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 Spandanirṇaya (Spanda Nirnaya) Section I (aphorisms 3 to 5) Pure - Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir

Pure translation


This is the second set of 3 aphorisms out of 25 aphorisms constituting the first Section (dealing with Svarūpaspanda or Spanda as one's own nature). As you know, the entire work is composed of 53 aphorisms of Spandakārikā-s plus their respective commentaries.

Of course, I will also insert the original 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, go to "Scriptures (study)|Spandanirṇaya" in Trika section.

Read Spandanirṇaya and experience Supreme Ānanda or Divine Bliss, 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 3

An objection: "Such an essential nature (of Śaṅkara or Śiva) is not experienced during the states of wakefulness, etc. And if, according to the arguments which have been declared (previously), this (essential nature) is not confined or restrained by anything, therefore it will confine or restrain itself in the states of wakefulness, etc.". (The question is: Is this reasoning valid?). Because of the (existence of such a) doubt, (now) the one who instructs and awakens --i.e. the author of Spandakārikā-s-- teaches the person who does not understand the meaning (of what has already been) described (before. He does so by means of the following stanza)

Even in the variety (of states, such as) wakefulness, etc., which --i.e. "the variety of states"-- is not separate from that (Spanda, the principle of Spanda) continues to flow. (Spanda) does not (ever) depart from Its own essential nature as the Perceiver or Experient --upalabdhṛ--||3||

The term "jāgrat" --i.e. wakefulness-- (is) synonymous with "jāgarā", since it is so used by the learned men|

(Even though) the variety (of states) of wakefulness, dream (and) deep sleep --suṣupta--1 , which is well-known among ordinary people, or even (though the variety) consisting of concentration, meditation, (and) perfect concentration, which is well-known among the yogī-s, flows; (in other words, although such a variety containing states that appear to be) different from one another, continues to stream (like a river), as a matter of fact, that principle (of the Supreme Vibration) does not depart at all from its own invariable essential nature which is the Self of all and whose form (is) the Perceiver or Experient|

Undoubtedly, if that (Principle) were to depart on Its own, (then,) wakefulness, etc., being devoid of Its Light, (would) also (depart. In short,) nothing would appear|

And the condition of Perceiver or Experient relating to this (Principle) is proved from own perception of everybody during wakefulness (and) dream --svapna--2 |

Although in the case of deep sleep that (condition of Perceiver of Experient) is not perceived in a similar way (as in wakefulness and dream), nonetheless it is proved from the subsequent memory, because it cannot be proved otherwise3 . (In consequence, the principle of Supreme Vibration) does not depart from Its own essential nature as the Perceiver or Experient. However, (let) that which can be perceived, (such as) the state (of deep sleep), etc., depart4  at their pleasure through the exalted position of that (Perceiver or Experient)! What (is) the damage in this respect?5 |

The word "eva" (in the aphorism might also be taken) as following a different order (than that of the original text) in the sense of "api" --i.e. "even, also"--. (Thus, "eva" might add an additional meaning to enrich the text): "tadabhāve'pi" or "even in the absence of that --i.e. wakefulness, dream and deep sleep--". (Therefore, the final statement would read): "tadabhāve'pi na nivartate" or (even in the absence of wakefulness, dream or deep sleep, the principle of Spanda or Supreme Vibration) does not depart (from Its own essential nature as the Perceiver or Experient)". This is sense|

--Thus, this additional interpretation of "eva" as meaning "api" (even, also) in the sense of "tadabhāve'pi", plus a change of the textual order, would transform the original aphorism and consequently enrich its meaning. Of course, in changing the order of the words, these also change their form sometimes by the Rules of Sandhi. Look:

Jāgradādivibhede'pi tadabhinne prasarpati|
Nijātsvabhāvādupalabdhṛtastadabhāve'pi na nivartate||

Through these changes, the aphorism might also be translated in the following manner according to Kṣemarāja:

"Even in the variety (of states, such as) wakefulness, etc., which --i.e. "the variety of states"-- is not separate from that (Spanda, the principle of Spanda) continues to flow. (Spanda) does not (ever) depart from Its own essential nature as the Perceiver or Experient --upalabdhṛ--, even in the absence of that --i.e. wakefulness, dream and deep sleep-- (too)."6 --

(The compound) "tadabhinne" --i.e. "in (the variety of states,) which is not separate from that (Spanda)"-- (acts as) a "hetu" adjective7  that qualifies the variety (of states such as) wakefulness, etc. (By interpreting "tadabhinne" in that way, its literal meaning is greatly enriched): Since (such a variety of states such as wakefulness, etc.) shines forth from that essential nature of Śiva as not different (from Himself), it --i.e. the aforesaid variety-- consists of Prakāśa or Light8  (as well). This is the sense|

--Thus, this first interpretation states that the compound "tadabhinne" means:

"Since such a variety of states such as wakefulness, etc. shines forth from that essential nature of Śiva as not different from Himself, it --i.e. the aforesaid variety-- consists of Prakāśa or Light as well". In other words, the aphorism might also be translated in the following manner:

"Even in the variety (of states, such as) wakefulness, etc., (the principle of Spanda) continues to flow. (Besides,) since such a variety of states such as wakefulness, etc. shines forth from that essential nature of Śiva as not different from Himself, it --i.e. the aforesaid variety-- consists of Prakāśa or Light as well. (Spanda) does not (ever) depart from Its own essential nature as the Perceiver or Experient --upalabdhṛ--."--

If (the variety of states such as wakefulness, etc.) is identical with Him --i.e. the Supreme Self--, (then,) how (is) that (variety) going to remain in the case of His departure?|

Or else, (the word) "tad" (in "tadabhinne" might be considered as) the subject (of the sentence)|

(In turn, the term) "abhinne" (in tadabhinne might be considered as) only a state or condition of identity of wakefulness, etc. in respect to Śiva indeed|

In other words, the construction of the phrase (would read: "Tattattvaṁ jāgarādibhede'pi sati prasarpati prasarati vaicitryaṁ gṛhṇāti tannaiva svabhāvānnivartate" or) "That principle (of the Supreme Vibration or Spanda), even though there is a variety (of states such as) wakefulness, etc., continues to flow (and) expands, (i.e.) It assumes diversity. (Anyway,) that (Principle) does not (ever) depart from Its own essential nature" --this would be a second interpretation of "tadabhinne"--|

Moreover, (as) the followers of Sāṅkhya (and) Pañcarātra (along with) the grammarians, etc.9  believe that this variety (of states such as) wakefulness, etc. (constitute) pariṇāma --i.e. transformation, change, modification-- or vivartá --illusory appearance--, the phrase "tadabhinne" (can) also (be used) to reject or refute that|

If even the multiplicity of states, taken as a transformation or "pariṇāma" (of pure Consciousness, was) even slightly different from pure Consciousness, (then,) on the transformation of that (multiplicity) Consciousness (would) also be slightly different --i.e. It would be modified or transformed in the process too--, (and) consequently nothing would shine forth. Thus, (at least) to such an extent, there is no pariṇāma or transformation|

As has been stated in the venerable Kiraṇa:

"Pariṇāma or transformation is suitably applicable to the insentient (but) not to the sentient"|

Also, that which shines forth is not unreal, (because if so,) even the principle --tattva-- of Brahma --i.e. the Absolute--10  (would) enter into a similar condition --i.e. Brahma would also be unreal--. In this manner, (the theory of) "vivartá" --i.e. illusory appearance--, (which is related to) unreality (and) separation, (and which) makes (the universe) assume --grāhita-- another form --i.e. a form that is different from Brahma or the Absolute Reality--, is not appropriate or suitable either|

Besides, by this --i.e. the phrase "tadabhinne"-- the Lord's --lit. of the Fortunate One-- power to perform what is very hard to be accomplished (is) certainly implied --i.e. alluded--|

Since He manifests the variety (of states such as) wakefulness, etc. indeed, in (manifesting) that (variety the Lord manifests) His unity (too). Thus, That --i.e. the Lord-- flashes forth by means of difference or duality, unity or absence of difference ca that whose form is both (things) --i.e. duality and unity--, (in short,) through what is of the nature of the three powers of Aparā, Parā (and) Parāparā. In this way, the very Fortunate One becomes brilliantly displayed as the excellent principle of triad --i.e. the Trika system--11 |

Therefore, that Śaṅkara --i.e. the Lord-- Himself (is the One) who thus inquires into (and) gets in touch with this essential nature even while remaining in the states of wakefulness, etc. This is what is taught (by the third aphorism of Spandakārikā-s)||3||

Skip the notes

1  The difference between dream and deep sleep is that in the former there are "dreams" while the latter is without them. Deep sleep is just a void.Return 

2  The purport here is that "everyone" can "directly" verify the presence of a Perceiver or Experient during wakefulness and dream. This condition of Perceiver or Experient is obviously related to the abovementioned Principle, that is, the principle of Supreme Vibration or Spanda.Return 

3  Only a great being can be "directly" conscious of the void known as deep sleep at the moment it is occurring. The rest of people only are conscious of deep sleep by means of a mere remembrance once they come out of it.Return 

4  The word "nivartatām" means "let it depart!" (Imperative Mood, 3rd person singular, Ātmanepada, of the root "nivṛt"). The conjugation "nivartatām" is in singular number as it is related to "upalabhyam", which is in singular. I had to add "let" nearly at the beginning of the sentence in order to make it understandable in English.Return 

5  The sense is that any of those states (wakefulness, dream or deep sleep) can depart, i.e. disappear or cease, whenever they wish to do so due to the exalted position or majesty of the Supreme Self (the Perceiver), because whether or not they are present, the Perceiver or Experient remains untroubled as the Absolute Reality.Return 

6  The meaning is thus enriched by this alternative Kṣemarāja's interpretation, as the author of Spandakārikā-s would not be only stating that Spanda remains as the Perceiver or Experient during the "presence" of wakefulness, dream and deep sleep, but also during their "absence". In other words, Spanda does not depend at all upon the three ordinary states of consciousness. Got the point? Good! Return 

