Tripura Sundari


Dear reader of this website…
My deepest devotion and longing goes to Maha Tripura Sundari; She is the Supreme (=maha) most beautiful (=sundari) One that lives in the three (=tri) cities (=pura) of Waking, Dreaming and Deep Sleep. Temporary leaving behind the three cities and residing only in Pure Consciousness is called Self-realization. Therefore all of our practices are done to explore and know the three cities, so that we can go beyond them and rest in the formless pure Consciousness. It starts by knowing ourselves on all levels: body, breath, both conscious and unconscious mind, so that we are able to meditate directly on Tripura Sundari. Eventually letting go of all that we think we are and merge into Tripura Sundari.
Some might think that by referring to Tripura Sundari as Her, or Mother Divine, that I think she is an anthropomorphic being or deity, but She is NOT. She is the Non-dual Absolute Reality in which all appearing manifestation seems to exist. The same count for Shiva and Shakti. We might refer to them as him and her, but this to does not mean I see them as deities with each their own form (like Shiva with a blue skin and snake around his neck). I see them as appearances or concepts within the Non-dual Reality. In this appearing dual manifestation Shiva; the unmanifest force (which could be indicated as masculine, but essentially has no gender) and Shakti; the manifesting force (or feminine). They only appear to dance as separate, but are always one and the same.
This heart sings of joy and awe when it realizes that all that is One; all this magnificent manifestation dances as apparent duality within the non-dual Absolute Reality. For me it is as if there is a lap of love in which all manifestation seems to appear. Therefore, I lovingly refer to the Non-dual reality as Divine Mother, as She is like a formless lap of unconditional Love. This is how I hold Tripura Sundari in my heart, in my practice, and in this whole website, which I dedicate to Tripura Sundari. I wish that those who seek Tripura Sundari are benefited by my attempts to talk about formless Divine Mother…
In loving service
Swami Ma Tripurashakti

| top |


A short story emerged:
a dialogue between a seeker and the formless Divine Mother

Dear formless non-dual Divine Mother,

How do you describe the formless?
How to communicate that which cannot be seen, cannot be felt, touched or heard in a world that operates through the senses?
How to find the formless while living in the world of forms?
How can I explain the deep longing that I hold in my heart to seek this formless truth and to find union?

That longing is mostly formless and without words. It radiates from a level beyond cognition. That longing that is almost un-graspable for the mind has manifested into the heart, into the deepest level of knowing. It is all-pervading and almost too much to hold at once.

And dear Divine Mother how to describe you, when one starts the experience you more and more?

How to explain or share in words your incredible presence that is One, not dual, and that is the only thing that really is?

How to describe your ever-present awareness that is hidden within Avidya (ignorance or not knowing). That calls out as an appearing inner soundless voice of guidance to the All that appears to exist? I know this voice is not heard by everyone, which is perfectly ok, all in time. But for those who do hear it and are listening to it, how to find words to guide them? To guide myself? How to find you…You are everything and everywhere

An intellectual and intuitive understanding of the nature of non-dualism, allows for these questions to be directed to you, oh Divine Mother, knowing fully dualism is only an appearance within non-dualism. I understand that I actually direct these questions to the most inner level of my being, You and me and everyone else are one and the same. There is no ‘you’, there is no ‘me’, there is only BEING.

I know you will be always waiting. Your non-existent hand will always be reaching out to guide the non-existent me on the path to experience the Divine in its purest form, but the apparent me needs to step toward the apparent you first. I need to start listening and longing for you first.

I know you are indescribable, beyond form, beyond doing, beyond gaining or becoming. You are hidden inside of what I think to be me, so how can I find you? You are actually the real I, not me…

In silence I will listen to hear your guidance.
Ooh, how I long to merge with the non-dual reality, leaving me behind.
(Formless non-dual Divine Mother)
Dear beloved seeker,
Being formless can indeed not be described within the world of forms, because every attempt would be a form. But… the formless can manifest outward as form, as sounds, therefore as words. In this process it will lose something, namely its formlessness. However, it will be as beautiful as formlessness because it will never be something else but formless. How can I really have two faces, two appearances within myself if all is one, without a second? So formless and form will always be equally beautiful, as they are one and the same. But this beauty will only be seen by those who know that all is one. There is only me, only I seem to have changed, but how can form be actually form if it arose out of formless? My essence is one and the same. The mind, which also arose out of the formless, will trick you (or I should say ‘me‘) in labeling me in different ways, so duality appears to exist. Within this appearing duality the possibility arises to exclude yourself from me, and to see something else then beauty. But who is and always will be ‘you’ anyway? Me!

