1. What is the significance of the name ChatuH ShaShTyupachArADhyA?
The Navavarana Pooja of Sridevi involves sixty-four offerings known as the ChatuH ShaShTyupachAra pooja. These have been detailed in the Parashurama Kalpasutras and other Tantras like Vamakeshwara and Rudrayamala.
A Jiva enjoys various objects for his sensory pleasures and comforts. The sixty-four Upacharas are offered to Sridevi not only to express one's thanks to the supreme but also to enjoy these objects after offering them at the lotus feet of Devi. By this action, one initially enjoys the external objects as the divine Prasada of Sridevi and at an advanced stage, the duality between Sridevi and the sadhaka ceases and it is Sridevi who acts through the sadhaka.
2. Who are the sixty-four crore Yoginis?
Brahmi and the other seven Matrika Devatas each have eight Yoginis (AkshobhyA etc.) associated with them. Thus, their number becomes 8 X 8 = 64. Each of these Yoginis is further assisted by an army of a crore Shaktis. Actually, as described in Jayadrathayamala, each of the nine Avaranas in the Srichakra are inhabited by 64 crore Yoginis. Thus, the total number of Yoginis residing in the Srichakra is 576 crores. Observe the name mahAchatuShShaShTikoTiyoginIgaNasevitA' in Sri Lalita Sahasranama. The word `mahA' indicates a multiplication factor of 9, which results in the number 576.
3. What is the meaning of the name 'shrutisImantasindUrikR^itapAdAbjadhUlikA'?
The Vedas are visualized as Veda Purushas, who are crystal like in appearance. When they touch the feet of Sri Rajarajeshwari, the supreme Brahman who is the hidden essence of the Vedas, the red dust from the feet of Sridevi becomes the decorative Sindura on the foreheads of the Veda Purushas. The Vedas deal with both Karma and Jnana Kandas. The crown jewels of the Vedic mountain are the Upanishads, which, due to their total non-association with karma and Dvaita, are crystal-like in appearance. By indicating that the Upanishads touch the lotus feet of Sridevi, inaccessible even to the trinity, Vashinyadi Vagdevis hint that the only access to Sridevi's lotus feet is through the Upanishadic way of Atma vichAra.
4. What is the significance of the name `sakalAgamasandohashuktisampuTamauktikA'?
The previous name `shrutisImantasindUrikR^itapAdAbjadhUlikA' indicates that the Vedas are the royal routes to reach the feet of Sridevi. Then what about those who do not have VedAdhikAra? For these, the same truth elaborated in the Vedas is available in a nutshell in the Agamas and Tantras. Agamas are compared to hard shells. It is hard to break these shells, in other words, the study of scriptures is a difficult task. But once the shell is broken, i.e. once the real essence of the scriptures is understood by means of dedicated study and experience, like the pearl that is obtained from the shell, the shining jewel of the self, which is none but Sridevi, is realized.
There is an alternate explanation for this name. If the entire galaxy of scriptures, Tantras and Amnayas are like the shell, it is the supreme Srividya Mahashodashi mantra which is hidden like a pearl in the shell. This jewel is obtained by the one who has previously spent lifetimes trying to break the shell i.e. studying the scriptures and worshipping various forms of the Supreme.
5. What is the significance of the name `shR^i~NgArasasaMpUrNA'?
Sridevi is filled with the emotion of SringAra for her Lord Kameshwara. Is this lust or like a normal emotion? No! Sringa means two horns (2), ara means petals and Rasa indicates 6. Thus, this name refers to the lotus with 6X2 petals which is Anahata Chakra. The emotion associated with Anahata Chakra is selfless love. This is the basis for Sridevi's Sringara towards Sri Kameshwara. The Navavaranas of Srichakra correspond to the nine Rasas or emotions namely Sringara, Hasya, Vira etc. The very first Chakra i.e. Trailokya Mohana corresponds to Sringara Rasa. The Sampurnatva or completion for the Avaranas is in the ninth avarana which is the Sarvanandamaya Chakra and the corresponding Rasa is Shanta. Thus, this name indicates that Sridevi ever resides in the emotionless state of Shanta Rasa, the state of the Bindu or Shiva, which represents the final state of the Navarasas starting from Sringara Rasa.
6. What is the significance of the name `kaulamArgatatparasevitA'?
Kaula marga refers to the four paths associated with one's lineage. They are:
a. Anuvamsha Marga - The lineage of Srividya obtained from one's father, grandfather and great grandfather.
b. Vidyavamsha Marga - The lineage of Srividya obtained from one's Guru, Paramaguru and Parameshthi Guru.
c. Varna Marga - The lineage of Srividya obtained from the Sruti and Smriti, and thereby through the Varna and Ashrama system.
d. Shat Chakra Marga - The realization of Srividya, via the path of the ascent of Kundalini through the six Chakras, emerging in Sahasrara.
People taking one or more of these paths are referred to as Kaulas. Sridevi is the one who is worshipped by all these four paths.
7. Why is it always thought that Shiva is the goal of Sadhana and not Shakti?
For a student of Tantrika Parinamavada, the goal is the attainment of the state of `Shivam'. As the distinction between Kameshwara and Kameshwari is not true, this statement is true to a certain extent only. Instead of quoting other Parinamavada texts, one can examine the last four names of Sri Lalita Sahasranama. The name 'shrImattripurasundarI' refers to Vimarsha Shakti / Rakta Paduka / Kameshwari. The name `shrIshivA' refers to Prakasha / Shukla Charana /Kameshwara. That Sri `Lalitambika' is indeed the state of Absolute Shivam / Brahman is indicated by the next name `shivashaktyaikyarUpiNI', clarifying that it is Sri Lalita who also represents the Maha Nirvana Charana and the Maha Paduka.
bhava sha~Nkara deshika me sharaNaM