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Spandanirṇaya (Spanda Nirnaya) Section II (aphorisms 1 to 7) pure - Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir
This is the first and only set of 7 aphorisms constituting the entire second Section (dealing with Sahajavidyodaya or the emergence of Natural Knowledge). 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.
Kṣemarāja's Sanskrit will be in dark green color while the original Vasugupta's aphorisms will be shown in dark red color. In turn, within the transliteration, the original aphorisms will be in brown color, while the Kṣemarāja's comments will be shown in black. Also, within the translation, the original aphorisms by Vasugupta, i.e. the Spandakārikā-s, will be in green and black colors, while the commentary by Kṣemarāja will contain words in both black and red colors.
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.
Summary of the second Section
In this way, (Vasugupta) explained --lit. after explaining-- that the principle of Spanda, which is one's own essential nature, is recognizable by nimīlanasamādhi --trance with closed eyes--, (and) that, (such a principle,) having signs or tokens which can serve as a proof, it is suitable to reasoning --i.e. it can be proved by means of reasoning--. Just as through the constant apprehension of that essential nature, the state of suprabuddha --the state of perfectly awakened-- has been --lit. is-- previously indicated (by Vasugupta --the author--) in the first section, so now, in order to explore Its --of the principle of Spanda-- universality —which is recognizable by unmīlanasamādhi --trance with open eyes--— even by means of reasoning, he chooses this second section —which reveals unity in Consciousness everywhere (and) whose name (is) 'The emergence of Natural Knowledge'— consisting of seven stanzas, beginning with 'Grabbing hold of that (Force)', (and) ending with '(And this initiation...) bestows the real state of Śiva'|
In It --in Spanda--, the universe, with the division of pure and impure, (is) two-fold|
There --in this second section--, by means of two stanzas --i.e. the first two stanzas--, it is declared that the pure (universe) comprising Mantra --the knower of Aham, in Sadvidyātattva--, etc. has arisen from It --from Spanda--, is one with It (and finally) gets dissolved --lit. rests/ceases-- in It|
By means of another group of two stanzas --viz. stanzas 3 and 4--, it is affirmed that the impure (universe is) also one with It --with Spanda-- certainly|
By means of one stanza --the fifth one--, it is said that the person who has attained --lit. ascended, mounted-- the perception of That --of Spanda-- (is) liberated while living|
By means of the (last) two stanzas, it is stated that only by the (constant) apprehension of this principle (of Spanda there is,) in the case of the spiritual aspirants, success in achieving their desired object. This has been a summary (of the second section)1 |
1 In the section 1 of Spandakārikā-s, nimīlanasamādhi (trance with closed eyes) is emphasized, while now, in the second section, the emphasis is laid on unmīlanasamādhi (trance with open eyes). In the first section, Vasugupta showed that the principle of Spanda is not only an experience but it can also be proved by proper reasoning. As in the previous section nimīlanasamādhi was predominating, the final experience was an internal one. In other words, it was a recognition of one's own Self during formal meditation (e.g. when you sit in a cross-legged posture and close your eyes, etc.). During nimīlanasamādhi or trance with closed eyes, you attain a penetration into your own Self. This is called 'Ātmavyāpti' or 'inherence in the (inner) Self'. But this state, while regarded as the pinnacle by other philosophical systems, is looked down on by Trika followers. Why? Because it ends at the moment you leave your formal meditation in a cross-legged posture and so on. It just lasts for so long as you can be there sitting with your eyes closed. In the end it is a kind of extra bondage, because when you are with your open eyes during your daily activities, you cannot keep your identification with the inner Self.
But now, in the section 2, Vasugupta is showing the means to keep this identification even while one is functioning in the world (with open eyes). The state of identity with the Self while one is doing his daily activities is known as 'Śivavyāpti' or 'inherence in Śiva'. In Ātmavyāpti one attained full identification with the microcosmic Self, but now in Śivavyāpti, you get identified with the macrocosmic Self of all (i.e. Śiva). This experience is universal. So, the experience of Spanda is not limited to experiencing unity with the inner Self only, but you should go beyond and attain unity with the universal Self (Śiva). In this way, the experience of your divine nature will continue forever, never stopping because you left your cross-legged meditation. Therefore, Śivavyāpti is the highest ideal in the Trika system. The achievement of Śivavyāpti is therefore Liberation in the full sense of word.
Now, regarding the seven stanzas this second section is composed of, the division between pure and impure universes arises. Pure universe is the 'kingdom of God', it is the realm of unity where the highest beings dwell. It includes the tattva-s 3, 4 and 5 of the universal manifestation. You can visit the Tattvic Chart to understand this point better. It is called 'pure' because there is 'perception of unity'. In turn, the impure universe is the realm of differences (duality) where the lowest beings dwell. It includes the last 31 tattva-s (from Māyā down to Pṛthivī). It is not a realm where you would desire to reside. When you realized its 'undesirability', you are called a wise person treading the path of Yoga (the path leading to unity), i.e. a yogī (or yoginī, if you are woman). But when you remain still interested in this kingdom of duality, desiring something here, then you are called an unwise person treading the path of Saṁsāra (transmigration full of misery). It is called transmigration because one constantly moves from one thing to another thing, e.g. from one thought to another thought, from one mood to another mood, from one body to another body, etc. It is not a desirable state in the eyes of a yogī, obviously, but anyway it is embraced like the most beautiful lover by unwise people.
So, by the first two stanzas of the present section called 'The emergence of the Natural Knowledge', Vasugupta affirms that the pure universe is fully one with the principle of Spanda. Next, by the third and fourth stanzas, he speaks about the impure universe, and he affirms that it is fully one with the principle of Spanda too, even if it looks like 'another reality'. And by the fifth stanza, Vasugupta specifies that a person who is able to perceive Spanda at all times, in all the things, is liberated while living. Finally, by another set of two stanzas, Vasugupta declares that the only way for the spiritual aspirants to attain the 'desired object' (the state of Śiva, and not some minor accomplishment, of course) lies in constantly keeping the perception of Spanda. This is simple to understand.
