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 Śivasūtravimarśinī (Shiva Sutra Vimarshini) Section I (aphorisms 11 to 22) Pure - Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir

Pure translation


Śivasūtravimarśinī continues: Kṣemarāja keeps commenting the aphorisms.

This is the second and last set of 12 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.


 Aphorism 11

Thus, he --the Yogī-- in whom the delight and enjoyment of the Fourth State, which consists of a penetration into non-dualism --i.e. absence of differences--, shines through the disappearance of the universe by the union with the group of powers in the three (states of) wakefulness, etc. that have been explained in detail (both) in conformity with (the experiences) of a Yogī (and) the common people1 , enters Turyātīta --viz. the state beyond Turya or Turīya (the Fourth State)--, which has been previously described as Consciousness endowed with Absolute Freedom to know and do everything. (He enters Turyātīta) by riding, (as to speak), the stream of that (delight and enjoyment)

He is a master of (his) senses who is an enjoyer (of the aforesaid "ābhoga" or divine delight) in the triad (of waking, dreaming and deep sleep)||11||

He who sees this triad of wakefulness, etc. as sprinkled with the Bliss of the Fourth State by means of the union with the group of powers, as a continuous flow of the sap of Bliss in which all the residual impressions of difference --dualism-- have been dissolved through the intensity of the entrance into the experience and remembrance of that (Fourth State)... (such a person is) an enjoyer of this triad (and also) of Camatkāra --Joy of Supreme I-consciousness--. (In other words, he enjoys the Bliss of I-consciousness throughout the triad of states)|

For that reason:

"He who verily knows this duo, viz. (both) what is said (to be) the object of enjoyment --the knowable-- and the enjoyer --the knower--, in the three states (of consciousness), is not polluted (by them even though he may be) an enjoyer --experient-- (of such states)"||

According to (the aforesaid) precept, this (great being) is full of Supreme Bliss, (acquires) unrivalled Self-sovereignty (and becomes) lord (and) master of (his) senses, which are (now) vīra-s or heroes2  intent on swallowing the differences (present) in the worldly existence. In the great sacred texts --āmnāya-s--3  (this type of person) is said to have entered the being of venerable Manthānabhairava4 |

However, he who is not of that kind --i.e. the one who is not liberated--, (is) just a common limited individual that is enjoyed by the states of wakefulness, etc.|

Even a Yogī who does not ride, (as it were,) this stream (of delight and enjoyment --ābhoga-- cannot become) a lord of (his) senses but he (is) only a confounded and bewildered being. This is what has been said (about him)|

And this (very fact) has been shown in scriptures (such as) venerable Svacchandatantra, etc., after having explained (it) in detail (by the following and other stanzas):

"That Yogī who lives in the condition of an independent being --a liberated being-- through Svacchandayoga --the type of Yoga taught in Svacchandatantra--, being united with the state of Svacchanda5 , attains equality with Svacchanda"||
(See VII, 260 in Svacchandatantra)

In Spandakārikā-s too, this (vey teaching) has been summarized by (the following portion of) kārikā --aphorism--:

"(To the perfectly awakened one, there is, always and) constantly, the perception of That --i.e. the Self--, (and this perception of the Self) stays (throughout) the three states (of consciousness)..."|
(See Spandakārikā-s I, 17)


Skip the notes

1  Read the commentary on the aphorisms 8, 9 and 10 of this very section.Return 

2  Just as genuine heroes, so these divine senses of an enlightened person are always pursuing the highest goal of life and the welfare of everybody. They are not any longer mere "indriya-s" or "senses" the whole time torturing a limited individual but supreme powers serving that high-souled person.Return 

3  The great sacred texts are 64 in number and their authorship is not human. This group of revealed scriptures is also known as Bhairavaśāstra-s (scriptures of Bhairava). Bhairava is, of course, the Supreme Self.Return 

4  This epithet of the Supreme Self literally means "Bhairava as the one who churns, shakes and stirs (the universe)", in the sense that He manifests, maintains and dissolves such a universe in His Self over and over again.Return 

5  The term "Svacchanda" literally means both "one's own free will" and "independent". In this context, Svacchanda is a liberated being, i.e. Śiva Himself, but at the same time it is also His Absolute Free Will to know and do everything. By applying the respective Taddhita affix (See Affixes), the word "Svācchandya" comes up as a result. It means "freedom". In short, it is the state of a Svacchanda or liberated being. And yes, Svācchandya is synonymous with Svātantrya (the Absolute Freedom of the Supreme Self).Return 


 Aphorism 12

Are there any stages closely connected with the ascent of this great Yogī to the Supreme Principle, by which --viz. by the stages-- an elevated (spiritual) position may be marked?|

(Lord Śiva, the author of these aphorisms,) said: "There are"—

The stages of Yoga (are) a fascinating wonder||12||

Just as there is (experience of) fascinating wonder when someone sees a superior reality, so (there is) always (experience of fascinating wonder when) this great Yogī, who remains calm, smiling (and) blown (as a flower because his) entire group of senses (has been now) expanded, (enjoys) the delights --ābhoga-- (associated with) the experience of manifestation of various knowables --i.e. objects--. (Such a group of senses was expanded) by means of a penetration into his own Self (that is) a mass of Consciousness (full of) always new, pre-eminent (and) extraordinary Joy of I-consciousness. That fascinating wonder (is) a state which becomes marvelous over and over again. (This condition is experienced by the Yogī) in his own Self, that consists of uninterrupted Bliss, as absence of complete satisfaction --the Yogī is never fully satisfied with that state of wonder, that is, he desires more and more of it--. Those stages are connected with Yoga (or) unity with the Highest Principle --viz. the Supreme Self--. (Such) definite stages or stations indicate reposes (of the Yogī) in (his) ascent to That --the Highest Principle-- and not conditions of experience (related to) Kanda, Bindu, etc.1 |

That has (also) been said in venerable Kulayukti:

"And when the Self is known by the adepts through (that very) Self, then the Self beholds a fascinating wonder in Himself indeed"||

