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Śivasūtravimarśinī-hṛdaya (Shiva Sutra Vimarshini Hrdaya) - Chapter 2 (Part 1)

Studying the Śivasūtravimarśinī's First Section (1)

Aphorism 1

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 hyphens (--...--) constitutes clarifying further information also added by me.

Kṣemarāja's Sanskrit will be in dark green color while the original Śiva's aphorisms will be shown in dark red color. In turn, within the transliteration, the original aphorisms will be in brown color, while the Kṣemarāja's comments will be shown in black. Also, within the translation, the original aphorisms by Śiva, i.e. the Śivasūtra-s, will be in green and black colors, while the commentary by Kṣemarāja will contain words in both black and red colors. Finally, any other Sanskrit text included (e.g. quotes from other scriptures, apart from those ones already occurring in the Śivasūtravimarśinī itself, of course) will have its own set of colors: Sanskrit and transliteration in black, while the translation will contain words in black and dark red.

And the venerable Master got ready to explain the Śivasūtravimarśinī's First Section to his disciple. This section deals with Śāmbhavopāya, in which absolute non-dualism is predominant.

Master: I am going to analyze only the main portions of every section of Śivasūtravimarśinī. Thus, I will not be analyzing "all" the aphorisms and "all" the commentaries. Remember that this work is called Śivasūtravimarśinī-hṛdaya because it is precisely the Core or Essence of the venerable Śivasūtravimarśinī composed by Kṣemarāja. In future dialogues, I will give full explanation of the remaining parts to you.

The Śivasūtra-s' first aphorism states:



Consciousness which is omniscient and omnipotent (caitanyam) (is) the Self or true nature of Reality (ātmā)||1||

Kṣemarāja comments the following in his sublime work, listen up. After each of his comments I will explain the inner purport and you will be allowed to ask questions:

इहाचेतितस्य कस्यापि सत्त्वाभावाच्चितिक्रिया सर्वसामान्यरूपा इति चेतयत इति...

Ihācetitasya kasyāpi sattvābhāvāccitikriyā sarvasāmānyarūpā iti...

Here (iha), the activity (kriyā) of Consciousness (citi) is common to all --i.e. universal-- (sarvasāmānya-rūpā iti) due to nonexistence (sattva-abhāvāt) of something (kasyāpi) unperceived --i.e. of something out of the range of Consciousness-- (acetitasya)...

As there is nothing which is not perceived, as there is nothing which is out of your own reach, my dear Supreme Self, your activity is universal (common to all). What is not being perceived right now by senses and mind does not exist as a "manifested" reality. It is unmanifest and remains only as a possibility. For that reason, your activity is universal, because "this" is the whole universe that is manifest. The rest is just in your mind, disciple.

Disciple: Then, there is nothing which is not being perceived?

M: That is right! The term "acetitasya" means "of acetita", and "acetita" is synonymous with "aprakāśita". This last word means: "that which does not appear through the Light of Consciousness (Prakāśa); that which is not revealed or manifest". Prakāśa is the Light of Consciousness, and not ordinary light because the latter is perceived due to the presence of the former. In all that is manifest there is Prakāśa, in all that is manifest there is Śiva (you as the Witness or Perceiver!). In short, Kṣemarāja declares that your activity is universal since there is nothing which is not revealed by Prakāśa (the Light of Consciousness). Because you are Consciousness, you are this Supreme Light. Where you are not, nothing can appear.

So, while "Prakāśa" (Śiva) is the Light of Consciousness (Cit) giving support to all that is manifest, "Vimarśa" (Śakti) is the Supreme Power known as Citi. Vimarśa is this which makes you become aware of your existence. And the activity of your Citi is simply the activity of your own capacity to recognize that "you are". Without Citi, you remain as Śiva or pure Light, and as a result you would not know you exist. Therefore, on one hand, the terms Prakāśa, Śiva, Cit and Light of Consciousness are synonymous. On the other hand, the words Vimarśa, Śakti and Citi are also synonymous.

Revealed knowledge by me was hidden in the phrase of the great sage. In each of these teachings there are always deeper levels of meaning, but in order to extract them you need your own Divine Grace in the form of the Guru. Do not forget that ever!

D: I thank you for being my Guru. No doubt that your Compassion is causeless. I beg you to keep explaining such a great scripture to me.

M: Kṣemarāja continues to say:

... चेतयत इति चेतनः सर्वज्ञानक्रियास्वतन्त्रस्तस्य भावश्चैतन्यं...

... cetayata iti cetanaḥ sarvajñānakriyāsvatantrastasya bhāvaścaitanyaṁ...

... A cetana (cetanaḥ) is a being who is conscious and able to form an idea in his mind (cetayate iti), (and) who is endowed with Absolute Freedom (svatantraḥ) regarding all (sarva) knowledge (jñāna) (and) activity (kriyā). "Caitanya" (caitanyam) is the state or condition (bhāvaḥ) of that (conscious being or cetana) (tasya)....

In other words, Caitanya is your own State, because there is no other conscious being but you, dear disciple. Caitanya is your Consciousness, is the Condition in which you exist. This Caitanya is full of Absolute Freedom as for all knowledge and activity. Utpaladeva, another famous teacher of the sacred tradition, states in 1.5.11 of his work called "Īśvarapratyabhijñā" (possibly the main scripture of the third section of the Trika's literature):

स्वभावमवभासस्य विमर्शं विदुरन्यथा।
प्रकाशोऽर्थोपरक्तोऽपि स्फटिकादिजडोपमः॥११॥

Svabhāvamavabhāsasya vimarśaṁ viduranyathā|
Prakāśo'rthoparakto'pi sphaṭikādijaḍopamaḥ||11||

(The sages) know (viduḥ) the essential nature (sva-bhāvam) of the Light of Consciousness --i.e. Prakāśa or Śiva-- (avabhāsasya) as Vimarśa --viz. Śakti or Self-consciousness-- (vimarśam). Otherwise (anyathā), (this) Light of Consciousness (prakāśaḥ) (would be) like (upamaḥ) an inert thing (jaḍa) (such as) a crystal (sphaṭika), etc. (ādi), (and) even (api) affected (uparaktaḥ) by (those very) objects (artha)||11||

You are Śiva (technically called Prakāśa), the Light of Consciousness. This Light takes the form of objects and at the same time illumines them. Without your Light, no object around could exist. Still, you, in your innermost nature, are different from the mere inert objects as you have Śakti (technically called Vimarśa). And this Vimarśa appears firstly as Self-consciousness, i.e. you are conscious of your existence, you feel "I am", and secondly as the Power examining the universe, viz. you are conscious of all around. If you were merely Prakāśa (Light) devoid of Vimarśa (Power), you would be like an inert thing such as a crystal and so on. And consequently, you would be affected or influenced by those very insentient objects. So, the difference between you and the inert objects is the presence of Vimarśa.

