The Tripura Rahasya is one of the most wonderful and practical of all scriptures and is very helpful to those on the path of self-realization. I am certain that those aspirants, who study this scripture in its present translation with full faith and a tranquil mind, will have a new vision and will become aware of completely new dimension of life”
Pandit Rajmani Tigunait,PhD, is the spiritual head of the Himalayan Insitutute . Family tradition gave him access to a vast range of spiritual wisdom preserved I both the written and oral traditions.
As a young man, he lived and studied with renowned adepts before meeting his spiritual master Sri Swami Rama of the Himalayas. Pandit Tigunait is fluent in both Vedic and classical Sanskrit and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the scriptures. He holds a doctorate in Sanskrit from the University of Allahabad, and another in Oriental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. He has written more than a dozen books, running the gamut from scholarly analysis and scripture translation to spiritual biographies and practical advice on applying yogic concepts to the problems of daily life. In addition to lecturing and teaching worldwide for more than thirty years, Pandit Tigunait is the inspiration for the Institute’s rural empowerment projects and the motive force behind the Himalayan Institute community Centers taking root in Asia and Africa.
All Human Beings Experience the walking dreaming, and sleeping states, but only a fortunate few, the yogis, attain the fourth state, called turiya. These rare ones reach the summit have a profound view of all states experienced by human beings.
The aspirant who has attained such a lofty state is rare and knows the mystery of life here and hereafter. Nothing remains unknown to him. Such a great yogi does not belong to any caste, creed, sex, or ethnic group because he has already transcended all such superficial limitations. The knowledge that enlightens such an aspirant is called Tripura Rahasya. The text by that name is one of the most significant scriptures in the tradition of tantra yoga. Its beauty lies in the fact that it expounds the lofty knowledge of inner truth while systematically offering practical instructions on sakti sadhana. In sakti sadhana the aspirant learns to apply all of his resources to the task of awakening to dormant fire within and leading it to higher awareness, finally reaching the highest cakra, the thousand-petaled lotus. In advanced stages of practice, the aspirant knows all about his future, even in the next life. This is the glory of sakti sadhana.
Traditionally, spiritual knowledge was handed down from gurus to their disciples, and this tradition still exists. In ancient India it was customary for student to know about the tradition and lineage of the knowledge he was receiving before he started treading the path of light. Thus, the Tripura Rahasya opens with references to the tradition through which it has been transmitted. The seers medha and sumedha are said to be the spokes men of this scripture-they made it available to the oral tradition and, from there, it was committed to writing. They received this knowledge from the sage Parasurama. Parasurama received it from Dattatreya, dattatreya from Brahma, Brahma from Vishnu and Vishnu from siva. In the Markandeya Purana it is said that medha rsi was also a teacher of the Saptasati another prominent scripture of sakti sadhana. Medha rsi was initiated by the great sage Parasurama, and so, in reciting the scripture, medha rsi beings with the story of Parasurama. Parasurama is one of the key links in the long chain of the tradition of the Himalayan sages, At one time Parasurama stopped doing his austerities, and He felt badly about his lapse and repented. in this frame of mind, he encountered a man who was pretending to be completely disorganized and mentally disturbed. The man ignored him, but Parasurama, determined to talk to him, made persistent efforts to get his attention. The man did not lose his temper, even though Parasurama teased him obstinately, but kept on smiling, mumbling something that Parasurama did not understand. This behavior convinced Parasurama that he had encountered a great sage who had conquered lust and anger, and so he surrendered himself at the man’s feet. Seeing this, the man said,” I am Brhaspati’s brother, Samvarta. I renounced my home in my childhood and began practicing contemplation. I protect myself from people by posing as a lunatic. I remain in contemplation all the time and have no time to teach you. Go to the sage Dattatreya, and he will initiate you in the worship to Tripura”.
Hearing this, Parasurama went to Gandhamadana Mountain, where the revered Dattatreya lived. This mountain is north of the Himalayas. In this calm and tranquil setting, he found someone seated in meditative pose who greeted him with a smile, saying, “You are in the right place. The sage Dattatreya is seated in the inner chamber of this ashram. You may go in” Parsurama entered and saw the sage. A courtesan was seated next to him, trying her best to charm him, and a goblet of wine was by his side. Parsurama was completely bewildered by this, but he had faith in Samvarta. Reminding himself that sages have their peculiar ways, he prostrated and sat in front of Dattatreya.
