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 Abhinavagupta's Paramārthasāra (Paramarthasara): Stanzas 8 to 11 - Pure - Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir

Pure translation


Paramārthasāra continues with four more stanzas. This is the third set of stanzas, which is composed of 4 out of the 105 stanzas constituting the entire work.

Of course, I will also insert the original stanzas on which Yogarāja is commenting. I will write a lot of notes to make this book so understandable to the average reader as possible.

Read Paramārthasāra and experience Supreme Ānanda or Divine Bliss, dear Śiva.

This is a "pure translation" document, that is, there will be no original Sanskrit, but sometimes there will be a minimal quantity of transliterated Sanskrit in the translation itself of the text. Of course, there will not be any word for word translation. Anyway, there will be transliterated Sanskrit in the explanatory notes. If you are a blind person using a screen reader and do not want to read the notes, or simply if you are not blind but want to skip the notes, click on the respective "Skip the notes" to keep reading the text.

Important: All that is in brackets and italicized within the translation has been added by me in order to complete the sense of a particular phrase or sentence. In turn, all that is between double hyphen (--...--) constitutes clarifying further information also added by me.


 Stanza 8

In this way, if, by reasoning and revealed scriptures, this Self of everybody is stated to be the essence of the universal manifestation, to be the Highest Reality that is only Pure Consciousness (and) appears as all everywhere as a consequence (of His being) Pure Consciousness, (then,) why even in a lump of clay, etc. —since they are not different (from Himself)(is) He not perceived as one's own Self? Or if (such a lump of clay, etc.) are admitted (to have the Self as their essence, then) this respective difference between animate (and) inanimate, which is evident, stops being fit --does not agree with the teaching that all is the Self--. And, (in the absence of that difference between animate and inanimate,) how (then) (would) this ordinary life of the people, which is based on animate (and) inanimate, exist? (To reply this question, Abhinavagupta) said so1 :

Just as even the invisible shadow of the earth becomes visible when remains on the disc of the moon, even so this omnipresent Self (becomes perceptible) when (reflected) in the mirror of the intellect by resorting to the sense objects||8||

Though the shadow of the earth, which occupies a place in the space, is not perceived as wandering about everywhere, however it comes to light --appears-- at the time of a planetary --lunar-- eclipse when it remains on the form of the moon (and) it is perceived as "this shadow of the earth". Otherwise, even if it is --it exists-- (is) as if it is not, (remaining invisible) among the whole multitude of stars.

Likewise, even in this context, though this Self who is within all is directly perceptible as the only essential nature through one's own experience, (He) is not perceived by everybody in that way2 .

Nonetheless, when, at the moment of (His) appearing as the knowable --the object-- (reflected) in the mirror of the intellect —i.e. in the mirror of pratibhā— of the experients of the subtle body, the One whose sphere or field of action is I-consciousness --viz. the Self Himself-- becomes like this: "I hear", by appropriating things (such as) sounds, etc., then, (the Self) that remains even in a lump of clay, etc. as the essential nature of the knower (of that knowable or object --a lump of clay, etc.--) becomes evident. At that very time, one's own Self becomes visible and the One who is the only (essential) nature in one's own experience is perceived by everybody. (Nevertheless,) since He is full of excessive darkness in a lump of clay, etc., even though He is present (He) appears as absent, just like the shadow of the earth in the space3 .

Thus, this Fortunate One, in the group of existing things —although (such a group) is identical with Himself— (takes) even certain portions of knowables whose essence is the subtle body (and) that are sprinkled with the elixir of the state of I-ness --ego--, (and) makes (them) "knowers" by means of (His) māyāśakti. (Next, He takes) other (portions of knowables) (and) makes (them) objects. Basing on that, this ordinary life (replete with) duality whose essence is the corresponding difference between animate (and) inanimate becomes firmly established indeed.

On that account, a lump of clay, etc. (are) inanimate as they are knowables (and) the experient endowed with subtle body (is) animate as he is a knower.

Nonetheless, as a matter of fact, "the ordinary life based on animate and inanimate is not (valid) with reference to the Supreme Lord4 "||8||

Skip the notes

1  An objection is raised now: If all is the Great Lord, i.e. Consciousness or Cit, then the inanimate objects (e.g. a lump of clay), being Acit or devoid of Consciousness, seem to prove that that statement is not true, viz. that all is not the Great Lord or Cit really. Because if all is Consciousness or Cit, then all would be full of It, i.e. of Life... so, what are these "inert, inanimate, lifeless" objects doing right here?, as they should not exist as such. And if these inanimate objects are also said to be Consciousness, then they are full of Life and therefore they cannot be "inanimate" but "animate". In this case, the difference between inanimate and animate would cease and this would produce the end of the ordinary life, which is based on the duality: animate and inanimate.

This "apparently" innocent question will trigger a wise response appearing as the eighth stanza written by Abhinavagupta himself. Since the teachings contained in the stanza and in the Yogarāja's commentary are the "key" to final liberation from the nonexistent bondage, pay full attention to the instruction that is about to be given to you.Return

2  Just as the shadow of the earth exists constantly but it is only seen when it remains on the disc of the moon, even so this Great Lord who is Consciousness is detected when the universe appears. When the universe is unmanifest and the Self (Aham or real "I") is alone in His Full Glory, He is not detected as the shadow of the earth is not detected when it remains invisible among the whole multitude of stars. This Self is within all and is directly perceptible as the only essential nature through one's own experience, but not everybody perceives Him that way. Only the suprabuddha (the one who is perfectly awakened) is able to perceive Him in His Full Glory all the time. The prabuddha or partially awakened only detects Him at the beginning and end of the three ordinary states of consciousness (wakefulness, sleep and deep sleep). This has been explained in Spandanirṇaya I.17 by sage Kṣemarāja. The rest of people (the unawakened ones), though they are the Great Lord, have no actual perception of Him such as He is essentially, which causes all the problems in their lives. All these things will be elucidated by the next notes of explanation.Return

3  In the Trika system, Śāktopāya is the means that uses the viewpoint of Śakti (the Power of the Great Lord, the Power of Śiva). When you use that means in order to realize your own Self, you are taught to remain in the "gaps" between two things (two thoughts, two external objects, etc.). For example, if you are watching the object A, the universe is exactly that, i.e. "the object A" for Śiva (You!). Next, you move the attention toward the object B and when you finally focus it on the object B, then the object B is the universe for You. However, in the "gap" between your focusing on the object A and next on the object B, there is NO universe, viz. Śiva (the real "I") remains completely alone devoid of This (the universe). In Śāktopāya you are taught to focus your attention on those gaps and not on the objects themselves as ordinary people constantly do. When you start to do that, you stop being an ordinary person and turns yourself into a yogī. This is the difference between yogī-s and ordinary people then.

As you go deep at your concentration on the gaps that way, you learn to stay focused on your inner Self (where there is no universe at all). This accomplishment is called Ātmavyāpti or "a penetration (vyāpti) into one's own Self (Ātmā)". Of course, I am "super-simplifying" the explanation of all the processes or my exposition would be extremely long. The word Ātmā (a masculine noun derived from the prātipadika --crude form of a noun-- Ātman) must be written "Ātma" when used in compounds. Hence I wrote "Ātmavyāpti" and not "Ātmāvyāpti". So, when you achieve Ātmavyāpti you have realized your own inner Self... but you cannot perceive this Self outside too. All in all, you are still in bondage, you do not possess the Freedom of the Great Lord, because when you come out of that inner absorption in the middle point (in the gap of two perceptions... perception of the object A and perception of the object B), you stop perceiving the Self and you feel that the universe is "an obstruction". Next, as this universe seems to be an obstruction to you, you make the decision of running away from this universe, from the world, and you go to a mountain or a forest... but over there you keep finding universe too! In other words, in the city you found universe "as a city" and in a mountain or a forest you find universe "as a mountain" or "as a forest". You think then: "It is the same stone in my shoes, but with different aspect". You have that attitude because you are ignorant to the bones and there is no doubt about it. Let me tell you that there are also several schools of philosophy in India that arrived at the conclusion that the universe is an obstruction to your spiritual enlightenment. I reject all those schools because they are without any Grace coming from Lord Śiva! They are so significant as dust carried by the wind!

Anyway, when the Great Lord pours His Grace into someone who has attained Ātmavyāpti, he is led to the means known as Śāmbhavopāya, where there is complete thoughtlessness, i.e. there is no support at all for him. In Śāktopāya the support was the gaps between two perceptions (perception of the object A and perception of the object B), but in Śāmbhavopāya you remain in thoughtlessness ONLY. It is a state prior to final liberation. In Śāmbhavopāya you are not still so Free as Lord Śiva, but you are very very close to that great achievement. When you get His Freedom, this is Śivavyāpti or "a penetration (vyāpti) into Śiva --the Highest Reality--". This is final liberation or spiritual enlightenment according to the Trika system. In order to go from mere Ātmavyāpti to superb Śivavyāpti, Śiva will have to pour His Grace into you through His teachings. He is doing it right now by means of Paramārthasāra. What Abhinavagupta and Yogarāja (two embodiments of Lord Śiva) were saying is this:

When you are in Ātmavyāpti, when you are fully conscious of your inner Self or "I", there is no universe here. You dwell in the gaps between two perceptions (between the perceptions of the object A and the object B in the above example)... but when the universe appears again, i.e. when there is the perception of another object, you stop perceiving the Self at that time and you have to wait for the next gap to recover Ātmavyāpti. As you cannot live in constant Ātmavyāpti since sooner or later the universe will appear once again in the form of an external object, a thought, etc., you must be given the right attitude to deal with the universe. The dull yogī-s thinking that the universe is an obstruction to their trances are completely wrong. In reality, the universe is here to help you recognize your Shivahood, your State as the Great Lord. When Śiva is alone (e.g. in the gaps between two perceptions), He cannot realize His Glory, His Greatness, because He occupies it all. So, His Power, His Śakti, manifests the universe for Him to discover His Glory and Greatness again, just as you realize that "the earth has a shadow indeed" as it crosses the disc of the moon during an eclipse. In the same way, when Śiva is alone, His Glory is like the shadow of the earth traveling across the multitude of stars, where It remains invisible. But when the universe is placed in front of Śiva by Śakti, He detects His Glory in the same way mother earth could detect that she has a shadow when this shadow remains on the form of the moon in an eclipse. Therefore, the universe is not "obstructing Śiva" but helping Him to realize His Greatness. When He realizes His Glory, that is final liberation and nothing else is to be done by you.

