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Khecarī as a mudrā, mantra and a Goddess

By Yogi Matsyendranatkh

There are many practices and elements of one or another practice under the name of khecarī-mudrā,
for the reason that in India every spiritual path introduced something of its own. For example,
in Gorakh-bānī, khecarī-mudrā is one of eight mudrās:

मषु म$े षेचरी म)ु ा, +ाद िव+ाद ले उतपनी |



+ाद िव+ाद समो कृ 8ा, म)ु ा तौ भई ||

muṣ madhye ṣecarī mudrā, svād visvād le utapanī |



svād visvād samo kṛtvā, mudrā tau bhaī ||

«Khecarī-mudrā is inside the mouth, where a feeling of pleasant and unpleasant taste appears.
Khecarī-mudrā is realised when a practitioner is in even attitude to pleasant and unpleasant tastes.»

Some of these eight mudrās are described in a similar way, as a form of regulation of sensory states.

In Jogpradīpikā by Jayatarāma, which is also written in dialect, khecarī-mudrā is included in the


category of several mudrās, which resemble hand mudrās of Śrīvidyā by their names. There are
ं ोिभणी म)ु ा (sarvasaṃkṣobhiṇī-mudrā), सव<िव)ािवणी म)ु ा (sarvavidrāviṇī-
such mudrās as: सव<स>
mudrā) etc. They are presented in the same sequence as in Śrīvidyā Tantra, with the difference that
in Jogpradīpikā those are not hand gestures, but internal yogic processes. In Śrīvidyā, these mudrās are
also associated with various Goddesses (Yoginis), who are worshiped with mantras and also those
gestures. Obviously, these elements of Śrīvidyā Ttantra, as well as the elements of other Tantric
systems, have influenced yogic methods. Another text that I found in the Nath Chaungera Mandir in
Nepal, is Gorakh-yog-mañjarī, which also describes those mudrās. The text is a combination of
elements of Haṭha-yoga-pradīpikā and possibly Jogpradīpikā. In the yogic khecarī-mudrā description,
in the same manner as in Jogpradīpikā, can be found such approaches as चलन calana (a movement of
the tongue for stretching of its base), दोहन dohana (stretching), छेदन chedana (cutting the base of the
tongue). In the same text, the practices of khecarī-mantra are given with viniyoga, aṅga- and kara-
nyāsas.
ॐ अD Eी खेचरीमGD किपल ऋिषः िसिJनाथो देवता खेचरीम)ु ाLसादे िसJयथN जापे िविनयोगः |

oṃ asya śrī khecarīmantrasya kapila ṛṣiḥ siddhinātho devatā khecarīmudrāprasāde


siddhayarthe jāpe viniyogaḥ |

With the declaration of content and the purpose of a sādhana, in the form of success in chanting
the mantra, ṛishi, devatā.

गं Qदयाय नमः| सं िशरसे +ाहा | नं िशखाय ै वषट ् | मं कवचाय Vं | फं न ेXXयाय वौषट ् | लं सः अYाय फट ् |

gaṃ hṛdayāya namaḥ| saṃ śirase svāhā | naṃ śikhāyai vaṣaṭ | maṃ kavacāya huṃ |
phaṃ netratrayāya vauṣaṭ | laṃ saḥ astrāya phaṭ |

Then recommendations are given to perform kara-nyāsa by adding the


following bijas: Zं Z[ \ं Z] Z^ Zः hraṃ hrīṃ hrūṃ hraiṃ hrauṃ hraḥ to each element of the kara-
nyāsa.

Similar recommendations are given in Yogakuṇḍalyupaniṣaḍ:

् ३७ ॥

पूव` बीजयतु ा िवbा cाdाता याित ल<भाम ॥
तDाः षडjं कुवkत तया षlरिभmया ।

कुया<दवे ं करoासं सव<िसpािदहेतवे ॥ ३८ ॥

pūrvaṃ bījayutā vidyā hyākhyātā yāti durlabhām ॥



tasyāḥ ṣaḍaṅgaṃ kurvīta tayā ṣaṭsvarabhinnayā ।

kuryādevaṃ karanyāsaṃ sarvasiddhyādihetave ॥ 38 ॥

«This is a special knowledge, described earlier, with the bija which is difficult to implement. It is
necessary to perform ṣadaṅga (nyāsa) with an addition of six "svāras" of vowels (previously mentioned
as Zं Z[ \ं Z] Z^ Zः hraṃ hrīṃ hrūṃ hraiṃ hrauṃ hraḥ. To achieve perfection, one must perform kara-
nyāsa.»

