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 ŚIVASŪTRAVIMARŚINĪ (Shiva Sutra Vimarshini) Section III (aphorisms 34 to 45) pure - Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir

Pure translation


Śivasūtravimarśinī continues: Kṣemarāja keeps commenting the aphorisms.

This is the fourth and last set of 12 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.


 Aphorism 34

And, since for the Yogī who has transcended the state where the subtle body --intellect, ego, mind and subtle elements-- (is considered as) the (real) Experient the perception of pleasure and pain is not internal --it does not touch his real "I", as pointed out by the commentary on the previous aphorism--1 , therefore he—

(As the noble Yogī) is completely free from that --pleasure and pain--, (he is) alone then, (in short, he has attained to his own Self who is both an "only" Knower and an "only" Mass of pure Consciousness)||34||

Being completely and specially free from them both —from pleasure and pain — (and) not being touched internally even by mere residual impressions2 , (he is) alone, (namely, he is) one whose nature consists only in being a experient or knower who is pure Consciousness --in other words, he is only pure Consciousness, the only and real Knower of all--|

That was said in venerable Kālikākrama (as well):

"The Yogī should obtain the fruit of Yoga by cleaving asunder the great delusion (called) duality, which --the delusion-- is fabricated by numerous thoughts (based on) cognitions (such as) pleasure, pain, etc."||

The term "tu" --i.e. then-- (occurring in the present aphorism) clearly shows the difference with respect to what is about to be mentioned (in the next aphorism); so also (the word "tu") occurring in the following aphorism (clearly shows the difference) with regard to (what is mentioned) in this aphorism3 ||34||

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1  There is another possible translation for "saṁsparśa": contact. So, the phrase "the perception of pleasure and pain is not internal " turns into "the contact with pleasure and pain is not internal". Anyway, the final teaching is the same one: pleasure and pain do not touch his essential nature at all.Return

2  He is not identified with his subtle body (intellect, ego, mind and subtle elements), let alone with his physical body. Besides, not being inwardly touched even by any residual impressions of actions, he is also unaffected by his causal body. He dwells in his spiritual body called supracausal and even beyond. Hence he is one whose nature is pure Consciousness. As a matter of fact, "everybody" is pure Consciousness, but because of the identification with the causal, subtle and physical bodies, most of people do not realize their essential nature and consequently live in bondage.Return

3  On one hand, the term "tu" is used in the sense of "then" in the current aphorism to complete the description of the enlightened state of a great Yogī. On the other hand, the same word is used in the sense of "however" in the following aphorism, before describing the state of a limited being. Anyway, the limited being is able to become an emancipated soul too. This will be shown by future aphorisms. In fact, if the limited being "were not already" the Supreme Being, he could not realize Him. One cannot attain what it is not here already. This is very difficult to understand for most people, I know, but it is completely true. I know this by direct experience, and not merely by inference or testimony.

When you can perceive your own Self at least once, you realize that you perceived Him always. Another difficult-to-understand truth for most readers, hehe, but it is completely true. If you do not understand it now, do not worry because you will understand it sooner or later if you persevere in your reading, practice, etc. Keep cutting the branch from the "right" position and eventually you will fall down all of a sudden. When you cut from that position, nothing seems to be happening till you hear the creaking. I am speaking seriously in spite of my laughing. This entire scripture was teaching the same truth too. If you keep reading it over and over again, the branch will be cut and you will realize you are the Supreme Self. It is always the same story, only the bodies/personalities change "apparently". In short, it is always the story of "You" becoming "you" and then "You" again, because there is never anybody else here. This is why the aphorism states that the great Yogī is kevalī or alone.Return


 Aphorism 35

(Śiva, the author of the Śivasūtra-s,) said that --i.e. the following--—

However, one who is a compact mass of delusion (is merely) involved in actions||35||

With delusion (or) ignorance. (The term) pratisaṁhata (means) that he --i.e. a limited being-- is a compact mass (filled with) that --viz. delusion or ignorance--. For that very reason, he is a recipient of pleasure and pain. On the other hand, by his being involved in actions, he is always stained with good and bad deeds|

This has been declared in that very (scripture) --in Kālikākrama--:

"(In the case of an ignorant person,) being covered or veiled by ignorance about That --the Self-- (and) by means of the use or application of thoughts, he does not instantly become aware of all (the tattva-s or categories) beginning with Śiva (as his own essential nature which is a compact mass of Consciousness)1 . Then, good and bad states appear; and as (such a person) is under the control of that (ignorance about his own Self), great pain comes over (him) due to the (aforesaid) bad states2 "||


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1  Evidently, meter requirements forced the author to drop some words. Something like this should have been written then: "Śivāditattvāṁścidghanasvabhāvatayā naiva jhaṭiti samudbhāvayate'khilān||" - "he does not instantly become aware of all the tattva-s or categories beginning with Śiva as (his own) essential nature which is a compact mass of Consciousness".

The conjugation "samudbhāvayate" (lit. he considers, thinks, etc.) is to be interpreted here as "parāmṛśati" (he mentally seizes, becomes aware of, etc.). The word "jhaṭiti" means "instantly". The resulting purport of the entire statement is that an ignorant person falls victim to Māyīyamala (Mayic impurity) and therefore experiences duality. In other words, he perceives all those tattva-s as different from himself. Read Trika 4 for more information about that mala or impurity.Return

2  Those bad states have Kārmamala (Karmic impurity) for their root. This impurity is simply confusion about the real Doer of the actions. As that person ignores that the Lord alone is the real Doer of everything, he thinks he is the doer. In this way, he involves in good and bad actions, and a horrible pain accrues to him due to the inevitable fruits of his bad actions. In Trika 4 too you will find more information about Kārmamala.Return


 Aphorism 36

Thus, even for such (an ignorant person) who is involved in actions, when there is union with the natural Absolute Freedom (of the Supreme Self) which emerges on account of a unimpeded Grace bestowal --lit. descent of Power-- coming from Maheśa --lit. "Great Lord", an epithet of Śiva--, then in his case—

When the difference disappears, the capacity to perform another Creation (appears in the enlightened Yogī)||36||

(On one hand, in the compound "Bhedatiraskāre", the word "bheda" means) "of difference or duality" (consisting of different fields of experience) suitable for the experients (such as) Sakala, Pralayākala, etc. whose natures (have to do with) the (erroneous) conception or notion that (their) "I" or "real Self" is the body, the vital energy, etc.1 . (On the other hand, in the same compound "Bhedatiraskāre", the term "tiraskāre" means) "on the disappearance", i.e. when there is discarding or elimination of the existing (difference or duality) owing to the emergence of one's essential nature that is a compact mass of Consciousness. (All in all, the entire compound "Bhedatiraskāre" means "On the disappearance of difference or duality",) i.e. in the gradual attainment of his exalted state appearing in the form of (the superior experients called) Mantra, Mantreśvara (and) Mantramaheśvara. (When all that happens,) the capacity to perform another Creation, (namely,) creatorship (in order to create) things according to his desire, appears (in the enlightened Yogī)|

So, in venerable Svacchandatantra, by (tacitly) mentioning (in the following line) the disappearance of difference or duality in his case due to similarity with Svacchanda --the Independent Lord who is absolutely Free--:

"With the threefold japya2  he becomes similar to Svacchanda --the Free Lord--"||
(See first line of VI, 54 in Svacchandatantra)

(immediately after that,) it has been said:

"Among the gods --divine beings-- Brahmā, Viṣṇu (and) Indra, (and also) among (the semidivine beings known as) siddha-s --not the perfected beings, but a kind of entity superior to mere ghosts--, daitya-s --demons-- (and) urageśī-s --kings of serpents--, he becomes a giver and a dispeller of fear by cursing (and) bestowing Grace, (respectively). He destroys the pride of Kāla --both death and Yama, the regent of the dead-- (and) causes the fall of even mountains"||
(See final portion of VI, 54 along with the entire VI, 55 in Svacchandatantra)


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1  This topic was already succinctly explained by me in the note 4 of III, 19. But I have to repeat my explanation here because I will say some other things about this subject. 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) - He is the Supreme Experient and one's own essential nature. No universe is present here.
(2) Mantramaheśvara (his scope is the Sadāśiva-tattva, the third category) - Though the universe has come into being, it is still an indistinct experience. So, this experient is yet fully absorbed in his own Self or Aham ("I").
(3) Mantreśvara (his scope is the Īśvara-tattva, the fourth category) - The universe appears as a distinct reality, and as a result this experient gets thoroughly absorbed in that marvel, but he still retains his Self-consciousness intact.
(4) Mantra (his scope is the Sadvidyā or Śuddhavidyā tattva, the fifth category) - There is a balance between Aham ("I") and Idam ("This", i.e. the universe). This experient is equally aware of both aspects at the same time.

The previous four experients are divine or superior. They are completely devoid of mala or impurity. In fact, the first experient is not even a type of experient really but the Lord Himself! He has no universe to experience because remains wholly established in Himself as Aham or "I", viz. He has no "Idam" ("This") or universe as His field of experience.

Now, the next remaining experients are sunk in misery, i.e. in bheda or duality:

(5) Vijñānākala (his scope lies between the Sadvidyā and Māyā tattva-s, i.e. between the fifth and sixth categories). He realizes that Śiva is his real "I", but lacks power (hence, he is "akala") because of Āṇavamala;
(6) Pralayākala (his scope is Māyā and her five Kañcuka-s, from the sixth through eleventh categories). This experient is also devoid of power (akala) and fully identified with the vital energy. Consequently, the universe appears in a dissolved manner to him. In other words, he experiences it as a void. He retains the three impurities, viz. Āṇavamala, Māyīyamala and Kārmamala, but the last two are not operative because the universe underwent a "pralaya" or "dissolution".
(7) Sakala (his scope comprehends from Puruṣa --the twelfth category-- down to the last one). On one hand, this experient is not devoid of power (hence he is "sakala" or "with power"), but it is limited in all respects, specially with reference to his conception of "I". He is convinced that the physical body (composed of the five gross elements) and the subtle body (composed of intellect, ego, mind and subtle elements) are his real "I". This erroneous notion forces him to use his already limited powers of will, knowledge and action in many useless ways. Instead of using them to attain Self-realization, he runs like a madman after pleasures and runs away at all costs from pain, the whole time in search of the Supreme Joy but ignoring both his state as a seeker of the Supreme Joy and the real place where such a Joy resides (i.e. in one's real Self).