Sage Yogarāja expands the teaching given by Abhinavagupta by saying that the Self becomes evident when He becomes like this: "I hear". In other words, the presence of universe as sounds, for example, makes the Self (the "I") say this: "I hear sounds". If you analyze that phrase, you will notice how the "I" is revealed there: "I hear sounds". Likewise, all the rest of perceptions generated by the universe are only revealing the Great Lord to the Great Lord (You!). Look: "I am glad", "I am suffering", "I am watching TV", "I am disheartened", "I have a physical body", "I have no money", "I am rich", "I am living", "I am dying", etc. Throughout all those perceptions the real "I", the Self, Śiva, is fully revealed. The objects and experiences generated by the universal manifestation are acting as the moon does regarding the earth, viz. they reveal the Glory of Śiva just as the moon reveals the shadow of the earth. The universe is never an obstruction to Śiva, hence He is called Arodhya or the Unobstructed One. Because in all the perceptions, whether they are pleasant, neuter or even unpleasant, the real "I" or Self is completely revealed!

When Śiva can see His own Glory reflected on the objects He is perceiving and experiences He is having, that is like the shadow of the earth remaining on the disc of the moon, i.e. the shadow of the earth is fully realized as such. In the same way, a person who has realized his Shivahood, his identity with Lord Śiva, is as mother earth looking at its own shadow on the moon. And when a person has no realization of his identity with Lord Śiva, he is as mother earth looking at the multitude of stars and not noticing she has a "shadow". Inert objects such as a lump of clay and the like are in the same condition as those unawakened people. That is why the Great Lord appears to be absent in a lump of clay, etc. while He appears to be present in a Self-realized person. As a matter of fact, He is "always" present but He does not realize His presence until "a moon" is put in front of Him, as it were. In this sense, the presence of the universe is never obstructing Him but on the contrary, it is helping Him see His own "shadow", viz. His Glory and Greatness.

In this Play of His, only the beings endowed with intellect can realize their Shivahood, i.e. they have "moon" on which they can see the "shadow of the earth". In other words, they can see the Divine reflected in the mirror of their intellects, in the mirror of pratibhā --the creative Consciousness also known as "I-consciousness" but in this context appearing in the field of limitation as mere "intellect"--. The subtle body of the human beings is called "puryaṣṭaka" in the Trika system, viz. "the city (puri) of the eight (aṣṭaka)". What are the eight? They are: Intellect, ego, mind (tattva-s 14 to 16) together with the five Tanmātra-s or subtle elements (tattva-s 27 to 31) --See Tattvic Chart for more information--. The physical body is not mentioned because it is tacitly included in the subtle body as it emanates from the Tanmātra-s themselves. The same example with the shadow of the earth crossing the disc of the moon during an eclipse can be used to explain why there are inanimate objects. The inanimate objects are also Śiva, but being devoid of "moon" or intellect where to see their Shivahood or divine Essence, they remain as inert objects, exactly as the shadow of the earth remains invisible when it travels across the darkness of the space. Such inert objects are full of tamas (lit. darkness). By "tamas", the commentator is referring to the grossest quality of Prakṛti.

The teachings passed onto you by Abhinavagupta and Yogarāja, along with my detailed explanation, are an embodiment of His Grace. If you thought that the universe was an obstruction, a stone in your shoes, these teachings are the means for you to be able to escape from the nonexistent bondage you live in due to your wrong attitude toward the universe manifested by Your own Power. These teachings lead directly to final liberation which is marked always by the achievement of His Svātantrya or Absolute Freedom.Return

4  The difference between "animate beings" and "inanimate objects" is only true in the case of the limited beings and not in the case of the Supreme Lord. To this Lord, all these things are "knowables" (even the knowers or pramātā-s endowed with subtle body). Hence He is called: Supreme Knower or Parapramātā in order to mark the difference between Him and the rest of mere knowers. All the mass of knowables that are one with Himself is divided by Him into two sections through His māyāśakti. Here the term "māyāśakti" has nothing to do with Māyātattva (the sixth category in the process of universal manifestation). Māyāśakti is simply the Power of the Lord which allows Him to generate differences.

One of those two sections, being endowed with subtle bodies, is sprinkled with "I-ness" or ego (limited I-sense) and thus such a section is transformed into "the knowers". The second section, not being endowed with subtle bodies, lacks I-ness or ego and therefore turns into inanimate objects. All this is carried out by Him through His own Power. But from the viewpoint of the Great Lord, both animate and inanimate are the same thing. It is only from the viewpoint of those "knowers" that there are animate beings and inanimate objects, and in this way the ordinary life can continue to exist as such. Without that duality based on animate and inanimate there would not be any ordinary life here. Anyway, as I told you before, that is not valid in the case of the Lord. Hence the objection raised in the introduction to the commentary on the present stanza is not valid either in the case of Lord Śiva since both animate and inanimate are only His own Creation made out of His own Essence.Return


 Stanza 9

An objection: If, as there is no difference (between the experients/knowers and the Great Lord), there is appearance of one's own Self in the intellect of all the experients/knowers, then why are not all of them knowers of their own Self? Or else, let them not become knowers of Him due to the (same) absence of difference (between them and the Great Lord)! --in short, all those experients/knowers should be knowers of the Self or else all of them should not be knowers of the Self, due to the inherent unity between them and Lord Śiva--. Nonetheless: "(1) Some people, even in the state of Saṁsāra --lit. Transmigration, i.e. while they retain a physical body--, (are) liberated while living, replete with omniscience (and) omnipotence, due to their knowledge of the Self; (2) and some people, being fit (to receive) knowledge about their own Self, are seen with intense desires to advance (in spirituality); (3) (while) others, being devoid of knowledge of their Self, (are) certainly transmigrating --from one body to the other, from one thought to the other--, bound by the fetters of good and bad actions occasioned by merit (and) demerit ". (Then,) how does this (fact) agree with (the teaching given in the previous stanza)? In this manner, keeping all (those arguments) in mind, (Abhinavagupta) explains (in the following stanza) that the Śaktipāta --lit. descent of Power, viz. Grace bestowal-- coming from the Supreme Lord (is) unrestrained --totally free--1 :

Just as a face shines forth in a mirror devoid of dirt, in the same way this brilliant Lord shines forth in the tattva or principle of an intellect which is spotless due to the descent of Power carried out by Śiva||9||

(The phrase "Ādarśe malarahite yadvadvadanaṁ vibhāti" in the stanza means:) Just as a face (reflected) in a mirror which is free from dirt shines accompanied by a group of peculiarities (such as) "its form is identical to the real one", etc. — (in other words,) there is no place or part (belonging to that face) which a completely clear mirror does not capture.

But in a dirty mirror, a face, even if it is preeminently unique, appears as the opposite since (the mirror) is not clean. A dirty (mirror) is not either able to capture the (special) peculiarities of that (face). On the contrary, a person whose face appears (reflected) in that (dirty mirror), seeing (that his) face (looks) otherwise —i.e. endowed with impurity, etc.— (would) feel ashamed (and say:) "My face (is) distorted".

In the same way, (Śaktipāta is) a descent of that Śakti or Power —a discharge of Her rays— of Śiva —of one's own Self—, which --Śakti or Power-- is known as Grace. By means of that (Śaktipāta or descent of Power), in the case of some experients/knowers who are going through their last birth, the Bhārūpa --the brilliant Lord-- —lit. "One whose form or nature (is) Bhās or Brightness"— who is one's own Self (and) is endowed with a group of attributes as great as omniscience, etc., shines forth at once in the extremely clean mirror of (their) intellects --of pratibhā or creative Consciousness turned into intellect--, which --the mirror of their intellects-- were made spotless due to the removal of (all) the residual impressions of the impurities (called) Āṇava, Māyīya (and) Kārma. As a result, some of them, because of an unfoldment of their essential nature that is their own Self, even though fallen in the middle of Saṁsāra --Transmigration full of misery--, (live) as liberated beings and are blessed with superiority2 .

(But,) in the case of others, through the power of concealment (belonging to) the Supreme Lord, the Self, though having a brilliant form or nature, on account of the dirt (He,) even shining, (appears) as without any brightness in the tattva or principle of the intellect that is thoroughly clouded by the impurities (called) Āṇava, Māyīya (and) Kārma. In consequence of that, they are known as transmigratory beings (or) paśu-s --lit. animals--. Even others, by means of both powers --the powers of Grace and concealment--, (become) experients or knowers provided with an intense desire to advance (from a spiritual viewpoint)3 .

In this way, through different degrees such as strong, mild, milder, etc., (the presence of) the diversity of Śaktipāta-s or descents of Power is to be noted (as existing) everywhere.

Here --in this context--, the horse-sacrifice, etc. or muttering of the mantra, meditation, etc., (or) any other action whatsoever, all of them occurring within (the realm) of Māyā --the sixth tattva or principle-- (and consequently) under the sway of the niyatiśakti --the power that generates restriction--, are not cause of liberation of the Self --i.e. of Oneself!--, since in His case —in His being beyond Māyā— a vastu or reality that is predominantly dual is not fit for accomplishing that.

That (same teaching) (was given in) the Bhagavadgītā:

"I, (in the way you have seen Me, am) not (possible to be seen) through the (study of the) Veda-s, (or) by (performing) austerity, (or) by means of charity (or) by (carrying out) a sacrifice."

Therefore, in this context, for those whose intellects are fit, (there is) only one natural cause (of Liberation): The Supreme Lord's Grace4 .