And now the (second) section is being explained|
According to what has been said (in I, 2 of this scripture):
"... in whom all this universe rests and from whom it has come forth"|
in It --in Spanda--, the pure (universe) is undoubtedly comprised of Mantra, etc., namely, (the pure universe) has arisen from It, by Its Force it becomes manifest, (and finally) it gets dissolved in It indeed. (Vasugupta) describes that through an example which has (already) been mentioned --lit. which has occurred-- in the first section1 :
Grabbing hold of that Force, the Mantra-s, full of the omniscient power, proceed to occupy themselves with their (respective) functions (toward the embodied beings), just as the powers of perception and action of (those very) embodied beings (proceed to occupy themselves with their own functions by also getting hold of that Force)||1||
(Mantra-s,) whose denotation (as specific deities) has ceased, (and) who are devoid of all limitations of office, get absorbed in that (Force or Spanda) together with the mind of (their) worshipers. Therefore, these (Mantra-s) are of the nature of Śiva||2||
Grabbing hold of that Force —i.e. resting upon (that) Power of the principle of Spanda, whose nature is Life, as if It were a support because there is unity with It --lit. due to unity-- --i.e. resting upon Spanda as if this Spanda were their support...--—, the divine and glorious Mantra-s (such as) Ananta, Vyomavyāpī-s, etc., extolling (and) blossoming by the omniscient power —by the omniscient force/capacity, etc.—, proceed to occupy themselves with their (respective) functions toward the embodied beings. (In a nutshell,) they perform (the acts of) manifestation and dissolution of the universe, concealment of one's own essential nature, Grace bestowal, etc.; this is the meaning2 |
The word 'sarvajña' --omniscient-- is predominantly (here) an abstract noun --i.e. sarvajñatva or omniscience-- (and) includes omnipotence and so on3 |
Just as the powers of perception and action of those (very) embodied beings proceed to occupy with the manifestation of objects, etc. by (also) getting hold of that Force, according to the viewpoint which was (already) presented (in the aphorisms 6 and 7 of the first section); this is the example4 |
Likewise, (those Mantra-s,) who are 'nirañjana-s' or devoid of all limitations of office —i.e. in whom (all) the limitations --lit. impurities-- of office have come to an end since they have done their duty— (and 'śāntarūpa-s') —viz. the ones whose nature consisting of specific words has ceased—, get rightly and completely absorbed —i.e. attaining unity (and) not returning again (to the previous state) they are set free from (all) the limitations of office— in that Force (or) Spanda together with the mind of (their) worshipers —(in other words, together) with the knowledge of the people who were worshiping and serving (them)5 |
As has been said (in Mālinīvijaya I, 41):
"After bestowing divine Grace on the multitude of limited beings --lit. atoms--, (thirty-five million Mantra-s created by Śiva) go to the state where there is no unhappiness --lit. sickness--"|
And as (they) have risen from That --from Spanda-- indeed, (as) they have been emitted by that Force (and) get absorbed in That only, therefore, these Mantra-s, Mantreśvara-s, etc. (are beings) whose dharma or essential nature is closely connected with Śiva —the Supreme Lord—, (and) so they (are beings) whose essence is the general Spanda. This is the meaning6 |
An objection: Both with respect to powers of perception/action (lit. senses) and Mantra-s there is equally emergence, etc. from That --from Spanda--, (then) why (are) the powers of perception/action (lit. senses) not omniscient, etc.?|
The Supreme Lord is said to produce bodies and senses full of duality, but by means of (His) Power of (Pure) Knowledge --not the tattva 5--, He creates Mantra-s whose bodies refer to wonderful expressive powers --divine words-- whose essence is Cidākāśa --the Ether of Consciousness--. In the case of (such) expressive power(s) --divine word(s) of which the Mantra-s' bodies are made--, since there is no transgression --i.e. as they do not transgress-- of the stage of knower/experient even at the stage of Māyā, according to the precept mentioned in Īśvarapratyabhijñā (I, 5, 20):
"The determinative knowledge 'this (is) a pot' surpasses name (and) form, (and truly is) the Power of the Supreme Lord. It shines as the Self and not (as mere) 'idam' or 'this' --i.e. as a mere "this" or "object" separated from its Lord--".
(For this reason, to them) there is no limitation of knowledge such as physical body, subtle body, etc.. So, their omniscience, etc. (is) certainly appropriate7 |
And this point was also extensively proved in the commentary on venerable Pratyabhijñākārikā-s --a.k.a. Īśvarapratyabhijñā-- (III, 1, 8):
"But when uniform --lit. with one taste-- duality appears, [(and) when the not self, (whether it is) void, intellect or body, is considered to be the (real) 'I', (then) the power of Māyā arises]"||
This (matter) should be explained in this manner with regard to Anantabhaṭṭāraka, etc. --i.e. with regard to the Mantra-s-- who produce manifestation, etc. (of the universe) while remaining in the stage of Sadvidyā --tattva 5--8 |
Likewise, all the mantra-s --the divine sounds-- serving as instruments of the spiritual teachers, etc. occupied with initiation, etc., grabbing hold of the Force whose nature is that principle of Spanda —viz. resting upon --resorting to-- (such Spanda) as (their) vivifier—, proceed, together with the mind of (their) worshipers —i.e. (with the mind) belonging to (the aforesaid) spiritual teachers, etc.—, to occupy themselves with their (respective) functions (such as) Liberation, enjoyment, performance (of spiritual practices), etc.. And after this, when their bodily forms consisting of expressed/articulate sound vanish --i.e. śāntarūpāḥ or when their denotation (as specific deities) has ceased--, being devoid of all limitations of office —viz. having become (thoroughly) pure—, they get completely reabsorbed —they (completely) get dissolve --lit. they rest/cease-- in that (Force or Spanda)9 —|
In this explanation, (the expression) 'together with the mind of (their) worshipers' is to be united with the previous stanza|
Thus, it is declared that That which penetrates --viz. the principle of Spanda-- into the peaks --the highest points-- of emergence and dissolution of the Mantra-s and even into (the middle point) when they are moving --i.e. when they are working-- is (their) basis or substratum|
So, in (all) the Śiva's scriptures divided in portions of ten, eighteen, etc. (books), it is said that the Mantra-s have the principle of Spanda as their essence truly10 ||2||
1 Now Vasugupta is moving in the pure universe only, which is fully rooted in Spanda. Kṣemarāja says that 'Vasugupta describes that through an example which has (already) been mentioned in the first section', more precisely in the aphorism I, 6.