7  A "hetu" adjective is one that, apart from qualifying (as the vast majority of adjectives does) a noun ("the variety of states such as wakefulness, etc.", in this case), gives a reason as well. "Tadabhinne" or literally "in what is not separate from That" (it refers to the aforesaid variety of states that is not separated from Spanda) certainly qualifies "vibheda" or "variety (of states)", but it also gives a reason: "Since that variety of states is not separate from that Spanda, which is Prakāśa or Light, the nature of such a variety is Light too". This is what Kṣemarāja is about to say now. Keep reading, please.Return 

8  In the Trika system, that is, Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir, the technical term to designate Śiva (the Supreme Self) is "Prakāśa" (Light).Return 

9  Sāṅkhya is one of the six traditional philosophical system of India, while Pañcarātra is a series of sacred books whose teachings are followed by the Pāñcarātra system (a Vaiṣṇava group that worships Lord Kṛṣṇa and His four vyūha-s or emanations). Pāñcarātra system is also known as Bhāgavata, Nārāyaṇīya, Ekāntika and Sāttvata. In turn, by "śābdika-s" or grammarians, Kṣemarāja is mostly referring to the followers of the celebrated Vākyapadīya composed by the sage Bhartṛhari. See First Steps (1), First Steps (2) and First Steps (3) for more information.Return 

10  The followers of the vivartá theory call the Highest Reality "Brahma". At this moment, Kṣemarāja is showing some basic inconsistencies in such a theory.Return 

11  Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir is commonly known as "Trika" (triple) because it mainly deals with the three aspects of the Lord: Parā (Supreme), Aparā (the opposite to Parā, i.e. inferior, lower) and Parāparā (a mixture of Parā and Aparā). Another way to designate these three aspects is the following: Abheda (unity), Bheda (duality) and Bhedābheda (unity in duality).Return 


 Aphorism 4

Now, (on one hand,) those who (are) followers of Sugata --an epithet of Buddha-- believe (in the following): "The (Supreme) Principle (is) only a continuous flow of knowledges", based on the argument (stating that) "We see this single Consciousness as a multiform alteration --i.e. an altered form of that Consciousness-- (consisting of) joy, depression, etc."1 . On the other hand, those who (are) followers of the Mīmāṁsā system2  maintain (the following): "The Self (is) that which is known in I-consciousness always concealed or eclipsed by the attributes of happiness, etc.". (The author of the Spandakārikā-s) refutes those (arguments) by only one stanza --śloka--:

"I (am) happy, I (am) pained, I (am) attached", etc. Those cognitions remain evidently in another, in whom the states of happiness, etc. are strung together (like beads in a necklace)||4||

The very "I" who (is) happy (is also) the one (who is) pained (and) attached. (These cognitions or knowledges arise) because (that "I") is (somehow) connected (at that moment) with "rāga" or affection, which lies or rests --anuśāyī-- in pleasure. In turn, (such an experience as "I am) hated or odious"3  (occurs) because (that "I") is (somehow) related (at that moment) to hatred, which lies or rests --anuśāyī-- in pain, and so on. Those cognitions (or) knowledges remain in "another", viz. in the principle of the Self --ātmā-- (who is) the possessor of (such) states --avasthātā--. (In short,) they rest evidently in that inner (Self) while being witnessed by Himself|

Otherwise, since the momentary knowledges --kṣaṇika-jñānāni-- wane --i.e. disappear-- merely in one's own Self --which is a Void or Not Self according to the Buddhists--, the thoughts or ideas --vikalpās-- born from their latent impressions --i.e. from the latent impressions left behind by those momentary knowledges-- also (would wane or disappear. Thus,) this interconnection (between momentary knowledges and thoughts or ideas arisen from the latent impressions left by the former) would not take place (because,) on (their) not being within the field of experience, there would absence --abhāva-- of manifestation or activity (as far as those thoughts or ideas are concerned)4 |

The words "ca"5 , being used with equal relation, make clear or evident the interconnection --i.e. the interconnection between knowledge and thought or idea--|

Of what kind (is that) "another" --anyat-- (referred to in the aphorism)? (The answer is provided by the aphorism itself in the form of "Sukhādyavasthānusyūte vartante", that is), the states of happiness, etc., which arise (and) get dissolved --pralayinyaḥ--, are strung together (or) tied together in the One who --yaḥ-- stays as the thread of the inner wreath in which such states of happiness, etc. are strung together (like flowers)6 |

"Tāḥ" (appears almost at the end of the aphorism). By this (term, the sūtra or aphorism) is (also) referring to recollection of (those) interconnected states --avasthāḥ--. According to the doctrine proclaiming the momentary knowledges --i.e. Buddhism--, since memory emerges --utpannā-- from the latent impressions (left) by the (previous) experience, it appears endowed with the form of the thing (which was formerly experienced) as well. Even though there can be similarity in the experience --i.e. the recollected thing is "similar" but not "equal" to the one which was actually experienced--, however it is not possible (a condition in which) the thing (experienced) in the past is restored (at present such as) was perceived in the (direct) experience7 . But, as pointed out (by the author of this fourth aphorism in an indirect way: When) there is an Experient --pramātā-- within all cognitions, the whole thing is right8 . Thus, enough of these conversations which give dislike to the students of very tender heart9 |

