The main object of worship, devotion and veneration in Sri Vidya is the iconic Sri Cakra in its various forms, so it is natural that most of the Yoga of Sri Vidya focuses on this intricate “genetic code of the cosmos”. Sri (Bhuprastara) Cakra (two-dimensional), Sri Kurma Cakra (spherical) or Sri (Maha) Meru Cakra (three-dimensional form of the Holy Wheel) is not merely a symbol of the main deity of the Lalita cult; it is actually Sri Lalita Devi’s body in all its wonders and secrets, which is identical with our own body, male or female. According to the teachings of Sri Amrita, the fundamental inter-identifications between the immortal body of Lalita and the mortal human body as encoded in Sri Cakra are:
1. feet – bhu-pura (the four entrances)
2. thighs – shodasa-dala-padma (sixteen-petalled lotus)
3. cervix/tip of the penis (muladhara-cakra) – ashta-dala-padma (eight-petalled lotus)
4. clitoris/root of the penis (svadhishthana-cakra) – catur-dasara/manvasra (fourteen triangles)
5. navel (mani-puraka-cakra) – bahir-dasara (ten outer triangles)
6. heart/breasts (anahata-cakra) – antar-dasara (ten inner triangles)
7. throat (visuddhi-cakra) – ashta-kona/vasu-kona (eight triangles)
8. third eye (ajna-cakra) – mula-trikona (the central triangle)
9. top of the head (sahasrara-padma) – bindu (the central dot)
These nine veils (avaranas) that simultaneously block our vision of Reality and show us the way to realize it are the nine sub-cakras, or the many-layered structure of Sri Cakra. Sri Navavarana Cakra Puja in particular or Sri Vidya Tantra Sadhana in general is the way of removing them and realizing our total identity with Sri Cakra, which is none other than Sri Devi, our own Heart and the Heart of the Universe that we are One with. The ritual worship of the three-dimensional Sri Meru Cakra leads the aspirant towards reaching the peak spiritual experience on top of the Meru in the crown of the head and beyond into cosmic infinity, whereas the meditative absorption into the plain Sri Cakra leads the aspirant into merging with his/her very Heart in the center of the divine lotus body and beyond into total transcendence of all opposites. The essence of Sri Devi Ma is her triple nature represented in the innermost triangle (mula-trikona) of Sri Cakra representing all that is threefold in the reality of the world, especially the triad of the subject, object and their relationship. The point of a spiritual practice is going beyond all the triads and merging with their root, which is the point of all points, or bindu, the indivisible one drop of Life. It is both the Source and the Whole, the human Heart and the human body emanating from it.
Our body is actually a (Sri) Yantra, so each time we inhale and exhale by lifting and lowering our arms sideways, we are actually drawing a circle around Heart in the midst of our body/Cosmos. The arms form a downward pointing triangle while moving overhead into Heart and then an upward pointing triangle when the hands are joined at Heart in (yoga-) anjali-mudra, symbolizing the underlying union of all polarities and our potential for change as a lotus bud waiting to bloom in all its splendor and glory. The feet form a square, and the spine forms a vertical line. So, in my Yogic experience, all essential elements of the Sri Cakra sacred geometry are present in the body and its elementary movement closely synchronized, or yoked, with the breath:
1. the central dot is the spiritual Heart (hrdaya) and Source (bindu) of the Universe – the exhale, or contraction (Siva)
2. the circle and the blooming lotus petals are the whole Universe, all that exists – the inhale, or expansion (Sakti)
3. the downward pointing triangle is the female aspect of the Whole – the energy of receptivity/inhalation, or prana-vayu
4. the upward pointing triangle is the male aspect of the Whole – the energy of penetration/exhalation, or apana-vayu
5. the square is the firm basis of the whole structure – stability, or sthirata
6. the vertical line is the extension of the Source into actuality – comfort, or sukha.
This means that yogasana is ha-tha-yoga (literally the “union of opposites”), and hatha-yoga is tantra-sadhana (the “discipline of pleasure”). Essentially, hatha-yoga is tantra, so when we are practicing yogasana, or any other hatha-yoga technique, we are actually practicing tantra. And tantra is essentially a non-dual experience of the Whole of Life and a comprehensive practice aiming at total participation in the Union of Opposites, in the Union of Siva, the Power-holder, and Sakti, His Power, constantly commingling in their All-Encompassing Cosmic Embrace, which is Love of Life! Spirit and Nature are One; the Unseen Condition, or Source, and the Seen Reality, or manifest world, are One; Life and Death are One; Consciousness and Matter, or Energy, are One; Body and Mind are One; and Male and Female are also One! Realizing this fact of Overall Oneness, or Underlying Unity in Apparent Diversity is Self-Realization and full humanity.
In the final analysis, of course, nothing is necessary, no technique is required, including Yoga. Life simply is, we are here and now, there are no problems and we are all utterly intertwined with the Universe pulsating in Her mysterious rhythms of expanding and contracting, appearing and disappearing, revealing and hiding, inhaling and exhaling, life-giving and life-taking… “Are we not the extreme intelligence, beauty and wonder of Life happening right here and right now as we ourselves in our total interrelatedness with Everything”, as my Yoga teacher Mark Whitwell is fond of asking his students? However, the answer of most people to this question is: “Yes, but…” This “but” is our conditioning, our limitation, the reason we are all suffering. And so, it is “necessary” to go through all that while we are alive as this sensitive and sensual body mingling with other bodies, moving in space and changing with time. Our reactions to this fact of being alive, being conscious and being related is what defines us as persons and human beings, and we have to participate in our individuality (limitations) just as we participate in our universality (limitlessness). Being conscious of all that is meditation; cultivating this awareness of our being both a limited and unlimited being in relationship is Yoga. Dealing creatively with this dual nature of ours and all other dualities of our existence, with all the consequences it has for our everyday life or our ordinary conditions of life is part of meditation, a careful and attentive consideration and understanding of what we are and what we can do to live a life that is really fulfilling, not frustrating or devastating. So, Yoga is necessary to give us this peaceful power and powerful peace; to give us a penetrating insight into what we are and give us the resilient strength to live it in spite of all the hindrances that prevent us from living up to our full human potential. And we are totally unlimited in our freedom, just as we are totally limited in our actions. Coping creatively with all that is Yoga. The point is not to be obsessive about it and not to be greedy. We cannot and should not be in a state of meditation all the time and the quality of attention varies depending on so many conditions that influence the course of our lives. So, we can be as attentive as we possibly can, understand the ways in which we function to the best of our abilities and then reduce the suffering we cause to ourselves and others to some acceptable minimum, the one that allows us to develop our humanity. This is precisely in accordance with the central concepts of Sri Vidya – Auspicious, Benevolent, Enlightening and Liberating Wisdom!