Mantra-s are pramātā-s or experients/knowers who dwell in the tattva 5 called Sadvidyā. By 'Mantra' here it is not intended to point out mantra-s like Om̐ namaḥ śivāya, Guru Om̐, etc. but 'Ahaṁvimarśa' (I-consciousness). As a result, Mantra is 'I-consciousness' as well an experient/knower who is conscious of this 'I-consciousness'. Mantra-s are extremely conscious of this Aham or I and are therefore positioned on that level 5, where the Power of Action predominates. Next, there are the Mantreśvara-s (lords of the Mantra). These beings reside in the tattva 4 known as Īśvara, where the Power of Knowledge predominates. They are even more conscious of Aham than Mantra-s. Finally we have the Mantramaheśvara-s (great lords of the Mantra), which are vastly conscious of Aham. They reside in the tattva 3 named Sadāśiva, where the Power of Will predominates. And above them we have the Śivapramātā (in tattva-s 1 and 2) who is no other than the Great Lord Himself.
It is to be noted that Abhinavagupta changes the Powers assigned to the tattva-s. He puts the Power of Will in the tattva 2 (in Śakti) instead of in tattva 3. In turn, he assigns the Power of Knowledge to the tattva 3 instead of to the tattva 4. And the Power of Action goes to the tattva 4 instead of to the tattva 5. And the tattva 5 would be a combination of the three Powers: Will, Knowledge and Action. If my memory serves me well, this is the way in which the Great Trika Master arranges the main Powers of the Lord in the whole scheme of universal manifestation. Oh yes, this is a topic for another moment as it is extremely complex.
2 Now the sage Kṣemarāja gives the names of some Mantra-s: Ananta, the Vyomavyāpī-s, etc. Ananta is the celebrated 'Anantabhaṭṭāraka' (the eminent Ananta) who creates the 70 millions of mantra-s (sacred formulas). He is also the chief of all Mantra-s, hence he is mentioned in the first place by the commentator. To understand the topic about the Mantra-s you need to realize that they have two aspects: The first aspect is themselves as experients/knowers of Aham to a certain extent, while the second aspect is the sacred formulas emanating from them, which act as their sound bodies, as it were. Without direct experience of this level 5 of the universal manifestation it is really difficult to understand what all this is indeed. So for now you should keep only this in mind in order to understand why Kṣemarāja sometimes speaks about 'beings' and at other times he speaks about 'divine sounds'.
One thing about which I do not agree with Kṣemarāja is in the functions of Mantra-s (and tacitly, Mantreśvara-s and Mantramaheśvara-s are included): manifestation, maintenance and dissolution of the universe (sṛṣṭi, sthiti and saṁhāra) plus concealment of one's own essential nature (tirodhāna) and Grace bestowal --a.k.a. revelation of one's essential nature-- (anugraha). These are the famous five 'acts' of Śiva, i.e. the Pañcakṛtya-s. Well, Kṣemarāja affirms that the Mantra-s (Mantreśvara-s and Mantramaheśvara-s are tacitly included too) perform the five acts. This is not completely true, because they perform only three 'by themselves', as it were: manifestation, maintenance and dissolution of the universe. Concealment and revelation of one's own essential nature are performed by the Śivapramātā only, i.e. by the Great Lord of all. Now, if He decides them to do these two acts of concealment and revelation of one's own essential nature on His behalf, this is another matter. So, if you cannot realize that you are Him and live a life full of limitations and never-ending miseries of all sort, all this is His Will. And, on the contrary, if you can realize that you are Him very easily and live a life full of Consciousness and Bliss, all this is again His Will. No Mantra, Mantreśvara or Mantramaheśvara decide these matters related to concealment and revelation about who you really are. The rest of acts related to the 'silly' huge universal manifestation are effectively carried out by Mantra-s, lords of the Mantra and great lords of the Mantra indeed!
3 The abstract nouns are formed from adding certain affixes to nouns (and adjectives too). The main two affixes you will see around are 'tva' and 'tal' (transformed into 'tā' when actually added to the noun or adjective). With 'tva' you create abstract nouns which are neuter in gender, while with 'tal' you form abstract nouns which are feminine in gender. Thanks to these two kinds of affixes, you have many times two ways to say something. For example: rūpatva and rūpatā (from adding 'tva' and 'tā' to 'rūpa' - 'form'). The meaning of those terms is 'the state of having a form/being formed', the only difference being that 'rūpatva' is neuter while 'rūpatā' is feminine.
Now, here the word to which you must add the affixes 'tva' or 'tal' to create the abstract noun is 'sarvajña' (omniscient): sarvajñatva or sarvajñatā (the state of being omniscient = omniscience). Anyway, sarvajñatva is more commonly seen in the Trika scriptures, according to my own experience. So, Kṣemarāja specifies here that 'sarvajña' is being used more like 'omniscience' than like 'omniscient'. Hence a translation by following his viewpoint would be: 'Grabbing hold of that Force, the Mantra-s, full of the power of omniscience'. Nonetheless, I used the adjectival form instead: 'Grabbing hold of that Force, the Mantra-s, full of the omniscient power'. Why? Because I thought that it sounded better. But now you have the two options in case you are not satisfied with my use of the adjective over the abstract noun.
And this omniscience includes the other powers too: 'omnipotence and divine Will'. The powers of Bliss and Consciousness are not to be included, in my opinion, since they exclusively belong to the Great Lord.
4 In the aphorism I, 6 of this scripture, Vasugupta taught the way in which the antaḥkaraṇa (intellect, ego and mind, tattva-s 14-16) plus the ten powers of perception and action (indriya-s, tattva-s 17-26), though insentient, by resorting to the principle of Spanda, proceed as if they were sentient. He is mentioning the same thing here, by saying that. Anyway, there is a subtle difference: In I, 6 Vasugupta wrote 'karaṇavarga' or group of organs/instruments which is comprised of intellect, ego, mind and ten powers of perception and action; but in II, 1 he merely wrote 'karaṇāni', which can be translated merely like 'senses' or 'sense organs'. Anyway, I expanded the translation to 'powers of perception and action' (without specifically including intellect, ego and mind since Kṣemarāja did not specified this), as these 3 tattva-s forming antaḥkaraṇa (the inner psychic organ) are the root of the powers of perception and action and therefore they are tacitly included, of course.
5 When those devotees who are worshiping and serving the Mantra-s (the higher beings whose bodies are the sacred sounds) finally please them, the Mantra-s has no other thing to perform, i.e. they do not need to continue manifesting, maintaining and dissolving the universe. They are at this stage 'nirañjana-s' or devoid of all limitations of office, viz. they are not any more limited by their functions (manifestation, maintenance and dissolution of the universe). At that moment, these pleased Mantra-s, whose bodies are the mantra-s or sacred words, cease to act as specific deities and get completely reabsorbed in the principle of Spanda. In the process, they drag the mind of all those worshipers into the state of Spanda too.