(The scripture known as) Pratyabhijñā --i.e. Īśvarapratyabhijñā composed by the great Utpaladeva-- should be examined and investigated by those who seek after this (sort of subtle discussions)|

Nonetheless, because (the aforesaid) reasoning is used here in the aphorism by the author, therefore it has been exposed or shown briefly by us. So, the intelligent people --sacetasas-- must not be discontented with us10 |

In order to refute the followers of Pūrvamīmāṁsā --See note 2--, this --i.e. that "another" in the word "anyatra" or "in another"-- must be interpreted in this manner indeed:

Whatsoever cognitions, (such as) "I (am) happy, etc.", remain (or) stand evidently, i.e. (to which) popular belief attests, "in another". (In other words, they remain) in an experient who has the states --avasthāḥ-- of happiness, etc. strung together --anusyūtaḥ--, (that is, in an experient) whose form --rūpaḥ-- is completely interwoven --lit. sewn lengthwise and crosswise-- (by those states, and) whose nature (is) Puryaṣṭaka or subtle body11 . (According to this special viewpoint being used to refute the followers of Pūrvamīmāṁsā, such cognitions or saṁvid-s) certainly do not (remain) in this compact mass --ghana-- of Consciousness (and) Bliss which is the Self --ātmā-- of Śaṅkara (and) one's own essential nature --svabhāvaḥ--, as admitted --abhyupagataḥ-- by us12 . Thus, this Self is not always concealed or eclipsed by the "upādhi-s" or attributes (such as) happiness, etc. (as affirmed by the Mīmāṁsaka-s or followers of Pūrvamīmāṁsā) but (He is) also full of Consciousness --i.e. He is pure Consciousness and at the same time assumes the Puryaṣṭaka state or limited experient (i.e. the one identified with his own mind and personality), in which He "appears to be" eclipsed or concealed by the states of happiness, etc.--|

Undoubtedly, when this (Self) hides or conceals --lit. having hidden or concealed-- His essential nature by His own impurity, which is to be described (later on), then He abides in the state of Puryaṣṭaka or subtle body, etc.13  (and) the condition or state consisting of happiness, etc. --i.e. the experience of happiness, pain, attachment, etc.-- (seems to be) of His. (Nevertheless), as has been said (before, in the second aphorism): "Even in that (limited condition He assumes voluntarily), there is no obstruction to Him by those (states) of happiness, etc. --i.e. He cannot be obstructed by happiness, etc. even in the Puryaṣṭaka state, which is a heavily conditioned one--", consequently, this (Supreme Self is) never eclipsed by that --i.e. by happiness, etc.--|

(So, according to what has been explained above), this (is) the intention of the one who says --i.e. the author of the fourth aphorism-- "I (am) happy, pained, etc." by abandoning (inferior) beliefs (such as) "I (am) thin", "I (am) fat", etc.14 . (A person) recognizes his own Self as having the nature of Śiva --i.e. he recognizes that his own Self is Śiva Himself-- by submerging the Puryaṣṭaka condition, which gets in touch with the cognitions of happiness, etc., in the inner state --i.e. in the inner Self who is a witness of Puryaṣṭaka and its cognitions--, (and) by also dissolving together with that --i.e. with Puryaṣṭaka-- all that is external --bāhya--, e.g. body, jar, etc. --ādi-- (in that very inner state). Thus, "an effort is to be made in every possible way for calming down Puryaṣṭaka or subtle body" --i.e. intellect, ego, mind and subtle elements, which the subtle body is composed of, should be appeased by all kind of effort--||4||

Skip the notes

1  By "a continuous flow of knowledges", Kṣemarāja is referring to the theory of the momentary knowledges, which is supported by the Buddhists. For example: every thought, emotion and the like are knowledges, but between them there is just a Void. On the other hand, Trika states that what is between thoughts, emotions, etc. is not a mere Void but the Supreme Perceiver or Experient. He may appear to be void because He does not contain any object, but in turn He is full of Consciousness, according to the Trika system. This is what Kṣemarāja will attempt to establish later by refuting the theory of the momentary knowledges.Return 

2  The Mīmāṁsā system is commonly known as Pūrvamīmāṁsā. It is one of the six traditional Indian philosophies. See First Steps (1), First Steps (2) and First Steps (3) for more information.Return 

3  A different reading states that it is really "dveṣṭā" or "hater" (i.e. one who hates), which would be more consistent in my humble opinion. Still, I had to translate the text to the letter.Return 

