The transition of any mantra into “so-ham” (ajapā-japa) occurs at the level of madhyamā-vak or the mental meaning of the mantra, it can be said, a more significant level of the mantra. We can also say that this happens through the yogic level, through the sphere that is more subjective or the one that is closer to your soul. I’ll explain to those, who haven’t realised it yet. This is what any correct mantra practice is aimed at. Thus, without yoga as such, there can be no correct mantras, tantric rites and any rituals at all. Therefore, when I say that I place yoga above all else and there is nothing higher than it, I am extremely honest here.
If you look at the images of Buddha and Gorakṣanāth, you will notice slight smiles on their faces. But it’s not some super blissful appearance. I have noticed that many people like bajans and kirtans, as is the case in many bhakti schools or in the inaccurate understanding of some tantric streams, because there is an excess of “ānanda” there. For many people such ānanda and excessive joy seems to me to be an attempt to displace the presence of pain that this life is full of. However, this often leads to a person not noticing the external reality. But, if your bliss is moderate, like a light smouldering fire in the dhuna, then you do not run away from life and are not consumed by it, you are in contact with it as if “gliding”. That is, you calmly perceive the reality of life in a moderately “positive” state, which awakens wisdom in you.
What are the sources through which the yogi can perceive nāda? There are two main ways. The first is mantra yoga (tantras), the second is haṭha-yoga (prāṇāyāma, mudrās, etc.). Here is what the Śāradā-tilakam tantra (Рrathamaḥ paṭalaḥ) tells us:
सच्चिदानन्दविभवात् सकलात् परमेश्वरात् ।
आसीच्छक्तिस्ततो नादो नादाद् बिन्दुसमुद्भवः ॥७॥
saccidānandavibhavāt sakalāt parameśvarāt ।
āsīcchaktistato nādo nādād bindusamudbhavaḥ ॥7॥
From the eternal goodness of Parameśvara, whose nature is Eternity-Knowledge-Bliss, Śakti (power) manifested first, then the vibration (nāda) manifested from the power, and bindu manifested from the peak of the tension of nāda.
That is, if you practice yoga, then by doing practices to activate Śakti, such as bhastrikā–prāṇāyāma, etc., Śakti can release the pulsation, the vibration of nāda. Or, if you practice mantras, then “activating the mantras“, awakening them in various ways, you will also come to the perception of nāda.
Of course, these methods in the traditions have always been directly transmitted from Gurus to their students. It is more than just information or theory, although knowledge of the theory, one way or another, can help.
I have translated a short passage from the Rudrayamalatantra Uttarakāṇḍa, dedicated to those “tantrikas”, who criticise the Yoga path:
श्वासाभ्यासं विना नाथ अष्टाङ्गाभ्यसनेन च ।
विना दमेन धैर्येण कुलमार्गो न सिद्ध्यति ॥१६-३६॥
O Nātha, without the breathing practice along with the practice of the eight limbs [of yoga];
Without control and stability, there will be no perfection in the Kula path. (16-36)
तथा पूरकयोगेन रेचकेनापि तिष्ठति ।
विना कुम्भकसत्त्वेन यथैतौ नापि तिष्ठतः॥१६-३७॥
The same is true with inhalation and exhalation.
Without the essence of holding [breathing], these two are also unstable. (16-37)
तथा योगं विना नाथ अष्टाङ्गाभ्यसनं विना ।
कुलमार्गो महातत्त्वो न सिद्ध्यति कदाचन ॥१६-३८॥
O Nātha, also without yoga, without practicing its eight parts.
