Few days back I posted a Tamil article on this topic – originally from Dheivathin Kural Vol 6. There were few requests from readers to get this translated. I decided to do this translation – may be my first translation – don’t remember if I did anything in the past. I have done a very very basic job of translation. I admit, it is very hard…
Lesson learnt – never attempt to do translation of anything Mahaperiyava said. It is impossible to translate in a way that He had said with His unique way of saying. Neither I have the knowledge nor the exemplary English to do justice to the translation 🙂
Please bear with my English and read on….
Sri Chakram is also called as Sri Yanthram. We always ask “Do you do puja with Sri Chakram?” when we really want to ask “Do you do Srividya puja?”. Normally we get “yes” as an answer. Each devata/deity has an yantra. However, most of us do not use yantra for doing Siva or Vishnu puja.
Only in temples, there is a practice of installing yantra beneath the vigraham – in some places, those yantras are kept outside too. However, this is not the case for household pujas. We do puja to shivalingam, salagramam for Shiva or Vishnu puja. In panchayathana puja, the stone used for ambal is called “swarna Rekha sila”. Only few do puja for that stone.
Subrahmanya upasakas do puja for “vel”. In general, either we use a murthy that has proper shape or use stones that are shapeless. Among these, only for ambal, this Sri Chakra puja using yantram, has been in practice for a long time. Also along with Sri Chakram, vigraham worship of ambal is also prevalent.
For any devata worship, there are two components (1) Mantra (2) Yantra. Using a specific sound pattern and chanting them, one could get mantra siddhi and blessings of those devatas. Those sound patterns are mantras – this is similar to the devatas’ physical structure – like arms, legs etc – sound form and mantra form. In addition to that, there is yantra form too….Although it looks like some circles, squares, lines etc in any yantra, they all have meanings and great potency and powers.
Each yantra is designed to bring form to paramathma though that devata. In addition to doing mantra japam within our mind, it is done on yantra, archana and avahanam to it. Normally, they engrave the mantras, aksharams of the devatas in those yantras. In similar to how abishekam, archana, neiveidhyams are done to murthis with roopam, same should be done for Sri Chakra also. This is due to the fact that the devata resides in that yantram and all the devata and its entourage.
There are yantras for each of ambal’s roopam. However, most use only Sri Chakram even if they have Meenakshi, Durga, Bhuvaneshwari, Saradhambigha kind of murthis [without yantra for those devatas]. This practice is common in temples also. There is a popular Durga temple in Tiruvannamalai giri-pradakshinam path – the yantram installed is Sri Chakra only. In Sringeri, Sri Chakra puja is in practice although Saradhambal murthy resides in the temple.
In comparison to any other devata, only for ambal, the yantram is very special and of all the yantras for ambals’ roopams, Sri Chakra is very special and popular.
Lines, circles, squares and shapes formed by them are all well defined with bindhu [center dot] is yantram. This divine design has immense power as it brings the power of each devatas in the yantra. This design is designed to drive evil powers and attract positive and more divine powers.
In Sri Chakra, there are 43 triangles formed by 9 triangles intersecting each other in the center. By including center dot (bindhu), the total adds up to 44 in 6 avaranams. The direct meaning for the word “avaranam” is cover or covering. In this context, we need to apply, circle, prakaaram (circumambulatory path), row to the word. If 10 people stand in front of a person, he is covered, right? Hence it is called avaranam. As bindhu is considered as a shape, it is also an avaranam. In reality, 43 triangles around it make it to 5 avaranams. By adding bindhu it becomes 6 avaranam. However, we would have heard the word “navavaranam” often. Nowadays, dikshitar’s navavarna krithi is in great demand as it is now broadcasted frequently in radios. Navavarnam is 9 such circles/approaches in the yantra. Sastra clearly explains about who resides in that devata, what are the tatvams for each of them, how those devatas bless, what kind of mudras to be shown etc. Dikshitar has simplified them in his kritis – each avaranm is a kriti. Now, I mentioned 6. 44 triangles are aligned in this 6 avaranams. There are 3 more avaranams outside of this 6 – by adding them, we get navavarnam. In this, there are two rounds of lotus petal-shaped shapes. Covering all these 8 avaranam is the outer-most avarama – in three lines – this is like the compound-wall for the whole Sri Chakra. They are not circles – they are squares. Square-like design with extraordinary divine powers.
There has be extreme caution to this. In every yantra, each line, circle etc has to be precise as per sastra. It cannot even deviate a bit either way. Likewise, the mantra has to be chanted very precisely. Even a slight change in the way the mantras are chanted could lead to a big dosha and this is applicable to yantra also – even a small mistake could lead to huge problems. Even if the whole design is correct, if the center triangle faces west instead of east, the entire result could be different. It is customary to keep any puja murthis to face east – the same rule applies for Sri Chakra as well – the center triangle should face East.
When a sadhaka sits in front of the chakra 5 triangles (including the center) would face him while 4 triangles would face the opposite direction.
The other important aspect of the Sri Chakra puja is the level of achara, anushtanam to be maintained by the upsaka. This puja requires much more degree of them when compared to doing puja to a murthi.
In today’s world, out of ignorance or even out of hype (fashion) it started off with few people that led to more of them doing “something” called Sri Chakra Puja. Due to the fact that there is lack of achara, anushtanam, these puja results in negative results and lack of peace etc.