4  This sentence may make a person easily confused, but its purport is simple: if the momentary knowledges are "momentary" i.e. "ephemeral" (such as the Buddhists affirm), they do not leave any saṁskāra or latent impression behind because of their momentariness. Without any saṁskāra-s being left behind, any new thought or idea cannot arise out of them simply because such saṁskāra-s do not exist. Thus, there can be no anusandhāna or interconnection between momentary knowledges and vikalpa-s (the subsequent thoughts or ideas born from the latent impressions left by the former), since these vikalpa-s cannot emerge i.e. manifest and display activity, as they are without their respective saṁskāra-s. Besides, in the absence of saṁskāra-s or latent impressions, no adequate memory is possible either. Oh well, maybe my explanation was more complicated than the gloss of Kṣemarāja, but I did my best, hehe.Return 

5  These "ca" are indeclinable conjunctions (read Adverbial compounds for more information). They are situated in the first line of the fourth aphorism Kṣemarāja is commenting on:
"Ahaṁ sukhī ca duḥkhī ca raktaścetyādisaṁvidaḥ". You can see clearly two of them. The third one is hidden. Let us separate the words and dissolve the Sandhi Rules (combination):
"Aham sukhī ca duḥkhī ca raktaḥ ca iti-ādi-saṁvidaḥ". You can see the third "ca" now. The conjunction "ca" generally means "and", and this is what those three mean in this case (that is why Kṣemarāja says "being used with equal relation"), but I decided not to translate them like that within the aphorism in order not to be redundant: "I am happy and I am pained and I am attached, etc.".Return 

6  The states of happiness, etc. occurring inside a living being are like flowers of an inner wreath, while the Self (i.e. that "another") acts as the thread interconnecting those flowers. Therefore, the Perceiver or Experient is the One in whom such states are strung together. This is the sense.Return 

7  Kṣemarāja states that since memory, according to Buddhism, is based merely on saṁskāra-s or latent impressions left by those momentary knowledges, the thing that was experienced in the past cannot be restored or reproduced exactly as such in the absence of a eternal Perceiver or Experient connecting the aforesaid momentary knowledges. Thus, Kṣemarāja says that such memory can only generate similarity but not sameness regarding the things one experienced previously. According to him, the Buddhism is wrong as memory can indeed "exactly" restore at present any thing perceived in the past. In short, the restored thing is "equal" to that of the past and not just "similar". This point is clear, I think. Keep reading because he is going to explain how to fix that erroneous Buddhist viewpoint.Return 

8  According to Kṣemarāja, the sage Vasugupta was the author of Spandakārikā-s. Thus, Vasugupta himself, through his fourth aphorism would also be insinuating that to include an omnipresent Perceiver or Experient is the final solution for all those problems troubling Buddhism in respect to the interconnection between cognitions (i.e. knowledges) and thoughts or ideas, along with the problem as regards memory. This is the sense.Return 

9  By "students of very tender heart", Kṣemarāja is mentioning those students with very weak intellects. For example, myself, the translator. For God's sake, Kṣemarāja, do not keep writing such long compounds, agglutinating words and discussing on those complex subjects or I will have a heart attack. Now, you understand why "heart" is synonymous with "intellect" in this context. This prose is killing the last residue of pride in me. So you are a proud Sanskrit translator... come and translate these conversations. Obviously, newbies in Sanskrit learning should not take this gloss as a means for practicing their skills except they want to behold the ocean of their Sanskrit ignorance. For those beginners, I recommend Pañcatantra or Hitopadeśa to start with instead. Believe me, to translate Spandanirṇaya is not turning out to be a piece of cake but a journey to insanity.Return 

10  I do not know what the intelligent people will do, but this poor translator praises your brevity, dear Kṣemarāja. Another reasoning like that and my mind was dead. Oh sorry, I cannot stop joking, but I am being sincere at least.Return 

11  Puryaṣṭaka (purī-aṣṭaka) is an epithet of the subtle body (sūkṣmaśarīra). There are four bodies or śarīra-s: sthūla (gross), sūkṣma (subtle), kāraṇa (causal) and mahākāraṇa (supracausal). The subtle body is generally called Puryaṣṭaka [lit. the city (purī) consisting of eight (aṣṭaka); "city" is synonymous with "body" in this context] because it is formed from eight tattva-s or categories of the universal manifestation, viz. Buddhi (intellect), Ahaṅkāra (ego), Manas (mind) and the five Tanmātra-s or subtle elements. Note that the Indriya-s (Jñānendriya-s and Karmendriya-s), because they arise out of Manas and Ahaṅkāra respectively, are tacitly included in Puryaṣṭaka. See Tattvic chart, and in fact the entire Trika section if you wish, for more information about what I have explained previously.Return 

