We are now entering the sixth āvaraṇa (ṣaṣṭhāvaraṇa), which is known as Sarvarakṣākaracakra(सर्वरक्षाकरचक्र). This āvaraṇa has ten triangles as indicated in blue colour in the chart and each āvaraṇa is presided over by a śakti. On the subtle side, sarvarakṣākara means protection from the spiritual stage attained. This is presently being explained in detail in the series on Brahma Sūtra. Guru-disciple relationship that was strengthened in the previous āvaraṇa leads to destruction of duality in this āvaraṇa, which ultimately leads to liberation. On the grosser side, these ten śakti-s represent ten digestive fires. Ten prāṇa-s of the fifth āvaraṇa, now transforms into ten digestive fires (ten aspects of digestion, absorption and excretion). This āvaraṇa is presided over by Tripuramālinī Cakreśvarī. Sarvamahāṅkuśā is the Mudrāśakti and Nigarbhayoginī is the Yoginī. In this āvaraṇa also, worship is to be done in anticlockwise manner. Now, let us worship these ten śakti-s.
1. Sarvajñādevī सर्वज्ञादेवी; 2. Sarvaśaktidevī सर्वशक्तिदेवी;
3. Sarvaiśvaryapradādevī सर्वैश्वर्यप्रदादेवी; 4. Sarvajñānamayīdevī सर्वज्ञानमयीदेवी;
5. sarvavyādhivināśinīdevī सर्वव्याधिविनाशिनीदेवी; 6. Sarvāthārasvarūpādevī सर्वाथारस्वरूपादेवी:
7. Sarvapāpaharādevī सर्वपापहरादेवी; 8. Sarvānandamayīdevi सर्वानन्दमयीदेवि;
9. sarvarakṣāsvarūpiṇīdevī सर्वरक्षास्वरूपिणीदेवी; 10. Sarvepsitaphalapradādevī सर्वेप्सितफलप्रदादेवी.
Like other āvaraṇa-s, we proceed from the Eastern side in anticlockwise manner. If we look at devi-s in various āvaraṇa-s, we can understand that their activities become more subtle as we proceed towards the central triangle. An aspirant who has reached this stage is further fine tuned to make him eligible to attain Her. However, he has to be still more perfected to merge into the Prakāśa form Śiva. Śiva is worshipped in the bindu, the central point of Śri Cakra. Creation begins from Him and leads to the immediate next triangle, the innermost triangle of Śri Cakra. The three angles of the innermost triangle represent icchā, jñāna and kriya śakti-s.
Let us find out how these śakti-s cleanse the aspirant. First devi gives him all the requisite knowledge so that he is completely freed from māyā. In this stage, the aspirant begins to realize “I am That”. This devi imparts this knowledge by saying, “You are That”. Second devi gives him necessary spiritual energy to transform into a yogī, in whom the union between the individual soul and Brahman takes place. A yogī is the one, whose individual consciousness is yoked with Supreme Consciousness. Third devi assists him in attaining mastery over all types of knowledge that leads him to realization. Fourth devi ensures that such knowledge stays with him. During spiritual practices, one will not pay attention to his or her physical body. Due to lack of physical activities, he is bound to have some disease or other (in modern times it is about diabetes and heart ailments). He has no time or inclination to take care of his body. Instead, this devi takes care of his body and frees him from all types of diseases (it can be observed that those who are at highest spiritual level have paunch. This is the reason why many ancient sages have been depicted with big bellies). Sixth devi supports all his or her spiritual practices (please recall Lalitā Sahasranāma 659 sarvādhāra. Every devi in Śri Cakra is connected to any one of the nāma-s of Sahasranāma. This will be discussed towards the end of this series). When one attains liberation, even the traces of karmic imprints have to be removed. Seventh devi does this. Parāśakti is an embodiment of purity. In order to go anywhere near Her, one has to be purified. This purification process is related to mind. When one is able to reach this āvaraṇa, it means that he has almost disowned his body. This concept is not applicable to navāvaraṇa pūjā, which is done externally. What is being discussed here is related to Bhāvanopaniṣat (mental worship; bhāvana means contemplation).
(There is a reference about physical and mental worship. A king built a temple and fixed a date for its consecration. He prayed to Śiva that He should be present personally during consecration rituals. But Śiva refused and said that He has already accepted invitation from someone else, who is also building a temple very close to king’s temple and the consecration is fixed and both these dates coincided. King was surprised and asked his men to find out this temple. His men could not find any temple nearby. King was surprised and requested Śiva to show him the temple so that he can be present to attend the consecration function. Śiva told him the place and asked the king to go to that place only the next day, the day fixed for consecration. King went to that place and he did not find any temple. But there was a hut in that place and in front of the hut, there was a man in rags who was bursting with emotions with tears rolling down his eyes. King called him and without opening his eyes he told the king not to disturb him as he was performing consecration of his temple. Now king understood why Śiva did not accept king’s invitation and gladly accepted the poor man’s invitation. This story highlights the power of mental worship.)
Eighth devi causes Bliss. When the mind sheds all types of thought processes, mind becomes pure. In a completely purified mind, all types of dualities are annihilated. When the mind is pure, one experiences Bliss. This stage cannot be explained that easily. This Bliss is to be experienced. For no reason, one becomes emotional and enters into the state of Bliss. The only external symptom of Bliss is tears rolling down. Ninth devi protects this yogī completely (this is the stage where one cannot fall from his spiritual level attained; there are many instances where one falls from his hard earned spiritual level. If one falls from his spiritual level, it is virtually impossible to get back to his original spiritual level. Therefore one has to be extremely cautious while pursuing spiritual path). Tenth devi grants his two wishes of falling at Her lotus feet first and later getting liberated. This devi approves him to go to the next āvaraṇa.