देहो नवरत्नद्वीपस्त्वगादि सप्तधातु रोम संयुक्तः॥ (Bhāvanopaniṣad 6)
deho navaratnadvīpastvagādi saptadhātu roma saṁyuktaḥ ||
In some texts this verse is split into two separate verses. In that case, the two verses will be like this. deho navaratnadvīpaḥ || देहो नवरत्नद्वीपः।। and tvagādi saptadhātu roma saṁyuktaḥ || त्वगादि सप्तधातु रोम संयुक्तः।। But the meaning does not change.
This body is an island of nine gems. A body is called an island because each body functions independently. The next part of this verse explains these nine gems. They are saptadhātu-s (chyle, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow, and procreative fluids) hair and vital breath called prāṇa. There are different versions regarding these constituents which really do not matter much. What we need to know is that the body is made of nine constituents, as this is more towards grosser interpretation. Already the nine apertures of human body are compared to nine triangles or nine āvaraṇa-s. It is important to remember that nine triangles are different from nine āvaraṇa-s, which have been explained already.
Numeric nine has got a lot of significance in Śri Cakra worship. For example, we have nine triangles, nine āvaraṇa-s, nine yogini-s, nine mudras (trikhaṇḍa mudra is excluded as it is meant only for those who are initiated into mahāṣoḍaśī mantra), nine cakreśvarī-s, nine siddhi-s, etc. Apart from this, there are nine planets, nine gems, navarātri, etc. Since Śri Cakra is made of nine triangles and nine āvaraṇa-s and as Śri Cakra represents creation (inner triangle and the bindu within), it can be explained that the universe originated from the nine underlying principles of Śri Cakra.
On the subtler side, these nine gems are compared to Her Grace, which consists of nine components. When we talk of about showering of Her Grace on us, the following nine components get embedded in our body, both physical and subtle. A body becomes complete only when both gross and subtle come together and in the best possible alignment. The nine components of Her Grace are vibhūti (Her Grandeur), unnati (causing further spiritual elevation), kānti (bodily splendour), hṛṣṭi (ecstatic Bliss), kīrti (fame), śānti (tranquillity personified), vyuśṭi (reward), utkṛṣṭa (taking to a much higher position) and ṛddhi (conclusive evidence).
We can also look at this verse from the angle of navadurgā forms. Kumārikā (a girl of 10 to 12 years old), Trimūrti (as Brahmā, Viṣṇu. Śiva), kātyāyanī, Rohiṇī (a girl of nine years), Kālī, Caṇḍikā, Śāmbhavi, Durgā and Bhadrā (prosperous and happy). There are other versions of navadurgā. It can also be argued that She bestows Her Grace through these nine forms. It is also said that the nine forms of Durgā represent nine different stages of growth of Pārvatī Devi, Consort of Śiva. The Final Beatitude is conferred by Bhadrā. At the end of Final Beatitude, Lalitā Mahātripurasundarī Parā Bhṭṭārikā takes over the meditator and takes him to Śiva for liberation. This aspect is subtly conveyed here.
Thus, when She showers Her Grace, all these nine aspects descends one after another on the meditator making him a perfect yogi. The moment Her Grace falls on us, our body and mind becomes lustrous and we spiritually advance further, to finally get liberated. Only based on these nine components of Her Grace, She is adored as śivajñāna pradāyinī in Lalitā Sahasranāma 727. Liberation is possible only if She showers Her Grace.
saṁkalpāḥ kalpataravaḥ tejaḥ kalpakodyānam rasanayā bhāvyamānā sadhurāmlatiktakakaṣāyalavaṇarasāḥ ṣaḍṛtavaḥ ||
संकल्पाः कल्पतरवः तेजः कल्पकोद्यानम् रसनया भाव्यमाना सधुराम्लतिक्तककषायलवणरसाः षडृतवः॥ (Bhāvanopaniṣad 7)
Some texts have split this into to verses.
A resolute mind is like the wish granting tree of the heaven. Splendour of the mind is the garden of wish granting trees. The taste buds in the tongue which tastes sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, astringent and salt are six seasons.
Now Bhāvanopaniṣad begins to discuss about the mind. Bhāvana means contemplation and Bhāvanopaniṣad enables us to perceive Śri Cakra through our minds. First part of this verse speaks about the mind. In order to effectively synchronise our mind with Śri Cakra, we need to have a resolute mind. What is a resolute mind? When the mind determines that the Self is within, it is known as resolute mind, the state of sthitaprajña (firmness of the mind attained through knowledge and wisdom, where all desires are annihilated). This verse says that this kind of mind is the garden of celestial boon grating trees. In a contended mind, there will be no desires, no attachments and no needs. Though he is aware that he can get whatever he wants by the Divine Grace, he will not ask for anything, as he has no needs at all, as he has now become a yogi (union of individual consciousness with Supreme Consciousness). He is contended in all aspects of life. Such a person will be able to control multitudes of nines (explained in the previous verse as navaratna) that exist in his body. Here is the situation, where the mind and body are completely in alignment. He is in full control of his mind and through his resolute mind he controls all the sense organs of his body. Over a period of time he will cease to take his food, lose his sleep, etc. All this happens one after another.
Having explained about the mind, the verse proceeds to discuss about the six seasons. Six seasons form twelve months of a year are on the grosser side. Taste of the tongue is also gross. But, as we are discussing Bhāvanopaniṣad, we have to look for subtle conveyances. The first part of the verse says that one needs to have a resolute mind; in other words one has to be a sthitaprajña first. Once the state of sthitaprajña is reached, Her Grace descends on him. When the Grace descends on him, how it enters the body is now the question. It enters through sahasrāra (crown chakra), where there is an orifice known as brahmarandra. This orifice always remains closed. This orifice can be opened only through Divine Grace and that is why it is known as brahmarandra (orifice of Brahman; it is also known as orifice of Brahmā, the god in-charge of creation; the correct interpretation is orifice of Brahman). Her Grace enters into our body through this orifice and activates six psychic chakras from ājñā cakra to mūlādhāra. She already exists in the form of śaktikuṇḍalinī at the perineum, but in a dormant state (further details on this will be discussed in the upcoming series on kuṇḍalinī). When the Divine Grace descends, śaktikuṇḍalinī transforms into parākuṇḍalinī, where Śiva is inherent. When parākuṇḍalinī is active, that state of the meditator is known as pūrṇāhantā, the state of Supreme Paramaśiva (where She is inherent and in a state of inseparableness). Now the meditator becomes one with That Absolute (I am That or ahaṁ brahmāsmi).
When deep state of devotion transforms into love for Her, without any efforts on the part of the meditator, he is taken to the advanced spiritual states through navadurgā concept and at the end of navadurgā state, She showers Her Grace through his brahmarandra and ultimately ensures his union with Śiva and this meditator is not born again.
While pursuing Śrī Vidyā upāsana, it is important to understand its intricacies, if one wants to attain liberation. Rituals should pave way for japa mantras and japa mantras should pave way for understanding and contemplating Śri Cakra effectively with the help of Bhāvanopaniṣad and these transitions should happen in quick successions, aiming for liberation in this life itself.