OK, "bheda" or "difference/duality" is "suitable for" every experient, in the following sense: "Pramātṝṇāṁ yathāsvasvabhāvaṁ bhinnaprameyātmakabhedābhāsaḥ" - "The manifestation of bheda or duality, composed of different prameya-s, (occurs) in keeping with the essential nature of the experients". Prameya is all that a experient perceives. Each of the experients has a prameya or field of experience suitable or adequate for his own nature. For example, a Sakala has a universe formed from different realities, from the very god Brahmā to the last worm, while a Pralayākala has mere void for his field of experience or prameya. Very good, if you want to know more about these topics: Read all the pages, from Trika 1 through Trika 6. Additionally, you can also read Ṣaṭtriṁśattattvasandoha.Return

2  The term "japya" literally means "muttered mantra or prayer", while the well-known word "japa" literally means "muttering of a mantra or prayer". So, the former indicates what is muttered while the latter the act of muttering. Anyway, in this context, by threefold japya none of those literal meanings is being pointed out. There are three types of japya: (1) Śāmbhava, where you fix your attention on the junction-point of Śiva and Śakti (the Lord and His Power); (2) Śākta, where you fix your attention on the junction-point of pramāṇa and prameya (means of knowledge plus knowledge itself, and knowable --i.e. object--) (3) Āṇava, where you fix your attention on the junction-point of prāṇa and apāna (vital energies going out and going in with exhalation and inhalation, respectively).

Of course, most of the aspirants will start with the most simple japya, viz. the well-known concentration on the junction-point of exhalation and inhalation (or vice versa). Next, they will advance to the next level by becoming aware of the junction-point of mind/senses/cognition and object (the knowable). Every time you perceive something with your mind/senses, there is a cognition or knowledge as a result (e.g. you see a tree and you think, "Oh, that is a tree"). Ordinary people (i.e. mere Sakala-s) are aware of either the object itself or their minds/senses/cognitions, but the yogī-s are different in their being aware of the junction-point of those two entities (pramāṇa and prameya). Finally, a very advanced aspirant will arrive at the highest form of japya, i.e. Śāmbhavajapya, by becoming aware of the junction-point of the Lord and His Power. In short, he will fix his attention on the union between the "I" or "Self" and His "I-consciousness". Well, if you manage to get to this level of spirituality, my congratulations to you, sublime Yogī or Yoginī, because to do that is so difficult that I cannot help laughing every time I think about it! Only the Grace of the Lord, bestowed abundantly on a person, is able to make him fit for Śāmbhavajapya.Return


 Aphorism 37

This (creative capacity) is not impossible for him, because—

(Anyone can realize his) creative power from his own experience||37||

One's creative power (or) capacity for creating various extraordinary things is proved or established "svato'nubhavāt", i.e. from one's own experience --anubhava-- during imagination, dreams, etc.|

With this intention, it has been declared in venerable Īśvarapratyabhijñā:

"For this very reason, from the powers of conception and execution according to one's desire, (the powers of) knowing and doing of all the living beings (are) clearly proved or established1 "||
(See I, VI, 11 in Īśvarapratyabhijñā)

Such being the possibility, if this (Yogī), with firm and strong determination wishes to manifest by (his) Vimarśa (or I-consciousness), then also appears creatorship of things according to his desire, which --i.e. creatorship-- is common to all2 |

That has been stated in Tattvagarbha:

"When they --the great Yogī-s-- shine --lit. luminous-- with their attribute of efficacy clearly manifest, (all) want of stability and strength is soon (and) very firmly broken into pieces --figuratively speaking--, and then their volition --will power-- becomes a Kalpapādapa or Kalpataru --a wish-fulfilling tree--3 "||


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1  According to Abhinavagupta, such as he writes in his commentary on Īśvarapratyabhijñā known as Īśvarapratyabhijñāvimarśinī, "Avabhāsana" (power of conception) indicates "Jñānaśakti" (Power of Knowledge) and "Samullekha" (power of execution) points out "Kriyāśakti" (Power of Action). The former conceives while the latter executes, viz. carries out what was conceived by the former. So, the Power of Action actualizes all that was previously conceived by the Power of Knowledge. Simple!

I will translate for you the entire commentary on this stanza, not only to prove my point, but also for you to be able to understand the stanza in depth. I will do my best because Abhinavagupta is such a scholarly and massive teacher that it is often very difficult for me to understand his writings rightly. And since the way of writing of this master is exquisite and complex, I will also explain every portion of the text between double hyphen (--...--). Here we go:

"Yadidaṁ yathābhīṣṭasya bahirasattvādananubhūtasyāpi samyagullekhanamavabhāsanaṁ ca vikalpasya prasaṅgāddarśitamasmādeva hetoridamapi siddhyati— Yaḥ kaścitkīṭo vā brahmā vā jīvanakriyāviṣṭastasyāvabhāsanarūpā jñānaśaktirullekhanarūpā ca kriyāśaktirnaisargikī tatastasyāṁ bhūmau vyatirikteśvaropakalpitapūrvasiddhasṛṣṭyupajīvanasambhāvanāpi nāstīti svamevaiśvaryaṁ sphuṭaṁ pratyabhijñeyaṁ jānāti karoti ca— Iti jñānakriyāsvātantryalakṣaṇamekavacanena sarvasya jīvajātasya vastuta ekeśvararūpatāṁ sūcayati| Iti śivam||11||" -

"(The term 'samullekha' in the stanza means) this which (is) full 'ullekha' (or) execution or shaping. (It connotes to shape) at will something which still has not been experienced as it did not exist externally. And (the term 'avabhāsana' or) the power of conception is shown in the contingency of vikalpa or thought --i.e. it is obvious from just beholding how one's thoughts conceive new things--. The latter --the power of conception-- is proved due to (the presence of) the former --the power of execution; i.e. since if something has been executed or actually created, this is a valid proof that it was firstly conceived-- — Whatever is endowed with activity and life, whether it be a worm or Brahmā (himself) --the creator of the material universe--, the power of knowledge and the natural power of action of those (living beings) have for their nature the powers of conception and execution, (respectively). Therefore, on that basis --i.e. on the basis of the imagination taking place in the realm of fancy of such living beings, etc.--, there is not even supposition that the subsistence of the creation, which was previously admitted to be true, has been produced by a different lord --in short, from the experience of any living being, all that is conceived and created in his/her/its mind does not require the presence of another lord apart from himself/herself/itself for it to subsist there--. Thus, (such a living being) clearly knows and performs his/her/its own lordship, which is to be recognized --i.e. he/she/it knows and performs things like a lord, but still has to recognize/realize his/her/its own lordship-- — In this way, (that lordship) characterized by knowledge, action and freedom, in singular number --viz. there is one lordship, not two or more--, in the case of all the ones who are possessed of life --i.e. the living beings--, actually points out their state of being formed from one Lord --in a nutshell, the lordship exhibited by the living creatures, being only one in each of them, actually indicates that they have 'one' Lord for their essential nature--.

Let there be welfare for all beings!".

Hopefully, I have understood everything rightly. Abhinavagupta is such a great master and thinker that it is necessary the presence of a disciple of the caliber of Kṣemarāja himself (his main disciple) in order to decipher his teachings in Sanskrit. Be merciful, Lord, and remember that I am alone with my little boat in the middle of this ocean of original writings, commentaries and explanations of scholars with the wisdom of Vedic seers, most of which are in pure Sanskrit (not even a transliteration). Unfortunately, I have nobody, physically speaking, whispering the translations in my ears, as it were. It would be great to have one, you know. Oh well, I must keep rowing in the meantime.Return

2  Apparently, a creatorship that is common to all indicates that it is universal. This is right from the viewpoint that "all beings" have the same creatorship like the enlightened Yogī because the only Lord resides in all equally. Anyway, according to the sages, in this particular context, the interpretation of the phrase is like this: "Vimarśātiśayavaśātsarvajanaistannirmitirdraṣṭuṁ śakyate" - "Due to the pre-eminence of Vimarśa or I-consciousness --i.e. Śakti--, his creation can be seen by all the people". Now it is wholly clear!Return

3  It refers a one of the five trees of god Indra's paradise. This Kalpapādapa or Kalpataru is said to fulfill all desires. In the same way, when efficacy (viz. creative power) of the Yogī-s is at its height, their will power can fulfill all desires. Succinctly: They can manifest anything at will. This is so because they are like the Lord Himself at that time. This being the case, what else could I say about them?Return


 Aphorism 38

And since by expressing the word "karaṇaśakti" --creative power--, (His) Power of Absolute Freedom whose nature is Turya --the Fourth State-- (as being) the essence of the experient who is nothing but Bodha or Consciousness (is undeniably shown,) therefore, for stimulating the essential nature of that (Turya) which has been repelled by māyāśakti1 

(There should be) enlivening of the three states --manifestation, maintenance and reabsorption-- by the main one (in sum, "by the fourth state of consciousness which is a Witness to the other three ones and is full of transcendental Bliss")||38||

Of the three pada-s or states mentioned by the words manifestation, maintenance (and) reabsorption —characterized by orientation toward objects, intense attachment to them (and) inner assimilation of those (very objects), (respectively)—, that which (is) ādi (or) the main one (is) a state called Turya --the Fourth One--, a compact mass of Bliss because of its pervading or filling the (other) three ones --manifestation, maintenance and reabsorption-- with Supreme Delight. (Turya,) though covered or veiled by māyāśakti, appears (for a moment) like a lightning on the occasion of the enjoyment of various objects, etc. On that account, on the various occasions (in which Turya appears), although it had arisen only for an instant, one should perform anuprāṇana --enlivening--, (namely, "anugatatayā prāṇana" or) vivification by following, in different degrees of abiding or permanence, the awareness of that (compact mass of Bliss) which resides within. (Summing it up, one should perform) stimulation of (such a) vitality by vivifying oneself with that vitality|

That has been said in venerable Vijñānabhairava, beginning with --now the scripture will describe Parā (a term, feminine in gender, that literally means "the Highest", viz. the Highest State or the Highest Goddess), also known as Turyātīta (the State beyond the Fourth One)--:

"(Parā, the Highest State or Goddess, is) Bliss which one can experience --lit. from one's own personal experience-- within --in I-consciousness--, (Her) field of action is free from thoughts --i.e. one has to become free of all thoughts in order to experience such a State or Goddess--, (is) that state of one's own Self that is Bhairava --Śiva or the Lord--, (is) Bhairavī --Śakti or divine Power of Bhairava-- whose form is full --i.e. She is full of Supreme Delight derived from the experience of unity with the universe--.

