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 Śivasūtravimarśinī (Shiva Sutra Vimarshini) Section III (aphorisms 12 to 22) Pure - Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir

Pure translation


 Introduction

Śivasūtravimarśinī continues: Kṣemarāja keeps commenting the aphorisms.

This is the second set of 11 aphorisms out of 45 aphorisms of which the third Section (dealing with Āṇavopāya) 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.

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 Aphorism 12

And of this (Yogī)


By means of the superior spiritual intelligence, (there is) the realization of the flashing, subtle and inner vibration of the perfect I-consciousness||12||


Dhī (is) the intelligence proficient (or) skilled in the awareness of the real essential nature. By means of that (superior spiritual intelligence), there is siddhi (or) realization --i.e. manifestation, becoming evident-- of Sattva, viz. of the subtle (and) inner vibration --parispanda-- whose essence (is) Sphurattā --flashing perfect I-consciousness--|

In a dancing drama also, siddhi or perfection in the acting out of Sattva or internal feeling/sentiment is achieved only through skillfulness of intelligence1 ||12||

Skip the notes

1  First of all: Here the term "Sattva" has no relation at all to the celebrated Guṇa or quality of Prakṛti (See Trika 5). Now, the sage postulated an analogy regarding a nāṭya or dancing drama: While in Yoga there is siddhi or realization of Sattva (the flashing, subtle and inner vibration of the perfect I-consciousness) by means of dhī (the superior spiritual intelligence), in a dancing drama there is siddhi or perfection in the acting out of Sattva (internal feeling or sentiment) through the skillfulness of intelligence (buddhi), i.e. through talent. The term "buddhi" is here synonymous with "dhī", but in the usual meaning of the latter, viz. intelligence. Now it is clear.Return 

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 Aphorism 13

In this way, by attaining Sattva which consists of Sphurattā --flashing perfect I-consciousness--, (in the case) of this Yogī—


The state of being Independent and Free (is) achieved||13||


Siddha (means) "accomplished, achieved" (and so on), (while) svatantrabhāva (means) Freedom which brings the entire universe into subjection (and) whose nature is Natural Knowledge (and) Activity|

That (has been) said by most venerable Nāthapāda:

"One should resort to his own Power of Absolute Freedom. She --such a Power-- (is) venerable Kālī, the Highest Kalā --i.e. Śakti or Power--1 "|

In venerable Svacchandatantra (it has) also (been declared):

"All the tattva-s or principles --viz. the 36 categories of the universal manifestation--, the living beings, the letters and the mantra-s that are known; they (all) are always subject to him --i.e. to the Yogī-- indeed, by this contemplation on Śiva"|
(See VII, 245 in Svacchandatantra)

||13||

Skip the notes

1  The term Kalā is another term that any translator would always prefer to leave untranslated. Why? Because the amount of possible "lengthy" meanings is too varied (Check Gutturals in the Trika glossary to get a glimpse of it). Besides, there is a series of additional meanings derived from roots. But for now, the translation "Śakti or Power" is more than enough. The term Parā means "Highest" here, but there is another possible translation derived from a root too. Oh God, be merciful to us mere mortals! Good, keep reading.Return 

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 Aphorism 14

His state of being Independent and Free1 


As there, so elsewhere, (that is, "just as that independent Yogī can exhibit Freedom in his own body, he is able to do so in any other place too"; this is the sense)||14||


Just as his own (power of) manifestation appears there —in that body of the Yogī—, so that (power of manifestation) of the ever attentive (Yogī) takes place elsewhere (too), i.e. everywhere|

As (has been) said in venerable Svacchandatantra:

"(The lord of the Yogī-s) rambles about always free, (whether in the beginning, in the middle or at the end)2 "||
(See VII, 260 in Svacchandatantra)

In Spandakārikā-s (has) also (been stated):

"That principle (of Spanda) should be inspected with care (and) respect, [by which this group of organs or instruments --intellect, ego, mind, powers of perception and powers of action--, (though) insentient, (proceeds) as (if it were) sentient by itself, (and) together with the inner group (of Karaṇeśvarī-s or goddesses of the senses)] enters [into the states of "Pravṛtti" --i.e. to go toward external things--, "Sthiti" --i.e. to maintain those very external things for a while-- (and) "Saṁhṛti" --i.e. to dissolve those things in one's own Self--], inasmuch as this natural Freedom of Its (exists) everywhere3 "||
(See Spandakārikā-s I, 7)

||14||

Skip the notes

1  Literally: This state of being Independent and Free of his --belonging to him--. As it sounds weird, I opted to translate the phrase in a more legible way.Return 

2  In order to understand why I translated in the manner I did, I am quoting now the Kṣemarāja's commentary in his Svacchandoddyota: "Nityamādimadhyāntakoṭiṣvayaṁ śrīsvacchandabhairava eva sphuran sthitaḥ - iti yāvat||" - "This Holy Free Bhairava --the Supreme Being-- continues to shine forth or become displayed constantly, i.e. in the beginning, in the middle and at the end. Such is the explanation".