In practice, it is like this: The devotee repeats his mantra every day, and in due course the deity of that sacred word becomes pleased with him. Then, this deity stops manifesting, maintaining and dissolving the universe for that person, and instantaneously merges into Spanda. When this happens, the devotee's mind is dragged into Spanda as well. So, it is not that the devotee gets absorbed into Spanda by himself. No. It is that the deity of his mantra, feeling pleased, stopped performing his universal functions and merged into the Highest Reality (in which there is no universe). During this divine process, the mind of the person repeating the mantra is also dragged into the Highest Reality and the universe disappeared for him. This is also called the state of Turyātīta or 'state beyond the Fourth (beyond Turya)', which is completely autonomous (i.e. it never mixes with any other states of consciousness, e.g. wakefulness, etc. After dwelling for some time in the Highest Reality such as It is, he returns to the body and realizes that everything is the Highest Reality indeed. This is Liberation while living.
It is to be noted that Abhinavagupta explains the term 'nirañjana' as 'that which cannot appear as an object', that is, 'it is always subject'. In this way, both the Mantra-s (the higher beings) and the mantra-s (their sound bodies) cannot never shine forth as objects because they are eternally subjects.
6 Why did I translate that stanza I, 41 in Mālinīvijaya like this? Because the full stanza of the first chapter reads like this (in the present commentary, Kṣemarāja only mentioned the second half):
"After bestowing divine Grace on the multitude of limited beings --lit. atoms--, thirty-five million Mantra-s created by Śiva go to the state where there is no unhappiness --lit. where there is no sickness--"||41||
Next, the commentator affirms that these Mantra-s, Mantreśvara-s, etc. are beings whose essential nature is closely connected with Śiva. This is because in the tattva-s 3, 4 and 5, the Idam (This) or universe being created is only 'ideal'. By 'ideal', I mean that it is not still completely a 'creation' apparently different from the Creator. No, Idam (universe) here is totally one with Aham (with 'I' or Śiva). Therefore, these higher beings are really ones whose essence is the general Spanda, i.e. they also participate in His --of Śiva-- characteristic of universality. This is the purport.
7 The divine words are the mantra-s (sacred words) which constitute the sound bodies of the Mantra-s (the higher beings). Seventy million mantra-s were created by the Lord through Anantabhaṭṭāraka (the chief of the Mantra-s). He did so by means of the Power of Pure Knowledge. The tattva 5 (the dwelling-place of Mantra-s) is called in two ways: Sadvidyā (true knowledge) or Śuddhavidyā (pure knowledge). Well, the Power of Pure Knowledge of the Lord is not the tattva 5 in this context but His Power of Absolute Freedom. That is why I decided to call the tattva 5 'Sadvidyā' always on this website, in order for people not to mistake it for His Power of Pure Knowledge/Absolute Freedom.
And the essence of these divine words (mantra-s) is the Ether of Consciousness (Cidākāśa) which was already explained at the end of the first section, where it is called 'Great Ether'. And these mantra-s do not transgress the stage of knower/experient (i.e. of subject) even at the stage of Māyā. In a nutshell, as explained above (at the end of the fifth note), they are nirañjana or 'always subjects'. For that reason, when you repeat a mantra (e.g. Om̐ namaḥ śivāya), you need to identify yourself completely with the mantra, as if it be yourself. Not only that, you must regard the deity of the mantra (Śiva) as one with the mantra and as one with you. Without this triple unity between the one repeating the mantra, the deity of the mantra and the mantra itself, there is no meaningful fruit derived from the repetition of that divine word.
All the act of determining that 'this is a pot' is the Power of the Highest Lord, as Utpaladeva affirms in his Īśvarapratyabhijñā. And this Power is identical with Aham ('I' or Subject) and never an object. In this way, every time you determine something by means of words, the Power letting you do so is beyond name and form and one with the Supreme Subject.
Besides, because they are subjects, they have no limitation of knowledge such as physical body, subtle body, etc., as these are again mere objects. On account of all this, being their sound bodies like mentioned before, the Mantra-s have the proper right to be omniscient, etc., while the mere powers of perception and action, being they only by-products of the antaḥkaraṇa (intellect, ego and mind, which are all objects to the Supreme Subject), are 'objects' as well. The meaning of this portion of the commentary is now clear.
8 This matter was vastly proved in the commentary on Īśvarapratyabhijñā (III, 1, 8). Kṣemarāja mentioned only a little portion of the full stanza. Now I will show you why I added all that in brackets within my translation, i.e. [when the not self, (whether it is) void, intellect or body, is considered as the (real) 'I', (then) the power of Māyā arises]:
"But when uniform --lit. with one taste-- duality appears, (and) when the not self, (whether it is) void, intellect or body, is considered to be the (real) 'I', (then) the power of Māyā arises"||8||
Uniform duality means that it is a compact mass of consistent ignorance pervading everywhere. When this uniform duality appears and when the not self is regarded as Aham or real 'I', then the power of Māyā shows itself. This Māyā specified here is not the Māyātattva (category 6) but the power of the Lord to generate difference/duality. The Māyātattva is a by-product of this power then. That is why in his commentary on this aphorism, Utpaladeva calls this power of Māyā as 'viparyayadvayahetuḥ' or 'the cause of the two mistakes/calamities'. Which mistakes/calamities? The ones mentioned in the aphorism itself: (1) The rise of uniform duality, and (2) The wrong conception about the not self as being the real Self. In Sanskrit, the names of these two awful errors are: Pauruṣājñāna (ignorance about the nondual Paramaśiva) and Bauddhājñāna (intellectual ignorance). What could be more erroneous and unfortunate?
With regard to the Mantra-s (the higher beings) all this matter should be so explained, i.e. that they reside as 'subjects' in Sadvidyātattva (category 5) while at the same time they manifest, maintain and dissolve the universe which consists of myriad of objects (ego, mind, senses, etc.). They can never be reduced to the level of mere 'objects'. For all these reasons, they deserve to be omniscient, while mere powers of perception and action do not, as they are just objects. The meaning now is very clear!
9 Now, Mantra-s are explained as 'mantra-s' (divine sounds forming the bodies of the higher beings called Mantra-s). I elucidated this topic already in the above fifth note, the only difference being that now Kṣemarāja is describing the same thing but from the viewpoint of the sound bodies of those higher beings (i.e. from the viewpoint of the 'mantra-s').
