The Yoga of inner communion with the Ten Great Cosmic Powers
In the Tantric vision, the Universe has a pyramidal vibratory structure. Different worlds are placed on different levels or strata. Each stratum has a definite rate of vibration and expresses a definite level of consciousness.
At the top of this gigantic pyramidal structure there are certain Cardinal Foci of Energy (Vidya-s) symbolically called "Cosmic Powers" or "Goddesses", which have a paramount role in creating, maintaining and reabsorbing the Cosmos.
The disciplines that lead to the inner communion with these Cosmic Powers are known as Maha Vidya Yoga or Shri Vidya Yoga. These are the supreme fundamental ways (paths) of profound knowledge and wisdom.
The Tantric tradition is characterized by the central place given to the Everlasting Female Archetype, the Supreme Goddess, the Mother of the Universe, i.e. the essential femaleness as a creative and dynamic Power which complements the stillness of the Consciousness. In this vision, each female is a Shakti. She embodies and manifests the secret fundamental subtle forces which animate and control the Cosmos.
The Tantric adepts see the whole Cosmos, with its visible and invisible worlds, as a Supreme Mother Goddess (Parashakti), which holds ultimate and omnipotent power over the cosmic manifestation and over all creatures. At the human scale, all women are parts of the Cosmic Goddess. The Ultimate Consciousness (Shiva) is grasped through Shakti.
It can be said that the Ten Great Feminine Cosmic Powers (Dasha Maha Vidya-s) are the ten fundamental aspects of the Supreme Cosmic Mother's personality. Nevertheless, each Goddess has a specific cosmic function in the universal harmony.
The traditional sequence of the ten Goddesses is:
The cluster of the ten Maha Vidya-s reflects the dynamic unity of existence, in which all aspects of life - the darkest, the purest, the most forceful and the inert - are combined to form a whole, a vision of unity in diversity.
Definition of "worship"
The esoteric Tantric Tradition states that:
"The highest form of worship (Param Puja) is not offering flowers, etc., to any image, but it is the grasp of the true nature of [the Deity as being the] Self. It does not need any definite place or time: it is to be performed wherever and whenever possible"
We understand the term "worship" with this meaning. In this way only, worship leads to spiritual knowledge, which imply the unification of subject and object by the relation of identity (samyama).
Maha Vidya Yoga consists in fact of ten different ways (paths) of understanding ourselves and the Universe through identification with ten fundamental energies-consciousness of the Cosmos. The purpose of this initiation is therefore self-knowledge through specific ways which are related to our affinity i.e., which best fit our personality. Tantra reveals that the Supreme Being can be reached in anyone of these Cosmic Foci of Power.