That (Highest State or Goddess) is to be really known as the pure form --essential nature-- which fills the universe — etc."||

(And subsequently, this subject) is treated at length (in Vijñānabhairava) by (a series of stanzas) showing a means (of approach to that Highest State or Goddess):

"That delight which (takes place) at the end of the absorption in the Power of Bliss, which --viz. the absorption-- is produced by the intercourse with a woman --in a nutshell, 'that delight which takes place during the orgasm'--, is said to be the delight of the Supreme Brahma --the Absolute--, i.e. (it is a delight) related to one's own Self2 .

Oh goddess!, even in the absence of a woman there is a flood or deluge of bliss from remembering, in full measure, the enjoyment experienced with a woman in the form of kissing heartily, embracing and pressing3 .

When a great joy is obtained or when a kinsman, friend, etc. is seen after a long time, after meditating on the joy that has arisen, one becomes identified with it --with that joy-- (and) gets dissolved in it4 .

From the expansion of the joy related to taste or flavor arising from the acts of eating (and) drinking, one should contemplate --in the sense of fixing one's attention-- on the state of fullness (of such a joy); (and) then a great bliss appears5 .

In the case of a Yogī who is in unity with the incomparable delight (generated) from enjoying objects (such as) a song, etc., due to the exaltation of (his) mind (there does take place) an identification with it --with the incomparable delight--, (and because of that,) identification with That --with the Supreme Brahma, the Absolute-- (emerges)6 — etc."||

This (very truth) has been shown (in Spandakārikā-s) beginning with:

"Spanda is firmly established in that state or condition into which (a person) enters (when he is) excessively angry, exceedingly pleased or delighted, reflecting "what do I do?", or running (for his life)"||
(See Spandakārikā-s I, 22)

and ending with:

"... (However, a Yogī who) is not covered (by the darkness of ignorance) remains awakened and enlightened (in that very condition)"||
(See Spandakārikā-s I, 25 - final portion)

This (subject) has been investigated by me in Spandanirṇaya without the need of supplying one (more) word to complete (such an investigation) --in the sense that the subject has been "thoroughly" examined there, in Spandanirṇaya, his scholarly commentary on the Spandakārikā-s--|

By the aphorism "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). (III, 20) (of the current scripture) " --the rest of the aphorism being quoted has been added in brackets--, enlivening by Turya --the Fourth One-- with respect to wakefulness, etc. --i.e. wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep-- was mentioned|

In this aphorism --the one being studied now--, (enlivening by Turya is) with reference to the initial, intervening and final points present in all the states --in waking, dreaming and deep sleep--, (but) defined and ascertained in an indirect manner as manifestation, maintenance (and) reabsorption. This is the difference||38||

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1  The word "māyāśakti" is not synonymous with "māyātattva" (the well-known 6th category in the process of universal manifestation), because while the former is a "power" the latter is a "manifestation". So, māyāśakti is a power by which the Lord is able to produce difference or duality. He uses His own māyāśakti in order to conceal His essential nature from Himself. Quite a paradox! Of course, it is all about You, reader! It is happening right now (and not in a distant galaxy!)... watch how Your own māyāśakti conceals your real "I" and replaces it with what is known as ego or false "I". You are not the subtle body composed of intellect, ego, mind and subtle elements, not even the causal one made out of vital energy. You are Him! When you realize this, "you are in the right State" according to Trika, wherever your physical body may be located, wherever your mind may have gone to and whatever your status in life might be.

Close your eyes for a moment. Now open them. That is His manifestation of objects. Now, keep your eyes open and behold the objects in front of you. That is His maintenance of objects. Finally, close your eyes again. That is His reabsorption of objects. Next, repeat the process but by fixing your attention on "You" (the Witness or Knower), and not on the objects. Well, that is Turya. In due course, if you do this in the right way, you will experience Supreme Delight, because such is the nature of Turya. It is all the Delight that exists put in one place, viz. in You, the Witness or Knower. You feel joy in the other three states because a tiny portion of that Supreme Delight filters through the network brought about by māyāśakti. When this network is removed, you experience all the existing Joy at the same time. Massive Joy flooding you at every instant. Of course, the process of getting that colossal Bliss will be gradual and according to your own capacity. Do you prefer this or the miserable state of a Sakala, all the time begging for some happiness?

But, even after getting all the existing or possible Joy (i.e. Turya), you can go even farther, toward Turyātīta (the state beyond Turya or the Fourth One). In this state you experience nothing but pure Consciousness and are completely invulnerable. Nonetheless, you are not invulnerable in the sense of a kind of super human being who stops bullets with his bare hands... no... it is not about the same miserable Sakala's state but "reloaded", but about a new kind of existence. You are invulnerable because you do not depend on anything else "to be". You are always so, but in Turyātīta you have an actual realization that that is absolutely true. While you retain that realization, you experience "without a doubt" that you are the Highest Being, whether your physical body is alive or dead, whether your mind is working or stopped, whether you live in the Milky Way or in the farthest galaxy of the universe, and so on. It is not mere indifference or pretension (because these are still in the realm of mind), but real absolute detachment from everything (individuality, mind, body, life, death, time, fear... everything!). You remain as pure Consciousness in Absolute Freedom!

At first, this experience lasts just for a moment and only happens by His Grace, but as you get fully stabilized in Turya, the odds to come into touch with Turyātīta increase accordingly. This experience is absolutely overwhelming and beyond description. It is interesting the point when you attain Turyātīta for the first time. It lasts for an instant, but you cannot say "how long it was" because time and space are not present in Turyātīta despite you could keep perceiving your body, external objects, etc. In fact, you can carry on with your usual activities while in Turyātīta. Nevertheless, although you perceive space, time, movement, etc., nothing of that is there as before (i.e. when you did not have that realization). I cannot explain it properly by the use of words, obviously. I could write an entire book and still my explanation would be inaccurate, as the words come into being after Turyātīta and not before It. So, at first, It comes all of a sudden and leaves shortly, that is all you detect. After such an achievement, you wonder what the heck you were doing before that. In comparison with that sublime State, all you experienced before is like "dust". Oh well, it was just the play of Consciousness, you know. Anyway, during Turyātīta everything appears permeated by absolute equanimity, to wit, no opinions in favor or against anything. Despite the actions keep being performed, and thoughts keep emerging, full of opinions and the like, you remain totally detached from that. It is just "Being" beyond all "wishing", "knowing" and "doing". Unbelievable! And of course, you want more of that. It is your Treasure, and once you have discovered you cannot just go and forget all about it. NO, you want, at all costs, to recover Turyātīta because doing so is the most important thing in your life ("nothing more is relevant than getting it again", this is the way you feel, and yes!, what could be more important than your Freedom?)... but... you realize that you cannot get it "at will". It is always about His Grace despite, paradoxically, You are Him.

At this point, you have to be patient and keep enjoying Turya and its compact mass of Bliss more and more till It fills all your life. Gradually, Turyātīta will pay you more and more visits until you get fully liberated, i.e. fully Free like the Lord. My own Guru handed me this truth: "God dwells within you as you", and this is what you will discover sooner or later if persevering. Rest assured that a full encounter with God is the most astonishing experience a human being can have! Whoever the reader may be, the Lord shines in all His Glory always everywhere. The author will say something like this but in a veiled way, i.e. not with my detailed explanations. OK, enough of revealing these secrets about Turyātīta for now.

Returning to the process of manifesting, maintaining and reabsorbing objects, there is nothing complicated about all that, as it is related to your own experience. And even in the case you had all your senses shut down (e.g. while you sleep), the mental objects would continue becoming manifest, lasting for a while and lastly getting reabsorbed. Even the void of deep sleep is manifested, maintained and reabsorbed. However, Turya is always present pervading all the other three states. There is not Its manifestation, maintenance and reabsorption as It is not an object (anything that can be perceived, e.g. your body, a table, a thought, etc.) but the Highest Subject or Lord (You!).

In fact, whether or not you realize you are the Witness or Knower (i.e. the Lord), you are Him anyway. There is nobody else than the Lord here. Whatever seems to exist as different and separate from Him is just due to the play of His māyāśakti.Return

2  This stanza of Vijñānabhairava is very tricky and if you are a Sanskrit student trying to translate it, you are likely to make some mistakes without extra help. In order to prevent those mistakes and also show other people reading this note why I translated the stanza in the way I did, I will have to quote some explanations from the commentary written by Śivopādhyāya... yes, I will have to keep translating, hehe. Let us start: "Śaktisaṅgamaḥ strīsaṅgastena saṅkṣubdhaḥ sampravṛttaḥ śaktyāveśa ānandaśaktisamāveśastadāvasānikaṁ tatpāryantikam|" - "'Śaktisaṅgama' (means) 'intercourse with a woman'; 'saṅkṣubdha' (is) 'being produced by that (intercourse)'; 'śaktyāveśa' (refers to) 'absorption in the Power of Bliss --i.e. Śakti--'; (and) 'tadāvasānika' (indicates) 'at the end of that (absorption)'". After that, the sage explains the following: "... brahmatattvasya sukhaṁ parabrahmānandas..." - "... delight of Brahmatattva, i.e. Joy of the Supreme Brahma --the Absolute--", and finally "... tatsukhaṁ svakameva svākyam... ātmana eva sambandhi..." - "... the delight (is) 'svākya' or 'one's own', (in short,) related solely to one's own Self...", viz. one is the only source of this delight "always".

