2. Matrasaṅketa

Bhairava continues His conversation with Bhairavī. He beings this part by saying that both Śiva and Śakti are present in Her mantras (Pañcadaśī mantra). The one who understands this secret, becomes an evolved person. In fact, Śrī Vidyā leads to realization of Shiva only and that is why, Śrī Vidyā is also known Brahma Vidyā (knowledge about Brahman). There are nine āvaraṇa-s in Sri Chakra and each of these āvaraṇa-s are presided over by śakti-s, known as cakreśvarī-s (what is described here is different from navāvaraṇa pūjā).

The first śakti represents the outermost square, bhūpura and is known by name Karaśuddikarī, who purifies the hands of the worshiper before commencing his ritual. The second āvaraṇa is presided over by Ātmarakṣikā, who protects the worshiper against all imperfections, particularly against ego and māyā. Third āvaraṇa is presided over by Ātmāsanagatā, who ensures proper connectivity between the worshiper, Sri Chakra, the mantra and the Self. Fourth āvaraṇa is presided over by Cakrāsanagatā, who presides over the āsana (seat on which the worshiper is seated and do mantra japa; this seat should not be changed, unless it is damaged and worn out) of the worshiper. The fifth āvaraṇa is ruled by Sarvamantrāsanasthitā, which grants all the wishes of the worshiper. The sixth āvaraṇa is ruled by Sādhyasiddhāsana and she acts as the source of accomplishment. Further, she also controls śakti-s who are placed nearer to Mahātripurasundarī. She also dissolves disguised differences in the mind of the worshiper between Sri Chakra and Śrī Vidyā (there is no difference between the two). The seventh āvaraṇa is presided over by Mūrtividyā, the visible form of Mahātripurasundarī in various shapes and forms. The eighth āvaraṇa is presided over by Āvāhanīvidyā. She responds to invocations and ensures that the power of Mahātripurasundarī is present, when properly invoked (there are two types of invocations. One is to invoke Her from heart chakra and another is to invoke Her from cosmos). The ninth āvaraṇa is presided over by Bhairavī Herself (the Supreme Goddess) and She is known as Śrī Vidyā and also known as mūlamantra of Mahātripurasundarī.

It is said, that Her mantras will fructify only when the above criteria are fulfilled. It is conveyed here that blindly doing mantra japa will not yield any results.

Then nyāsa-s are to be made on two feet, on the legs, on the knees, on the thighs, on the organ of excretion, on the organ of procreation, on the mūlādhādhāra chakra and finally viniyoga nyāsa is to be done. After doing these nyāsa-s, one has to contemplate (meditate) on the nine psychic chakra-s starting from akulapadma, mūlādhāra, svādhiṣṭhāna, maṇipūraka, anāhata, viśuddhi, ājñā, sahasrāra and mahābindu. Āvaraṇa ckreśvarī-s are also to be contemplated along with the particular āvaraṇa (this is as per navāvaraṇa pūjā). If these nyāsa-s are properly done with utmost concentration, Ādyaśakti (referring to Shiva) showers Grace on the worshipper, who is being prepared for Liberation.

Now six symbolic and mystical interpretation of Śrī Vidyā is being discussed.

The first one describes the meaning of syllables of Pañcadaśī mantra.  It says that Her Pañcadaśī mantra is known as mantrarāja (the king of mantras; Lakṣminarasiṁha mantra is also known as mantrarāja), which originates from the union of Śiva and Śakti and also other male and female gods and goddesses surrounding them. It is said that three powers of Shiva, icchā, jñāna and kriya śakti-s are represented by Yoginī, (title of this Scripture, Yoginī Hṛdya is based on this; heart of Yoginī) which means Bhāratī, Pṛthivī and Rudrāṇī (all the three of them put together is called Yoginī, as they represent three powers of Shiva and not different from each other). The corresponding vīra-s (the ones who are able to unite with the Yoginī-s) are Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra, their consorts. This is discussed here to highlight that Mahātripurasundarī is prakāśavimarśamaya (Recall the mantra for ninth āvaraṇa ‘prakāśa vimarśa sāmarasyātmaka parabrahmasvarūpiṇī’); the union of Shiva Consciousness (purest form of consciousness) and active consciousness (Śakti). Both yoginī-s and vīra-s are present in the three kūṭa-s of Her Pañcadaśī mantra and each kūṭa ending with ह्रीं hrīṁ (hrīṁ includes kāmakalā ईं īṁ; look at the last two letters here, which are highlighted hrīṁ or ह + र + ईं). From Her originate all the akṣara-s. Hence She is adored as mātṛkāvarṇarūpiṇī. Since kāmakalā, which highlights the union of Śiva and Śakti, it is explained diagrammatically as well, to enable everyone to understand. Following is the image