12  What Kṣemarāja means to say is that, in this case, in order to refute the followers of Pūrvamīmāṁsā, the word "anyatra" (in another) in the aphorism he is commenting on should not be taken in the sense of "in the Self of Śaṅkara i.e. Śiva or one's own essential nature", but as merely Puryaṣṭaka or subtle body. Thus, the experiences of "I am happy, etc." rest in Puryaṣṭaka and not in the Supreme Self "directly", who is never eclipsed or obstructed by anything as pointed out by the second aphorism of Spandakārikā-s. Of course, as Puryaṣṭaka stands for a role played by that Supreme Self or "I", the final Experient is always Him i.e. Śiva, indirectly or directly, but to reject the theory maintained by the Mīmāṁsaka-s (the followers of Pūrvamīmāṁsā), Kṣemarāja is indicating an alternative interpretation of "anyatra" as meaning "in Puryaṣṭaka". What the heck are the Mīmāṁsaka-s holding?... if you are wondering this, read the introduction to the present fourth aphorism. Afterward, keep reading the commentary and you will finally understand what I have just said.Return 

13  By "etc." the gross and causal bodies are denoted. See note 11 above.Return 

14  Kṣemarāja is thus specifying that what was explained by him previously is the intention of Vasugupta --the author of Spandakārikā-s according to him-- in saying in the present aphorism "I am happy", "I am pained", etc. All these cognitions are related to Puryaṣṭaka or subtle body, which is predominantly mental. In turn, the cognitions "I am thin", "I am fat", etc. were not included in the aphorism because they pertain to the gross or physical body, which is inferior to Puryaṣṭaka. That is why Kṣemarāja indicates "by abandoning" (parihāreṇa). Oh well, it is simple, isn't it?... oh my God!, hehe. See note 11 for more information about bodies.Return 


 Aphorism 5

By insisting upon the impossibility of all doctrines or theories --vādāḥ--, which has been proven by the aforesaid argument, the main Guru of the secret teaching --i.e. the sage Utpaladeva--, who knows the Āgama-s or revealed scriptures (along with) their arguments, (and who additionally) has (personal) experience (regarding all that), recognizes (that) "only the principle of the Supreme Vibration proved by means of arguments is (the Truth)":

Wherein (there is) neither pain nor pleasure nor object nor subject; (wherein) the state of insentience does not even exist... that is, in the highest sense, (the principle of Spanda)||5||

Here --i.e. in this world--, whatsoever internal object (such as) pain, pleasure, etc., (whatsoever) external object (such as) blue, yellow, etc., and whatsoever experient of this --i.e. of these objects-- (such as) Puryaṣṭaka --subtle body, see note 11 below the commentary of the previous aphorism--, (gross) body, Indriya-s1 , etc. (there may be)... (all) that is like deep sleep. So, it can be said (that) evidently does not exist as long as it is not perceived|

Nonetheless, when (all that, i.e. objects and experients) is perceived, then, even this --i.e. objects and experients-- which is being perceived --sañcetyamāna--, since it is full of Caitanya or Absolute Consciousness, is just Absolute Consciousness. This is (the conclusion one) arrives at|

(This is) what the most venerable Utpaladeva, our great grand Guru, who knows the secret Principle, said in (his) beautiful and holy Īśvarapratyabhijñā2 :

"The object being manifested is of the nature of Prakāśa or Light --i.e. Śiva--, and what is not Prakāśa or Light cannot be established (as existent) --an alternative translation would be "does not come into existence" as the root "sidh" has several meanings (to be established or proved, come into existence, etc.)--"|

Here --i.e. in Īśvarapratyabhijñā of Utpaladeva--, it will also be said:

"On account of having the form of His perception or knowledge (and) due to the acquisition of identity (with Him)"|

Therefore, that only compact mass of Prakāśa or Light in which there is neither pain, pleasure, blue, etc. nor their experient, is the (Supreme) Principle|

An objection: "Thus, when there is extinguishment of all objects (and their respective) experients, the (Supreme) Principle is solely a Void", this is (the conclusion one) arrives at. (The author of Spandakārikā-s, i.e. Vasugupta according to Kṣemarāja) said: "No". (And he added): "And there is not even a condition or state of insentience"|

The state of insentience (appears) as insentience (itself) --i.e. it is manifest as such-- (or) also (may appear) in the form of void --i.e. it is not manifest at all--. In the case that there is no (insentience being manifest), that (state of insentience) doubtless does not become manifest either. (Then,) how is going to exist? --i.e. how can be said to there be a state of insentience then?--. (In turn,) if it becomes manifest, in that case, since it shines forth, that (state of insentience) is nothing (but) Light indeed. There is never absence of Light. In Its absence --abhāva--, even the absence --abhāva-- of Light cannot be proved --asiddha--|

This (subject matter) will occur here --i.e. in Spandakārikā-s; specifically in I, 16-- (as well). --Because Kṣemarāja quotes only the beginning of the aphorism, I will not translate his text as such because it does not make any sense without the rest of it, but I will add the entire translation afterward--:

"Na tu yo'ntarmukho bhāvaḥ..."|

--Now the entire sixteenth aphorism of the first section of Spandakārikā-s:

Na tu yo'ntarmukho bhāvaḥ sarvajñatvaguṇāspadam|
Tasya lopaḥ kadācitsyādanyasyānupalambhanāt||16||

There is never cessation of that inner state or nature which (is) the abode of the attribute of omniscience, on account of the nonperception of another.