This (same truth) has been summarized by (the following) aphorism (of Spandakārikā-s):

"How (can) this vile transmigratory path (be) his who abides or stands astonished, as it were, while beholding that essential nature (or Spanda) as presiding over (the entire universe)?"||
(See Spandakārikā-s I, 11)


Skip the notes

1  Even though the terms Kanda and Bindu generally mean "the egg-like source of all nāḍī-s or channels in the subtle body" and "a dot symbolic of the Supreme Knower --i.e. Śiva--" respectively, in this context these two terms stand for Mūlādhāra and Ājñā (the well-known cakra-s situated in the subtle body).Return 


 Aphorism 13

Of this Yogī who has attained such stages of Yoga—

The Will power (of the enlightened Yogī is) the "Splendor of Śiva" (that is) Kumārī||13||

That Will power of the Yogī who has reached the state of the Highest Bhairava (is) Umā --Splendor of Śiva--. (This Umā is) only the highest Mistress of the Supreme Lord whose --of Hers-- nature is Svātantrya or Absolute Freedom. And, according to the reading --i.e. the interpretation-- "kumāra krīḍāyām"1 , She (is called) Kumārī (because) She is intent on the play of manifesting (and) withdrawing the universe --Kṣemarāja has explained the meaning of the aphorism from an "abheda" viewpoint, i.e. non-dualistically--|

And likewise, (Kumārī is the one who) causes the stage of Māyā (or) Ku to die. (Māyā) brings about the emergence of bheda or duality. (By the statement "the one who causes the stage of Māyā or Ku to die", it is meant that) She prevents (Māyā) from spreading. (So, Kumārī is the one who has) that nature or disposition2 . Also, Kumārī (is this Śakti or Power who) shines forth in unity with the Bhoktā or Enjoyer --viz. Śiva-- (and) never is enjoyed by others --Kṣemarāja has explained the meaning of the aphorism from an "bheda-abheda" viewpoint, i.e. with a mixture of dualism and non-dualism--|

Or just as the virgin Umā, having abandoned all attachment, (is) always engaged in worship that leads directly to unity with the great Lord, so (is) certainly the Will of this (Yogī)3 . This reading has been thus seen4  and explained in detail by our Guru-s --spiritual preceptors-- --Kṣemarāja has explained the meaning of the aphorism from an "bheda" viewpoint, i.e. dualistically--|

However, (this aphorism) having been read (as) "śaktitamā" --the highest Power-- by others (authors, according to them) the pre-eminence or superiority of this (Will power) over knowledge (and) action is explained in full detail (through the present sūtra)5 |

Thus, the Will power of this Yogī is not gross like that of the ordinary folk, but (it is like) the Supreme Power Herself, i.e. unobstructed everywhere|

That has been declared in venerable Svacchandatantra:

"The Goddess abides as the names and forms of all goddesses, remains covered by Yogamāyā --the veiling power arisen from Yoga or identification with the Lord--, (is) a virgin (and) promotes the welfare of people"||
(See Svacchandatantra X, 727)

(And) even in most venerable Mṛtyuñjayatantra:

"The supreme Śakti, that is undivided --i.e. not separated from the Lord-- (and) natural, (is) My Will (power). She is to be known (in the same relation to Me) as heat to the fire (and) a ray of light to the sun. That Śakti is the cause of the entire world indeed!"|
(See I, 25-26 in Mṛtyuñjayatantra)

That very (truth has been) indirectly stated by an aphorism (of Spandakārikā-s):

"This (limited individual) does not direct or drive the goad of desire. But yet, by getting in touch with the Force or Power of the Self, (that) person becomes equal to That"||
(See Spandakārikā-s I, 8)


Skip the notes

1  The first Kṣemarāja's interpretation has to do with Abheda or Non-dualism. The phrase "kumāra krīḍāyām" implies, succinctly, that the word "kumārī" is derived from the root "kumār", which means "to play as a child". The term "krīḍāyām" (fond of playing) denotes that She is fond of playing (as a child), and Her play consists of manifesting the universe and withdrawing it within Herself over and over again. Well, only a short explanation for now, because going deep at this subject would lead me to expound about how the root "kumār" is formed and conjugated... and this involves an advanced Sanskrit knowledge most readers just can dream of. Enough of this then, lest their minds get even more confused!Return 

2  The sage interprets the word "kumārī" acrostically: ku + mārī. According to him, "ku" is symbolic of Māyā, the power producing dualism (differences in the form of multiple subjects and objects), while "mārī" suggests "mārayati" - "She causes to die". Therefore, the supreme Will power of the Yogī is Kumārī as She destroys Māyā. In other words, She does not let Māyā spread. The author made that point clear by adding "anudbhinnaprasarāṁ karoti" - "She prevents (Māyā) from spreading" because no destruction is possible to occur here. As the universe is essentially one with Śakti, to speak about a "destruction" of something in it is just a simple way of expressing what is really a "withdrawal" within its Source, viz. within Herself.Return 

3  The author interprets the word "kumārī" as "virgin". In this case, Umā is the well-known Śiva's wife in the puranic stories, i.e. Pārvatī. The Will power of a Yogī is identified with Pārvatī (the virgin young girl always occupied with worship of Her husband) because She has no children. In other words: "She has never given rise to any universe!" Manifestation, maintenance and withdrawal of the universe are just mere ways of speaking about processes in a Reality that, paradoxically, is immutable. So, no universe has ever emerged from Her and consequently no maintenance/withdrawal of it is possible here. This mystery can only be understood by those who have been blessed with the Grace of God. I can speak in this dualistic manner because in the present paragraph the commentator interprets the aphorism from a "bheda" viewpoint, i.e. dualistically.Return 

4  Not only "readings" but entire scriptures appear before a sublime Yogī and he can "see" them, literally speaking. So, though it may seem weird to most people, new readings, scriptures, mantra-s, etc. are not "heard" but "seen" by a great Yogī.Return 

