7. Āsanapūjā आसनपूजा (Purification of seat)

Convenience of sitting is important in navāvaraṇa pūjā, as one has to remain in the same sitting posture for a minimum period of three hours. Sage Patañjali says, “sthiraṁ sukhaṁ āsanam” which means that one’s seating should be firm, without frequently altering position of seating while performing pūjā and at the same time, seating should be the most convenient to the person who performs the pūjā.

First take some water in right palm and sprinkle on the seat by reciing “sauḥ” (सौः). Though we know this bīja as parābīja, here it also refers to the unison of Śiva and Śakti (sāmarasya). The seat is purified with sauḥ with an intention that one should realize the meaning of mahāvākya (ahaṁ Brahāsmi or I am That). The ultimate aim of any pūjā is to realize the Self. At this point, the worshiper should not sit on this seat until the following procedure is completed.

Mantra for consecrating the āsana or seat

अस्य श्री आसनमहामन्त्रस्य। पृथिव्या मेरुपृष्ठ ऋषि। सुतलं छन्दः। कूर्मो देवता। आसने विनियोगः॥

asya śrī āsanamahāmantrasya | pṛthivyā merupṛṣṭha ṛiṣi | sutalaṁ chandaḥ | kūrmo devatā | āsane viniyogaḥ ||

(nyāsa-s for ṛiṣi, chanda-s, and viniyoga as per japa)

The following prayer should be addressed to the seat

पृथ्वि त्वय धृता लोका देवि त्वं विष्णुना धृता।
त्वं च धारय मां देवि पवित्रं चासनं कुरु॥

pṛthvi tvaya dhṛtā lokā devi tvaṁ viṣṇunā dhṛtā |
tvaṁ ca dhāraya māṁ devi pavitraṁ cāsanaṁ kuru ||

Taking some flowers, arcanā is to be performed for the seat on the four corners and in the middle as explained in the picture below.

1.योगासनाय नमः। yogāsanāya namaḥ|
2. वीरासनाय नमः। vīrāsanāya namaḥ|
3. शारासनाय नमः। śārāsanāya namaḥ|
4. सम्योगासनाय नमः। samyogāasanāya namaḥ|
5. ॐ ऐं ह्रीं श्रीं ॐ ह्रीं आधारशक्ति कमलासनाय नमः om aiṁ hrīṁ śrīṁ om hrīṁ ādhāraśakti kamalāsanāya namaḥ

Meaning and purpose:

1. This mantra worships the purest form of the mind that is required to unite individual consciousness (individual soul) with Supreme Consciousness (Brahman)

2. This mantra pleads for destruction of ego.

3. This mantra worships the mind that is purged of all dyads and triads.

4. This mantra worships the mind that is merged with Her.

5. This mantra worships Her subtlest form Kuṇḍalinī and the six psychic chakras. Next to ॐ, there are three bīja-s and they are known as vimarśa praṇava-s. ॐ is prakāśa praṇava which refers toŚiva and vimarśa praṇava-s refer to Śiva’s svātantrya śakti in the form of icachā, jñāna and kriya śakti-s. There is another ॐ followed by hrīṁ, which is known as māyā bīja. This ॐ again refers toŚiva and hrīṁ refers to pañcabhūta-s, the sun, the moon and mind. This mantra is recited to relieve the mind from material afflictions and stay tuned with Her during navāvaraṇa pūjā.

The purpose of these mantras are to free the sādhaka’s mind from afflictions and to focus his or her mind only on Her so that the triad, the worshiper, the worshiped (Parāśakti) and the method of worship (navāvaraṇa pūjā) become one with Parāśakti. Contemplating this is important.

Now, the following mantra is to be recited with flowers in hand and at the end of the mantra, the flowers are to be offered to Mother Earth.

ॐ ऐं ह्रीं श्रीं रक्त द्वादश शक्तियुक्ताय द्वीपनाथाय नमः॥

om aiṁ hrīṁ śrīṁ rakta dvādaśa śaktiyuktāya dvīpanāthāya namaḥ ||

Meaning and purpose:

Body of the worshiper is an island and the ruler of the island (body) is the Self. Dvādaśa śakti refers to the twelve kalā-s of the sun (Names of these twelve kalā-s will be available during consecrating viśeṣārghya).