Khecarī-mantra is described in Haṭha-tattva-kaumudī (Ch.18) in same way as


in Yogakuṇḍalyupaniṣaḍ, and viniyoga, nyāsa with the dhyāna are also given. Five lakhs (500
thousand times) of mantra is recommended to recite for its realisation. The bija-mantra Z[ hrīṃ is
described as the main khecarī-bija in the following way:


खेचरावसथं विrमsमु tडलभूिषतम
uाdातं खेचरीबीजं तेन योगः Lिस$ित ।

khecarāvasathaṃ vahnimambumaṇḍalabhūṣitam
vyākhyātaṃ
khecarībījaṃ tena yogaḥ prasidhyati ।

«Khecarī means ह ha (i.e. the element of space), र ra or ‘repha’ is the state of fire, so ई-कार ī-kāra is
adorned with the space of the moon (i.e. bindu or anusvāra). This way khecarī-bija Z[ hrīṃ, which
grants perfection in yoga, is formed».

In addition, several more mantras are given. For example, to remove obstacles and please Deities, the
following mantra is mentioned:

Z[ खेचयv नमः hrīṃ khecaryai namaḥ

The melana-mantra in Yogakuṇḍalyupaniṣaḍ is the same as in Khecarī Vidyā of Ādinātha:

Z[ भं सं पं फं सं >ं hrīṃ bhaṃ saṃ paṃ phaṃ saṃ kṣaṃ

However, there are many sources where mantras or bijas, khecarī kūṭākṣaras are very different.

In Gorakh-yog-mañjarī there is a mantra: ॐ Z[ गं सः नमः oṁ hrīṁ gaṁ saḥ namaḥ

In Yogacūḍāmaṇyupaniṣaḍ, khecarī is mentioned in connection with the “So-Ham” mantra:

् ८२॥

जाwmेXxयोम<$ े हंस एव Lकाशते ।
सकारः खेचरी Lोz{ंपदं चेित िनि|तम ॥
हकारः परमेशः Dा~•दं चेित िनि|तम ।् 
सकारो $ायते ज€ह<ु कारो िह भवेJृवम ॥
् ८३॥

jāgrannetradvayormadhye haṃsa eva prakāśate ।



sakāraḥ khecarī proktastvaṃpadaṃ ceti niścitam ॥ 82॥

hakāraḥ parameśaḥ syāttatpadaṃ ceti niścitam ।

sakāro dhyāyate janturhakāro hi bhaveddhṛvam ॥ 83॥

«In the awakened state the so-ham shines in the centre of the eyebrow. The produced sound ‘Sa’ is
known as khecarī, it symbolises the state of tvam (the individual Self). The pronounced sound ‘Ha’
means the Supreme Lord, it symbolises tat (That). Who contemplates himself as ‘Sa’ becomes definitely
identified with ‘Ha’ (That, i.e. Absolute).»

In Kubjikā Tantra khecarī-bija is called •‚ƒ khphreṃ, in Tantrāloka Abhinavagupta associated


this bija with dissolution in the macrocosm, the practices of Bhairava-mudrā (the unity of outer and
inner spaces), etc. There is an instruction given for each element of that bija in Tantrāloka. The Yogi
in a state of total renunciation must immerse himself into the space of 'Kha', reaching full
ु pulla ('Pha' symbol). Individuality will be dissolved in the fire of 'Ra' of the triangle (yoni),
bloom प„
symbolised by the "E"-phoneme (ए), letting a yogi reside in the great reality of bindu ‘M’.