In other words, the Supreme Being (Bhairava) continues to become manifest in the lord of the Yogī-s, whether in the beginning, middle or at the end of everything (past, present and future). In short, such a great Yogī wanders about constantly in a state of Freedom.Return 

3  As the stanza I, 7 is extremely linked to the previous one (I, 6), I had to include the latter in brackets. Check those stanzas (I, 6-7) in Spandakārikā-s to fully understand what I am saying.Return 

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 Aphorism 15

Even so --i.e. even after having obtained the aforesaid supernatural powers--, this (Yogī) should not become indifferent but rather—


(That Yogī should give full) attention to the Seed, (in other words, "to the Highest Śakti or the perfect I-consciousness that is the source of the entire manifestation")||15||


"Should be given or paid", this is to be supplied (to the aphorism to complete the sense) --in other words, "attention should be given or paid to the Seed"--|

The Seed (is) the Highest Śakti or Power who is the cause of the universe (and) whose nature (consists of) Sphurattā --flashing perfect I-consciousness--|

That is declared in most venerable Mṛtyujit --i.e. Netratantra--:

"She --the Highest Śakti-- (is), in various ways, the Source of all the gods and also of the śakti-s or powers. (This) Source has fire and moon for Its nature1 . Everything originates from It --from such a Source--, etc."||
(See VII, 40 in Netratantra)

Attention (should be given or paid) to that Seed whose essence (is) the Highest Śakti or Power, i.e. mental concentration (on that Seed) is to be performed over and over again||15||

Skip the notes

1  Fire and moon mean different things according to the contexts: e.g. knowledge and activity, etc.Return 

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 Aphorism 16

(This) being so, that Yogī—


Established in the power of the Supreme Śakti (or the perfect I-consciousness, which is as a "seat" for him, the enlightened Yogī) easily plunges into the Lake (of the divine and immortal Consciousness)||16||


Āsana or seat is (this) on which he --the Yogī-- sits, i.e. this upon which he stands constantly with (a feeling of) unity or identity. (Here, Āsana or seat means) the power of the Supreme Śakti. He who stands there (and) who always mentally seizes that very (Reality) --viz. the power of the Supreme Śakti--, in an introspective manner, after abandoning all the efforts (involving) activity (such as) higher --i.e. pertaining to Śāktopāya-- (and) lower --i.e. pertaining to Āṇavopāya-- meditation, concentration, etc., easily —without making any effort — plunges into the Lake —becomes identical with that (Lake) by sinking the residual impressions of the contraction (in the form of) body, etc.—. (In other words, he plunges) into the supreme ocean of immortality possessed of (the characteristic) of being transparent, springing up, etc. (and) which is the cause of the expansion of the continuous universal flow|

That (has been) said in most venerable Mṛtyujit --Netratantra--:

"Meditation should be directed neither upward nor downward, nor toward the middle, nor toward the front (or) backward, nor even toward something (located) at both sides1 .

Neither one should contemplate on something residing within the body nor on (something) outside. Neither one should fix (his) gaze on the sky, nor should one direct (his) glance toward (something) down below2 .

No closing of (one's) eyes (and) no fixing of (one's) glance (at all) --which involves keeping the eyes widely open without blinking--; neither one should contemplate on something as a support (nor) on a negation of support (nor) on a support again and again3 .

Neither (one should contemplate) on the Indriya-s --Powers of perception and action, tattva-s 17 to 26--, nor on Mahābhūta-s --Gross elements, tattva-s 32 to 36--, (nor) on what (is composed of) Sound-as-such, Touch-as-such, Flavor-as-such, etc. --i.e. the five Tanmātra-s or Subtle elements, tattva-s 27 to 31--. After abandoning all (that), established in Samādhi, one should only become identified with That --i.e. the Highest Reality--4 .

That (is) said to be the supreme State of the Highest One, viz. of the Supreme Being. That Condition (is) devoid of (external) appearances --i.e. nothing appears or becomes manifest in that State--. Having attained It --in short, having achieved that State--, one ceases (to transmigrate)5 "||
(See VIII, 41-45 in Netratantra)

||16||

Skip the notes

1  The sage Kṣemarāja comments on all these stanzas of Netratantra in detail in his Netroddyota (his scholarly commentary on Netratantra), but the topic is so lengthy and complex that I cannot display it "completely in Sanskrit" through mere notes of explanation here (e.g. to explain some of this series of five stanzas, he quotes several stanzas of Vijñānabhairavatantra, each of which would need a "special" explanation by me, apart from the translation). For a more detailed explanation of this kind of complex/long topics, consult always the section "Scriptures (study)/Śivasūtravimarśinī" in the Trika section. Anyway, on this first stanza (41), the sage clearly and briefly specifies the following: "Ūrdhve dvādaśānte'dhaḥ kandādau madhye hṛdādāvagrataḥ pṛṣṭhataḥ pārśvayostatpuruṣasadyojātādirūpam|" - "Upward —toward the (ūrdhva)dvādaśānta (or point at the end of 12 fingers from the space between the eyebrows up to Brahmarandhra on top of the head)—; downward —toward the Kanda --the egg-like source of all the channels in the subtle body--, etc.—; toward the middle —toward the heart, etc.—, toward the front, backward, toward (something situated) at both sides —toward that whose form is Tatpuruṣa, Sadyojāta, etc. --i.e. Tatpuruṣa, Sadyojāta, Vāmadeva and Aghora--—".

Read the Trika glossary for learning more about dvādaśānta and Kanda. There are the five aspects or heads of Śiva: (1) Tatpuruṣa (facing the east --toward the front--, and being symbolic of Śakti, the second tattva or category), (2) Sadyojāta (facing the west --backward--, and being symbolic of Sadāśiva, the third tattva or category), (3) Vāmadeva (facing the north --to the left--, and being symbolic of Īśvara, the fourth tattva or category), (4) Aghora (facing the south --to the right--, and being symbolic of Sadvidyā, the fifth tattva or category) —these first four aspects or heads were abovementioned by Kṣemarāja regarding meditation directed to the front, backward and toward something located at both sides (left and right)—, and finally (5) Īśāna (facing upward and being symbolic of Śiva, the first tattva or category). This subject-matter is much more complex and massive, obviously... I have hardly scratched its surface. Therefore, just trust me, please.Return 

2  This is the stanza VIII, 42 in Netratantra. The great Kṣemarāja quotes the 28th stanza of Vijñānabhairavatantra to explain contemplation on something residing inside the body. This stanza specifies meditation on Kuṇḍalinī arising from Mūlādhāra (the cakra located at the root of the spinal column) and going up to Brahmarandhra on top of the head. Next, he quotes the stanza 122 of the same book in order to explain contemplation on something placed outside. This stanza deals with the achievement of vacuity from the concentration on a particular object. Finally, to explain concentration on the sky and on something down below, he quotes the stanzas 76 and 115 of Vijñānabhairavatantra, respectively. The former deals with mere fixing one's gaze on a portion of the sky, while the latter explains how to fix the eyes on the space inside a very deep well so one can attain dissolution of mind.Return 