5  Kṣemarāja is mentioning the reading of this 13th aphorism according to Bhāskara, the author of the celebrated Śivasūtravārttika (another important commentary on the Śivasūtra-s): "Icchā śaktitamā kumārī" (succinctly translated as "Will, which is the highest Power, (is) Kumārī". All in all, in Śivasūtravārttika you will find that the current aphorism appears as "Icchā śaktitamā kumārī" instead of "Icchāśaktirumā kumārī". Anyway, as the Kṣemarāja's commentary (viz. Śivasūtravimarśinī) is considered as the most authoritative one, I translated the version of the Śivasūtra-s as given by Kṣemarāja (and not as given by Bhāskara and other authors).Return 


 Aphorism 14

To such a kind of (Yogī) who has attained (that) great Will (power)

All phenomena (outer or inner are) the body (of the enlightened Yogī)||14||

Whatever is perceivable (whether) externally or internally (by the Yogī,) to him all that shines forth like his own body and not like something different (from him), due to (his) great achievement (arising in the form of the feeling) "I (am) This" --i.e. I am the universe-- like (that of) Sadāśiva1  --Kṣemarāja commented on the aphorism in its usual reading, viz. "Dṛśyaṁ śarīram"; but his comments in the following paragraph will be based on the reading "Śarīraṁ dṛśyaṁ"--|

Also, (to this sort of Yogī), śarīra or body, (whether) in the form of physical body, thought, vital energy (or) void (in wakefulness, dream, etc.), appears as a phenomenon --i.e. something objective-- like (the) blue (color), etc., and not like the perceiver as in (the case of) a conditioned being2 |

Thus, in the body, outside and everywhere, his perception is certainly undivided or undifferentiated as the plasma of a peacock's egg --i.e. his perception is completely homogeneous like that plasma--|

As has been declared in venerable Vijñānabhairava:

"(Just as) waves (are modes) of water, blazes (are modes) of fire (and) light (is a mode) of the sun, (so) these modes --like waves-- of the universe have gone out of Me, i.e. of Bhairava"||

This has been summarized by this (portion of aphorism of Spandakārikā-s):

"... The experient himself, always (and) everywhere, remains in the form of the experienced"||
(See Spandakārikā-s II, 4)


Skip the notes

1  Sadāśiva is the third tattva or category in the process of universal manifestation. When the Supreme Power of the Lord extracts the universe (Idam or This) from Him, Idam appears in a indistinct (foggy) manner. As the first two tattva-s or categories are the Lord and His Power (Śiva and Śakti), Sadāśiva really marks the emergence of the universe. Before Sadāśiva, the Lord feels "I am", but once Sadāśiva has been manifested the Lord feels "I am This" because Idam or This (the universe) has started to become displayed by His divine Power. So, through his identification with the Supreme Self, the Yogī has the same experience as the Supreme Self in regard to the universe. For more information, read Trika 3.Return 

2  Kṣemarāja indicates here that the meaning of śarīra is "body" but not merely "physical body". He shows that this "body" can take the form of thought (in dreams), vital energy (in deep sleep) or even void (in Māyā) too. Besides, the sage clearly point out the fact that the limited beings consider śarīra  or body as the perceiver, while a enlightened being does not. A high-souled one perceives śarīra as another object and never as the subject or perceiver. And why do the conditioned beings consider śarīra to be the perceiver? Because they are identified with śarīra, i.e. whether with the physical body, thought, vital energy or void. Identification with śarīra is a grave error, nonetheless the heavy burden of their conditioning forces them to make that mistake. And what is the way out for them?: "Identification with their own essential nature, viz. the Lord". However, this only occurs by the favor of that very Lord who, paradoxically, is themselves.Return 


 Aphorism 15

This which has been said (regarding the great Yogī), viz. (that) there is appearance of all phenomena (outer or inner) —also (considering) as phenomenon, (as it were,) even what reaches up to the (state of) void— as (his own) body in a uniform way --i.e. like an only form--, is not --lit. this is not-- hard to be accomplished but rather1 

Through the union of the mind on the core of Consciousness, there is appearance of (all) phenomena (outer or inner and even) the void (as they are in their essential reality)||15||

(Here) hṛdaya --the core or heart-- (is) the Light of Consciousness since it is the foundation of the universe. In that (hṛdaya), through the union of the mind —i.e. by performing concentration of the restless (mind) on That --on the Light of Consciousness--—, there is darśana (or) appearance of all phenomena (outer or inner) —i.e. of blue, physical body, vital energy (and) intellect—, and (even) of svāpa (or) void —i.e. of that whose nature (is) absence of this --viz. of the phenomena outer or inner--—, as one's own body —i.e. (there is appearance of all these phenomena and void) as they are essentially, devoid of the distinction between subject (and) object—2 |

Undoubtedly, the mind entering into the Light of Consciousness sees the universe as saturated with that (Light)|

That has been said in venerable Vijñānabhairava (too):

"He whose senses are fixed on the ether or space within the heart --i.e. within the heart-lotus--, who remains in the middle of the (two) hemispherical bowls of (that) lotus --i.e. where the Self dwells--, whose mind (is) undivided --i.e. whose mind is concentrated and sees the universe as saturated with the Light of Consciousness--, obtains the highest fortune or welfare, oh Beautiful One"||

Here the highest fortune (is) doubtless the acquisition of lordship of the universe|

With regard to the great Yogī who has attained the state of the Supreme Principle, in venerable Svacchandatantra (has been declared) as well:

"He (who has attained identity with Bhairava --i.e. the Lord--) by pervading all the (six) courses3  present (in) the insentient entiti(es) (or) inanimate ones and (in) the sentient entities (or) animate ones --i.e. in all that moves and is stationary within this universe--, remains as identical with Bhairava in all beings, objects, categories of the universal manifestation and indriya-s --the ten Powers of Perception and Action--4 "|
(See IV, 310 in Svacchandatantra)

In Spandakārikā-s this (very teaching) has been summarized by this (portion of aphorism):

