Sanskrit & Trika Shaivism (English-Home)

JavaScript is disabled! Check this link!

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

Studying the Śivasūtravimarśinī's First Section (2)

 Aphorism 4

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.

The disciple continued to ask his Master about the nature of the three mala-s or impurities:

Disciple: How is it that the three kinds of mala become cause of bondage?

Master: The fourth aphorism and the respective commentary by Kṣemarāja give full answer to your question. Listen up:

ज्ञानाधिष्ठानं मातृका॥४॥

Jñānādhiṣṭhānaṁ mātṛkā||4||

The basis (adhiṣṭhānam) of the (limited and contracted) knowledge (jñāna) (is) the un-understood Mother (mātṛkā)||4||

D: What is the un-understood Mother?

M: Kṣemarāja explains it after briefly speaking about the characteristics of the three mala-s. He says:

... तस्यादिक्षान्तरूपाज्ञाता माता मातृका विश्वजननी...

... tasyādikṣāntarūpājñātā mātā mātṛkā viśvajananī...

... Of that (threefold limited knowledge) (tasya), Mātṛkā (mātṛkā), the Progenitor (jananī) of the universe (viśva), (is) the unknown (ajñātā) Mother (mātā), (and) Her form (rūpā) starts (ādi) with "a" (a) (and) ends in "kṣa" (kṣa)...

In other words, Mātṛkā is the Sound Power inherent in the alphabet. It is the alphabet which is the base of all limited knowledge, since such cognitions are composed of letters. Without these letters firstly forming syllables and then words, it would be impossible to think. All the mental limitation you submit to due to the manifestation of your Absolute Freedom (Svātantrya) has the ideas for its roots, and these ideas have the various letters for their basis.

D: For what reason is it said that She is unknown or un-understood?

M: Because, though Her operation is constant, one rarely becomes aware of Her existence. And even if this happens, it would be extraordinary if he comes to understand Her nature.

D: And what is Her nature?

M: She is the Supreme Śakti (Power), the Sublime Spanda (Vibration) manifesting, maintaining and dissolving the entire universe. She is pure Consciousness and the Highest Bliss. For that very reason, it is useless to start a fight against the various thoughts by considering them as bad or good, as everything is Herself. If one could realize that all his thoughts are nothing but Mātṛkā, that they are not nothing but pure Śakti, he would realize and understand Her. However, such a realization cannot be attained without the grace of this very Mātṛkā. About the subject dealing with "contemplation on the mind as the Supreme I-consciousness" we will talk in depth when we study the Second Section of the Śivasūtra-s. Kṣemarāja continues to explain:

... तत्तत्सङ्कुचितवेद्याभासात्मनो ज्ञानस्य अपूर्णोऽस्मि क्षामः स्थूलो वास्म्यग्निष्टोमयाज्यस्मीत्यादि...

... tattatsaṅkucitavedyābhāsātmano jñānasya apūrṇo'smi kṣāmaḥ sthūlo vāsmyagniṣṭomayājyasmītyādi...

... (She is the Mother) of knowledge (jñānasya) whose nature (ātmanaḥ) (is) a flash (ābhāsa) of various (tad tad) contracted (saṅkucita) cognitions (vedyā). (This limited knowledge or cognition appears in the form of) "I am (asmi) imperfect (apūrṇaḥ)", "I am (asmi) thin (kṣāmaḥ)" or (vā) "I am (asmi) fat (sthūlaḥ)", "I am (asmi) a performer (yājī) of the Agniṣṭoma sacrifice (agniṣṭoma)" and so forth (iti ādi)...

Surely you are wondering what the Agniṣṭoma sacrifice is. It is, briefly explained, a five days long sacrifice in which Agni (Fire) is praised (hence its name). It is intended for someone desirous to get to heaven. It must be performed by 16 priests exactly as indicated by the Vedic tradition for it to bear the proper fruits. But this is not relevant here, since Kṣemarāja mentions this sacrifice merely to give an example.

The important thing is the simple manner by which the Great Master (i.e. Kṣemarāja) puts the notions inoculated by the three mala-s (impurities) into words. Listen:

I am imperfect (cognition inoculated by Āṇavamala)
I am thin or I am fat (cognitions inoculated by Māyīyamala)
I am a performer of the Agniṣṭoma sacrifice (cognition inoculated by Kārmamala)

D: He has formulated each of the notions or cognitions inoculated by the three mala-s in such a simple way! Those are simply the notions put into words, and not the mala-s themselves, because, as far as I know, in the region where these impurities (mala-s) originate there are no words being formed yet.