Within the formless there are no limits, no boundaries, no edges, no bondages, no holding back or cutting of, no excluding or labeling, no arguing or doubts, no illusions or ignorance, and no duality. But the mystery of the formless are its mirages that seem to appear within it, they actually don’t exist, but yet they can be enjoyed.

Many hold the longing to find me in their heart, in many different ways and degrees. The way this is expressed in the world of forms is always unique, as they are individual sparks of my divine essence. But eventually it will always lead to the same ending; where the form (labeled by the mind as a human being, meaning you) consciously sets aside its form (being human, having a mind) and is resting in the formless for a while, to return back to the manifestation of form with then an ever-present remembrance of the experience of the formless. The spark and the fire are one and the same. The human being will now know it was me all along and will be an instrument to serve the world of form.

Many know about me, but in different ways. In the course of time, I have been given many names (Tripura Sundari, Brahman, Atman, Shiva, Shakti, Consciousness, Silence, Turiya, Lord of Life). That makes communication sometimes difficult, because one first has to see that it all points in the same direction. Then the names, the different attempts to express me in the world of form can inspire you to find me, me beyond form. They will all add something to me, as they will all point to a different aspect of the indescribable. If you are able to hold them all together and then are willing to let them all go at once, you will find Me, the formless Consciousness from where all words and concepts arose.

There are many instruments (human beings) who throughout existence have experienced me. They selflessly offered words to the seekers that were heard in deep meditation and contemplation beyond their level of individuation, not claiming these words as their own. These written words provide some guidance to do the impossible, to describe the path of the indescribable, where you cannot do anything, nor achieve anything, but yet you will have to do something to unlearn the doing.

Let me show you some words people have written about me, to feed your longing, to increase your awe and amazement, to expand your awareness, and to enjoy your contemplations on a deeper level. Take in the words, allow them to bring you beyond the words into formless contemplation, of being in awe…pure devotion of the indescribable.

| top |


Tripura Sundari; that’s the abode of Mother… Turiya is the abode of Mother from where She watches all three states: sleeping, dreaming, and waking. So in enlightenment, on the path of enlightenment, you attain Turiya. But the devotees say, with Her grace you can easily attain Turiya because it is Her abode. Turiya is Her abode. That’s why She’s called Tripura Sundari. Pura means city. There are three cities: waking, dreaming, and sleeping. You are citizen of three cities, and She is citizen of four cities, the fourth one is Turiya…
When you attain Turiya, you have gone beyond samadhi. In samadhi you attain a state of equilibrium, tranquility. Here, you go beyond that state, which is called sleepless sleep. You are in deep sleep, yet you are fully awake. That is the state you are in.
Guest: Is Divine Mother related to the Lord within?
Swami Rama: Virtually, they are one and the same. There are two aspects of the Lord. One is silent aspect, dormant aspect, another is expressive aspect. That creative aspect is called Mother; that silent aspect is called Father, of the universe. One is called Shiva, the other is called Shakti. Without Shakti, nothing can be created. This universe was directly created by Shakti. Though, so by Shiva. But Shiva, without Shakti’s help, cannot create the universe. One is unmanifested power, another is manifestation. That which manifests is called Shakti, that which remains in unmanifested form, though it is still there, is called Self-existent power, that is Shiva. And that which manifests itself, is called Shakti. This fine discrimination is there.
~ From Swami Rama’s Saundaryalahari lecture 4 (click here to watch the Youtubes)