That (very truth) has been declared (in the following stanza:)

"In the portion Śaktipāta --descent of Power-- of the Master or Īśitā, the intellect (is) the one that makes the (Lord's) Freedom known, (and) being considered --lit. sniffed-- as (possessor of) causal agency or power, it does not require anything (else) --it requires no cause other than itself to reveal the Light of the Master--."

Nevertheless, with respect to the experients or knowers (known as) paśu-s or limited beings --lit. animals--, the power of concealment belonging to the Supreme Lord (is) certainly the cause for (their) Transmigrating (from one body to another body, from one thought to another thought, etc.). Consequently, these (beings), since there is no unfoldment of their essential nature, are engaged in good (and) bad actions, (and) participating in the experiences of pleasure, pain, etc., they transmigrate here --in this universe-- over and over again.

For that reason, even in one's own Self who is common to (all of) the experients or knowers, in His having a nature (both) full of Light (and) devoid of Light, (there are) two powers: (1) Grace (or Revelation of one's own essential nature, and) (2) concealment (of this very essential nature). Those (two powers) cause the divisions (called) Liberation (and) bondage5 .

The same thing has been stated (by Avadhūtasiddhapāda:)

"One śakti or power of the infinite Śakti binds uninterruptedly --with no obstruction-- the limited individual by the snares of the transmigratory existence, and the other --the power of Grace--, cutting all of the ropes with the sword of Knowledge, directs a person toward complete Liberation."


Skip the notes

1  The objection is clearly formulated and it is based on the teachings of the 8th stanza: "If all the knowers —the beings endowed with an intellect— are inherently Śiva, why do they seem to be different, spiritually speaking?". That is the core of the objection. Next, the one objecting develops his doubt by specifying that they should look the same, i.e. all of them should be either liberated people or bound people, and NOT a mixture: 1) liberated people, 2) liberated/bound people and 3) bound people.

The first category consists of jīvanmukta-s or sages that attained liberation while living. In short, they retained their physical bodies even after having achieved final liberation. There is another category being omitted by the one raising the objection here: The videhamukta-s or the ones who abandon their physical bodies when they get fully liberated from bondage. Of course, the task to find a real jīvanmukta is more difficult than looking for a needle in a haystack. And this jīvanmukta that is so difficult to be found could be Guru or merely someone who is liberated but is not a Guru (not all the liberated people will be Guru-s). Yes, as it is obvious, the presence of so many Guru-s on the planet shows the fact that most of them (99% being optimistic) are false. As the vast majority of aspirants are not qualified to distinguish a real Guru from a false one, they will get very frequently deluded by that mass of morons known as "false Guru-s". What did I mean by that? For instance, a simple situation: A false Guru tells an aspirant that he is a Sanskrit scholar well versed in the scriptures, but as the aspirant is generally ignorant about all that is related to Sanskrit, he cannot check if the Guru is speaking the truth or is lying. Oh well, this topic is a long one, really. I explained all about "false Guru-s" very extensively in the Blog.

Now, regarding the true Guru-s, according to the Abhinavagupta one should choose a Guru by following these guidelines in the order they are given:

  1. A Guru who has both a direct experience of his own Self and a solid knowledge about the scriptures.
  2. A Guru who has a solid knowledge about the scriptures.
  3. A Guru who has a direct experience of his own Self.

The ideal Guru is one who is a Self-realized person blessed with scholarship, but if this kind of Master cannot be found by the aspirant, he should go for a scholar then, i.e. for a Guru who has a solid knowledge about the scriptures. And if this is not possible either, he should go for a person who is Self-realized but has no solid knowledge about the scriptures. That is the order to be followed according to Abhinavagupta, the greatest Trika's Master. The reasons for his formulating the things in that order are clear when one studies the two aspects of the primordial impurity (the well-known Āṇavamala). I have explained in the Blog the topic called Āṇavamala in "very simple terms" (for beginners and middle aspirants) by the series of posts about spiritual ignorance that starts with this one: Spiritual ignorance - Part 1. After you read those posts, you will understand the reason why Abhinavagupta ordered the list in the way he did.

The second category of people specified by the one who raised the objection is composed of spiritual aspirants that are on their way to final liberation, from mere beginners in spirituality up to very advanced disciples on the point of becoming fully liberated. There is an immense portion of aspirants in this category who merely follow false Guru-s all the time, as this pest is world-wide. I have to say that it is sad to see how so many people are deluded by all those scoundrels, but no way, because this is the nature of the Play known as: "I want to attain final liberation". In the process of achieving that, there are just too many obstacles and the aspirant must overcome them all if he wants to be successful. This is one of the reasons why the liberated people are frequently called: Vīra-s or Heroes. Because they had to overcome all those obstacles (including the worldwide pest known as "false Guru-s") and, through His Grace, finally got the reward to all their Herculean efforts.

The third category is formed from ordinary people who are going nowhere from a spiritual viewpoint. To be precise, they are going "somewhere" really, but as they advance so slowly to the Supreme Goal, it is as if they were not advancing at all despite they are advancing. What did I mean? This: His Grace is present even in the case of the lowest creatures His Power invented. All of them advance to the Supreme Goal (Himself) but in general very slowly as to be easily perceptible. Anyway, there is progress always. A lot of people think that His Grace is only present when a sincere aspirant finally finds his genuine Guru, but this is not really true. In the long circuit called "the spiritual path", the portion known as "Guru/disciple relationship" is just the final straight. Yes, it might be the most interesting part of the circuit because the race is about to be over, but the circuit is very long anyway. Without His Grace "nobody" (and by "nobody" I mean exactly that) could advance toward Him. So, His Compassion is with all the beings constantly, one way or the other.

The main characteristic of the ordinary people is that they claim to have achieved the "glories" belonging to the liberated people despite they do not have attained those attributes yet. For example: Freedom, Truthfulness, free Will, real Knowledge, power of Action and so on. Of course, most of them will say: "I never claimed to have those attributes", if asked, but they behave like "free people" full of Truth, free Will, real Knowledge, power of Action and similar glories that are only the possessions of the blessed high-souled ones. The sad truth is that they have no real Freedom, no real Truthfulness, no real free Will, no real Knowledge, no real power of Action, etc. They are living in a constant lie and this is the reason for their also constant agitation and pain. Those illusions they live in make it very difficult for them to realize the real Goal of life and the necessity of resorting to a true Guru in order to learn how to get themselves out of this nightmare called "their lives in total bondage". Someone could ask about the proofs that all those illusions are all the time residing in those ordinary people. The proofs arise in the way these ordinary people think and speak about so many things. All these notions are completely illusory but they do not notice that due to His power of tirodhāna or concealment of His essential nature:

  1. Illusion of Freedom: "I am not affected by anything/anyone around", "I am in control of my life", "I am the architect of my destiny", "I decided to have the life I have", "I have always remained faithful to my principles", etc.
  2. Illusion of Truthfulness: "I am saying these horrible things to that person, and destroying him/her in the process, because I am completely sincere", "As I know the truth, I can judge other people properly", "I am I", etc.
  3. Illusion of free Will: "If I have money I can do whatever I want", "I can get my own way all the time", "I had this great idea and it is only mine", etc.
  4. Illusion of real Knowledge: "As I perfectly know what is happening here, I can act accordingly", "I can opine about this or that topic because I know it from beginning to end", "I know what is better to me", etc.
  5. Illusion of power of Action: "Everything will go exactly as I planned it", "If you have the time to explain this to me in detail, I will be able to understand it finally" (by "this", God is also included along with the complexities of Yoga, Trika, Sanskrit, nuclear physics, quantum mechanics, Einstein's relativity and the rest), "If I want I can", etc.

If you think I was exaggerating with the above examples, you do not know your own ignorance yet, i.e. you do not know the lie you live in. If you cannot tolerate to see those things in yourself, you can see them in others easily in order to learn how the things work in the real world: "People protest about the governments they themselves elected", "People think that if they were in the position of other people, they could have done better", "People are always defending their little ideas and opinions as if all that mass of ignorance was the Absolute Truth", "People resort even to the court if they feel that their honor and good name have been sullied by the words of someone else", "People do not notice that they are defending now what other people attacked some years ago", "People do not notice that they are attacking now what other people will defend in the future", etc. Such a mess of lies based on illusions produces constant unbalance and the respective pain in all the people belonging to the third category mentioned by the one raising the objection. Those illusions are so strong that very often even the presence of real catastrophes in the lives of the ordinary people cannot cope with the task of showing them that all those ideas about their Freedom, their real Knowledge, etc. are an illusion in their case till they do not have real accomplishment through His Grace after overcoming innumerable obstacles by constant efforts on the spiritual path.

In the ordinary people, there is also a little quantity of anugraha or Grace generally appearing in the form of a Voice inside telling: "Something is wrong, something is lacking", etc. By those statements, the Voice is tacitly saying: "You are not really Free, you have no real Will, no real Knowledge, etc. Awake!". But His power of tirodhāna or concealment of His essential nature, in its being predominant in those people, overpowers the power of anugraha or Grace. Anyway, this Grace cannot be annihilated ever, as it is obvious. So, as these people cannot get rid of the Voice saying all those things every day of their lives, they need to superimpose "noise" upon what that Voice is affirming inside. This noise is both external and internal. For example: Parties, fireworks and the like (outside) and a long series of thoughts about trifles (inside). This constant noise is also nourished by the consumption of intoxicating substances such as alcohol, drugs, etc. as well as by the constant search for sexual gratification. In this way, through all that noise, ordinary people try to silence the inner Voice telling them: "Awake!". This is one of the reasons why ignorance is generally "noisy". For example, wars, the most extreme manifestation of human ignorance, are also extremely noisy. When all the noise is gone, the persons can then hear the inner Voice clearly and, more often than not, this uses to be a very unpleasant experience to them. This is the core of their bondage.

From the viewpoint of these people then, their bondage is quite a tragedy, but anyway, from the viewpoint of the Blissful Lord, it is a Play. Yes, the Lord is always in His State, fully Happy even in the middle of suffering and terrifying ignorance. This is so because He is really Free. And fortunately in the case of even those ordinary people, His power of anugraha or Grace will finally overpower the power of tirodhāna though the process takes one thousand births, and they will be given a chance to turn into spiritual aspirants, i.e. people in search of real Freedom, real Will, real Knowledge and so forth.