"... so (also), through the establishment in one's own Self, there will be thus (omniscience) everywhere"||
(See Spandakārikā-s III, 7)


Skip the notes

1  Though Kṣemarāja seems to be telling a joke, he is speaking seriously indeed. The Supreme State is not hard to be attained since "oneself is the Lord always", and about it there is no doubt. Anyway, from the viewpoint of the limited being, the task seems impossible due to his heavy burden of limitations. Of course, this is a way of speaking really, because the limited being is simply the Lord Himself believing that He is "bound by Māyā" and the like. As the Lord is absolute, He can become "absolutely" ignorant too. Therefore, there is no contradiction or exaggeration in what the sage has stated. It is only when the Lord deceives Himself that the task of perceiving all phenomena as one's own body looks like mission impossible. So, stop deceiving Yourself, dear Lord, and wake up! All in all, if the reader still "thinks" that all the sage is writing on has to do with a Lord, an enlightened Yogī, etc. different from himself/herself, so the reader has not understood anything about this scripture yet. That being the case, it is to be noted that the reader is not in a desirable condition by any means! Oh well, just a remainder for the reader, because it is pretty usual that one forgets his/her nature when reading this kind of scriptures and thus starts to think that the Lord is Someone existing "somewhere else" outside or "deep" inside (how deep when the body is so thin?, I wonder), and all that madness.Return 

2  If you feel that you are about to have a heart attack, do not worry because I am coming to the rescue! First, let me explain to you what I did: As this site teaches Sanskrit too, I opted for a "literal" translation of the commentary in order for the students to learn how a real-world text has been written in Sanskrit. The other option would have been to translate fragment by fragment [e.g. (in the aphorism,) the phrase "citta-saṅghaṭṭāt" (means) "by performing concentration of the restless (mind) on That --on the Light of Consciousness--"]. Rest assured that that would have been easier to read indeed. Still, "it is not exactly what the author wrote". Kṣemarāja described each of the portions of the aphorism in a continuous way and not fragment by fragment. Therefore, as I am teaching Sanskrit apart from translating texts, I will always choose to translate everything so literally as possible.

Anyway, I feel compassionate today and consequently I will extract the paragraph from the mass of additional explanations which occur between long hyphens (—...—):

"(Here) hṛdaya --the core or heart-- (is) the Light of Consciousness since it is the foundation of the universe. In that (hṛdaya), through the union of the mind, there is darśana (or) appearance of all phenomena (outer or inner), and (even) of svāpa (or) void, as one's own body".

Well, now the paragraph looks clear, doesn't it? The final purport is that when one concentrates his mind on the Light of Consciousness there (in the core or heart of Reality), all phenomena including the void appear as non-different (i.e. as one's own body) from himself. In other words, everything is perceived in unity with the Light of Consciousness. The sage will express this truth in the next paragraph. Use what it is between long hyphens as additional information on each of the portions of the paragraph.

Nonetheless, besides the fact that I cannot be doing this kind of extraction all the time, remember that I am also teaching Sanskrit on this website and "need" the students to experience it "such as it is in this medieval text", i.e. "extremely hard!". One kind of Sanskrit is that which you study from a grammar, and a very different one is that which you read from real-world scriptures, where the authors "in general" will not write as expected. Even higher grammars cannot include "all" the ways of expressing a same thing in Sanskrit for a mere matter of size (it would take volumes to do that) as the styles vary according to time and context. The inherent difficulties in translating a medieval text that deals with Trika are not the same as those you will find while translating, for example, an older scripture dealing with a different philosophical system. Therefore, to translate a "real" Sanskrit text like the present one is a task beset with "real" difficulties every serious student of the sacred language will have to face sooner or later. Keep reading, please.Return 

3  This subject has been explained in detail in Trika: The Six Courses.Return 

4  I cannot comment much here on this complex subject matter or this page will be extremely long, but the sage Kṣemarāja have also written a voluminous commentary on Svacchandatantra in which he describes completely the secret purport of this aphorism. He finishes his commentary on this 310th stanza occurring in the 4th paṭala (section) by affirming that: "Eṣaiva ca nirvyutthānasamādhyātmā mahārahasyabhūtā||" or "This (indestructible absorption in the highest Bhairava) is the great secret consisting of Nirvyutthānasamādhi or Perfect Concentration devoid of vyutthāna --any state but Samādhi (Perfect Concentration)--". Summing it up: Once the great Yogī attains this type of absorption in the Lord, "never" returns to the ordinary state of consciousness!Return 


 Aphorism 16

Here, He --i.e. Śiva, the author of Śivasūtra-s-- mentioned another means (for realizing one's identity with the highest Bhairava)

Or by union with the Pure Principle, (the Yogī becomes like one in whom) the (binding) power (existing in) a limited and conditioned being is absent||16||

The Pure Principle is called Paramaśiva --the Supreme Śiva--. When (the Yogī) is in that (Paramaśiva) --i.e. when the Yogī realizes Him--, he becomes aware of the universe (in this way:) "This (universe) is only composed of that (Reality)"; then, in such a manner, this (Yogī) becomes the lord of the entire world like Sadāśiva in whom the binding power known as paśu is absent1 |

That (truth) has (also) been expressed in venerable Lakṣmīkaulārṇava:

"Those pratyaya-s accompanied by exclamations of praise which are declared or taught for the success of initiation are not (even) worth the sixteenth part of Sandhāna, oh Goddess"2 ||

(And) in venerable Vijñānabhairava:

"One should consider, with a mind free from thoughts, (his) entire body or the world simultaneously --i.e. with no succession-- as composed of Consciousness; (if he does so, there will be) emergence of the Supreme (Reality to him)"3 |

That very (teaching) has been summarized by an aphorism (of Spandakārikā-s):

"Or he who has that knowledge or realization4  (and) is constantly united (with the Supreme Self) views the whole world as a (divine) play. He is liberated while living, there is no doubt (about it)"||
(See Spandakārikā-s II, 5)