And Caitanya is nothing but "Prakāśavimarśamaya" (lit. that which consist of Prakāśa and Vimarśa). Caitanya is your own State as a cetana or a conscious being. This is the sense.

D: There is something else hidden in the aphorism composed by Utpaladeva: If I were like an inert object, I would be affected by the objects. So, does that mean "I do not affected by the objects"?

M: Yes! Your conclusion is right. There is a strong appearance that you are affected by the objects, but as a matter of fact, you are never affected by them. Nothing can affect you really. This is a mystery. One way to explain it is to say that "as you are identified with your ego, and your ego is affected by the objects, you are affected too", but this is just a way to explain what cannot be explained at all through words. It is lastly your own Vimarśa which is responsible for your "apparent" being affected by objects. This would be a better way of expressing it, though not completely exact either.

Afterward, Kṣemarāja says:

... नह्यचेत्यमानः कोऽपि कस्यापि कदाचिदपि स्वभावो भवति। चेत्यमानस्तु स्वप्रकाशचिदेकीभूतत्वाच्चैतन्यात्मैव। तदुक्तं श्रीमदुच्छुष्मभैरवे

यावन्न वेदका एते तावद्वेद्याः कथं प्रिये।
वेदकं वेद्यमेकं तु तत्त्वं नास्त्यशुचिस्ततः॥


... Nahyacetyamānaḥ ko'pi kasyāpi kadācidapi svabhāvo bhavati| Cetyamānastu svaprakāśacidekībhūtatvāccaitanyātmaiva| Taduktaṁ śrīmaducchuṣmabhairave

Yāvanna vedakā ete tāvadvedyāḥ kathaṁ priye|
Vedakaṁ vedyamekaṁ tu tattvaṁ nāstyaśucistataḥ||


There is nothing (na... kaḥ api... bhavati) which is not perceived (by Cit or Consciousness) --i.e. out of the range of Consciousness-- (acetyamānaḥ), undoubtedly (hi). If it is not perceived (by Cit) --i.e. if it is not illuminated by Consciousness-- (acetyamānaḥ) there (cannot) be (na... bhavati) ever (kadācid api) the nature or being (sva-bhāvaḥ) of anything (na... kasya api)|

However (tu), (if) it is perceived (by Cit) --i.e. if it is inside the range of Consciousness-- (cetyamānaḥ), (it is) just (eva) of the nature (ātmā) of Consciousness (caitanya), since it is united --i.e. it is one with-- (ekībhūtatvāt) with the self-luminous (sva--prakāśa) Cit or Consciousness (cit)|

That (very interpretation) (tad) has been mentioned (uktam) in venerable (śrīmat) Ucchuṣmabhairava (ucchuṣmabhairave):

"Oh dear one (priye), as long as (yāvat) these (ete) knowers (vedakāḥ) (are not present), how (katham) (can these) knowables (vedyāḥ) (exist) during that lapse of time (tāvat)? Knower (vedakam) (and) knowable (vedyam) (are) certainly (tu) only one (ekam) principle (tattvam). For that reason (tatas), there is nothing (na asti) which is impure (aśuciḥ... iti)"||

D: Does this mean that where I am not there is nothing because there is nothing which is not perceived?

M: More or less. A better manner to describe it would be: "where you are not there is nothing being manifest because there is nothing which is not perceived". That is to say, "there is" something: Prakāśa or your pure Light. Anyway, in the absence of Vimarśa as the perceiving Power, this Light of yours remains like as such, containing no objects at all. So, where you are not, all that remains is Prakāśa without Vimarśa since "you" are conscious of yourself (of your existence here) due to the presence of Vimarśa. Where you are not conscious of yourself, there only your Prakāśa or Light resides. In this Prakāśa the objects rest as a possibility, but they will not emerge till Vimarśa wishes to do so, whether physically or mentally in the form of memories, etc. Therefore, the world such as is normally conceived by an ordinary (i.e. ignorant) mind is a complete absurd to a Higher Mind.

And your own Vimarśa appears as multiples powers (śakti-s), which display this divine Play (Līlā) called "the universe". These very powers also make you feel that "an entire manifest world is out there!" when there is just Prakāśa. The powers inherent in time and space bring about this divine invention of a solid world existing the whole time as a manifest reality. This is absolutely false! You will understand it in due course, do not worry.

D: Does this mean that those powers or śakti-s are the responsible for the suffering and contraction (limitation) I experience?

M: No. You are responsible for that. They have no existence apart from you, they are not "something" separate from you. Have you not understood perhaps what is declared in the venerable Ucchuṣmabhairava quoted by Kṣemarāja?:

Vedakaṁ vedyamekaṁ tu tattvaṁ...

Knower (vedakam) (and) knowable (vedyam) (are) certainly (tu) only one (ekam) principle (tattvam)...

And consequently:

... nāstyaśucistataḥ||

... For that reason (tatas), there is nothing (na asti) which is impure (aśuciḥ... iti)"||

By "there is nothing which is impure", Lord Śiva (the one teaching in the Ucchuṣmabhairava) is specifying that "everything is inherently one". Purity and unity are synonymous in this context. There is no moral connotation here.

D: Understood! What else does the sage Kṣemarāja comment?

M: He declares that it is impossible to know the Knower (You!), because He is not an object of knowledge (a knowable) but the supreme Subject. You are essentially neither a light, nor a sound nor anything objective. You are the Witness of all that. This is your real State. You are neither the various thoughts running about within your own mind either, nor any of the emotions fluttering around in your heart. You are neither the different moods moving this body as if it were a puppet, nor the bag of flesh and bone known as "your body", which is doomed to death, sooner or later. Indeed, you are the Witness of those realities.

To show your true condition, Kṣemarāja quotes a stanza occurring in the Trikahṛdaya:

स्वपदा स्वशिरश्छायां यद्वल्लङ्घितुमीहते।
पादोद्देशे शिरो न स्यात्तथेयं वैन्दवी कला॥


Svapadā svaśiraśchāyāṁ yadvallaṅghitumīhate|
Pādoddeśo śiro na syāttatheyaṁ vaindavī kalā||


"Just as (yadvat) (when) one attempts (īhate) to jump (laṅghitum) with his (sva) foot (padā) over the shadow (chāyām) of his own (sva) head (śiras), (the shadow of) the head (śiras) is not (na syāt) at the place (uddeśe) (where) the foot (steps on) (pāda), so also (tathā) (is it with) this (iyam) Vaindavī Kalā --i.e. Bindu's Power-- (vaindavī kalā... iti)"||...

