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 Pratyabhijñāhṛdayam (Pratyabhijnahrdayam) - Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir

Only the 20 sūtra-s --no commentary-- by Kṣemarāja expounding the Heart of Recognition




Hi, Gabriel Pradīpaka --wrongly-written Pradipaka-- once again. As you surely know from Trika 2 (English)/Literature, literature of Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir is divided into three sections. The present scripture belongs to the third section called Pratyabhijñā --wrongly-written Pratyabhijna-- (Recognition). The celebrated sage Kṣemarāja --wrongly-written Kshemaraja or Ksemaraja-- had written a lot of commentaries on various scriptures of Trika. Of those commentaries, two are really crucial: Śivasūtravimarśinī --wrongly-written Shiva Sutra Vimarshini-- and Spandanirṇaya --wrongly-written Spanda Nirnaya--. The former is on the Śivasūtra-s --wrongly-written Shiva Sutras--, while the latter is on Spandakārikā-s --wrongly-written Spanda Karikas--. Śivasūtra-s and Spandakārikā-s are two very important scriptures in Trika. However, Kṣemarāja also wanted to write a scripture of his own. He admired Utpaladeva a lot. Utpaladeva had composed Īśvarapratyabhijñā (also called Pratyabhijñāsūtra-s), which is considered to be the most important work of the Pratyabhijñā section. Remember that Utpaladeva had been disciple of Somānanda, while Kṣemarāja's guru was Abhinavagupta. Both Somānanda and Abhinavagupta were renowned guru-s, and both Utpaladeva and Kṣemarāja were worthy disciples of such great masters, no doubt. It is said that Kṣemarāja wished to compose Pratyabhijñāhṛdayam --wrongly-written Pratyabhijnahrdayam-- due to his fervent love for Utpaladeva and his works. In fact, you will find that the twenty sūtra-s (aphorisms) of which this scripture consists are actually a compendium of Utpaladeva's Īśvarapratyabhijñā (which consists of 199 sūtra-s).

Pratyabhijñāhṛdayam dates from the tenth century A.D. approximately. The literal meaning of Pratyabhijñāhṛdayam is "Heart --hṛdayam-- of Recognition --pratyabhijñā--". Nonetheless, there are three possible ways of interpreting that:

1) As I said before, the word "Pratyabhijñā" means Recognition. According to Trika, Śiva --wrongly-written Shiva or Siva-- (one's own Self of everybody) cannot be "known" as He is not a knowable but the Knower Himself. Instead, He is to be "recognized" as such. Thus, one is not going to know Śiva, but recognize that he is Him really. When one realizes that he is Śiva, that is known as Enlightenment. As a matter of fact, there is nothing extremely complicated in that, but Śiva (You), through His Māyā turns the aforesaid Enlightenment into something extremely difficult to attain. Genuine Recognition that one is Śiva is rare in this world. Sure that genuine Recognition is not merely to say "I am Śiva" but really realize and understand one's inherent unity with Him. This is not cheap... it is very difficult to accomplish undoubtedly, despite one already is Śiva. A paradox! To conclude then, the term "Pratyabhijñāhṛdayam" would mean the Core or Heart of that divine Recognition which, "theoretically, at least", everyone can attain, but that "in practice" only a few people enjoy. In this sense, this scripture would be so called as it contains profound teachings about Pratyabhijñā or Recognition.

2) Trika system (Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir) is also known as Pratyabhijñā. Why? For two reasons: the first reason is connected with the Trika's statement that one is not going to know Śiva but recognize Him to be his own Self; and the second one is related to the enormous importance of the third section (whose name is Pratyabhijñā) in the Trika's literature. Thus, this scripture is known as Pratyabhijñāhṛdayam as it is a compendium of the main teachings given in that important section.

3) Utpaladeva's Īśvarapratyabhijñā (also called Pratyabhijñāsūtra-s) was the inspiration for Kṣemarāja to write Pratyabhijñāhṛdayam, and in this sense the title of his scripture might be understood as "Heart of Īśvarapratyabhijñā or Pratyabhijñāsūtra-s".

Pratyabhijñāhṛdayam consists of 20 aphorisms plus a commentary by Kṣemarāja himself. Be warned that I have only translated the aphorisms and not the respective commentaries on each of them. Finally, note that the final "m" in Pratyabhijñāhṛdayam indicates that the compound is neuter in gender. However, you might also write it in a crude form, without that "m": "Pratyabhijñāhṛdaya --wrongly-written Pratyabhijnahridaya--". That is why, you sometimes will find this alternative way of writing the title of the scripture.

Well, let us get down to work.

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. Now and then, some important terms may be highlighted with color. The notes at the foot of some aphorisms are also mine, of course.