Thus, the meaning is now clear. The first part of the following text deals with what the followers of Vedānta [specially Advaitavedānta or Non-dualistic Vedānta, see First Steps (1), First Steps (2) and First Steps (3) for more information] affirm regarding the Absolute Reality, which they call "Brahma". According to them, Brahma is merely Knowledge or Light completely devoid of Power (Vimarśa). This point is discussed by Kṣemarāja to a certain extent as it is extremely complex. Now Kṣemarāja continues to speak... listen to him attentively.--

Moreover, the state of insentience taken as Brahma, (that is), the principle which is merely Prakāśa or Light devoid of Vimarśa --i.e. Spanda or Śakti-- consisting of Lordship and full Power --in other words, "Brahma" as conceived by the followers of Advaitavedānta is merely Light or Prakāśa without Power or Śakti-- does not exist in that case either --i.e. such a state of insentience does not even exist in Brahma--. That is to say, the knowers of Vedānta --specially Advaitavedānta or Non-dualistic Vedānta in this context-- are convinced (that) "Brahma (is only) Knowledge", (but this cannot be true,) since (if so) even that (Brahma) would be inert or insentient because of His being without the Power of the Supreme Vibration or Spanda whose nature is Absolute Freedom3 |

As has been said in Pratyabhijñā --in other words, within Utpaladeva's Īśvarapratyabhijñā--:

(The sages) know that Vimarśa --i.e. Spanda or Śakti-- (is) the essential nature of the Supreme Light. Otherwise, Prakāśa or Light (would be) as inert (as) a crystal, etc., even if colored by the object"||

In the hymn (known as) Bhaṭṭanāyaka (is) also (stated the same teaching):

"Oh Lord, how much fruit would be produced (by) this eunuch Supreme Brahma if Your beautiful (and) feminine ruling Power would not exist?"||

Thus, that Principle alone "is or exists" which has been discussed (in the second aphorism of Spandakārikā-s -Section 1-) beginning with this: "Yatra sthitam" --See Aphorism 2--. And only That exists in the highest sense, as is proved by reasoning, experience (and) revealed scriptures. (That) exists really in a natural, perfect form, and not in an artificial (manner) --i.e. unnatural-- (such) as blue, etc.|

As has been said by the great Guru --lit. "Guru-s", keep in mind that what has been specified in note 2 is valid here too--:

"Thus, those inert objects are only of Prakāśa or Light --i.e. they belong only to Prakāśa-- (and) almost nonexistent in themselves. The Light of Oneself alone exists (as both) one's own Self (and) that of the others --to wit, even though there seem to be a lot of selves and objects, all is solely one's own Prakāśa--"4 ||

(As has) also (been expressed by) most venerable Bhartṛhari, (the famous śābdika or grammarian) --See note 9 below the commentary on the third aphorism--:

"Reality does belong to That which (exists) in the beginning, in the end and in the middle, (and) not to that which (merely) appears. (This is so), because Reality of that (which just appears exists) only as long as (such a thing remains manifest)"||

Since there is restriction or limitation in all (previous) sentences, the word "eva" --i.e. "only"-- is to be added thrice here5 |

In this way, by this aphorism --i.e. the fifth aphorism of Spandakārikā-s-- it is declared (that) "the Highest Principle is solely (That) whose form (is) the Power of Supreme Vibration", by insisting upon "asattva" or "nonexistence, unreality" --read the present fifth aphorism to fully understand this-- because of inapplicability of the doctrine(s) or viewpoint(s) of those who proclaim the continuous flow of cognitions in the form of pleasure, etc.6 , (or) the principle of the experient contaminated by pleasure, etc.7 , (or) the multiplicity of subjects (and) objects8 , (or) the absence of all (subjects and objects)9 , or --lit. "and"-- (that) Brahma (is) Prakāśa or Light with no activity --lit. "helpless"--10 |

Moreover, (when) this very principle of Supreme Vibration, whose essence is Sphurattā --i.e. the flashing and vibrating Śakti or divine Power of Śiva--, becomes manifest (because it is) pursued by an attentive, noble-minded (person) endowed with (proper) teaching, (then) even though (all) this, viz. "pain, pleasure, object, subject, absence of that --i.e. of pain, pleasure, object and subject--, etc.", takes place, (it means) nothing (to him), since (he considers) all as the quintessence of the delight of this (principle of Supreme Vibration or Spanda)11 . According to what has been taught, this (principle of Supreme Vibration) is that (which has just been explained) indeed|

The great Guru --lit. "Guru-s", keep in mind that what has been specified in note 2 is valid here too-- (mentioned) that (too):

"That (is) the path of Śaṅkara --i.e. Śiva-- in which even pains are pleasant, poison is turned into nectar, and Saṁsāra or Transmigration --i.e. bondage-- becomes a means of Liberation"||

The path of Śaṅkara --i.e. Śiva-- (is) expansion whose form is the Highest Power. (And as a result, this expansion is also) the cause or means to the attainment of the essential nature of the Śaṅkara's Self||5||

Skip the notes

1  Indriya-s are formed from Jñānendriya-s (Powers of perception) and Karmendriya-s (Powers of action). See Tattvic Chart for more information.Return 