M: Exactly! I am very pleased to know that you have a firm knowledge foundation. Upon it I am building my explanation of the aphorisms.

D: What else does Kṣemarāja comment?

M: Remember that, since this is a laghuvṛtti or short commentary, certain parts of the book will be left out.

As a conclusion, the sublime commentator (i.e. Kṣemarāja) declares the following:

... तदधिष्ठानादेव ह्यन्तरभेदानुसन्धिवन्ध्यत्वात्क्षणमप्यलब्धविश्रान्तीनि बहिर्मुखान्येव ज्ञानानीति युक्तैव एषां बन्धकत्वोक्तिः।...

... tadadhiṣṭhānādeva hyantarabhedānusandhivandhyatvātkṣaṇamapyalabdhaviśrāntīni bahirmukhānyeva jñānānīti yuktaiva eṣāṁ bandhakatvoktiḥ|...

... Since (Mātṛkā) is indeed the basis (adhiṣṭhānāt eva) of that (limited knowledge) (tad), (and) because, (for the same reason), there is undoubtedly (hi) absence (vandhyatvāt) of an exploration (anusandhi) of the inner (antas) unity (abheda), the (limited) cognitions (jñānāni) do not find (alabdha) any rest (viśrāntīni) even (api) for an instant (kṣaṇam) (and) are only (eva) directed to external things --lit. directed outward-- (bahis-mukhāni). Thus (iti), to proclaim (uktiḥ) that those (cognitions) (eṣāṁ) (are) fetters (bandhakatva) (is) truly (eva) appropriate (yuktā)|...

These cognitions appear as the multitude of thoughts flooding your mind all the time, not stopping even for a moment. All of them are turned outward (viz. to objects), consequently they are real fetters or bonds blocking your way to Self-realization.

This is related to one's poor understanding about Mātṛkā rather than to Mātṛkā Herself. Since one does not understand that Mātṛkā is pure Consciousness, She becomes a great source of affliction. And this lack of understanding is intensified by the absence of an exploration of one's essential nature, which is non-dual. Of course, there is no inner exploration as one fails to fully understand Mātṛkā. The entire process boils down to a vicious circle then. I cannot escape this circle but through the right understanding of Mātṛkā's nature. So, to understand Mātṛkā constitutes a true path to spiritual Enlightenment indeed.

D: Is this understanding about Mātṛkā also called "to rest on one's own Self"?

M: You are right!, and the fifth aphorism and its commentary deal with that. Pay attention.


 Aphorism 5

उद्यमो भैरवः॥५॥

Udyamo bhairavaḥ||5||

Bhairava --Supreme Being-- (bhairavaḥ) (is) a sudden flash or elevation of divine Consciousness (udyamaḥ)||5||

D: Who is Bhairava?

M: Bhairava is Paramaśiva, the Highest Reality. It is an acrostic term that is the synthesis of three words: "bharaṇa" (maintaining), "ravaṇa" (withdrawing) and "vamana" (projecting). In short, Bhairava is the Supreme Being who maintains, withdraws and projects the universe. And this Bhairava is You!

Although the word "udyama" can be translated as "strenuous and continued effort", "perseverance" and so on, in this context it cannot be translated that way at all, since this section (the first one of the Śivasūtra-s) deals with Śāmbhavopāya (the means/method pertaining to Śambhu --an epithet of Śiva--), in which you use your Icchāśakti (Power of Will). In Śāmbhavopāya you do not make any effort to reach the Supreme Self, but you simply await His revelation. In other words, you await a sudden elevation of divine Consciousness (i.e. udyama) flashing into your field of experience. Kṣemarāja explains very well the meaning of "udyama" when he states that:

योऽयं प्रसरद्रूपाया विमर्शमय्याः संविदो झगित्युच्छलनात्मकपरप्रतिभोन्मज्जनरूप उद्यमः...

Yo'yaṁ prasaradrūpāyā vimarśamayyāḥ saṁvido jhagityucchalanātmakaparapratibhonmajjanarūpa udyamaḥ...

This (ayam) (is) udyama (udyamaḥ) which (yaḥ) (is) an emergence (unmajjana-rūpaḥ) of the highest (para) Pratibhā --i.e. Parāvāk, lit. Supreme Speech-- (pratibhā). (Such a Pratibhā) consists (ātmaka) of an instantaneous (jhagiti) springing up (ucchalana) of Saṁvid --the Supreme Consciousness-- (saṁvidaḥ), which --viz. Saṁvid-- is made (mayyāḥ) of Vimarśa --Śakti or I-consciousness-- (vimarśa) (and) characterized (rūpāyāḥ) by expansion (in the form of the universe) (prasarat)...