3  This is the stanza VIII, 43 in Netratantra. Kṣemarāja quotes the stanza 88 of Vijñānabhairavatantra to describe closing of the eyes. This stanza deals with the contemplation on the terrible form of Bhairava (Lord Śiva) by firstly closing the eyes and beholding the terrible darkness in front of oneself, etc. Afterward, the sage uses the stanza 60 of the same scripture to give an example of fixing of the glance. This stanza recommends casting one's gaze on a region in which there are no trees, on a mountain, on a wall, etc. in order to make his mental fluctuations cease to function.

Next, to explain the deep meaning of the word "avalamba" he says: "avalambyata iti avalambo dhyeya ākāras" - "Avalamba or support is a form (being used) as an object of meditation (for one's attention) to hold on to". The sage quotes the stanza 62 of Vijñānabhairavatantra to exemplify it. This stanza describe mental concentration on the gap between two bhāva-s or objects arising in one's own mind. When the first bhāva appears, one holds on to it and never lets the second one become displayed. In this sense, the first is called "positive" while the second one is named "negative". As one continues to fix his attention on the first bhāva firmly, he slips toward the gap between both bhāva-s (one arisen and the other never arisen... yes, it sounds crazy, but I am speaking the truth).

And the sage explains "nirālamba" by quoting the 61st stanza, which describes concentration on the gap between two bhāva-s or objects. Both bhāva-s are positive, i.e. they are allowed to arise, but at the same time they are "denied/rejected" in the sense that one's attention is on the gap between them both. Hence, it s known as nirālamba or negation of support or ālamba.

Lastly, Kṣemarāja explains "sālamba" in this way: "sahālambena vartate sālambaṁ sākāraṁ jñānam" - "sālamba (is) form-based knowledge or perception which (consequently) takes place by using something as a support". After that, he quotes the 98th stanza of Vijñānabhairavatantra, which describes concentration on a bhāva appearing as a desire or knowledge in one's mind. This bhāva is a positive one as it is allowed to arise. Next, if one fixes his attention on it by regarding it as his own Self shining forth in that way, he has a vision of that very Self. Anyway, the support or ālamba constantly is gone and one has to bring it back again and again in order to continue his concentration. Hence I translated in the way I did above, viz. "... on a support again and again". This is a difference between "avalamba" and "sālamba", i.e. while in the former one's concentration is firm on a bhāva or object arisen in the mind (by not allowing the second bhāva to arise ever), in the latter the bhāva is constantly lost and one has to recover it in order to go on. Of course, the sālamba method is the one that the vast majority of people use when sitting for meditation. Enough of this for now.Return 

4  I need to translate the Kṣemarāja's commentary on the meaning of Samādhi in this context:

"... samādhistha ityakiñciccintakatvena svasvarūpavimarśanapravaṇastanmaya ityānandapadasaṁlīnasamarasajñānamayaḥ||44||" - "'... Established in Samādhi', i.e. devoted to the consciousness of his own essential nature (and consequently) identified with That by thinking of nothing. (In other words,) full of homogenous Knowledge which is closely connected with the state of Ānanda or (divine) Bliss||44||".

I had to made that very clear so the reader will not consider Samādhi here as defined by Patañjali in his Yogasūtra-s (See definition of Samādhi --Perfect Concentration-- in Yogasūtra-s III, 3).Return 

5  Kṣemarāja comments briefly on VIII, 45 in his Netroddyota:

"Sāṁsārikīṁ sthitimujjhati||45||" - "One abandons the transmigratory state||45||".Return 

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 Aphorism 17

That (being) so, through the pre-eminence and excellence attained by the power of Śakti consisting of of Śuddhavidyā --Pure Knowledge1 -- arising from the conquest of Moha or Delusion --Māyā--, which is achieved by a succession of āṇava --i.e. pertaining to Āṇavopāya-- methods (such as) dissolution (of the vital energy) in the subtle channels, etc. --See III, 5--, the Yogī takes possession of the state of Śiva that is (nothing but) the Lake of supreme immortality—


(That very liberated Yogī can) produce (any forms according to) the measure or aspect of the creative Consciousness (which is his "āsana" or "seat" --see 16th aphorism--)||17||


(The term svamātrā means) the measure related to his own (creative) Consciousness, (in short,) to the portion whose nature is a coagulation of the essence of Consciousness2 . According to the measure of that (creative Consciousness, the liberated Yogī) effects the production consisting of the manifestation of knowers --i.e. beings-- (and) knowables --i.e. objects-- as desired (by him. In other words,) he shows (all those things) by manifesting (them)|

That is stated in venerable Svacchandatantra:

"Oh dear one!, That3  alone exists as what is gross due to (Its) desire of appearing as what is gross. That alone appears as the varieties or divisions of gross (and) subtle"||
(See IV, 295 in Svacchandatantra)

In Īśvarapratyabhijñā (it has) also (been declared):

"Because of this very (Vimarśaśakti --lit. the power of manifesting consciousness--), He makes Himself as the jñeya or knowable --i.e. the object--. The knowable does not have a separate existence. [If (He) were to depend --lit. being oriented toward-- on that (knowable), His Absolute Freedom would be broken]4 "|
(See I, 5, 15 in Īśvarapratyabhijñā)

In the Āgama --revealed scripture-- also, (the following) has been said with this very intention:

"Oh dear one!, he who knows, through what comes from the mouth of (his) spiritual preceptor, that water and ice (are the same thing, is fully liberated). For him there is nothing to be done. The state of having a last birth belongs to him --i.e. he will not have any further birth, because, having attained the goal of existence, no more Saṁsāra or Transmigration is necessary for him--"||