In Mahākāla-saṃhitā there are many khecarī-mantras, such as …^ khrauṃ and others. We can
consider khecarī as the Goddess, where 'mudrā' is the term of the feminine gender and means ‘a
Goddess’, in this sense it can be Kuṇḍalinī itself, ascending into the space above the head, identical
to Śiva. In that case she is also a Goddess Śambhavi (Śambhavi-mudrā), i.e. directed
to Śambhu - Śiva's name meaning someone who is manifested as the pacification 'Śam'. In that
context, khecarī-mudrā is the internal process of Śiva-Śakti merging. The mudrā can also mean
'joy' (ānanda) of the Goddess and Śiva union. In Kaśmir Śaivism, khecarī is a union (mudrā) of the
space of our consciousness ‘Kha’ with carana (something that moves within this consciousness or
changes, i.e. Śakti). In the texts of KŚ खेचरी khecarī is described among four special mudrās, such
as करि†णी (karaṅkiṇī), ‡ोिधनी (krodhinī), भ ैरवी (bhairavī), लेिलहाना (lelihānā). Their meditative practices
are described in Vijñāna Bhairava Tantra and other texts. The experiences of those mudrās are related
to the five centres of the body: kanda (a place where Kuṇḍalinī is in a contracted
state), nābhi (abdominal area), hṛdaya (heart), kaṇṭha (throat) and khecarī is comprehended in
the bhrumadhya (a point between the eyebrows). It corresponds to the Haṭha-yoga texts,
because khecarī is mainly associated with the space of the head or above it. Those mudrās, as well as
others are described in detail in āhnika 34 of Tantrāloka, devoted to mudrās. But all the mudrās are
considered as manifestations of khecarī, and this also fits with how khecarī is presented in the Yogic
texts. In truth, many of Yogic texts, especially some particular parts of them, I personally associate
with Tantric processes, which are expounded in Tantras. Here is an example, the part
of Yogakuṇḍalyupaniṣad:
ु •ि•uयोगLदायकः ॥ १४॥

त‰ाŠव<Lय‹ेन गोपनीयं िवजानता । यXाŒे च ग•Ž<
ृ खेचरीम ।् तेनोzः स“ग”ासं कुया<दादावति•तः ॥ १५॥

तX ग8ा च तेनोzिवbां संगc
अनया िवbया योगी खेचरीिसिJभा—वेत ।् खेचया< खेचर[ य˜
ु ™ेचरीबीजपूरया ॥ १६॥

< ा खेचरेष ु सदा वसेत ।्
खेचरािधपितभू8

tasmātsarvaprayatnena gopanīyaṃ vijānatā ।



yatrāste ca gururbrahmandivyayogapradāyakaḥ ॥ 14॥

tatra gatvā ca tenoktavidyāṃ saṃgṛhya khecarīm ।

tenoktaḥ samyagabhyāsaṃ kuryādādāvatandritaḥ ॥ 15॥

anayā vidyayā yogī khecarīsiddhibhāgbhavet ।

khecaryā khecarīṃ yuñjankhecarībījapūrayā ॥ 16॥
khecarādhipatirbhūtvā khecareṣu sadā vaset |

«The practitioner must consider a transmission of that practice from a Guru as a connection with
Acyuta (Viṣṇu), it is necessary to perceive the Guru, transmitting that secret knowledge, as Śiva
himself. Having received that knowledge, it cannot be shared with anyone. Oh Brahman, it's required
to come to the place where that Guru teaches divine yoga and receive khecarī-vidyā from him. After
ु ान yuñjāna with
that one can practice very keenly, and khecarī will give him siddhi. "Connecting" य˜
khecarī, through khecarī and khecarī-bija, a yogi becomes a lord of the khecarās and resides in the
space all the time (unconditioned).»

This part reminds me of gaining of śaktipāta and transmission of a sādhana, described in Tantrāloka,
where śaktipāta is firstly transmitted from a Guru and the knowledge of how to practice. Then
a sādhaka receives śaktipāta from a Goddess ‘Duti’, connecting with her, and that second śaktipāta is
considered stronger (ती› शिzपात tīvra śaktipāta) then the first (म• शिzपात manda śaktipāta), it gives
the highest realisation. Although of course, one cannot be realised without the other, but there is
nothing higher then śaktipāta from the Goddess itself.