Skip the notes

1  For more information about "Paramaśiva" and "Sadāśiva", see Trika 2 and Trika 3.Return 

2  The term "pratyaya-s" may be translated in an enormous quantity of manners: "ideas, religious meditations, etc.", but in this context it means "deśādivyavahitaviprakṛṣṭavastujñānāni" or "cognitions about remote realities separated (from oneself) by space, etc." (e.g. distant worlds). During the rite of initiation the one being initiated becomes conscious of those realities by the Grace of the Lord appearing as the ritual itself. It is pretty usual to utter exclamations of praise (chanted interjections) while the initiation is carried out. In turn, Lord Śiva tells the Goddess that that is not even worth the sixteenth part of Sandhāna. And what is it? Sandhāna is defined as "śuddhatattvavimarśa" or "awareness of the Pure Principle". Therefore, what the Lord is affirming is that all those things are insignificant in comparison to becoming aware of the Pure Principle. Since the very Goddess is that "vimarśa" or awareness, such a Sandhāna can only be achieved through Herself. For that reason, She is is to be known as the bridge leading to the Pure Principle (Paramaśiva). Oh well, this explanation was just a mere glimpse!Return 

3  In the version of Vijñānabhairava commented by Kṣemarāja himself, the term "paramodbhavaḥ" (parama-udbhavaḥ) changes to "paramodayaḥ" (parama-udayaḥ), but the meaning is the same because "udbhavaḥ" and "udayaḥ" are synonymous in this context.Return 

4  Knowledge about what? To understand this, one must read the last part of the previous aphorism in Spandakārikā-s. At the end of it (II,4) the author says: "The experient himself, always (and) everywhere, remains in the form of the experienced". Therefore, this is the kind of knowledge the author of Spandakārikā-s is talking about in II, 5 (i.e. 5th aphorism of the Section II). The meaning is completely clear now!Return 


 Aphorism 17

Of this Yogī whose nature (is) such a knowledge1 

Firm and unwavering awareness (that I am Śiva is) knowledge of the Self||17||

This vitarka (or) firm and unwavering awareness that "I am Śiva, the Self of the universe" (is) his --of the Yogī-- knowledge of the Self|

That is stated in venerable Vijñānabhairava (as well):

"'The Supreme Lord (is) omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. He (is) myself (since) I have the characteristic of Śiva'. With this firm (conviction) one becomes Śiva"||

In Spandakārikā-s too, this (very teaching) has been mentioned by this (portion of aphorism):

"... only this (is) the perception of the Self"||
(See Spandakārikā-s II, 7)


In that (portion of aphorism), this perception (or) seizure of the Self (being described is) only knowledge of the Self. That (there is) non-difference or identity in regard to Śiva —the essence of the universe—... (well,) this (additional) meaning is also intended to be expressed (by that statement in Spandakārikā-s)2 ||17||

Skip the notes

1  Read the last portion of the commentary on the previous aphorism to understand the present introduction to the 17th aphorism in a better way.Return 

2  What is between long hyphens refers to Śiva, obviously. The additional meaning that oneself is non-different from the Lord is hidden in the phrase "only this (is) the perception of the Self" according to Kṣemarāja.Return 


 Aphorism 18

Moreover, of this (Yogī)

The Bliss (that the Yogī feels in abiding as the Knower or Perceiver) of the world (—consisting of subjects and objects— is his) delight of Samādhi||18||

The loka or world (is both) "that which is perceived" —i.e. the multitude of objects— and "he who perceives" —i.e. the group or class of subjects—. Although that is evident1  (to everyone), according to the precept stated in venerable Vijñānabhairava:

"The consciousness of object (and) subject is common to all the embodied ones; but in the case of the Yogī-s this (is the) distinction: there is attentiveness to the relation (between object and subject)"||

(then,) this bliss which consists of camatkāra --joy of the pure I-consciousness-- on account of (his) attention to (his) repose in the state of a Knower or Perceiver (is) his delight of Samādhi2 |

It has (also) been said in that very (book) --viz. in Vijñānabhairava--:

"One should remember the entire world or his own body as replete with his own bliss. Simultaneously --i.e. when one is able to remember in that way--, he is filled with the Highest Joy due to his own Nectar"||

This very (truth) has been summarized by this (aphorism):

"Only this (is) the obtainment of the Nectar leading to Immortality..."
(See Spandakārikā-s II, 7)

Moreover, that delight of Samādhi --i.e. the state of keeping a continuous awareness of his Knowership-- belonging to the one who takes great pleasure in his own Self ends in the manifestation of his bliss among the people who observe him --lit. such a person-- there --i.e. in that place and in that state--. (It happens) through the transference of joy|

This is also completely in conformity with the stanza of venerable Candrajñāna which was quoted before in the (commentary on the) seventh aphorism of the first Section||18||

Skip the notes

1  I cannot translate the words individually because the whole thing would not make any sense in English: "in that (tasmin) in that which is evident (sphurati) in that which is (sati)". The phrase is in absolute Locative (a special type of construction in Sanskrit), and therefore you have to add "when, while, although, etc." and translate everything in Nominative to give it structure in English. In this case, I must add "although". I had to make clear this point to a certain extent since some people might think I am cheating here because I ignore the meaning of each of those three words. As most of the time I cannot explain this kind of grammatical intricacies as it would take too many explanatory notes, just trust me, please.Return 

2  In this context the word "Samādhi" is not be understood as "Perfect Concentration" (like in a kind of deep meditation with closed eyes). No, here it is the state where a person is only conscious of his state as the Supreme Knower or Perceiver. This is the state of Śiva, and cannot be attained by any effort at all! It is only achieved by divine Grace. It is just about His free Will then.Return 


 Aphorism 19

Now, (the following aphorism) shows the Vibhūtiyoga --Yoga of supernatural powers-- of such a Yogī—

On being united with the Power (of Will there is) production or creation of bodies (according to the Yogī's desire)||19||

