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 ŚIVASŪTRAVIMARŚINĪ (Shiva Sutra Vimarshini) Section I (aphorisms 1 to 10 - pure) - Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir

Pure translation


Śivasūtravimarśinī begins. Firstly, Kṣemarāja displays a propitiatory prayer to Śaṅkara (Śiva). Secondly, he explains the reasons that forced him to write his commentary. Thirdly, he narrates how the discovery of the Śivasūtra-s occurred. I have told you before that there are three versions explaining how the Śivasūtra-s were discovered. Here, Kṣemarāja explains his own version of the facts. Finally, he starts commenting the aphorisms themselves.

This is the first set of 10 aphorisms out of 22 aphorisms of which the first Section (dealing with Śāmbhavopāya) consists. As you know, the entire work is composed of 77 aphorisms of the Śivasūtra-s plus their respective commentaries.

Of course, I will also insert the Śiva's aphorisms on which Kṣemarāja is commenting. Even though I will not comment on either the original sūtra-s or the Kṣemarāja's commentary, I will write some notes to make a particular point clear when necessary. If you want a detailed explanation of the hidden meanings in this scripture, go to "Scriptures (study)/Śivasūtravimarśinī" in the Trika section.

Read Śivasūtravimarśinī and experience Supreme Delight, dear Śiva.

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

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


 Propitiatory prayer to Śaṅkara

That Consciousness of Śaṅkara triumphs --i.e. "it is victorious"--, which (is) completely non-dual (but it has) an appearance or luster of duality, that (is) the Reality from which the class or group of Rudra-s (and) Kṣetrajña-s arises (and) in which it comes to rest, whose universe consists of a throb --or else, an alternative translation would be "whose universe bursts into view therefrom"--, whose extent (is) this (very) universe which is full of That --i.e. of that abovementioned Consciousness--. (In short, that Consciousness of Śaṅkara is) the principle of the Primordial Vibration of Anuttara --i.e. "Śiva, the Supreme Being"-- that is composed of the Nectar emerging from a Mass of Freedom and Bliss.


 Reasons for writing this commentary

Having noted incongruence in the commentaries at this time, since they are not consistent with the Sacred Tradition of the Guru-s or Masters, I expound the Śivasūtra-s according to their real meaning.


 Discovery of the Śivasūtra-s

In this world, on the sacred mountain Mahādeva, someone worthy of reverence (lived). His heart had been purified by the Noble Tradition of the various Self-realized Beings and Yoginī-s pertaining to the Supreme Lord. He was devoted to the worship of the Auspicious One. Owing to excess of devotion to the Great Lord, which (devotion) shone forth (in him) by the Descent of Power --i.e. Divine Grace--, gave a teaching that did not agree with that of such Self-realized Beings (in Buddhism) as Nāgabodhi and the rest, which were occupied with lower viewpoints. He was a great devotee of the Lord and a Guru. His name: Vasugupta.

And once upon a time, the Supreme Śiva, disposed to grant Favor and with the intention that: "Let the Secret Tradition not be interrupted in this world of the living beings which is mostly perfumed with the dualistic viewpoint!"; expanded in dream the consciousness of that (Vasugupta) by bestowing Divine Grace on him. (He said to him) so:

"Here, on this mountain, there is the Secret Esoteric Teaching under a big stone. Having obtained it, reveal it to those who are fit for receiving Divine Grace".

Having awakened, he --i.e. Vasugupta-- started to search about that big stone. (And having found it,) he turned it round by a mere touch of the hand, seeing with his own eyes the dream confirmed. He thus obtained these Aphorisms of Śiva, which are a compendium of the Esoteric Doctrine of Śiva.

And, having completely studied them, he revealed them to (such) noble disciples (as) most venerable Kallaṭa and others, and collected them in the form of Spandakārikā-s. The aphorisms dealing with the Primordial Vibration --i.e. Spandakārikā-s or Spandasūtra-s--, obtained from that uninterrupted discipular succession, have been totally ascertained by us in Spandanirṇaya. And now, the Śivasūtra-s are being ascertained.

In them --i.e. in the Śivasūtra-s--, it is firstly taught, in complete opposition to those following the doctrine of difference between man and the Lord, that "Śiva alone, in the highest sense of (the word) Consciousness, (is) the Self of the universe".—


 Aphorism 1

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

Here, the activity of Consciousness is common to all --i.e. universal-- due to nonexistence of something unperceived --i.e. of something out of the range of Consciousness--. A cetana is a being who is conscious and able to form an idea in his mind, (and) who is endowed with Absolute Freedom regarding all knowledge (and) activity. "Caitanya" is the state or condition of that (conscious being or cetana). (The word Caitanya) contains (an affix that connotes) relationship1 . (Therefore, Caitanya) is said (to be) complete and perfect Freedom (in respect of all knowledge and activity)|

And that (Freedom) is --i.e. belongs to-- only of the Lord Paramaśiva --i.e. the Supreme Śiva--. (The other beings, from Sakala-s or limited individuals) up to Anāśritaśiva --a phase between the Śakti and Sadāśiva tattva(s)-- (do not have that Freedom) since (their) existence is dependent on Him|

Although He --i.e. the Lord-- has infinite attributes (such as) eternity, all-pervasiveness, formlessness, etc., yet because there is the possibility that eternity, etc. (occur) even elsewhere, (here it is) only being shown the predominance of Svātantrya or Absolute Freedom (as this Svātantrya) is not possible in (any) other (being except the Lord Himself)|