| top |


Read the whole article “Tantra” on
Tripura: In the Himalayan tradition, the aspirant clears the mind through the practice of Yoga meditation as codified in the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, does self-inquiry of Vedanta, and then breaks through the final barrier with Samaya Tantra and Sri Vidya (The practices of Sri Vidya are said to have been known to the more esoteric practitioners of the worlds most known religions, although they have been lost publicly over time). Central to the practices is Maha Tripura Sundari, the great, beautiful one, essence, consciousness, or reality that dwells in the three “cities” (tripura, or three cities including: gross, subtle, causal; waking, dreaming, sleeping; conscious, unconscious, subconscious).
Read the whole article “Kundalini Awakening” on
Tripura: Tri means three, and pura means city. Tripura is the consciousness that operates in the three cities of Waking, Dreaming, and Deep Sleep, as well as the Conscious, Unconscious, and Subconscious aspects of mind. Sometimes conceptualized as the divine feminine (Shakti), compared to the divine masculine (Shiva), she permeates the three cities of the Gross world, the Subtle plane, and the Causal reality. Tripura also permeates the many other trinities such as the beingness inherent in past, present and future. This is a Tantric rendering of the three levels of consciousness mapped out by the OM Mantra symbol, and its levels of Vaishvanara, Taijasa, and Prajna. Dedication, devotion, love, and surrender into this creative source or divine Mother is one of the finest aspects of Tantra as a direct route to Realization. Some conceptualize Tripura as an anthropomorphic deity, while the subtler practices are directed towards Tripura as formless, that fourth state beyond the other three cities. The Bindu of Sri Yantra is the symbol of this highest transcendent Reality. The quality of the three cities is an aspect of OM Mantra, Gayatri Mantra, and Mahamrityunjaya Mantra.
A poem written by Swami Jnaneshvara:

The secret of Shiva and Shakti
Shiva and Shakti are one and the same.
There is no place that He is not.
There is no place that She is not.
They are one and the same.
She is in every thing.
She is in every word.
She is all there is.
See Her in all things.
Hear Her in all sounds.
Know Her in all thoughts.
Feel Her in all feelings.
She is all there is.
She is the one in the three worlds.
Shiva and Shakti are one and the same.
That is the secret.


| top |


This is how the text Saundarya lahari begins, which is a text on Sri Vidya, about Tripura Sundari
Shivah shakthya yukto yadi bhavati shaktah prabhavitum
Na chedevam devo na khalu kusalah spanditumapi;
Atas tvam aradhyam Hari-Hara-Virinchadibhir api
Pranantum stotum vaa katham akrta-punyah prabhavati
Verse 1: Lord Shiva, only becomes able to do creation in this world along with Shakti. Without her, even an inch he cannot move. And so how can, one who does not do good deeds, Or one who does not sing your praise, Become adequate to worship you Oh, goddess mine, Who is worshiped by the trinity (brahman, vishu, rudha)
This text establishes from the beginning that Shakti and Shiva are equal, none is higher then the other. As Shiva cannot manifest anything without the help of the manifesting power, Shakti. And the manifesting power cannot do anything without a ground, Shiva. The highest insight in tantra is the direct experience that Shiva and Shakti are one and the same. They only appear to be different. They are un-dividable. Always One. The whole text is one song of devotion to Tripura Sundari, written by Adi Shankaracharya
click here to see the whole text