The Kula path will never be successful in the highest essence. (16-38)
कुलमार्गं विना मोक्षं कः प्राप्नोति महीतले ।
कुलमार्गं न जानाति योगवाक्यागमाकुलम् ॥१६-३९॥
How can one achieve spiritual liberation on this earth without the Kula path who knows neither the path of kula, nor the doctrine of yoga, nor the kaula-agama? (16-39)
I translated a small part of the Experience in Spiritual Practice (साधना के अनुभव), the book by Rameshchandra Sharma. I think this information will be useful for many practitioners to understand the maithuna topic in Tantrism. It is necessary to practice the maithuna ritual when the sexual energy stagnates in the area of the mūlādhāra and svādhiṣṭhāna cakras. When the kuṇḍalinī ascends, the practice with it becomes a form of yoga, which is mainly contemplative. Of course, these boundaries are very relative, however, there is a general principle of connecting the two poles in order to sublimate our vision and energy. Here is the text:
The Fifth of the Five Makaras
In tantric sādhanā, the practice of pañcamakāra is found. Practice with madya (wine), māmsa (meat), etc., it can also be done with their substitutes. In the pañcamakāra, the fifth is associated with the sense-oriented pūjā, which is known as maithuna. In essence it leads to the regulation of the semen. Maithuna is also called “lata–sādhanā“, it is a special practice for awakening the svādhiṣṭhāna–cakra.
Often after the awakening of the kuṇḍalinī, when vāyu (energy) rises to the svādhiṣṭhāna–cakra, kāma (passion), ascending there, begins to transform into what we know as yoga–sādhanā. Through the identification of a woman with Devī (Goddess) and himself with Śiva, the practitioner leaves the gross states of the physical body, and his spirit and consciousness are directed to the sphere of spiritual consciousness. This often happens when practicing a mantra with prāṇāyāma. The power in the svādhiṣṭhāna or maṇipūra–cakra begins to intensify and the practitioner through asceticism becomes an ūrdhvareta – one, whose ascending sexual power is sublimated. Near the maṇipūra–cakra (just below it) in a woman is the womb (garbhāśaya), which is the most important area in their body.
So, from the svādhiṣṭhāna–cakra to the maṇipūra–cakra there is a point of two poles, the connection of the spiritual and the physical. and through the practice of japa you connect these centers in a pure sāttvic state. In a state of full bloom of power, at the beginning of the practice, you use a special method, thanks to which the power increases and moves further in the direction of the anāhata–cakra. Mental worship is the essence, thanks to which everything basic happens there.
In the daily pūjā you can invoke the Goddess into a red flower (yellow in the case of Bagalāmukhī), and invoke Śiva in a white flower. Place the flower where the Goddess is on top of the white flower of Śiva, that will be the symbol of viparīta-rati, symbolically connecting Śiva and Śakti.
I would like to give a short quote from the Svatantra Tantra about the appearance of the Goddess Bagalāmukhī and her connection with Śrīvidyā, also Viṣṇu and Śiva.
अथ बक्ष्यामि देवेशि बगलोत्पत्ति कारणम्।
पुरा कृत युगे देवि वात क्षोभ उपस्थिते।।
Now, Mistress of the Gods, listen to the reason for the appearance of Bagalāmukhī. A long time ago, a great hurricane appeared in the Satya Yuga.
चराचर विनाशाय विष्णुश्चिन्ता परायणः।
तपस्यया च संतुष्टा महात्रिपुर सुन्दरी।।
All living and non-living began to collapse. Seeing this, Viṣṇu fell into contemplation and in this way he satisfied Mahātripurasundarī.
हरिद्राख्यं सरो दृष्ट्वा जल क्रीड़ा परायणा।
महाप्रीति हृदस्थान्ते सौराष्ट्र बगलाम्बिका।।
Seeing how in the playing waters of the Haridra lake (Turmeric lake) in Saurāṣṭra (now Gujarat), Mother Bagalāmukhī appeared in the heart of the Goddess (Tripurasundarī).
Further, the text says that heat (or light) emerged from Śrīvidyā (Tripurasundarī) and from there spread everywhere, stopping the hurricane. This happened on the fourteenth lunar day (Caturdaśī tithi) connected with Tuesday when the sun was in Capricorn (Makara), also on the night known as Vīrarātri (the heroic night).