By the thirteenth aphorism of the first Section, (viz.) "The Will power (of the enlightened Yogī is) the 'Splendor of Śiva' (that is) Kumārī", his Power or Śakti is described. When he, (through intensive awareness), becomes united with her --i.e. with his Icchāśakti or Will power--; (in short, when) he is firmly absorbed in that (Will power), then through that (power) his body is produced --i.e. is brought into being-- at will --lit. as desired--|

That has been declared in most venerable Mṛtyuñjaya --i.e. Netratantra-- beginning with (the stanza 36 of the 7th adhikāra or chapter):

"Thence --i.e. from that state of Paramaśiva gained by the Yogī1 -- proceeds the Power which is devoid of perceptibility (and) illness2 . That (Power) has been indicated (as) Icchā --Will-- indeed, which (afterward) appears in the form of Jñāna --Knowledge-- (and) Kriyā --Action--3 "||4 

(and ending in the stanza 40 of the same adhikāra or chapter:)

"She --i.e. the Highest Śakti-- (is), in various ways, the source of all gods as well as of the powers or śakti-s. Her nature (is) fire and moon5 . Everything proceeds from Her"||

The exalted state of the union with Śakti through intensive one-pointedness has been stated in Lakṣmīkaulārṇava (by the following and) other (stanzas):

"Without union (with Śakti) through intensive one-pointedness there is neither initiation, nor accomplishment of supernatural powers, nor mantra, nor a stratagem related to mantra-s, nor —in no way— mastery6  over Yoga"||

This very (teaching) has been summarized by this (aphorism):

"Just as the Sustainer (of this world), when requested with desire, produces (all) things which abide in the heart of that embodied soul who is awake after causing the emergence of moon (and) sun7 "||
(See Spandakārikā-s III, 1)

The Creator, i.e. the Great Lord --epithet of Śiva-- brings about --accomplishes-- (all) the things, which are diverse (and) completely new creations, etc., abiding in the heart of the embodied Yogī who has not abandoned his desire (of remaining) in the body. (The Supreme Self does so firstly) by opening the flow composed of moon --i.e. apāna, the vital energy entering with the inhalation-- (and) sun --i.e. prāṇa, the vital energy going out with the exhalation-- through Prakāśa --revealing light-- and Ānanda --bliss--, and (then) by causing the emergence of the power or śakti --i.e. samāna-- consisting of an equilibrium of moon or apāna (and) sun or prāṇa8 . (Afterward,) having put down that śakti (known as samāna) --viz. having re-established the normal functions of apāna and prāṇa--, (the Lord produces) outwardly (the desires of that Yogī). Such is the meaning of this (aphorism in Spandakārikā-s) indeed9 .

"So also in dream, [by abiding in the central channel, does (He) certainly reveal always (and) most clearly] (his) desired things" [to him who does not neglect his entreaty].10 
(See Spandakārikā-s III, 2)

As has been shown by me in Spandanirṇaya, (the matter related to) the (Yogī's) freedom (even) in dream, such as explained in this stanza, has been used as a counter example||19||

Skip the notes

1  I know this because I read the previous stanzas in Netratantra. The same sage that is commenting here on Śivasūtra-s —i.e. Kṣemarāja— also composed an extensive commentary on Netratantra. Paramaśiva is simply the Highest Reality. Read Trika 2 to pick up further information.Return 

2  This means that the Will power is not visible or perceivable at all. Also, it is not affected by the disease known as Māyā (tattva or category 6 in the process of universal manifestation). Māyā is a veil of ignorance covering one's essential nature.Return 

3  This subject has been explained in detail in Trika 3.Return 

4  The stanza has a different reading too (just a slight change):

"Thence --i.e. from that state of Paramaśiva gained by the Yogī-- proceeds the Power which is devoid of perceptibility (and) illness, (and) that has been indicated (as) nothing but Icchā --Will--. (This very Will afterward) appears in the form of Jñāna --Knowledge-- (and) Kriyā --Action--"||

OK, now you have both versions.Return 

5  Here fire and moon mean prāṇa (the vital energy going out of your system when you exhale) and apāna (the vital energy entering your system when you inhale).Return 

6  If you consult a dictionary, you will find that "ākarṣaṇa" generally means "pulling, drawing near, attracting, etc.". Here it is translated as "mastery" by me, because the original root is not "ākṛṣ", obviously, but "kṛṣ" (as "ā" is a prefix added to the root); and one of the meanings of "kṛṣ" is "to draw into one's power, become master of". Now it is clear!Return 

7  The terms moon and sun are dependant upon the level an aspirant is positioned in. In Āṇavopāya, moon and sun stand for apāna and prāṇa, respectively (read the note 5 above). In Śāktopāya, they are symbolic of Jñānaśakti (Power of knowledge) and Kriyāśakti (Power of action). Finally, in Śāmbhavopāya they symbolize Vimarśa (Śakti) and Prakāśa (Śiva). Read Meditation 1 to learn more.Return 

8  Read Uccāra in Meditation 4 to have a better understanding of what the sage is talking about.Return 

9  The Supreme Lord, inspiring the great Yogī with revealing light and bliss, opens the flow of apāna and prāṇa (i.e. He makes such a person conscious of his own breathing in and out). Then, He makes samāna arise, by balancing the flow of apāna and prāṇa in the area of the navel (the breathing process stops here). Finally, when the Supreme Being puts down or suppresses samāna, the natural flow of inhalation and exhalation returns. At that time, all the things desired by the Yogī appear outwardly before him. Nobody can achieve this power without His Grace.Return 

10  I had to add the rest of the stanza in brackets because if not so the whole thing would have made no sense. On other occasions I can add the short translation along with the suspension points, but I cannot in this particular case.Return 


 Aphorism 20

Through the majesty of this --i.e. of the union with his Icchāśakti or power of Will--, other supernatural powers as desired (by the Yogī) accrue to him as well. This is what (Śiva) told (in the next aphorism)

(The other supernormal powers of the enlightened Yogī are: the power of) putting together existent entities; (the power of) separating them all --i.e. the existent entities-- (and the power of) assembling --saṅghaṭṭa-- everything (what has been separated by space and time)||20||

