[Query] Hari Aum, pranaamaaha, we recite chandi 9 akshara manthra before saptashathi but saptashathi does not describe this. Shreevidhya aamnayas also do not include this mantra. Iam confused why this mantra has gained so much importance.
The upAsanA of paradevatA as shrI chaNDikA has various pramANas. The Sruti describes the glory of this mahAmantra, in devyupaniShat, along with Srividya and Bhuvaneshwari Mantras. The ArSha vAkya, kalau chaNDI vinAyakau is stated in various scriptures. Also, it is not true that navArNa mantra is not significant within the realms of Srividya. My Gurunathar gave navArNa mantra as uttarAMga mahAvidyA to mahAShoDashi. Also, chaNDi belongs to uttarAmnAya of Srividya, 'durgA kAlI
tatashchaNDI nakulI cha pulindinI'. Srividya Krama Tantra discusses various variations of navArNa mantra and derives nine upa mahAvidyA mantras from it. An entire AvaraNa is dedicated to navArNa-family of devatas here.
The association of navakSharI with chaNDikA is well described in Tantras such as Damara, vArAhI, kAtyAyanI, rudrayAmala etc. In mArkaNDeya purANa itself, the mantra is described by Medhas to Suratha:
Adau natvA mahAlakShmIM kartR^ikartR^IM sadoditAm |
trailokyaDAmaraM mantraM shR^iNu bhUpa navAkSharam |
yasya vij~nAnamAtreNa paramaishwaryavAnnaraH ||
Here, 'trailokyaDAmara' means: the great mantra which is well-known in the three worlds or that mantra which was revealed to the three worlds through the Damara Tantra. The fruit of reciting this mantra is described as paramaishwaryAvApti. The highest of aiShwarya is that which is desired even by deities like viShNu, brahma, indra etc., which is characteristic only of parameshwara. Thus, by reciting this mantra, one becomes paramashiva. The details of worship of Chandika is described in Markandeya Purana, but these seven chapters are regarded as khila [appendix] to the main purANa. Of these seven chapters, the first three describe the well-known rahasyatraya and the other four describes details of navArNa mantra, nyAsa, pUja etc.
jantorapashchimatanoH sati karmasAmye
niHsheShapAshapaTalacChidurA nimeShAt |
kAruNyato bhavasi shAmbhavavedhadIkshA ||