Bagalāmukhī is considered as a part of Śrīvidyā Tantra and in her four-armed form she is in many ways identical to Tripurasundarī. There is also a story in the Rādhā Tantra about how Viṣṇu practiced tapasya and could not get success in sadhanā, after which the Goddess Śrī (Tripura) appeared to him and said that he need to manifest with her in Mathura, she would manifest in the form of Rādhikā. And worshiping Kalī in her by the kaulācāra methods, he, being Kṛṣṇa, will reveal all his siddhis. This happened because of the worshipping Rādhā as Parakīya–śakti, Viṣṇu (Kṛṣṇa) gained all success and destroyed many demons. The most interesting thing in all these stories is that the Goddess Śrī can be considered as Lakṣmī, but she is also Tripurasundarī, and we know that Śiva is Bhairava of Tripurasundarī. Thus, based on the analysis of these stories, we see that Viṣṇu and Śiva are one Deity –– Harihara. Also, Lakṣmī and Śrī, who were worshiped by Kṛṣṇa, may be Kalī, whom Kṛṣṇa invoked in them. This wonderful story allows you to cover a lot. We also know that Bagalāmukhī is a stambhinī–śakti, she can represent not only the power of Mahāmṛtyuñjaya, but also the sthiti–śakti of Viṣṇu. The Sāṃkhyāyana Tantra (Paṭala 35) describes Bagalāmukhī as one who is revered as Kalī in the uttara and urdhva āmnāyas. There is also a description of her as the one on the left side of which is Kalī, and on the right side is Tripurasundarī. Bagalāmukhī includes these two Goddesses who embrace Kalī and Śrī Kūlas.
This part is an appendix to the Gorakhbani, a text published by the Gorakshanath Mandir, Gorakhpur. The mudras, especially the five of them in the head area, are described in many Nathā texts, their practices are interpreted there in different ways. The ideal option is when the Guru in a live presentation transfers them to his disciple. For example, khecarī here is associated with taste, someone understands this as control of taste, but others understand taste as Śakti and lack of taste as Śiva, their union is khecarī-mudrā. The same applies to other mudrās, because they all require oral transmission, where the Guru (who is, of course, an experienced practitioner and has achieved high success in the practice of “siddhi“) can convey the essence to a worthy student.
अष्ट मुद्रा स्वामीजी अष्ट मुद्रा बोलिए घट भीतरी, ते कौंण कौंण ।
Tell me, Swamiji, what are the eight mudrās inside the body?
अवधू यंद्री मध्ये मूलनी मुद्रा, काम त्रिष्णा ले उतपनी काम । काम त्रिष्णा समो कृतवा, मुद्रा तो भई मूलनी ।।
O avadhu, in the middle of the perineum is the mulanī-mudrā associated with sex (kāma) and greed (tṛṣṇā). The control of kāma and tṛṣṇā is mūlanī-mudrā.
नाभी मधे जलश्री मुद्रा, काल क्रोध ले उतपनी । काल क्रोध समो कृतवा, मुद्रा तौ भई जलश्री॥
There is jalśrī-mudrā in the umbilical centre, time and anger rise there (Kālabhairava or Kālāgnirudra symbol). The control of time and anger is jalśrī-mudrā.
हुदा मधे षिरनी मुद्रा, ग्यांन दीप ले उतपनी। ग्यांन दीप समो कृतवा, मुद्रा तो भई पोरनी॥
There is ṣirnī (or kṣīriṇī) in the centre of the heart, there is the perception of the rising light of wisdom. When one’s knowledge shines there, then this wisdom is realised.
मुष मध्ये षेचरी मुद्रा, स्वाद विस्वाद ले उतपनी। स्वाद विस्वाद समोकृतवा, मुद्रा तो भई षेचरी ।।
In the centre of the mouth is khecarī-mudrā, the manifestation of taste and its absence is perceived there. If there is harmony there between taste and absence (also between pleasant and unpleasant taste), it is khecarī-mudrā.