Typically this can be explained through another verse which also conveys the same meaning. However, this mantra is not part of navāvaraṇa pūjā. There is nothing wrong in reciting this verse before commencing navāvaraṇa pūjā.

देहो देवालयः प्रोक्तो जीवो देवः सनातनः

deho devālayaḥ prokto jīvo devaḥ sanātanaḥ

This means that the body is the temple and the self within is eternal Brahman (Individual soul covered by māyā is known as jīvan and when spiritual knowledge is attained, the veil of māyā is removed and Brahman is revealed).

8. Ghaṇṭāpūjā घण्टापूजा

Worshiping the bell, that is used during pūjā. Calling this as bell seems to be inappropriate, but this is the only English word for ghaṇṭa. Following is the mantra.

ॐ जयध्वनि मन्त्रमातः स्वाहा॥
आगमार्थं तु देवानां गमनार्थं तु रक्षसाम्।
घण्टारवं करौम्यादौ देवताह्वान कारणम्॥

om jayadhvani mantramātaḥ svāhā ||
āgamārthaṁ tu devānāṁ gamanārthaṁ tu rakṣasām |
ghaṇṭāravaṁ karaumyādau devatāhvāna kāraṇam ||

After reciting this verse, offer some flowers to the bell and then ring the bell. Ringing the bell is important.

Meaning and purpose:

In ancient times, bells were rung to invite gods and annihilate demons. Demons refer to modifications of the mind (distraction towards the material world. By annihilating demons mean destruction of desires, attachments, ego, pomp and vanity, etc. Gods refer different types of devotional and spiritual attainments. The ultimate attainment is Parāśakti and when She pervades our hearts (referring to universal love and compassion), the sound of Self is heard within and this is known as anāhata dvani ghaṇṭā. According to Upaniṣad-s, there is no difference between ॐ and Brahman.

9. Deha rakṣā देह रक्षा

i) By reciting this mantra, run both the palms from head to toe of the body. First, do this from head to toe and after this, cross forearms and run the palms from shoulders to finger tips (just like japa nyāsa - kavacāya hūṁ). This is to be done three times by reciting the mantra three times. Following is the mantra.

श्री महात्रिपुरसुन्दरि आत्मानं रक्ष रक्ष॥

śrī mahātripurasundari ātmānaṁ rakṣa rakṣa ||    

Meaning and purpose:

Parāśakti presidess over three types of human bodies – gross (physical), subtle (mind) and causal (prāṇa). Within the causal body is the Self. The above mantra is known as protective mantra and by reciting this mantra our bodies remain protected by Her throughout navāvaraṇa pūjā and even thereafter. When our consciousness goes past these types of bodies, we realize Her within. By reciting this mantra, all dualities are destroyed and we become one with Her. This prayer seeks Her Grace to protect our bodies. Rakṣa means protection.

ii) Following mantras are to be recited by touching the body parts indicated against the mantras.

गुं गुरुभ्यो नमः। guṁ gurubhyo namaḥ | - right forearm (using left hand)

गं गणपतये नमः। gaṁ gaṇapataye namaḥ | - left forearm  (using right hand)        

दुं दुर्गायै नमः। duṁ durgāyai namaḥ | - right thigh

वं वटुकाय नमः। vaṁ vaṭukāya namaḥ | - left thigh

यां योगिनीभ्यो नमः। yāṁ yoginībhyo namaḥ | - feet (it is advisable to mentally touch the feet. If feet are touched by hands, then hands should be washed and dried).

क्षं क्षेत्रपालाय नमः। kṣaṁ kṣetrapālāya namaḥ | - navel

पं परमात्मने नमः। paṁ paramātmane namaḥ | - heart (the place where biological heart is situated. In some other contexts, heart also means heart chakra, hence this explanation.)

The above mantras are also for protective covering.