Accordingly, as I have just taught you, the ones of the second category (the aspirants who look to advance in spirituality) are also ordinary people but the difference is that they finally realized that they were living a "great lie" and now are looking for a way out of their bondage. This shows a strong presence of His Grace in them.

The first category (the liberated people, the saints and great sages) are full of His anugraha or Grace. The second category (the spiritual aspirants) contains a mixture of His anugraha and His tirodhāna (concealment of His essential nature) in more or less similar proportions. The third category contains much more tirodhāna than anugraha, which explains the constant suffering the ordinary people are subject to.

Summing it all up, the answer given by Abhinavagupta to the objection "about if the Self and the intellect are present in everybody, why are not all of them either liberated or bound then?", was the current 9th stanza. According to Yogarāja, this answer could be summarized by simply saying that "the descent of Power" (Śaktipāta) coming from the Lord is always "unrestrained", i.e. it is free from all restrictions and given to everybody equally. But though Śaktipāta is like that, His Light is not always reflected in a perfect way in all the intellects due to the presence of impurities there. All this produces the different categories of "liberated", "aspirant to final liberation" and "bound". The term "descent of Power" amounts to "Grace bestowal". OK, it is enough.Return

2  By impurities in the mirror of the intellect, I did not mean, in the first note of explanation, "something morally impure" but rather "something producing limitation and contraction". In Trika, impurities are never related to good and bad actions and all that stew of merit and demerit, but they are related to the Will of the Supreme Self playing to be a limited individual. That is why Abhinavagupta is using a completely clear mirror to describe the things that happen in the intellect of an enlightened person. Anyway, the presence of impurities in the mirrors (the intellects) of people who have not achieved spiritual enlightenment causes distortion then, and the same luminous Lord is not reflected properly. This distortion produces all the categories that were extensively explained in the previous note of explanation.

Śaktipāta or descent of Power is the same thing as "Grace bestowal". It is a discharge of the rays of His Supreme Power, like the sun shining upon everyone despite they are good, bad, intelligent, foolish, etc. As the sun makes no distinction, even so the Supreme Self shows His Light to everybody. Nonetheless, this Light is perfectly reflected only in the intellects of those holy souls who are going through their last birth, viz. of the ones who have come to the end of Saṁsāra or Transmigration from one body to another body since time immemorial. Once the Self is revealed to oneself in the mirror of his extremely pure intellect, that is the end of the Play known as Transmigration full of bondage.

Here Yogarāja, the commentator, is making clear that all the impurities present in the intellects of people who have not still attained the state of final liberation from Saṁsāra or Transmigration, are due to the residual impressions of the impurities (mala-s) called Āṇava, Māyīya and Kārma (i.e. Āṇavamala, Māyīyamala and Kārmamala). The first impurity cannot be overcome by any effort at all a limited individual can make. It is only overcome through His Grace then. The remaining two impurities are also overcome through His Grace alone, but as this Grace generally appears as the efforts a limited individual makes to overcome them, there is the sensation that the limited individual could pull it off by his efforts only. Hence it is usually taught in Trika that the last two impurities can be overcome by effort. Yes, this effort arose because of His Grace too, but as this fact is indirect, the limited individuals rarely notice it and think that they were the real authors.

Āṇavamala has to do with "lack of Fullness". It cannot be overcome by any effort (e.g. to say all the time "I am Full", "I am Full" to counterattack the impurity). No, no, no, that will not work ever. The One who assumed limitation and contraction by reducing His Fullness is the Only One who can remove such a limitation and contraction then. Māyīyamala is the impurity producing differences (duality). This impurity can be removed by efforts based on removal of all the differences (e.g. by considering all the thoughts as the rays emanating from one's own Self, however good or bad those thoughts may be). Yes, these efforts come from Grace too, but as this is indirect, it looks as if the limited individual is "doing something" on his own. The final impurity, Kārmamala, is based on the notion that one is the doer of all the actions. This impurity can be overcome by effort too, but the method varies across the philosophical systems: For example, in Vedānta, the method is based on renouncing the fruits of the actions. Anyway, in Trika, the method is not that one but rather "constant remembrance of the Self while one is doing actions".

The beings who are in their last birth and that have overcome the three impurities by Grace and effort, live as liberated beings even in the middle of this Transmigration full of misery. They are endowed with superiority in all the respects because the Supreme Power is upon them. You can call them as you wish: liberated ones, saints, sages, great beings, high-souled ones, etc., but their main characteristic is always the presence of His Absolute Freedom replete with the Delight of the Highest I-consciousness. When their bodies finally fall at the time of death, they become completely identified with the Supreme Lord forever. Oh, this topic is very complex and it would require an entire volume to explain it in detail.Return

3  In the case of other people who are not liberated yet, His Effulgence is not fully revealed due to His power of concealment (tirodhāna) appearing as multiple impurities on the mirrors of the intellects. It is to be noted that Yogarāja is calling the ordinary people (the third category explained in the first note of explanation) "animals" (paśu-s) here. They are so called because their intelligence is at the level of an animal in comparison to that of a fully enlightened person. In them there is predominance of tirodhāna or concealment, which binds them to constant misery and limitation. On the other hand, Yogarāja is mentioning that the spiritual aspirants, full of intense desires to advance in spirituality, are the result of a mixture of His powers of tirodhāna (concealment) and anugraha (Grace). These aspirants are also animals but from a different pedigree. Oh yes, he is not saying this obviously in the way I am saying it now, hehe. Good!Return

4  Here Yogarāja is specifying a truth I declared in a previous note, that Śaktipāta is everywhere, i.e. in the case of all the beings, and not only in the case of Guru and disciple. I also mentioned that the Guru/disciple relationship was like the final straight in the long circuit of the many births in this wheel known as Saṁsāra or Transmigration.

Afterwards, he puts into words a truth I always teach to my own disciples, that: Self-realization a.k.a. final liberation or spiritual enlightenment cannot be achieved by practices, which are actions, whether they are so pompous as the horse-sacrifice (an ancient Vedic sacrifice where a horse was killed for it to reach a better level of existence, if my memory serves me well) or so silent as the muttering of a mantra, the meditation, etc. All actions, being in the sphere of Māyā —the "finitizing" power—, are always under the sway of the niyatiśakti, the power that generates restriction. As the Supreme Self, in His being beyond Māyā, has no restriction at all, cannot consequently be realized by any actions whatsoever. It is only His Grace that is effective in producing His revelation to an aspirant then. This topic about Grace being the Core of Self-realization has been explained by me extensively in previous notes as well as in the Blog when I talk about "spiritual ignorance".

What is the purpose of performing spiritual practices then? The answer is very simple but shocking, specially to all those people who are convinced that they would attain the majestic Lord through their efforts or who have invested many years of their lives meditating, etc.: They are mere pastime, entertainment, while He decides what will do next with you. Yes, this is very good way to explain the things for the aspirants to understand. In the end, however high the state you could have attained by practices, these will fall short to reveal the Great Lord to you. This is not possible by efforts of any kind but it is something coming from His own Absolute Freedom, from His divine Dispensation as a gift for the great aspirant who managed to reach the Door of His Abode through, paradoxically, His own Grace too. This teaching is crucial in Trika. If one cannot get it, one will not understand how the things work in this philosophical system.Return

5  By that stanza, the commentator exhibits the role played by the intellect in the process of Śaktipāta or descent of Power (Grace bestowal). The Master being referred to is, of course, Śiva. This Master does not "descend" because He is Sahajonnata or Naturally Elevated (He does not go up to be like that, as a limited individual making efforts to be a great personality in a certain field -e.g. sports, science, politics, etc.-, but He is like that, i.e. Elevated, naturally always). It is only His Power or Śakti who, though constantly in oneness with Him, is able to descend upon a limited individual and set him Free. As this is superhuman in all respects, no power other than His Śakti can accomplish this task (no god, no deity, no mantra, no action, etc.).

After that, Yogarāja explains that the ordinary people, the ones who are below the categories of aspirants and enlightened beings, are constantly engaged in good and bad actions and participating in the experiences of pleasure, pain, etc., because there is absence of a display of their essential nature, i.e. they do not realize their own divine Self. As a result, they transmigrate and transmigrate, from one thought to another thought, from youth to old age, from one body to another body and so on. This Transmigration is called Saṁsāra in Sanskrit and, while it is a Play in the case of the Great Lord, it amounts to extreme misery in the case of those individuals who have not realized the Great Lord yet.

All in all, it is these two powers (tirodhāna and anugraha, concealment and Grace) that are really responsible for the divisions known as "Liberation and bondage". Grace is nothing but the revelation of one's own essential nature, one's own Self, and concealment means concealment of that very essential nature, of that Self. When tirodhāna predominates, one is called "an ordinary person"; when tirodhāna and anugraha are in a certain kind of equilibrium, one is called "a spiritual aspirant"; and when anugraha predominates, one is called "a liberated person". This Play of His is always full of His Rasa or Sap across the three categories I have just mentioned. OK, it is over!Return

 Stanzas 10-11

Thus, after having explained all this accompanied by logical reasoning, (direct) experience (and) revealed scriptures, (Abhinavagupta) declares in the first place, by two aphorisms, that the world, which shines closely connected with That --with the Highest Reality--, (which) is composed of thirty-six tattva-s or categories gradually arising (from that very Highest Reality) (and which) resides within the previously explained group of four eggs (called) Śakti, etc., has Paramaśiva --the Supreme Śiva-- —the Cause of (all) the causes— for its essential nature1 :

The universe, whose nature is thirty-six-fold --consists of 36 tattva-s or categories-- shines in that Highest Principle who is One whose nature is Effulgence, who is totally Full, (whose) Great Bliss (comes) from a rest on His own Self, who is replete with the instruments of the volitive Consciousness, completely full of infinite powers, who is free from all the thoughts, Pure, Peaceful (and) without any emergence (and) dissolution||10-11||

(The expression "yat paratattvam" means:) The principle (known as) Śiva that is of such a kind, viz. (as described previously in the stanza 10 and first half of the stanza 11, all of which can be summarized by this word:) "Para" (or) Full. The universe, which will be talked about later, that begins with Śiva --the first tattva or category-- (and) ends in the earth --tattva or category 36--, (and) that is resting (on that very Śiva), becomes manifest in Him --in Śiva--. (In other words,) the shining (universe), being certainly "tadabhinna" --not different from Him--, appears in unity --with Himself--. This is the sense2 .