10 All in all, Spanda is the basis or substratum for all the Mantra-s and their sound bodies (divine words or 'mantra-s'). This is affirmed in all the Śiva's scriptures (āgama-s) divided in portions of ten (Śivatantra-s), eighteen (Rudratantra-s) and sixty-four (Bhairavatantra-s). The first 28 āgama-s, dealing with dualism (Śivatantra-s) and mixture of dualism/non-dualism (Rudratantra-s), are worshiped by the followers of the southern Shaivism, the famous Śaivasiddhānta, while the 64 Bhairavatantra-s are worshiped by the followers of northern Shaivism (our dear Trika Shaivism). This division into three branches of Shaivism is rooted in the way the great sage Durvāsās spread the teachings received from Śiva. You can read my blog article about history of Trika Shaivism here.
In this way, after explaining that the manifestation regarded as pure (and) composed of --lit. whose form or nature is-- Mantra-s, Mantreśvara-s, etc. is of the nature of Śiva, now, by affirming that the manifestation --lit. it-- regarded as impure (and) composed of Māyā, etc. is (also) certainly of the nature of Śiva, (Vasugupta --the author--) also hints at the secret/mysterious viewpoint of venerable Mataśāstra, etc.1 :
Because the individual soul is identical with all since all entities arise (from him, and) inasmuch as he has the feeling or perception of identity (with those entities) due to the knowledge of them all, therefore, there is no state that is not Śiva, (whether) in word, object (or) thought --cintā--. The experient himself, always (and) everywhere, remains in the form of the experienced||3-4||
Since the individual soul —the experient/knower (at the stage of tattva 12 or Puruṣa)— is identical with all —(since he) has the universe as his form such as Śiva has—, therefore --lit. on that account-- there is no state that is not Śiva, (whether) it is the beginning, the middle or the end, (and whether) in words —in denoting sounds, i.e. words—, in objects —in what is denoted by the words— (or) in thoughts —in those whose nature is knowledge communicated through mental fluctuations, etc.. The meaning is that (absolutely) everything is of the nature of Śiva|
And as this is so, consequently the experient himself whose essence is Consciousness —i.e. the knower at the stage of tattva 12 or Puruṣa— always —constantly— (and) everywhere —in the various states of tattva, bhuvana, etc. --category of manifestation, world, etc.--— fully —neither more nor less— remains in the form of the experienced —in the form of body, blue color, etc.—; and not that what is called 'the experienced' --i.e. the objects-- is something different and separate from the experient/knower|
Beginning with 'jīva' --the individual soul-- (and) concluding with Śiva, there is no real difference between jīva and Śiva. So, (Vasugupta) indirectly teaches that the notion of imperfection --lack of Fullness-- should not be held in mind --lit. should not be thought-- in any states (such as) body, etc., but rather (the notion that) one's own essential nature is Śiva, who is a compact mass of Consciousness, (should be held in mind). As has been said (by Utpaladeva) in his venerable commentary on (his own) Īśvarapratyabhijñā: 'Those who see --consider-- even the body made up of thirty-six categories --tattva-s-- as having the form/nature of Śiva and honor (it), attain Perfection --are successful in getting Liberation--; and also those (who) see --consider-- even a pot, etc. by resorting to a similar attitude --i.e. that it is Śiva-- and honor (it, attain Perfection too); there is no controversy regarding this'2 |
It has also been declared by Bhaṭṭaśrīvāmana:
"Since an object comes to be known by having recourse to Pure Consciousness --Paramaśiva-- (and) not by itself, therefore all (exists as) known. In this way, (a person) should become identical with Pure Consciousness"||
Why (is it said that) the individual soul --the limited experient or knower-- is identical with all? The reason for that (is as follows:) Since all entities arise from him --lit. since he is the origin or source of all entities-- —i.e. since he is the cause of the production (of all the entities)—. And it is indicated --lit. indication-- that the sense conveyed by the abstract noun in ablative is predominant (in this context)3 |
"Your --or old Thy-- pastime here --in this world-- becomes the cause of the whole aggregate of the divisions of knower (with objects), the state of knowing but without any objects, knowledge and knowable. Because when Your expansion --i.e. pastime-- ceases, that --viz. the whole aggregate of the divisions of knower (with objects), the state of knowing but without any objects, knowledge and knowable-- withdraws into somewhere. Now, He is perceived again so --lit. in that way-- in this world perhaps by someone"||
According to (this) precept mentioned in a hymn of venerable Jñānagarbha, the individual soul is the origin or source of all entities --lit. in the case of the individual soul (there is) a state of being the origin or source of all entities-- because the existence of the world (can happen only) in (its) prevalence as Pure Consciousness4 |
The sense is that as the universe arises only from the individual soul, for this reason, he --the individual soul-- is identical with all (and) has all the powers|
This (point) has (already) been ascertained in the commentary on the second aphorism|
(Vasugupta) expressed another reason for the identity with all (on the part of the individual soul) by means of the (second) half (of the aphorism 3): '(due to) the knowledge of them all'|
(In other words, the individual soul or limited individual is identical with all since all entities arise from him, and) inasmuch as he has the feeling or perception of identity (with those entities) —i.e. because of (his) acquisition/perception of identity with all (those entities)— due to the knowledge —due to that whose nature is Light— of that --lit. of which-- —viz. (due to the knowledge) of all that --of all the entities--, i.e. of blue color, pleasure, etc.|
Thus, by means of these two stanzas, have been alluded --lit. has been alluded-- the secret practices and the talks (replete with) teachings of wisdom produced --such talks-- by reasoning which uproots the tree of all dualities. By means of the first and last aphorisms (of the first section), the principle of the Great Reality/Great Meaning --viz. the Krama school-- has been insinuated. By means of the aphorism (starting with) 'Jāgradādi' --aphorism 3 of the first section--, the Highest Reality of Trika system --lit. half of six-- has been alluded. (And) by means of this (aphorism beginning with) 'Tadākramya' --first aphorism of the second section--, the essence of all worship and service, etc. has been hinted at. So, all the teachings are accepted or admitted (to have been transmitted) by the principle of Spanda only5 ||4||
1 So, now it will be explained that even the impure universe composed of all the tattva-s from the 6th down to the last one (the 36th) together with the respective experients/knowers (pralayākala-s and sakala-s) is also of the nature of Śiva even though it does not look like this. There is a type of experient/knower who is in the middle of the tattva-s 5 and 6: the vijñānākala-s. They are sort of combination of divine and not divine. They are beings who realize that they are Śiva but anyway they cannot move (they have no Śakti, or better said, only Śakti as I-consciousness --that is why they know that they are Śiva-- but no Kriyāśakti or Power of Action... this would be a better explanation of their state, I guess).