Vaindavī (or Baindavī) Kalā means "the power (kalā) inherent in Vindu --or Bindu-- (Vaindavī or Baindavī)". The term "Vindu" or "Bindu" derives from the root "vid" (to know). Therefore, Bindu is the knowing Subject (the Knower), who never becomes a knowable. No matter how "thick" ignorance may be, you always retain this power of remaining as the Knower. You should meditate on this ever-present condition. By this simple Trikahṛdaya's quote, a great teaching has been given, a vital one in fact.

D: If this State is already my possession, what is spiritual Enlightenment or final Liberation then?

M: One may have a lot of money in his pocket, but it is just when he puts his hand into it that he realizes his immense fortune. The same analogy may be used here. Although you are the Supreme Self, there is no conscious apprehension of your real State. The goal of the spiritual practices is exactly that, viz. realization of your true Nature. Nothing else is their goal, be sure.

D: And what type of spiritual practice you would recommend me to perform in order to become aware of my essential State?

M: None!

D: I do not understand, I think you...

M: An earthen pot cannot illumine the self-luminous sun. Likewise, there is no spiritual practice that is able to reveal the Most Obvious One. The final Goal (realization of your essential nature) is a matter of discernment, not of practices.

D: This makes me confused... I just want to know if I have to perform some practice.

M: Oh yes... nevertheless, you do not need to do that at all.

D: This makes me even more confused.

M: This is because you are identified with a limited structure of thought. The answers must be Yes or No. It is very difficult for you to think about Yes and No at the same time. If you do not develop the capacity to think about Yes and No, you will find many problems in your way to the Supreme Self. In other words, you will find plenty of obstacles to understand what you are essentially, because you, in your innermost nature, contain Yes and No simultaneously.

D: What does that mean? I am asking you for some example, please.

M: Of course. For instance: Although your essential nature is "always" revealed, it appears as totally hidden; though it is omnipotent and omniscient, it appears to be extremely impotent and ignorant; in spite of its being eternally full and perfect, it experiences deficiency and imperfection, etc.

D: Now, I got it! It means that I must apply Yes and No always in order to understand.

M: Absolutely... nonetheless, it is not necessary for you to do that, because you are already pure Consciousness and consequently you have full understanding.

D: Alas! This tortures me!

M: It is not you who is tortured but your ego or psychological structure (viz. I am this, I am that). As you are identified with your ego, you demand a categorical Yes or No from me. That is the reason.

D: But how do I get rid of that identification with my ego?

M: You must meditate on your Self (your essential nature) as Bindu (Knower or Subject, i.e. a Witness). You are not a knowable but the Supreme Knower of all. This is what you should meditate on. Still, you do not need to do it, since you are already Bindu and never became identified with anything.

D: My confusion is at its height!

M: While you keep asking me in "Yes or No" mode, it will grow and grow.

D: But, how can I ask in "Yes and No" mode? It would not be logical, it would not make sense, as the question would have already been answered, and as a result our dialogue would come to an end.

M: You are right. In your essential nature there is no dialogue, no doubt to be dissipated, no question to be answered, because you are alone! You are the only inhabitant in this entire universe. Thus, who doubts what, who asks whom|what and so on?

D: That is true... but it is through our dialogue which all these sublime truths are revealed.

M: Yes... but it is not necessary any dialogue for these sublime truths to be revealed as they are completely obvious the whole time.

D: I am about to fall into a faint!

M: This is my purpose, hehe, to make your ego fall into a faint.

D: What else does Kṣemarāja comment?

M: At the end of his commentary on the first aphorism, he specifies the beginning and end of four stanzas of Spandakārikā-s (I-2 to I-5), which I will explain on other occasion, and he says:

... अनेनैवाशयेन स्पन्दे

यत्र स्थितम्...।


...तदस्ति परमार्थतः॥

इत्यन्तेन महता ग्रन्थेन शङ्करात्मकस्पन्दतत्त्वरूपं चैतन्यं सर्वदा स्वप्रकाशं प्रमार्थसदस्तीति प्रमाणीकृतम्॥१॥...

... Anenaivāśayena spande

Yatra sthitam...|


...tadasti paramārthataḥ||

ityantena mahatā granthena śaṅkarātmakaspandatattvarūpaṁ caitanyaṁ sarvadā svaprakāśaṁ pramārthasadastīti pramāṇīkṛtam||1||...

With this (anena eva) intention (āśayena), it has been proved (iti pramāṇīkṛtam) by a large quantity (mahatā) of stanzas (granthena) in Spandakārikā-s (spande) that Caitanya or Consciousness with complete Freedom to know and do all (caitanyam) is (asti) always (sarvadā) the self-luminous (sva-prakāśam) Absolute Truth (paramārthasat) (and) of the nature (rūpam) of the Spanda --i.e. Supreme Vibration-- (spanda) principle (tattva), which is essentially (ātmaka) Śaṅkara --i.e. Śiva-- (śaṅkara), (in the stanza) beginning (upakramya) (with):

"In whom (yatra) rests (sthitam)... (iti ādi)"|
(See Spandakārikā-s I, 2)

(and) ending (antena) (with):

"... that (tad) is (asti), in the highest sense (paramārthatas... iti), (the principle of Spanda)"|
(See Spandakārikā-s I, 5)


Thus, Caitanya is your own State. You dwell in Caitanya always and there is no doubt about it. Anyway, if you fail to realize this State, you can attain It, "as it were", through three means (upāya-s): Śāmbhavopāya, Śāktopāya and Āṇavopāya.

D: Might you give a summary of these means, i.e. the core of each of them?

M: I will do so through divine Revelation, that is, I will firstly enter Samādhi (perfect concentration) and then I will come out and speak. There are many descriptions "already written" about the core of the three means or upāya-s, but I prefer to give an original one. Wait a minute, please.

D: Take your time, Master.

Then, the Master entered into profound Samādhi. After a long while, he came out and started speaking what he had been said by the Lord during that state of Perfect Concentration.

M: Listen to me, dear disciple, because this which I am about to reveal comes directly from the Lord's mouth:

[For a better understanding of what the Master is going to declare, read the Trika (overview) within the Trika section]

Firstly, the highest means is known as Śāmbhavopāya. In this there is no concentration on any object at all. There is no practice whatsoever, at least in the form as they are commonly conceived. Your only task is to stay on the alert in order to catch Consciousness (as it were) when It emerges spontaneously. When I explain the fifth aphorism of the present section, you will understand it in a better way. The culmination of Śāmbhavopāya is Anupāya. Despite Anupāya seems to be another upāya (means), it is not. In fact, the very word confirms my declaration: An-upāya (Not-means). Anyway, sometimes it is counted as another means despite this is a blatant mistake. Anupāya is simply the highest stage of Śāmbhavopāya and nothing else.