Sri vidya stars

She is in the form of Kuṇḍalinī. She is in the centre of upward facing triangle, which is Shiva. In other words, She is in between the two bindu-s, (bindu-s are depicted by three circles – one in the top and two at the bottom). The upper bindu is known as kāma (wish, desire, longing). This also represents sun and 15 alphabets of Sanskrit (from अ to अं). Sixteenth alphabet is अः. These two bindu-s  (at the side of अ) originate from the upper bindu. These two lower bindu-s represent visarga (subtly conveying sending forth, letting go, liberation, emission, discharge). Visarga is represented by

Visarga two dots

two dots, one above the other as shown here. These two dots also represent fire and moon and also known as kalā, from which all thirty six tattva-s originate; in other words, they represent creation. She pervades as Kuṇḍalinī in the downward facing triangle (representing feminine symbol) which is symbolically represented by ī in the centre (out of īṁ, only ī considered now). Similarly in the downward facing triangle just above the apex of the triangle, there is ह HA also known as hārdhakalā, which symbolizes Śakti or the Divine Power.

The two triangles, one facing upwards and another facing downwards and the Kuṇḍalinī within represents the figure of Śakti, in conjugation with Shiva. Her face is the upper bindu, two of the lower bindus represent Her two bosoms. The apex of the downward facing triangle represents Her yoni (the origin of the universe). The one who meditates thus can understand the Her primordial power and also the secrets of Śrī Vidyā and Sri Chakra. There is no differentiation between Śrī Vidyā, Sri Chakra, Her Pañcadaśī mantra, the worshipper and Mahātripurasundarī Herself. If one understands this secret, he or she is blessed by Her.

The second secret of the mantra is being expounded now. Mahātripurasundarī and Her mantra are made of five gross elements that constitute cosmos. There are three guṇa-s - sattva, rajas and tamas. Bhairava says that there are fifteen guṇa-s which is arrived by multiplying five gross elements with three guṇa-s and this fifteen represents 15 letters of Her Pañcadaśī mantra.

The third secret of the mantra says that when perfection is attained in Śrī Vidyā through Her mantras, the worshipper experiences the unification of Shiva, his Guru and the worshipper. Subtle conveyance is that a worshipper normally gets entangled with the material world and only the Guru, who pulls him out of ever prevailing māyā. Importance of Guru is stressed here. Here Guru does not merely mean the one who initiates Her mantras. Guru means the one, who has realized Shiva within himself.

The fourth secret begins by explaining the meaning of kaulika. It is the unity of Śri Cakra, Mahātripurasundarī, Śrī Vidyā, Guru and the worshipper. Then, formation of nine āvaraṇa-s of Śri Cakra  is explained. The outer bhūpura is formed out of the letter ल la. Then the three circles along with 8 and 16 petal lotuses originated from the letter स sa (Śakti). The three ह्रीं hrīṁ-s conjoin other āvaraṇa-s, including the navayoni chakra discussed above. Thus the identity of Śri Cakra with Her mantra is established. Further, She is also connected to 27 nakṣatra-s (nakṣatra nyāsa is one of the nyāsa-s in Śrī Vidyā). Twenty seven is arrived at by adding five organs of action, five organs of perception, five gross elements, five tanmātra-s,  antaḥkaraṇa, prakṛti, puruṣa and three guṇa-s.

The fifth secret is about Her Yoginī stature. The six yogini-s who preside over six psychic chakra-s, mūlādhāra to ājñā combine together to form eight mothers, known as aṣṭamātṛkā-s and these aṣṭamātṛkā-s complete the formation of cosmos, each one of them attending to different bodily elements for individual beings and they together attend to the creation of cosmos. Similarly ten prāṇa-s along with jīvatman and Paramātman form the 12 sings of zodiac. For this also, aṣṭamātṛkā-s are responsible. Thus, in every way, a strong link is established between Her and every activity happening in the cosmos.

As the sixth and last secret, Bhairva says, “Śrī Vidyā is uniting oneself with the indivisible, Supreme, subtle, imperceptible, with no concrete evidence, the reality of the Supreme, above the inner sky, light and bliss, the latter two transcending the universe and becomes one with it.” Realization does not mean only realizing the Self, but also identifying oneself with the universe as well, as the entire universe is Her creation. She unfolds Her Divine play known as Cicchakti, who has the power to manifest the universe and sustain the universe. This is done by Her by eternally and perpetually united with Her Lord, Shiva. In other words, creation and sustenance of the universe is done by Her by constantly remaining in the form of ŚivaśaktyaikyarūpiṇīWhen ignorance is destroyed, the worshipper affirms at the end “Śivoham” (I am Shiva), the very purpose of Śrī Vidyā.

Bhairava concludes this chapter by saying, “O Goddess Durgā! Out of my love for you, I have revealed the secrets of the Supreme Vidyā (Śrī Vidyā). The one who understands this secret becomes one with me.”