Regarding the secret/mysterious viewpoint of venerable Mataśāstra, etc. Vasugupta is hinting at, this would seem to be a mention about a similar viewpoint held in the scriptures of the Triśiromata system (the system dealing with the three-headed Bhairava), but it is difficult for me to be sure as Kṣemarāja is not very specific here.
2 In this context, the words 'grāhaka' or 'jīva' refer to the individual soul (Puruṣatattva, the twelfth tattva). If you dislike 'individual soul' as it introduces the term 'soul', which is very difficult to precisely define so that everybody will be glad, then you can call it: 'limited individual', 'limited being', etc. The point here is that this 'grāhaka' or 'jīva' is the Supreme Subject after His having assumed limitation in the form of mala-s, Māyā, etc. In turn, when you want to speak about the Supreme Subject before His having assumed limitation, then you use generally this term: 'Paragrāhaka' (I never saw 'parajīva'!) or 'Supreme Subject/Experient/Knower'. But in the end, there is no real difference between 'Paragrāhaka' and 'grāhaka', because both of them are the same Lord before and after assuming limitation. We have to use all these different terms only for the sake of studying His processes.
So, because there is actually no difference between 'Paragrāhaka' and 'grāhaka', one should not think about it in any states (except in this case, when one has to study them) such as body, etc., i.e. even when one is residing in a body, etc. On the contrary, one should think all the time that oneself is Śiva, because this kind of thought will elevate him. Kṣemarāja goes further in this, by quoting the Utpaladeva's teachings, that even if you consider the body as having the form/nature of Śiva and honor it in this way, you attain Liberation. Or even if you consider a mere external object to be Him and honor it accordingly, you attain Liberation. There is no controversy or difference of opinion about this since it follows the celebrated rule: 'Every portion of Brahma contains full Brahma'.
Now, there seem to be a contradiction between the teachings about unity with all here and the teachings about 'difference' in Īśvarapratyabhijñā-- (III, 1, 8) quoted by the commentator inside his commentary on the aphorisms 1-2 of this section:
"But when uniform --lit. with one taste-- duality appears, [when the not self, (whether it is) void, intellect or body, is considered as the (real) 'I', (then) the power of Māyā arises]"||
Utpaladeva specified here (in the aphorism) and in his commentary on this aphorism (see the respective note of explanation number 8 I wrote about it) that void, intellect or body are the not self (i.e. that they are NOT the Self or real 'I'), and that it is a mistake/calamity to mistake them for the Self or real 'I'. This teaching seems to be completely the opposite to the one affirming that the experient/knower is the source of all the entities and consequently he is 'one with them all'. There is no contradiction but two levels of teaching according to the level of the disciple:
(1) Following the viewpoint of 'viveka' or 'discernment'; and (2) Following the viewpoint of 'yoga' or 'union'.
Why is all this happening? Because in order to attain Liberation, you have to go through two 'penetrations' (two kinds of inherence, technically speaking) in this order (no way to change the order):
(1) Ātmavyāpti (inherence in the Self - individual experience) and (2) Śivavyāpti (inherence in Śiva - universal experience).
The first penetration is attained by 'viveka', by discerning (and discarding) all the things that are not the real Self. Void is not the Self, intellect is not the Self, body is not the Self. Next, with the attainment of nimīlanasamādhi (trance with closed eyes, which the first section of this scripture deals with), you fully attain a penetration into the inner Self and you completely realize that your real 'I' is a Witness to all the rest of things which constitute the 'not self'. But this attainment (Ātmavyāpti) is not real Liberation according to Trika Shaivism. Why? Because you are only conscious of your Self when you are in trance with closed eyes (normally in a sitting posture). However, when you leave that trance and open your eyes, you cannot retain the experience. So, your achievement is incomplete and not real Liberation. In fact, after some time, it starts to look like another kind of bondage because you are all the time limited to a trance with closed eyes in order to be conscious of your real essential nature.
After attaining Ātmavyāpti, you must jump up to the next and final level: Śivavyāpti. You do so by means of the viewpoint of 'yoga', i.e. by realizing that you are one with all. You feel that you are one with void, with intellect, with body, with all around too, etc. Finally, with the attainment of unmīlanasamādhi (trance with open eyes), you fully attain a penetration into the Cosmic Self (viz. Śiva) and you totally realize that You are truly the Self of the universe. And this Śivavyāpti marks the achievement of real Liberation, because even with open eyes and functioning in this world, you can retain the experience of your real Self.
Therefore, there is no contradiction in the teachings. They only pertain to different levels of experience. To attain Ātmavyāpti you experience a sort of 'dualism with wisdom', in which you try to isolate your true Self from the rest. After accomplishing this, you should jump to an experience of integration with all. This is Śivavyāpti. These processes are complex and they would require one book to be fully explained, but with this short exposition by me you are hopefully understood the core of this mysterious teaching.
3 Because of the presence of many people with this name, 'Bhaṭṭaśrīvāmana', at that time, it is impossible to know exactly who was the one mentioned by the commentator.
The grammatical commentary about the abstract noun in ablative there is easy to understand by means of this explanation, by following the rules I specified for abstract nouns in the note 3 under the aphorisms 1-2 here: 'samudbhavāt' is the ablative of 'samudbhava' (lit. origin or source). Normal translation of this ablative (samudbhavāt) would be: 'from/through the origin/source'. Anyway, from studying Sanskrit grammar in depth it is clear that ablative can also be translated in the sense of 'because of, since, as, etc.' (which is generally expressed by the respective abstract noun), e.g. in this case 'samudbhavāt' would mean: 'since he is the origin/source' or 'as he is the origin/source' or 'because of his being the origin/source', etc. The abstract noun of 'samudbhava' is generally formed from adding 'tva': samudbhavatva (the state of being the origin/source). Therefore, its ablative is: 'samudbhavatvāt' (because of his being the origin/source, etc.).
What Kṣemarāja meant to say then is that 'samudbhavāt' in this context should NOT be translated as usually, i.e. as 'from/through the origin/source'. It should be translated in the sense communicated by the ablative (samudbhavatvāt) of the respective abstract noun (samudbhavatva). Now the meaning is completely clear.