An objection: A tattva is that in which all —i.e. body, etc.— is extended or spread, or (tattva is) that extending --lasting-- until dissolution. This is the optional meaning of tattva. Thus it is said (the following:): "How (could) this name or title 'tattva' implying the state of something inert or insentient be (used) with respect to Lord Paramaśiva whose nature is Consciousness?"3 .

(The answer is this:) In this context, as long as (the topic about the Supreme Lord) is explained (by Abhinavagupta) through word(s) with reference to people (who are still) to be taught --beginners in Sanskrit and Indian philosophies--, during all that time then the name or title "tattva" (will be used by him though the things) are not really (like that) --All in all, for the sake of being compassionate to beginners in Sanskrit and Indian philosophies, Abhinavagupta is using the term "tattva" to designate the Supreme Lord despite He is not at all a tattva according to Trika--4 .

Of what kind is that Highest Principle? (He is) One whose essence is a Great Light, i.e. (He is Bhārūpa or) One whose rūpa (or) essential nature (is) Bhās (or) Effulgence. This is the meaning5 .

Likewise, (the term) "paripūrṇa" (indicates that He) is Complete and Desireless --i.e. totally Full--. (A little objection could be raised here:) "An inert object (such as) a crystal, a mirror, etc. is also complete and desireless". (Abhinavagupta) said so (then:) "(Svātmani viśrāntito mahānandam), i.e. (He is One whose) Great Bliss (comes) from a rest on His own Self". (To express it in simple terms:) "(He is One) whose Great Bliss (or) Supreme Satisfaction (comes) from a repose on His own essential nature that is the Rasa or Sap (full of) the Amazing Delight of the Full --not fragmentary-- I-consciousness"6 .

Thus, since (His) Essence (is) Sphurattā or Flashing Consciousness which causes Supreme Delight, that is said to be the difference (between Him and) an inert object such as a crystal and the like, all of which are manifested (by His own Light). For this very reason, (Abhinavagupta also said:) "(Icchāsaṁvitkaraṇairnirbharitam), viz. (He is) replete with the instruments of the volitive Consciousness", that is, (He is ) indeed the essential nature of (the Powers of) Will, Knowledge (and) Action. Nonetheless, (He, the Highest Principle,) is not as (the Brahma) of the śāntabrahmavādī-s, which is devoid of Power (and) is like an inert thing7 .

Besides, (Abhinavagupta, immediately after that "Icchāsaṁvitkaraṇairnirbharitam", expressed the following to ratify his previous words:) "(Anantaśaktiparipūrṇam), i.e. (He is) completely full of infinite powers". (The term Anantaśakti means) infinite (or) innumerable powers consisting of name (and) form (such as) "a pot", "a cloth", etc. --in other words, such powers become the endless objects of this universe--. (These) powers, (e.g.) Brāhmī and the rest, that are sprouts of the Powers of Will, Knowledge (and) Action, derive from the multitude of words. (He is "Anantaśaktiparipūrṇam" because of His being) "paritaḥ pūrṇam" (or) thoroughly pervaded by those (infinite powers). (So), "(all these innumerable powers) that arise from Him alone (also) rest only on Himself"8 .

Thus, the Absolute Freedom, whose nature (is) Parāvāk --the Supreme Speech or Word--, is said to exist in the Bhagavān or Fortunate Lord. An objection: If the Highest Principle is of the nature of Vāk --Speech or Word--, then (this Highest Principle) is fictitious or invented in one's mind since (Vāk) is completely divided into (innumerable) words. (This being the case,) "how (could there be) yoga or use of kalpanā --mental creation-- in This whose Essence is Pure Light?". By keeping that in mind, (Abhinavagupta) said: "(Sarvavikalpavihīnam), viz. (He is) free from all the thoughts". (As a result,) this Delight of the Highest I-consciousness, which ---the Deleight-- (resides) in the Supreme Experient or Knower --in Paramaśiva--, even having Vāk --Speech or Word-- for its nature, it is without any vikalpa-s or thoughts.

Because vikalpa or thought, which is characterized by denial of another thing, by hinting at two realities that appear in the form of, (for example,) a pot (and) what is not a pot, determines that a pot is different from what is not a pot. However, in the case of Prakāśa --the Light of the Supreme Lord-- whose essence is certainly the Delight of the Highest I-consciousness there is not, in opposition, something that is "aprakāśa" --something that is not Light-- other than Prakāśa or Light (Itself, and consequently,) as there is exclusion of that --of the existence of something being opposite to Prakāśa in Prakāśa--, the condition (known as) vikalpa or thought does not exist in Its case --in the case of Prakāśa or Light--9 .

(The following objection might be raised anyway:) If, undoubtedly, the thing that is differentiated or excluded as not being Prakāśa or Light becomes manifest in This whose nature is Prakāśa, then according to the axiom (expressed in the second half of Spandakārikā-s II.3):

"... inasmuch as he has the feeling or perception of identity (with those entities) due to the knowledge of them all..."

etc., even that thing becomes of the nature of Prakāśa --i.e. it becomes Prakāśa too--. (If that is true, viz. if that thing that has been differentiated or excluded as not being Prakāśa or Light is also identical with Prakāśa or Light in the end, then) how could it --the thing that has been differentiated or excluded as not being Prakāśa or Light-- be, (at the same time,) something that produces difference or exclusion in the case of Him --Prakāśa or Light-- who is one's own Self, in consequence of which (such a thing) would come under the category of vikalpa or thought under those circumstances?

(The answer to that objection is this:) Then, whatever this (thing being referred to by the one who raises the objection) might be, "it does not becomes manifest in opposition", (because,) "how (could) a thing that is not being revealed by Prakāśa or Light exist here --in Prakāśa, in the Light, in Śiva-- endowed with a nature opposite (to the Light Itself)?", (and) "(how) could (such a thing) even produce difference or division (in this very Light)?". (All that is not possible in the Supreme Self) since the Highest Principle, (being "sarvavikalpavihīnam" as stated by Abhinavagupta,) is free from all the vikalpa-s or thoughts, which are based on the exclusions or distinctions. (In short, this Highest Principle) has a essential nature that is free from exclusions or distinctions --it contains no opposites--10 .

For this very reason, (Abhinavagupta) said (that the Highest Principle is) "Pure", i.e. Immaculate, due to the absence (in Him) of the soot of impurity, which --the soot-- consists of vikalpa-s or thoughts. In like manner, (Abhinavagupta said that this Highest Principle is) "Peaceful", (because,) due to the absence of the agitation occasioned by knower (and) knowable, (such a Highest Principle) remains in Its own essential nature by means of a sāmarasya --lit. the state of having the same taste as-- of Śakti --the Power of the Supreme Self, which is characterized by the Delight of I-consciousness-- --all in all, "by means of the State where Śakti, the Delight of I-consciousness, has the same taste", i.e. there is total equilibrium in Śakti -the Supreme Power- here, in the Highest Principle--. Nevertheless, (this Highest Principle) is not like a piece of stone11 .

Moreover, (the Highest Principle is) "(layodayavihīnam), viz. without any emergence (and) dissolution". Having (the Veda-s) so considered (the Self):

"This Self appears forever."

(the conclusion one arrives at is that He is) eternal indeed. Due to this, time appearing as past, present (and) future does not have effect on Him, because "the coming forth of time (takes place) from Himself", (and in fact,) in the case of the universe, it --the universe-- has become the universe since the Highest Principle is admitted to be free from creation (and) destruction. (This subject-matter) is explained that way12 ||11||

Skip the notes

1  Abhinavagupta is a fully realized Master who has both Bauddhajñāna (intellectual knowledge) and Pauruṣajñāna (knowledge about the Self), i.e. he is endowed with both scriptural knowledge and a direct experience of the Supreme Self. For this reason, the great sage was able to explain all this accompanied by logical reasoning, direct experience and revealed scriptures (the 64 Bhairavāgama-s such as Mālinīvijayatantra, Svacchandatantra, Rudrayāmalatantra, Netratantra, etc.). Now, by the aphorisms 10 and 11, he will declare that the world, which shines closely connected with That --with the Highest Reality which is one's own Self--, which is composed of 36 tattva-s or categories (See Tattvic Chart) gradually arising from that very Self, and which resides within the previously explained group of four eggs called Śakti, etc. (See stanza 4), has Paramaśiva (the Supreme Śiva who is the Highest Reality Itself), the Cause of all the causes (because He is the origin of all the causes always), for its essential nature. In short, the essential nature or core of the universe is nothing but Paramaśiva constantly. There is no other Power that can be its nucleus then, and such as Abhinavagupta himself will say, this Paramaśiva is One whose nature is Effulgence, who is totally Full, whose Great Bliss comes from a rest on His own Self, who is replete with the instruments of the volitive Consciousness, completely full of infinite powers, who is free from all the thoughts, Pure, Peaceful and without any emergence and dissolution. The purport behind this rich description of the Great Lord will be revealed by venerable Yogarāja by means of his commentary on this couple of stanzas. Return

2  The expression "yat paratattvam" literally means "the Highest Principle who", viz. "the Highest Principle who is One whose nature is Effulgence, etc.", as one can read in the stanzas themselves. Here the commentator (Yogarāja) is specifying that this Highest Principle is Śiva (the Great Lord). And this Śiva is Para or Full (Complete). All in all, He does not depend on anything else to exist and be completely satisfied in Himself. This is the meaning of "Highest" then, in the expression "Highest Principle" (paratattvam). The final "m" is added to "tattva" because this is a neuter noun.