नासिका मध्ये भूचरी मुद्रा, गंध विगंध ले उतपनी। गन्ध विगन्ध समो कृतवा, मुद्रा तौ भई भूचरी ।।
In the centre of the nose is bhūcarī-mudrā, there we get odour or lack thereof (also pleasant and unpleasant smells). If there is odour control or lack thereof (also pleasant and unpleasant smells), it is bhūcarī-mudrā.
चषि मध्ये चाचरी मुद्रा, दिष्टि विदिष्टि ले उतपनी । दिष्टि विदिष्ट समो कृतवा, मुद्रा तौ भई चाचरी।।
At the centre of the eye is cācārī-mudrā, the perception of what is visible and invisible rises there. If there is harmony and control of the visible and invisible, that is cācārī-mudrā.
करण मध्ये अगोचरी मुद्रा, सबद कुसवद ले उतपनी। सवद कुसबद समो कृतवा, मुद्रा तौ भई अगोचरी।।
There is agocarī-mudrā in the centre of the ears, pleasant and unpleasant speech is manifested there. If there is evenness with regard to pleasant and unpleasant speech, it is agocarī-mudrā.
ब्रहमंड असथांनि उनमनी मुद्रा, परम जोति लै उतपनी। परम जोति समो कुतचा, मुद्रा तो भई उनमनी ।।
In the universe there is unmanī-mudrā (the symbol of the unfolding mind), the Supreme light is manifested there. If this supreme light (consciousness) is evenly distributed everywhere, then it is unmanī-mudrā.
यती अष्ट मुद्रा का जाणै भेव । सौ आपै करता भेवे ।। इती अष्ट मुद्रा कर्थत श्री गोरषनाथ जती संपूर्ण समापत सिवाय ।
One who knows these various mudrās has a higher nature. Thus ends the complete explanation of the eight mudrās by Gorakṣanāth.
This is one of the texts of Gorakshanath, written in a mixture of Hindi and dialects. For this version I used translations from Hindi. Of course, the text requires special verbal explanations of the meaning of the terms and how they all relate to each other. In such texts there are always a lot of symbolic images often used in meditation – the key focus of yoga. I want to draw your attention to the fact that the terms khecarī, bhūcarī, mahāmudrā are found in a variety of sources and in different contexts. Contrary to popular belief that among the Nāthas khecarī-mudrā is the practice of rolling the tongue back, this text confirms that, as in some tantric systems, in Nātha’s practice it may simply be a form of awareness. The same accounts to mahāmudrā, which isn’t described here as Haṭha-yoga technique of stretching one leg, regulating breathing, etc. The mahāmudrā in Buddhism is one of the highest states of consciousness, in this text the term is used in a very similar context. I used for translation a collection of texts published in the Gorakshanath Mandir in Gorakhpur, in addition to this, there are many other texts where you will find the names of mudrās similar to those found in various tantric traditions and their practices. But this is one of the illustrative examples that helps to expand the idea of seemingly “known practices” among “yoga teachers” in the West. Although in India there is a trend to limit variations of practices because of consumerism. But, the true seekers of the authentic state of yoga avoid the limited state and therefor modern artificial paths. For people who are curios and enthusiastic to expand their knowledge, I have translated this text into English.
सत पिता रज मात्ता तम करि गाड़ी पाई,
Sattva is the father, rajas is the mother, tamas – decay.
लोह मास तुचा नाड़ी ये चारि धात माता की वोलिये,
Blood, muscles, skin, and veins are said to belong to the mother.
चीरज हाड गृद्र ये तीनि धात पिता की बोलिये,
Semen, bones, bone marrow, these three are said to belong to the father.
ए सप्त घात का शरीर बोलिये ।
These seven joined together are said to be the body.
