This sukta is considered to be very important in Atharva-Veda. In reality it is borrowed from Rig-Veda, the mantras 1 to 8 of 125th sukta of 10th Adhyaya of the 10th Mandala. Devi Atharvashirsha is a link between philosophy (Darshana) and techniques (Tantra).
It is a tradition to recite it before Durga Saptashati.
ūṁ sarve vai devā devīmupatasthuḥ kāsi tvaṃ mahādevīti ॥1॥
All the Gods, going near the Goddess, asked "who are you, Oh mighty Goddess?"
sābravīt- ahaṃ brahmasvarūpiṇī । mattaḥ prakṛtipuruṣātmakaṃ jagat । śūnyaṃ cāśūnyam ca ॥2॥
She said: I am an aspect of Brahma. From me this Universe, in form of Prakriti and Purusha, is generated; which is both void and non-void.
ahamānandānānandau । ahaṃ vijñānāvijñāne । ahaṃ brahmābrahmaṇī veditavye । ahaṃ pañcabhūtānyapañcabhūtāni । ahamakhilaṃ jagat ॥3॥
I am both bliss and non-bliss. I am knowledge and non-knowledge. I am Brahma and non-Brahma (the non-manifest state called Abrahma). I am the five primordial principles and non-principles. I am the whole perceived Universe.
vedo ̕hamavedo ̕ham। vidyāhamavidyāham। ajāhamanajāham । adhaścordhvaṃ ca tiryakcāham ॥4॥
I am Veda (knowledge about Brahma) and non-knowledge. I am learning and ignorance. I am unborn and also born. I am up, down and in the middle.
ahaṃ rudrebhirvasubhiścarāmi । ahamādityairuta viśvadevaiḥ ।
ahaṃ mitrāvaruṇāvubhau bibharmi । ahamindrāgnī ahamaśvināvubhau ॥5॥
I move about in form of Rudra and Vasu. I move about as Aditya and all the Gods. I sustain Mitra, Varuna, Indra, Agni and both the Ashvinas.
ahaṃ somaṃ tvaṣṭāraṃ pūṣaṇaṃ bhagaṃ dadhāmi। ahaṃ viṣṇumurukramaṃ brahmāṇamuta prajāpatiṃ dadhāmi ॥6॥
In me there are Soma, Tvasta, Pusha and Bhaga. In me there are Vishnu with wide footsteps, Brahma and Prajapati.
ahaṃ dadhāmi draviṇaṃ haviṣmate suprāvye u yajamānāya sunvate ।
ahaṃ rāṣṭrī saṅgamanī vasūnāṃ cikituṣī prathamā yajñiyānām ।
ahaṃ suve pitaramasya mūrdhanmama yonirapsvantaḥ samudre ।
ya evam ved। sa devīṃ sampadamāpnoti ॥7॥
I bring Wealth with Havi (oblation) to that man who offers the best Havi to Gods and consecrates Soma. I am the Empress of this whole Universe. I give wealth to worshippers. I am the observer and the first amongst those worth worshipping. I create on myself (as basis of all) the primordial elements. My abode is in the waters of Samudra (the ocean of consciousness). One who knows this obtains divine wealth.
te devā abruvan-
namo devyai mahādevyai śivāyai satataṃ namaḥ ।
namaḥ prakṛtyai bhadrāyai niyatāḥ praṇatāḥ sma tām ॥8॥
Then the Gods said: Salutations to the Goddess, the Great Goddess. Salutations always to the goddess who is beneficial to all. Salutations to the goddess who is the Nature and is graceful. We, followers of rules, pay our respects to Her.
tāmagnivarṇāṃ tapasā jvalantīṃ vairocanīṃ karmaphaleṣu juṣṭām ।
durgāṃ devīṃ śaraṇaṃ prapadyāmahe ̕surānnāśayitryai te namaḥ ॥9॥
Salutations to You, with color of Agni, shining with knowledge, bright, being worshipped to obtain fruits of actions, we are in her refuge. Oh Devi, destroyer of evil, salutations to You.
devīṃ vācamajanayanta devāstāṃ viśvarūpāḥ paśavo vadanti
sā no mandreṣamūrjaṃ duhānā dhenurvāgasmānupa suṣṭutaitu॥10॥
The Gods created the shining Vak (Goddess of speech), which is spoken by animals of all types. She gives food, all kinds of perceptions, intelligence, pleasure, bliss and strength. Let Vak be satisfied by our prayers and come near us.
kālarātrīṃ brahmastutāṃ vaiṣṇavīṃ skandamātaram ।
sarasvatīmaditiṃ dakṣaduhitaraṃ namāmaḥ pāvanāṃ śivām ॥11॥
To Kalaratri (the Dark Night), to the power of Vishnu, prayed by Vedas, to the mother of Skanda (Parvati), to Sarasvati (power of Brahma), to the mother of gods Aditi, to the daughter of Daksha (Sati), to the destroyer of sins, to the beneficial Bhagvati, we convey our salutations.
