27. गुरुमण्डलार्चनम्॥ Gurumaṇḍalārcanam ||

27.1) Guru-śiṣya relationship:

In Śrī Vidyā, role of a Guru is extremely important. Pursuing Śrī Vidyā in its proper perspective leads to liberation step by step. Śrī Vidyā literally means exalted science. But, there are various paddhati-s (पद्धति) (paddhati means path or divisions) which discuss about various aspects of worshipping Lalitāmbikā. In Śrī Vidyā cult, one’s Guru is called Śrī Guru and prefix Śrī not only delineates the auspiciousness of the Guru, but also used as honorific prefix. Guru-śiṣya relationship is not only extremely important in Śrī Vidyā, but also sacred and auspicious. The inherent factor in this relationship is mutual trust. At the time of choosing the Guru one should make proper enquiries about the prospective Guru and once Guru-śiṣya relationship is established, the disciple should not move away from the Guru without any valid reasons. Similarly, a true Guru from Śrī Vidyā lineage will also evaluate a person before accepting him or her as a disciple. But how many Guru-s in Śrī Vidyā really know the subject and how many of them are capable of taking the disciple to pursue spiritual path for attaining Her Grace and final liberation, is a big question. Though many of them are thorough with practices, they are not aware as to how to lead his or disciple towards liberation. Without the goal of realization, mere ritualistic practices are of no use. In a spiritual journey one begins with dvaita (dualism) philosophy, moves to Advaita and finally realizes Brahman. In Śrī Vidyā also this is the fundamental intent.   Śrī Vidyā is in no way a substitute to Advaita Philosophy and on the contrary it explicitly advocates non-dualism in stages. The culmination of Śrī Vidyā is at the Bindu in Śri Cakra, where Śiva and Śakti unite. Understanding the union of Śiva and Śakti is of great importance in Śrī Vidyā. Their union is known as kāmakalā and only from kāmakalā “mahā parāprāsāda mantra” mantra originates(mahā parāprāsāda mantra is hsauṁ shauṁ; from this originates “haṁsa” mantra). This is based on the revelation made in Saundaryalaharī (verse 1), “Śivaḥ śaktyā yukto yadi bhavati śaktaḥ prabhavituṁ” which means that Śiva becomes inert if He is not united with Śakti. The greatest advantage of Śrī Vidyā is that a practitioner is made to realize Lalitāmbikā first, who personally takes the aspirant to Śiva for liberation. It is important to understand that only Śiva is capable of granting liberation and Śakti evaluates a person for liberation. Hence She is adored as Śiva-jñāna-pradāyinī (Lalitā Sahasranāma 727). Thus, for the purpose of liberation, one has to realize Śakti first. Śrī Vidyā strongly paves the way to realize Her through mantras and yantras and hence attains great importance. Śrī Vidyā is a quicker way to realize Her due to the intensity of upāsana. Upāsana consists of four aspects one leading to the other and they are upādāna or preparation of offering, ijyā or oblation, svādhyāya or recitation, and yoga or devotion. This means that there are four stages in upāsana and these can be briefly explained like this. The first stage is preparatory stage, where a mantra is initiated to a disciple. The disciple, apart from reciting that initiated mantra, begins to understand the mantra and with the help of the mantra, begins to worship the concerned deity. His worship then evolves into offering oblations to the concerned deity. After having satisfied himself with all the procedural aspects of worship, he moves to mantra recitation. This stage is the most crucial aspect of any upāsana, where inexplicable connection is established between him and the concerned deity which blossoms into devotion for that deity. With more intensified pursuit, his devotion transforms into love and he becomes one with the deity, the logical conclusion of any upāsana. Transition from one level to next higher level is aided by one’s Guru. Transition happens both in the physical plane as well as in the mental plane. Physical transition leads to perfection in ritualistic procedures and transition in mental plane leads to realization of the Self through Her. An aspirant under normal circumstances may not be able to realize mental transformation and only Guru can guide him in this aspect. An aspirant will have several confusions when hypervelocity mental transformation happens. All these doubts can be clarified only by a Guru. When hypervelocity mental transformation begins to unfold, one is bound to move away from the first two aspects of upāsana, upādāna and ijyā, which will stop automatically. When one enters into trance, even the mantra stops on its own, as in samādhi everything is stilled including the mantra. During this stage, one naturally gets a doubt whether it is right to stop this mantra like this. A Guru will surely advise his disciple, that this is the perfect stage in his spiritual path. This stage alone leads to perfection in yoga (yoga means union, union of individual consciousness and Supreme Consciousness).

