THE ONE TRUTH THE UPANISHADS, Vedas and Tantras teach us is about the ultimate, BRAHMAN. The spiritual occult disciplines leading to the Brahman are known as the Brahma Vidyas, of which Shri Vidya is the foremost. It guarantees both moksha (liberation of the soul) as well as Bhog - enjoyments.
The ancient Indian spiritual Tantras mention such great paths and categorise them into the Ten cosmic powers known as the Dasha Maha Vidyas. The third Vidya is known as Shodashi Vidya, also known popularly as the Shri Vidya (the most auspicious of wisdoms).
This is the most comprehensive and all embracing in its nature and leads the sadhaka directly to Parabrahman Rajarajeshwari Tripurasundari. This knowledge is a tantric tradition of the shaktas and liberates the soul from the cycle of reincarnation by realizing his or her identity with the Goddess.
Being an Advaite philosophy (non dualism), Shiv and Shakti are inseparable, since Shiva is a static consciousness, inert without shaktis creative force. Therefore she is dominantly superior, Pancha preta manch dishyani (the 5 devas, Brahma, Vishnu, Sadashiv, Rudra and Indra are lifeless without her)
Shivah saktyaa yukto yadi bhavati shaktah prabhavitam
“Having united with Shakti, Shiva is able to create the universe. Otherwise he is not even able to move. Therefore only those who have acquired punyas (merits) in previous births are able and fortunate to praise the Divine Mother”. (Soundarya Lahiri verse 1)
The mastery of Shri Vidya is not easy as the nature of the spiritual tradition is extremely vast. The sadhana of Shri Vidya is through the medium of Shri Chakra Puja. The Sri Chakra also known as the Shri Yantra or Chakra Raj, is the greatest of all known mystical symbols, that represents the microcosm and macrosm of the entire Brahmand, universe in one. The focal point being the BINDU is where Shri Kameshwari resides with her consort Lord Shiva (Kameshwara).
The Panchdasakshari mantra is the mantra form of Shri Devi and Shiva and is very secretive and can only be activated by a purnabhishek guru’s of respected lineage. Furthermore, this mantra is only imparted to the sadhak when he has obtained his last life or is in comparison to Lord Shiva. The Goddess is present in the Madhya bindu of the Sri Chakra or as the mantra in the form of the Panchdasharkari.
The puja that is performed on the Sri Chakra is the Navavaran puja. In this puja, the Mother leads the spiritual aspirant gradually to the path of samadhi i.e. one with eternal bliss with the Mother. The sadhak must totally submit and surrender himself to Her. This can only be obtained by the grace of the Sadguru. The mantra implanted helps the sadhak to become one with cosmic existence, Shripura. The sadhak initiated into Shri Vidya by the Guru is helped and supported initially by Bala Mantrini and Dandanath-Batuknath on his sadhna path. Bala is a nine year old form of the Mother deity known as Shri Bala Tripurasundari. The sadhak is normally initiated into this Vidya progressing to the ultimate Panchdasakshari.
The Tantras mention the twelve pioneers who worshipped Shri Vidya - Shiva, Narayan, Brahma, Manu, Chandra, Kuber, Indra, Ganapathi, Lopamudra, Agastya, Nandi, Skand, and Durvasa. The list comprises of men-manav, siddhas and Devas. Each one of them having founded their own school of Shri Vidya; Hadi, Sadi and Kadi Schools. For example the school of Shiva-kameshvar is famously known as Kamraj Vidya and is poplularly known as Kadi Vidya hence the Panchdasharkari mantra beginning with “Ka”. Shri Vidya is the form of the great Vedic Gayatri mantra called Gupta Gayatri and can only be obtained from a respected Guru Parampara.
Tantra sastra initiates pupils according to their capabilities i.e. gunas, taste, sanskars etc and hence Shri Vidya is not easily obtainable. This is the only Vidya credited to be accepted by the Vedas and is obtained by a person in his last birth as a fruit of all his past sadhanas and virtues and Karma.
Shri Vidya is reserved only for the deserving beings with a vision and a mission in life and hence strict secrecy is to be observed to prevent this ultimate knowledge from falling into the hands of the profane.