This section is from the book "Karpuradistotram. Karpuradi Stotra Tantrik Texts", by Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe). Also available from Amazon: The Serpent Power: The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga.
Hence Sadhakas who desire Liberation should always think of the Svarupatattva of Brahmavidya Kalika. Of this Svarupa the Devi says in Mahabhagavata : ' Those who long for Liberation should, in order to gain freedom from the bonds of the body, meditate on that aspect (Rupa) of Mine which is the supreme Light (Jyotih), Sukshma, and Nishkala, Nirguna, the all-pervading unbeginning, non-dual sole Cause which is Sachchida-nanda Itself. This is the Svarupa of the Devi which is beyond all mind and speech.'
The Markandeya Purana says, ' The Mahamaya is Nishkala, Nirguna, endless, undecaying, unthinkable, formless and both eternal (Nitya.) and transient (Anitya)', that is, Mahainaya Kalika is free from Kala (Maya) and free from Gunas, without end, imperishable, eternal, and not transient as is the world (Jagat), formless, and hence, as such, is not the object of meditation. In the Kurma Purana, Vishnu in the form of a Tortoise says that the Supreme Devi is Nirguna, pure, white, stainless, free from all duality and realizable by the Atma only. This state of Hers is attainable only by Jnana. In the Kamada Tantra, Shiva says ' That eternal Kali who is supreme Brahman is one without a second either male or female. She has neither form, Adhara, or Upadhi. She is sinless and imperishable Sachchida-nanda, the Great Brahman.' She who is eternal Brahman has neither appearance (Avirbhava) nor disappearance (Tirobhava), and being all-pervading, She cannot be said, like other Devas and Devis, to reside in any particular Loka. Thus Brahma resides in Brahmaloka, Vishnu in Vishnuloka, Rudra in Kailasa and Shri Krishna in Goloka, but Mahadevi is always and everywhere equally present; though for the fulfilment of the desires of Sadhakas, She appears in particular forms in their minds and hearts. It is clear therefore that her Sthula aspect is Maya-made (Mayamaya) and transient (Anitya). For this reason Shiva, in the G andharva Tantra, says, ' That aspect (Rupa) of the Devi which is the Supreme Bliss and the Great Cause of the worlds neither appears nor disappears'. In the Kularnava Tantra, Shiva says, ' It neither rises nor sets, nor grows nor decays; It shines Itself and makes others shine without any help. This aspect is without condition (Anavastha) and is being only (Sattamatra) and unknowable to the senses (Agochara).' That is, the Svartipa aspect of the Mahadevi who is Supreme Bliss is the root-cause of this world :of three Gunas. This aspect has no appearance or disappearance and no growth or decay. 'It is self-manifest and manifests all other objects. It is beyond the'states of waking, dreams, and sleep. It is unattainable by speech and mind and is Being itself.'
In fact just as fire which, though pervading all objects, does not show its power of burning and lighting, and cannot be put to use for cooking and so forth, until it has been generated by the friction of two objects, so although the Chinmayi is all-pervading, She does not become visible nor does She grant one's desire without the action of Sadhana. Again just as the Sun itself, motionless in the distant Heavens, by its rays draws moisture from the earth, so the Mahadevt, who is the abode of all Shaktis, though in Herself changeless (Nirvikara) creates (and the like) the world by means of the eight Shaktis, Brahmani, Vaishnavi, Maheshvari and other Devatas, presiding as Her creative and other Shaktis. For this reason in the Yantra of Mahadevt Kalika (see Kalikopanishad) the Sadhaka worships the fifteen Shaktis Kali and others in the fifteen corners, the eight Shaktis Brahmi and others on the eight petals, the eight Bhairavas and Vatukas Asitangga and the rest at the edges of the eight petals, the four Devatas, Vishnu and others, at the four corners of the Yantra, and the ten Dikpalas, Indra and others, in the ten directions as being the rays of Kalika who is Herself a mass of pure light (Tejoghana). The Mahadevt is worshipped as the Murtti consisting of Shiva-Shakti (Shivashaktimaya) in the Bindu at the centre of the Yantra.
Although the Agama Shastra, which grants Advaitabhava and educes Tattvajnana, has been revealed by all-merciful Shri Shri Bhairava and Bhairavi, it is still unknown to a mass of people. Many in fact to-day despise the Tantra because it contains Vtrachara and Kulachara, and some even refuse to admit that it is a Dharmashastra at all. If they had read the Tantra Shastra intelligently and learned its principles from Sadhakas truly versed in it, they would have realized how mistaken were their notions of it and, instead of despising it, would certainly have admitted that this Shastra is the only means of Liberation for the undisciplined, weakminded and short-lived. Seeing that wine, flesh, fish are consumed and sexual intercourse takes place in the world at large I am myself unable to understand why many people should shudder at the Sadhana of Panchama-kara to be found in the Tantra Shastra. Do these acts become blarneable only if made a part of worship (Upasana)?
All know that Ghee which nourishes and promotes longevity causes serious stomach-disease and even death if taken in too large quantities, whilst snake-poison, which kills, will yet cure and lengthen the life of a dying delirious man, if it be purified and given under suitable condition with a cold bath, a diet of whey, and so forth. Similarly the Great Physician (Vaidyanatha) Himself has prescribed the Mantra of Adyashakti possessed of all Shaktis, and the invigorating Pancha-ma-kara as Sadhana, suitable for the cure of the malady of Existence (Bhavaroga) of the sinful Jivas of this dark Kali age, and as a means whereby they may attain the supreme state full of eternal bliss, imperishable and immortal. All classes of physicians prescribe the use of wine, fish and flesh in measured quantities for the acquisition of strength by patients who are weak and have a low vitality. On that account the medical science does not deserve to be hated. Similarly the Tantra Shastra does not deserve to be blamed for prescribing the Pancha-ma-kara for the Liberation of Jivas suffering from the disease of worldly existence. Shiva has nowhere said that Sadhakas of Shakti should always drink wine, always slaughter animals and eat their flesh and always enjoy women, and that thus they will attain Liberation. On the contrary He has counselled various means for checking excesses in these matters, and He has in particular controlled license by making these acts part of the worship of Ishvara. It is the degraded conduct of a number of great Pashus who pretend to be Sadhakas which is the cause of the public dislike for, and hatred of, the Tantra Shastra. In the Mahanirvana Tantra Shri Sadashiva says 'Wine, is Tara (the Saviour) in liquid form (Dravamayi). It saves Jivas destroying dangers and disease, and grants both Enjoyment and Liberation. But wine, if drunk in contravention of rule (Vidhi), destroys the intelligence, reputation, wealth and life of men.