Pañcastavi is a pentad of devotional hymns sung in praise of Parabhaṭṭārikā Mahā-tripurasundari. The throb of ecstasy of the Divine I-Consciousness is spiritual dynamism, called Spanda, which is the absolute freedom of Śiva or Śiva’s svātantrya Śakti. Šiva has no flux but serves as the causa sinequa non of all pulsation as His own Sakti. Parāśakti is, therefore, yoni, the source or the Supreme Mother whose five glories are consciousness (cit), bliss (ananda), volition (icchā), knowledge (jñana), and activity (kriya). These glories are praised in the Pañcastavi in reverse order.
It is said that during his glorious visit to Kashmir, Śri Sankaracharya was impressed with these hymns recited by a Kashmiri Pandit. Basically a monistic treatise, Pañcastavi deals with secrets of Kundalini power according to Sakta tradition which corresponds to krama system of Kashmir Saivism. This commentary is an attempt to bring out inner meanings of these “deceptively simple” poems on Kundalini Yoga.
The worship of the Ultimate Reality as Mother is a unique feature of the Vedic spiritual tradition of India. Among the various compositions in the praise of the Divine Mother, Pañcastavi occupies an important place. It is a treatise comprising five hymns in praise of the Supreme Sakti. Siva is the transcendental Self, and His Sakti is the cause of all manifestations. It is by the grace of the Sakti that one experiences the transcendental Siva. This is a work that can be described as Kundalini Yoga or Sakta Yoga as well, which culminates in Advaita or Non-Dualism.