-Heart (hṛdayam) of Recognition (pratyabhijñā)-

चितिः स्वतन्त्रा विश्वसिद्धिहेतुः॥१॥
Citiḥ svatantrā viśvasiddhihetuḥ||1||

The independent (svatantrā) Śakti or Supreme Power (citiḥ) (is) the cause (hetuḥ) of manifestation, maintenance and dissolution (siddhi)1 of the universe (viśva)||1||

1 The term "siddhi" does not mean "supernormal power" or "perfection" in this case, but the triple process of manifesting, maintaining and dissolving the universe, carried out by Citi (Universal Consciousness).

स्वेच्छया स्वभित्तौ विश्वमुन्मीलयति॥२॥
Svecchayā svabhittau viśvamunmīlayati||2||

Through Her own (sva) Will (Power) --icchā-- (icchayā), She --i.e. "Citi"-- unfolds (unmīlayati) the universe (viśvam) on Her own (sva) Canvas --bhitti-- (bhittau)||2||


That --i.e. "the universe"-- (tad) (is) multiple (nānā) because of the differentiation (bhedāt) of (reciprocally) adapted (anurūpa) objects or knowables (grāhya) (and) experients or subjects (grāhaka)||3||

चितिसङ्कोचात्मा चेतनोऽपि सङ्कुचितविश्वमयः॥४॥
Citisaṅkocātmā cetano'pi saṅkucitaviśvamayaḥ||4||

The individual experient (cetanaḥ), in whom there is contraction (saṅkoca-ātmā) of Citi (citi)1, also (api) has the universe as his body (viśva-mayaḥ), but in a contracted way (saṅkucita)||4||

1 In other words, "in whom Citi is contracted".

चितिरेव चेतनपदावरूढा चेत्यसङ्कोचिनी चित्तम्॥५॥
Citireva cetanapadādavarūḍhā cetyasaṅkocinī cittam||5||

It is Citi (citiḥ) alone (eva) (who), by descending (avarūḍhā) from the stage (padāt) of pure Consciousness (cetana), contracts Herself (saṅkocinī) (assuming the form of) the object or knowable (cetya); (and it is also Citi who) becomes the mind (cittam)||5||

 तन्मयो मायाप्रमाता॥६॥
Tanmayo māyāpramātā||6||

The limited experient (pramātā) ruled by Māyā (māyā)1 consists (mayaḥ) of that --i.e. "of citta or mind"-- (tad)||6||

1 Māyāpramātā is also known as "the experient of void" as he rests at Māyā level which is the profound void of ignorance.

स चैको द्विरूपस्त्रिमयश्चतुरात्मा सप्तपञ्चकस्वभावः॥७॥
Sa caiko dvirūpastrimayaścaturātmā saptapañcakasvabhāvaḥ||7||

And (ca) (even though) He --i.e. "the Supreme Self"-- (saḥ) (is) One (ekaḥ), (He becomes) double (dvirūpaḥ), triple (trimayaḥ), fourfold (catur-ātmā) (and) of the nature (sva-bhāvaḥ) of seven (sapta) groups of five (pañcaka)||7||

तद्भूमिकाः सर्वदर्शनस्थितयः॥८॥
Tadbhūmikāḥ sarvadarśanasthitayaḥ||8||

The positions (sthitayaḥ)1 of all (sarva) philosophical systems (darśana) (are only various) roles (bhūmikāḥ) (played) by that (Self or Consciousness) (tad)||8||

1 In other terms, "the final conclusions stated by those philosophies".

चिद्वत्तच्छक्तिसङ्कोचान्मलावृतः संसारी॥९॥
Cidvattacchaktisaṅkocānmalāvṛtaḥ saṁsārī||9||

That --i.e. "the Self"-- (tad), who is full of Consciousness (cit-vat), (becomes) the transmigratory soul (saṁsārī) covered (avṛtaḥ) by Mala (mala)1 due to (His) contraction (saṅkocāt) of Śakti or Power (śakti)||9||

1 Mala literally means "impurity". In turn, Mala can be divided into three categories: Āṇavamala (bringing about in Śiva the notion that He is imperfect, that is, not Divine), Māyīyamala (bringing about in Śiva the notion of difference in That which is completely non dual) and Kārmamala (bringing about in Śiva the notion that He is a limited doer of limited actions). Wake up Śiva!

तथापि तद्वत्पञ्चकृत्यानि करोति॥१०॥
Tathāpi tadvatpañcakṛtyāni karoti||10||

Even (tathā-api) (in that limited condition, the individual soul) performs (karoti) the five (pañca) functions (kṛtyāni)1 as (vat) that (Supreme Self) (tad)||10||

1 The five functions are: Sṛṣṭi (manifestation), Sthiti (maintenance), Saṁhāra (reabsorption), Vilaya (obscuration or concealment of His essential nature) and Anugraha (Divine Grace which draws the veil of Māyā or Delusion).