Secondly, the following means is called Śāktopāya. In this there is concentration on "I am", i.e. in the source of all thoughts. This is the path of the Mantra (sacred formulas) for the most part. Why? Because somehow it is much easier to find the source of a Mantra in one's mind than that of any other common thought. Therefore, a Mantra is a special thought you use to find the source of all thoughts, viz. "I am".

Thirdly, the last means is Āṇavopāya. In this there is concentration on inner and outer objects. This is the lowest means and also the most crowded one, that is, most people will start with Āṇavopāya in spite of their impressive imaginations. Nobody wants to start with Āṇavopāya if asked. The vast majority of seekers wants to start with Śāktopāya to say the very least. Some even pretend to start with Śāmbhavopāya itself. Still, they end up performing the practices of Āṇavopāya. Why? Because they are not worthy enough to undertake the other two upāya-s from the beginning.

Only an extremely worthy disciple can access Śāmbhavopāya from the very start. Śāktopāya also requires much power and virtues in a seeker to be undertaken from the beginning. Normally, people will start with Āṇavopāya and gradually advance to Śāktopāya and Śāmbhavopāya. The culminating point of Śāmbhavopāya is, as I said before, Anupāya (which is not a means or upāya at all, despite its name).

Now, I will describe each of these three upāya-s in a more precise manner. I recommend you consult the Tattvic Chart in order to better understand what I will say:

Śiva, the Supreme Self (You!), is "alone". But, wait, within His Cosmic Body a slight vibration is happening. This slight vibration is known as Spanda or Śakti. This Śakti gives Self-consciousness to Śiva in the form of "I am". Then, the same Śakti extracts a universe (idam or this) from Śiva and this is the beginning of the universal manifestation. In the first three stages (tattva-s or categories 3, 4 and 5) of this process of manifestation, there is complete unity between "I" and "this" (the universe) in the form of "I am this universe". Then, in the stages 6 down to 36 (the last one), there is duality appearing in various degrees, i.e. "I am different from this universe", "I am separated from this universe", etc.

Therefore, Śakti, in the stages (tattva-s or categories) 6 through 36 makes "a colossal effort" and condenses, as it were, the Supreme Śiva into an aṇu or atom of conditioned consciousness. The quantity of energy involved in order to change the Supreme Self into a limited being or aṇu is immensurable. It is only Śakti or the divine Power who is able to transform Śiva into a miserable being that begs in this world full of misery the whole time. This aṇu begs for love when he is Supreme Love, for compassion when he is the Merciful One in person, for understanding when he is That who understands all and so on. Of course, as a matter of fact, Śiva, never became nothing, but the "appearance" of His being heavily conditioned is really strong... and this is the work of His own Śakti indeed.

OK, this aṇu or limited individual should use Āṇavopāya (the means pertaining to aṇu) in order to go past his own limitation. Just as a mere atom of matter unleashes tremendous energy when its nucleus is broken, so also when the nucleus of this aṇu (a spiritual atom) is broken through the practices recommended in Āṇavopāya a much more tremendous quantity of energy is unleashed indeed, because this spiritual atom is much more powerful than an ordinary material atom. This spiritual explosion occurs within you when you has performed all that had to be performed in Āṇavopāya in a proper way. Immediately, you are taken from diversity or duality (tattva-s 6 through 36) to unity in diversity (tattva-s 3 through 5). And this new reality you perceive marks your entrance into Śāktopāya (the means of Śakti). Here you experience "I am this universe", but through the practices recommended by Śāktopāya you focus your attention on "I am" alone. This "I am" is Śakti, of course. As you concentrate more and more on "I am", the universe recedes to its source, i.e. "I am". Then, you go even beyond "I am", toward that "place" where you do not know you exist. This "place" is known as Śiva. In other words, the universe is gone and even its source (Śakti as "I am") is also absent. At the moment you have the experience of entering into a state in which you do not know you exist, you penetrate in the region of Śāmbhavopāya (the means of Śiva). Here, your only "practice" is to be on the alert. You simply wait for that precise moment in which you are given a chance to go into Śiva (your own Self). In Śāmbhavopāya there is total unity (no dualism).

Thus, Śāmbhavopāya involves total unity, Śāktopāya unity in diversity and Āṇavopāya diversity. In short, Śāmbhavopāya is full of non-dualism, Śāktopāya contains a mixture of non-dualism and dualism, while Āṇavopāya has plenty of dualism. And at the culminating point of Śāmbhavopāya, you attain Anupāya or absolute Enlightenment. This is called Final Liberation as well. Are there any doubts, dear disciple?

D: How does this process of transforming Śiva into a wretched aṇu (limited being) occur?

M: Śakti limits Śiva through three mala-s or impurities (Āṇavamala, Māyīyamala and Kārmamala) along with the help of Māyā (tattva or category 6) and her five Kañcuka-s (Sheaths). The latter are the tattva-s 7 through 11. The sage Kṣemarāja is on the point of speaking about the first mala or impurity, viz. Āṇavamala, while he comments on the second aphorism of the Śivasūtra-s.


Aphorism 2

M: Firstly, Kṣemarāja writes an introduction to the second aphorism:

यदि जीवजडात्मनो विश्वस्य परमशिवरूपं चैतन्यमेव स्वभावः तत्कथमयं बन्ध इत्याशङ्काशान्तये संहितया इतरथा च अकारप्रश्लेषाप्रश्लेषपाठतः सूत्रमाह—

Yadi jīvajaḍātmano viśvasya paramaśivarūpaṁ caitanyameva svabhāvaḥ tatkathamayaṁ bandha ityāśaṅkāśāntaye saṁhitayā itarathā ca akārapraśleṣāpraśleṣapāṭhataḥ sūtramāha-

"If (yadi) the essential nature (sva-bhāvaḥ) of the universe (viśvasya) composed (ātmanaḥ) of limited beings (jīva) (and) inert matter (jaḍa) (is) just (eva) Caitanya --omniscient and omnipotent Consciousness-- (caitanyam), whose form (rūpam) is Paramaśiva --the Supreme Śiva-- (paramaśiva), therefore (tad) how (katham) (can) this (ayam) bondage (exist) (bandhaḥ iti)?". In order to dissipate (śāntaye) (such a) doubt (āśaṅkā), (Lord Śiva) declared (āha) (the second) aphorism (sūtram), (but) endowed with a (double) reading (pāṭhataḥ): with coalescence (praśleṣa) (and) without coalescence (apraśleṣa) of the letter (kāra) "a" (a). (In other words, Śiva expressed it) by means of the combination of letters according to euphonic rules --i.e. Sandhi rules-- (saṁhitayā) and also (ca) in a contrary manner --viz. with no Sandhi or combination-- (itarathā)-

D: I could understand the question about how this bondage can exist when only Caitanya is the essential nature of the whole universe consisting of limited beings and inner matter. However, I could not understand the second part of his statement.