D: I ask you to elucidate the meaning of these teachings, please.

M: It is really simple. According to Kṣemarāja, "udyama" is "parapratibhonmajjanarūpa" or "an emergence of the highest Pratibhā --i.e. Parāvāk, lit. Supreme Speech--".

I will explain the three meanings of the word Pratibhā in the Trika system:

  1. Parāvāk (Supreme Speech)
  2. Parāhantā (Supreme I-consciousness)
  3. Parāśakti (the Highest Power)

Of course, all of the three ones mean Śakti (the Power of the Lord) in the end. Still, I have translated the term Pratibhā as Parāvāk (Supreme Speech) because this is the very nature of Parāśakti. Parāvāk is the spontaneous vibratory movement of Consciousness, which gives rise to all letters forming words, sentences, etc. In fact, Parāvāk is Mātṛkā Herself.

This emergence of the highest Speech is characterized by a sudden instantaneous elevation of Consciousness. All in all, a spontaneous flash of Consciousness makes you realize you are the Supreme Self (i.e. Śiva). It can happen at any moment. Spiritual Enlightenment, which is none other than realization of your true nature, occurs in the twinkling of an eye and in a natural way always.

Kṣemarāja says that this Consciousness emerging suddenly consists of Vimarśa (Śakti) and is characterized by expansion in the form of the universe. Putting it into simple words, this Consciousness is full of "I Am" (Parāhantā or Supreme I-consciousness), full of Śakti. And this Śakti has the characteristic of expanding Herself into the form of the universe, viz. into the form of all you perceive right now. You are Consciousness fully realizing Her Existence (i.e. I Am) and appearing as the entire universe.

And please, forget about the idea of an universe as a conglomerate of galaxies and all that mess. While this perception of the universe is right with reference to a conditioned individual, it is false regarding Consciousness. When you enter your essential nature (i.e. Consciousness), even the dark sky full of stars looks like a black cloth with little holes. I am not joking at all. As the sage Patañjali states in his Yogasūtra-s (IV, 31):

तदा सर्वावरणमलापेतस्य ज्ञानस्यानन्त्याज्ज्ञेयमल्पम्॥३१॥
Tadā sarvāvaraṇamalāpetasya jñānasyānantyājjñeyamalpam||31||

Then (tadā), due to the infinity (ānantyāt) of knowledge (jñānasya) free --apeta-- (apetasya) from all (sarva) veiling (āvaraṇa) impurities (mala), the knowable(s) (jñeyam) (appear to be) few (alpam)||31||

So, when you reside in your essential nature as Consciousness, your perception of the universe will vary dramatically from something huge to just a few knowables (objects). This mystery can only be completely understood by the great sages who have realized they are just Consciousness indeed. The rest of limited individuals cannot understand it and therefore will keep perceiving a multitude of galaxies composed of stars and so forth, while at the same time they consider themselves as specks of dust on a little planet called the Earth. Conditioning brought about by the three mala-s or impurities is responsible for their conditioned perception of the universe. When you attain Self-realization, you can see the universe as it is in reality. The universe, seen by a conditioned mind, looks like the stage of a story (whether it is a nightmare or a nice fairy tale) told by a granny. Who is the granny here? Mātṛkā, obviously. And what is the story? The life of that conditioned individual, of course.

Perception of the universe is altered by your state of consciousness. For example, while you are having an accident, the things seem to move in slow motion. In the same way, when you realize you are the Supreme Being, your perception of the universe is altered but in an absolute manner. So, the huge universe you perceived while you were in bondage is reduced to an insignificant thing composed of a few knowables. And when you decide to totally rest on Consciousness, the universe disappears completely. Therefore, for an advanced aspirant exploration of the inner unity (i.e. exploration of Consciousness) is much more important than exploration of the universe. Well, you will understand my previous statement in due course. Do not worry then.

D: I understood it to a certain point anyway. I must say that the Kṣemarāja's words, though full of wisdom, have a veil partially covering their meanings. Due to your grace, oh Master, what seems to be very difficult becomes very easy. I ask you to continue with your expounding of these sacred teachings, please.

M: The fact that Kṣemarāja writes in that "veiled" manner makes sense of my task indeed! Everything is for the good always.