द्वै हाथ द्वौ पैर छाती लिलाट घाट अष्टांग जोग बोलिये।
Two arms, two legs, two breasts, a torso, and a head, they are said to be the eightfold yoga.
बंद भेद मुद्रा तीन्यू साधंति ते सिधा बोलिये ।
Bandha, bhedana (piercing), mudrā (symbol of union), it is said that those who know these three are perfect (siddha).
कौंण बंधि बांधिये, कौंण भेद भेदिये, कौंण मुंद्रा मुंदिये ये बोलिये घट भीतरि । ते कौंण कौंण ।
What bandha (connection) should be connected? What bheda (penetration into the hidden) should be pierced? What mudrā (symbol of the Supreme) should be made a symbol of the Supreme?
मन बन्धि बांदिये पवन भेद भेदिये चिंद मुंद्रा सुंदिये।
The mind is a bandha (connecting), it must be bound (by the Supreme); pavan – the life force penetrating within – must be penetrated (by the Supreme); bindu (the essence of creation) is a symbol of the union mudrā, it must be in a symbolic union.
कौंण विमल बिचारै कौंण षिरे कौंण झरै।
Who is pure, who thinks? Who destroys? Who makes it rain?
मन विमल बिचारै सूरज षिरै चंद्र झरै ।
The mind is that pure one who is the basis of thinking, the Sun – who destroys, and the Moon – who sends rain.
हिंद पीर जिंद पीर ए बोलिये घट भीतरि | ते कौंण कौंण ।
Hindu pir (spiritual father), Muslim pir, they are said to be hidden within the body. Who are they?
हिंद पीर बोलिये मन, जिंद पीर बोलिये पवन ।
The Hindu pir (spiritual father) is said to be the mind, the Muslim spiritual father is said to be the pavan (vital force).
षेचरी भूचरी गुपत प्रगट । ते कौंण कौंण ।
Khecarī (moving in the sky) and Bhūcarī (moving on the earth) are hidden and manifested. Who are they?
षेचरी बोलिये मन, भूचरी बोलिये पवन ।
The mind, it must be said, is Khecarī, and the vital wind is Bhūcarī.
गुपत बोलिये ग्यांन, प्रगट बोलिये सरीर ।
Knowledge, let’s say, is that which is hidden, and the body is that which is manifested.
सरीरारथ परमारथ, गूढारथ । ते कौंण कौंण ।
The truth of the body, the highest truth of the body, the hidden truth, who are they?
सरीरारथ बोलिये सरीर भेद, परमारथ बोलिये प्रांण भेद, गूढारथ बोलिजै विचार ।
The truth of the body, it must be said, – what is realised within the body. The highest truth – what is realised within prāṇa. The hidden truth – what is in the investigation or vicāra.
चारी पीर बोलिजै घट भीतरि । ते कौंण कौंण ।
Please tell about the four masters within the body. Who are they?
मन मच्छिंद्र नाथ, पवन ईश्वर नाथ, चेतना चौरंगी नाथ, ग्यांन श्री गोरष नाथ,
Mind is Macchindranāth, vital force is Īśvaranāth, intellect is Caurangīnāth, and wisdom is Gorakṣanāth.
चारी तकबीर बोलिजै घट भीतरि। ते कौंण कौंण ।
Tell about four functions within our psychophysics. What are they?
दृष्टि कहै क्यूं लीजै दीजै, सुरति कहै क्यूं, बोलिये सुणिये, नासका कहै क्यूं सुगन्ध बास परमालादि लीजै, जिभ्या कहै क्यूं षाटी मीठी षाइये ।
Vision – which receives and projects; memory – which perceives speech and which allows to speak; nose – which catches aromas; tongue – which takes on pleasant tastes.
चारी दिसा बोलिये धन भीतरी । ते कौंण कौंण ।
Please tell about four sides within the body. What are they?