This very (teaching) has been explained by this (aphorism) in Spandakārikā-s:

"Or he who has that knowledge or realization (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)

||17||

Skip the notes

1  This is not the fifth tattva or category of the universal manifestation (also known as Sadvidyā) at all. Pure Knowledge in this context is nothing but an expansion of the limited knowledge. Read II, 10 of the present scripture to fully understand this.Return 

2  Creation in Trika is not like the work of a craftsman, that is, like something created by someone who used external tools and finally produced something that is different from himself. NO. It is only Consciousness or Caitanya who becomes everything and everybody constantly, i.e. It coagulates, takes the form of those things and beings without resorting to anything else than Its own essence. Hence the term "manifestation" is more appropriate or proper than "creation" in a Trika context.Return 

3  In his Svacchandoddyota, Kṣemarāja describes "That" as "Mahāprakāśātmā śrīsvatantranāthaḥ" - "The venerable free Lord whose nature is the Great Light". All in all, He is none other than Caitanya or Consciousness in absolute Freedom.Return 

4  I had to translate the entire stanza in order to show the complete meaning. The remaining part, which was dropped and marked by suspension points, is: "tadaunmykhyātkhaṇḍyetāsya svatantratā||15||". Its translation occurs in brackets in the text itself above. Additionally, I added the term "Vimarśaśakti" to my translation. Why? Because before the eminent sage Abhinavagupta (guru of Kṣemarāja) commented on this stanza (in fact, he commented on the stanzas 15 and 16 at the same time) in his Īśvarapratyabhijñāvimarśinī (the great scholarly commentary on Utpaladeva's Īśvarapratyabhijñā), he raised an objection in which occurs the term Vimarśaśakti. Then, the stanzas 15 and 16 dissipate that doubt being raised by him, of course. These authors (e.g. Abhinavagupta, Kṣemarāja, etc.) generally use the method of raising objections in order to make their commentaries more entertaining and didactical (didactical for Sanskrit scholars, obviously, lol!). OK, now everything is clear. Just trust me always, reader, because in general I am reading many "insanely long" scriptures simultaneously while I translate the present one. Sometimes I cannot explain everything in detail, you know, or this translation will become quite an encyclopedia.Return 

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 Aphorism 18

In this way, there is no bondage (in the form) of birth, etc., for the one who has acquired a body created from his own Śakti or Power, which --i.e. the body-- consists of bhūta-s --viz. Mahābhūta-s or Gross elements (tattva-s 32 to 36)-- (and) bhāva-s --viz. Tanmātra-s or Subtle elements (tattva-s 27 to 31), emotions, etc.--. (The author of the Śivasūtra-s, i.e. Śiva,) said so—


As long as Sahajavidyā or Śuddhavidyā, (the Natural or Pure Knowledge), does not disappear, (the possibility of another) birth (does) disappear (for that sublime Yogī)||18||


As long as there is not disappearance of the aforesaid Natural Knowledge, i.e. so long as it continues to be manifested as a constant emergent reality, the disappearance (or) cessation of (another) birth consisting of the multitude of body, senses, etc., full of pain, (and) caused by (one's own) actions with the cooperation of Ignorance (or Māyā and her progeny), is accomplished indeed1 |

That is stated in venerable Kaṇṭhī:

"Having left (the world) with (its) phenomena appearing as what is acceptable (or) rejectable, and also (as) a blade of grass and the like, a leaf, a stone, along with the movable and immovable beings, beginning with Śiva --tattva or category 1-- (and) ending in the earth --tattva or category 36--, accompanied by the positive and negative entities; (and) after meditating on all as identical with Śiva, one does not obtain a birth again"||

(And) in venerable Svacchandatantra:

"The excellent emancipation come from a tradition of spiritual preceptors (is) greatly pure. Having known that (emancipation) --i.e. having experienced it-- one becomes liberated (while alive)2 , (and) after passing away he is not born again3 "|
(See IV, 240-241 in Svacchandatantra)

(It has) also (been said) in venerable Mṛtyujit --Netratantra--:

"After having seen, by the divine path of Yoga, what is free of the three tattva-s or principles, what is certainly eternal, unchanging (and) permanent, one is not born again4 "||
(See VIII, 26-27 in Netratantra)

||18||

Skip the notes

1  While Natural or Pure Knowledge continues to be manifested as a constant emergent reality, there will be cessation of another birth for such a great Yogī. Birth consists of multitude of things (e.g. body, senses, etc.), is full of pain and takes place by the law of Karma (i.e. it is produced by one's actions). It also receives the cooperation or assistance of Ignorance in the form of Māyīyamala (mayic impurity generating difference and separation) and Kārmamala (impurity generating confusion regarding the nature of the real Doer). See Trika 4 for more information about these two mala-s or impurities. Finally, as the bodies manifested by the liberated Yogī arise from his own Icchāśakti and not through the law of Karma, rebirth is not possible for this sublime Yogī at all, because all actions performed by those bodies are not karmic and therefore they will not bring about another birth for him.Return 

2  The sage Kṣemarāja commented in his Svacchandoddyota: "vimucyata iti jīvanneva vimuktaḥ syāt" - "'vimucyate' (means) one is liberated while alive". Hence I added "while alive" to my translation despite "vimucyate" means "is/becomes liberated" plainly.Return 

3  Kṣemarāja explains this last portion of the stanza in his commentary on Svacchandatantra: "gatveti dehānte tadaikātmyameti||" - "'gatvā' (means) 'in the end of the body' --i.e. when death arrives--, (at that time,) one attains unity with That --with the Highest Reality, and consequently he is not born again--". According to Trika and most of philosophical systems in India, one takes birth as a human being only to achieve Emancipation. Every system, obviously, postulates Emancipation in a different way. In Trika, final Liberation is the same as attaining unity with the Highest Reality. This is why another birth is not necessary in the case of a liberated soul.Return 