4 In the precept mentioned in a hymn of venerable Jñānagarbha, it is declared that it is His divine Play which is the cause of the whole group of the divisions of knower (with objects), knowledge and knowable, i.e. perceiver, perception and perceived, or else, subject, perception and object. Many words to describe the same group. That knower with objects is the grāhaka described by me before in a previous note. He is not the Highest Self because the Highest Self dwells in the state of pramiti (state of knowing but without any objects). This glorious Lord lives in a state of pure subjectivity with no objects at all. Pramiti is related to the state of Śiva, in Turya, beyond this universe of objects. You can enter pramiti by penetrating into the junction between wakefulness and dreaming, between dreaming and deep sleep, etc. Anyway, if you try to do it, you will not be able to do it (except you are an accomplished yogī to a certain extent). You must develop attention to 'junctions' between two movements first. You practice this as a part of the method called Śāktopāya. Usually, you will practice concentration on the middle of two thoughts or on the middle of inhalation and exhalation. As you practice this more and more, you will notice that you finally can easily penetrate into the junction between two states of consciousness, e.g. between wakefulness and dreaming. These junctions are the entrance to pramiti which is firmly rooted in Turya. OK, it is enough with this.
When Śiva ceases His Play in the form of this expansion, then, all the divisions between all those states go somewhere, i.e. they go into Him again and there is no more difference there between pramātā, pramiti, pramāṇa and prameya, viz. between knower with objects, state of knowing but without any objects, knowledge and knowable. In short, since all enters into Him at the end, all is Him right now too. And because there is inherently no difference between jīva (the individual soul or limited individual) and Śiva (the universal Self), it is reasonable to affirm that the individual soul is the origin or source of all entities. Without the prevalence of 'I', of Pure Consciousness, it is impossible for this world to exist. Why? Because the existence of the world makes sense only when there is presence of its Knower.
And only some beings can realize that they are really Him by means of His Grace. Their realization of the full unity with the Great Lord is certainly Liberation. These liberated beings have been called in many ways across the various systems. In Trika they are usually called videhamukta-s or jīvanmukta-s, depending on if they leave the body or not at the time of getting Liberation. The purport is clear now!
5 The individual soul is one with all entities due to his knowledge of them all. What is this? Knowledge here is not book knowledge, etc. but 'perception'. So, the individual soul (the perceiver or subject) is one with his perception or he could never perceive. Next, the perception is one with that which is perceived (the object) or the process of perception would be impossible. In this way, by logical connection, the subject/perceiver is one with the object being perceived by him. For example: When you see a tree, you are one with the tree. Why? Because of your knowledge/perception of it. As your perception is one with you and with the tree, you are also one with the tree. Therefore, you are one with all the universe you can perceive, and there is no way to deny this simple teaching. Anyway, in practice, only a few ones (the beings who received His Grace) will be able to fully understand and realize this simple fact showing unity everywhere.
The rest of the text looks very clear. Only one note maybe about the Krama system (also called Mahārtha or the Great Reality/Meaning): I explains this system to a certain extent in this blog article dealing with the four schools of Trika system.
Now, (Vasugupta) indicates that the essence of this perception (of identity or oneness with all is) without a doubt Liberation1 :
Or he who has that knowledge or realization (and) is constantly united (with the Supreme Self) views the whole world as a (divine) play. He is liberated while living, there is no doubt (about it)||5||
The word 'or' admits as optional the method of nimīlanasamādhi --trance with closed eyes-- mentioned in the first section (and) hints at the rarity of that attainment of unity with all --in short, it insinuates how rare and difficult it is to become conscious of one's own identity/unity with all--|
For that reason, this (is) the meaning (of the aphorism): Such knowledge or realization of this extent is difficult to be attained (and) takes place in whoever --lit. in the case of whoever-- is in his last birth. He --that person with such knowledge or realization-- views the whole world as a (divine) play, (and) through the opening and closing of his own Pure Consciousness, he manifests (it) and dissolves (it). As established --or 'according to the axiom or maxim'-- (in Bhagavadgītā XII, 2):
"(Among the ones endowed with the highest faith, I consider them to be yuktatamā-s' --the ones who are most devoted to Me--) who, after fixing (their) mind(s) on Me, constantly --lit. constantly intent on or devoted to-- worship/serve Me2 "||
the great Yogī remains constantly absorbed (in Paramaśiva --in the Supreme Self--) --he remains in trance or samādhi/samāveśa-- even while living —i.e. even while he has his vital energy, etc. working— (and) all of his bondage is burnt up by the fire of (divine) knowledge; and when his body falls --lit. during the fall of the body--, (he becomes) Śiva Himself. While such liberated person lives, there is by no means bondage (to him)|
'There is no doubt (about it)'; by means of this (final expression, Vasugupta) hints at this: 'Through initiation, etc., Liberation (takes place) by means of firm faith in the Guru, but through such knowledge or practice --about the identity/unity with the whole universe--, (Liberation takes place) by means of one's own experience indeed'3 ||5||
1 According to other systems, only Ātmavyāpti (inherence in the Self) is Liberation. Ātmavyāpti is attained by nimīlanasamādhi (trance with closed eyes). In it, you fully realize that you are the inner Self beyond void, intellect and body. However, Trika only accepts Śivavyāpti as the real achievement of Liberation. In Śivavyāpti you perceive not only that you are the inner Self but that you are the outer Self too (the cosmic Self called Śiva), and that there is no difference between both of them. So, the experience of Śivavyāpti is integral as inside and outside are the same thing to you. This is the perception of You in all, inside and outside. This is real Liberation. Ātmavyāpti is only a temporary phase which 'should lead' to Śivavyāpti. If it is not leading to Śivavyāpti and you only stay satisfied with Ātmavyāpti, then your liberation is not real Liberation, or you might call it: incomplete Liberation.
2 In the first section of this scripture, nimīlanasamādhi (trance with closed eyes) leading to Ātmavyāpti was recommended, while the present second section points to unmīlanasamādhi (trance with open eyes) as being conducive to Śivavyāpti. This state of perceiving unity with all is really very rare, maybe one person in millions can achieve it. Why? Because He does not want to. This is mysterious but true anyway. His power of tirodhāna (concealment of one's own essential nature) is maximum in most people. That is why, even when simple means to access an experience of their own Self are available for them around, they do not see those means or if they see them they do not care about them. In this way, what looked very simple to be accomplish turns into mission impossible. Such is the power of His tirodhāna.
This person who is in his last birth, who will never return to this physical plane by force (he can at will though), realizes that he is always the One manifesting and dissolving this entire world. Therefore, the world is no more a kind of obstacle but a divine Play of his divine Consciousness. This state of enlightenment, of spiritual freedom, is very difficult to attain for the aforesaid reasons.
3 Such fortunate being is no more bound by anything, even if he looks so. To him the entire universe is just the garden of Śiva. And after the body falls, when death arrives, he completely merges into Śiva forever.
