Primarily there are three types of Guru Lineages. They are for kādividhyā upāsaka-s, ṣoḍaśī upāsaka-s and hādividhyā upāsaka-s. Upāsaka-s mean worshippers. What is described here is the one that belongs to ṣoḍaśī upāsaka-s. There are three types of Guru-s in each of these lineages. They are Divyaguru-s, Siddhaguru-s and Mānavaguru-s. Let us now understand them. Each āmnāya has one principle Guru. He is the one who had laid down the methods of worship in that particular āmnāya. Āmnāya means sacred tradition*. Number of Guru-s under each group differs from tradition to tradition and similarly, the names of Guru-s also differ. One’s Guru is worshiped in the lower most dotted line.  Guru’s Guru, known as Paramaguru is worshiped in the middle line (marked in red) and Paramaguru’s Guru is known as Parameṣṭhi Guru and he is worshipped in the top line (marked in red)**. Parameṣṭhi means supreme. In other words, Guru would have been initiated by his Guru (who is Paramaguru for us) and Paramaguru would have been initiated by Paramaguru’s Guru (who is Parameṣṭhi Guru for us). Tradition followed in this article is as per Paraśurāma kalpa sūtra, the best authentic version of Śrī Vidyā upāsaṇa.

**There are variations about where to worship these three types of Guru-s. The right method would be to worship divyaguru-s in C, as they are very close to Parāśakti. Siddhaguru-s should be worshipped in B and Mānavaguru-s should be worshiped in A, away from Parāśakti, which means they have to intensify Her contemplation still further.


If we look at the image above, we can find three lines marked A, B and C. In A our Parameṣṭhi Guru is worshiped along with five other divyaguru-s. Nine Divyaguru-s are (from 1 to 5):

1. Vyomātītāmbā व्योमातीताम्बा; 2. Vyomeśyambā व्योमेश्यम्बा;

3.Vyomagāmbā व्योमगाम्बा; 4. Vyomacāriṇyambā व्योमचारिण्यम्बा

5. Vyomasthāmbā  व्योमस्थाम्बा

In B our Paramaguru is worshiped along with nine Siddhaguru-s and they are (from 1 to 9)

1. Unmanākāśa ānandanātha उन्मनाकाश आनन्दनाथ; In subsequent eight names, ānandanātha

(आनन्दनाथ) is to be added next to their names.  2. Samanākāśa समनाकाश;

3. Vyāpakāśa व्यापकाश; 4. Śaktyākāśa शक्त्याका; 5. Dhvanyākāśa ध्वन्याकाश;

6. Dhvanimātrā ध्वनिमात्रा; 7. Anāhatākāśa अनाहताकाश; 8. Bindvākāśa बिन्द्वाकाश;

9. Indrākāśa इन्द्राकाश.

In C our Guru (the one who has initiated into Śrī Vidyā cult, is worshiped along with nine mānavaguru-s and they are (from 1 to 9)

1. Paramātma ānandānātha परमात्म आनन्दानाथ;  In subsequent eight names, ānandanātha (आनन्दनाथ)

is to be added next to their names.

2. Śāmbhava शाम्भव; 3. Cinmudra चिन्मुद्र; 4. Vāgbhava वाग्भव; 5. Līlā लीला;

6. Sambhrāma सम्भ्राम; 7. Cida चिद; 8. Prasanna प्रसन्न; 9. Viśvānandanātha विश्वानन्दनाथ.

A Guru, either at the time of initiation or during pūrṇābhiṣeka confers a dīkṣā name to the aspirant. Method of initiation is purely Guru’s choice. He can initiate either through one of the normal procedures (verbally, etc) or by performing pūrṇābhiṣeka. Mostly, normal initiation is done first and depending upon the progress of the disciple pūrṇābhiṣeka is done subsequently and at that time dīkṣā name is given to him. Such dīkṣā names should be used only during Guru’s presence or among the disciples of the same Guru. This name should not be used in public except in the case of saṃnyāsin-s. The dīkṣā name given by a Guru will also end with ānandanātha. Sometimes, deśika and bhaṭṭaraka are used instead of ānandanātha (technically it is only nātha).