4  The sage Kṣemarāja comments in his Netroddyota several things on certain conflicting terms and expressions in this stanza of Netratantra: (1) "dṛṣṭvā sākṣātkṛtya" - "After having seen, i.e. after having realized"; (2) "divyena yogamārgeṇa vikalpahānonmiṣadavikalpavimarśāvaṣṭambhopāyena" - "by the divine path of Yoga, i.e. by the method or means based on avikalpavimarśa or 'consciousness devoid of thoughts' which shines forth with the cessation of the thoughts"; (3) "Tattvatrayaṁ naraśaktiśivākhyam|" - "The three tattva-s or principles are known as nara (man), Śakti and Śiva", even the last two are manifestations of That (Paramaśiva) which is free from that triple division, in short, That is not even a Lord and His Power, let alone a man (a mysterious topic I cannot explain in depth here); (4) "acalamapariṇāmi" - "acala, i.e. unchanging"; and finally (5) "dhruvaṁ nityam" - "dhruva, viz. permanent".Return 

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 Aphorism 19

But, when the essential nature of Śuddhavidyā or Pure Knowledge belonging to this (Yogī) sinks down, then—


Māheśvarī and other goddesses (who have their sphere of influence) in "ka" group, etc., (and are) the mothers of the limited beings, (become his presiding deities)||19||


"(Those goddesses) become (his --of such Yogī--) presiding deities", this is to be supplied (to the aphorism to complete the sense)|

"It is said that that Śakti or Power of the Creator of the world (is) inherent (in Him). Oh goddess!, She changes into the Will of that (Creator when) He is desirous to manifest (the universe). Listen how She becomes many even though She is one:

By announcing with determination that 'This knowable or object (is) like this, (and) not otherwise!', She is called Power of Knowledge in this world.

However, when She becomes manifest (as) 'Let this thing become of such a nature!', then, by making that (thing) like that here, She is said to be (the Power of) Action.

Thus, though that very (Śakti) has two (main) forms, She undergoes endless changes, according to the characteristics of the (desired) objects. (Consequently, this) Mistress (is) like a thought-gem --which yields its possessor all desires--.

Then, (when the Mistress) firstly assumes the condition of mother, She is divided in two ways and in nine ways, and (when such a Mistress is divided in) fifty ways (She becomes) a wearer of a garland (made out of the fifty letters of the Sanskrit alphabet).

With the division consisting of bīja (and) yoni, She appears in two ways. The vowels are considered as bīja or seed. With ka, etc. She is said to be yoni or womb --i.e. the consonants are regarded as yoni--. (Therefore,) according to the division of the varga-s or groups of letters, (She appears) in nine ways1 .

In this (context), bīja --vowel-- (and) yoni --consonant-- are called Śiva (and) Śakti. With the division into eight groups of letters (there is) a group of eight (deities such as) Māheśvarī, etc. indeed.

(And) according to the letter by letter division, She shines as fifty rays --viz. She appears as the fifty letters of the Sanskrit alphabet--. In her being the indicator of the Rudra-s, whose number amounts to that --i.e. to fifty--, She is established (in that very number)2 "||
(See Mālinīvijayatantra III, 5-13)

According to the precept(s) defined and ascertained in venerable Mālinīvijayatantra, the Highest Speech relating to the Supreme Lord --i.e. His Śakti or Power-- expands by resorting to what is formed of Will, Knowledge (and) Action. (Afterward, She continues to expand) by taking the form of vowels, consonants, groups of letters, letters belonging to those groups, etc. after assuming the nature of Mātṛkā whose form begins with "a" and ends in "kṣa" --viz. the entire Sanskrit alphabet--, (all of which --i.e. all those fifty letters--) are indicators of Śiva, Śakti, Māheśvarī, etc.3 . In all the experients4 , when taking place various states of knowledge with thoughts (and) without thoughts, She performs, through the inner awareness, the application --i.e. the penetration, since the words penetrate internally-- of gross (and) subtle words. By means of the regency or power, etc. of the deities of the groups of letters, of the letters belonging to such groups, etc., She displays the manifestation of wonder, joy, fear, attachment, aversion and so on. (And) by concealing one's essential nature which is a uncontracted --unconditioned-- independent mass of Consciousness, She produces identification with a contracted --conditioned-- dependent body, etc.|

That has been said in venerable Timirodghāṭa too:

"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--, who hang by the Brahmā's noose (and) are the Mistresses of the pīṭha-s or seats --the sense-organs--, delude over and over again5 "||

(What was quoted above) has been declared previously as well --in I, 4--|

"The basis of the (limited and contracted) knowledge (is) the un-understood Mother. (I, 4) (of the current scripture)". This was certainly expressed in a general manner. (Here, in the present aphorism --III, 19--, Mātṛkā is dealt with more specifically), with the intention (of showing that) "(if) even someone who has attained the (Supreme) Principle is careless and heedless is also deluded by Māheśī --or Māheśvarī--, etc., who are the presiding (deities) of the limited people by the application --penetration-- of words". This is the difference (between both analyses --the analysis expressed in I, 4 and the present one--)||19||

Skip the notes

1  The Sanskrit alphabet in its traditional form contains 8 varga-s or groups of letters:

  1. A-varga (Vowels), whose presiding deity is Yogīśvarī (also called Mahālakṣmī)
  2. Ka-varga (Gutturals), whose presiding deity is Brāhmī
  3. Ca-varga (Palatals), whose presiding deity is Māheśvarī
  4. Ṭa-varga (Cerebrals), whose presiding deity is Kaumārī
  5. Ta-varga (Dentals), whose presiding deity is Vaiṣṇavī
  6. Pa-varga (Labials), whose presiding deity is Vārahī
  7. Ya-varga (Semivowels), whose presiding deity is Aindrī (also called Indrāṇī)
  8. Śa-varga (Sibilants, Sonant Aspirate + Kūṭabīja --the conjunct kṣa formed from "ka + sa" but very often considered to be a letter in itself--), whose presiding deity is Cāmuṇḍā