Nevertheless, the sage quotes a stanza, just in case somebody could have misunderstood the teachings:

"Jāyayā sampariṣvakto na bāhyaṁ veda nāntaram|
Nidarśanaṁ śrutiḥ prāha mūrkhastaṁ manyate vidhim||" -

"When closely embraced with a woman, one knows/perceives neither outside nor inside --there is total unity--. The Vedic scripture said (that as) an example or illustration. (Only) a fool regards that as an injunction (for mere carnal pleasure)".

Don't be a fool then and take this analogy as an example of how the Bliss of the Lord filters through the network produced by His own māyāśakti during an intercourse with a woman. Mere intercourse with a woman does not vivify you but makes your body/mind tired and dull. In order to experience vivification through intercourse with a woman you need to be a powerful Yogī endowed with plenty of accurate knowledge about what a woman is really with reference to a man. But as most of men do not possess this type of knowledge and power at all, they are not advised to search for the Bliss of Turya through mere intercourses with women. Obviously, the same thing is valid for the women. Any person who is a mere Sakala or somebody fully identified with his physical body and mind/ego/intellect cannot get the "full" Joy of Brahma by having sex, but "only" a drop of It that filters through.

More analogies will be given by more stanzas extracted from Vijñānabhairava. OK, everything should be completely clear now.Return

3  Guess what? Another tricky stanza in Vijñānabhairava. I do not recommend at all this scripture for rookies in Sanskrit. It is only for advanced translators who are able to read the respective commentary written partly by Kṣemarāja and partly by Śivopādhyāya. There is another commentary called Vijñānakaumudī by Ānandabhaṭṭa. If you get both, careful with the numbers of the stanzas because they do not coincide with each other all the time (for example, now the stanza 70 is about to be explained by me, according to the first commentary, but in Vijñānakaumudī it is the stanza 69!). Well, I will use the commentary written partly by Kṣemarāja and partly by Śivopādhyāya in order to dispel all doubt or misunderstanding with regard to the meaning of certain terms:

"Lehanaṁ vaktrāsavāsvādanaṁ paricumbanamiti yāvat| Āmanthanaṁ pradhānāṅgaviloḍanamāliṅganaṁ vā| Ākoṭaḥ punaḥpunarmardanaṁ nakhakṣatādirvā|" - "(The term) 'lehana' (literally means) 'tasting the nectar or juice of the lips of a woman with (one's own) mouth', i.e. 'kissing heartily' --the prefix 'pari' intensifies the root 'cumb', 'to kiss', hence that 'heartily' being added to the expression--; this is the meaning. (On the other hand,) 'āmanthana' (is) 'churning with the chief members of the body' or 'embracing'. (And) 'ākoṭa' (indicates) 'pressing again and again' or 'a scratch with the nails, etc.'".

Oh, that was awesome!, hehe. Now you fully understand what those terms mean. A good Sanskrit dictionary is not enough to decipher the stanza, as you can see. This is pretty common in the case of the vast majority of Sanskrit scriptures dealing with philosophy in depth, but some of them are specially difficult to be properly translated without a great deal of extra help, e.g. Vijñānabhairava, Svacchandatantra and Mālinīvijayatantra. Without the help of the respective commentaries composed by superb scholars and masters, one cannot even start translating them rightly. And very often it takes more time to understand the commentary than the scripture itself (no jokes). All in all, your Sanskrit knowledge as well as your philosophical knowledge should be quite strong or you will be wrecked if you undertakes the translation of monumental scriptures like the ones I quoted as an example.Return

4  OK, I need to make two statements: (1) According to Ānandabhaṭṭa in his Vijñānakaumudī: "... bāndhave vā suhṛdādau cirakālānantaraṁ... dṛṣṭe..." - "... or when a 'bāndhava', viz. a 'suhṛd', etc. is seen after a long time...". The word "suhṛd" (lit. good-hearted) implies a person one loves. It is very often translated as "friend" but also means "ally". And according to the commentary by Kṣemarāja and Śivopādhyāya: "... bāndhave putramitrādau..." - "... a 'bāndhava', viz. son, friend, etc...". Now you understand why I translated the term "bāndhava" as "kinsman, friend, etc.".

(2) In the commentary written by those two great sages (Kṣemarāja and Śivopādhyāya) and also in Vijñānakaumudī, there is a different reading for the final line of the stanza: "Ānandamudgataṁ dhyātvā tallayastanmanā bhavet" - "After meditating on the joy that has arisen, one gets dissolved in it --in that joy-- (and) his mind becomes absorbed in it --lit. 'one becomes somebody whose mind is absorbed in that'--".

That is it!Return

5  The portion "Bhāvayedbharitāvasthāṁ..." in the stanza is difficult to be understood, but fortunately the sage Ānandabhaṭṭa throws much light on it in his Vijñānakaumudī: "... tadanubhavenānandapūrṇatvāvasthāyāṁ bhāvayata ekāgracittasya paramānandaprāptir..." - "By means of the experience of that joy (related to taste), there is achievement of a supreme bliss in the case of somebody who contemplates —viz. who has his mind concentrated— on the state of fullness of (such a) joy".

Now my way of translating that portion should be thoroughly clear for you.Return

6  As the last part of the stanza is very tricky, I had to resort to the commentary composed by Kṣemarāja and Śivopādhyāya to fully understand the sense: "... tasya manorūḍherhetoryattanmayatvaṁ śāktasparśāveśastena hetunā tadātmatā— parabrahmamayatvāpattiḥ|..." - "Due to the exaltation of the mind of that Yogī, (there arises) identification with it --with such an incomparable delight--, which is absorption in the touch or contact of Śakti --the divine Power in the form of I-consciousness--. Because of that (identification or absorption, there is) identification with That, i.e. identification with the Supreme Brahma --the Absolute-- occurs".

OK, ready!Return


 Aphorism 39

And this (Yogī), having obtained enlivening of the three states --manifestation, maintenance and reabsorption-- by the main one --by Turya-- only in the condition of an internal firm grip, should not be happy (just with that), but also—

As (in the case) of the mental states, (so also regarding) the body, organs of sense and external objects --bāhya--, (there should be an "enlivening or vivification" by infusing them with the Bliss of the fourth state of consciousness)||39||

(The previous aphorism is to be added in order to complete de sense of the current one:) "(There should be) enlivening of the three states --manifestation, maintenance and reabsorption-- by the main one (in sum, 'by the fourth state of consciousness which is a Witness to the other three ones and is full of transcendental Bliss')"|

Just as he should perform enlivening by Turya --the Fourth One, which is a compact mass of Bliss-- with regard to the inward mental state, so also even with respect to the extroverted condition whose nature is the manifestation of body, organs of sense (and) external objects, he should perform enlivening by that --by Turya--, very gradually, i.e. by degrees, by means of the force (obtained from) the firm grip of inward awareness|

That has been described in venerable 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"||

In this way, the Power of Absolute Freedom, whose nature is Bliss, becomes manifest in all the states, (and as a final result,) turns into a Creator (who is able to manifest anything) as desired1 ||39||

Skip the notes

1  The Absolute Freedom of the Lord is always manifest in all the states of all the beings, but in the case of a great Yogī, the difference lies in his being fully aware of that Absolute Freedom. In other words, he has a constant realization of It, while the rest of the beings in bondage do not have such a realization. This is the distinction! And, of course, it is in this sense that the sage Kṣemarāja stated that the Power of Absolute Freedom becomes Creator of anything as desired in that superb Yogī. Good!Return


 Aphorism 40

But when this very (Yogī) is not aware of the internal state of Turya as the state of Self, then on account of the condition in which body, etc. --body, ego, etc.-- (are considered as) the experient or knower consisting of --it refers to the "condition" and not to the "experient or knower"-- Āṇavamala --primordial impurity-- characterized by the notion of imperfection and incompleteness1 

Because of the desire based on a feeling of want, there is extroversion of the limited being (who is thus subject to the wheel of Saṁsāra or Transmigration from a form of existence to another)||40||

A "saṁvāhya" (is) a limited being involved in actions (who) "together with Kañcuka-s --sheaths of Ignorance--, inner (psychical) organ --composed of intellect, ego and mind--, outer organs --connected with the Powers of perception and action--, subtle elements and gross elements, which are presided over by the group of powers2 , is conducted (or) led from one form of existence to another form of existence". In the case of that (limited being), according to what has been mentioned in venerable Svacchandatantra (in the following manner:)

"... in that case, desire (is) mala or impurity"|

there is extroversion on account of abhilāṣa --desire based on a feeling of want-- in the form of Āṇavamala (also) known as Avidyā or Ignorance consisting in the notion of imperfection or incompleteness. (Extroversion) is orientation toward --viz. interest in-- objects only, (and) never attentiveness to the internal nature|

That was declared in Kālikākrama:

"(In the case of an ignorant person,) being covered or veiled by ignorance about That --the Self-- (and) by means of the use or application of thoughts, he does not instantly become aware of all (the tattva-s or categories) beginning with Śiva (as his own essential nature which is a compact mass of Consciousness).

Then, good and bad states appear; and as (such a person) is under the control of that (ignorance about his own Self), great pain comes over (him) due to the (aforesaid) bad states3 .

