Friday, 10 February 2017

Kūrmacakra – The Tortoise Discus for Mantrasādhana

The Hari-bhakti-vilāsa dedicates verses 17.35-42 to Kūrmacakra and therein it states:-
kūrma-vakram avijñāya yaḥkuryāj japa-saṁjñakam |
tasya japya-phalaṁ nāsti sarvārathāya kalpate ||17.42|| 

One who is unaware of the importance of the kūrma-cakra and yet chants the prescribed mantra will not be benefited by his endeavour. Indeed, all his attempts for perfection will be fruitless.

Kūrmacakra is an astrological tabular diagram that is used to ascertain the dīpasthāna (auspicious place) during mantrasādhana. In mundane astrology this diagram is used to determine the benefic-malefic events or results for a piece of land, village, city, district, province, country etc. The special object of this mode of division is to determine what countries or districts, suffer malefic or beneficial effects when the respective lunar mansions with which they are associated are harassed by malignant planets. This diagram of a tortoise finds mention in numerous texts such as Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa, Bṛhat Saṁhitā and Śāradātilaka Tantra. However some of these texts prescribe different methods to allocate the integral components of a kūrmacakra. The concept of Kūrmacakra lays parallel with that of Kūrmavibhāga, which represents the world resting upon Viṣṇu in his form of a tortoise.

ळ क्ष
क ख ग घ ङ

अ̇ अः
अ आ
इ ई

ओ औ
उ ऊ
ए ऐ
ऌ ॡ
ऋ ॠ

Diagram - Kūrmacakra in Śāradātilaka Tantra

Kūrmacakra has nine divided compartments in the form of bodily parts of a tortoise that run round the compass from the east to the northeast, and each of these parts is assigned to a triad of nakṣatras (lunar mansions or constellations) along with the 51 enumerated akṣaras (syllabograms). Having allocated akṣaras, one worships nine tutelary deities, enshrined in each compartment. At first, one finds the first akṣara of the name of place where the sādhana is to be performed, in the kūrmacakra. The compartment, where the akṣara is placed, is assigned to the face of tortoise. With reference to the position of the face, other compartments are allotted to arms, heart, sides, legs, and tail. The practitioner notes his own position, amongst the nine places, by applying the kūrmacakra to a given area; a city, town, village, pilgrimage site, cemetery, shrine or house. In case the practitioner is located in the face-part, it will bring him excitement; in the hand-part, it will bring a little enjoyment; in the belly-part, it will bring neither enjoyment nor suffering; in the feet-part, it will bring suffering; and in the tail, it will bring death or imprisonment.