KEELAKA STOTRA EXPLAINED


श्री गुरुभ्यॊ नमः श्री परम गुरुभ्यॊ नमः श्री परमॆष्ठि गुरुभ्यॊ नमः

शान्ता विमला प्रकाअश आत्मा गुहा चिद्यॊगास्य श्री परानन्दादि सद्गुरून् नमाम्यहं पुनः पुनः

The Kīlakastotra (“Hymn of the Pin”) holds the bolt (argalā) in place and keeps the Devīmāhātmya’s power under lock and key, as it were, lest it should fall into the wrong hands and be misused. For that reason, its language is intentionally obscure, elliptical, and grammatically ambiguous, allowing for considerable latitude in interpretation. According to esoteric tradition, the Kīlaka’s true meaning will duly be revealed to the aspirant who is spiritually prepared to receive it.


What is this secret meaning? Verse 8 begins, “He gives, he receives,” followed by “in no other way is she pleased.” Only by self-surrender in complete devotion can the practitioner be receptive to the Devī’s grace. This brief dictum recalls the idea of reciprocity between the human and the Divine implied in the Devīmāhātmya (4.5; 5.50), and one can also infer from it the obstructive role of the ego in blocking the flow of grace. “Destruction of enemies” in verse 14 should be taken in the metaphorical sense as the slaying of inner demons, the ego’s ignorance and evil tendencies that spill their poison out into the world.
Related to this is “thwarting adversity” (uccāṭaṇa) in verses 3 and 4. The Sanskrit term can mean either ruining an adversary, using magic to stop another person from performing certain actions, eradicating something, or driving away a pernicious influence. Since causing harm to others is incompatible with spiritual advancement, uccāṭaṇa has to be understood here as the mental eradication of internal forces that obstruct right knowledge. Similarly, “sovereignty” in verse 14 ultimately refers to power not over others but over one’s lower self, the ego.
The person who surrenders to the Devī with complete devotion receives her protective grace in this life and liberation afterward (verse 10). Compare the Nārāyaṇlstuti’s teaching on worldly enjoyment and final liberation in the Devīmāhātmya (11.7). There is no reason not to be devoted to the Devī, who is the source of all good, declares the Kīlaka (verse 14). In the same way that the Devīmāhātmya promises that she comes to those who remember her (4.35; 5.6), the Kīlaka reveals that the Devī dwells always in the heart that remembers her. The secret, the key, is to devote heart and mind to her. As she proclaims in the Devīmāhātmya, “This entire glorification (māhātmya) of mine draws one near to me. Therefore this poem of my glory is to be recited by those of concentrated mind and heard always with devotion, for it is the supreme way to well-being” (12.20; 12.7).

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