In Sanskrit there is the prātipadika or crude form of a noun. What does it mean? It means the uninflected form of a noun, i.e. the noun without any gender and number applied to it. For example, "tattva" is the prātipadika or crude form of the noun "tattvam" because "tattva" has no visible gender or number yet. Prātipadika is then the form in which the nouns appear in the dictionary. Next, before inserting such a noun into a sentence, one has to decline it, viz. one has to assign it gender (masculine, feminine or neuter) and number (singular, dual or plural). In the case of "tattvam", the presence of that final "m" indicates that the noun is in either Nominative or Accusative case (neuter - singular)... though it could be a masculine noun declined in Accusative case (singular), but this is not true here because "I already know that tattva is a neuter noun". So, the only problem with "tattvam" is to find out if it is in Nominative or Accusative case... but you have this problem quickly resolved by myself, because I can assure you that in the context of these stanzas, "tattvam" is in Nominative case. All in all, "tattvam" here means "the Principle" (Nominative --it is named--, neuter, singular). OK, enough of these grammatical subtleties!

The universe starting with Śiva (the first tattva) and ending with the earth tattva (the 36th category), rests on Śiva only. By Śiva, the commentator meant to say "Paramaśiva" really. And this universe also becomes manifest in Paramaśiva alone. In other words, the universe is in complete unity with its Lord (with Paramaśiva) since it is "tadabhinna" or "not different (abhinna) from Him (tad)". The sense of this portion of the commentary is then very simple to understand, right?Return

3  Now, an objection is raised: When the word "tattva" must be used with reference to either "something in which all is extended or spread" (from the root "tan" - to spread, extend) or "something that extends until dissolution of the universe" (from the same root "tan"), how could such a term (i.e. tattva), which implies the state of something inert or insentient, be used with regard to the Great Lord whose nature is Consciousness, i.e. Life?

For example: Physical body, mind and such are extended in a series of tattva-s or categories. Physical body is extended in the last five tattva-s (32nd to 36th) and mind as mere "manas" or this that "thinks all the time" is extended through the tattva 16. Then, how could the word "tattva", which implies mere realities manifested by His Power, be used regarding Paramaśiva who is the Origin of all and totally Self-existent (i.e. He is not a manifested reality like those tattva-s)? This is the meaning of such an objection. Return

4  The answer given by the commentator (Yogarāja) is that Abhinavagupta is talking to people who are still to be taught, i.e. aspirants who are beginners in Sanskrit and Indian philosophies. So, Abhinavagupta is using that term "tattva" for the sake of simplifying the things for those beginners. When one knows Sanskrit in depth, for example, one learns that the term tattva also means "principle". In this way, the term tattva is not only meaning "category", like those 36 categories from the first tattva (Śivatattva) to the thirty-sixth tattva (Pṛthivītattva), but also "principle". In short, when someone is speaking about a tattva, he can be referring to either those categories of the universal manifestation or the Principle that is the origin of them all. In this sense, the word tattva is sometimes written Tattva in order to show that it is being used in the sense of "Principle" (the Highest Principle) and not of "category". Since all these Sanskrit/philosophical subtleties are out of the reach of all those beginners in spirituality, the Great Master decided to simplify the things for them by using the term "tattva" to designate the Highest Lord, without explaining in depth all those things I have just explained to you. All in all, Abhinavagupta is using the term "tattva" here as "Principle" and not as "category". The Great Lord is never a category who has been manifested by the Supreme Power but He is rather the Core Itself of such a Power. He is the Highest Principle then, the "Paratattva" as Abhinavagupta wrote in the stanza, and not at all the "highest category". Return

5  And what is the essence of that Highest Principle (Paratattva)? It is Bhās or Prakāśa, that is, a Great Light. Lord Paramaśiva is Prakāśavimarśamaya, i.e. He consists of Prakāśa and Vimarśa (Effulgence and Awareness of His own Effulgence). In this way, His Effulgence or Great Light is not at all something inert (devoid of any activity) as in the case of that Brahma worshiped by the followers of the doctrine of the Peaceful Brahma (I will explain this to you later by another note of explanation). His Effulgence is fully conscious of Itself through His Vimarśa (Śakti, the Power of the Great Lord). All that you can see right now is His Effulgence. By Effulgence, I do not mean mere physical light but the substance supporting all the realities around you right now. At the same time, you are fully aware of these realities that are composed of Your own Light. This awareness of Yours, which allows You to be fully conscious of Your own Light, it is known as Śakti or Vimarśa. And this Vimarśa is another name for Ānandaśakti or the Power of Bliss. And this Supreme Bliss is nothing but His Svātantrya or Svācchandya (His Absolute Freedom). But what does all that mean really in practice? This:

People who are not still completely instructed think that a liberated person is someone who is ecstatic during his meditation session in lotus posture or something. So, they will see that meditator and they will say: "Oh, he is blissful really". Anyway, when that meditator comes out of his formal crossed-legged pose, he falls prey to every stupid thing happening to him. In other words, he loses his Bliss completely. At that time, those people will say: "Oh, he is not blissful now because he fell from his previous high state". This can be an appearance or a real fact. If that meditator feels that his Bliss emerges only when he is formally meditating, then, it is true, he falls every time he abandons his crossed-legged posture and gets engaged in mundane activities, which are full of trifles. Where does he fall from? From his supposed high state. Nonetheless, if that person is a real liberated while living, a jīvanmukta, his fall is mere appearance. Why? Because he experiences Bliss in crossed-legged posture (during his formal meditations) and also when is busy with worldly activities. His Bliss is not only occurring at the time of his formal meditation, but it is rather perpetual. How could he achieve this? Through His Grace alone. That person does not feel: "This Bliss I feel during my meditation is real Bliss... but all this pain and lack of real Bliss I experience during the rest of my day is just... oh, this horrible ignorance!". NO, he experiences like this:

"This Bliss I feel during my meditation is real Bliss... and all this pain and lack of real Bliss during the rest of my day is also real Bliss... my depression is Bliss, my anger is Bliss, my happiness is Bliss, life is Bliss, death is Bliss, evilness is Bliss, goodness is Bliss, ugly people are Bliss, beautiful people are Bliss, peace is Bliss, war is Bliss... everything is Bliss because all this is tadabhinna, i.e. it is not different (abhinna) from Him (tad), from Paramaśiva who is my real Essence!".

That is the State of the Great Jīvanmukta or Liberated while living. In other words, he experiences all as Bliss and Bliss alone. Thus, he lives in perpetual Bliss, without any interruption, whether or not his body is in lotus posture, etc. He has the viewpoint of the Great Lord because he can perceive Bliss even in what looks like complete absence of Bliss. This is his Great Achievement! Return

6  And this Great Lord is Paripūrṇa or "Totally (pari) Full (pūrṇa)". The prefix "pari" indicates "totally, completely" in this case. Obviously, as He is so, He is without any desires (nirākāṅkṣa) such as the commentator affirms. A little objection could be raised here anyway: "An inert object also looks like complete and desireless. What is the difference between an inert object and the Lord then?". That is why Abhinavagupta added that the Lord is One whose Great Bliss comes from a rest on His own Self. The commentator explains this Abhinavagupta's definition as: "He is One whose Great Bliss or Supreme Satisfaction comes from a repose on His own essential nature that is the Rasa or Sap full of the Amazing Delight of the Full --not fragmentary-- I-consciousness". But what does all that really mean? It means this:

The Lord is no other than "Oneself" (this is clear, right?). If the reader thinks that the Lord is someone else, he is not understanding Trika properly. So, what is the Lord (You!) doing right now? He is all the time busy in taking a rest on His own I-consciousness. Even though the reader seems to be engaged in so many activities (to think about objects, do these actions, worry about this or that, etc.), his main activity is always to experience a repose on his I-consciousness, in "I am". No other thing is more important than that in his case. For example, he is now reading this and his I-consciousness seems to be lost while his mind ponders over the meaning of my words. But he cannot help having to resort to his own I-consciousness in order to experience a repose there, and something will distract his attention for a moment. At that time, his attention will move from my words to something/someone else. In the gap between both perceptions (the perception of these words I have written and the perception of something/someone else catching his attention next), the reader will experience a repose on his own Self, on "I am". Why? Because there is no universe where there is no perception of something/someone else. There is only "I am" here, in the gap between perceptions. This "I am" is also known as "Śiva-Śakti", because the luminous Lord remains conscious of His own divine "I" alone. As these gaps are emerging all the time in wakefulness, the reader is more occupied with resting on his own Self than with any other activity while he is in the waking state.

And when he sleeps, at the time he moves from this perception to that perception during his dreams, more gaps come up because the reader is One whose Great Bliss comes from a rest on His own Self. And in deep sleep, where there is no gap between perceptions apparently, he is also occupied with resting on his supreme I-consciousness. The proof of this lies in the obvious fact that when he wakes up, he feels either "I had a sweet sleep" or "I have no idea what I was dreaming of". His constant saying "I this, I that" shows that he was also constantly occupied with his "I" again. If there was no "I" in deep sleep, how could the reader know all that then? Because in the absence of a knower there would also be absence of knowledge in the form of "I had a sweet dream" or "I have no idea what I was dreaming of".

This continuity of I-consciousness, this Supreme State of I-ness, is known as Turya or the Fourth State because It pervades all the other three ordinary states of consciousness (wakefulness, sleep and deep sleep). It is therefore Cidghana or a Compact Mass of Consciousness permeating everything. The reader is then like someone swimming and taking air with every new stroke. The activities, however pleasant they may be, are without the "oxygen" of I-consciousness, as it were, and he has to frequently take out his head and breathe. And when the reader becomes a spiritual aspirant, he learns how to remain more time in those gaps abounding in the oxygen of I-consciousness. For example, he learns that he should remain in the space between inhalation and exhalation in order to take a very deep breath full of the oxygen of his own divine I-ness. And when he advances, he is taught that there is also another gap to breathe in the space between his thoughts, when his divine "I" dwells in solitude, totally devoid of any activity except that of being completely Blissful. And when he has even made more progress in spirituality, he is taught to dwell in the gaps between two objective perceptions (in the gaps between his perception of the object A and his perception of the object B). After having received all that knowledge and practiced accordingly, he learns to remain completely in his I-consciousness for long periods of time. Next, one day, through his own Grace, he realizes that even all this that is not in the gaps, viz. perceptions, activities, thoughts, etc. are also divine in nature. This is final liberation because he is not any more dependent on concentrating his attention on the gaps between perceptions in order to experience Bliss. On the contrary, he can be blissful even during the perceptions themselves. At this time, when he is completely liberated, when he has become a jīvanmukta (someone who is liberated while living), he experiences Bliss at all times, whether his body is like this or like that, whether his mind is like this or like that, whether his life is like this or like that, and so on and forth. This is Jagadānanda or the Bliss of realizing that God is the entire jagat or universe. This is the highest Achievement a human being can attain. This is the State of Paramaśiva.