Consciousness, which is Bhairava, appears suddenly and spontaneously in the ones who are devoted to that (i.e. to Consciousness). This is what Kṣemarāja specifies:

... भक्तिभाजामन्तर्मुखैतत्तत्त्वावधानधनानां जायत इत्युपदिष्टं भवति।...

... bhaktibhājāmantarmukhaitattattvāvadhānadhanānāṁ jāyata ityupadiṣṭaṁ bhavati|...

... (And that udyama) arises (jāyate) in those who have (bhājām) devotion (bhakti) (and) the treasure (dhanānām) of attention (avadhāna) on this (etad) inner (antas-mukha) Principle --viz. Bhairava, the Divine-- (tattva). This is (iti... bhavati) what is taught (upadiṣṭam) (in the present aphorism)|...

Further on, Kṣemarāja adds, by quoting Svacchandatantra, the following stanza to his commentary:

आत्मनो भैरवं रूपं भावयेद्यस्तु पुरुषः।
तस्य मन्त्राः प्रसिद्ध्यन्ति नित्ययुक्तस्य सुन्दरि॥

Ātmano bhairavaṁ rūpaṁ bhāvayedyastu puruṣaḥ|
Tasya mantrāḥ prasiddhyanti nityayuktasya sundari||

"Oh beautiful one (sundari), certainly (tu), to that (tasya) person (puruṣaḥ) who (yaḥ) realizes or apprehends (bhāvayet) that his (ātmanaḥ) essential nature (rūpam) (is) Bhairava (bhairavam), being united (yuktasya) with the Eternal (nitya), the Mantra-s (mantrāḥ) bear fruit (for him) (prasiddhyanti... iti)"||

As this scripture is a Tantra, it is written like a dialogue between Śiva and Śakti. For that reason, Śiva called Her "beautiful one". Here "bhāvayet" does not mean, as usual, "meditates" or "contemplates" but "realizes" or "apprehends".

Self-realization leads to a full accomplishment of one's Mantrayoga practice [i.e. attaining union with one's own Self by using sacred formulae (Mantra-s)]. And I could additionally affirm that if one fails to realize that, he fails to accomplish the goal in Trika. To follow the Trika path as a question of mere babbling, without any real accomplishment in the form of Self-realization, is just wasted time. Of course, hitting the target in Trika takes a lot of time generally, but the nature of the target must be clearly understood from the word go. People only studying Trika as an academic task, as it were, will go nowhere really; and there is no doubt about it.

D: When that Self-realization has occurred, does it continue even during the everyday life?

M: If not so, what would be its use then? This is what the seventh aphorism of the Śivasūtra-s explains.


 Aphorism 7

जाग्रत्स्वप्नसुषुप्तभेदे तुर्याभोगसम्भवः॥७॥

Jāgratsvapnasuṣuptabhede turyābhogasambhavaḥ||7||

(Even) during such different (states of consciousness) (bhede) as waking (jāgrat), dreaming (svapna) and profound sleep (suṣupta), there is (sambhavaḥ) the delight and enjoyment (ābhoga) of the Fourth State (turya)||7||

D: Could you quote the most important portion of the Kṣemarāja's commentary on this aphorism?

M: In my opinion, the core of the commentary lies in his quoting of a teaching given in the celebrated Candrajñāna:

यथेन्दुः पुष्पसङ्काशः समन्तादवभासते।
आह्लादनसमूहेन जगदाह्लादयेत्क्षणात्।
तद्वद्देवि महायोगी यदा पर्यटते महीम्।
ज्ञानेन्दुकिरणैः सर्वैर्जगच्चित्रं समस्तकम्॥

Yathenduḥ puṣpasaṅkāśaḥ samantādavabhāsate|
Āhlādanasamūhena jagadāhlādayetkṣaṇāt|
Tadvaddevi mahāyogī yadā paryaṭate mahīm|
Jñānendukiraṇaiḥ sarvairjagaccitraṁ samastakam||

"Just as (yathā) the moon (induḥ), which has the appearance of (saṅkāśaḥ) a flower (puṣpa), shines (avabhāsate) all round (samantāt) refreshing and gladdening (āhlādayet) the world (jagat) immediately (kṣaṇāt) by the multitude (samūhena) of (its) refreshing and gladdening (rays) (āhlādana), so also (tadvat), oh Goddess --i.e. Pārvatī, the Śiva's wife-- (devi)!, the great (mahā) Yogī (yogī), when (yadā) he moves about (paryaṭate) on the earth (mahīm) refreshes and gladdens (āhlādayet) all round (samantāt) that (tad) entire (samastakam) colorful (citram) world (jagat) beginning with (ādi) Avīci --a type of hell-- (avīci) (and) ending in (antakam) Śiva --the Supreme Self-- (śiva), by means of all (sarvaiḥ) the rays (kiraṇaiḥ) of the moon (indu) of (his) Knowledge (jñāna... iti ādinā)"|

"Avīci" is a type of hell. It is mentioned here to express the lowest of the universal manifestation.