Those (five functions) (tāni) (can also be explained) through (taḥ) (these five terms): Ābhāsana --i.e. "the act of manifesting"-- (ābhāsana), Rakti --i.e. "enjoyment"-- (rakti), Vimarśana --i.e. "the act of experiencing oneself as the Self"-- (vimarśana), Bījāvasthāpana --i.e. "the act of sowing the seed"-- (bīja-avasthāpana) (and) Vilāpana --i.e. "dissolution"-- (vilāpana)1||11||

1 That is, Ābhāsana would be tantamount to Sṛṣṭi (manifestation), Rakti to Sthiti (maintenance), Vimarśana to Saṁhāra (reabsorption), Bījāvasthāpana to Vilaya (obscuration or concealment) and Vilāpana to Anugraha (Divine Grace).

तदपरिज्ञाने स्वशक्तिभिर्व्यामोहितता संसारित्वम्॥१२॥
Tadaparijñāne svaśaktibhirvyāmohitatā saṁsāritvam||12||

To be a transmigratory soul (saṁsāritvam) (means) to be bewildered or infatuated (vyāmohitatā) by one's own (sva) powers --śakti-- (śaktibhiḥ) on account of the complete ignorance (aparijñāne) of that --i.e. "of the authorship of the five functions or fivefold act"-- (tad)1||12||

1 The term "pañcakṛtya" (five functions) is also translated as "fivefold act" sometimes.

तत्परिज्ञाने चित्तमेवान्तर्मुखीभावेन चेतनापदाध्यारोहाच्चितिः॥१३॥
Tatparijñāne cittamevāntarmukhībhāvena cetanāpadādhyārohāccitiḥ||13||

When there is complete knowledge (parijñāne) of that --i.e. "of the authorship of the five functions or fivefold act"-- (tad), the mind (cittam) itself (eva), through (bhāvena) introversion (antarmukhī), (becomes) the Supreme Power (citiḥ) by ascending (adhyārohāt) (up to) the state (pada) of pure Consciousness (cetana)||13||

चितिवह्निरवरोहपदे छन्नोऽपि मात्रया मेयेन्धनं प्लुष्यति॥१४॥
Citivahniravarohapade channo'pi mātrayā meyendhanaṁ pluṣyati||14||

The Fire (vahniḥ) of the Supreme Power (citi), though (api) covered or concealed (by Māyā or Delusion) (channaḥ) in the inferior (avaroha) stage (pade), partially (mātrayā) consumes (pluṣyati) the fuel (indhanam) of the knowables (meya)||14||

बललाभे विश्वमात्मसात्करोति॥१५॥
Balalābhe viśvamātmasātkaroti||15||

When (one) obtains (lābhe) the Power of Citi or Universal Consciousness (bala), he makes (karoti) the universe (viśvam) similar to himself (ātmasāt), (that is, he assimilates the universe to himself)1||15||

1 The phrase "ātmasātkaroti" is derived from "ātmasāt kṛ", which commonly means "to place upon oneself, to make one's own, attract, turn to oneself, acquire or gain for oneself, etc.". However, in Trika, it means "to make similar to oneself, assimilate to oneself", which is tantamount to "experiencing unity". Therefore, "viśvamātmasātkaroti" really means "to experience unity with the universe". When it is said that you should assimilate the universe to yourself, it is meant that you should experience unity with it, this is the sense.

 चिदानन्दलाभे देहादिषु चेत्यमानेष्वपि चिदैकात्म्यप्रतिपत्तिदार्ढ्यं जीवन्मुक्तिः॥१६॥
Cidānandalābhe dehādiṣu cetyamāneṣvapi cidaikātmyapratipattidārḍhyaṁ jīvanmuktiḥ||16||

When (one) obtains (lābhe) the Bliss (ānanda) of Absolute Consciousness (cit), (there is) stability or firmness (dārḍhyam) of the awareness (pratipatti) of identity (aikātmya) with (that) Absolute Consciousness (cit), even though (api) the body (deha), etc. --ādi-- (ādiṣu) are being experienced (cetyamāneṣu). (This state is known as) Jīvanmukti --i.e. "Liberation or Mukti while living"-- (jīvanmuktiḥ)1||16||

1 In other words, "Liberation while one retains his physical body". In turn, "Videhamukti" means Liberation attained at the time of leaving one's body.