When the reader finally attains Jagadānanda, he experiences what the sage Kṣemarāja (the Guru of Yogarāja) has described succinctly while he was commenting on the 11th aphorism in his Spandanirṇaya:

"... मुकुरान्तर्निमज्जदुन्मज्जन्नानाप्रतिबिम्बकदम्बकल्पमनल्पं भावराशिं चिदाकाश एवोदितमपि तत्रैव विलीयमानं पश्यन् जन्मसहस्रापूर्वपरमानन्दघनलोकोत्तरस्वस्वरूपप्रत्यभिज्ञानाज्झटिति त्रुटितसकलवृत्तिः स्मयमानो विस्मयमुद्रानुप्रविष्ट इव महाविकासासादनाच्च सहसैव समुदितसमुचिततात्त्विकस्वभावो यो योगीन्द्र आस्ते तिष्ठति न त्ववष्टम्भाच्छिथिलीभवति तस्येयमिति सकलजगत्कम्पकारिणी कुत्सिता जननमरणादिप्रबन्धरूपा सृतिः प्रवृत्तिः कुतो निजाशुद्धिलक्षणस्य तद्धेतोरभावान्नैव भवतीत्यर्थः।" - "... mukurāntarnimajjadunmajjannānāpratibimbakadambakalpamanalpaṁ bhāvarāśiṁ cidākāśa evoditamapi tatraiva vilīyamānaṁ paśyan janmasahasrāpūrvaparamānandaghanalokottarasvasvarūpapratyabhijñānājjhaṭiti truṭitasakalavṛttiḥ smayamāno vismayamudrānupraviṣṭa iva mahāvikāsāsādanācca sahasaiva samuditasamucitatāttvikasvabhāvo yo yogīndra āste tiṣṭhati na tvavaṣṭambhācchithilībhavati tasyeyamiti sakalajagatkampakāriṇī kutsitā jananamaraṇādiprabandharūpā sṛtiḥ pravṛttiḥ kuto nijāśuddhilakṣaṇasya taddhetorabhāvānnaiva bhavatītyarthaḥ|" - "... (After having entered Bhairavī mudrā,) he sees the great multitude of objects arising in the space or ether of Consciousness (and) dissolving right there like a long series of multiple reflections appearing (and) disappearing inside a mirror. The best of the Yogī-s who, having broken all (his) mental modifications --having dissolved all his thoughts-- instantly —after one thousand births— by means of a recognition of his extraordinary essential nature that is a mass of unprecedented Supreme Bliss, abides —he stands, he does not desist from the grip (of the principle of Spanda or I-consciousness)— astonished, i.e. as if he had entered Vismayamudrā --the mudrā of amazement--, suddenly —due to (his) achievement of the Great Development or Expansion— experiences the emergence --lit. risen-- (of his) proper real nature. How (can) "this" vile transmigratory path (or) pravṛtti --i.e. active worldly life-- which consists in the continuous series of being born, dying, etc. (and) causes tremor in all people (be) his --of that great Yogī--? It is not, due to the absence of its cause characterized by "nijāśuddhi" or "innate impurity" --the Āṇavamala--. Such is the meaning."

The sage Kṣemarāja could not have been more precise in his description of the process of final liberation. His commentary is in fact giver of final liberation as it is replete with divine Grace. The best of Yogī-s, the glorious jīvanmukta opens his mouth in Vismayamudrā (the mudrā or gesture of amazement) due to his achievement of the Great Development or Expansion. In other words, he experiences what Yogarāja describes here as "the Rasa or Sap full of the Amazing Delight of the Full --not fragmentary-- I-consciousness". It is Full because it does not consists of little "I's", each of them with their own desires (e.g. I want this, I need that, I hate this, I love that, etc.), which are like drops in the huge Ocean of the divine I-consciousness (Śakti). Not at all! The divine "I" is not like those little "I's", which are fragmentary and not full. When the reader has then accomplished the extremely difficult mission of becoming a jīvanmukta, he also realizes that there is no liberation because there was not ever bondage. Even a few seconds of his blissful trance amount to entire lives full of usual happiness. What the ordinary people call happiness is just like drops of Nectar emerging from their own Self, but in the case of this reader who has become a jīvanmukta, in his having gained access to the whole Ocean of Nectar, his Bliss is massive like Paramaśiva Himself. This realization is beyond description and consequently it is a matter of experience. All that has been done before this great attainment is like the doing of a sleepwalker. This is what one feels: "What was I doing before?". He was sleeping, spiritually speaking.

There must be a certain regulation in his Bliss anyway, or he will lose his physical body in the process of being blissful. If this happens, he will not be a jīvanmukta (a liberated one while living) but a videhamukta (one who has abandoned his body after having attained final liberation). This is the reason why when the eminent jīvanmukta leaves his physical body, that state is known as Mahāsamādhi or Great Trance, because even the last limitation (the physical body) is finally gone, which unleashes Bliss at a hundred percent! No regulation is then necessary because of the absence of a physical body.

OK, enough of revealing these secrets for now! Return

7  Sphurattā is a word that if translated literally it sounds strange: "The state of one who palpitates or flashes". As this translation is bothersome, you know, it is translated as Flashing Consciousness or Pulsating Consciousness or both things (Flashing Pulsating Consciousness) for the sake of being so clear as possible. It is a name of Śakti (the Power of the Lord). The sage Kṣemarāja talks about the numerous names of Śakti at the beginning of his Parāprāveśikā. And it is the presence of this Śakti full of Supreme Delight in the Great Lord which makes Him different from a mere inert object such a crystal, etc. So, while the crystal is full or complete, the glorious Lord is Full or Complete as He experiences a Great Bliss that comes from a rest or repose on His own Self. This is the difference between Him and a mere inert thing. Besides, an inert thing is manifested by His own Light while the same thing is not true with reference to the inert thing, viz. it can never manifest the Supreme Lord.

Abhinavagupta also said about this Lord: "He is replete with the instruments of the volitive Consciousness". Anyway, Yogarāja affirms that that phrase means the following: "(He is) indeed the essential nature of (the Powers of) Will, Knowledge (and) Action", which looks redundant and contradictory because if the Consciousness if "volitive" it is pretty obvious that It contains "Power of Will". The explanation of such a description lies in the fact that very often the Power of Will is primordially assigned to Śakti (tattva or category 2) instead of to Sadāśiva (tattva or category 3) --Consult the Tattvic Chart for more information about these technical questions--. Sadāśiva is certainly full of Power of Will due to the inherent Will present in Śakti Herself who is the origin of the very third tattva (i.e. Sadāśiva). What I said is very obvious from reading scriptures such as Ṣaṭtriṁśattattvasandoha. In the second stanza of that scripture, She is called "the very transparent Will" by the author, because She, through Her group of powers (śakticakra), is constantly becoming multitudinous. As a result, there is no redundancy or contradiction in the words of the commentator here. Thus, The Highest Lord is the Core of the Powers of Will, Knowledge and Action (Icchāśakti, Jñānaśakti and Kriyāśakti), which are the ones who will finally display the entire universe for His own Delight. In short, through "I wish, I know and I do", the Supreme Self brings about the universal manifestation. The reader can see his own universal manifestation around himself and inside his own mind right now. This Supreme Lord is never someone else other than the reader.

And additionally the commentator specifies that this Lord (the reader) is not inert as the Brahma of the śāntabrahmavādī-s --the followers of the doctrine (vādī-s) dealing with the peaceful (śānta) Brahma (brahma)--. He is referring to the followers of Advaitavedānta or Non-dualistic Vedānta. As I have refuted the main tenets of such a doctrine by some posts on the blog: e.g. Confusion between Vedānta and Trika and Learning to reason adequately, I do not need to explain this topic to you here. Therefore, the Great Lord known as Paramaśiva is never inert like a mere object but on the contrary, He is the Life of all lives, He is the Core of all activities and the Essence of the universal manifestation which is nothing but a display of His own Nectar. This is the meaning. Return

8  Lord Paramaśiva is completely full of infinite powers, which emanate from the main three ones: Will, Knowledge and Action. All these powers form the celebrated śakticakra (the group of powers), which is responsible for the manifestation, maintenance and dissolution of the universe. The Great Lord is the Origin or Source of this group of powers indeed, such as it is stated by Spandakārikā-s I.1:

यस्योन्मेषनिमेषाभ्यां जगतः प्रलयोदयौ।
तं शक्तिचक्रविभवप्रभवं शङ्करं स्तुमः॥१॥

Yasyonmeṣanimeṣābhyāṁ jagataḥ pralayodayau|
Taṁ śakticakravibhavaprabhavaṁ śaṅkaraṁ stumaḥ||1||

We laud that Śaṅkara --an epithet of Śiva-- who is the source or cause of the glorious group of powers, (and) by whose opening (and) shutting of (His) eyes (there is) dissolution and emergence of the world||1||

Yogarāja adds that these powers, by consisting of name and form, become the endless objects of this universe. He also speaks about Brāhmī and other powers or goddesses, which are sprouts of the three main Powers of Will, Knowledge and Action. The deities referred to are those of the varga-s (groups of letters): a-varga (vowel group) is presided by Yogīśvarī (also known as Mahālakṣmī); ka-varga (guttural group) is presided by Brāhmī; ca-varga (palatal group) is presided by Māheśvarī; ṭa-varga (cerebral group) is presided by Kaumārī; ta-varga (dental group) is presided by Vaiṣṇavī; pa-varga (labial group) is presided by Vārāhī; ya-varga (semivowel group) is presided by Aindrī (also known as Indrāṇī) and śa-varga (sibilant and sonant aspirate group) is presided by Cāmuṇḍā. See Sanskrit alphabet (traditional arrangement) for more information. And if you want to read a complete study about the Sanskrit alphabet, read this: First Steps (4), First Steps (5) and First Steps - 1. That is why he says that Brāhmī and the other goddesses derive from the multitude of words, can you understand it now?