Having harbored false ideas and imaginations, (such ignorant people) are tormented in hell, etc., and are burnt by their own faults and vices just as bamboos (are burnt by their own) fire.

Those people always suffer from ignorance due to (their own) delusive states --Mayic states--; (and when) they get a body made by Māyā --Delusion itself--, (they become) a receptacle for affliction4 "


Skip the notes

1  Āṇavamala is the primordial impurity (the first and more powerful one) which makes the Lord (You!) feel that He is imperfect and incomplete. By efforts, you can remove all impurities but Āṇavamala. Its removal is only related to His Grace and not to any kind of effort. By the word "impurity", nothing "immoral" is being pointed out. In Trika impurity indicates "absence of unity" while purity is "presence of unity". So, a mala or impurity is something that limits and brings about duality in the end, i.e. cessation of unity. Read Trika 4 to pick up more relevant information about this impurity.Return

2  The sage is mentioning the entire series of tattva-s (categories of universal manifestation), from Kañcuka-s (which include Māyā, their source) down to the last gross element. Read this Tattvic Chart to get more information. And regarding the deities presiding over the respective tattva-s, you should first read Tattva-s & Sanskrit in order to find out which letters are associated with the tattva-s 6 to 36; finally trace the respective deities by reading the note 1 of III, 19 in the present scripture.Return

3  These two stanzas in Kālikākrama were already quoted by Kṣemarāja as well as translated by me in III, 35 of the present scripture. However, the next two stanzas are brand-new!Return

4  According to the sage Patañjali, there are five types of affliction. Read Pātañjalayogasūtra-s II, 3.Return


 Aphorism 41

However, when (the Yogī) becomes aware of his own essential nature displayed due to a Grace bestowal --lit. descent of Power-- by the Supreme Lord, then, because of an absence of abhilāṣa or desire based on a feeling of want, there is no extroversion in his case, but rather the state of rejoicing in his own Self always. (Śiva) said so (in the following aphorism)

(Nevertheless,) in the case of (the great Yogī) whose awareness (is) established in That --in the fourth state or Turya--, with the removal of that (desire) --see aphorism 40-- (there is also) complete removal of (the condition of) limited being||41||

(The first) "tad" (means) in the state of Turya whose nature is the (Supreme) Knower indicated before --in III, 32--. (The word) ārūḍha --established-- (means) devoted to perceiving and realizing that (Turya). (And pramiteḥ means) in the case of that Yogī whose pramiti (or) awareness --then, the first expression "Tadārūḍhapramiteḥ" in the aphorism means "In the case of that Yogī whose awareness is established in the state of Turya, i.e. whose awareness is devoted to perceiving and realizing that Fourth State which is the Supreme Knower"--|

(The second) "tad" (stands for abhilāṣa or desire based on a feeling of want. Consequently, the expression "tatkṣayāt" means) with the removal of the desire based on a feeling of want. (Finally, the expression "jīvasaṅkṣayaḥ" means complete) removal (or) cessation of the jīva (or) limited being, viz. of the state where the subtle body --formed from intellect, ego, mind and subtle elements-- (is considered as) the (real) experient. (In a nutshell, such a great Yogī) shines forth as (endowed with) the state of Experient who is (pure) Consciousness --plainly, he shines forth as the Supreme Lord--. This is the meaning|

This has been declared in that (book) itself --in Kālikākrama--:

"Just as one who is awake does not see the objects experienced in dream, so by contemplating (over his own Self), the Yogī does not see the world (as world but as Consciousness)1 "||


"Having rejected the modes of existents and nonexistents (such as blue, pleasure, etc.) by resorting to the internal state --i.e. to the Self who is in the middle of what exists and not exists-- (and) having abandoned the multitude of imaginations (such as) different and nondifferent by means of non-dualism, the Yogī who is always devoted to his own Self, solely intent on swallowing death (and) dedicated to the state of Kaivalya or Isolation, obtains the state of Nirvāṇa2 "||

(The expression) "Kaivalyapadabhāk" (means) one who is not carried by (his) Indriya-s and Tanmātra-s3 ||41||

Skip the notes

1  Just as one does not see in wakefulness the objects that were manifest in dream, so also a great Yogī, due to the perfection of his contemplation, perceives the universe only as Consciousness and not as something full of duality. One sees duality in the world only when he is a saṁsārī, that is, somebody bound to transmigratory existence (Saṁsāra) because of Āṇavamala. The word saṁsārī is synonymous with saṁvāhya or jīva (a limited being). When the Grace of the Lord falls upon him, Āṇavamala is removed and his contemplation on the Self becomes perfect. Then, the world is not seen as world any longer but as pure Consciousness. This is the purport.Return

2  The term Nirvāṇa is not to be interpreted in a Buddhist way here. In Trika, it means "Śivaśaktisāmarasya". The word "sāmarasya" means "the state related to samarasa". As "samarasa" is "having equal taste or flavor", Śivaśaktisāmarasya means, literally, this "state where Śiva and Śakti has the same taste or flavor". Now, in order to be less literal and more "philosophical", hehe, Śivaśaktisāmarasya is this undifferentiated state where the duality in the form of Śiva-Śakti (Subject-object) ceases completely.Return

3  Kaivalya or Isolation in Trika is not interpreted like in the system called Sāṅkhya-yoga, viz. as an isolation from Prakṛti, but like a state where one is no longer carried by his Powers of perception/action (Jñānendriya-s and Karmendriya-s) and subtle elements (Tanmātra-s). It is in this sense that such a Yogī is a Kaivalyapadabhāk ("bhāk" is the Nominative singular of "bhāj"). He is not a mere saṁvāhya (lit. to be carried) or limited being who is all the time being carried by his own Indriya-s and Tanmātra-s.Return


 Aphorism 42

An objection!: "Thus, when there is complete removal of (the condition of) limited being, his body falls (too) ----lit. fall of the body is attained; i.e. body dies--, but that --viz. the fall or death of the body-- is not noticed immediately in the case of the perfectly well-awakened (Yogī) who has a body --in other words, he achieved final Liberation but yet his body did not die--. Therefore, how (is) he one whose awareness is established in That --in Turya--? --how can he be completely liberated and at the same time retain his body?--". Having so objected, (Śiva) said—

Then, (when the desire finally disappears, that Yogī uses the body which is composed of) gross elements as covering; (and being) completely liberated, (since he is) pre-eminently equal to Lord (Śiva, he is) perfect and full||42||

"Tadā" --Then--, i.e. from the removal of abhilāṣa or desire based on a feeling of want, when there is complete removal of (the condition of) limited being —when there is disappearance of the notion that the subtle body --intellect, ego, mind and subtle elements-- is the (real) experient —, he --the great Yogī-- (becomes) bhūtakañcukī (or) one whose gross elements --space, air, fire, water and earth-- forming (his) body (are) like a Kañcuka (or) separate covering, (and) do not touch the state of "I-ness". The one who is like that (is) completely liberated (and) enjoys Nirvāṇa1 . (And,) since (he is) pre-eminently (or) mostly equal to Lord (Śiva, that is, since he has) entered into the essential nature of the Supreme Lord who is a compact mass of Consciousness, therefore (he is) para (or) perfect and full. "Remaining in the body (is his) vow, (that is to say, he retains a physical form on account of his enormous compassion to humankind; it is really a pious act on his part). (III, 26) (of the current scripture) "; according to the meaning of the aforesaid aphorism, even though he exists in body, etc. like (if these were) the sheath of a sword --despite it covers the sword tightly, it is always separate from the sword itself--, he is not touched even by a residual impression (of the notion that) that --body, etc.-- are the (real) experient or knower --the Self--2 |

That (truth) has (also) been mentioned in venerable Kularatnamālā:

"When the most eminent among the spiritual teachers speaks about That --God-- in its entirety, no doubt (that his disciple) becomes liberated at that very instant, (and afterward, such a disciple) remains (in his body) only (like) a machine --he does not consider it any longer as his real Self--.

How much more then the wise man who is totally concentrated on the Highest Brahma --the Absolute--? (If such a) Yogī remains only for a moment (in the Highest Brahma), he becomes liberated (and) liberates (other) beings"||

In venerable Mṛtyujit --also called Netratantra-- (it has) also (been said):

"And if (the Highest Imperishable Śiva) is realized (by someone) even for the time of a blink, thenceforth that (person) becomes liberated and is not born --lit. does not obtain a birth-- again3 "||
(See VIII, 8 in Netratantra)

In Kulasāra (it has) also (been mentioned):

"Ah!, the exalted position and majesty of the (Supreme) Principle (is such,) oh beautiful one, (that) when It is merely known (by someone) --only with his intellect--, in (Its) being imparted (by him) to another person --lit. to another ear--, (the one receiving It) is liberated immediately"||


Skip the notes

1  I already explained the meaning of "Nirvāṇa" in this system by the note 2 of III, 41.Return

2  He dwells in the body, etc., like a sword in its sheath. Anyway, he never considers his body to be his real Self or I. Why? Because being completely identified with the Supreme Lord who is a compact mass of Consciousness, he is always like Him: absolutely free! The rest of people, being thoroughly identified with their bodies, etc. and under the control of Āṇavamala, fail to realize their own essential nature. In other words, they are essentially the Lord but do not realize their true identity and erroneously think they are what they are not at all!Return

3  In his Netroddyota, Kṣemarāja explains, in a simple way, the meaning of this stanza in Netratantra. His entire commentary reads: "Kenaciditi madhye'dhyāhāryam| Upalabhyate samāviśyate| Tataḥprabhṛti na tu kālāntare| Muktaḥ sthitairapi dehaprāṇairaguṇīkṛtaḥ| Na ca taddehatyāge punarjanma dehāntarasambandhamāpnotyapitu paramaśiva eva bhavati||" - "(The word) 'kenacid' --'by someone'-- is to be supplied in the middle (of the stanza, in order to complete the sense) --i.e. there must be 'someone' who performs what is declared in the stanza--. (The term) 'upalabhyate' (means) 'is penetrated' --in the sense of 'is realized'; it refers to the Highest Imperishable Śiva... I know this because I read the previous stanza in Netratantra--. (The expression) 'Tataḥprabhṛti' or 'thenceforth' (means that) it is not at another time, (but from that moment on) --you can also separate the two words in this way: Tataḥ prabhṛti--. 'Mukta' or 'liberated' from bodies and vital energies even when these continue existing, i.e. devoid of limiting attributes or qualities. And, after abandoning his body, he is not be born again, viz. he does not go into association with another body, but rather does become the Supreme Śiva".