D: Speaking in a strictly non-dualistic manner, how would you explain the presence of a Great Yogī bestowing divine Grace on the world?

M: At that level of experience, there is no perception of a world at all. So, the question of a Great Yogī doing that would never arise. Nevertheless, if I comes down a little to a level where non-dualism and dualism coexist somehow, then the existence of such a Yogī is possible. This is very clear from your experience of "mere" wakefulness (i.e. bondage, as the three mala-s or impurities are fully operative), where duality is prevalent on the surface while non-duality underlies it. Only in a level like the afore-said one is possible (and useful) the presence of a high-souled Yogī such as the one described in Candrajñāna.

In any case, even if that Yogī bestowed Grace upon you, and by it you attained final Liberation, then, such a Yogī would be like a person appearing in your dreams and helping you wake up. Once you wake up, you are "alone" (this is full non-dualism); but the presence of that person at the level of the dreams (which are full of dualism) collaborated actively in your final awakening. This is a very approximate example showing the way in which dualism and non-dualism coexist.

It is true that you are already the Supreme Self, but the presence of a Great Yogī giving you Grace (in any way) is usually inevitable. I mean, in general, you will need extra help despite you are Śiva in person. So, dualism and non-dualism do not exclude each other but the former has the latter for its base. Both are precious garments Reality gets clad in. In fact, this Reality, even manifesting dualism and non-dualism, and residing in them both, at the same time lies beyond dualism and non-dualism indeed! Therefore, the wise people should use their discernment and not fall prey to what is, all things considered, a delusion. Take refuge in Reality alone! This is my conclusion.

D: So, the terms "dual" and "non-dual" are simply ways of speaking about Reality but not Reality as a whole. Is this what you meant to say?

M: Precisely! Though one speaks about various states of consciousness such as wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep (dreamless sleep), and even about a Fourth State (Turya, the state of being a Witness) pervading the previous three ones, there is only "one" state, viz. the state of Reality. The states mentioned in the aphorism are merely "ways of describing what is inconceivable".

Still, it is somehow important to realize this essential Witness (You) of all that happens in wakefulness, dream and deep sleep, because such a Witness is a kind of doorway to Reality. The Fourth State is the state of Śiva (You!), the Supreme Self (tattva 1). He is always accompanied with His Power (Śakti - tattva 2). This Śakti is also known as Ānandaśakti (the Power of Bliss) because of her being replete with divine Joy. For that reason, it is not surprising that this Turya or Fourth State would be also full of delight and enjoyment. Not only that, since Turya permeates the remaining three states (waking, dreaming and profound sleep... as named in the aphorism, i.e. wakefulness, sleep and dreamless sleep/deep sleep), even these ones are "also" filled with His Ānandaśakti. Now the purport of the aphorism is completely clear!

In the next encounter, the Master will talk about the aphorisms (along with portions of their respective comments) 12, 18 and 22 of the First Section.


 Concluding remarks

Well, the Master has described the teachings contained in the aphorisms (and commentaries) 4, 5 and 7: The un-understood Mother is the basis of the conditioned knowledge; the Lord is a sudden elevation of divine Consciousness; and the Joy of Turya exists even in the three ordinary states of consciousness. As Śiva is all-pervading, He is always present as a Witness throughout all of the experiences of wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep just like the rosary beads are strung together by one thread.

In spite of His constant condition as a Witness, one is not properly conscious of Him (as it were). Self-realization (i.e. realization of Śiva, one's own essential nature) appears in the form of a sudden elevation of divine Consciousness. And why did this realization not emerge before? Because one did not understand that Mātṛkā (the un-understood Mother) is really His Śakti or Power. When this little Mother is finally understood, She is seen as the Supreme Śakti. This is experienced spontaneously as a sudden flash of Consciousness emerging (udyama). And yes, this emergence of Consciousness is Freedom. At the moment you realize your true nature, bondage is gone. What does it remain after such a Self-realization? Only the play of the Lord remains. As a matter of fact, even bondage was also His pastime since "there is nobody else but Him here". May your mind dwell in this truth forever!


 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.

Back to II. 1. Top  Continue to read II. 3.