We are about to enter the eighth āvaraṇa, which is the innermost triangle. Within this triangle is the bindu. Tithi nityā devī-s were worshipped outside this triangle. Guru Maṇḍala was worshiped above this triangle. This is the triangle from which, the entire universe was born. Eighth āvaraṇa or aṣṭamāvaraṇa is known as Sarvasiddhipradā, which bestows all attainments, leading to a completely transformed stage from mundane consciousness to the highest level of spiritual attainment. This is the stage where one can experiences the highest level of Bliss. This āvaraṇa is presided over by Tripurāṁbācakreśvarī. Sarvabīja is the Mudrāśakti and Atirahasyayoginī (atirahasya means highly secretive) is the Yoginī. There are only three Devi-s in this āvaraṇa. Before worshipping them, we need to worship Lalitāmbikā’s weaponries, which are placed outside this triangle. These weaponries are marked as A, B, C and D in the image below. It is very important to note that both Mahākāmeśvara and Mahākāmeśvarī have the same weaponries. Both of them have arrows, bows, nooses (pāśa) and hooks (aṅkuśa). Now a doubt could arise in our minds, whether they hold these weaponries jointly or individually. This doubt arises because the mantras mention both of them. For example, let us take the mantra for bows which goes like this.
kāmeśvarī kāmeśvara dhanurbhyāṁ namaḥ| dhanuḥśakti pūjayāmi ||
कामेश्वरी कामेश्वर धनुर्भ्यां नमः। धनुःशक्ति पूजयामि॥
This means that we worship the bows of both Kāmeśvarī and Kāmeśvara, as usage of dhanurbhyāṁ signifies two and not one. In reality, both of them are not different. They are the same. What Kāmeśvarī holds is nothing but the mirror image of the weaponries, which Kāmeśvara hold. This subtly conveys that our inherent māyā has not yet been annihilated, even at this point of time. Why our māyā has not yet been annihilated, though we are very close to the innermost triangle? Māyā can be annihilated only if we realize and merge into Her. This has not yet happened as we are still outside the innermost triangle. Unless we enter into the innermost triangle (innermost triangle is the place where our merger with Her takes place), our inherent māyā will continue to be present. Though major portion of māyā has been annihilated, still traces continue to remain even at this stage. We must always bear in mind that Parāśakti is svātantrya śakti of Śiva and is in no way different from Him. Both of them are single entity and not two separate entities. It is due to māyā or delusion that they appear as different to our mind. These details have been elaborately dealt with in differnt articles. We now proceed to worship their weaponries.
A is their bāṇa, which means arrow. Both of them have five arrows. These five arrows imply pañcatanmātra-s (sound, touch, sight, taste and smell). This is explained in Lalitā Sahasranāma 11, Pañcatanmātra-sāyakā.
B is their bow. This bow is made up of sugar cane. Lalitā Sahasranāma 10 calls this bow as kodaṇḍā (Manorūpekṣu-kodaṇḍā). This bow implies the mind. Mind involves both saṃkalpa and vikalpa. Saṃkalpa means resolve, process of thought. Vikalpa means difference of perception. Both are opposite to each other. Mind is also subtle, like knowledge. Mind is reflected through the five sensory organs. It has both saṃkalpa and vikalpa qualities, as it acts through the impressions received from sense organs that get fine tuned in the form of thought and finally explode in the form of actions.
C is pāśa, the noose. Lalitā Sahasranāma 8 (Rāgasvarūpa-pāśāḍhyā) speaks about this pāśa. She pulls all the desires of Her devotees using this noose, which represents iccā śakti, the desire. When a devotee reaches this stage, She annihilates all his desires by using this noose and transforms him into absolute purity. This transformation happens because in the next stage he is going to merge with Her, by entering into the innermost triangle.
D is hook or aṅkuśa and this is explained in Lalitā Sahasranāma 9 (Krodhākāraṅkuśojvalā). A hood is a weapon to control elephants. Mind by nature, always leans towards sensory organs. By using this aṅkuśa, She ensures that the devotee gets himself detached from all types of sensory excesses.