Before worshipping Guru Maṇḍala, the three sides of innermost triangle and the bindu within the triangle are worshipped. Triangle represents Parāśakti and the bindu represents Śiva. Innermost triangle has three sides, left, right and top. Inside the triangle, there is a bindu (marked in red).

It is Mahākāmeśvara (Paramaśiva), who initiated Mahākāmeśvarī during Kṛita yuga (consisting or 1,728,000 years). This is the first of four yuga-s. In Śrī Vidyā cult, Mahākāmeśvara who initiatedMahākāmeśvarī is known as Caryānandanātha (carya means to be practiced or to be performed, signifying the importance of sādhana). Caryānandanātha is also known by other names such as Vidyānandanātha and Paramaśivānandanātha. After having initiated Mahākāmeśvarī in Kṛita yuga, Mahākāmeśvara initiated Uḍḍīśānandanātha in Tretā yuga (1,296,000 human years), Śaṣṭhīśānandanāta in Dvāpara yuga (864.000 human years) and Mitreśānandanātha in the present Yuga (Kali yuga comprising of 432,000 human years; 2013-14 is 5115th year of Kali yuga). Thus, Mahākāmeśvara is worshiped in the bindu and the three Gurus who were initiated directly byParamaśiva along with three other Gurus are worshipped in the three sides of the innermost triangle.

Mahākāmeśvara (Paramaśiva) is worshipped in the bindu with this mantra:

ॐ ऐं ह्रीं श्रीं ऐं ह्रीं श्रीं ऐं क्लीं सौः ग्लौं ह्स्ख्फ्रें हसक्षमलवरयूं ह्सौः सहक्षमलवरयीं स्हौः श्रीविद्यानन्दनाथात्मक चर्यानन्दनाथ श्री महापादुक्कां पूजयामि॥

om aiṁ hrīṁ śrīṁ aiṁ hrīṁ śrīṁ aiṁ klīṁ sauḥ glauṁ hskhphreṁ hasakṣamalavarayūṁ hsauḥ sahakṣamalavarayīṁ shauḥ śrīvidyānandanāthātmaka caryānandanātha śrī mahāpādukkāṁ pūjayāmi ||

The Gurus who are initiated by Paramaśiva are worshiped on the three sides of the innermost triangle.

On the left side of the triangle (left side of the practitioner) following Gurus are worshiped.

1. Uḍḍīṣanandanātha उड्डीषनन्दनाथ; 2. Prakāśānandanātha प्रकाशानन्दनाथ;

3.Vimarśānandanātha विमर्शानन्दनाथ; 4. Ānandanandanātha आनन्दनन्दनाथ.

On the top of the triangle, following Gurus are worshipped.

1. Ṣaṣṭīśānandanātha षष्टीशानन्दनाथ; 2. Jñānānandanātha ज्ञानानन्दनाथ;

3. Satyānandanātha सत्यानन्दनाथ; 4. Pūrṇānandanātha पूर्णानन्दनाथ.

On the right side of the triangle (right side of the practitioner) following Gurus are worshiped.

1. Mitreśānandanātha मित्रेशानन्दनाथ; 2. Svabhāvānandanātha स्वभावानन्दनाथ;

3. Pratībhānandanātha प्रतीभानन्दनाथ; 4. Subhagānandanātha सुभगानन्दनाथ.

 In general, in Śrī Vidyā cult, great importance is attached to Guru and Guru Maṇḍala. It is also said that Paramaśiva not only initiated Gurus into Śrī Vidyā, but also imparted Ātmavidyā (tat tvaṁasi or you are That, where That stands for Brahman).

At the time of initiation, Guru apart from initiating a mantra, also gives Gurupādukā mantra. Gurupādukā mantra is given for the Guru who initiates, Guru’s Guru (Paramaguru for the one who is being initiated and Paramaguru’s Guru (Parameṣṭhi Guru for the one who is being initiated). During this process, dīkṣā names of all the three Gurus are revealed to the disciple. There are three types of mantras for Guru, Paramaguru and Parameṣṭhi Guru. A disciple has to pay his respect to his Guru by using mṛgīmudra (mṛgī means female deer, a doe).

Further readings:

* Further reading on Āmnāya-s

Guru and the process of initiation