M: It is easy. But firstly I will write the Śivasūtra-s' second aphorism as it is usually formulated:

ज्ञानं बन्धः॥२॥

Jñānaṁ bandhaḥ||2||

The (limited or contracted) knowledge (jñānam) (is) bondage (bandhaḥ)||2||

Now, I will explain what Kṣemarāja meant to say in his introduction:

The rules of Sandhi or combination indicate that "(a, ā) + (a, ā) = ā". This is stated by the 3rd Primary Rule of Vowel Sandhi. Now consider the first aphorism: Caitanyamātmā (Caitanyam + ātmā). The last "ā" in "ātmā" may be looked upon as "ā + a" as well. Join the two aphorisms together in this way, look:

Caitanyamātmā (Caitanyam ātmā) + jñānaṁ bandhaḥ »» Caitanyamātm(ā + a) + jñānaṁ bandhaḥ (watch how the last "ā" in "ātmā" is considered as "ā + a") »» and then "ātmā" passes that "a" to "jñānaṁ", as it were »» Caitanyamātmā + ajñānaṁ bandhaḥ »» finally I join both phrases into a single one »» Caitanyamātmājñānaṁ bandhaḥ »» and the meaning is:

"Bondage (bandhaḥ) (is) ignorance (ajñānam) that Consciousness which is omniscient and omnipotent (caitanyam) (is) the Self or true nature of Reality (ātmā)".

On the other hand, when there is no coalescence of "a", you get the two aphorisms (1 and 2) separately, i.e. (1) "Caitanyamātmā" and (2) "Jñānaṁ bandhaḥ". And this is the manner in which they appear usually in the Śivasūtra-s.

D: I got it! What else does Kṣemarāja comment?

M: His commentary is worth being heard with great attention. In a portion of it, he quotes a passage of the holy Mālinīvijayatantra (the second line of I, 23), which is certainly the most revered Tantra of the Trika's tradition in my humble opinion:

मलमज्ञानमिच्छन्ति संसाराङ्कुरकारणम्॥

Malamajñānamicchanti saṁsārāṅkurakāraṇam||

(The great sages) maintain (icchanti) that mala or impurity (malam) (is) ignorance (ajñānam) (and) the cause (kāraṇam) for Saṁsāra --Transmigration-- (saṁsāra) to sprout (aṅkura)||

Saṁsāra is generally translated as "Transmigration". In general speaking, it refers to journey from one body to the next one, life after life. It is like a big wheel in which all limited beings turn round and round, the whole time seeking pleasure and avoiding pain at all costs. Due to the primordial mala or impurity (Āṇavamala), those individuals live in complete ignorance. Of course, in the process, they lose sight of the inherent underlying unity of all things. However, within the big wheel of Saṁsāra there are mini-wheels as well. For example, a conditioned being has a flow of continuous thoughts during wakefulness, and, because of his identification with practically all of them, he experiences different moods. Now he is glad, later he is sad, etc. This is bondage indeed, and the root cause for it to emerge is Āṇavamala.

So, Āṇavamala or primordial impurity is merely ignorance of one's own essential nature and the cause for Transmigration to appear. In this second aphorism we are studying right now, Āṇavamala is that limited or contracted knowledge which is bondage, of course. Thus, the present aphorism defines Āṇavamala synthetically. Āṇavamala is of two sorts: (a) Pauruṣa and (b) Bauddha. The former is ignorance related to the core of a conditioned individual, while the latter is ignorance that pertains to Buddhi or intellect. The abovementioned Mālinīvijayatantra's passage is speaking of the Pauruṣa aspect, obviously.

D: I do not understand really.

M: Simple. When Āṇavamala appears in its Pauruṣa mode, you feel imperfection in the form of lack of plenitude. You feel different from the Supreme Self, but as the words have not emerged yet at that level there is no phrase to describe it. It is just a powerful notion of being imperfect. In turn, when Āṇavamala appears in its Bauddha mode, then there are clear ways to formulate such a limitation (e.g. "I am imperfect", "I am not the Divine", "I feel I am not complete", "I need this to be totally satisfied", etc.). And this storm of phrases reinforces even more the Āṇavamala's grip. As a result, you spend your entire day running after objects and people to find plenitude and perfection when these dwell in you as You Yourself forever. A great mystery indeed! So, Āṇavamala is the first stratagem Śiva (You!) uses to transform Himself into a limited being who lives in misery. Yes, "in misery", because to live an entire life ignoring your divine nature is nothing but misery.

D: How can I overcome my misery, Master?

M: As a matter of fact, Āṇavamala "cannot be overcome" by any means or effort. No matter how hard you perform spiritual practices, Āṇavamala cannot be vanquished in that manner. All limitations "but" Āṇavamala can "actually" be overcome through spiritual practices. Āṇavamala, being the primordial mala or impurity, is only removed by divine dispensation. No doubt that your practice can take you to the very Śiva's doorway, but it is Him who decides when the door will be opened. It is a dualistic way to explain the process, but useful though.

Anyway, it is possible to be more precise: you, as a limited individual, practice and practice until you come to the Śiva's doorway. Āṇavamala is the door, of course. Then, you, as Śiva, open that door when it is appropriate. Therefore, perform practices till you become so identified with Śiva (the Absolute) as possible. Afterward, just wait! The door will be opened sooner or later. Make sure you will enter! This is Śāmbhavopāya, no doubt about it.

D: Although there is no practice to "break into", what should be my attitude while I await?

