Sri Vidya is unique in Hinduism as it has he rare distinction of combining Mantra and Tantra Shastras.
It also includes Yoga.
Sri means Prosperity and Plenitude.
Vidya is Knowledge.
Sri Vidya is that which grants Knowledge and Prosperity or Knowledge of Prosperity.
As Knowledge that liberates the Soul it has no equal.
The special feature is that it grants both prosperity and Liberation n the after Life, nay, Liberates one from the cycle of births and deaths.
In two short phrases Lalitha Sahasranama describes Goddess Lalitha as .Bhaktha Sowbhagyadhaayini’
One who grants every thing for the welfare of Her Devotees.
She is The Universal Mother.
The Lalitha Sahasranama begins addressing the Goddess as The Mother , Mother of Prosperity,
“Sri Matha, Maharajne’
As Knowledge of Prosperity Sri Vidya it gives scope for prosperity in this world through Saguna Upasana and for Beyond by Nirguna Uapasana.
Sri Vidya combines Gnana, Bhakti, Karma and Raja Yoga and synthesizes them in one format.
As a Devotee if one worshps the Devi as different from the Self, it becomes Dwaita.
When Sri Vidya is practiced as the raising of Kundalini through the Chakra in the Human Body it becomes Yoga.
In Kunḍalini yoga, one realizes divine consciousness through the activation of the hidden energy of Kunḍalini.
There are six centers (cakras) in the spinal channel. Kunḍalini is said to be initially coiled up at mulādhara.
She is the Mother. She passes through these six from mulādhara at the bottom of spine to ajna at the forehead, then to the crown of the head (sahasrāra) where individual consciousness fully unites with cosmic consciousness.
When one meditates on the Devi as an expression of the Universal Self, Brahman, it is Advaita.
As the mantras are mystically locked, it is Mantra Shastra.
Sound is produced through contact, vibration and obstruction.
This is called āhata. However cosmic hiss if one can hear is eternal and existent.
This is called Anāhata. It is not produced by us but only heard.
A yogi can hear this.
Through this one will be able to discover the deeper vibration.
This way of merging individual with cosmic is called mantra yoga.
Mantra is said to be the sound-form of Devata (god-form).
One realizes Devata through the chanting of mantra in mantra yoga.
Mantra yoga concentrates on nada (sound) to strike rhythm between individual and cosmic vibration, to activate the right nādis, to expose one into the cidākāsa or daharākāsa (causal space).
Śabda (sound) is the tanmatra (subtle attribute) of mahābhuta (primal element) ākasa (space)
It practices Geometrical Worship, Sri Chakra, it becomes a Tantra Shastra.
As Laya Yoga.
Meditation is the means in laya yoga. One controls mind through the control of breath, so that full concentration is possible in meditation.
Through meditation, one’s consciousness merges in the object of meditation and one realizes Atman.
The state, in which the difference between the one who meditates the act of meditation and the object of meditation dissolves, is called samādhi or sāyujya.
One also observes during meditation one’s own being, the different sheaths of consciousness.
There are five kosas or sheaths of consciousness of being – annaMāya (physical), prānaMāya (vital-life), manoMāya (mental), vijnānaMāya (intellect-knowledge) and ānandaMāya (causal – blissful).
The first is gross, next three constitute subtle and the fifth causal being.
The causal being is Īśvara who resides in all beings, along with Māya His consort. She veils the unmanifest form of the divine, Brahman.
The Mother is MahāMāya, who covers the world with veil of ignorance and lifts the veil out of grace, causing the entire play of creation.
This is the cosmic sport She does for the Lord, Her līla. Her play, action can be seen in karanākāsa the causal space.
She is the moon of that space, and is called Cidākāsa candrika.
Sources for Sri Vidya.
The Tantric texts like Rudra Yamala expound ŚrīVidyā. Khadgamāla Stotra, is the map and worship of Śrī Chakra
.Besides there are several Śrī Kula texts in the oral traditions, either as compilations or as part of the mantra Śāstra texts like Mantra Mahodādhi, Mantra Mahārnava and Śāktā texts.
A few of these texts are listed below –
- Kāmakala vilāsa
- Tantrarāja tantra
- Tripurārnava tantra
- ŚrīVidyārnava tantra
- Jnanārnava tantra
- Dakṣiṇamurti samhita
- Gandharva tantra
- Nitya shodashikarnava
- Yogini hridaya.
- Śrī Lalita Devi Caritra by Jagadguru Śrī Siddheswarananda Swami, Published in Telugu by Swayamsiddha Kali Peetham, Guntur
- Śrī Guru Samsmarana, The Souvenir on Centenary of Śrī C V Swami Sastriji