mahālakṣmyai ca vidmahe sarvaśaktyai ca dhīmahi ।
tanno devī pracodayāt ॥12॥
We know the Mahalakshmi and meditate on Her, the all-powerful one. May that Goddess direct us in correct direction.
aditirhyajaniṣṭa dakṣa yā duhitā tava
tāṃ devā anvajāyanta bhadrā amṛtabandhavaḥ ॥13॥
Oh Daksha, your daughter Aditi gave birth to immortal Gods, worth praying.
kāmo yoniḥ kamalā vajrapāṇirguhā hasā mātariśvābhramindraḥ ।
punarguhā sakalā māyayā ca purūcyaiṣā viśvamātādividyom ॥14॥
Now is illustrated the highly secretive Shrividya Panchadashi Mahamantra, a 15 lettered mantra. The mantra gives the following letters for meditation: ka-e-ī-la-hrīṃ, ha-sa-ka-ha-la-hrīṃ, sa-ka-la-hrīṃ. These are the root knowledge about the Mother of the universe.
This is a very important mantra for Tantra but has to be learnt from a guru.
eṣātmaśaktiḥ । eṣā viśvamohinī । pāśāṅkuśadhanurbāṇadharā । eṣā śrīmahāvidyā ।
ya evaṃ veda sa śokaṃ tarati ॥15॥
She is the power of Paramatma. She is the one to bewitch all. She shines with noose, goad, bow and arrows in her hands. She is Shri MahaVidya. One who knows this well overcomes sadness.
namaste astu bhagavati mātarasmān pāhi sarvataḥ ॥16॥
Oh Bhagavati, salutations to You. Oh Mother, protect us in all ways.
saiṣāṣṭau vasavaḥ। saiṣaikādaśarudrāḥ । saiṣā dvādaśādityāḥ । saiṣā viśvedevāḥ somapā asomapāśca ।
saiṣā yātudhānā asurā rakṣāṃsi piśācā yakṣāḥ siddhāḥ ।
saiṣā sattvarajastamāṃsi । saiṣā brahmaviṣṇurudrarūpiṇī। saiṣā prajāpatīndramanavaḥ ।
saiṣā grahanakṣatrajyotīṃṣi । kalā kāṣṭhādikālarūpiṇī। tāmahaṃ praṇaumi nityam ।
pāpahāriṇīṃ devīṃ bhuktimuktipradāyinīm ।
anantāṃ vijayāṃ śuddhāṃ śaraṇyāṃ śivadāṃ śivām॥17॥
She is the eight Vasus. She is the eleven Rudras. She is the twelve Adityas. She is the all the Gods, drinking Soma or non-drinking. She is Yatudhan, Rakshashas, Asuras, Pishachas, Yakshas and Siddhas (kinds of demonic or malicious beings). She is Satva, Rajas and Tamas. She is Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra. She is Prajapati, Indra and Manu. She is the planets, stars and constellations. She is various measures of Time. She is destroyer of sins, giver of both enjoyment and Moksha, without end, giving victory over distractions of Samsara, pure, worth taking refuge, giver of peace, peace personified, we pray to Her.
viyadīkārasaṃyuktaṃ vītihotrasamanvitam ।
ardhendulasitaṃ devyā bījaṃ sarvārthasādhakam ॥18॥
evamekākṣaraṃ brahma yatayaḥ śuddhacetasaḥ
dhyāyanti paramānandamayā jñānāmburāśayaḥ ॥19॥
Akash means ha, with ī syllable, Agni ra, aṃ is the Bijamantra for the Goddess (so hrīṃ is formed). This mantra is able to satisfy all desires. Those Yogis whose mind is pure, meditate on this one syllable Brahma, they are having extreme happiness and like an ocean of knowledge.
vāṅmāyā brahmasūstasmāt ṣaṣṭhaṃ vaktrasamanvitam
suryo ̕vāmaśrotrabindusaṃyuktaṣṭāttṛtīyakaḥ ।
nārāyaṇena saṃmiśro vāyuścādharayuk tataḥ
vicce navārṇako ̕rṇaḥ syānmahadānandadāyakaḥ ॥20॥
Vak aiṃ, Maya hrīṃ, Brahma or Kama klīṃ, the sixth consonant ca with Vaktra ā, Surya ma, the right ear u, and Bindu aṃ, the third from ṭ (ḍ), with Narayana ā, Vayu ya, with lips aiand at the end vicce (so aiṃ hrīṃ klīṃ chamunḍāye vicce is formed). This navarna (nine-lettered) mantra gives pleasure, bliss, and nearness the meditator to Brahman.
om - The Pranava Mantra represents the Nirguna Brahman, the infinite beyond conception.
aim - The Vak beeja, the seed sound of Mahasarasvati. The knowledge that is consciousness. Creation, rajo guna, the energy of desire.
hrim - The Maya beeja, the sound of Mahalakshmi. The all pervasive existence. Preservation, sattva guna, energy of action.
klim - The Kama beeja, the seed sound of Mahakali. The all consuming delight. Destruction, tamo guna, energy of wisdom.