M: The right attitude may be cultivated from the very start of your practice despite you cannot fully understand it for many years. In short, you do not need to wait till you stand in the Śiva's doorway in order to develop the proper attitude. In the venerable Spandakārikā-s, the third and fourth aphorisms of the second section contain the key to the kind of attitude you are asking about:

यस्मात्सर्वमयो जीवः सर्वभावसमुद्भवात्।
तत्संवेदनरूपेण तादात्म्यप्रतिपत्तितः॥३॥

तस्माच्छब्दार्थचिन्तासु न सावस्था न या शिवः।
भोक्तैव भोग्यभावेन सदा सर्वत्र संस्थितः॥४॥
Yasmātsarvamayo jīvaḥ sarvabhāvasamudbhavāt|
Tatsaṁvedanarūpeṇa tādātmyapratipattitaḥ||3||

Tasmācchabdārthacintāsu na sāvasthā na yā śivaḥ|
Bhoktaiva bhogyabhāvena sadā sarvatra saṁsthitaḥ||4||

Because (yasmāt) the individual soul (jīvaḥ) is identical (mayaḥ) with all (sarva) since all entities arise (sarva-bhāva-samudbhavāt) (from him, and) inasmuch as he has the feeling or perception (pratipattitaḥ) of identity (tādātmya) (with those entities) due to knowledge (saṁvedanarūpeṇa) of them all (tad) --i.e. "because the individual soul knows them all"--, therefore (tasmāt), there is no (na) state (sā avasthā) that (yā) is not (na) Śiva (śivaḥ), (whether) in word (śabda), object (artha) (or) thought --cintā-- (cintāsu). The experient (bhoktā) himself (eva), always (sadā) (and) everywhere (sarvatra), remains (saṁsthitaḥ) in the form (bhāvena) of the experienced (bhogya)||3-4||

So, whether in word, object or thought there is no state which is not the Supreme Self (You!). If you feel sad... that is God. If you feel glad... that is God. If you feel otherwise... that is God as well. All the possible states are nothing else but the Divine. You are everything and everyone. There is nobody but you in this universe. If you are able to have this attitude for so long as possible, it will prove really useful in order to attain the final Goal, viz. complete Liberation from bondage.

When you make separations and differences, duality arises as a result. With duality, you start feeling attracted to what is pleasant and rejecting what is unpleasant. Thus, you fall prey to the pair of opposites and when this happens, be sure you are a toy in the hands of bondage. The way to overcome this lies in Śivadṛṣṭi (the Śiva's viewpoint). If you can see God everywhere, this is the end of bondage, without a doubt.

D: I will do my best, Master!

M: Good to hear that!

D: What more did Kṣemarāja write in his commentary?

M: In another portion of it, he expresses the following:

... स एव शिवाभेदाख्यात्यात्मकाज्ञानस्वभावोऽपूर्णम्मन्यतात्मकाणवमलसतत्त्वसङ्कुचितज्ञानात्मा बन्धः।...

... sa eva śivābhedākhyātyātmakājñānasvabhāvo'pūrṇammanyatātmakāṇavamalasatattvasaṅkucitajñānātmā bandhaḥ|...

... that (limitation) (saḥ) alone (eva) (is) bondage (bandhaḥ) whose nature (sva-bhāvaḥ) (lies in) ignorance (ajñāna) consisting (ātmaka) of "non-realization" (akhyāti) of (one's) unity (abheda) with Śiva (śiva) (and) whose essence (ātmā) (is) contracted (saṅkucita) knowledge (jñāna) in the form (satattva) of Āṇavamala (āṇavamala), which --viz. Āṇavamala-- consists (ātmaka) of considering (oneself) (manyatā) as imperfect (apūrṇam)|...

Thus, the sage is indirectly specifying that "jñānam" in the second aphorism of the Śivasūtra-s is really "saṅkucitajñānam" or "contracted knowledge", that is, Āṇavamala (the primordial impurity). And this Āṇavamala is bondage. And bondage means non-realization of one's own inherent unity with the Supreme Self. For that reason, cultivate Śivadṛṣṭi (the Śiva's viewpoint) by becoming identified with the Lord, because the final realization that "you are Him" is synonymous with "cessation of bondage" according to the Trika system. When you stop feeling you are imperfect, that is the mark you have attained Emancipation. In the beginning, the stoppage lasts a few seconds, but as your realization that you are the Lord gets more and more steady, the sentiment "I am imperfect" will gradually abandon you. When it is completely gone, you are thoroughly free forever. And when you attain this point of realization, you also realize that you "always" were free because you, dear Śiva, are not subject to time, space and the rest of limitations. Svātantrya or Absolute Freedom is your constant possession, no doubt about it.

D: How did Kṣemarāja get to perceive all these subtleties?

M: On one hand, this knowledge partly came to him through the Secret Tradition (Rahasyasampradāya). This Tradition appeared mainly as his Guru, the renowned Abhinavagupta. On the other hand, much of what is declared by him constitutes his own experience. Remember that Kṣemarāja is a great being, and a great being is one who has fully realized his essential nature. Consequently, Kṣemarāja lives in the heart of everybody as their Self.

D: Will I attain some day his state of consciousness?

M: You are already Him. If you fail to realize that is because of your own impurity (Āṇavamala). This primordial impurity should not be looked upon like a sort of wicked enemy or something. No! It is simply a stratagem you display to produce the manifestation of dualism. When dualism arrives, the drama known as "this world" begins. And you assume that contraction or limitation because you love to be an actor in the aforesaid drama. So, the process of contracting or limiting yourself implies display of the universe, while the opposite, i.e. the process of realizing your true nature, marks the end of the universe. By "the end of the universe", I am not saying that it will collapse or something like that, but it will be seen as it is essentially. The universe is your own cosmic body and nothing else, my dear Absolute.

The great Kṣemarāja continues to speak:

... एवमात्मन्यनात्मताभिमानरूपाख्यातिलक्षणाज्ञानात्मकं ज्ञानं न केवलं बन्धो यावदनात्मनि शरीरादावात्मताभिमानात्मकमज्ञानमूलं ज्ञानमपि बन्ध एव।...

... Evamātmanyanātmatābhimānarūpākhyātilakṣaṇājñānātmakaṁ jñānaṁ na kevalaṁ bandho yāvadanātmani śarīrādāvātmatābhimānātmakamajñānamūlaṁ jñānamapi bandha eva|...

... Thus (evam), it is not (na) only (kevalam) bondage (bandhaḥ) (that limited) knowledge (jñānam) consisting (ātmakam) of ignorance (ajñāna) which appears (lakṣaṇa) as "non-realization" (akhyāti) characterized by (rūpa) considering (abhimāna) the Self (ātmani) as not-Self (anātmatā); but even (yāvat) (limited) knowledge (jñānam) -the root (mūlam) of ignorance (ajñāna)- consisting (ātmakam) of considering (abhimāna) the not-Self (anātmani), i.e. the body (śarīra), etc. (ādau), as the Self (ātmatā), (is) also (api) bondage (bandhaḥ) indeed (eva)|...

D: How difficult!

M: No, it is not difficult at all. Your tender intellect does not allow you to see beyond the net of words. This intellect must be tempered in the fire of Supreme Knowledge, so that it can cut, like a sharp sword, and reveal the secret meanings. While you do not have such a sharp intellect, you will find it very difficult to extract the essence of these teachings.

D: That is why I have come to you, Master!