The bhūta-s --existent entities-- consist of body, vital energy, objects, etc. Sandhāna --putting together-- of those (existent entities), --i.e. bhūtasandhāna--, (is then the same thing as) promoting the increase of welfare, etc. in certain cases1 . Pṛthaktva (is) separation of body, etc. for relieving diseases, etc. and the like2 . And assembling everything what has been separated by space, time, etc., (is) making (all those things) objects of (his) knowledge, and so on3 . (This group of three powers) accrues to him when there is union with the (Will) power as described before|

This occurs --i.e. has been dealt with-- in all Āgama-s --revealed scriptures--, in the chapters on sādhana --methods to attain accomplishment, mastering, etc.--|

That very (teaching) has been shown with founded arguments in (the section) Vibhūtispanda --supernormal powers originating from Spanda-- of Spandakārikā-s by means of (the following and) other (stanzas)|

"Even a weak person, by grabbing hold of that (Spanda or Cosmic Force), is engaged (in doing) what is to be done (and succeeds subsequently) through that very Principle. Likewise, he who is extremely hungry conceals (his) desire to eat"||
(See Spandakārikā-s III, 6)

"Depression (is like) a plunderer in the body. It glides from ignorance. If it is destroyed by that Unmeṣa --see the next aphorism--, how might that (depression) exist without (its) cause?"||
(See Spandakārikā-s III, 8)

"Undoubtedly, just as a thing that is perceived indistinctly (at first), even though an (extremely) attentive mind (might be involved in the process of perception), appears more clearly afterward, when beheld with the vigorous exertion of one's own power, so, by grabbing hold of the (Cosmic) Force, whatever thing which actually exists in any form, in any place, in any condition, that (very thing) is immediately manifested in that manner"||
(See Spandakārikā-s III, 4-5)


Skip the notes

1  For example, a body about to die by starvation can be nourished by that great Yogī by simply desiring that that body gets into contact with food. No need for him to bring it food, physically speaking.Return 

2  For example, he can separate a tumor from a body in order to cure it.Return 

3  For example, he can know exactly what happens in a specific moment in the past or future. Or else, he can know what is occurring on the other corner of the planet right now. He can do all those things at will, though most of the time they occur spontaneously due to his extraordinary state of consciousness.

Though the Self dwells in all, these supernatural powers mentioned in the present aphorism are so far away from the ordinary beings full of conditioning that is "apparently" useless to write about such sublime faculties as the vast majority of people just cannot catch anything about this (almost all spiritual people included, of course... the only change being that the spiritual people have "spiritual egos that think they do understand totally", while the rest have mundane egos that simply are not interested in all these matters... anyway, it is the same pest but with different colors). So, all of them are NOT extraordinary. In fact, it is "apparently" ridiculous to speak about these awesome things seeing the helpless condition of the limited individual who is all the time behaving like a beggar in distress. Well, I must translate the scripture in its entirety though in this world the amount of great Yogī-s as the one commented on by Kṣemarāja could surely be counted with the fingers of one hand.

In all, my task of translating this difficult scripture looks like a joke or wasted time if one considers the condition of the average Yoga aspirant. At any rate, there are more solid arguments backing up my efforts: Since the first Section of Śivasūtra-s deals with Śāmbhavopāya (the means pertaining to Śiva), all these teachings and achievements are intended for the great personalities treading this path (a very few ones, really). The rest of aspirants, who are mostly bound to tread the path of Āṇavopāya (the means pertaining to a limited being), will only understand the meanings up to their own level. To know about the states that they can attain may be uplifting too. So, despite it seems absurd at first glance to spend so many hours translating all these descriptions on the achievements of a great Yogī when "in practice" 99% of the aspirants can hardly meditate on the Self for roughly fifteen minutes in a continuous way every day, it makes sense in the end somehow if one considers that the first Section has to do with the higher Śāmbhavopāya.

Besides, there is one deeper reason for me to take the trouble to do all this... oh well, it is my offering to the Owner of all the universe, who is the only Doer of all actions and the real Author of all the sacred scriptures. May this Lord be always praised! Just a commentary that came up in this special state I am in while translating. Very good, keep reading the teachings then.Return 


 Aphorism 21

However, when (such a great Yogī) does not yearn for limited supernatural powers, (but) desires to expand (himself) --lit. expansion-- as the Self of the universe, then (there accrues) to him—

Full acquisition of mastery over the collective group of powers (is achieved by the Yogī) through the emergence of Śuddhavidyā||21||

When (the Yogī), with a desire to expand (himself) --lit. expansion-- as the Self of the universe, gets united with (his Will) power through intensive awareness, then by means of the emergence of Śuddhavidyā (appearing as the feeling that) "I (am) all", he succeeds in attaining his state as Maheśvara, the Great Lord --epithet of Śiva-- in the form of mastery over his own universal collective group of powers|1 

That was (also) described in Svacchandatantra:

"Therefore, since there is no other (one), She (is) certainly the Highest Vidyā --i.e. divine Knowledge--. Here --when the Highest Vidyā arises-- indeed (the Yogī) acquires the superior qualities of omniscience, etc., simultaneously. (1) She brings about examination of the beginningless characteristic (of the Lord) --i.e. His absolute Freedom or Svātantrya--; (2) arouses and causes to perceive/understand the state of the Supreme Self; (and) (3) excludes what is not the state of the Supreme Self; because of (all) that She is called 'Vidyā' . Established there --in the state devoid of mind (unmanā), i.e. in the Supreme Self--, he manifests the Highest Light --viz. the Light of the Lord--, the Supreme Cause. The one who is established in that manifest --vyakta-- Highest --para-- Light --tejas-- attains the state of Śiva"||2 
(See IV, 396-397 in Svacchandatantra)

The same thing has been summarized by this (stanza in Spandakārikā-s):

"When (a Yogī) desiring to see, as it were, all objects, abides pervading (them all), then, what (is the point) of saying much (about it)? He will perceive or experience (that) by himself!"||
(See Spandakārikā-s III, 11)