This sage welcomed him:” O parsurama, you have taken the path of enlightenment. To attain perfect control over sense gratification is the way of victory. To have control over the palate and the sexual urge is great achievement. As you see, I keep the objects of enjoyment with me –both wine and courtesan are by my side. Seeing this, all the sages have left me. They despise me now. For what have you come? Do you not hate me?”
Arsurama replied, “ I have heared about you from the sage Samvarta, and have come to your feet with great sradha[faith]. Kindly instruct me.”
Sage Dattatreya was happy to comply and imparted the knowledge of Tripura Rahasya in the traditional manner. Having received this knowledge, Parasurama departed for mahendra Mountain to do his sadhana. This phase of his sadhana lasted twelve years, and according to the tradition, it was during this time that he initiated Sumedha rsi. The text of the scripture translated in this volume begins at the end of this twelve-year period.
Sakti Sadhana is not possible without initiation. Just as the Vedas cannot be studied without upanayana Samskaras (initiationinto the sacred thread), sakti sadhana cannot be done without formal initiation by the master. In sakti sadhana, the yogu awakens the dormant sakti power of his disciple through diksa (intiation). There are various levels of initiation, and it is given according to the aspirant’s state of mind and level of awareness.
It is important for seekers to thoroughly study the Tripura Rahasya under the gui8dance of a competent master who has attained the knowledge of this scripture. To become qualified for the guidance of such a master, the student must have developed three qualities: first, he should be endowed with firm faith; second, he should be free from the attachment of “mine and thine” and third, he should have a burning desire to attain pure knowledge.
The Tripura Rahasya explains all the stages of enlightenment and inspires the student at every step. Other scriptures only talk about certain principles and tell the seeker what to do and what not to do, but they do not explain how to be. This scripture furnishes both the principles and the practices.
Another unique aspect of this scripture is that it is ascribed to a female deity. In the Tripura rahasya, through the worship of and devotion to the Mother Divine, the aspirant fathoms all levels systematically and finally attains the highest state of consciousness. Most other scriptures use the word “He” or other pronouns in the masculine or neuter gender when referring to God. But the Tripura Rahasya uses the word “Mother: and other feminine-gender in his mother’s lap and is very close to her. It child finds comfort in his mother’s lap and is very close to her. A is easy for a child to converse with its mother and to learn from her. Similarly, in sadhana, the seeker finds that his practice is easy and spontaneous when he uses the words “Mother,” “Sakti,” “Mahamaya,” or “Tripura sundari.” This highly practical scripture also reminds an aspirant that without sankalpa sakti ( firm determination), neither philosophical knowledge nor spiritual practice has value. It is through sankalpa sakti that one gathers the courage to tread the path. Bhakti ( devotion) is also needed, for without it spiritual practice becomes dry and technical. In order to acquire the virtues of sankalpa sakti and bhakti, an aspirant must cultivate positive thinking-a virtue of a purified and sharpened intellect.
When the faculty of discrimination is sharpened, sankalpa sakti strengthens. Sankalpa sakti is a prerequisite for entering the subtle realms within. Without it, one cannot tread the path of bhakti, Bhakti means compassion plus devotion. When the seeker equips himself with these two exquisite qualities, he is fully prepared to tread the path.
Firm faith develops in the company of the sages, by contemplating on the atman, and by practicing the systematic method of meditation, described below:
First learn to sit still, keeping the head, neck, and trunk in a straight line, yet remain relaxed.
Second, practice withdrawing the senses from the objects of the world by fixing the attention on the flow of the breath. Make the mind aware that the breath and the mind are like two sides of the same coin; they are inseparable, twin laws of life. It has been proven scientifically that when the mind is agitated, the inhalation and exhalation also become agitated, and jerks, shallowness, and several other inconsistencies appear in the flow o the breath.
