Nyasa Positions

The bodies of the Devata are composed of the fifty matrkas. The sadhaka, therefore, first sets mentally (antar matrka-nyasa) in their several places in the six cakras, and then externally by physical action (Bahyamatrkanyasa) the letters of the alphabet which form the different parts of the body of the Devata, which is thus built up in the sadhaka himself. He places his hand on different parts of his body, uttering distinctly at the same time the appropriate matrka for that part.

The mental disposition in the cakras is as follows: In the Ajna Lotus, Ham, Ksam, (each letter in this and the succeeding cases is said, followed by the mantra namah);(1) in the Visuddha Lotus Am, Âm, and the rest of the vowels; in the Anahata Lotus kam, kham to tham ; in the Manipura Lotus, dam, dham, etc., to pham: in the Svadhisthana Lotus bam, bham to lam ; and, lastly, in the Muladhara Lotus, vam, śam,(2) şam, (3) sam.

The external disposition then follows. The vowels in their order with anusvara and visarga are placed on the forehead, face, right and left eye, right and left ear, right and left nostril, right and left cheek, upper and lower lip, upper and lower teeth, head, and hollow of the mouth. The consonants kam to vam are placed on the base of right arm and the elbow, wrist, base and tips of fingers, left arm, right and left leg, right and left side, back, navel, belly, heart, right and left shoulder, space between the shoulders (kakuda), and then from the heart to the right palm śam is placed ; and from the heart to the left palm the (second) şam; from the heart to the right foot, sam ; from the heart to the left foot, ham; and, lastly, from the heart to the belly, and from the heart to the mouth, ksam. In each case om is said at the beginning and namah at the end.

According to the Tantrasara, matrka-nyasa is also classified into four kinds, performed with different aims-viz: kevala where the matrka is pronounced without bindu; bindu-samyuta with bindu; samsarga with visarga; and sobhya with visarga and bindu.

Rsi-nyasa then follows for the attainment of the caturvarga.(4) The assignment of the mantra is to the head, mouth, heart, anus, the two feet, and all the body generally. The mantras commonly employed are:

“In the head, salutation to the Rsi (Revealer) Brahma; (5) in the mouth, salutation to the mantra Gayatri; (6) in the heart, salutation to the Devi Mother Sarasvati; (7) in the hidden part, salutation to the bija, the consonants; (8) salutation to the sakti, the vowels in the feet; (9) salutation to visargah, the kilaka in the whole body.” (10)

Another form in which the bija is employed is that of the Adya; it is referred to but not given in Chap. V, verse 123, and is:

“In the head, salutation to Brahma and the Brahmarsis (11) in the mouth, salutation to Gayatri and the other forms of verse; (12) in the heart salutation to the primordial Devata Kali; (13) in the hidden part, salutation to the bija, krim; (14) in the two feet, salutation to the sakti, Hrim; (15) in all the body, salutation to the Kalika S’rim.” (16)

Then follows anga-nyasa and kara-nyasa. These are both forms of sadanga-nyasa. (17) When sadanganyasa is performed on the body, it is called hrdayadisadanga nyasa; and when done with the five fingers and palms of the hands only, angusthadi sadanganyasa. The short vowel a, the consonants of the ka-varga group, and the long vowel â are recited with “hrdayaya namah” (salutation to the heart). The short vowel i, the consonants of the ca-varga group, and the long vowel î, are said with ” sirasi svaha ” (svaha to the head). The hard ta-varga consonants set between the two vowels u and û are recited with “sikhayai vasat” (vasat to the crown lock); similarly the soft ta-varga between the vowels e and ai are said with “kavacaya (18) hum.” The short vowel o, the pa-varga, and the long vowel 0 are recited with netra-trayaya vausat (vausat to the three eyes). (19) Lastly, between bindu and visarga (20) the consonants ya to ksa with “karatalakara prsthabhyarn astraya phat” (phat to the front and back of the palm). (21)

The mantras of sadanga-nyasa on the body are used for kara-nyasa, in which they are assigned to the thumbs, the” threatening” or index fingers, the middle fingers, the fourth, little fingers, and the front and back of the palm.

These actions on the body, fingers, and palms also stimulate the nerve centres and nerves therein. In pitha-nyasa, the pithas are established in place of the matrka, The pithas, in their ordinary sense, are Kamarupa and the other places, a list of which is given in the Yogini-hrdaya. (22)

For the attainment of that state in which the sadhaka feels that the bhava (nature, disposition) of the Devata has come upon him, nyasa is a great auxiliary. It is, as it were, the wearing of jewels on different parts of the body. The bija of the Devata are the jewels which the sadhaka places on the different parts of his body. By nyasa he places his Abhistadevata in such parts, and by vyapaka-nyasa, he spreads its presence throughout himself. He becomes permeated by it losing himself in the divine Self.

Nyasa is also of use in effecting the proper distribution of the saktis of the human frame in their proper positions so as to avoid the production of discord and distraction in worship. Nyasa as well as Asana are necessary for the production of the desired state of mind and of cittasuddhi (its purification). “Das denken ist der mass der Dinge.” (23) Transformation of thought is Transformation of being. This is the essential principle and rational basis of all this and similar Tantrik sadhanas.

1. Thus, Ham narnah, Ksam namah etc.,
2. Talavya sa-soft, palatal sh.
3. Murdhanya sa-hard cerebral sh.
4. Dharrnartha-Kuma-moksaye rsi-nyase viniyogah.
5. S’irasi Brahmarsaye namah.
6. Mukhe Gayatryai-cchandase namah.
7. Hrdaye rnatrkayai sarasvatyai devatayai namah,
8. Guhye (that is, the anus) vyanjanaya bijaya namah.
9. Padayoh svarebhyoh saktibhyo namah.
10. Sarvangesu visargaya kilakaya (that is, that which comes at the end or closes; the hard breathing) namah.
11. S’irasi brahrnane brahmarsibhyo namah,
12. Muke gayatryadibhyascandobhyo namah.
13. Hrdaye adyayai kalikayai devatayai namah.
14. Guhye KrIrim-bijaya namah.
15. Padayoh krim-saktaye namah.
16. Sarvangesu srim-kalikayai namah.
17. Sat (six), anga (limb), nyasa (placing).
18. The kavaca is the arms crossed on the chest, the hands clasping the upper part of the arms just beneath the shoulders.
19. Including the central eye of ‘wisdom (jnana-caksu)
20. The nasal sound and hard breathing.
21. In all cases the letters are sounded with the nasal anusvara, as (in the last) am, yam, ram, lam, vam, śam, şam, sam, ham. ksham, ah, etc.
22. See Bhaskararaya’s Commentary on sloka 156 of the Lalita-sahasranama and ante. The number of Pithas is variously given as 50 or 51.
23. Pranti.