There are many Scriptures that describe about Guru-s. Kāmakalāvilāsa (verse 39) says that both Śiva-Śakti are in the form of Gurumaṇḍala-s.  It describes them as Gurumaṇḍala-svarūpa. Though they are apparently different from Gurumaṇḍala-s, yet is not so. This is explained by using the phrase aviśeṣa-bheda bhinna (अविशेष-भेद भिन्न). Similarly, Kulārṇava Tantra speaks about Gurus extensively. Two chapters have been exclusively devoted to Guru-disciple relationship. It speaks about two types of initiations, one is external initiation (bāhya dīkṣā) and another is internal initiation (vedha dīkṣā). Bāhya dīkṣā is also known as kriyā dīkṣā, when a mantra is imparted to a disciple after performing specific rituals. But, in vedha-dīkṣā, Guru transfers his energy to the disciple, which will have almost instantaneous impact on the disciple. Śiva tells His Consort in Kulārṇava Tantra (14.66), “O! My beloved! Difficult to get is such a Guru who can initiate thus through subtle impact of vedha (not to be confused with Veda; vedha contextually can be explained as penetration, piercing, breaking through, breach); difficult also is the disciple fit for it.” This means that this type of initiation is possible only by Self-realized Guru-s and a disciple will attain such a Guru only if he or she has Her Grace. She manifests in the form of such a Guru and liberates a well deserved disciple. When one is fortunate to get initiation from such a Guru, Śiva says, (KT.IV.95), “For the one who is initiated thus, there is nothing to be achieved by tapas (meditating for a longer duration), regulations (scriptural dictums), observances (fasting, etc), pilgrimages (visit to holy places) and regulative controls of the body (religious symbols like wearing of sacred ashes, celibacy, restrictions on food, bodily comforts, etc).”

Another important aspect of a realized Guru is that he will stick on with one mantra and will prepare his disciple with that mantra alone to attain liberation. Initiating too many mantras will severely hamper spiritual progression and such a disciple will not be able to proceed to the final aspect of upāsana, transforming into a yogi. If there are too many mantras, it is difficult or rather impossible to establish a connection between individual consciousness and Supreme Consciousness. There should be one Guru, one mantra and one Devata for upāsana, which alone is known as sādhana. Sādhana is not possible with multiple mantras and multiple forms of devata-s. A true Guru will impart the knowledge of Brahman to his disciple who has attained perfection in sādhana. At this point of time, Guru will say to his disciple “Tat tvaṁ asi” (you are That) and the disciple will explore this ultimate teaching and after satisfying himself will affirm to his Guru “ahaṁ Brahmāsmi” (I am Brahman or I am That). Guru will know whether such an affirmation comes from the disciple after realization or it is simply a verbal statement or deceptive realization. Ultimately, Brahman is devoid of any forms and all forms lead only to the formless Brahman. Though Śrī Vidyā is about Saguṇa Brahman (Brahman with attributes), ultimately while performing pūjā at the Bindu, Saguṇa Brahman is dissolved and Nirguṇa Brahman is revealed. Without understanding this concept, any number of japa-s and pūjā-s will not yield the desired result.

A true Guru will not give importance to his attire. He will be one amongst us. He will be averse to crowd. He will select his disciples and teach them the ultimate knowledge or Brahmavidyā (Śrī Vidyā is also known as Brahmavidyā). Brahmavidyā should be taught on one to one basis, as all the disciples will not attain the same level. It is not a classroom teaching. It is always one to one teaching. Such a Guru will not make his disciple to pay him for initiation. Spirituality should never be traded like a commodity. Spiritual knowledge is to be sown as a seed within the disciple by his Guru and he will be taught how to germinate the seed and grow it into a huge tree. Once the tree is fully grown, that disciple is made to become a Guru. This is how a Guru maṇḍala grows. Getting initiation from a guru who is not comfortable with various aspects of Divinity and getting initiation by paying money will accrue mountain of sins both to the initiator and the initiated.

27.2) Understanding Guru maṇḍala.

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 black). 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).

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 different 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).

Guru mandala

27.3) Guru maṇḍala mantras.