Now, the alphabet presented in its traditional form "does not" include Kūṭabīja (the letter kṣa), but when it does, Kūṭabīja is usually assigned to the eighth varga or group (Śa-varga). Well, the question of the million is: If there are 8 varga-s or groups, why did the Lord say this above?: "(Therefore,) according to the division of the varga-s or groups of letters, (She appears) in nine ways". Simple: Kūṭabīja sometimes is regarded as forming its own separate varga, i.e. a Kṣa-varga. In this special case, the total of varga-s would be 9 and not 8. Now, that portion of the text is clear, isn't it?Return 

2  To fully understand this matter, both teacher and pupil should be very acquainted with the knowledge displayed in Mālinīvijayatantra. Anyway, here we go: Indicator means that She indicates or describes those fifty Rudra-s or deities assigned to each of the fifty letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. The Lord made Her so, i.e. fifty-fold, and this is why She is established in the number fifty. Apart from the Rudra-s there are fifty consorts for each of them, i.e. fifty Rudrāṇī-s. Oh, this subject-matter is so long and complex. Always consult "Scriptures (study)/Śivasūtravimarśinī" in the Trika section for more detailed information.Return 

3  For more information about all this, read my explanation on the II, 7 of the present scripture: First Steps (4) and First Steps (5).Return 

4  There are seven experients, or rather seven stages for one Experient:

(1) Śiva (his scope is the Śiva and Śakti tattva-s, the first two categories);
(2) Mantramaheśvara (his scope is the Sadāśiva-tattva, the third category);
(3) Mantreśvara (his scope is the Īśvara-tattva, the fourth category);
(4) Mantra (his scope is the Sadvidyā or Śuddhavidyā tattva, the fifth category);
(5) Vijñānākala (his scope lies between the Sadvidyā and Māyā tattva-s, i.e. between the fifth and sixth categories);
(6) Pralayākala (his scope is Māyā and her five Kañcuka-s, from the sixth through eleventh categories);
(7) Sakala (his scope comprehends from Puruṣa --the twelfth category-- down to the last one).Return 

5  As this stanza was quoted before by Kṣemarāja in I, 4 of the present scripture I am translating, read the note 2 there in order to understand its meaning.Return 

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 Aphorism 20

Because (it is) in this way --viz. because even someone who has attained the Supreme Principle can still be deluded by such deities--, therefore the Yogī should so be attentive and careful under all circumstances so that the essential nature of Pure Knowledge acquired (by him) does not disappear. (Śiva, the author of the Śivasūtra-s,) said so—


The fourth state of consciousness, (which is a Witness), should be poured like (a continuous flow of) oil into (the other) three, (that is, in waking, dreaming and deep sleep)||20||


(The term) triṣu (means) into the (other three) states of waking, etc. (The word) caturtha --lit. fourth-- (means) the condition consisting in the elixir of the Turya's bliss --i.e. the bliss of the fourth state of consciousness--, whose nature is the Light of Pure Knowledge. (The expression) "tailavat" (means that) just as (a continuous flow of) oil, by gradually spreading more and more, permeates a recipient, so should (the fourth state of consciousness) be poured (into waking, dreaming and deep sleep)|

By the device of firm grip --viz. firm attention to the Self, who is a Witness--, (the Yogī) should also permeate the intervening state with the elixir of Turya --the Fourth State-- which bursts forth at the initial and the final points —where there is cessation of unmeṣa --i.e. of the display of the universal manifestation--— during the three states (of wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep). By means of that --i.e. by doing so--, (the group of three ordinary states of consciousness) attains the condition of identification with It --with Turya or the Fourth State--1 |

"(Even) during such different (states of consciousness) as waking, dreaming and profound sleep, there is the delight and enjoyment of the Fourth State. (I, 7) (of the present scripture)". By this (aphorism), only the existence of Turya was declared, which spreads its own elixir in the states of wakefulness, etc. (in the case) of one who is devoted to the firm grip of the continuous awareness of the group of powers (or simply in one in whom there is) udyama or spontaneous emergence (of that Fourth State)|

"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). (I, 11) (of the current scripture)". (In this aphorism,) the dissolution of wakefulness, etc. was shown by the device of haṭhapāka --lit. assimilation by force and obstinacy-- in accordance with Śāmbhavopāya --the means or method pertaining to Śiva--2 . However, by this aphorism --i.e. the present one-- it is said that the triad of wakefulness, etc., like the sheath of a sword3 , should be impregnated with the elixir of the Fourth State by the device of (abovementioned) firm grip, which is proper to Āṇavopāya --the means or method pertaining to an aṇu or limited individual--. This is the difference (between these aphorisms, viz. between I, 7, I, 11 and the current one --III, 20--)||20||

Skip the notes

1  To fully understand what the sage expressed in this paragraph, you need to be a Yogī very familiar with these processes. Anyway, if you are not such a Yogī yet, you can try to understand it intellectually. Listen: Most of people only experience their own Self at the beginning and the end of each of the three ordinary states of consciousness (wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep). Of course, at the initial stage of his practice, a person is... like the rest. So, his perception of the Self as a Witness occurs only at the initial and final points of those three aforesaid states. The state in which one's own Self resides is known as Turya or Fourth State as it is different from the other three. When an ordinary state of consciousness (whether it be waking, dreaming or deep sleep) begins or ends, at that point there is cessation of unmeṣa or the display of the universal manifestation. By unmeṣa is meant to say any manifestation in waking (e.g. a tree), dreaming (e.g. strange colors) and deep sleep (e.g. void). Unmeṣa is only present "in the middle" of the ordinary states of consciousness. At the beginning and the end of them unmeṣa is absent.

