Such supreme beauty does Mother Bhuvaneshwari radiate that Her devotee stands dumbstruck and unable to ask for anything in Her auspicious presence. Bearing three eyes, She is effulgent like the rising sun. Like Tripurasundari, She bears a goad and a noose in two of her hands while the other two form boon-bestowing mudras. Ardently adored by the practitioners of Sri Vidya, Bhuvaneshwari represents the Mother of all creation (Bhuvana = world, or everything that is in creation, Ishwari = Supreme Ruler). While Kali represents time, Bhuvaneshwari represents space.
If Brahman may be conceived of as vast self-effulgent limitlessness (Prakasha), the desire for creation and for self-limitation is represented by Sundari. The resultant limiting of the limitless Being into time and space concepts arise from Kali and Bhuvaneshwari, respectively. The turning of the Divine toward manifestation, to see Himself reflected in a myriad forms is the function of Bhuvaneshwari. Creation begins from this divine vision of the Supreme as this great Mother. From Her self-imposed limitation of space arise the three gunas, the twenty-four tattvas, the seven worlds above and the seven below, all that is seen and unseen, imagined and unimagined, thought and unthought. While Sundari represents Iccha shakti or desire-force, Bhuvaneshwari represents Jnana shakti or knowledge-force. She is the perceptive power of all beings and perception results in knowledge. How vast must be the vision of the Divine? So too is space. As our vision and perceptions broaden, so does the space holding them.
Another name for this great mother is Maya (Ma =to measure). One of the primary differences between Tantra and Vedanta is how Maya is viewed. To the Mayavadin, all of creation is an illusion, to be done away with, the immutable Brahman the only goal of practice. To the Tantric, Maya is anything but an illusion. She represents the willingness of the unlimited consciousness to take on limited forms, taking on individual characteristics and yet remaining untouched by it. She conceals Her true nature and acts as Maya, seemingly entangled in Her own limitations of names and forms in space. Even as She arises as knowledge-force, this knowledge remains limited as long as it is within the space of creation. Thus, a spiritual practitioner can acquire great powers and knowledge of worlds seen and unseen, commune with divine beings and travel astrally to various planes. Yet, he/she can remain entrapped within the clutches of Maya, within the realm of names and forms. It is the Grace of Bhuvaneshwari that bestows the supreme boon to see Her true form, standing behind the finite names and forms, beyond space as the infinite awareness. In the sadhana of the Mahavidyas, Bhuvaneshwari arranges the events and circumstances in the spiritual journey and Kali determines the precise timing of each. Since space sustains the macrocosm, so too does the sadhana of Bhuvaneshwari lead to the support of all of the microcosm, the “peace that passeth all understanding” (Phillipians, 4:7).
As we arrive at the “I Am”, prior to thought, emotion and body and through the 180-degree turnaround, the source of this “I Am” can be traced back in deep meditation to rest in the region of the physical heart. Abiding as this “I Am” and drawing all senses inward like a tortoise that draws its limbs within (Bhagavad Gita, 2:58), we come to rest in the vast spaciousness of this heart space even as we go about our daily activities. Even while nothing seems different on the surface of mundane life, everything is different as we begin to unlearn all that had kept us in Maya’s hold. In this Self-abidance, Maya is transformed into Bhuvaneshwari. The seed mantra of Bhuvaneshwari, Hrim, is the very yearning of the created for its creator. In Sri Vidya Sadhana, hrim is the powerful seed sound added to the various segments, revealing knowledge in various forms as one progresses in practice. One cannot but relax deeply in this heart space; healing begins to take place in this profound relaxation that occurs at a cellular level, and what occurs is a radical transformation of the ordinary body-mind into instruments for Her will and action. In the vastness of this heart space, Kali as time stands still and Tara reveals Herself as the primordial vibration as the “I Am”. Here, Tripurasundari reveals Herself as the supreme and universal desire for liberation. In this Self-abidance, events of daily life fall into place in an effortless rhythm, anxieties and fears melt away and dreams take on the luster and radiance of this heart space. The seduction of the pull into the dead past and the imagined future finally loses its power as it is seen to arise and fall in the eternal Now. Synchronicities become commonplace and miracles no longer hold our awe. For nothing matches the splendor of abiding in the vastness of the “I Am” in the sacred heart space. While previously we were identified as the character in the movie, we now know ourselves as the ever-pure, immutable screen. Worship of Bhuvaneshwari enables us to have a complete turnaround in our worldview; in this Self-abidance we come to see that we are part of a much greater whole and that we do not live in the universe. The universe lives in us.
Continued abidance in the “I Am” has the peculiar effect of seeing everyone and everything else to also be this vast spacious screen as well, albeit with mistaken identities as characters in the movie played upon the screen. Yet, the Grace of Mother Bhuvaneshwari is so complete that this critical shift in identity is also seen to be but an intermediate phase of the journey. The screen begins to reveal a secret trap door, beckoning us to take a look. For beyond this door stands the next of the Mahavidyas, Tripura Bhairavi.
Image source: Astrologer Dr Krishnendu