27.3.1) Mahāpādukkā mantra:

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

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

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

27.3.2) Gurus directly initiated by Paramaśiva:

The Gurus who are initiated directly by Paramaśiva are worshiped on the three sides of the innermost triangle. 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 initiated Mahākāmeśvarī 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 by Paramaśiva along with three other Gurus are worshipped in the three sides of the innermost triangle

On the left side of the triangle marked in black (left side of the practitioner), following Gurus are worshiped.
1. 4 - Uḍḍīṣanandanātha śrīpādukāṁ pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ || श्रीपादुकां पूजयामि तर्पयामि नमः॥
(Note: pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ || श्रीपादुकां पूजयामि तर्पयामि नमः॥is marked as spptn ||)

2. 4 - Prakāśānandanātha spptn || 4 - प्रकाशानन्दनाथ spptn ||

3. 4 - Vimarśānandanātha spptn || 4 - विमर्शानन्दनाथ spptn ||

4. 4 - Ānandanandanātha spptn || 4 - आनन्दनन्दनाथ spptn ||

On the top line of the triangle marked in green, following Gurus are worshipped.

1. 4 - Ṣaṣṭīśānandanātha spptn || 4 - षष्टीशानन्दनाथ spptn ||  

2. 4 - Jñānānandanātha spptn || 4 - ज्ञानानन्दनाथ spptn ||

3. 4 - Satyānandanātha spptn || 4 - सत्यानन्दनाथ spptn ||  

4. 4 - Pūrṇānandanātha spptn || 4 - पूर्णानन्दनाथ spptn ||

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

1. 4 - Mitreśānandanātha spptn || 4 - मित्रेशानन्दनाथ spptn ||  

2. 4 - Svabhāvānandanātha spptn || 4 - स्वभावानन्दनाथ spptn ||

3. 4 - Pratībhānandanātha spptn || 4 - प्रतीभानन्दनाथ spptn ||  

4. 4 - Subhagānandanātha spptn || 4 - सुभगानन्दनाथ spptn ||

27.3.3) Our Gurumaṇḍalārcanam:

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.

27.3.3.1) Five Divyaguru-s are (from 1 to 5):

1. 4 - Vyomātītāmbā spptn || व्योमातीताम्बा spptn ||

2. 4 - Vyomeśyambā spptn || व्योमेश्यम्बा spptn ||

3. 4 - Vyomagāmbā spptn || व्योमगाम्बा spptn ||  

4. 4 - Vyomacāriṇyambā spptn || व्योमचारिण्यम्बा spptn ||

5. 4 - Vyomasthāmbā spptn || व्योमस्थाम्बा spptn ||

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

(Names given here are in two separate words for the purpose of convenience and understanding. They can be clubbed together. In that the last ‘a’ in the dīkṣā name will be removed and there will be one ‘ā’ for both dīkṣā name and ānandanātha. Let us take the example of Unmanākāśa ānandanātha. If both the parts are combined, then it should be pronounced as Unmanākāśānandanātha or उन्मनाकाशानन्दनाथ)

1. 4 - Unmanākāśa ānandanātha 4 - उन्मनाकाश आनन्दनाथ spptn ||

2. 4 - Samanākāśa ānandanātha spptn || 4 - समनाकाश आनन्दनाथ spptn ||

3. 4 - Vyāpakāśa ānandanātha spptn || 4- व्यापकाश आनन्दनाथ spptn ||

4. 4 - Śaktyākāśa ānandanātha spptn || 4 - शक्त्याका आनन्दनाथ spptn ||

5. 4 - Dhvanyākāśa ānandanātha spptn || 4 - ध्वन्याकाश आनन्दनाथ spptn ||

6. 4 - Dhvanimātrā ānandanātha spptn || 4 - ध्वनिमात्रा आनन्दनाथ spptn ||

7. 4 - Anāhatākāśa ānandanātha spptn || 4 - अनाहताकाश आनन्दनाथ spptn ||

8. 4 - Bindvākāśa ānandanātha spptn || 4 - बिन्द्वाकाश आनन्दनाथ spptn ||

9. 4 - Indrākāśa ānandanātha spptn || 4 - इन्द्राकाश आनन्दनाथ spptn ||

27.3.3.3) 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. 4 - Paramātma ānandānātha spptn || 4 - परमात्म आनन्दानाथ spptn ||  

2. 4 - Śāmbhava ānandanātha spptn || 4 - शाम्भव आनन्दानाथ spptn ||

3. 4 - Cinmudra ānandanātha spptn || 4 - चिन्मुद्र आनन्दानाथ spptn ||

4. 4 - Vāgbhava ānandanātha spptn || 4 - वाग्भव आनन्दानाथ spptn ||

5. 4 - Līlā ānandanātha spptn || 4 - लीला आनन्दानाथ spptn ||

6. 4 -Sambhrāma ānandanātha spptn ||  4 - सम्भ्राम आनन्दानाथ spptn ||

7. 4 - Cida ānandanātha spptn || 4 - चिद आनन्दानाथ spptn ||

8. 4 - Prasanna ānandanātha spptn || 4 - प्रसन्न आनन्दानाथ spptn ||

9. 4 - Viśvānandanātha ānandanātha spptn || 4 - विश्वानन्दनाथ आनन्दानाथ spptn ||

27.3.3.4) Worshiping Parameṣṭhiguru, Paramaguru and Śrīguru:

