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Article: Cakreśvarī or Apraticakrā

Contributed by Nalini Balbir

Tantric rituals

In golden colours, this manuscript painting shows Ṛṣabha. The first of the 24 Jinas, Ṛṣabha takes the lotus position of meditation. His jewels and headdress show he is a spiritual king, stressed by royal symbols, such as the elephant and parasol.

Worship of Ṛṣabha
Image by Victoria and Albert Museum © V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The individual yakṣīs are also associated with magic or occult practices. Hence there are Tantric modes of worship associated with them as well. This implies propitiatory rituals meant to invite the benevolence of the deity. Unlike more orthodox Jain rites, worshippers invoke the goddess under her different names and visualise her using mantras to assist meditation. They perform various rites with the help of yantras, intended to appease evil forces and win the favour of the goddess.

Such mantras, yantras and ceremonies are given in works that may take the form of hymns of praise composed in Sanskrit. Of unknown date and authorship, the Cakreśvarī-aṣṭaka (Nawab 1937/1996: 184–185 and Jhavery 1944: 331–332) is one such example.

However, this type of worship is probably less prominent for Cakreśvarī than it is for other important yakṣīs such as:

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