Thus, (His main dharma or attribute) has been indicated by means of the neuter noun "Caitanya" by excluding (all) other attributes|

For that reason, this (Caitanya is) the Self (and) never any other thing of varied nature as assumed by those who follow the doctrine of difference (among Self and selves, and among the selves themselves)|

(On one hand,) if there would be unconsciousness in that (Ātmā or Self, He would be) inert matter since He would be not Self. (On the other hand,) if (Ātmā) is considered to be essentially Consciousness, (there would be) insufficiency of means for applying (the aforesaid doctrine of) difference. It is not possible to establish or apply (the doctrine of) difference to Cit or Consciousness through space, time (or) form --ākāra--, (because if) they are perceived --i.e. if space, time and form are inside the range of Consciousness--, (then) they are essentially Cit or Consciousness, but (if) they are not perceived --i.e. they are not inside the range of Consciousness--, being devoid of Cit, they would be unreal. Then, difference in the natures of the beings cannot be established. Even through the contact with mala or impurity (appearing in the form of Āṇava, Kārma and Māyīya2 ), (there is) insufficiency of means (to establish the doctrine of) difference (since that mala) is not (something existing) separate (from Consciousness). This will be explained later. Even though there is existence of mala or impurity prior (to Liberation), it is impossible to postulate the doctrine of multiple beings, as there is cessation of that (mala) in the state of Mukti or Final Emancipation. If there would be appearance of residual traces of mala (after Liberation) or (if a liberated soul is) somehow below Anādiśiva --i.e. beginningless Śiva--, (then those apparent) liberated śiva-s would be certainly saṁsārī-s or transmigratory beings3 |

As has been stated: "Caitanya or Consciousness with Absolute Freedom to know and do all" (is) only one Self". (Through this maxim,) the insufficiency of means (to maintain) the doctrine of multiple beings has been indicated|

And now, in order to convey (the answer to the question) "What (is) the Self?" to the disciples who are desirous to know, (Śiva --the author of the Śivasūtra-s-- says that) the Self is not the body, the vital energy, Buddhi or intellect (or) the Void --śūnya-- as assumed by the common people and the Cārvāka system, the Vedic tradition, Yogācāra Buddhism, Mādhyamika Buddhism, etc., (respectively,)4  but rather, as has (already) been said, (the Self is) only Caitanya or Consciousness endowed with Absolute Freedom or Svātantrya|

Even in the condition in which the experient or subject is imagined to be the body, etc., (there is also) a state of true or real Experient consisting of the natural, unimagined I-consciousness due to a shining forth of that (Caitanya)|

That has (also) been said in venerable Mṛtyujidbhaṭṭāraka --an epithet of Netratantra--:

"In all scriptures is mentioned that the nature of the Self (is) Caitanya, which lacks all limiting condition (and) is essentially the Supreme Being indeed"|

In Vijñānabhairava (has) also (been stated that):

"(The Self) characterized by consciousness (is present) in all bodies --deha(s)--. There is no difference anywhere. For this reason, a person who contemplates on all (as) identical to that (Self) conquers the transmigratory existence."||

Having condensed or summarized this very (concept) in the form of two aphorisms (occurring) in the venerable Spandakārikā-s, (viz.)

"By which this group of organs or instruments --intellect, ego, mind, powers of perception and powers of action--..."|
(See Spandakārikā-s I, 6-7)

(it --i.e. the aforesaid concept--) was taught to the disciples together with signs or tokens serving as a proof by the guru --i.e. Vasugupta, the author of Spandakārikā-s according to Kṣemarāja--|

Besides, this Caitanya which has been described is just the Self (or) nature of the world, (that is,) of the (entire) universe consisting of existent objects (and) nonexistent objects --i.e. imagined--. (This conclusion is possible,) because it is not promoted the individual self or essence (of any specific being in the aphorism)|

There is nothing which is not perceived (by Cit or Consciousness) --i.e. out of the range of Consciousness--, undoubtedly. If it is not perceived (by Cit) --i.e. if it is not illuminated by Consciousness-- there (cannot) be ever the nature or being of anything|

However, (if) it is perceived (by Cit) --i.e. if it is inside the range of Consciousness--, (it is) just of the nature of Consciousness, since it is united --i.e. it is one with-- with the self-luminous Cit or Consciousness|

That (very interpretation) has been mentioned in venerable Ucchuṣmabhairava:

"Oh dear one, as long as these knowers (are not present), how (can these) knowables (exist) during that lapse of time? Knower (and) knowable (are) certainly only one principle. For that reason, there is nothing which is impure."||

This very (interpretation) has been condensed in two aphorisms (of Spandakārikā-s):

"Because the individual self is identical with all..."|
(See Spandakārikā-s II, 3-4)

Because Caitanya (is) the essential nature of the universe, therefore, Pramāṇa --i.e. the means of right, valid knowledge--, etc. (are) miserable (and) inadequate for proving That --i.e. Caitanya or Consciousness with Absolute Freedom--, as even the proof of that (Pramāṇa, etc.) is dependent on the self-luminous Caitanya. And, according to the abovementioned, it is impossible for anything to veil or cover Caitanya since it is always shedding light --i.e. Caitanya is always luminous--|

That has (also) been said in venerable Trikahṛdaya:

"Just as (when) one attempts to jump with his foot over the shadow of his own head, (the shadow of) the head is not at the place (where) the foot (steps on), so also (is it with) this Vaindavī Kalā --i.e. Bindu's Power5 --"||

"Just as the (shadow of the) head of one who attempts to jump (over it) is not at the place (where) the foot (steps on), so is this (Vaindavī Kalā)", (this is) here the syntactical connection|

With this intention, it has been proved by a large quantity of stanzas in the Spandakārikā-s that Caitanya or Consciousness with complete Freedom to know and do all is always the self-luminous Absolute Truth (and) of the nature of the Spanda --i.e. Supreme Vibration-- principle, which is essentially Śaṅkara --i.e. Śiva--, (in the stanza) beginning (with):

"In whom rests...6 "|
(See Spandakārikā-s I, 2)

(and) ending (with):

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


Skip the notes

1  The affix referred to is the well-known Taddhita or secondary affix "yañ". OK, here we go: you take the word "cetana" (conscious being), drop final "a" and add "yañ" to resulting "cetan". So, you get "cetanyañ". Now, you change "e" to its Vṛddhi (protracted) form, that is, "ai". Well, you get "caitanyañ" as a result. Now, you drop that final "ñ". Well done!: "caitanya" (the state of a conscious being, i.e. Consciousness). However, the word Consciousness is not enough to define Caitanya... Absolute Consciousness would be a better translation, but a long one. Hence, it is usually translated as "Consciousness". Well, the affix "yañ" indicates "relationship"... among the being and his state, in this case, got it? Do you want more information on Taddhita affixes?... go read Affixes documents.Return

2  Āṇavamala is a contraction of supreme Śiva's Will, by means of which Śiva feels that He is not perfect and full. Māyīyamala is a contraction of supreme Śiva's Knowledge, through which Śiva feels that He is different from the objects (beings, things, etc.) and they are different from each other. Finally, "Kārmamala is a contraction of supreme Śiva's Activity, by which Śiva feels that He is a limited doer of likewise limited actions.Return

3  The theory of "Anādiśiva (beginningless Śiva) and the liberated śiva-s is explained in the study of this scripture [See "Scriptures (study)/Śivasūtravimarśinī" in the Trika section].Return

4  On one hand, common people as well as Cārvāka system think that the Self is the body. On the other hand, the Vedic tradition postulates that the Self is just prāṇa or vital energy. In turn, Yogācāra Buddhism states that He is Buddhi or intellect. Finally, Mādhyamika Buddhism affirms that the Self is only Void or Śūnya. This is explained in detail in my study [See "Scriptures (study)/Śivasūtravimarśinī" in the Trika section].Return

5  Vaindavī (or Baindavī) Kalā is the Power (Kalā) of Vindu or Bindu. Vindu or Bindu is Śakti in an extremely compacted form. Well, the sense here is that the Power of that Śakti or I-consciousness always remains as the knower. I explain Baindavī Kalā in detail in my study of this scripture [See "Scriptures (study)/Śivasūtravimarśinī" in the Trika section].Return

6  I wrote suspension points to represent "Iti ādi" or "etc.".Return


 Aphorism 2

"If the essential nature of the universe composed of limited beings (and) inert matter (is) just Caitanya --omniscient and omnipotent Consciousness--, whose form is Paramaśiva --the Supreme Śiva--, therefore how (can) this bondage (exist)?". In order to dissipate (such a) doubt, (Lord Śiva) declared (the second) aphorism, (but) endowed with a (double) reading: with coalescence (and) without coalescence of the letter "a". (In other words, Śiva expressed it) by means of the combination of letters according to euphonic rules --i.e. Sandhi rules-- and also in a contrary manner --viz. with no Sandhi or combination--—

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

Here, by a connection with that which was mentioned (before, it has been proved that) "nothing exists to be separate from the Light of Consciousness" How is it possible the (separate) existence of mala --impurity-- then, and --lit. "or"-- of what kind is (its) obstructing That --viz. the Supreme Self--? --in other words, "what its obstructing That is like?"--. Thus, excluding by argument the procedure expressed by the dualistic doctrine1 :

"(The great sages) maintain that mala or impurity (is) ignorance (and) the cause for Saṁsāra --Transmigration-- to sprout"||

"The world is bound by ignorance, (and) for that reason (it undergoes) manifestation and dissolution"||

as firmly stated by the venerable (scriptures) Mālinīvijaya (and) Sarvācāra (in the two previous stanzas, respectively. There is) a contraction --i.e. limitation-- which is made to appear by the Supreme Lord --Īśvara-- through the power of Mahāmāyā2  whose form consists of concealing one's own essential nature. (This Mahāmāyā) is manifested by the power of His Absolute Freedom. (Such a contraction or limitation shines forth in) His Self, which is like the sky, from Anāśritaśiva3 , etc. down to māyāpramātā --the experients pralayākala and sakala--4 . That (limitation) alone (is) bondage whose nature (lies in) ignorance consisting of "non-realization" of (one's) unity with Śiva (and) whose essence (is) contracted knowledge in the form of Āṇavamala, which --viz. Āṇavamala-- consists of considering (oneself) as imperfect|

And just as it cannot be proved that mala or impurity (is) separate (from Consciousness), so also (the same fact) has been shown at great length by us while investigating dīkṣā --initiation-- in (the commentary) Uddyota on venerable Svacchandatantra, at the end of the fifth chapter|

This (same) meaning of the aphorism has been summarized in a portion of Spandakārikā-s:

"... of that (limited individual) who is incapacitated by his own impurity --aśuddhi--..."|
(See Spandakārikā-s I, 9)

Thus, it is not only bondage (that limited) knowledge consisting of ignorance which appears as "non-realization" characterized by considering the Self as not-Self; but even (limited) knowledge -the root of ignorance - consisting of considering the not-Self, i.e. the body, etc., as the Self, (is) also bondage indeed|

This (concept) has (also) been abridged by means of the (following) aphorism of Spandakārikā-s:

"... (implies) the loss of the sap of the Supreme Nectar of Immortality..."|
(See Spandakārikā-s III, 14)

Thus, whatever whose nature consists of Svātantrya --I-consciousness, i.e. Freedom to know and do everything-- is described by the word Caitanya (as indicated in the first aphorism of the Śivasūtra-s). Then, even if there is (only) Cit --viz. Śiva or Prakāśa--, as in the case of a Vijñānākala who does not attain I-consciousness or Freedom --viz. kartṛtvasvātantrya or freedom to do--5 , (there is Āṇavamala) in the form of merely considering (himself) as imperfect; (or) even if there is I-consciousness --freedom to do-- (but) with ignorance (appearing) in the form of considering the not-Self like the body, etc. as the Self, (there is also Āṇavamala6 . Therefore,) by means of this aphorism has been declared that Āṇavamala (is) of two kinds|

That has been said in venerable Īśvarapratyabhijñā:

"This Āṇavamala appears in two ways: (1) Like a state of knowledge without freedom, (or) even (2) like a state devoid of knowledge but endowed with freedom. (Both facets) are due to a diminution (of awareness) in respect of one's own essential nature"||
(See Īśvarapratyabhijñā III, 2, 4)


Skip the notes

1  The doctrine which postulates the existence of difference between God and man.Return

2  Mahāmāyā (lit. the great Māyā) is operative in the region between the tattva-s or categories 5 (Sadvidyā) and 6 (Māyā).Return

3  The stage between the tattva-s or categories 2 (Śakti) and 3 (Sadāśiva).Return

4  The experient (pramātā) of Māyā (Ignorance, tattva 6) consists of two experients: pralayākala and sakala. The former sleeps deeply in Māyā herself, while the latter experiences the dream and waking states.Return

5  A Vijñānākala dwells in the inferior portion of Mahāmāyā (which is operative in the region between the tattva-s 5 and 6), that is to say, between Āṇavamala (the primordial impurity) and Māyā (the sixth tattva or category). The experient Vijñānākala realizes that he is Śiva, but being devoid of Śakti (I-consciousness), he is unable to do anything. In other words, he does not possess "freedom to do".Return

6  The author is speaking about the experient known as Sakala (see the previous fourth note), who has I-consciousness and consequently freedom to do... to a limited extent, of course... but is devoid of true knowledge about his own essential nature. In short, he is full of "abodha" or "ignorance" and does not realize his identity with the Supreme Lord.Return


 Aphorism 3

Is bondage only Āṇavamala, which is endowed with such qualities? (The author of the Śivasūtra-s, i.e. Śiva,) said "No" (tacitly, as proved by the following aphorism)

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

(The term) "bandha" --bondage-- follows (from the previous aphorism). Varga (is) this which is connected with Yoni, i.e. with Māyā --the sixth tattva or category--, the cause --kāraṇa-- of the universe, directly and through uninterrupted succession. That (varga is) the agent originating bodies, worlds, etc., (and consists of) an aggregate of tattva-s --categories or principles-- beginning with Kalā (or) limited agency or doership, etc., (and) ending in earth1 . The form (assumed) by that --in short, by "Yonivarga" or Māyā and her progeny, viz. varga or the aggregate of tattva-s connected with Māyā-- (is) Māyīyamala or Mayic impurity. In like manner, (the term) Kalā (means) activity. (It is) what impels (and) divides (reality) into (separate) thing(s) (as) this or that by entering into its essential nature --in other words, "by entering into the essential nature of such a reality"--. (The phrase "Kalāśarīram" in the present aphorism means) that whose śarīra (or) form/nature (is Kalā or activity. Therefore, "Kalāśarīram" is nothing else but Kārmamala --impurity derived from Karma--, of course, and this) Kārmamala (is) also bondage. This is the sense2 |

This (same concept) has been also summarized through this (aphorism in Spandakārikā-s):

"... of that (limited individual) who is incapacitated by his own impurity --aśuddhi-- (and) who whishes --abhilāṣī-- to do actions --i.e. to act--..."|
(See Spandakārikā-s I, 9)

And that this (is) so may be known and learnt from our Spandanirṇaya --an extremely authoritative commentary on Spandakārikā-s--|

The essence of these (manifestations, viz.) Kalā, etc., is characterized by limited agency or doership, etc. (and) attached to Āṇavamala as (its) basis --i.e. Āṇavamala is the basis of that essence--. (And since such an essence) conceals or veils (the true nature) of the individual souls --puruṣa-s--, it is (fully) proved that is a state of mala or impurity|

That has been expressed in venerable Svacchandatantra:

"On its being eclipsed by mala or impurity --i.e. Āṇavamala along with its two offsprings: Māyīyamala and Kārmamala--, Caitanya or Consciousness with Absolute Freedom to know and do everything is provided with Kalā (and) Vidyā. Thus, It --viz. Caitanya-- is dyed by Rāga (and) divided by Kāla. It is restrained by Niyati (and) magnified by the sense of being a Puruṣa --individual soul--. (Caitanya) gets endowed with the disposition of Prakṛti (and) is associated with the three Guṇa-s --qualities of Prakṛti--. It stands in the principle (known as) intellect, (and) is surrounded with ego. (Finally, Caitanya is furnished) with mind, powers of knowledge and action, subtle elements (and) gross elements3 "||
(See Svacchandatantra II, 39-41)

The act of concealing (performed) by Kārmamala (is) shown in venerable Mālinīvijayatantra too:

"Dharmic --lit. pious, related to one's own prescribed duty, etc.-- (and) adharmic --the opposite to dharmic-- action is characterized by pleasure, pain, etc."|
(See Mālinīvijayatantra I, 24)

The same thing has been said in venerable Īśvarapratyabhijñā, viz. (that) Māyīya and Kārma mala-s have Āṇavamala as (their) basis (and are) special (sorts of) contracted or limited knowledge:

"(Āṇavamala being already present, there arises) Māyīyamala (which brings about) here spreading out or propagation of objects different (from oneself). And when there is ignorance regarding the doer, (there emerges) Kārmamala, which bestows birth (and) experience of pleasure and pain. That group of three (mala-s is manifested) by the Māyāśakti4  (of Śiva) indeed"||
(See Īśvarapratyabhijñā III, 2, 5)


Skip the notes

1  The tattva-s or categories 7 through 36. See the Tattvic Chart for more information.Return

2  See note 2 of the commentary on the first aphorism.Return

3  The entire process of manifestation from tattva 7 through tattva 36 is condensed in this passage of Svacchandatantra. For a complete understanding of it, read Trika 4 (English), Trika 5 (English) and Trika 6 (English).Return

4  Māyāśakti is His divine Power to produce different forms. It must not be mistaken for Māyātattva (the sixth category, which is a manifestation brought about by Him through that very Māyāśakti).Return


 Aphorism 4

"Now, how is it (that) this threefold mala or impurity whose form is knowledge consisting of ajñāna or ignorance --i.e. limited knowledge--, Yonivarga --Māyā and her progeny, viz. Māyīyamala--, (and) Kalāśarīra --that whose form is activity, viz. Kārmamala--, becomes a fetter (for the individual soul?". The author of the Śivasūtra-s, i.e. Śiva) said—

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

This which has been described (before is) a manifold form of (limited) knowledge whose nature (is) a threefold mala --impurity-- consisting of (1) the act of considering (oneself) as imperfect --i.e. Āṇavamala--, (2) the expansion of a sense of differences --i.e. Māyīyamala--, (3) good (and) bad Vāsanā-s or tendencies accumulated in the causal body, (which lead oneself to perform good and bad actions respectively)1  --i.e. Kārmamala--. Of that (threefold limited knowledge), Mātṛkā, the Progenitor of the universe, is the unknown Mother, (and) Her form starts with "a" (and) ends in "kṣa". (She is the Mother) of knowledge whose nature (is) a flash of various contracted cognitions. (This limited knowledge or cognition appears in the form of) "I am imperfect", "I am thin" or "I am fat", "I am a performer of the Agniṣṭoma sacrifice" and so forth. (This knowledge) is constituted by various considerations, (some of them) appearing as devoid of mental modifications --viz. as notions beyond ordinary mind--, (while others) as possessing mental modifications --i.e. as concretely formulated thoughts--, (and) by means of the penetration of different sounds (and) words (in the mind of the one who hears,) generates an intoxication in the form of sorrow, arrogance, joy, passion, etc. According to the precept enunciated in venerable Timirodghāṭa:

"The Mahāghorā-s --lit. "very terrible"--, (that is, the śakti-s or powers) who are in the middle of Consciousness in Karandhra --i.e. in Brahmarandhra--2 , who hang by the Brahmā's noose (and) are the Mistresses of the pīṭha-s or seats --the sense-organs--, delude over and over again"||

(Mātṛkā) shines in the series of powers (such as) Brāhmī, etc. presiding over the groups of letters, Kalā-s --the five primordial powers--3 , etc.. She excites or animates (the living being) by the arrangement of a succession of letters, which is notorious in Āgama-s --revealed scriptures-- (such as) venerable Sarvavīra, etc.. She is closely related to the group of powers whose names (are) Ambā, Jyeṣṭhā, Raudrī (and) Vāmā. (Simply put, Mātṛkā is) the presiding Śakti or Power. Since (Mātṛkā) is indeed the basis of that (limited knowledge, and) because, (for the same reason), there is undoubtedly absence of an exploration of the inner unity, the (limited) cognitions do not find any rest even for an instant (and) are only directed to external things --lit. directed outward--. Thus, to proclaim that those (cognitions are) fetters (is) truly appropriate|

This (very concept) has been summarized by means of the (following) aphorism (of Spandakārikā-s):

"... derived from the multitude of words..."|
(See Spandakārikā-s III, 13)

and also in (this other) aphorism (of the same scripture):

"The powers (are) constantly ready to conceal or veil the essential nature of this (limited being)..."|
(See Spandakārikā-s III, 15)