सबद बोलिये उत्तर, पवन बोलिये पछिम I दृष्टि बोलिये दषिण सुरति बोलिये पूरब ।
Speech “sabad”, I must say – the north; life force – west; south is sight, remembrance is east.
चारि आप कला बोलिये घट मीतरि | ते कौंण कौंण ।
Please tell about the four manifestations within the body. What are they?
ऊरम धूरम जोति ज्वाला |
This is a wave (of vibrations), smoky or atmospheric substance, light and fire.
ऊरम बोलिये मन, धूरम बोलिये पवन, जोति बोलिये नेत्र, ज्वाला बोलिये श्रवन |
The mind, it must be said, is the wave, the atmospheric substance is the life force,
the light is the eyes, hearing is the fire.
चारि षांणी बोलिजै घट मीतरि । ते कौंण कौंण ।
Tell about four forms within the body (evolutionary memory). What are they?
स्वेतरज अंडरज जेरज उदबीरज।
These are birth from sweat, birth from an egg, birth from a womb, and birth from a seed.
सेतरज बोलिये हाड़, जेरज वोलिये बीरज, अंडरज बोलिये नेत्र, उदबीरज बोलिये रोमावाली ।
Bones, it is said, are born from sweat, semen – from the womb,
eyes – from the egg, and hair – from seed.
चारि बांणीं बोलिये घट मीतरि ।ते कौंण कौंण ।
What are the four kinds of speech within the body?
सहज संजम सुपाइ अतीथ |
This is the one that is innate – “sahaja”; the one that is fully assembled – “saṃyama” (often interpreted as control); the speech that is “svayambhū” – manifested itself (anāhata), and transcendental.
सहज बोलिये सरीर, संजम बोलिये पवन, अतीत बोलिये परम पद ।
महा मुद्रा महां अजाच नग्री महां जोगणी स्वयंभू बोलिये ।
The body should be called “sahaja” (innate), the life force should be called “saṃyama”, the Supreme state should be called transcendental. The great symbol is “mahāmudrā”, the great abode without poverty, the great yogini – “svayambhū”.
जे बांणीं षांणी कौ बिचारैं ते निराकार बोलिये, ऊँकार मधे जोति जांणियै
ऊरम धूरम जोति ज्वाला । भेदौ रवि का चारयूं कला ।
Those who meditate on these categories of speech should be called unmanifested. You must know that there is light within Omkara. There is a wave (of vibration), atmosphere, light, and fire. Penetrate the four manifestations of the Sun.
मन करि हस्ती बिमल जल पीवै । द्वै पष चीन्है तौ सोलह कला जीवै।
बारह कला सूरज, सोलह कला चंद।
The elephant of mind drinks pure water. Comprehend both poles of life in sixteen manifestations (it is likely said about tithi and two pakṣas). Sun has twelve manifestations and Moon has sixteen.
गुरू जिसका लषावै नहीं चेला तिसका अंध ।
बारह कला सूरज की, ताकौ गुण घट भीतरि ब्यापै । ते कौंण कौंण ।
If the Guru shows nothing, then the disciple is blind. Sun has twelve manifestations and they permeate the body. What are they?
चिंता, तरंग , डयम, माया, परग्रहणै, परपंच , हेत , बुधि ।
काम, क्रोध, लोभ; दृष्टि ये बारह कला सूरज की बोलिये ।
Anxiety (various thoughts), fluctuation, involvement in manifestations, capture by the external, phenomenality, motivation, wakefulness, passion, anger, greed, perception of the visible. These are the twelve aspects of Surya.
सोलह कला चंद्रमा की ताकै गुण घट भीतरी राषैं | ते कौंण कौंण ।
There are also sixteen manifestations of the Moon, permeating the whole body within. What are they?
