"To imagine that the Self can be shackled by mental projections is like imagining that the fire reflected in a mirror can burn. There is absolutely no connection, beyond the foolish certainty that we are shackled and the differentiations created by the mind. Until these two shortcomings are washed away by the holy waters of self-interrogation, neither I, nor Brahma the Creator, nor Vishnu, nor Shiva, nor even Sri Tripura, goddess of Wisdom, can help the disciple to evolve. Therefore, Rama, overcome these two obstacles and remain eternally happy.''
~ Sri Dattatreya
... from "Tripura Rahasya", chapter XVIII, verses 127-130
Tripura Rahasya is one of the most important writings about Devi or the tradition of the Mother Goddess.
Ramana Maharishi considered Tripura Rahasya to be one of the greatest works of Advaita philosophy, being considered at the same time a tantric text or Shakta.
She is also called Haritaayana Samhita after her author Haritaayana, the son of Harita.
Tripura Rahasya exposes the teachings of supreme spiritual truth. The greatest truth was for the first time taught by Shiva to Vishnu. Vishnu incarnated on earth as Sri Dattatreya, or Avadhutas, and it was he who taught this to Parasurama, who later taught Haritaayana.
Tripura Rahasya is written in the form of a dialogue between Sri Dattatreya and Parasurama. It is interesting to note here that Parasurama is the sixth avatar of Vishnu. Thus, an avatar of Vishnu learns another avatar of Vishnu!
Parasuma, a valiant Brahman, promised to kill all Kshatriya (warriors) to avenge the murder of his holy father. After this bloodbath he began severe penances and finally met with Sri Dattatreya, who consented to be his spiritual guide.
The significance of Tripura Rahasya
Tripura literally means three cities or the Trinity. Rahasya means secret or mystery. In a certain sense it is no secret to be revealed. It is only because of our lack of wisdom that we can no longer experience our true nature. Therefore, the mystery would be a more appropriate translation. Thus, Tripura Rahasya means the Mystery beyond the Trinity.
The three cities or states of consciousness are called : Jagrat or the waking state, Svapana or state of sleep with dreams , and Shushupti or the state of deep sleep. The basic consciousness in all these three states of consciousness is called Sri Tripura, or the Mother Goddess.