All of them are posited in Śrīnagara. Guru is in Gurumaṇḍala. Gaṇapati is the chief of gaṇa-s who are posited in fort number nineteen. Gaṇapati literally means ruler of gaṇa-s and gaṇa-s are attendants on Śiva. He is also the remover all obstacles and is described as the son of Śiva and Pārvatī. Vaṭuka-s are young spiritual seekers who always meditate on Her in the place between fort ten and eleven of Śrīnagara.  Durgā (referred in Devīmāhātmya as Caṇḍi) is considered as one of the terrible forms of Parāśakti. Yoginī-s are the attendants on Durgā (like gaṇa-s for Śiva). Yoginī-s also refer to the presiding deities of nine āvaraṇa-s of Śri Cakra. The presiding deities of psychic centres are also known as yoginī-s. This is explained in Lalitā Sahasranāma 475 to 534. But theyoginī-s who are mentioned here are ones who rule over the nine āvaraṇa-s of Śri Cakra. Each of these yoginī-s play important role in aligning the performer of the pūjā with Cicchakti (pure consciousness and pure knowledge - Lalitā Sahasranāma 416). Kṣetrapāla are protective deities, also known as tutelary deities. There are different kṣetrapāla-s, who protect different places. It is believed that each city, town or village is protected by kṣetrapāla-s. What is referred here is the kṣetrapāla who protects the place where navāvaraṇa pūjā is held. Every human body is also calledkṣetra. Pāla means guard. Finally, Paramātma is worshiped and His protection is also sought. Paramātma means Brahman and contextually, it refers to Śiva.

iii) Worshiping Tiraskariṇi तिरस्करिणि

Tiraskariṇ means veil of māyā. This prayer is made to Her to remove māyā, so that Prakāśa form of Śiva can be realized. In order to realize Śiva, who alone is capable of offering liberation, we need Her Grace first. When She showers Her Grace on a true aspirant, She removes the veil of māyā, known as tiraskariṇ, cast by Her. She alone casts the spell of māyā and She alone can remove this veil. Hence, She is also known as Mahāmāyā. This prayer is to be mentally made to Her. This is the mantra.

ॐ ऐं ह्रीं श्रीं ॐ नमो भगवति तिरस्करिणि महामाये महानिद्रे सकलपशुजन मनश्चक्षुः श्रोत्र तिरस्करणं कुरु कुरु स्वाहा॥

om aiṁ hrīṁ śrīṁ om namo bhagavati tiraskariṇi mahāmāye mahānidre sakalapaśujana manaścakṣuḥ śrotra tiraskaraṇaṁ kuru kuru svāhā ||

iv) The following mantra is to be recited

ॐ ऐं ह्रीं श्रीं हसन्ति हसितालापे मातङ्गि परिचारिके मम भयविघ्नापदां नाशं कुरु कुरु ठः ठः ठः हूं फट् स्वाहा॥

om aiṁ hrīṁ śrīṁ hasanti hasitālāpe mātaṅgi paricārike mama bhayavighnāpadāṁ nāśaṁ kuru kuru ṭhaḥ ṭhaḥ ṭhaḥ hūṁ phaṭ svāhā ||

This mantra is recited to eliminate any obstacles, misfortunes, calamities, etc either during performing pūjā or during recitation of mantras, etc. Mantras should not be pronounced wrongly.

v) Digbandhaḥ दिग्बन्धः

ॐ ऐं ह्रीं श्रीं ॐ नमो भगवति ज्वालामालिनि देवदेवि सर्वभुत संहारकारिके जातेवेदसि ज्वलन्ति ज्वल ज्वल प्रज्वल प्रज्वल ह्रां ह्रीं ह्रूं र र र र र र र हूं फट् स्वाहा॥
भूर्भूवस्सुवरों इति दिग्बन्धः॥

om aiṁ hrīṁ śrīṁ om namo bhagavati jvālāmālini devadevi sarvabhuta saṁhārakārike jātevedasi jvalanti jvala jvala prajvala  prajvala hrāṁ hrīṁ hrūṁ ra ra ra ra ra ra ra  hūṁ phaṭ svāhā ||

bhūrbhūvassuvaroṁ iti digbandhaḥ ||

This mantra is used to arrest possible obstacles from cardinals. While reciting this mantra we have to visualize that agni (fire) is around us, protecting from all sides.

10. Anujñā अनुज्ञा

i) Anujñā means permission. Before proceeding with navāvaraṇa pūjā, we have to take permissions from nine Yoginī-s, who preside over the nine āvaraṇa-s of Śri Cakra. Without their permissions, āvaraṇa-s cannot be entered. By taking flowers in both the palms and after reciting the following mantra, flowers are to be placed on Śri Cakra with great reverence. When flowers are placed on Śri Cakra, extreme care should be taken. We have to visualize Lalitāmbikā in the middle of Śri Cakra. When we offer flowers we have to ensure that offering flowers should not hurt Her body. Flowers should never be thrown from a distance. Similarly, both the palms should be used (except otherwise specified) to offer flowers and flowers should be offered through the fingers. Flowers that have no fragrance should not be used.