With the help of the sage Kṣemarāja, Netratantra is much easier to be understood, isn't it?Return


 Aphorism 43

An objection!: "Why does not even his state of using the gross elements (forming his body) as covering disappear then --when the Yogī attains final Liberation--?" (In reply to the objection, Śiva) said—

The link or association of the vital energy (with the body is) natural||43||

The link or association of the vital energy (with the body is) natural, viz. come from nisarga or nature whose essence is the Absolute Freedom (of the Supreme Lord). The glorious Consciousness verily, desirous of manifesting diversity in the universe, having firstly resorted to the manifestation of contraction --limitation--, shines forth as the world which is grāhya or knowable --i.e. that which can be known or experienced-- by assuming the condition of grāhaka or knower --i.e. the one who knows and experiences-- who is a form adopted by Prāṇanā --the universal vital energy-- whose essence is Sphurattā or the throbbing Light of God which manifests the entire universe but in a contracted or limited form --since this throbbing Light of God, the glorious Consciousness, firstly had recourse to saṅkoca or contraction--. Thus, the link or association of the vital energy (with the body is) natural, (because) it has initially arisen from Her --from the glorious Consciousness-- due to Svātantrya --Her Absolute Freedom-- --all in all, the link between body and vital energy is natural because it was so manifested by the Lord from the very beginning of the universe--|

So also (it has been declared) in venerable Vājasaneyā:

"The Śakti --the Power of the Lord-- who (is) supreme, subtle, all-pervading --omnipresent--, pure, auspicious, mother of the group of powers, the highest bliss whose nature is the nectar conferring immortality, mistress of mahāghorā-s --the greatly terrible powers that bind and subjugate the limited beings--, terrible --since She conceals one's own essential nature-- (and) the One who brings about manifestation (and) reabsorption (of the universe). She forcibly manifests and withdraws Time appearing as three flows or streams --i.e. Time flows through the subtle channels known as Iḍā, Piṅgalā and Suṣumnā--, in three ways --i.e. Time arises in the form of moon, sun and fire, which stand for knowable or object, knower or subject and knowledge, respectively-- (and) in three aspects --i.e. Time becomes manifest as past, present and future--"||

The abovementioned state of being the producer of (both) external manifestation (and) internal withdrawal with reference to the external Time in the form of a series of vital energies belongs to the glorious Consciousness alone. (External Time appearing as a series of vital energies was shown in the stanza itself by the terms "tristham", "trividham" and "trivaham", viz. external Time is that) whose form is past, future (and) present, (it is that which) remains as moon --knowable or object--, sun --knower or subject-- (and) fire --knowledge--, (and) flows through the three subtle channels --Iḍā, Piṅgalā and Suṣumnā--1 |

That was also mentioned in Svacchandatantra:

"The vital energy consists of prāṇa (and) apāna at every exhalation (and) inhalation, (and) exists in the chest of the living beings as that which fulls with air --i.e. with life-- constantly2 "||
(See VII, 25 in Svacchandatantra)

In accordance with what has been mentioned (in Svacchandatantra itself):

"The letter 'ha' is certainly said to be vital energy which occurs by itself --automatically-- (and) to have the form of a plow3 "||
(See IV, 257 in Svacchandatantra)

the state of being the producer of manifestation (and) reabsorption in the form of emitting and filling up is said to belong to the vital energy or prāṇa because it is replete with the vigor and power whose nature is the most adorable Svacchanda --the Absolutely Free Lord--. So, it has been rightly said (in the stanza): "The link or association of the vital energy (with the body is) natural"|

For this very reason, a corroboration of that what is known as prāṇa or vital energy is the cause (of manifestation and reabsorption) was mentioned by venerable Kallaṭa in (his) Tattvārthacintāmaṇi:

"At first, Consciousness is turned into vital energy"|


Skip the notes

1  As Time is a manifestation of Prāṇanā, the universal vital energy whose essence is the throbbing Light of God, so it appears in the form of a series of prāṇa-s or vital energies. Yes, it is difficult, maybe, to understand the concept of Time as vital energy, but it is true. Regarding the rest of my translation of the paragraph, of course, I had to arrange it conveniently or that sesquipedalian (long and abstruse) compound beginning with "nāḍitraya" and ending in "kāritvam" would have killed our intellects easily! This kind of extra long compounds is commonly seen in the works of some Trika masters (e.g. Abhinavagupta and his disciple Kṣemarāja).

Fortunately, that style of piling up words does not appear in older scriptures generally. The problem with the sesquipedalian compounds is that the more words it contains the more problematic it becomes when you attempt to translate it. If you are a Sanskrit student, you already know that every word in Sanskrit may have a lot of meanings (a huge quantity sometimes). So, for example, if you have a compound with three words, each of them with five possible meanings, well, you will have fifteen meanings in the combination. For a translator with enough experience and knowledge, such short compounds are relatively easy to handle. Anyway, if the compound has more than five or six words, the translator will sweat accordingly as the number of possible combinations increases. The compound written by Kṣemarāja in the last paragraph had more than fifteen words! Yes, most of them are rather understandable for an experienced translator with a solid knowledge of philosophy, but there are two terms that are not easy to translate at all: "ullāsa" and "vilāpana". To translate them correctly you need to read commentaries of scholars proficient in this philosophical system. If you use only a Sanskrit dictionary, you may come to deduce that "ullāsa" is something like "manifestation" perhaps, but "vilāpana" is more tricky, and if you translate it as merely "destruction, death, etc.", your translation will not be very good. The right meanings of those terms in this context are, according to the great scholars, "external manifestation" and "internal withdrawal". So, my advise for Sanskrit students is always: "get the commentaries before undertaking a translation".

Of course, sometimes there is no commentary at hand, and you are absolutely "on your own" (e.g. myself when translating Netroddyota, Svacchandoddyota, etc. for the sake of throwing more light on a certain subject). In this case, you will have to commend yourself to God very often, hehe, because that position is not desirable at all. The texts by sages like Abhinavagupta, Kṣemarāja, etc. can easily wipe the floor with any Sanskrit student who is a beginner or even intermediate. And the advanced ones will need plenty of Trika knowledge plus some commentaries as a support if they want to have a happy day, be sure. In fact, some Abhinavagupta's writings (if not all of them!) need a group of scholars for delivering a good translation. That is why I am always scared of Abhinavagupta and his studies. They can easily sink my little boat, no doubt about it.Return

2  The vital energy as a whole is called: "prāṇa". But, this is divided into ten categories, five of which are principal and the other five are subsidiary. The problem lies in one of this categories (one of the five that are principal) having the same name, i.e. "prāṇa". Very often, people mistake this category for prāṇa or vital energy "as a whole". One way to bypass this confusion is calling the vital energy Prāṇa (initial "p" in uppercase) and the category prāṇa (initial "p" in lowercase), or else calling the vital energy as a whole "mahāprāṇa" (great prāṇa) and leave the word "prāṇa" for the mere category. Those are the methods generally used to bypass the little obstacle. Anyway, the word "prāṇa" of the phrase "Prāṇāpānamayaḥ" in the stanza clearly refers to the category and not to "prāṇa" as a whole. Nonetheless, the second instance (i.e. "prāṇo" in the stanza) does refer to vital energy "as a whole". Read Uccāra in Meditation 4 to get more information.

In turn, the categories "prāṇa" and "apāna" are two vital energies, one going out through exhalation and the other going in through inhalation, respectively. Hence the stanza specifies "at every" (prati).

Though Kṣemarāja did not mention it here, I can read a statement following the quoted stanza in Svacchandatantra, which completes the sense: "Prāṇanaṁ kurute yasmāttasmātprāṇaḥ prakīrtitaḥ|" - "Since it gives life, therefore it is called prāṇa --lit. breath of life--".

Now, everything is crystal clear, I suppose.Return

3  I could explain this by myself as the meaning is relatively simple, but I will quote Svacchandoddyota (the Kṣemarāja's scholarly commentary on Svacchandatantra) for you to receive the explanation from an authoritative source directly. Anyway, despite I will just quote a very little portion occurring at the beginning of the entire commentary written by the sage, I will have to explain it to you too, lol!... no way out!:

"Yo'yaṁ halākṛtiranacko hakāro'nāhatadhvanyātmā" - "This which has the form of a plow, (is) the letter 'ha' devoid of a vowel (and) its nature is the unstruck sound".

Good! Well, the great grammarian Pāṇini created a technical term to designate all the vowels or any vowel: "ac". So, "anacka" means "any consonant without a vowel, i.e. isolated". As it is obvious from merely seeing 'h' (viz. 'ha' with the vowel 'a' dropped) in Sanskrit —look!: "h"—, this letter does have the shape of a plow. But, this is not so easy, because there is another way of reading "halākṛti" (has the form of a plow). Instead of considering it as being formed of "hala + ākṛti" - "plow + form", it might be taken as consisting of "hal + ākṛti". In this case, "hal" is a technical term created by Pāṇini in order to designate all the consonants or any consonant. So, the translation of this little portion in Svacchandoddyota changes to:

"(The expression) 'hakāra' (in the stanza, indicates) this which has the form of the consonant ('ha') but without a vowel, and whose nature is the unstruck sound".