2  Although Utpaladeva is one person, the entire phrase is in plural number because "pādāḥ" is in plural. The term "pādāḥ" (added to "śrīmadutpaladeva") comes from "pāda" (foot). The former is sometimes added to proper names or titles in token of respect. In this case, it could be translated as "the venerable". However, because "śrīmat" (holy, venerable, beautiful, etc.) is also included, I decided to interpret the whole thing (śrīmadutpaladevapādāḥ) as: "the most venerable Utpaladeva" in order to avoid redundance (got it?). If "pādāḥ" would not be there, but merely "śrīmadutpaladevaḥ" in singular, the entire phrase would also be in singular. Note that I am not including the Utpaladeva's stanza, obviously:
"Yadāha... Iti rahasyatattvavidasmatparameṣṭhī śrīmadutpaladevaḥ śrīmadīśvarapratyabhijñāyām" or "(This is) what the venerable Utpaladeva, our great grand Guru, who knows the secret Principle, said in (his) beautiful and holy Īśvarapratyabhijñā". The word "iti" was not translated here because it indicates the quotation marks of the Utpaladeva's stanza appearing in the form of suspension points in this case. So, "iti" is included within the translation of the stanza, understood? Finally, both "āhuḥ" and "āha" are conjugations in Reduplicative Perfect Tense (a type of past tense) derived from the root "ah" (to say, speak). This root is "defective", i.e. it only conjugates in specific persons and tenses. Most roots conjugate in all persons, tenses, moods, etc., as you surely know.Return 

3  Advaitavedānta postulate the existence of Brahma as the Absolute Reality. Anyway, since this Brahma is merely Knowledge or Prakāśa (Light), the question about how this universe came into manifestation just raises. In order to answer that question, Advaitavedānta introduces the concept of Māyā as the power manifesting, maintaining and dissolving the universe. Still, the presence of Māyā in turn introduces a new problem: Is She Brahma or not? If She is Brahma, then Brahma is not mere Prakāśa or Light but it would also contain Vimarśa or Power, and Power implies "activity". Thus, Brahma would not be the underlying Reality devoid of all types of activity as postulated by Advaitavedānta. On the other hand, if Māyā is not Brahma, consequently there would be two Realities: Brahma and Māyā. Obviously, if this is true, non-dualism in Advaitavedānta (non-dualistic Vedānta) would be destroyed.

To have its problem resolved, Advaitavedānta specifies that Māyā is neither within nor without Brahma, but it is unreal as well as the universe manifested by Her. This theory just does not hold good according to the Trika system. Trika resolves the problem of Brahma and Māyā by declaring that the Absolute Reality contains both Prakāśa (Light or Knowledge) and Vimarśa (Power). Therefore, it is needless to introduce the principle of Māyā to explain the manifestation, etc. of the universe as the Supreme Self is the One who knows and does everything everywhere, and all that is known and done by Him is completely real while lasting. The concept of "complete" unreality in respect of the world is not necessary either. No doubt there is Māyā in Trika as well, but in the form of a tattva or category (the sixth one) of the universal manifestation --See Tattvic Chart for more information--. And this Trika's Māyā is real as the divine Power or Spanda is Her core. OK, enough of these subtleties.Return 

4  An alternative translation of "svaparātmabhiḥ" might also be: "as being one's own Self and the others", i.e. as Subject and objects.Return 

5  Therefore, according to Kṣemarāja, the first line of the Bhartṛhari's stanza should be understood as follows:
"Yadādau ca tasyaiva satyatā yadante ca tasyaiva satyatā yanmadhye ca tasyaiva satyatā" or "Reality (does) only belong to That which (exists) in the beginning, in the end and in the middle".Return 

6  Kṣemarāja is referring to Buddhists.Return 

7  Kṣemarāja is referring to the Cārvāka-s. Cārvāka is the materialistic philosophy of India. The central teaching here is that matter is the only reality. Thus, the Self is identified with the physical body according to this school. This system is also known as Lokāyata [See First Steps (2) for more information].Return 

8  Kṣemarāja is referring to the followers of Sāṅkhya [See First Steps (1), First Steps (2) and First Steps (3) for more information about this philosophical system].Return 

9  Kṣemarāja is referring to the Nāstivāda or nihilistic school.Return 

10  Kṣemarāja is referring to Vedānta, of course, specially to Advaitavedānta [See First Steps (1), First Steps (2) and First Steps (3) for more information about this philosophical system].Return 

11  I had to put everything together and add a few words to give some structure to the phrase because the way to write in Sanskrit is not like that of English. Literally: "sarvasyaitaccamatkāraikasāratvāt..." - "of everything, since it is the quintessence of the delight of this --i.e. of Spanda--". By giving some structure now: "since everything is the quintessence of the delight of this (Spanda)". Well, hopefully you understood. Therefore, remember this: as the Sanskrit structure cannot be "always" translated word for word into English, now and then I have to arrange the phrases a little bit or you will not understand their meanings.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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