Through the unfoldment or development (vikāsāt) of the middle (state) (madhya), (there is) acquisition (lābhaḥ) of the Bliss (ānanda) of Absolute Consciousness (cit)||17||

विकल्पक्षयशक्तिसङ्कोचविकासवाहच्छेदद्यन्तकोटिनिभालनादय इहोपायाः॥१८॥
Vikalpakṣayaśaktisaṅkocavikāsavāhacchedadyantakoṭinibhālanādaya ihopāyāḥ||18||

Here (you are) (iha) the means (to that unfoldment or development) (upāyāḥ): 1) dissolution or dissipation (kṣaya) of (all) vikalpa-s or thoughts (vikalpa), 2) unfoldment (vikāsa) (and) contraction (saṅkoca) of Śakti or Power (śakti)1, 3) cessation of the flow of prāṇa and apāna by means of the repetition of "anacka" --i.e. "without vowels"-- sounds (vāha-cheda)2, etc. (ādi), (and) 4) the perception (nibhālana) of the dvādaśānta (antakoṭi)3, etc. (ādayaḥ)||18||

1 By "unfoldment and contraction of the Śakti or Power", the author meant to say "withdrawal of Prāṇaśakti ('pranic or vital energy' would be an approximate but useful translation for now) which escapes through the sense organs by introverting it toward the Self, while at the same time the senses are allowed to keep working as usual". In other terms, "withdrawal or contraction --saṅkoca-- of Prāṇaśakti" together with "unfoldment of Śakti --vikāsa-- through the senses, as these are allowed to keep working as always".

2 The compound "vāhaccheda" is not at all formed from "vāhac" (which in turn would be possibly derived from "vāhat") and "cheda", but from "vāha" and "cheda", since by the first sub-rule of the 19th Rule of Consonant Sandhi, you are bound to insert "c" between "ch" and the preceding short vowel ("a" in "vāha", in this case).
In other words, that "c" before "ch" is not an original constituent but a consonant to be obligatorily inserted according to that particular rule of Consonant Sandhi.
So, "Vāha" means "vital energy or Prāṇaśakti". In turn "cheda" means "cessation of prāṇa (i.e. the specific energy being released through the exhalation) and apāna (i.e. the specific energy entering the body through the inhalation) by means of the repetition of anacka sounds". Anacka sounds are simply consonants without a vowel. For example: h.

3 "Dvādaśānta" means "certain points placed at the distance of twelve fingers" (e.g. there is one dvādaśānta in the space between the eyebrows, at twelve fingers from the throat). Even though Kṣemarāja does not specify which dvādaśānta (there are several ones) he is referring to, it is generally understood as meaning to say "āntaradvādaśānta" (the heart or point where the inhalation ends) and "bāhyadvādaśānta" (the outer point where the exhalation ends). That is, you should pay attention to those two points or dvādaśānta-s while meditating in order to unfold or develop the middle state or Madhya.

समाधिसंस्कारवति व्युत्थाने भूयो भूयश्चिदैक्यामर्शान्नित्योदितसमाधिलाभः॥१९॥
Samādhisaṁskāravati vyutthāne bhūyo bhūyaścidaikyāmarśānnityoditasamādhilābhaḥ||19||

In the state coming after Samādhi or Perfect Concentration (vyutthāne), which is full of the saṁskāra-s --saṁskāravat-- (saṁskāravati)1 (of that) Samādhi (samādhi), (there is) acquisition (lābhaḥ) of a permanent (nitya-udita) Samādhi (samādhi) by reflecting (āmarśāt) over and over again (bhūyas bhūyas) upon one's own identity (aikya) with the Absolute Consciousness (cit)||19||

1 "Full of the saṁskāra-s" here means "full of the subsequent effects". In other terms, when one is in Vyutthāna (the state coming after Samādhi or Perfect Concentration), both mind and body are full of the respective and subsequent effects produced by that Samādhi.

तदा प्रकाशानन्दसारमहामन्त्रवीर्यात्मकपूर्णाहन्तावेशात्सदा सर्वसर्गसंहारकारिनिजसंविद्देवताचक्रेश्वरताप्राप्तिर्भवतीति शिवम्॥२०॥
Tadā prakāśānandasāramahāmantravīryātmakapūrṇāhantāveśātsadā
sarvasargasaṁhārakārinijasaṁviddevatācakreśvaratāprāptirbhavatīti śivam||20||

Then (tadā), as a result of entering (veśāt) in the Perfect (pūrṇa) I-consciousness (ahantā), which is essentially (sāra) Light (prakāśa) (and) Bliss (ānanda), (and whose) nature (ātmaka) (consists of) the great (mahā) power (vīrya) of the Mantra (mantra), there is (bhavati) always (sadā) acquisition or obtainment (prāptiḥ) of sovereignty or supremacy (īśvaratā) over the group (cakra) of deities (devatā) of one's own (nija) Consciousness (saṁvid), which brings about (kāri) all (sarva) manifestations (sarga) (and) dissolutions (saṁhāra) (of the universe). Thus, all is of the nature of Śiva (iti śivam)1||20||

1 All is essentially Śiva.


 Further Information

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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