Before we see all the Navavarana krithis, it is essential to learn about Sri Chakra and the nine Avaranams. The study of Sri chakra is a very sophisticated one; also very difficult to follow unless enough concentration is given to each aspect discussed. Let us see an overall view of the same.
The diagram of the Sri Chakra is primarily a Matrix (i.e. womb) of nine interlocking triangles. Five of these triangles have their apex facing downward. They are Shakthi trikonas, the triangles representing five forms of feminine energy, Shakthi. The other four triangles with their apex facing upward are Shiva trikonas representing the male aspect, Shiva, Consciousness. In Tantra, the feminine is the active principle; and the male is passive. The Tantra texts mention that Sri Chakra is produced when five forms of Shakthi and four forms of Shiva unite. The intersection of these nine triangles creates forty-three triangles. It is customary to regard the point at the centre also as a triangle. Thus, in effect there are forty-four triangles in Sri Chakra; and these are arranged in nine enclosures (navavaranas), in groups of three. The centre point is called the Bindu, the dimensionless point at the core of the Sri Chakra Yantra, the Tantra texts explain that Bindu is Kameshwara , the ground of the universe. the immediate triangle is Kameshwari the mother of universe; the union of purusha and prakriti. The union of these two is the Sri Chakra, which represents the entire phenomenal pattern. Bindu is regarded a sphere in its own right. The expanded form of the Bindu is the triangle formed by three points and is called Sarva siddhi prada (the sphere of fulfilment of all aspirations). It is described as Prakriti (Mother Nature) composed of three gunas (fundamental fabric of all existence) sattva, rajas and tamas. Another explanation is, Bindu, also called Sarvanandamaya (all blissful), and represents the transcendental power (Para Shakthi) and absolute harmony (saamarasya) between Shiva and Shakthi.
Sri Chakra is verily the body of the mother goddess, who resides as energy in the universe and as pure consciousness in the individual. The nine enclosures symbolize in a graded series the significance of the universal and individual; the ideological and ritual; expressive and contemplative; and the inner and outer aspects of Sri Chakra. The outer group of chakras (1, 2 and 3) symbolizes extension or srishti. They represent Shiva aspect of the chakra. The middle group (4, 5 and 6) symbolizes the preservation or sthithi. They represent Shakthi aspect of the chakra. The inner group (7, 8 and the Bindu) symbolize absorption or samhara. The nine avaranas, enclosures that compose Sri Chakra are briefly as under. These are described in the order of absorption (Samhara-krama) according to Dakshinamurthy tradition. It starts with the outermost enclosure-Bhupura- and leads to Bindu, the central point.
1. The First enclosure, Bhupura also called Trilokya –mohana-chakra (enchants the three worlds), is the four-sided enclosing wall. The three lokas being three levels of experience: attainments, obstructions and powers. They are also related to the body- mind complex of the devotee. The presiding deity is Tripura. This avarana corresponds to the feet of the mother goddess.
2. The second enclosure is the sixteen petalled lotus (shodasha dala padma) called sarva asha paripuraka chakra (fulfils all expectations), the fulfiller of all desires. In the sixteen petals, the sixteen vowels of Sanskrit alphabet is inscribed. These symbolize sixteen kalas or aspects or phases. The yogini is Gupta Yogini; Mudra is Sarva Vidravini; the Siddhi is Laghima; and the mental state is Swapna, The presiding deity is Tripureshi. This avarana corresponds to the Savdhistana chakra of the mother goddess.
3. The Third enclosure (Avarana) is Eight petalled lotus (astha dala padma) called Sarva-samkhobhana –Chakra the agitator of all. This enclosure represents the last of the first group of the chakras that symbolizes Srishti or emanation. The Yogini is Gupta- Tara; Mudra is Sarvakarshini; the Siddhi is Mahima; and the mental state is Shushupti. The Presiding deity is Tripura Sundari. This avarana corresponds to the navel region of mother goddess.
4. The Fourth enclosure (Avarana) is Fourteen triangles (chaturdasha trikona) called sarva sowbhagya dayaka; the bestower of all prosperity. This is in the form of a complex figure made up of fourteen triangles. The fourteen corners represent fourteen powers of mother goddess. These are said to preside over fourteen principle channels of vital forces in human body (naadis) corresponding with fourteen powers Sarva -Samkshobhini and others. They are also related to the seat of Shaktis who represent: the Mind (Manas), the Intellect (Buddhi), Being (Chitta), the Conscious Ego (Ahamkara) and the ten Indriyas. The Yogini is Sampradaya Yogini; the Mudra is Sarva Shankari; the Siddhi is Ishitva. The mental state is Iswara Vichara. The presiding deity is Tripura Vasini. This avarana corresponds to the heart of mother goddess.