After worshipping these weaponries, we are freed not only from the afflictions of the mind, such as desire, attachment, ego, sensory pleasures, but also relieved from māyā to a very great extent. All types of delusions get annihilated, just before we enter into the inner most triangle, yet the traces remain. Parāśakti is the embodiment of purity and before we merge into Her, all our impurities are annihilated. These impurities will not rear their heads again, because She showers Her Grace on us during this time. This stage can be attained only if our karmic account permits. All our karmas should have been experienced and we should have surrendered to Her much before entering into the firstāvaraṇa of Śri Cakra, which is not merely a yantra. Ultimate goal of reaching Her is often not achieved as we merely consider Śri Cakra as an yantra. It is the point of origin of the universe. The innermost triangle and the bindu within is the point of origin and the manifestation of the universe is complete before the entry into Śri Nagara (not Śri Cakra), which has been discussed in the beginning of this series. Therefore, when navāvaraṇa pūja is performed, one has to mentally stay connected with Her. This is also the reason for performing navāvaraṇa pūja in as much privacy as possible. This concept is explained in Lalitā Sahasranāma 871 (Bahirmukha-sudurlabhā - She is very difficult to attain for those who are not able to look within. Mind is the prime factor to look within. Unless senses are controlled, it is difficult to control the mind. This nāma says that She cannot be attained only by external means.)
After being purified, we are ready to enter into the eighth āvaraṇa. This is the innermost triangle, from where the universe was born and into which the universe will merge at the time of annihilation. There is a veil in the centre of the triangle. This veil is called tiraskaraṇi, which means a veil. This is the veil of mahāmāya (the Divine Power of illusion). This veil can be removed only by the three Devi-s protecting the three corners of this triangle and that too, only on Her command.
These Devi-s are marked as1, 2 and 3 in the innermost triangle. These Devi-s alone are capable of conferring mantra siddhi. These three Devi-s are the cause for trikhaṇḍa mudra, which can be used only by those who are initiated into Ṣoḍaśī. These three Devi-s are also worshiped in anticlockwise manner, beginning from East, proceeding to South and then to North.
1 represents Mahā Kāmeśvarī (not Parāśakti; Mahā and Kāmeśvarī are two separate words here)and she protects the eastern corner, the point of triangle facing down. She represents fire, Divine creative aspect (power of Brahmā), Divine energy that permeates the universe and individual self (jīvātman or individual soul). She also represents icchā śakti. (Lalitā Sahasranāma 658, Icchāśakti-jñānaśakti-kriyāśakti-svarūpiṇī). She also represents kāmagiripīṭha.
3 represents Mahā Vajreśvarī and she represents the sun, antarātman (antarātman means internal feelings of the mind; possibly, this could mean one’s karmic account), jñānaśakti and the power of Viṣṇu, the Divine aspect of sustenance. She also represents pūrnagiripīṭha.
2 represents Mahā Bagamālinī and she represents destruction, annihilation, kriyāśakti, presence of the Self within the individual self, also known as Paramātma (Paramātman means the Supreme Spirit, yet not the Self or Brahman. Brahman, also known as the Self is Paramaśiva, with whom we are going to merge in the next āvaraṇa). She also represents jālandharapīṭha.
All the three Devi-s are now satisfied with our spiritual attainment and they remove the veil of tiraskaraṇi and we now become speechless as we are seeing Lalitā Mahātripurasundarī Parā Bhṭṭārikā with our biological eyes. She is not seated in the bindu as we were thinking all these days. She is seated quite a distance away from the Bindu towards West. Bindu also remains veiled. Bindu is the seat of Śiva. We are awe struck. We become totally immobile for several moments till She calls us by our names. She is fully aware of our past, present and future. We are not able to speak. We forget all the mantras, hymns and verses that we have been practicing till now. We fall flat before Her and by touching Her pinkish feet, we reach the Supreme stage Bliss. Our individual consciousness is now totally lost. We forget ourselves. We are literally unconscious now. We need nothing now. We have attained the goal of our lives. She calls us by names and makes us to sit on Her lap. We now understand that Śiva’s lap is meant for Her and Her lap is meant for us. She looks into our eyes with compassion and love. We are blessed to notice that everlasting smile in Her face. We now understand what infinity is. We are now half dead. We are not aware of what is happening around us. We feel the Divine Fragrance throughout this innermost triangle. We have no mind to leave Her lap. We now fully understand the DIVINE MOTHER, about whom we were talking about for years and years. She is the Supreme Power of Śiva, known as Parabrahmaśakti and presides over Mahoḍyāṇapīṭha. We continue to remain in Her lap, in spite of Her willingness to take us to Śiva. We don’t want to leave Her lap. We do not even want liberation. We are completely satisfied by remaining on Her lap.