| top |


Translation by Pandit Ragmani with the title “Shakti Sadhana”. Rahasya means secret or mystery, thus this text reveals the mystery of Tripura (the One who dwell in the three cities of Waking, Dreaming, and Deep Sleep)
Chapter 1 verse 1: HOMAGE TO THE ABSOLUTE REALITY, the source and the embodiment of bliss, the supreme consciousness, here termed as She, the Mother, who is both the magnificent image of the universe and the mirror in which this dazzling reflection appears.
Chapter 7 verse 89-92: The ignorant remain confused about formless absolute reality. In their ecstasy, they visualize the supreme in different forms. According to the nature of their devotion, God assumes various forms and fulfills their desires, though he is formless, absolute, and pure consciousness. Consciousness is transcendental and is beyond all three sates of mind — waking, dreaming, and deep sleep — and is named Tripura. Though this universe is inseparable from her, it appears to be separate and the same as Visnu and Siva. Therefore you should not consider them different. They are one and the same. The entire universe is a reflection of pure consciousness. Consciousness is non-dual. Therefore, there is nothing superior or inferior.
Chapter 14 verse 43-49: The whole universe is always encompassed by light within and without. Such light is transcendental and is called the supreme Tripura, the supreme goddess. Knowers of the Vedas call her Brahman and Vaisnaivites call her Vishnu. According to Saivites, she is Siva; according to Shaktas, she is Shakti, As the image is pervaded by the mirror, this world is pervaded by the power of consciousness. All the objects in this universe are illuminated by that light. As the image of a city is not part of the mirror, similarly the universe is not part of consciousness. As an image cannot be separated from the mirror, the universe cannot be separated from consciousness. This is the glory if the real self.
Chapter 20 verse 22-28: The sages prayed to Tripura, the goddess of knowledge itself, ‘O Mother Divine, the highest of all, Srividya, with folded hands we bow in front of you. You are the cause, sustenance and annihilation of this universe. O supreme Goddess, we prostate in front of you. You are most ancient. You were never born, therefore you are ever-fresh because you never go to decay. You are all in all, the existence of all, knower of all, and bestower of happiness. You are beyond all phenomena of the universe, untouched by the universe, unattached. O Mother Goddess, again we bow to thee. We pray to thee from all directions again and again. You are form and formless. You are the mother of fulfillment and knowledge, you are the fruit of real sadhana, you are the seeker, you are the adept, and you are the highest of all adepts. Kindly explain everything to us. Again we bow reverently in front of you.
Other fragments from Chapter 20 (where Tripura Sundari is speaking to the sages):
‘Sages, listen to me. I will systematically explain. I will churn the ocean and give the nectar to you. This whole universe, like an image in the mirror, is born, it is there, and it annihilates itself. That which is seen by the ignorant as the world is realized by the yogis as pure knowledge. That which is the very basis of the senses and internal states, without which nothing exists, and that which is the subject of the scriptures, that self-illumined reality, is my real nature. I am called Tripura. Far beyond the world there is an ocean of eternal bliss. In the center of that ocean there is an island of gems, and the midst of that island there is a temple with brilliant illumination. In the inner chamber of that temple is a throne on which is seated Mahatripurasundari, the great Mother Divine, with her five aspects. O highest of seers, that is myself.
By my own primal Shakti, it seems that i am born and will die in the world. In this way my faces are multifarious. I am beyond and above all, Sri Vidya. That which is pure, beyond all the phenomenal world, is the knowledge of the absolute, and to contemplate on that is freedom from duality. When the mind and its modifications flow towards the eternal center, atman, O seers, pure atman is realized. Therefore those practitioners who identify pure consciousness, through which all objects are illumined, alone remove all impurities. Those purified ones remain absorbed in that realization.

Click here to download Tripura Rahasya, translate by Swami Ramanananda Saraswathi

| top |


There are at least three Upanishads that talk about Tripura Sundari
Tripura Upanishad
Tripura Tapini Upanishad
Bahvricha Upanishad
Here are some excerpts…
From Tripura Upanishad:
Verse 5. Of the three lines, abodes, three worlds and three spheres
With triple constituents (She is the prop).
This group of three among the sheaths is prime.
In diagram drawn with mystic words
The God of Love with Fortune’s Goddess dwells.
From Tripura Tapini Upanishad:
Verse I-26: Who so repeats thus the fifteen-syllabled mantra of Tripura attains all desires; he attains all enjoyments; he conquers all worlds; he causes all words to bloom; he attains the status of Rudra; breaking through the abode of Vishnu (the veil of Maya), he reaches the supreme Brahman.
From Bahvricha Upanishad
Verse 4: Pervading the three cities [tripura], the three bodies, illuminating within and without, She, the Consciousness within, becomes the Maha-Tripura-Sundari, being associated with space, time and objects.
Verse 5: She alone is Atman. Other than Her is untruth, non-self. Hence is She Brahman-Consciousness, free from (even) a tinge of being and non-being. She is the Science of Consciousness, non-dual Brahman Consciousness, a wave of Being-Consciousness-Bliss. The Beauty of the three-great-cities, penetrating without and within, is resplendent, non-dual, self-subsisting. What is, is pure Being; what shines is pure Consciousness; what is dear is Bliss. So here is the Maha-Tripura-Sundari who assumes all forms. You and I and all the world and all divinities and all besides are the Maha-Tripura-Sundari. The sole Truth is the thing named ‘the Beautiful’. It is the non-dual, integral, supreme Brahman.