On the other hand, Turya or the Fourth State never departs from its own nature, i.e. it lasts forever. It is not like the other three states which are transient. Turya is evident for most people only when unmeṣa is not present, but when the latter appears those people are not conscious of their Self anymore. As the Yogī advances in his practice, one day Pure Knowledge (Śuddhavidyā) emerges and he fully realizes his own Self as a Witness of all experiences happening to him in waking, dreaming and deep sleep. This marks his achievement of Turya. From that stage on, he should make Turya permeate the other three states little by little, like a continuous flow of oil pervading a recipient. In the end, all these ordinary states of consciousness (wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep) will become identical with Turya and "one State" will remain alone, i.e. the Yogī will be fully established in his Self constantly. As a matter of fact, only one State is here forever. The other three states are just the blissful play of Śakti. They arise when She conceals (apparently) Turya and exhibits unmeṣa or the display of the universal manifestation. Beyond my explanation, all this is a matter of personal experience. So, become quite a Yogī and experience your own immensity. OK, it is enough.Return 

2  Since that aphorism (I, 11) occurs in the first Section dealing with Śāmbhavopāya, the dissolution of the ordinary states of consciousness (waking, dreaming and deep sleep) is shown by the device of haṭhapāka or assimilation of an experience by force and obstinacy "at one stroke" (figuratively speaking). This device is kramātikrama as it goes past krama or sequence, i.e. the Yogī achieves the Fourth State in one step. Of course, this requires an enormous spiritual power that is absent in the vast majority of the aspirants. Most of people will start their spiritual path from Āṇavopāya and in due course they will reach Śāktopāya and Śāmbhavopāya (this generally takes many years, decades or even the entire life). Very few will start from Śāktopāya and only the most worthy ones will begin their spiritual journey from Śāmbhavopāya. Obviously, the lesser worthy a pupil the greater the upāya (means or method) he wants to start with, lol! This is the common problem with people in general: they overestimate their own capacities to deal with spiritual matters. In a class of quantum physics most of them would surely remain completely silent, but in a Yoga class they are all the time opining about almost everything at hand. Why? Because of their own ignorance appearing in the form of arrogance. Since Yoga is such a complex/deep science, only Yoga experts and scholars can say something which is worth being heard really.Return 

3  Here the term "dala" means "khaḍgakośa" or the sheath of a sword. Just like the sheath of a sword is different from the sword but it can hold it, so the three ordinary states of consciousness are different from Turya (the Fourth One) but they can hold It and be filled with It.Return 

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 Aphorism 21

Regarding this --i.e. in respect to impregnating the three ordinary states with Turya--, (Śiva) said the means—


One should enter (that fourth state of consciousness --see aphorism 20--) by being immersed (into it) with one's own mind (which must be devoid of any thought, obviously)||21||


(In Mṛtyujit —also known as Netratantra— it is declared,) beginning with:

"By leaving the gross condition of prāṇa, etc., and then (by abandoning even) the inner subtle (prāṇāyāma), the Supreme Vibration who is beyond the subtle (prāṇāyāma) is obtained from that --from abandoning gross and subtle prāṇāyāma-s--1 "||
(See VIII, 12 in Netratantra)

(and ending with:)

"... one enters (the Supreme State) with his own mind as that --viz. as a knower--2 "|
(See first portion of the stanza VIII, 14 in Netratantra)

By the precept(s) stated in most venerable Mṛtyujit --Netratantra--, after completely abandoning gross methods (such as) prāṇāyāma, meditation, concentration, etc., one should enter (or) penetrate (into Turya or the Fourth State) with his own mind, viz. with a awareness devoid of thoughts and whose nature is an introverted camatkāra --bliss full of astonishment-- of inner consciousness --i.e. of I-consciousness--|

In what way? By being immersed (into it, in other words,) by extinguishing (the notion) that body, vital energy, etc. are the Pramātā or Experient --one's own Self as a Witness-- by immersion in that itself, i.e. in the elixir of the bliss of Consciousness --in short, "in Turya or the Fourth State"--|

That has been said in venerable Svacchandatantra:

"By abandoning (all) mental activity (the Yogī) should become united (with Śiva) with (the touch of) a awareness without any thoughts. Then, the limited individual, being liberated from the ocean of transmigratory existence --i.e. misery--, attains the state of Śiva3 "||
(See IV, 437 in Svacchandatantra)

(And) in most venerable Vijñānabhairava (it has) also (been stated the following):

"Oh dear one!, when the group of four (composed of) 'mind full of ideas and desires, ascertaining intellect, vital energy and limited experient ' is completely dissolved, then that (aforesaid) vapus or essential nature (known as) Bhairava --the Lord-- (arises)"||

This very (truth has been expressed) in the hymn Jñānagarbha by this (stanza) which was composed by the great spiritual preceptor --it refers to Pradyumnabhaṭṭa, one of the main disciples of Kallaṭa, the eminent disciple of Vasugupta himself--:

"Oh Mother!, after abandoning completely all mental activities, (there does emerge) a splendid condition that is free from the dependence on going after sense activities. That Supreme State oozing with the nectar of a unparalleled happiness which is without any stupefaction or bewilderment is realized immediately, through Your Grace, by men who are (in the aforesaid splendid condition)"||

||21||

Skip the notes

1  For you to understand why I translated the stanza in the way I did, I need to show you what Kṣemarāja comments on this stanza in his Netroddyota: "Prāṇādau prāṇāpānasamāneṣu yaḥ sthūlo recakapūrakādirbhāvaḥ svabhāvastaṁ tyaktvā ujjhitvā atheti etatsthūlaprāṇāyāmānantarabhāvi sūkṣmamāntaramiti madhyapathena recanācamanādirūpaṁ ca taṁ tyaktvā yato yasmātsūkṣmamapyatītaṁ paramamiti prāṇādyacitsphurattātma spandanaṁ labhyate..." - "(The expression 'Prāṇādisthūlabhāvaṁ tu tyaktvā' means) 'by leaving or abandoning the gross bhāva —condition, state— which consists of exhalation, inhalation, etc. and (is focused) on prāṇa, etc., i.e. on prāṇa, apāna and samāna'. (The phrase 'sūkṣmamathāntaram' means) 'and then by abandoning the inner subtle (prāṇāyāma) that takes place immediately after this gross prāṇāyāma (and) whose nature is exhalation, absorption, etc. through the middle path --i.e. Suṣumnā--'. 'Yatas', i.e. 'from which' --from abandoning gross and subtle prāṇāyāma-s--, the Supreme Vibration (or Spanda), which is even beyond the subtle prāṇāyāma --hence It is Supreme-- and whose essential nature is Sphurattā or Consciousness located immediately before the vital energy --Prāṇá--, is obtained...".

In other words, Spanda is nothing but the Supreme I-consciousness that is always before any manifestation such as vital energy, etc. This is the meaning. OK, now everything is completely clear... obviously if you know what prāṇāyāma, Suṣumnā, etc. really are. If you have no idea, you need to reread the commentaries on previous aphorisms of this scripture. My apologies, but I cannot explain all the time the same things, you know, hehe. Make sure you are very familiar with these common Sanskrit terms because you will bump into them constantly during your studies of Trika and other philosophical systems.Return 

2  Kṣemarāja seems to have simplified this little portion or had a different reading. I read from Netratantra VIII, 14: "... praviśeddhāma paramaṁ tatsvacetasā|" - "... one enters the Supreme State with his own mind as that --i.e. as a knower--".

As "praviśet" is the conjugation of the verb "praviś" (to enter) in Potential Mood, 3rd P. singular (Parasmaipada), it is generally translated as "he/she/it should enter". But according to the context, the Potential Mood has force of Present Tense and consequently "praviśet" can also be properly translated as "he/she/it enters". Hence my above translation of "praviśet" is in Present Tense ("one enters"), while in the very aphorism 21 I translated it as "one should enter". Now you understand why I translated in the manner I did.Return 

3  Again, since in this stanza the meaning of the term "bodha" is obscure, I will elucidate it by resorting to the Svacchandoddyota of the eminent Kṣemarāja: "bodharūpeṇeti avikalpasaṁvitsparśenaiva" - "(the expression) 'bodharūpeṇa' (means) 'with the touch of a awareness without any thoughts'".Return 

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 Aphorism 22

Thus, in the case of this (Yogī) who has entered the Supreme State, when there is a spreading out --manifestation-- again due to the essential nature of Reality, then—


When a slow but firm spreading out of the (Yogī's) vital energy (occurs), there is equable vision, (that is, the Yogī realizes unity underlying all)||22||


"Of the (Yogī's) vital energy " (means) "of this which has been consecrated by the fragrance of Śakti who is the Highest Sphurattā or gleaming I-consciousness". (In the aphorism, the term "samācāre" is the Locative case singular of "samācāra". The prefix "sam" in "samācāre" implies) "samyak" --derived from "samyañc"-- (or) "by the force of a firm hold onto the inner (Self) in whom all the knots are open --i.e. untied--"1 . (The prefix) "ā" (in "samācāre" indicates) "a little slowly outward", (while the word) "cāre" (in "samācāre" means) "in the spreading out " --i.e. when a spreading out occurs--. (The term) "sama" (in "samadarśanam" points out) "this which appears uniformly as a mass of Consciousness --i.e. Śiva-- and Bliss --i.e. Śakti--". (Finally,) "darśana" (means) "awareness". (So,) according to the sense (of the words) —which was explained in detail—, (samadarśana or awareness which perceives all uniformly as a mass of Consciousness and Bliss, i.e. "an equable vision",) takes place in this (Yogī) under all circumstances --viz. in all the states of consciousness since they are fully permeated by Turya or the Fourth State--. This is the meaning|

(This was) also said in venerable Ānandabhairava:

"Having abandoned the customary practices, one should resort to non-dualism which gives Liberation. He (beholds) equably all the gods and also the castes, stages of life, etc.2 . He sees (all) the things with equanimity. He is free from all bonds"||

For this reason, it is declared in (the commentary on) venerable Īśvarapratyabhijñā:

"For those who do not have limitations (produced by) the assumption of external space, etc., even though occurs manifestation of intellect (and) vital energy, (there is) perception of their own essential nature as being the Self of the universe --in short, they see that their self is really the Self or Soul the universe is composed of--"||

||22||

Skip the notes

1  In the subtle body there are three knots (granthi-s) called Brahmagranthi, Viṣṇugranthi and Rudragranthi. Each of these knots marks a particular limitation (a long topic!). As the inner Self is fully free, He is poetically designated by Kṣemarāja as One in whom all the knots are untied. This is the meaning.Return 

2  The system of castes and stages of life is another long complex topic dealt with in depth in many scriptures (e.g. Manu's code). Anyway, here you are a summary:

There are four castes, viz. (1) Brāhmaṇa —priests—, (2) Kṣatriya —members of the military or reigning order—, (3) Vaiśya —people engaged in trade and agriculture— and (4) Śūdra —servants—. And there are four stages of life, viz. (1) Brahmacārin —celibate students of the Veda till they are 25 years old—, (2) Gṛhastha —householders; 25 to 50 years—, (3) Vānaprastha —anchorites who have left their houses and families for an ascetic life in the woods; 50 to 75 years— and (4) Sannyāsin —the ones who have renounced all worldly concerns, from 75 years on—.Return 

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 Further Information

Gabriel Pradīpaka

This document was conceived by Gabriel Pradīpaka, one of the two founders of this site, and spiritual guru conversant with Sanskrit language and Trika philosophy.

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