Parameṣṭhiguru:

(to be done at the top line)

ॐ ऐं ह्रीं श्रीं ऐं क्लीं सौः हंसः शिवः सोहं हंसः ह्ख्फ्रें हसक्षमलवरयूं ह्सौः सहक्षमलवरयीं स्हौः हंसः शिवः सोहं हंसः  स्वात्मारामपञ्चर विलीनतेजसे श्रीपरमेष्ठि गुरवे नमः aaaa श्रीपादुकां पूजयामि तर्पयामि नमः॥

om aiṁ hrīṁ śrīṁ aiṁ klīṁ sauḥ haṁsaḥ śivaḥ sohaṁ haṁsaḥ hkhphreṁ hasakṣamalavarayūṁ hsauḥ sahakṣamalavarayīṁ śauḥ haṁsaḥ śivaḥ sohaṁ haṁsaḥ svātmārāmapañcara vilīnatejase śrīparameṣṭhi gurave namaḥ aaaa śrīpādukāṁ pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ ||

aaaa is to be replaced with one's Parameṣṭhiguru

Paramaguru:

(to be done on the middle line)

ॐ ऐं ह्रीं श्रीं ऐं क्लीं सौः सोहं हंसः शिवः ह्ख्फ्रें हसक्षमलवरयूं ह्सौः सहक्षमलवरयीं स्हौः  सोहं हंसः शिवः

स्वच्छप्रकाश विमर्शहेतवे श्री परमगुरवे नमः  bbbb श्रीपादुकां पूजयामि तर्पयामि नमः॥

om aiṁ hrīṁ śrīṁ aiṁ klīṁ sauḥ sohaṁ haṁsaḥ śivaḥ hkhphreṁ hasakṣamalavarayūṁ hsauḥ sahakṣamalavarayīṁ śauḥ  sohaṁ haṁsaḥ śivaḥ svacchaprakāśa vimarśahetave śrī paramagurave namaḥ  bbbb śrīpādukāṁ pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ ||

bbbb is to be replaced with one's Paramaguru

Śrīguru:

(to be done at the bottom line)

ॐ ऐं ह्रीं श्रीं ऐं क्लीं सौः हंसः शिवः सोहं ह्ख्फ्रें हसक्षमलवरयूं ह्सौः सहक्षमलवरयीं स्हौः  हंसः शिवः सोहं

स्वरूप  निरूपण हेतवे श्रीगुरवे  नमः  cccc श्रीपादुकां पूजयामि तर्पयामि तर्पयामि नमः॥

om aiṁ hrīṁ śrīṁ aiṁ klīṁ sauḥ haṁsaḥ śivaḥ sohaṁ hkhphreṁ hasakṣamalavarayūṁ hsauḥ sahakṣamalavarayīṁ śauḥ   haṁsaḥ śivaḥ sohaṁ svarūpa  nirūpaṇa hetave śrīgurave  namaḥ  cccc śrīpādukāṁ pūjayāmi tarpayāmi namaḥ ||

cccc is to be replaced with one's Guru.

At the end of Guru Maṇḍala

सदाशिवसमारम्भां शंकराचार्यमध्यमां।

अस्मदाचार्यपर्यन्तं वन्दे गुरु परंपरां॥
sadāśivasamārambhāṁ śaṁkarācāryamadhyamāṁ |

asmadācāryaparyantaṁ vande guru paraṁparāṁ ||

(Beginning from Lord Sadāśiva, through Śaṁkarācārya and up to my Guru, I pay my obeisance to all the Gurus)

Seeking Her permission to perform āvaraṇa pūjā-s:

With this preliminaries of navāvaraṇa pūjā are completed. Now we have to move to āvaraṇa pūjā-s. We have to obtain necessary permission from Lalitāmbikā to perform navāvaraṇa pūjā.

Following is the mantra for this permission.

संविमये परे देवि परामृतरुचिप्रिये।

अनुज्ञां त्रिपुरे देहि परिवारार्चनाय मे॥

saṁvimaye pare devi parāmṛtarucipriye |

anujñāṁ tripure dehi parivārārcanāya me ||