camunda - The slayer of the demons Chanda and Munda, of passion and anger.
yai - the grantor of boons.
vicce - in the body of knowledge, in the perception of consciousness.
hṛtpuṇḍarīkamadhyasthāṃ prātaḥ sūryasamaprabhāṃ
pāśāṅkuśadharāṃ saumyāṃ varadābhayahastakām ।
trinetrāṃ raktavasanāṃ bhaktakāmadughāṃ bhaje ॥21॥
I worship the Goddess staying in the middle of my Self (or mind), bright as the morning Sun, who is holding Pasha and Ankusha in her hands, with beautiful looks, with the hand in Varad (blessing) and Abhaya (protecting) mudra, with three eyes, with red cloths and who satisfies the desires of her worshippers.
namāmi tvāṃ mahādevīṃ mahābhayavināśinīm ।
mahādurgapraśamanīṃ mahākāruṇyarūpiṇīm ॥22॥
I offer salutations to the Goddess who destroys fearsome troubles, who eliminates obstacles and who is the personification of compassion.
yasyāḥ svarūpaṃ brahmādayo na jānanti tasmāducyate ajñeyā ।
yasyā anto na labhyate tasmāducyate anantā । yasyā lakṣyaṃ nopalakṣyate tasmāducyate alakṣyā ।
yasyā jananaṃ nopalabhyate tasmāducyate ajā । ekaiva sarvatra vartate tasmāducyate ekā ।
ekaiva viśvarūpiṇī tasmāducyate naikā । ata evocyate ajñeyānantālakṣyājaikā naiketi ॥23॥
Even Brahma and the other Devas do not know her real form, so she is called Ajñeya. We do not find its limit, so she is called Ananta. We can not find the meaning, so she is called Alakshya. Her birth is not known, so she is called Aja. She is found everywhere, so she is called Eka, the One. She has taken up all the various forms, so she is called Naika. Because of this she is called these various names.
mantrāṇāṃ mātṛkā devī śabdānāṃ jñānarūpiṇī ।
jñānānāṃ cinmayātītā śūnyānāṃ śūnyasākṣiṇī ।
yasyāḥ parataraṃ nāsti saiṣā durgā prakīrtitā ॥24॥
Amongst the mantras She is the original sounds, in the words She is the essence of knowledge. Amongst the knowledge She is beyond what is comprehensible by analysis and by deep meditation, She is the witness to that state. She is well known as Durga, there is nothing better than her.
tāṃ durgāṃ durgamāṃ devīṃ durācāravighātinīm ।
namāmi bhavabhīto ̕haṃ saṃsārārṇavatāriṇīm ॥25॥
I, afraid of the Samsara, offer my salutations to Durga, difficult to know, destroyer of sins and pilot while crossing this sea of Samsara.
idamatharvaśīrṣaṃ yo ̕dhīte sa pañcātharvaśīrṣajapaphalamāpnoti ।
idamatharvaśīrṣamajñātvā yo ̕rcāṃ sthāpayati śatalakṣaṃ prajaptvā ̕pi so ̕rcāsiddhiṃ na vindati ।
śatamaṣṭottaraṃ cāsya puraścaryāvidhiḥ smṛtaḥ ।
daśavāraṃ paṭhedyastu sadyaḥ pāpaiḥ pramucyate ।
mahādurgāṇi tarati mahādevyāḥ prasādataḥ ॥26॥
One who studies this Atharvashirsha gets credit for reciting it five times. One who establishes and worships an image without knowing this Atharvashirsha will not get any benefit, even if does 100,000 recitations. Repeat this 108 times, that is the method of Purascharana. Even repeating ten times makes him free of sins due to the grace of Mahadevi.
sāyamadhīyāno divasakṛtaṃ pāpaṃ nāśayati।prātaradhīyāno rātrikṛtaṃ pāpaṃ nāśayati ।
sāyaṃ prātaḥ prayuñjāno apāpo bhavati।niśīthe turīyasandhyāyāṃ japtvā vāksiddhirbhavati ।
nūtanāyāṃ pratimāyāṃ japtvā devatāsānnidhyaṃ bhavati ।
prāṇapratiṣṭhāyāṃ japtvā prāṇānāṃ pratiṣṭhā bhavati ।
bhaumāśvinyāṃ mahādevīsannidhau japtvā mahāmṛtyuṃ tarati ।
sa mahāmṛtyuṃ tarati ya evaṃ ved। ityupaniṣat ॥27॥
By Shri Devi’s grace, one escapes from the greatest of difficulties. By chanting this hymn in the evening, one gets rid of the sins committed during the day. By chanting this hymn in the morning, one gets rid of the sins committed during the previous night. By using this hymn in the morning and evening (everyday) one becomes free from all sins. By chanting this during the Turiya Sandhya (midnight when Turiya meets Turiyatita), one gets Vak Siddhi (power of speech). By chanting this hymn, Devata Sannidhya (presence of divinity) is accomplished in a new idol. By chanting this mantra during yoga one escapes from the great death. In this way this Upanishad is the dead of ignorance.