[INDOLOGY] Help needed translating tantric verse

Harry Spier vasishtha.spier at gmail.com
Sat Apr 11 15:04:00 UTC 2020

Thank you to those who replied off-list.  I've received two very different
views of the meaning of

 jāgrat-kūrma-samśritā in the verse which I've summarized below.


     The Bhagavadgītā uses the example of Kūrma for a state of the complete
withdrawal of the senses:

*yadā saṃharate cāyaṃ kūrmo' ṅgānīva sarvaśaḥ /*

*indriyāṇīndriyārthebhyas tasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā // 2.58//*

     Such a state would contrast with the state referred to by the word
*jāgrat*.  Thus, it seems refer to the state of focusing inward.  I am not
quite sure if you would call it sleep, or more likely a conscious
concentration that directs awareness inwards.

Perhaps it means "she who abides in both the waking state and the state of
complete withdrawal of senses."



I think that kūrma here refers to the microcosmic equivalent of the
tortoise that supports the world. I V know of any clear references to this
idea in texts, but one often sees Kuṇḍalinī supported by a tortoise in
“cakra scrolls” from the 17th century onwards. See the attached image for
an example.

That still leaves jāgrat, which seems odd here. One would want it to
contrast with nidritā, i.e. to make a distinction between Kuṇḍalinī when
asleep and awake, but that would require jāgratī. So I think one has to
understand the compound as meaning “situated on a waking tortoise”.



Harry Spier

On Fri, Apr 10, 2020 at 6:10 PM Harry Spier <vasishtha.spier at gmail.com>

> Dear list members,
> Verse 2 of the kuNDalinI stavaH is:
> raktābhāmṛtacandrikā lipimayī sarpākṛtir nidritā
> jāgratkūrmasamāśritā bhagavati tvaṁ māṁ samālokaya |
> māṁsodgandhakugandhadoṣajaḍitaṁ vedādikāryānvitaṁ
> svalpasvāmalacandrakoṭikiraṇair nityaṁ śarīraṁ kuru || 2 ||
> I'm uncertain on how to translate jāgratkūrmasamāśritā in line 2.
> The only (farfetched thought?) I have is that kūrma  refers to the nāḍi
> that carries the energy that closes the eyes and therefor refers to the
> sleeping state, so that the phrase means "who abides in the waking and
> sleeping states".
> Any help in translating this phrase would be appreciated.
> Harry Spier

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