ॐ ऐं ह्रीं श्रीं समस्त प्रकट गुप्त गुप्ततर संप्रदाय कुलोतीर्ण निगर्भ रहस्यातिरहस्य  परापराति रहस्य योगिनी देवताभ्यो नमः॥

om aiṁ hrīṁ śrīṁ samasta prakaṭa gupta guptatara saṁpradāuaya kulotīrṇa nigarbha rahasyātirahasya  parāparāti rahasya yoginī devatābhyo namaḥ ||

At the end of this mantra, place the flowers on Śri Cakra, as explained above.

Yoginī-s represent Citśakti with upādhi. Śiva has five types of energies and they are Cit śakti (the energy of consciousness), ānanda śakti (the energy of Bliss), icchā śakti (the energy of will), jñāna śakti (energy of knowledge) and kriyā śakti (energy of action). Upādhi means discrimination, substitution. When pure Cit śakti is realized, it is Self-realization. But, when pure Cit śakti is veiled by upādhi-s, it leads to discrimination and illusion, which is also known as māyā. In order to remove these discriminations, we pray to these nine Yoginī-s with a request that they should help us in removing upādhi-s, as we progress towards the central triangle and the bindu (Śakti and Śiva). This mantra is addressed to these nine Yoginī-s for this purpose.

ii) Purification of body

By reciting this mantra, touch thumbs to little fingers then both the palms, forearms, elbows, knees and the entire body.

औं ऐं ह्रीं श्रीं ऐं ह्रः अस्त्राय फट्॥

auṁ aiṁ hrīṁ śrīṁ aiṁ hraḥ astrāya phaṭ ||

The bīja aiṁ (ऐं) is known vācbīja and represents four Vedas. The bīja aiṁ comprises of a + e + a (अ ए अ) and anusvāra (a dot on the top causing nasal sound). Thus a, e, a and the dot represents the four Vedas. Since Vedas speak about Brahman, the bīja aiṁ refers to Brahman.  There is anotherbīja next to aiṁ, which is hraḥ (ह्रः). In order to attain Brahman, all dualities need to be destroyed. Examples of dualities are happiness and sorrow; rich and poor, etc. This is also known as astra bīja (astra means missile or weapon). This astra bīja destroys impediments to realization such as dyads, etc. By reciting this mantra, all impurities in both mind and body are destroyed and at this point, mind is purified and ready to commence navāvaraṇa pūjā.

iii) Permission from Dakṣiṇāmūrtī

To obtain permission from Dakṣiṇāmūrtī, following mantra is to be recited. There are two different verses, one for Dakṣiṇāmūrtī and another for Bhairava (this Bhairava is different from Bhairava, which refers to Śiva.)

a) औं ऐं ह्रिं श्रीं श्रीगुरो दक्षिणामुर्ते भक्तानुग्रहकारक।
अनुज्ञां देहि भगवन् श्रीचक्रयजनाय मे॥
b) अतिक्रूर महाकाय कल्पान्तदहनोपम।
भैरवाय नमस्तुभ्यं अनुज्ञां दातुमर्हसि॥

a) aiṁ hriṁ śrīṁ śrīguro dakṣiṇāmurte bhaktānugrahakāraka |
anujñāṁ dehi bhagavan śrīcakrayajanāya me ||
b) atikrūra mahākāya kalpāntadahanopama |
bhairavāya namastubhyaṁ anujñāṁ dātumarhasi ||

Meaning and purpose:

a) O! Dakṣiṇāmūrtī paramaguru, O! Compassionate to all the devotees! Please give me permission to perform this Śri Cakra yajña. (It is important to note that it is not referred as Śri Cakra navāvaraṇa pūjā, but referred as Śri Cakra yajña. This means that Cakra navāvaraṇa pūjā is compared to greatyajña-s like aśvamedha, etc.)

b) Appearing like fire during annihilation, having fearsome appearance, obeisance to You. Please give me permission to perform Śri Cakra yajña.

In Dakṣiṇāmūrtī, dakṣiṇa refers to creation, sustenance and annihilation carried out by Saguṇa Brahman (Brahman with attributes) and amūrti refers to Nirguṇa Brahman (Brahman without attributes). This explains Dakṣiṇāmūrtī.