And its nature is the "unstruck" sound because this sound is produced by inhalation naturally, without the necessity of objects striking or beating each other. In all the living beings, their breathing continuously and spontaneously goes on with the sounds "ha" and "sa" at every inhalation and exhalation. This process occurs by itself, automatically.Return


 Aphorism 44

Hence, while the natural link or association of the vital energy (with the body) exists, the one who, being established in that --in the state of knower who is a form adopted by Prāṇanā, the universal vital energy--1 , continues to be aware of the inner perfect I-consciousness --i.e. Śakti--, (is) extraordinary --lit. he is beyond of what is common--. (Śiva) said so (in the following aphorism)

(There is vital energy --prāṇaśakti or prāṇa--) in the left subtle channel --Iḍā--, in the right subtle channel --Piṅgalā-- (and) in Suṣumnā --the middle one--.

By the intense and constant awareness of the center --that is, the perfect I-consciousness-- of the inner aspect of (the aforesaid) prāṇaśakti, (the Yogī abides in the constant awareness of the supreme and perfect I-consciousness forever).

What else (could one say) in this respect?||44||

(There is) nāsikā --prāṇaśakti or prāṇa-- in the main ones of the group (composed of) all the subtle channels —in savya, apasavya and Suṣumnā —, viz. in the right, left and middle subtle channels --known as Piṅgalā, Iḍā and Suṣumnā--, (respectively)2 . (And "nāsikā" is) prāṇaśakti --or prāṇa--, the one who flows in zigzags, by considering that (the terms "nāsikā" and "kuṭilavāhinī" derive from "nasate kauṭilyena vahati" or) "she zigzags, viz. she flows in a zigzag"3 . (The word) "antár" (means) inner aspect (or) Consciousness of that (nāsikā. And) "madhya" or "center" of that (inner aspect of nāsikā) too, being the innermost of all, (is) "Pradhāna" or "the essential Reality" --in short, the perfect I-consciousness that is in the center of all--|

"Of that God who surpasses all other gods (and) whose essential nature is the Highest Consciousness --i.e. this God is Śiva or Prakāśa--, Vimarśa --I-consciousness-- (is) the Supreme Power who is omniscient, viz. full of knowledge"||

Using what was expressed in venerable Kālikākrama as a guide, by saṁyama (or) the intensity of a (constant) inner awareness of that essential nature which is Vimarśa --I-consciousness--, it is said "kimatra" --an exclamation showing delight and whose meaning is "What else (could one say) in this respect?"-- (in the sense that, as a result of such a saṁyama, there does arise) this supreme Nirvyutthānasamādhi which shines intensely in all the states --i.e. under all circumstances--4 |

That has been declared 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)"||


Skip the notes

1  This is not my invention but what the great scholars comment on this word "tad" (that) in the present context. Besides, you can easily verify that this statement completely agrees with what was affirmed in the commentary on the previous aphorism.Return

2  In order not to have a flock of Sanskrit students correcting my translation of "savya" and "apasavya" as "right" and "left", respectively, I need to say something: Yes, you are right! If you consult a dictionary, you will see that "savya" means "left" and "apasavya" means "right". Anyway, Kṣemarāja is fond of considering the meanings of "savya" and "apasavya" as if they were indeclinables always (whether or not they act as indeclinables). If you check the dictionary, "savya" and "apasavya", as indeclinables --i.e. as savyam/savyena and apasavyam/apasavyena--, mean "to the right" and "to the left", respectively. Now, you can easily understand why he interprets the meanings of "savya" and "apasavya" in an opposite manner to what one would expect. Yes, it is a little hellish and confusing... in fact, it makes me dizzy just reading savya and apasavya, it is like a tongue twister!... but we cannot help it, you know. Remember this in the future, please.Return

3  She (i.e. nāsikā or prāṇaśakti, the vital energy) zigzags because of her flowing through the subtle channels in the subtle body, which curve in general. This is specially true in respect to Iḍā and Piṅgalā, since these move to the left and right of Suṣumnā, zigzagging.Return

4  From that stanza of Kālikākrama, it is very clear that the Supreme Power of the Lord is nothing but one's own I-consciousness. Using that teaching as a guide, the commentator explains that by saṁyama of that supreme I-consciousness, the great Yogī attains Nirvyutthānasamādhi or an absorption in his "I" from which he will never return to the ordinary state or vyutthāna, but he will retain such a realization under all circumstances, in all the states and conditions. The word saṁyama is not be interpreted here as defined by the great sage Patañjali in his Yogasūtra-s III, 4, but rather as "antarnibhālanaprakarṣa" or "the intensity of a (constant) inner awareness". Awareness of what? Of his own supremely perfect I-consciousness or Vimarśa, which is the innermost central Reality. In other words, he becomes aware of his true nature again and again (constantly). Having such a sublime Yogī achieved the highest state of consciousness, "kimatra", i.e. "What else (could one say) in this respect?".

Still, another aphorism will be written by the Lord (the 45th) only to succinctly describe the final state attained by the immortal Yogī who is one's Self.Return


 Aphorism 45

In this way, (now Śiva) summarizes the book and its subject --Śivasūtra-s-- by showing the fruit of Yoga for such (a Yogī)

(Regarding the enlightened Yogī), there is over and over again the awareness of the Supreme Self both internally and externally||45||

A pratimīlana —completely free from (any) residual impression of duality — takes place over and over again in the case of the Yogī who is immersed in the Highest Yoga. (A pratimīlana) of this universe which has arisen from his own essential nature (or) Consciousness in Absolute Freedom. (This pratimīlana is, on one hand,) an inward absorption in the Supreme Self —when (the Yogī is) oriented toward the (inner) Consciousness —, (and) on the other hand, a outward absorption in the (same) Supreme Self, (where the Yogī experiences the entire universe as being) his own Essence whose nature is (the same) Caitanya or Consciousness1 |

That was described in venerable Svacchandatantra:

"Oh goddess!, Unmanā is beyond (Samanā); one should join oneself to that --to Unmanā--. Consequently, the self who is united with that, becomes identical with that2 "||
(See IV, 332 in Svacchandatantra)

So also, (in the very Svacchandatantra, it has been said):

"As a fire that has risen pure (and) very radiant (from a piece of wood) does not enter the piece of wood again, so, the Self who has arisen from Ṣaḍadhvā --the Six Courses--, being liberated from Āṇavamala, Kārmamala and Māyīyamala, etc., is a vigataklama or one whose fatigues have ceased. Even though he dwells there --in the world--, is not bound (by the pleasures of this world) since he is extremely immaculate3 "||
(See X, 371-372 in Svacchandatantra)

(In saying) "Bhūyaḥ syāt" or "there is over and over again" (in the aphorism), this (is) the intention of the One who declares it --i.e. Śiva, the author of Śivasūtra-s--:

That the Śiva-hood --the state of Śiva-- of this Yogī is not quite new but rather (his) own essential nature! Only on account of the wickedness of his thoughts aroused by māyāśakti --His power to produce duality--4 , although that --viz. the state of Śiva-- was manifest, he was not able to recognize (it) --to touch it--. In this manner, that (state of Śiva) has been (now) manifested for him --for the enlightened Yogī-- by the series (of aphorisms) showing and explaining the means which have been described. Let there be welfare (for all beings)!||45||

Skip the notes

1  Simply put: This Yogī experiences the Supreme Self both inside and outside. Inside, the Lord appears as his inner Self or real "I", and outside, He appears as the entire universe. Therefore, such an enlightened Yogī perceives only God all the time. This astonishing state of consciousness is known as Pratimīlana.Return

2  To fully understand the subject dealing with Samanā and Unmanā, read Meditation 6.Return

3  The expression "who has arisen from Ṣaḍadhvā --the Six Courses--" indicates that such a liberated soul has gone beyond them. In turn, the words "mala, karma and kalā" point out "Āṇavamala, Kārmamala and Māyīyamala". Why? First of all, Āṇavamala is very often designated by the mere term "mala" (impurity) because it is the most important impurity. Next, as the word "karma" means "action", it is obvious the reason why Kārmamala (impurity related to doership) is called like that. But, it is mysterious that Māyīyamala is being named "kalā" in the stanza of Svacchandatantra, because "kalā" generally means "śakti" or "power". Anyway, if you resort to a dictionary, you will find that the word mainly means "part". And this is the key to solve the mystery: Māyīyamala forces you consider the things to be different from each other. In this way, Māyīyamala generates an entire universe composed of parts, each of them being different from the others. Now, the mystery is gone!