It isn’t enough just to aspire to do such puja, it is very important to follow how it has been said in the shastras and how our elders have done this in the past. Only by doing this, one would reap the benefit from this puja. It is true that shastras have said a lot about the mahatmiyam of Sri Chakra puja. However, if someone ignores the rigor and the proper method and start to do puja as per their whims and fancies then they will not get the intended benefit and in turn they would get negative results.
Yantras serve not only as the place of devata’s residence but also a representative of that devata. In fact the word “representative” itself is not correct. It is not copy of the devata – it is the devata itself in those designs.
Since ambal in the form of Sri Vidya resides in the chakra with the sannithyam, the chakra gets more special. More than her beautiful form, this yantra worship is very special and significant. We normally emphasize nama & roopa. However, in general, the devata that are in mother form do not have nama. In Sri Vidya mantras, this is completely not there….Instead, they have bijaksharas.
[While Sri Vidya is called Tripura Sundari due to her magnificent beauty, she is till worshipped only in yantra in most cases. When I asked this question to Periyava, He also wonders this fact but did not give any explanation – Sri Ra Ganapathy]
Ambal has two places of residence – (1) Amrutha Saakaram (2) Tip of Meru (bindhu). In fact, we need to add one more – Sri Chakra.
In fact, there are two mistakes in what I said – (1) Sri Chakra is not her place of dwelling – the place of dwelling becomes Her itself! (2) like amrutha saakaram, meru saakaram, this is not a place of dwelling. Even in amrutha & meru saakaram, the Sri Chakra is inside the fort called Chinthamani gruham. The small yantra that we have at home is kept there in a much larger size (in multiple of thousands times) in 9 avaranams.
In those 9 avaranams, most devatas, their tatvams and their entourages reside. The center bindhu is the 9th avaranam where ambal sits in panache brahmasanam.
While ambal is on top of the meru, each of these avaranams will be on top of one another, right? With that structure, in addition to having Sri Chakra on length and breadth dimensions, the height dimension is also included to make it look like a cone. This three dimensional structure of Sri Chakra is called meru prastharam.
It is also simply called as meru. On a flat surface on earth, Sri Chakra is called as Bhoo-prasthaaram. The other version is the one that has the combination of initial avaranams in three dimensional form and the rest of the avaranams in a normal two dimensional form – this is called ardha meru. If all avaranams are in 3-D, it is referred as poorna meru. Kamakoshtam in Kanchipuram has bhoo-prasthaaram. We have poorna menu in our Matam. Mangadu has ardha meru. Mookambal sannidhi in Tiruvidaimarudhur has poorna meru.
Yantram, tantram, capital without a unique name
Devi upasakas take pride in one thing. For all other swamis, the yantra is named after either the name of the deity or the symbol represents them etc – for instance, Shiva Chakra, Mediha Dakshinamurthy yantram, Sudarshana Yantram, Shadakshara Chakram etc. Only for Lalitha Tripurasundari there is no need for any such adjectives. Since it gives mangalam and since it is divine, it is simply called as “Sri Chakram”. The word chakram itself refers to Sri Chakram only.
Similarly, the whole path for her upasana is called “Sri Vidhya” to signify that that is the mother of all upasana. Even here, the “Sri” is used more as a superlative degree and not to refer Lakshmi or Sridevi. Upasana paths are also referred as tantras. While referring to upasana for other deities, it is prefixed with the upasana murthi or the rishi’s name. However in Tripurasundari vidhya, it is simply referred as Sri Vidhya.
Even in Sri Vidhya mantra, there are several subtle differences in mantras. In such case, how can we simply refer as Sri Vidhya? It is justified only if they are distinguished by calling specific names, right? So, either by assigning the first letter of the mantra or with the name of the rishi, sometimes they are called as kaadhi vidhya, haadhi, vidhya, lopamudra vidhya, Durvasa vidhya. However, all these are generally grouped together under a name of Sri Vidhya tantram.
In addition to yantram and tantram even the city where she resides has no unique name. It is called “Sri Puram” or “Sri Nagaram”. Puram or Nagaram only means city. It is just enough to say that, as it only refers to the city where the queen of this whole jagad resides.
Nithyasree (that is) one who blesses everlasting atmanandham has the first namavali as “Sri Mata” in Lalitha Sahasranamam. All other things like Sri Puram, Sri Chakram, etc are aligned with that.
I was telling about a sloka from Soundarya Lahari where there are references to Sri Chakram. Didn’t I tell you about 9 triangles in 6 avaranams intersecting each others to make 44 triangles? Out of these 9 triangles, 4 are Shiva chakras and 5 are shakthi chakras. The triangle just outside bindhu is also a shakthi chakra. While doing Sri Chakra puja at home, that triangle should face the upasaka.
These chakras belonging to Shiva and Shakthi are designed to intersect each other to establish advaita concept. The 11th sloka details all the numbers involving the triangles, lotus petal, circular, rectangular shapes etc.
All these are not to be taken like reading a novel or for any academic interest. These should be learnt from a guru and to be kept in a very secretive way (without any bragging/public announcements). Instead of completely avoiding this topic, I thought of giving some information on this topic. That does not mean that this should be taken lightly!
Categories: Deivathin Kural