Skip the notes

1  Man possesses four bodies: (1) gross or physical, (2) subtle, (3) causal and (4) supracausal. The first one is known to everybody, isn't it? The second body contains the vital energies, mind, ego and intellect. The causal body is beyond the subtle one, and contains accumulated impressions. The "tendencies" mentioned in the commentary are just as recipients to be filled with good or bad karma... oh well, a long topic really. Just understand this: Those tendencies accumulated in one's causal body lead him to perform good and bad actions. This is the sense. Ah, oh yes, I almost forgot about it... the supracausal body is the celebrated Bindu or knowing Dot... another long and abstruse subject matter, no doubt about it. It is not necessary for me to go into such subtleties and complexities in a mere explanatory note, of course.Return

2  These powers are in charge of deluding people and lead them to worldliness. They dwell in Karandhra, also known as Brahmarandhra (lit. the hole of Brahmā). Although Brahmarandhra is generally mistaken for Sahasrāra-cakra, it is technically the very center of such a cakra, situated in the region above the fontanels. According to my own experience, it is literally a hole full of divine Consciousness. When one enters it, there is apparently nothing, but in due course, he experiences the presence of a kind of membrane, as it were. There is a tension or stress in that membrane. Well, Śiva is the membrane itself, while His Śakti or divine Power is the aforesaid tension. These mysteries are completely elucidated by me in "Scriptures (study)/Śivasūtravimarśinī" under the Trika section.Return

3  Read my explanation of this topic in Trika: The six courses.Return


 Aphorism 5

Now, (the next aphorism) teaches the means for the cessation of this bondage, (that is to say,) the real nature of resting in That which is aimed at --the Goal, i.e. the Supreme Self also known as Bhairava or Śiva--—

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

This (is) udyama which (is) an emergence of the highest Pratibhā --i.e. Parāvāk, lit. Supreme Speech--1 . (Such a Pratibhā) consists of an instantaneous springing up of Saṁvid --the Supreme Consciousness--, which --viz. Saṁvid-- is made of Vimarśa --Śakti or I-consciousness-- (and) characterized by expansion (in the form of the universe). That very (udyama is) Bhairava --also called Śiva--, since (Bhairava) is full of the entire universe by remaining in unity with all the śakti-s or powers (and) since He possesses the capacity to devour the whole group of ideas (producing dualism. Such a udyama is also Bhairava) because it is the cause for manifesting one's own essential nature, which is, (all things considered,) Bhairava (as well. And that udyama) arises in those who have devotion (and) the treasure of attention to this inner Principle --viz. Bhairava, the Divine--. This is what is taught (in the present aphorism)|

It has been stated in venerable Mālinīvijayatantra:

"It is said that śāmbhava-samāveśa or an absorption in Śiva (is) this which takes place only in one who thinks of nothing through an awakening (bestowed) by the Guru"||
(See Mālinīvijayatantra II, 23)

I this respect, (the phrase) "guruṇā pratibodhataḥ" (may also be interpreted) here as "by one's own great awakening"2 . The (alternative) meaning of this (phrase) has been taught by the Guru-s|

(This is) declared in venerable Svacchandatantra too:

"Oh beautiful one3 , certainly, to that person who realizes or apprehends that his essential nature (is) Bhairava, being united with the Eternal, the Mantra-s bear fruit (for him)||

Undoubtedly, (the word) bhāvana --implicit in the conjugation "bhāvayet" occurring in the Svacchandatantra's stanza-- (means) here the apprehension of a state of inner elevation|

This (concept) has (also) been summarized by this (stanza of Spandakārikā-s):

"That is to be certainly known as Unmeṣa wherefrom there is emergence of another (awareness --according to Kṣemarāja-- or thought --according to others--)4  in one (person) who is (already) occupied with one thought. One should perceive that (Unmeṣa) by himself"||
(See Spandakārikā-s III, 9)


Skip the notes

1  Supreme Speech is the level where words and objects denoted by them are in complete unity. In fact, they have not even emerged as words and objects in this stage. Thus, Supreme Speech is synonymous with Supreme Consciousness from which the entire universe is manifested.Return

2  Because the term "guru", aside from "spiritual preceptor", also means "great". It is to be noted that though "spiritual preceptor" is a good short translation of the word "guru", it is not completely accurate in this context, in my humble opinion, because the text is speaking about a Guru, i.e. a high-souled person who is able to take an ordinary human being from bondage to final Emancipation. That is why I "generally" prefer to leave the word "guru" untranslated.Return

3  The Tantra-s are usually composed in the form of a dialogue between Lord Śiva and Pārvatī (Śakti), His wife.Return

4  Kṣemarāja is the sage who is commenting right now, of course. He composed a commentary on Spandakārikā-s too.Return


 Aphorism 6

Thus, having shown that the only cause for the cessation of ignorance (is) the perfect absorption in Bhairava, which --i.e. the perfect absorption-- is a means based on the instantaneous Unmeṣa1  of the highest Pratibhā --viz. Parāvāk, lit. Supreme Speech--, (Lord Śiva, the author of the Śivasūtra-s,) said (that) "on account of a complete taking hold of this (Pratibhā), there is extinguishment of (all) differences even in Vyutthānam --any state but samādhi or perfect concentration--2 "—

Through union with the collective group of powers, (there is) the disappearance of the universe||6||

This Bhairava who has been described is of the nature of an elevation (or) emergence of the highest Pratibhā. His chief supreme Śakti or Power of Absolute Freedom to know and do everything is One whose essence is to be perceived inside (as I-consciousness, and) seen outside (as the universe. Because of this,) She --i.e. Śakti-- takes possession of the whole group of powers, (and appears as) succession (and) non-succession --viz. simultaneity--. (In turn, when) She transcends succession and non-succession, appears even as excessively empty (and) non-empty, (or) both --i.e. both greatly empty and non-empty--. (In fact,) although She is (so) described, She is not this (either)|