सांति, नृवर्त, क्षिमा, नृमल, निहचल, ग्यांन, सरूप, पद,
नृबांण, नृबिष, निरंजन, अहार , निद्रा, मैथुन, बाई, अमृंत
ये सोलह कला चन्द्रमा की बोलिये।
Peace, detachment from mundane, patience, purity, stability, wisdom, perfect form, perfect state, nirvāṇa (silence of worldly aspirations), fearlessness, spotlessness, satiety, rest (sleep), intercourse, breath, elixir. These are the sixteen aspects of Moon.
ए चारि कला सूरज की साधै तो सोलह कला चंद्रमा की पावै।
Those who are masters of the manifestations of Sun, they will attain the sixteen manifestations of Moon.
एती एक रोमावली ग्रंथ जोग कथितं श्री गोरषनाथ ।
Gorakshanath explained the book on yoga called “Romāvalī” (Hairline).
What is the correct mantra to be practiced by a sādhaka following the traditional path? I suggest referring to one śloka from the Gurugītā:
ध्यानमूलं गुरुर्मूर्तिः पूजामूलं गुरुर्पदम् ।
मन्त्रमूलं गुरुर्वाक्यं मोक्षमूलं गुरूर्कृपा ॥
dhyānamūlaṁ gurormūrtiḥ pūjāmūlaṁ gurupadam |
mantramūlaṁ guruvākyaṁ mokṣamūlaṁ gurukṛpā ||
The image of the Guru is the basis of meditation,
The feet of the Guru is the basis of worship,
The basis of mantra is Guru’s speech,
The basis of liberation is Guru’s grace.
It may seem to someone that this is said for a beautiful word, but in reality it is not. In deed, as it is said in this śloka, it is so. However, the meaning of this śloka lies in the correct attitude towards the guru, which is not characteristic of many, especially in the Western environment, including among the so-called “spiritual practitioners”. This happens for the reason that those who declare themselves sādhakas in the West are subject to the trends of the general environment, where a lot of mass delusions are cultivated. But, if you know deeply the topic of mantras, then the mantra is the Deity, and the guru is a good practitioner. A good practitioner is one who has realised the mantra (i.e. the Divine in himself). Accordingly, the transfer of the mantra, of course, occurs from the guru to the disciple, but essentially it is the Deity itself that “transmits” itself through the guru to the disciple. I propose to think about how important, deep and sacred this process is. Therefore, it is necessary to come to the guru precisely for this kind of process. But of course, this does not happen as simply and primitively as many imagine it to be, the level of devotion and understanding of what it is must be extremely high.
The Gaṇeśa Purāṇa as well as the Mudgala Purāṇa refers to धुम्रवर्ण गणेश (dhumravarṇa gaṇeśa) and धूम्रकेतु गणेश (dhūmraketu gaṇeśa). That is a smoky or ash-coloured Gaṇeśa (which is associated with bhasma), so this form is deeply connected to Goddess Dhūmāvatī. The Mudgala Purāṇa lists eight forms of Gaṇapati and the last of them is धुम्रवर्ण गणेश (dhumravarṇa gaṇeśa). There is a mention of another form in the Gaṇapati Purāṇa, one of the four, which is called धूम्रकेतु गणेश (dhūmraketu gaṇeśa). The first form is called महोत्कट विनायक (mahotkaṭa vināyaka) and manifests itself in the satya yuga, the form मयूरेश्वर विनायक (mayūreśvara vināyaka) is manifested in the tretā yuga, गजानन (gajānana) – in the dvāpara yuga, and धूम्रकेतु विनायक (dhūmraketu vināyaka) – in the kali yuga. It is completely normal for different forms of Gaṇapati to be worshipped at certain time periods. That is traditionally performed every month at chaturthi tithi, according to the Indian almanac (pañcāṅga).