M: Wise reply! I am going to explain it to you in simple words:

Limited knowledge does not solely refer to consider the Self as not-Self, but also it involves the opposite, in short, to consider the not-Self as the Self. When one believes that his Self appearing as a witnessing I-consciousness is the not-Self, that is, when he does not know that his essential nature is the Self, then, this is the first aspect of limited knowledge. In turn, when one considers his physical body, mind, senses, etc., which are the not-Self, as the Self, then, this is limited knowledge in its second aspect. Both aspects are ultimately nothing but bondage. Granted, my explanation is a little dualistic, because as a matter of fact "the Self is all", but it is appropriate for the time being. Words can never describe exactly That which is beyond them.

D: Ah, now I got it! What else does the sage say?

M: Before going on, I want to make sure you have understood the following point: In this system (i.e. Trika or Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir), "ajñāna" or "ignorance" does not mean "total absence" of knowledge but rather "saṅkucitajñāna" (contracted or limited knowledge). This is also known as Āṇavamala or primordial impurity. Thus, an ignorant person is not one who lacks knowledge completely (I am speaking about knowledge of his genuine nature), but someone who has a contracted or limited knowledge of himself. As he does not realize his identity with the Supreme Self, falls prey to bondage.

To affirm this, Kṣemarāja quotes a stanza of the most venerable Īśvarapratyabhijñā (4th stanza in the second āhnika -chapter- of the "Āgamādhikāra" --the minor section dealing with Āgama--), closing so his commentary on the second aphorism of the Śivasūtra-s:

... स्वातन्त्र्यहानिर्बोधस्य स्वातन्त्र्यस्याप्यबोधता।
द्विधाणवं मलमिदं स्वस्वरूपापहानितः॥


... Svātantryahānirbodhasya svātantryasyāpyabodhatā|
Dvidhāṇavaṁ malamidaṁ svasvarūpāpahānitaḥ||


... "This (idam) Āṇavamala (āṇavam malam) appears in two ways (dvidhā): (1) Like a state of knowledge (bodhasya) without (hānis) freedom (svātantryam), (or) even (api) (2) like a state devoid of knowledge (abodhatā) but endowed with freedom (svātantryasya). (Both facets) are due to a diminution (apahānitaḥ) (of awareness) in respect of one's own (sva) essential nature (sva-rūpa... iti)"||


D: Oh my God, some help, please!

M: Do not worry, listen to my explanation: The word "freedom" is here synonymous with I-consciousness, and I-consciousness implies sense of doership. There are seven pramātā-s or experients according to the Trika system, viz. (1) Śiva (the Supreme Experient), (2) Mantramaheśvara (the one who realized the third tattva or category, i.e. Sadāśivatattva), (3) Mantreśvara (the one who realized the fourth tattva or category, i.e. Īśvaratattva), (4) Mantra (the one who realized the fifth tattva or category, i.e. Sadvidyātattva), (5) Vijñānākala (the one who stands between Āṇavamala and the sixth tattva or category, i.e. Māyātattva), (6) Pralayākala (the one who is in deep sleep within the very Māyātattva) and (7) Sakala (the one who remains in both dream and waking states). There are also the celebrated Vidyeśvara-s, but they are really 8 Mantreśvara-s who have gotten down to the zone between the fifth tattva and Āṇavamala in order to convey divine knowledge to the limited beings. Despite their being above Āṇavamala, the Vidyeśvara-s still feel different from the objects. All right, an abstruse subject matter indeed!!

Now, focus your attention in the fifth and seventh experient (Pralayākala is not considered here because he does nothing else but to sleep deeply in Māyātattva, that is, he has no power --akala-- and experienced dissolution of the universe --pralaya--... oh well, another complicated topic we will study later on), i.e. pay attention to Vijñānākala and Sakala.

When Utpaladeva (the author of the abovementioned stanza of Īśvarapratyabhijñā) states that Āṇavamala appears like a state of knowledge without freedom, he is referring to the Vijñānākala experient. Vijñānākala-s perceive they are pure consciousness (knowledge or bodha, i.e. Prakāśa or Light), but they lack freedom or sense of doership. And sense of doership implies the presence of I-consciousness (Vimarśa). To make the things even easier for you: a Vijñānākala experiences he is Śiva or Prakāśa, but being without Śakti or Vimarśa he can do nothing. In turn, when the sage states that Āṇavamala appears like a state devoid of knowledge but with freedom, he is speaking of the Sakala experient. Sakala-s are exactly in the opposite condition, that is, they do not realize they are pure consciousness (Śiva) as they lack bodha or knowledge, but they enjoy Vimarśa, which means they can do "something". Of course, Sakala-s are not omnipotent, but they have a little power. Thus, Āṇavamala appears in two ways and generates two different kinds of experients.

So, there are three types of limited beings or aṇu-s: Vijñānākala, Pralayākala and Sakala. All of them live in you as yourself. If you imagine that the seven experients are different from you, so you cannot grasp the nucleus of this teaching. In any case, you will understand the truth behind my words when you are spiritually mature enough.

D: I fully agree with you, dear Master. Hopefully, I will be spiritually mature when you finish your explanation of the core of the Śivasūtravimarśinī.

M: I hope so too.

D: Now, returning to the teachings, I have to conclude that the second aphorism of the Śivasūtra-s is the definition of Āṇavamala or primordial impurity.

M: That is right, undoubtedly!

D: Is Āṇavamala the only cause of bondage?

M: No. And the third aphorism that I am about to explain to you will expand my answer. Pay full attention, please, because what I am going to tell you comes directly from the Secret Tradition. Without the help of a Master of this Tradition, you might not understand the unfathomable meanings hidden within the following aphorism.

D: I am all ears!


Aphorism 3

योनिवर्गः कलाशरीरम्॥३॥

Yonivargaḥ kalāśarīram||3||

The source (yoni) (and her) progeny (vargaḥ), (along with) that whose form (śarīram) is activity (kalā) (are also bondage)||3||

The word "yoni" (source) means "uterus" as well. Māyā is the Source or Uterus from which is generated the progeny of principles and elements constituting the world of a Sakala (the limited experient). In short, the term "Yonivargaḥ" means "Māyīyamala" (Māyā-related impurity).

According to Kṣemarāja, "kalā" is "this which divides the world of entities into separate things. So, the term "Kalāśarīram" means "Kārmamala". In other words, in the opinion of Kṣemarāja the entire aphorism can summarized in this way:

Māyīyamala (along with) Kārmamala (are also bondage)

D: Does Kṣemarāja quote any scripture to prove his interpretation?

