Śrī Vidyā means auspicious knowledge. Everything concerned with Lalitāmbikā is auspicious and sadhana to attain her is called Sri vidya sadhana. Knowledge about Her is passed on from a guru to his disciple by way of initiation. Guru initiates his disciple into a mantra japa called Pañchadaśī mantra or any other mantra of his choice. Normally the first initiation is Her younger form called Bālā (will be discussed next in this series). Based upon the disciple’s progress, Pañchadaśī mantra and ṣodaśī mantra are initiated. The supreme mantra japa of Lalitāmbikā is known as mahā- ṣodaśī, mantra, which leads the practitioner to emancipation. The relationship between a master and his Guru continues until the disciple is fully developed and becomes independent. There is a huge difference between “Guru” and ‘guru’. Upper case G refers to a Self realized person and the lower case g refers to a person who has merely studied tantra śāstra-s and deeply involved in rituals connected with it and stay with these rituals, thus proclaiming himself as an authority on Śrī Vidyā. The mantras thus initiated need to be recited a certain number of times. On completing such number of recitations, the disciple has to perform certain other rituals like fire oblations. Once the entire procedure is completed, the disciple should be able to establish commune with Her.
Apart from mantra japa-s, the ritual worship of Śrī Chakra is also taught by the guru to his disciple. The disciple is expected to recite a prescribed number of mūla mantra-s (like Pañchadaśī or ṣodaśī) daily and this should be followed by ritual worship of Śrī Chakra. This should be followed by meditation. The importance of Śrī Vidyā is the culture of guru-disciple relationship.
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