1. In the month of Māgha, भालचन्द्र गणेश (bhālacandra gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
2. In the month of Phālguna, हेरम्ब गणेश (heramba gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
3. In the month of Caitra, विकट गणेश (vikaṭa gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
4. In the month of Vaiśākha, वक्रतुण्ड गणेश (vakratuṇḍa gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
5. In the month of Jyeṣṭha, रथ गणेश (ratha gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
6. In the month of Āṣāḍha, लम्बोदर गणेश (lambodara gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
7. In the month of Śrāvaṇa, विनायक गणेश (vināyaka gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
8. In the month of Bhādrapada, एकदन्त गणेश (ekadanta gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
9. In the month of Aśvīna, कृष्ण गणेश (kṛṣṇa gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
10. In the month of Kārtika, पिंग गणेश (piṃga gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
11. In the month of Mārgaśīrṣa, गजानन गणेश (gajānana gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
12. In the month of Puṣyā, लम्बोदर गणेश (lambodara gaṇeśa) is worshipped.
In general, according to the Gaṇeśa Purāṇa, धूम्र गणेश (dhūmra gaṇeśa) is worshipped. He is described with a vāhana in the form of a blue horse, which differs from the common popular version where he has a vāhana in a form of a mouse. In this form he is associated with Kalki-avatār, a form of Viṣṇu. However, we must bear in mind that in India, followers of different Sampradāyas may see their principal Deity as the highest. So it is not surprising that for some of them Viṣṇu is a manifestation of Śiva, for some – Viṣṇu and even some forms of Śiva are manifestations of the Mother Goddess, and that is also true for the worshippers of Gaṇapati. Dhūmra Gaṇapati is therefore a form of Gaṇeśa, which is the counterpart of Kalki-avatār in Vaishnavism. Although, there are ślokas describing Dhumravarṇa Gaṇapati sitting on a mouse (आखु / ākhu):
आखुवाहन एवासौ शिवात्मा तु स उच्येत ।।
ākhuvāhana evāsau śivātmā tu sa ucyeta ।।
The avatāra who has the smoky colour, the one who is also the destroyer of abhimanasura (the demon of pride). The one whose means of transport is in the form of a mouse, who is actually to be called the essence of Śiva.
Accordingly, it is very common in India to reduce all individual forms of Gaṇeśa or some other Deity to the most popular forms and their attributes at first. And then, to the yogic experience in general, as for example, in the Nātha-sampradāya, where Gaṇeśa has a human face, not an elephant-headed one. That is not because he originally had a human face before Śiva gave him an elephant’s head in the famous story. It is simply that for a yogin the human form is closer and the aim of all practices is to realise the divinity in own body, which is what all practices in tantrism lead to. The aim of realisation of a particular mantra (which is one with its Deity) is that your whole psychophysical being becomes a permanent carrier of the reality of that Deity. Continuous total abiding in God means eternity – the nature of ātman, which is the goal of yoga. However, Dhūmra Gaṇapati, like Goddess Dhūmāvatī, is the symbolic end of the spiritual path. It is a symbol of the burned-out worldly aspirations (saṃskāra), the residing of consciousness in the mundane (vāsanā), and in general – of the fire of any passion for life (kāmāgni). The worldly man is constantly engaged in a bubbling life full of fire, the last sign of which is the smoke of the funeral pyre, it’s grey ashes (bhasma). He who has forsaken all the useless fuss of the world, strives for the silencing of all ‘vṛitti‘ (the endless cycle of thoughts) in the mind. Such a devotee strives unceasingly towards the eternity of his true Self (ātman), seeing all worldly things transformed into the nectar of bhasma, the symbol of emptiness from which all forms, all activities (‘pravṛitti’), have emerged. Such yogins are in no hurry to go anywhere. Even if they do stay in this world, they are in a very nominal contact with everything. Dhūmra Gaṇapati and Dhūmāvatī properly represent the nature of Ketu and Śani in jyotiṣa. Śani is the slowest of all planets, so it constrains the exaggeration in our activities, the same is with Ketu. But these grahas could be helpful to those who choose discipline and aspiration towards mokṣa.