Skip the notes

1  The term Śuddhavidyā is not the fifth tattva or category of the universal manifestation, which is also known as Sadvidyā. Here it means "Pure Knowledge", i.e. the divine consciousness that makes one experience "I am all". This state of realization in which one perceives Śiva in all is also called Śivavyāpti. Having attained such a condition, the great Yogī achieves the state of Śiva and consequently becomes the Master of the entire group of powers that appears as this universe.Return 

2  The meanings of certain technical words here are mostly based on the extensive Kṣemarāja's commentary on Svacchandatantra. For example, he specifies that "vedanā" means in this context "vicāraṇā" (pondering, bringing about examination, etc.). Hence my translation was "brings about examination". Other terms such as "bodhanā" includes both the normal translation (the one to be found in dictionaries) and the technical one given by the sage of the secret tradition. So, just trust me, friend, because I know perfectly what I am doing. No cheating, be sure.Return 


 Aphorism 22

But when (the great Yogī) desires only to take delight in his own Self, then he --lit. "his" or "to him"--—

By uniting with the Great Lake, (the Yogī has) the experience of the generative source --virility or potency-- of (all) mantra-s||22||

The most venerable Supreme Consciousness that emits the universe, which begins with the Will power (and) ends in the gross objects1 , (is) a Great Lake due to (its) association with the characteristics (of) (1) setting in motion all the currents or flows (such as) the group of Khecarī, etc.2 , (2) being perfectly clear and transparent, (3) not being covered or veiled, (4) being deep, etc. By uniting with that (Great Lake, in other words,) by being internally aware of (one's) ceaseless identity with it, (then) does shine forth, as a form of one's Self, the experience of the generative source --virility or potency-- of (all) mantra-s which --the generative source-- is full of the Highest I-consciousness expanding (in the form) of a multitude of words|

For this very reason, in venerable Mālinīvijaya, beginning with:

"She who (is) the Power of the Creator of the world..."||
(See III, 5 in Mālinīvijaya)

(and) having exhibited the form Mātṛkā (and) Mālinī —which constitutes the entire universe— of Śakti --the divine Power of the Lord-- as composed by a variety of fifty (letters) headed by the Will (power), etc., it has been shown the emergence of the mantra --i.e. "Aham" or Supreme I-consciousness-- from that (very Śakti)|3 

In this way, the Highest Śakti Herself (is) the Great Lake. Therefore, it has been rightly said (that) by getting united with Her (the Yogī has) the experience of the generative source --virility or potency-- of (all) mantra-s whose natures (are) Mātṛkā (and) Mālinī|

This (was) indirectly explained by the initial phrase (of the following aphorism in Spandakārikā-s):

"Grabbing hold of that Force, the Mantra-s..."||
(See Spandakārikā-s II, 1)

Therefore, having (this scripture) begun thus: "Consciousness which is omniscient and omnipotent (is) the Self or true nature of Reality" —aphorism 1 of the first Section— the acquisition of Bhairava --i.e. Self-realization-- who is a sudden flash or elevation of divine Consciousness, as has been described (in the fifth aphorism), extinguishes all bondage consisting of ignorance about That --about Bhairava-- manifested by His Absolute Freedom. (Such an acquisition of Bhairava) makes the universe full of Nectar through its own Bliss; and grants all the supernatural powers and perfections right up to (one's) entrance into the generative source --virility or potency-- of (all) mantra-s|

Thus, this first Section has been described as the display of Śāmbhavopāya --the means pertaining to Śambhu, i.e. Śiva--|

Nonetheless, here in between, the essential nature of Śakti was mentioned. That (was made) with the purpose of showing the Power related to Śiva. May there be welfare (for all beings)!||22||

Skip the notes

1  In other words, the universe begins with the third tattva or category (Sadāśiva) and ends in the gross objects composed of Mahābhūta-s (tattva-s 32-36).Return 

2  Khecarī, Gocarī, Dikcarī and Bhūcarī are the groups of powers (śakti-s) referred to. The first group has to do with the limited experient, the second one with his intellect-ego-mind, the third one with his outer senses and the last one with the gross objects (i.e. outer objects).Return 

3  I must explain to you this difficult paragraph to a certain extent. The Sanskrit alphabet is exhibited in two ways: Mātṛkā (and) Mālinī. The former is the regular manner to present it (See Sanskrit alphabet), while the latter is the irregular (or promiscuous) way to do it (See Tantricism). The regular alphabet starts with "a" and ends in "ha", while the irregular one begins with "na" and ends in "pha". Aham (meaning "I") as the mantra of the Supreme I-consciousness denotes that it includes the entire universe (as it includes "a" and "ha", the entire Sanskrit alphabet in its Mātṛkā form). The origin of these two forms to arrange the alphabet comes from two important works sacred to Trika: Svacchandatantra and Mālinīvijaya (also called Mālinīvijayottara). Svacchandatantra only mentions the form Mātṛkā of the alphabet, while Mālinīvijaya encourages the aspirants to use the form Mālinī. The way in which the letters are ordered is very important for the rituals of nyāsa (See Tantric Ritual 1), where every part of the body is associated with a specific Sanskrit letter/sound.

The expression: "—which constitutes the entire universe—" refers to "the form Mātṛkā (and) Mālinī". I had to use two long hyphens for the sake of convenience or the sentence would have been more difficult to be understood than what already is.

Finally, one more thing: Mātṛkā is also known as Pūrvamālinī, while Mālinī is also called Uttaramālinī. OK, enough of revealing these mysteries for now.Return 


 End of Section I

Here ends the first Section called Śāmbhavopāyaprakāśana --(the Section) revealing the means that pertains to Śambhu, i.e. Śiva--, in Śivasūtravimarśinī written by venerable Kṣemarāja dependant on the lotus feet --i.e. feet beautiful like a lotus-- of the eminent spiritual preceptor Abhinavagupta, the great devotee of Maheśvara, the Great Lord --epithet of Śiva--||1||


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Gabriel Pradīpaka

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