Practically speaking there is no ninth āvaraṇa, which is the Bindu (bindusthāna), as this is within the innermost triangle. Ninth āvaraṇa (navamāvaraṇa) has myriad significances. It is also known as sarvānandamayacakra. Sarvānandamaya means Absolute Bliss, which cannot be explained at all. It is very important to note that Śrī Mahātripurasundarī is the Cakreśvarī of this āvaraṇa. This is because She presides over Bindu, where Śiva is seated. This subtly conveys how meticulously She takes care of Her Consort. Sarvayoni is the Mudrāśakti and Parāparāti-rahasya-yoginī is the Yoginī (Parāparāti-rahasya means extremely sercretive). Nobody has access to this Bindu except Parāśakti. All the acts of Divine originate from this Bindu, as only here the Divine procreative union of Śiva and Śakti takes place. The principle acts of Divine are creation or sṛṣṭi (Lalitha Sahasranama 264), sustenance or sthiti (Lalitha Sahasranama 266) and destruction known as saṁhāra (LS 268). There are other two acts, which are also equally important and they are annihilation (Lalitha Sahasranama 270; this is also known as tirodhāna which means concealment or disappearance) and recreation (Lalitha Sahasranama 273; anugraha or recreation out of compassion). This is explained in Lalitā Sahasranāma 905, as Baindavāsanā (baindava means bindu and āsana means seat.) All these five acts originate from this Bindu, go towards the outer triangle and from there various energies are diversified and creation is completed at the entry point of Śrī Nagara. From this entrance point, manifestation of the universe is completed. This procedure is with regard to creative aspect or sṛṣṭikrama. The reverse process is known as saṁhārakrama. At this point, let us understand that sṛṣṭikrama refers to our birth and saṁhārakrama refers to our liberation. Different krama-s will be dealt with later in this series, as we are going to be liberated shortly.

In the ninth āvaraṇa, union of Śiva and Śakti happens. Their union varies according to the krama. If it is sṛṣṭikrama (creation), their union is different and if it is saṁhārakrama, their union is on different plane. Saṁhāra here refers to liberation and now, we are only discussing about liberation. During sṛṣṭikrama, during their union, only both of them alone remain. But during saṁhārakrama, we are also present along with Her. It is like a mother holding the hands of her child and handing over the child to the child’s father. During sṛṣṭikrama, She attains the form of Kāmakalā (Lalitha Sahasranama 322 Kāmakalā rūpā) and their union is symbolized in the form of a Liṅga, where the bottom portion represents Śakti and the upper portion represents Śiva.

At the end of eighth āvaraṇa, we continued to remain in Her lap and we refused even liberation, the ultimate goal of anyone’s life. But She takes pains in explaining to us the importance of liberation. She told us about the pains of birth and death, how we have worked hard in our sādhana (spiritual practice) to reach this level, etc. She also told us that Her Consort will be more compassionate and more lovable to us. Reluctantly we agreed to Her sermons. In any moment from now, we are going to be liberated.

Kamesvara kamesvari

She is now raising up from Her throne (Lalitha Sahasranama 3) and by holding our hands, She enters into the Bindu. Bindu is full of Splendorous Light and in the midst of blinding light we could not see anything around. The place is full of Divine Fragrance. We could not move any further as the Light was so blinding. We have read in Upaniṣad-s, how this Light would be. But we have an opportunity to personally experience this Light now. When She moves towards the Light, the blinding white Light gradually turning red and Śiva is revealed to us, who is fully radiant, in crystal complexion, extraordinary brilliance throughout His body. He cannot be explained at all.  The energy from Him is so powerful and we feel as if we are being pushed towards Him. This is what is known as the energy of liberation, which is explained as Mahā-grāsā (Lalitha Sahasranama 752). Kaṭha Upaniṣad (I.ii.25) says “the best among all people are like food to the Self.  Death overcomes everyone, yet even death is a mere condiment for the Self.”

Parāśakti is now seated by Śiva’s side. The crystal complexion of Śiva now looks like the colour of the rising moon on a full moon day. We now understand that  this is the Bindusthāna, the place from which the universe originates and dissolves. As we have almost lost our consciousness, nothing goes into our minds. We have lost our mind, intellect, consciousness and ego. All the four components of antaḥkaraṇa are already annihilated when we entered the eighth āvaraṇa. At this point where we are now, our body, mind and soul are completely purified. We have read that merger into Brahman cannot take place unless these are purified. What we have read once, we are experiencing now. For any experience, knowledge is very important and without knowledge, spiritual experiences cannot be explained or defined.

She now asks all of us to come near Her and She makes us to sit on Her lap again. By sitting on Her lap, we are able to have close darśan of Śiva. He smiles at us and then He looks at Parāśakti. Now She begins to move slowly towards Śiva and ultimately She merges with Him. Now we understand what is really meant by Śiva-śakty-aikya-rūpiṇī (Lalitha Sahasranama 999). We are now inside Śiva and we are liberated, not to be born again!

As far as ninth āvaraṇa is concerned, there is an additional procedure for those who are initiated into Ṣoḍaśī. The mantra for Ṣoḍaśī upāsaka encompasses everything that is possible in this universe. She is worshiped as Prakāśa Vimarśa sāmarasya rūpinī. Prakāśa refers to Śiva, (prakāśa means Light, principle of Self-revelation, by which everything else in the universe is made known) and Vimarśa is Śakti (vimarśa refers to that part of prakāśa, which makes the worldly objects visible, the state of manifestation of the universe) and sāmarasya is the procreative union of Śiva and Śakti (sāmarasya is explained as the identity of Consciousness, in which all differentiation has disappeared).

This completes the first section of this series. This series will be continued later, for the purpose of understanding ritual aspects of Śri Cakra and other intricacies. Contemplating our body with Śri Cakra with the help of Bhāvanopaniṣad will also be dealt with.