5. The Fifth Enclosure (Avarana) is the Ten-sided figure (bahir-dasara) called Sarvartha Sadhaka chakra (accomplisher of all objects) consisting ten triangles. It is named “the outer ten cornered figure” (bahir dasara) in order to distinguish it from a similar figure enclosed within it. The ten triangles in this avarana house ten auspicious deties , such as Sarva siddhi prada, Sarva sampath prada, Sarva priyamkari, Sarva mangala karini and so on. The Yogini is Kulotteerna yogini;; the Mudra is Sarvonmadini; and the Siddhi is Vashitva. The mental state is Guroopa Sadanam. The presiding deity is Tripura Shri. This avarana corresponds to the neck of mother goddess.
6. The Sixth enclosure (Avarana) is the Ten sided figure (antar dasara) called Sarva raksha karaka (one that protects all) consisting ten triangles. It is named antar dasara, the inner ten cornered figure, since it is placed within a similar ten cornered figure. The Yogini is Nigarbha Yogini; the Mudra is Sarva mahankusha; and the Siddhi is Prakamya. The mental state is Upadesa. The presiding deity is Tripura Malini. This avarana corresponds to the middle of the eyebrows (bhrukuti) of the mother goddess.
7. The Seventh enclosure (Avarana) is the Eight-cornered figure (ashtara) called Sarva roga hara (the remover of all deceases) is the seventh avarana. In the eight triangles formed by this figure, eight divinities presiding over speech reside. Between them they cover all the alphabets in Sanskrit grammar. The significance of this enclosure is its power to eradicate the most basic disease viz. involvement with impure, fleeting existence that is laden with stress. The blessed state is attained when the distinctions between the subject, the object and transactions between them are dissolved. The Yogini is Rahasya Yogini; the Mudra is sarva khechari; and the Siddhi is Bhukthi. The mental state is Manana. The presiding deity is Tripura Siddha. This avarana corresponds to the forehead (lalata) of the mother goddess.
8. The Eighth Avarana is the primary triangle with its apex downward (East) and coloured white (Sattva) surrounding immediately around the central point, Bindu. It is called Sarva Siddhi prada chakra, the one that bestows all accomplishment. This triangle does not intersect with other triangles; and stands independent. It is Kama Kala. It is feminine in its aspect; and represents three fundamental manifestations of the mother goddess: Kameshwari (symbolizing moon – creation); Vajreshwari (symbolizing sun- preservation); and Bhagamalini (symbolizing fire -dissolution). The three angles of the triangle also represent three forms of speech: Pashyanthi, Madhyama and Vaikhari. The triangle is therefore the speech aspect Vak Bhava. The triangle itself is regarded the abode of the mother goddess (kama-kala). The Yogini is Athi Rahasya Yogini; the Mudra is Sarva Beeja; and the Siddhi is Iccha. The mental state is Nitidhyasana. The presiding deity is Tripuraamba.
9. The Ninth Avarana is strictly not an enclosure. It is the central dimensionless point, the Bindu. It is called Sarvananda-maya chakra, the supremely blissful one. It is independent of the intersecting triangles. This, in a temple, would be the sanctum sanctorum, with all the other circles or enclosures representing various parts of the temple. It is this Bindu that is in reality the Sri Chakra; it represents the mother goddess Maha Tripura Sundari, Lalitha or Rajarajeshwari herself; and everything else is a manifestation of her aspects. The significance of this avarana is the complete harmony (samarasya) of principles of pure consciousness (Shiva) and the principle of energy as deliberation (vimarsha shakthi). The yogini is parathi para Rahasya; the Mudra is sarva yoni; and the Siddhi is Prapthi. The mental state is Savikalpa Samadhi. The presiding deity is her Transcendent Majesty Lalita Maheshvari Mahatripurasundari. This avarana corresponds to Brahma-randra on the top of the head of the mother goddess.
The Sri Chakra represents the interplay of the purusha and prakriti; the universe and its energy. The union of the Devi (energy) and Shiva (consciousness) worshipped in Sri Chakra is the universe and its evolution. The universe is thus stylized into a pattern of energies, symbolized by the patterns and layout of Sri Chakra.
Sri Vidya is the worship of Mother Goddess incarnated in the Sri Chakra. Her worship includes the worship of her consorts (Devata) and aids (yogini); all of whom are female. The ritualistic details are characteristically feminine. A Sri Vidya Upasaka worships beauty and grace; rejecting ugliness in thought, word and deed. Sri Vidya is the path of devotion and wisdom. The wisdom consists in realizing ones identity (sva svarupa prapti) with the Mother Goddess. It is this wisdom that liberates the devotee (jivan Mukthi). This liberating wisdom is granted to him by the Mother out of pure love, when the devotee surrenders to her completely in full faith and devotion. The Mother is the path and the goal. Sri Vidya is the culmination of all paths, the consummation of all transformations.