The next step is to realize the nearness of the self within. This is a accomplished by gearing the mind and its modifications one-pointedly to the individual self only. Upasana (literally, “to be near”) means to be constantly aware of the self within. This is the prime goal of that sadhana which leads the seeker to the highest state of attainment.
Upasana, or devotion, has two aspects-external and internal. In external worship, objects such as flowers and fruits are used and rituals, such as the fire ceremony, are performed. In internal worship, the mind and its modifications are made one pointed and inward. Then, as the Yoga sutras say, Tada Drashtuh Sva-rupe avasthanam-the seer is established in his own nature.
The schools of sakti Sadhana
There are three main schools of sakti sadhana,: kaula, misra and samaya, which correspond to the mental state and preparedness of the aspirant. All are concerned with awakening the Kundalini energy from its dormant state at the base of the spine and leading it to the crown cakra.
Kaula is a highly systematic method of spiritual discipline which uses objects-such as yantras and mandalas-as a mean of spiritual unfoldment, incorporating tem into complex rituals designed to bring the senses under control. Adherents of the school concentrate on awakening the divine force latent in the muladhara cakra ( the root cakra).
Misra means “ combination.” It is a midpoint between kaula and samaya and it is here that the student begins the transition from external to internal worship. In this school, the student masters the symbolic meaning of the yantras and mandalas and learns to internalize them with devotion. The master imparts the systematic method of leading the kundalini force to the anahata cakra the heart center, which becomes the center of concentration.
Samaya is the highest of the three school and is practiced only by accomplished yogis. The word samaya means” I am with you.” When the aspirant attains this state, he feels as though he is walking in Brahman –consciousness all the time. His ajapa japa becomes spontaneous and effortless. Even in deep sleep, he remains aware of his mantra, because mantra becomes the predominant factor in all activities of life.
This School leads the aspirant directly to moksa, liberation. At this stage, the body is regarded as a living shrine in which the divine force dwells. All practices are internal. No internal method, such as contemplation or meditation, can be accomplished without establishing perfect harmony between the mind and the breath, and the aspirant is given breathing practices to establish this harmony.
When the aspirant is fully prepared and yet still encounters obstacles, the master bestows his grace. Through his kind touch or gaze, the master gives the aspirant his power. This rare occurrence is called saktipata. It is not possible to bestow saktipata on the masses, as a few modern teachers pretend to do.
In all three schools of sakti sadhana, the awakening of kundalini sakti is the central theme, and initiation is given step by step. The highest initiation is called mahavedha. In mahavedha, the final knot of ignorance is cut asunder and the aspirant has access to the highest knowledge.
The technique of attaining the goal of sakti sadhana is called tantra. This is a method of helping one of realize the atman. Etymologically, the word is derived from the verb tan, which means “expansion” or “expansion” or introduction,” and the suffix tra, which means “protection” or “guide.” Thus, tantra is the path or sadhana which leads an aspirant to the highest state of protection, which is the highest state of attainment. Tantric scriptures expound the multifarious meaning of all the Tattva (principles), from the Absolute to the manifest world, including the science of mantra. The philosophy of sankhya is related to sakti sadhana or agama scripturs. It furnishes three types of evidence-direct experience, inference, and the sayings of the adepts-as does sakti sadhana. Sankhaya also accepts the teachings of the Vedas. According to Sankhya, one can attain freedom from sorrow an pain by knowing tattva jnana, the knowledge of both the gross and subtle forms of the universe.
The profound knowledge of life here and hereafter is attained through sadhana. An aspirant knows that there is nothing that actually goes to complete annihilation. No object is subject to destruction; that which we call death is a change of the form and name of that which is considered to be dead. When the body drops, the individual soul is still carried by the vehicle manufactured by desires (the unconscious mind). As long as it drives that vehicle, it is called the individual soul. The moment it drops that vehicle, it becomes one with the Absolute, in the same way that a river meets the ocean and becomes one with it.
In the Tripura Rahasya, the dialogue between Sri Dattatreya and Sri Parasurama leads the aspirant to know what duality is and what is absolute, one without second-what is dvaita and what advaita is. The state of advaita cannot be discussed, but can only be realized. Discussions are possible only in the state of duality.
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