This Play whose nature (is) the glittering vibration of the group of powers (in the form) of the beautiful emanation, etc., beginning with the manifestation of the earth --tattva or category 36-- (and) ending in the rest on the highest Experient --Śiva, tattva or category 1-- is shown by that (supreme Power of the Lord) on Her --of Śakti, the aforesaid Power-- own canvas --i.e. substratum, background--|

Sandhāna or union --mentioned in the aphorism-- of that group of powers which has been made manifest by this (supreme Power is) an act of becoming aware in an appropriate manner according to the precept(s) expressed in the Secret Tradition. When that occurs --i.e. when sandhāna occurs--, (then happens) the disappearance of the universe, which begins in Kālāgni (and) ends in the ultimate Kalā3 . (To be more specific,) the state or condition of external existence, even though it continues in the form of body and externalization, has been completely changed into the Fire of the highest Consciousness. This is the sense|

It has also been declared in venerable Bhargaśikhā:

"Then, (when there is such a disappearance of the universe,) he --the sublime Yogī-- devours everything --viz. he becomes one with everything--, (whether it is) death and time --Kāla is also the deity presiding death--, the bundle of activities, the network of changes, identification with knowledge (of objects), the multitude of thoughts of oneness (with the Supreme Self or) manifoldness"||

Even in venerable Vīrāvalī (it is stated that):

"Behold that Consciousness situated in the body (and) whose splendor is like (that of) Kālāgnirudra4 . (Behold that Consciousness) in which everything is dissolved (and) the multitudes of principles or categories are burned||

In venerable Mālinīvijayatantra (has) also (been said):

"The one who ponders by (his) mind over the Reality which is not within the range of utterance obtains an absorption (in the Supreme Self). Here, that (absorption) is to be considered as śākta --i.e. attained through Śāktopāya--5 "||
(See Mālinīvijayatantra II, 22)

By means of such a proclamation this very (śakticakrasandhāna or union with the collective group of powers) has been defined indirectly (in Mālinīvijayatantra)|

And this comes into being by serving the feet of a true Guru. Thus, nothing else has been revealed|

The same thing has been summarized by two stanzas (of Spandakārikā-s), viz. the first (stanza of Section I and) the last one (of Section III):

"... by whose opening (and) shutting of (His) eyes..."||
(See Spandakārikā-s I, 1)

"But, when taking root firmly in one place --i.e. in the principle of Spanda--..."||
(See Spandakārikā-s III, 19)


Skip the notes

1  This term means literally: "the act of opening the eyes, coming forth, becoming visible, etc.". Here it is to be understood as "emergence".Return

2  Vyutthāna is any state apart from samādhi (in this context, "perfect absorption in Bhairava"). In short, it is the ordinary state of consciousness the vast majority of people lives in.Return

3  Kālāgni is the lowest bhuvana or world, while the ultimate Kalā is known as Śāntyatīta. Read Trika: The Six Courses for more information.Return

4  He is also known as Kālāgnibhuvaneśa (the lord of the world called Kālāgni). In short, he is the deity presiding such a world or bhuvana. The name of this bhuvana may be translated as "the fire (of the end) of time". It is the lowest world, as I said in the previous note.Return

5  Read Meditation 3 for more information.Return


 Aphorism 7

In this manner, to someone in whom the universe has been withheld and suppressed (as such) --i.e. the universe is now seen as divine Consciousness--, there is no difference between Samādhi (and) Vyutthāna --any state but Samādhi--. Thus, (Lord Śiva) said—

(Even) during such different (states of consciousness) as waking, dreaming and profound sleep, there is the delight and enjoyment of the Fourth State||7||

To someone who is united (with the Supreme Self) by means of the aforesaid great Yoga --viz. Śāmbhavopāya--, there is constantly Camatkāra of the Fourth State (of consciousness)1 . That Ābhoga --delight and enjoyment-- (mentioned in the present aphorism is) Camatkāra --Bliss of supreme I-consciousness--. (It is the delight and enjoyment) of the Fourth State or Turya, which --i.e. the Fourth State-- has been indirectly denoted (in the previous fifth aphorism of this section:) "Bhairava --Supreme Being-- (is) a sudden flash or elevation of divine Consciousness". (Such a Fourth State or Turya) consists of Sphurattā2  (and) runs uninterruptedly in all states (of consciousness). (In other words, the Fourth State remains as a constant Witness even) during the manifestation of separateness characterized by manifoldness (appearing in the form of the) different (states) of wakefulness, dreaming (and) deep sleep --suṣupta--, which will be ascertained immediately after. (All in all, to the one who is united with the Supreme Self by Śāmbhavopāya) there is generation or production of that (Ābhoga or Camatkāra). This is the meaning|

Some read here "saṁvid" (instead of) "sambhava", the meaning (of which is) clear3 |

The same thing has been shown (by the following stanza) in venerable Candrajñāna, i.e. that the delight and enjoyment of the Fourth State is (also present) in the great Yogī-s in wakefulness, etc.:

"Just as the moon, which has the appearance of a flower, shines all round refreshing and gladdening the world immediately by the multitude of (its) refreshing and gladdening (rays), so also, oh Goddess --i.e. Pārvatī, the Śiva's wife--!, the great Yogī, when he moves about on the earth refreshes and gladdens all round that entire colorful world beginning with Avīci --a type of hell-- (and) ending in Śiva --the Supreme Self--, by means of all the rays of the moon of (his) Knowledge"|

In Spandakārikā-s (the same teaching) has been summarized by (the following) aphorism indeed:

"Even in the variety (of states, such as) wakefulness, etc..."|
(See Spandakārikā-s I, 3)


Skip the notes

1  The term "camatkāra" literally means "astonishment". However, in Trika its meaning is the following: "Bliss of the supreme I-consciousness". I had to arrange the translation adequately in order not to be redundant. And "Turya" (also known as "Turīya") is the fourth state of consciousness. This state is a Witness of the remaining three (wakefulness, dreaming and profound sleep). The highest Self is in Turya (one constant state) all the time, but when He (You!) adopts the condition of limited experient, He undergoes wakefulness, dreaming and profound sleep (three fleeting states).Return

2  Sphurattā means many things (gleam, light of the Self, etc.). In this context, I opine that it is used by the sage as an epithet of Śakti (the Supreme Power of the Lord). In this sense, Sphurattā is the throbbing light of Śiva. This light is also known as Spanda and makes Śiva conscious of His own existence.Return

3  It is clear only for Sanskrit scholars! Listen up: the word "saṁvid" is generally interpreted as "Consciousness". Anyway, in this context it should be translated as "experience". So, the text of the entire aphorism being commented by the sage would read: "(Even) during such different (states of consciousness) as waking, dreaming and profound sleep, (there is) the experience of the delight and enjoyment of the Fourth State". In my humble opinion, it may also be interpreted as "acquisition", and thus, the entire text would read: "(Even) during such different (states of consciousness) as waking, dreaming and profound sleep, (there is) acquisition of the delight and enjoyment of the Fourth State". Now, it is clear "at last", hehe. OK, that is it!Return


 Aphorisms 8, 9 and 10

(Lord Śiva, the author of the Śivasūtra-s being commented,) defines this group of three (states of consciousness, viz.) wakefulness, etc. by three aphorisms—

Knowledge (is) the waking state of consciousness||8||
The dream state of consciousness (is) thoughts and ideations||9||
Non-discernment or lack of awareness (is) the profound sleep of Māyā --delusion--||10||

Jāgrat is the state of wakefulness of the world (and consists of) knowledge whose sphere of activity (is) objects common to everybody (and) which is born from the external senses|

But svapna (is) the dream state (consisting of) thoughts which arise merely from the mind (and) whose sphere of activity (is) uncommon objects --i.e. the objects are only perceived by the dreamer--. (Therefore, it is known as svapna or dream) because in it there is pre-eminence of thoughts of such a kind --viz. uncommon--|

Certainly, this sauṣupta or profound sleep consisting of delusion (and) whose nature (is) Māyā --tattva or category 6 in the universal manifestation--, (represents) primordial ignorance which (implies) aviveka (or) absence of discernment and awareness|

Along with the definition (of) profound sleep, the essential nature of Māyā, which is to be eliminated, (was) also incidentally mentioned|

Moreover, in this manner, the triple nature (of those states of consciousness) has been shown in the three conditions of wakefulness, etc. through this type of definition|

Accordingly here, whatever initial knowledge that is not particularized, which is usual or characteristic of the dream state, (is) wakefulness|

The thoughts and fancies which (appear) after that (constitute) the dream state|

Deep sleep, (being of the nature of Māyā, is) absence of discernment and awareness of the tattva-s or principles --this will be elucidated later, in III-3--1 |

Although the thoughts are not perceived in profound sleep --i.e. although there is no thought whatsoever in deep sleep--, nevertheless when one is about to enter into that --viz. in profound sleep-- (there occurs) a knowledge of wakefulness, as it were, which is characteristic of such a state --i.e. of profound sleep--. After that, there is indeed dreaming state as well in the form of thoughts and fancies appearing as (their) residual impressions. (Of course, what has been described) is characteristic of that --viz. of the dream state of consciousness--2 |

Besides, with respect to a Yogī, at first (his) knowledge consisting of various Dhāraṇā-s or Concentrations (on an object practiced by him, is his) wakefulness. Then, (his) thoughts in the form of a continuous flow of ideas about that (object) --i.e. Dhyāna or Meditation--, (is his) dream state. And (his) Samādhi or Perfect Concentration, which appears as nonperception of differences between knower (and) knowable --viz. the object--, (is his) profound sleep. That has been shown by means of this proper application of words|

For this reason, in venerable Pūrvaśāstra --"the primeval scripture", an epithet of Mālinīvijayatantra--, even as regards a Yogī, the variety of wakefulness, etc. is defined as an act of penetration of one (state of consciousness) into the other (by the following stanza):

"... unawakened, awakened, well-awakened and perfectly well-awakened..."|
(See Mālinīvijayatantra II, 43)


Skip the notes

1  Another possible translation is as follows: "absence of discernment and awareness of (any) reality". Here, the term "tattva" is interpreted as "a real thing" instead of "principle".Return

2  This complex subject matter dealing with mixtures of states (e.g. the author mentioned previously the mixture known as "wakefulness in deep sleep") cannot be explained here. It is explained in detail in the appropriate subsection "Scriptures (study)" within the Trika section.Return


 Further Information

Gabriel Pradīpaka

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