātha
|महासिद्ध मेधाक्ष नाथ
|Mahā Siddha Śaktipāla Nātha
|महासिद्ध शक्तिपाल नाथ
|Mahā Siddha Kalpamuni Nātha
|महासिद्ध कल्पमुनि नाथ
Since we do not do sadhanā of Nikriśṭa ḍākinī, one first does the sadhana of these three ḍākinīs, Deva Ḍākinī, Ucchiṣṭha Ḍākinī and Kāla Ḍākinī. Then one can do sadhanā of Rākinī, Lākinī, Kākinī, Hākinī and Śākinī.
In the end only Hiraṇya Sāmrāgyī remains who is at the top and the rest of the ḍākinīs are her manifestation.
The term “Sāmrāgyī” signifies the sovereign power or supreme authority, often associated with the goddess. In the context of “Hiraṇya Sāmrāgyī,” the word “hiraṇya” carries a figurative meaning, representing the best or most refined qualities. Therefore, “Hiraṇya Sāmrāgyī” refers to the supreme ḍākinī, who is none other than Kurukullā.
Typically depicted in red, Kurukullā takes on a distinct form as “Hiraṇya Sāmrāgyī.” In this manifestation, she is visualized as a ḍākinī seated upon a golden lotus, adorned with a radiant golden complexion, dressed in resplendent golden garments and jewelry, and holding a golden bow and arrow.
Hiraṇya Sāmrāgyī represents the ultimate or Parmā Ḍākinī, while the remaining six ḍākinīs are considered her various forms. To approach the sādhanā (spiritual practice) of Hiraṇya Sāmrāgyī, it is essential to first acquaint oneself with the six forms of ḍākinī through their respective sādhanās.
According to the Siddha Kurukulla Tantra, there are other ḍākinīs who are referred to as ḍākinīs inhabiting specific small areas or realms. These ḍākinīs are often enlightened female masters who, after their physical death, do not attain liberation but instead take on another realm or yoni, continuing to exist in their particular designated area. While they may not possess immense power like the higher ḍākinīs, they do possess siddhis (spiritual powers) and abilities that can be obtained by tantriks or practitioners through the performance of their sādhanā (spiritual practice).
These ḍākinīs exercise control and authority over their fixed regions, and they may dwell alone or occasionally alongside their male counterparts, known as Ḍākas. These local ḍākinīs play a unique role in the spiritual landscape, offering practitioners opportunities to access specific powers and wisdom associated with their respective areas of influence.
The Kaulāntaka Pīṭha Siddha Archive has a repository of valuable siddha knowledge and artifacts related to ḍākinīs. It provides insights into the worship, rituals, and practices associated with ḍākinīs in the Siddha tradition. Under the guidance of Maha Siddha Ishaputra, one is able to decipher and understand these treasures of knowledge.
Among the treasures in its archive are:
Copper Plate: This includes a copper plate etched with tānkarī lipi (script) bearing the names of ḍākinīs. It features a tantrik iconographic sketch of a ḍākinī, with a maṇḍala drawn at the top. This and other such plates have been traditionally used by siddhas to impart knowledge to their students.
Manuscript – Loka Muktā Ḍākinī Kalpa: This manuscript provides comprehensive information about ḍākinīs and offers detailed instructions for their sādhanā (spiritual practice). It is a valuable resource for those seeking to connect with and understand ḍākinī energies.
Scroll – Ḍarāhī Ḍākinī: This scroll contains information about ḍākinīs, including bīja mantras, mantras, and stutis (prayers). It serves as a guide for practitioners who wish to engage in rituals and invocations related to ḍākinīs.
Kurukullā or Hiraṇya Sāmrāgyī Ratha: The Kaulāntaka Pīṭha possesses a chariot (ratha) and a sacred piṇḍi (shrine) dedicated to Kurukullā or Hiraṇya Sāmrāgyī. These are used in worship rituals and represent the supreme ḍākinī.
Vigraha of Six Ḍākinīs:The siddha archive houses six vigrahas or small rathas representing the six ḍākinīs. These wooden vigrahas are adorned with copper jewelry and feature faces made of copper plates. The hair used for these vigrahas comes from yaks during their seasonal summer haircuts. They are taken out for special occasions and serve as focal points for sādhanā practices. Unlike some devtā rathas with multiple faces symbolizing various attributes, the vigrahas of ḍākinīs have a single face.
Maha Siddha Ishaputra provides valuable insights into the nature of ḍākinīs and dispels misconceptions surrounding them. He emphasizes that there is no need to fear ḍākinīs, as fear often arises from ignorance and lack of knowledge. Instead, he encourages individuals to seek knowledge about ḍākinīs, as knowledge is the key to overcoming fear.
Furthermore, Maha Siddha Ishaputra highlights the importance of understanding the ḍākinī shakti and the numerous benefits of engaging in ḍākinī sādhanā. He underscores that ḍākinī sādhanā is always auspicious and beneficial for practitioners.
Additionally, Maha Siddha Ishaputra clarifies the concept of हरण (haraṇa) shakti of ḍākinīs. It is not about taking away or snatching in a negative sense but refers to the ḍākinīs’ unique ability to gather and collect knowledge from various sources. They hold the key to unraveling the mysteries of the universe, making ḍākinī sādhanā essential for those seeking profound wisdom and insights.