And, obviously, he is one whose fatigues have ceased (vigataklama) since he is completely free from all that is related to this world. He has no more problems because, "in order to have a problem", you need "an individual" first. As this great Yogī has gone beyond his individuality and realized his divinity, "the individual" is not more in him. As the individual is absent, the problems cannot exist either. A mere living body is not enough "to have a problem". It is complicated when put into words, but simple if you have that experience. So, with all your forces, from the bottom of your heart, strive to be like him: Absolutely Free!Return

4  The meaning of this term was already explained by the note 1 of III, 38.Return


 End of Section III and scripture

"This very commentary on the Śivasūtra-s, beautified by her connection with the Spandakārikā-s --a running commentary on the Śivasūtra-s-- (and) by her conformity with the Revealed Scriptures, has been displayed for (expounding) the secret of Śiva1 "||1||

"Let the virtuous ones taste —in order to cut the transmigratory existence, evidently — this Śivasūtravimarśinī abundantly furnished with the elixir made out of the essence of the ever-new Nectar that flows from the teaching about the secret doctrine of Śiva!"||2||

"This (Śivasūtravimarśinī) increases the appetite (for knowledge --in the form of the doctrine of Śiva--) of those who do not have it (and) produces a supreme transformation of (one's) understanding. By merely tasting (her), she removes fear of death, old age, birth, etc., like a flood of Nectar2 "||3||

"Covered by body, vital energy, pleasure, etc., due to the limited seats for (his) I-ness --for his I-consciousness--, man does not perceives the Absolutely Free Consciousness of the Very Glorious Lord as of his own. However, he is said (to be) Śiva Himself in person who —by means of the (imparted) teaching — beholds the universe, in the middle of the ocean of the Nectar of Consciousness, as a mass of its --of that ocean-- foam everywhere3 "||4||

"Cross quickly the ocean of Saṁsāra --Transmigration full of misery-- (and) establish yourselves firmly in the Highest State which is completely full of eternal Light (and) Joy! Reflect on the Sūtra --the aphorisms-- enunciated by Śiva, (which looks) radiant (because of) the secret doctrine (contained in It --in the Sūtra--)! That (Sūtra) causes a jump (of Bliss and) shines vigorously inside (when taught) by a sage"||5||

Here ends the third Section called Āṇavopāyaprakāśana --(the Section) revealing the means that pertains to an aṇu or limited being--, in Śivasūtravimarśinī written by venerable Kṣemarāja dependant on the lotus feet --i.e. feet beautiful like a lotus-- of the eminent Abhinavagupta, the best of the spiritual preceptors (and) a great devotee of Maheśvara, the Great Lord --epithet of Śiva--||3||

This Śivasūtravimarśinī is finished||

Let the work of venerable Kṣemarāja be for the peace and security of the ones who ponder (deeply over the meaning of existence)! Śivasūtravimarśinī (has been expounded) with the aim of (arousing) bodha or awareness --understanding-- of the (inherent) unity between one's own Self (and) Śiva||

Skip the notes

1  In Sanskrit, the word "vṛtti" or "commentary" is feminine in gender as well as the title of this commentary on the Śivasūtra-s: "Śivasūtravimarśinī". The celebrated Spandakārikā-s were composed by Vasugupta (the sage whom Śiva revealed His Śivasūtra-s), according to Kṣemarāja, or by his main disciple, called Kallaṭa, according to other authors.

The Revealed Scriptures are the ancient Tantra-s (e.g. Svacchandatantra, Mālinīvijayatantra, etc.). The subject is long and complex (as always in this ocean of Sanskrit, lol!), but if you read the entire text of the present commentary, you surely saw a lot of quotes extracted from those very scriptures.

The secret of Śiva is nothing but the secret of Śaivayoga or union with the Lord through śaiva methods. The word "śaiva" means "of Śiva, related to Śiva, pertaining to Śiva, and so on".Return

2  For the sake of clarification: "she removes fear of death, old age, birth, etc." means "she removes fear of death, fear of old age, fear of birth, etc." and NOT "she removes fear of death, she removes old age, she removes birth, etc.". It is a minor thing, but I thought it was important to clarify that point. While "order" in a sentence is crucial in English, it is not so important in Sanskrit. Concord in Sanskrit is mainly dependant on gender, number, person and tense (or mood). While these are OK, you can move the words freely "in general" (there are several exceptions, obviously).

Moreover, the expression "of those who do not have it" means "of those who do not have such an appetite".Return

3  There is an "apparent" error in this stanza (the fourth one). Anyway, it is no error, but a poetic license. Let me explain to you:

The sage Kṣemarāja uses in this stanza the meter known as Śārdūlavikrīḍita (lit. tiger's play... ominous name, really!, hehe), which consists of 19 syllables per pāda (or quarter). In the above poetry, the fourth stanza looks like this:

Dehaprāṇasukhādibhiḥ parimitāhantāspadaiḥ saṁvṛtaścaitanyaṁ cinute nijaṁ na sumahanmāheśvaraṁ svaṁ janaḥ|
Madhye bodhasudhābdhi viśvamabhitastatphenapiṇḍopamaṁ yaḥ paśyedupadeśatastu kathitaḥ sākṣātsa ekaḥ śivaḥ||4||

But, for tracing the meter you need to divide it into four quarters with 19 syllables each, this way:

Dehaprāṇasukhādibhiḥ parimitāhantāspadaiḥ saṁvṛta-
ścaitanyaṁ cinute nijaṁ na sumahanmāheśvaraṁ svaṁ janaḥ|
Madhye bodhasudhābdhi viśvamabhitastatphenapiṇḍopamaṁ
yaḥ paśyedupadeśatastu kathitaḥ sākṣātsa ekaḥ śivaḥ||4||

Now it is ready for marking the syllables, but before a little Sanskrit prosody:

According to Sanskrit prosody, a stanza or padya consists of four pāda-s --also known as "pada-s"-- or quarters. Such a stanza may be either vṛtta (with meter regulated by the number and position of syllables --akṣara-- in each pāda or quarter) or jāti (with meter regulated by the number of syllabic instants --mātrā-- in each pāda or quarter). Forget about "jāti" here because the meter of the present stanza is of the class "vṛtta". This class contains three subclasses: (1) samavṛtta (the four quarters of a stanza are similar), (2) ardhasamavṛtta (the alternate quarters are similar) and (3) viṣama (the four quarters are dissimilar).

Well, the current stanza belongs to the subclass samavṛtta (all the quarters are similar). This subclass is composed of 26 varieties, from 1 syllable per quarter through 26 syllables per quarter. In turn, each variety is divided into subvarieties according to the position of short (lit. light) and long (lit. heavy) syllables, etc. Within the variety of 19 syllables per quarter, Kṣemarāja chose the subvariety known as Śārdūlavikrīḍita. There are other two more specimens called Meghavisphūrjitā (lit. the rumbling of cloud) and Sumadhurā (lit. very sweet), all of them within the variety of 19 syllables per quarter. Good!

Syllables are short or long because they contain short or long vowels. Short vowels are: a, i, u, ṛ, ḷ. Long vowels are long for two reasons: (1) They are naturally long (ā, ī, ū, ṝ, e, ai, o, au), (2) they are prosodically long because of their being followed by Anusvāra or Visarga, or by two or more consonants (e.g. aṁ, aḥ, antr). The last syllable of a quarter is "always" short or long according to the meter requirements, despite it is short or naturally/prosodically long, i.e. the authors are free to use any syllable (short or long) for the last one in a quarter and this will "always" meet the meter requirements. Remember this!

In turn, in order to make the things any more simple (no jokes), Sanskrit prosody takes each particular series of three syllables in a quarter and gives it a certain name. These groups of three syllables are known as "gaṇa-s" (do not mistake these for the well-known gaṇa-s or houses used for classifying verbs) and only exist in this manner in stanzas that are vṛtta (with meter regulated by the number and position of syllables --akṣara-- in each pāda or quarter) like the current one I am analyzing. Each gaṇa is formed from three syllables, but in this particular way:

Either the three syllables are long or the three syllables are short or a mixture (several combinations of short and long syllables). Look:

  1. ma: long-long-long
  2. na: short-short-short
  3. bha: long-short-short
  4. ya: short-long-long
  5. ja: short-long-short
  6. ra: long-short-long
  7. sa: short-short-long
  8. ta: long-long-short

The name "la" is used for designating a short syllable, and the name "ga" indicates a long syllable at the end of a quarter. OK, my God, yes, it was hard, but if I had not explained that to you, you would not understand what I am about to say afterward. One more thing, the subvariety called Śārdūlavikrīḍita (chosen by the sage to compose this stanza) follows this gaṇa pattern in each of its quarters:

ma, sa, ja, sa, ta, ta, ga — viz. long-long-long, short-short-long, short-long-short, short-short-long, long-long-short, long-long-short, long (in this case, the last syllable is long, but remember that the last syllable "always" meets the meter requirements whether it is short or long, i.e. the author is free to use a short or long syllable at the end of a quarter).

Let us mark the syllables in the original poetry to check if the stanza (as formulated originally) is following the gaṇa pattern as it should:


long-long-long, short-short-long, short-long-short, short-short-long, long-long-short, long-long-short, long
long-long-long, short-short-long, short-long-short, short-short-long, long-long-short, long-long-short, long
long-long-long, short-short-long, short-long-short, short-short-long, long-long-short, long-long-short, long
long-long-long, short-short-long, short-long-short, short-short-long, long-long-short, long-long-short, long

Excellent, Kṣemarāja! Evidently you know about Sanskrit prosody! (joking). Well, as you can see, the sage fully met the meter requirements. Anyway, when you analyze the stanza from a grammatical viewpoint, you notice something strange. Look at the first expression of the third quarter: "Madhye bodhasudhābdhi" (In the middle... the ocean of the Nectar of Consciousness?!). When you try to translate it you realize that "abdhi" (ocean) is NOT properly declined either in Genitive case (abdheḥ) or in Locative case (abdhau) since "abdhi" is a masculine noun ending in "i" [See Declension (2)]. As you know that words associated with the indeclinable "madhye" (in the middle) must be declined in Genitive generally, and sometimes even in Locative, when they are not forming a compound, you wonder what happened there. Simple: If the sage had declined the word properly in Genitive or Locative (abdheḥ would changed to abdher by the 7th Rule of Visarga Sandhi, and abdhau would remain the same), the phrase would look: "Madhye bodhasudhābdher" or "Madhye bodhasudhābdhau", and now you could translate it without any problem as "In the middle of the ocean of the Nectar of Consciousness". And the pāda or quarter would look like this:

or else

That was good from a grammatical viewpoint, but what about its meeting the meter requirements? Let us see:

long-long-long, short-short-long, long-long-short, short-short-long, long-long-short, long-long-short, long
long-long-long, short-short-long, long-long-short, short-short-long, long-long-short, long-long-short, long

Oh no, it should be a "short" syllable! That did not meet the meter requirements (neither "abdher" nor "abdhau" did so!). That is why Kṣemarāja opted to leave the word "abdhi" as such, in a crude form (in a uninflected state or prātipadika), in the way the word "abdhi" occurs in the dictionaries. By doing so, he makes very clear that it is not a grammatical error but a poetic license he implemented in order to fully meet the requirements of the Śārdūlavikrīḍita meter.Return


 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.

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