M: Two, mainly. The first quoted scripture is Svacchandatantra. Listen with great attention, because in simple Sanskrit sublime teachings related to the tattvic scheme are expressed. It reads:

मलप्रध्वस्तचैतन्यं कलाविद्यासमाश्रितम्।
रागेण रञ्जितात्मानं कालेन कलितं तथा॥
नियत्या यमितं भूयः पुम्भावेनोपबृंहितम्।
प्रधानाशयसम्पन्नं गुणत्रयसमन्वितम्॥
मनसा बुद्धिकर्माक्षैस्तन्मात्रैः स्थूलभूतकैः॥

Malapradhvastacaitanyaṁ kalāvidyāsamāśritam|
Rāgeṇa rañjitātmānaṁ kālena kalitaṁ tathā||
Niyatyā yamitaṁ bhūyaḥ pumbhāvenopabṛṁhitam|
Pradhānāśayasampannaṁ guṇatrayasamanvitam||
Manasā buddhikarmākṣaistanmātraiḥ sthūlabhūtakaiḥ||

"On its being eclipsed (pradhvasta) by mala or impurity --i.e. Āṇavamala along with its two offsprings: Māyīyamala and Kārmamala-- (mala), Caitanya or Consciousness with Absolute Freedom to know and do everything (caitanyam) is provided (samāśritam) with Kalā (kalā) (and) Vidyā (vidyā). Thus (tathā), It --viz. Caitanya-- is dyed (rañjita-ātmānam) by Rāga (rāgeṇa) (and) divided (kalitam) by Kāla (kālena). It is (bhūyas) restrained (yamitam) by Niyati (niyatyā) (and) magnified (upabṛṁhitam) by the sense of being (bhāvena) a Puruṣa --individual soul-- (puṁs). (Caitanya) gets endowed (sampannam) with the disposition (āśaya) of Prakṛti (pradhāna) (and) is associated (samanvitam) with the three (traya) Guṇa-s --qualities of Prakṛti-- (guṇa). It stands (samāsīnam) in the principle (tattva) (known as) intellect (buddhi), (and) is surrounded (samāvṛtam) with ego (ahaṅkāra). (Finally, Caitanya is furnished) with mind (manasā), powers of knowledge and action (buddhi-karma-akṣaiḥ), subtle elements (tanmātraiḥ) (and) gross (sthūla) elements (bhūtakaiḥ... iti)"||
(See Svacchandatantra II, 39-41)

D: Dear Master, why does it not occur "jñānakarmendriyaiḥ" instead of "buddhikarmākṣaiḥ"? I do not understand the last term.

M: The two words you quoted are "jñānakarmendriya-s" and "buddhikarmākṣa-s" (both meaning the same thing: "powers of knowledge and action") but declined in Instrumental case (plural), i.e. "with powers of knowledge and action" [Consult the "Declension" subsection under the "Sanskrit" section]. "Jñāna" can be replaced with "Buddhi", and "Indriya" with "Akṣa". Thus, instead of expressing those ten powers in the usual way, one could write: "Buddhyakṣa-s and Karmākṣa-s" as well as "Buddhīndriya-s and Karmendriya-s". The same thing, disciple. Is it clear now?

D: Absolutely. The entire tattvic scheme from the level 7 down to the level 36 [Consult Trika 4, Trika 5 and Trika 6 for more information about tattva-s 7 through 36] has been verily summarized by those stanzas in Svacchandatantra, which were written in simple Sanskrit endowed with poetical inspiration. What is the other scripture being considered?

M: None other than the essence of the Pratyabhijñā section. In the Trika's literature, as you surely know, there are three sections: Āgama, Spanda and Pratyabhijñā. The major works in the first and second sections are Śivasūtra-s and Spandakārikā-s, respectively. In turn, Īśvarapratyabhijñā is the major one in the third section known as Pratyabhijñā. This scripture states that:

भिन्नवेद्यप्रथात्रैव मायाख्यं जन्मभोगदम्।
कर्तर्यबोधे कार्मं तु मायाशक्त्याव तत्त्रयम्॥

Bhinnavedyaprathātraiva māyākhyaṁ janmabhogadam|
Kartaryabodhe kārmaṁ tu māyāśaktyāiva tattrayam||

"(Āṇavamala being already present, there arises) Māyīyamala (māyā-ākhyaṁ) (which brings about) here (atra eva) spreading out or propagation (prathā) of objects (vedya) different (bhinna) (from oneself). And (ca) when there is ignorance (abodhe) regarding the doer (kartari), (there emerges) Kārmamala (kārmam), which bestows (dam) birth (janma) (and) experience of pleasure and pain (bhoga). That (tad) group of three (mala-s) (trayam) (is manifested) by the Māyāśakti (māyā-śaktyā eva) (of Śiva) indeed (tu... iti)"||
(See Īśvarapratyabhijñā III, 2, 5)

Māyāśakti is not the Māyātattva (plainly "Māyā", the sixth tattva or category), but the operative energy inherent in Śiva (You!), through which He appears in different forms, though He is essentially formless. Māyāśakti brings about "diversity in unity", "difference in identity", "duality in non-duality"; these three expressions being three different ways to declare the same truth. She causes Māyātattva to emerge indeed. By His Māyāśakti, Śiva is able to exhibit diversity/difference/duality where there is none!

So, wrapping it up, the three impurities manifested by Māyāśakti are Āṇavamala, Māyīyamala (also written as Māyīkamala) and Kārmamala. The first mala generates a feeling of imperfection, the second mala one of difference and the third mala one of confusion about the real Doer. By staging difference, Māyīyamala grants a sakala (a limited individual) his gross (physical) and subtle bodies. Additionally, Kārmamala, by making him confused about the nature of the real Kartā (Doer), is responsible for the karmic law. In short, the sakala feels that "he is the doer of his actions" even though he is never the real Doer of any action (only Śiva is). In this way, he reaps the good and bad fruits of those very actions.

The rest of the teachings is clear enough and does not require any further explanation. The Kṣemarāja's analysis on the third aphorism ends here. Of course, it was expounded in a partial manner since this is a laghuvṛtti or short commentary containing the Core of Śivasūtravimarśinī -the scripture that examines the Śivasūtra-s-. I made this point clear before, as you remember surely.

In the next encounter, the Master will explain the aphorisms (along with portions of their respective comments) 4, 5 and 7 of the First Section.


Concluding remarks

Well, the Master have explained, to a certain extent, the teachings given by Śiva in Śivasūtra-s and by Kṣemarāja in Śivasūtravimarśinī. Caitanya is the Self or true nature of Reality; Āṇavamala is bondage; and finally Māyīyamala and Kārmamala are also bondage... these three truths have been explained by the Master to his disciple. The one who fully understand such truths quickly realizes his own essential nature and rids himself of bondage forever. May your mind always dwell in those three first aphorisms!


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.

For further information about Sanskrit, Yoga and Indian Philosophy; or if you simply want to comment, ask a question or correct a mistake, feel free to contact us: This is our e-mail address.

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