The word "paripūrṇam" in the expression "Anantaśaktiparipūrṇam" written by Abhinavagupta in the current stanza, is derived from "paritaḥ pūrṇam", i.e. the prefix "pari" really means "paritaḥ or paritas". And "paritaḥ or paritas" means, "all-around, everywhere, throughout", i.e. "thoroughly". So, paripūrṇam really means "thoroughly full", viz. thoroughly pervaded by those infinite powers mentioned by the great Abhinavagupta. And as all these powers have arisen from Him, from the Great Lord, they will finally rest on Him too. This truth has been indirectly mentioned in Spandakārikā-s I.2:

यत्र स्थितमिदं सर्वं कार्यं यस्माच्च निर्गतम्।
तस्यानावृतरूपत्वान्न निरोधोऽस्ति कुत्रचित्॥२॥

Yatra sthitamidaṁ sarvaṁ kāryaṁ yasmācca nirgatam|
Tasyānāvṛtarūpatvānna nirodho'sti kutracit||2||

Since He has a unveiled nature --rūpa--, there is no obstruction to Him anywhere, in whom all this universe rests and from whom it has come forth||2||

The things are clear now, aren't they? Return

9  This Absolute Freedom (Svātantrya) also called Śakti, which exists in the Great Lord, is additionally known as Parāvāk (the Supreme Speech or Word). An objection has been raised as for the use of the word Vāk (Speech or Word) in the case of His Absolute Freedom. Why? Because Vāk lastly divides into innumerable words and, at the same time, it requires the yoga (which does not mean "union" in this context) or use of kalpanā (mental creation), i.e. one needs to think in order to tell words. All these mental processes and the respective words produced by them are real (they do exist) but simultaneously fictitious (they are invented). How then could the Highest Principle be something being invented by mental processes? And how could His nature be something which ultimately is divided into innumerable words, all of which arise from the mind? This is the objection.

The answer to that question is simple: Yogarāja established that the name of His Absolute Freedom, which is His essence, is not mere Vāk (Speech or Word) but Parāvāk (Supreme Speech or Word). By adding the word "Parā" or "Supreme", the connotation is that His Freedom is above Vāk, which certainly requires the yoga or use of the mind to exist. This Parāvāk, on the contrary, requires nothing to exist as the Freedom belonging to the Highest Principle is Self-existent. Besides, the sage Abhinavagupta makes this point very clear by his adding the expression "Sarvavikalpavihīnam" - "He is free from all the thoughts" in order to show that Parāvāk is not mere Vāk subject to a mind creating it.

Besides, Paramaśiva is always nirvikalpa or devoid of any thought, because the thoughts are based on denial of an opposite thing. For example: "The state of being a pot is like this", so, all that is not meeting the requirements to be a pot, according to that first premise, is not a pot. In this way, the different objects are differentiated in one's mind by adding delimitors (avacchedaka-s). Another example: This table has this limit... here... and the pot that is on the table has this limit. As a result, the table looks different from the pot on it, as the mind assigned a delimitor of property (table, pot) to those two objects. As a matter of fact, there is no reason to find a difference between a table and a pot except through that process of delimitation brought about in one's mind. However, none of those processes of delimitation or denial are happening in the Great Lord who is Light (Śiva or Prakāśa) full of Supreme Delight (Śakti or Vimarśa), i.e. there is no Prakāśa (Light) and Aprakāśa (non-Light) at the same time. Consequently, there cannot be any thought in the Core of the Fortunate Lord due to the absence of the aforesaid processes of delimitation and denial. All in all, there is no exclusion at all in Paramaśiva, which makes Him completely free from all thoughts always. Return

10  What the one objecting is trying to say is that: "If the thing that is differentiated or excluded --i.e. delimited, denied-- as not being His Light is really His Light because of His feeling of identity with all (such as Spandakārikā-s II.3 declares), then how could that thing simultaneously produce difference or exclusion --delimitation or denial--? And if this is possible, that thing would actually be a thought, which brings about difference or exclusion. As a result, the Highest Principle would not be without any thoughts (vikalpa-s) as affirmed by Abhinavagupta."

The obvious answer to that question is that "that thing does not exist in His Light ever!", i.e. nothing will become manifest "in opposition" within the realm of His Light because if something becomes manifest, it is Light too. Accordingly, in His essential nature replete with Light there is nothing that is becoming manifest in opposition to His Light, since if something emerges here, in the Self... it is Light always. Therefore, the Great Lord (the reader) is always free from exclusions or distinctions in his own essential nature, in his own Self. All in all, He contains no opposites due to His Fullness.

Within the realm of vikalpa or thought, there are many pairs of opposites, e.g. "life-death", but in one's own Self, life and death are the same reality, that is, His Light. This experience comes to a liberated one in this way:

"I am all those people who have passed away. I am all these people who live right now and leave their bodies later on. I am all those people who will be born in the future too. All of their faces are My Face."

That is the exact experience a jīvanmukta or liberated while living has. Of course, the description I gave is for you to understand his state of unity with all... not that the jīvanmukta is repeating all that constantly. Anyway, he feels like that regarding life and death, but he will mostly hide that feeling among the paśu-s (the animals, viz. the limited individuals) in order not to disturb them. He will hide not only that feeling but also his entire state of liberation in front of the vast majority of them, as his experience of Bliss, if fully shown at a physical level, would be shocking to all those paśu-s. Imagine the African savanna replete with animals living as they usually do --hunting, mating, etc.--, and suddenly, making a tremendous noise, a sophisticated big aircraft manufactured by human beings lands there in the middle of all those animals. This analogy is useful to understand why a liberated one is generally hiding his real state of Bliss and Glory among the ordinary people and even in the middle of aspirants lest they experience extreme disturbance. I am not joking. Since Self is both the nearest and the farthest One, He dwells naturally in everybody as "themselves" but at the same time He reveals Himself to a liberated being only. This is His great mystery. And when this Great Lord touches a jīvanmukta in special ways, the effect of His massive Bliss will be shocking to the rest of people around that jīvanmukta as they will not understand what is happening to that enlightened person just like the animals living in the African savanna will not understand what that big noisy aircraft really is. Good! Return

11  And as the Highest Principle (Paramaśiva) is completely devoid of thoughts, He is absolutely Pure or Immaculate. Simultaneously, since there is Śaktisāmarasya in Him, viz. a state where all His powers have the same taste, a state of total equilibrium with reference to all His powers, where knower and knowable are in complete balance, He is known as Peaceful or Free from agitation. In wakefulness, the objects (the external things or knowables) eclipse the inner "knower", as it were, i.e. the objects are predominant and one forgets his divine "I". In deep sleep, the knower predominates over the knowables as the experience is totally subjective (pertaining to the "inner subject" or knower). Even in higher levels, e.g. in tattva-s 3 and 4 (Sadāśiva and Īśvara - See Tattvic Chart for more information), there is also unbalance despite the inherent unity because the Knower (the "I") predominates over the Knowable (the "This") and vice versa. Nonetheless, in Paramaśiva that agitation is not occurring because there is total equilibrium in His Power or Śakti from where all the powers emanate.

Finally, Yogarāja states that He is not nevertheless like a piece of stone, which looks like if in balance but lacks His Supreme Delight. As He is full of such a Bliss, He cannot ever be compared to a piece of stone. This topic was already explained before. Return

12  At the end of his description, Abhinavagupta declares that the Highest Principle is "layodayavihīnam" or "without any emergence and dissolution" as He is eternal and constantly present. In other words, time has no effect on Him. He is the same Self now as He was in the past and He will in the future. There is no question about an emergence or a dissolution in His case then. And the commentator adds that the universe is the universe (i.e. full of the processes of creation and destruction) since its Lord is free from all those processes. The fact that the universe can emerge now and be withdrawn later shows that the Highest Self (the Source of this universe) is completely devoid of emergence and withdrawal (dissolution). Why? Because if the Lord of the universe appeared and disappeared along with the universe there would be the problem of having to explain how might He then detect that the universe appears and disappears. Besides, with every emergence and dissolution of the universe, there would also be emergence and dissolution of the Lord, which would bring the problem about what was here when both Lord and universe were gone. Was the absolute Void here when the Lord and the universe disappeared? This cannot be true, because the absolute Void can never exist in reality, except as an abstract concept in one's mind, since its existence cannot be proved by any means. If the absolute Void existed, there would be nobody perceiving it. Why? Because if "someone" is perceiving it, that is not absolute Void but partial Void. As this is so obvious, existence of the absolute Void cannot be proved ever!

As this absolute Void does not exist, the Lord cannot be appearing and disappearing just like the universe does. If someone affirms that He is doing so, that person must prove the absolute Void (the state where Lord and universe are both gone). Anyway, as the absolute Void is impossible to be proved because of the presence of the one trying to prove it, the entire matter is just nonsensical. I have explained the topic called "absolute Void" or "absolute nothingness" on my post of the blog called "Spiritual ignorance - Part 4". In this manner, the changing nature of the universe, viz. the fact that the universe is constantly subject to creation and destruction, shows that its Supreme Lord is free from creation and destruction and never changes at all. This is the way in which such a subject-matter is explained. OK, it is enough! Return


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Gabriel Pradīpaka

This document was conceived by Gabriel Pradīpaka, one of the two founders of this site, and spiritual guru conversant with Sanskrit language and Trika philosophy.

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