SRI GURUBHYO NAMAH SRI PARAMAGURUBHYO NAMAH SRI PARAMESHTHI GURUBHYO NAMAH
SHANTAA VIMALAA PRAKAASHAA ATMAA GUHAA CHIDYOGAASYA SRI PARAANANDAADI SADGUROON NAMAAMYAHAM PUNAH PUNAH
The generic term for the life force is prāṇa (“breath”), but prāṇa has five functions. More
specifically, the term prāṇa denotes respiration; apāna governs elimination; samāna effects digestion, the assimilation of nutrients, and the circulation of the blood; vyāna, pervading the body, governs the nervous system, speech, and conscious action; udāna regulates growth and body heat.
The protective śakti is Vajrahastā (“she who holds the thunderbolt in hand”). Similarly, three śaktis invoked in verses 36 and 37 afford divine protection over the three bodily humors of Ayurvedic medicine: pitta (bile, of which the chief quality is heat), vāta (wind, represented in the text by the lungs), and kapha (phlegm, of which the chief quality is cold). The five senses—taste, sight, smell, hearing, and touch—are protected by Yoginī. The three guṇas—sattva, rajas, and tamas—can be taken as metaphors for knowledge (jñāna), action (kriyā), and desire (icchā), relating to the universal fact that human beings think, act, and feel. The śakti is Nārāyaṇī, the Devī as the ultimate goal of all humanity. This verse deals with life span, the conduct of life, and the rewards of living in accordance with he dharma. The three guardian powers are cited previously in the Kavaca.
Invoked to watch benevolently over the reciter’s material wealth, family, and the conduct of his life are Indrāni, Caṇḍikā, Mahālakṣmī, Bhairavī (“frightful”), Dhaneśvarī (“lady of wealth”), the previously cited Kaumārī, Supathā (“she whose path is good”), and Ksemankarl (“giver of safety”). The concluding section, in the form of a phalaśruti, details the this-worldly and spiritual benefits of reciting the Kavaca. Verses 53 through 56 present a list of supernatural entities against which the text affords protection: the dākinī (a flesh-eating female attendant of Kālī), the śākinī (a fierce attendant of Durgā), the grahabhūta (a spirit that possesses), the piśāca (the vilest of demons,
according to the Ṛgveda), the yakṣa (a harmless ghost or apparition), the gandharva (usually a celestial musician, but sometimes a malevolent, disembodied spirit), the raksasa (a demon that haunts cemeteries and harasses human beings), the brahmaraksasa (the ghost of a brāhmaṇa who led an unholy life), the vetāla (a vampire or spirit inhabiting a corpse), the kūṣmāṇdā, and the bhairava (kinds of frightening demons that accompany Śiva). Ending on a positive note, the Kavaca promises that the devotee who recites it will proceed from a position of highest honor in this world to the
supreme goal of union with the Divine.