At the end, Kṣemarāja specifies that through this knowledge about the unity of all and the respective practice in order to realize such unity, Liberation happens by means of one's own experience. You do not need to have faith in a Guru for that, because you can directly perceive the truth contained in the teachings by yourself. This is the purport!
Aphorisms 6-7 and end of Section II
To spiritual aspirants, spiritual teachers, etc., this very great realization --this state of realizing that oneself is identical/one with all-- is the cause of the attainment of the desired object — In this way, by two stanzas, (Vasugupta) said1 :
Only this (is) the emergence of that object of meditation in the mind of the meditator. (In short,) for a sādhaka or spiritual aspirant with firm will, there is realization of (his) identity (with that dhyeya or object of meditation)||6||
Only this (is) the obtainment of the Nectar leading to Immortality, only this (is) the perception of the Self. And this initiation conducive to Nirvāṇa or Final Emancipation bestows the real state of Śiva||7||
It is proclaimed here that 'One should worship Śiva by becoming Śiva'. Only this (is) the emergence (or) manifestation 'of that', i.e. of the object of meditation —whose essential nature is Śiva as explained (within the first portion of II, 4) 'there is no state that is not Śiva'— or of some other thing (such as) the particular deity of the mantra who is the cause of the attainment of this or that. (Where?) There, i.e. in the mind —in the perception and knowledge— of the meditator. (In short,) for a sādhaka or spiritual aspirant —i.e. for the meditator, whether he is a spiritual teacher, etc.—, there is realization of (his) identity (with that dhyeya or object of meditation) such as it has been explained (above, in II, 4:)
"Therefore, there is no state that is not Śiva, (whether) in word, object (or) thought --cintā--2 "|
(And this realization of his identity with the object of meditation) is an absorption/entrance into the unity with Śiva and not the vision of a separate form such as a five-faced (deity), etc.. (And this) realization of (his) identity (with the object of meditation) is not (achieved) by mere resolution but rather (it takes place only in the case of a spiritual aspirant) with firm will —viz. in the case of (a spiritual aspirant) who is fully engrossed --who constantly remembers-- in the will of becoming one with Śiva, who is thoughtless --He is totally devoid of vikalpa-s-- (and) 'I-consciousness' in all—3 |
(So,) this is (the meaning of) what has been declared (before): (The realization of his identity/unity with the object of meditation) comes as a result --lit. results as an outcome-- of a state without thoughts. (For that reason and) since everything is closely associated with this non-dual expansion --with Spanda--, the deity, etc. in the mantra being meditated on will not at all be favorable --lit. is not at all favorable-- with him whose definite determination is (like this): 'I myself, inasmuch as I have the feeling or perception of identity (with those entities --with all that exists in the universe--) due to the knowledge of them all, (am) Śiva, a compact mass of Consciousness and Bliss whose body is the universe4 '|
As has been said by my --lit. our-- glorious great grand Guru --i.e. Utpaladeva--:
"Oh Lord, in (this) entire world which is You Yourself --or old 'Thou Thyself'-- in person, what place is not (auspicious) to (Your --or old 'Thy'--) devotees (and) where does their mantra not bear fruit?"||
(Śivastotrāvalī I, 4)
And only this realization (is) the obtainment of the Nectar leading to Immortality whose nature --of the Nectar-- is supreme non-dualism. The sense of the word 'only' (in this context is as follows): But, even if the spiritual aspirants get another (kind of) nectar which gives (their) bodies firmness for some time, (even so,) death is certainly to be reached --death will come anyway--|
Thus, in venerable Svacchandatantra, everywhere in the chapter (dealing with) the acquisition of the Nectar leading to Immortality from a gross viewpoint, (this sacred book) contains this meaning, concluding the statements with:
"There is not at all conquest of death (produced by) time by means of nectar5 "|
The real way to acquire that (Nectar leading to Immortality is certainly described in Svacchandatantra,) by starting with:
"Or someone who is established in the Highest Principle is not taken prisoner by all (the kinds of) time"||
(Svacchandatantra VII, 226 - second part of the stanza)
(And) in the middle:
"... (the Yogī always) remembers that all is Śiva and Śakti"|
(Svacchandatantra VII, 244 - the very last portion)
(And) finally, by means of this natural composition in a tone of praise, it has been taught the following:
"He is completely liberated while living indeed in whom (there is) always this contemplation. Time does not certainly incite him who constantly contemplates on Śiva|
That Yogī who lives in the condition of an independent being --a liberated being-- through Svacchandayoga --the type of Yoga taught in Svacchandatantra--, being united with the state of Svacchanda --with the state of the Free One, i.e. Śiva--, attains equality with Svacchanda --with the Free One, with Śiva--|
(The lord of the Yogī-s) rambles about always free, (whether in the beginning, in the middle or at the end)"||
(Svacchandatantra VII 259, 260 and first part of 261)6
Only this (is) the perception (or) knowledge of the Self . This knowledge which is spoken of here --lit. there--, 'The Self must be known', is knowledge of the Self, viz. recognition that the Self or essential nature (is) the omniscient, omnipotent and free Śiva, and not the one mentioned by the knowers of the Vedānta (system in this way:)
"Only Puruṣa --the Supreme Person-- (is) all this7 "|
(Śvetāśvataropaniṣad III, 15)
(And also,) from (another) statement to be found in the (abovementioned) sacred text --i.e. in Svacchandatantra--:
"All those worshipers/servants of the Self do not reach the Supreme State8 "|
(Svacchandatantra IV, 392 - the first half of the stanza)
Likewise, on the occasion of initiation for uniting (the Self of the disciple with the Self of the universe) and so on, this itself --i.e. the perception or knowledge of the Self-- (is) the divine favor of the Self of the disciple. The spiritual teacher, knowing this realization, is (called) 'ācārya' (because of) his leading the Self of the disciple toward Śiva; this is the purport9 |
This initiation conducive to Nirvāṇa or Final Emancipation, proved by one's own experience, bestows --lit. bestower-- the real state of the Self of Śiva —the essential nature of the Highest Reality— on the putraka --spiritual son--, etc.. As has been said:
"In the case of the one who really/truly knows (the mantra Sauḥ) in this way takes place an initiation bestowing Nirvāṇa or Final Emancipation, which --the initiation-- is without any doubts (and) devoid of offerings with sesame and clarified butter"||
The hotā-related --the 'hotā-s' are the priests offering oblations to the fire during a sacrifice-- initiation (is) also initiation indeed. That being so, here --in the seventh aphorism--, the word 'only' has not been uttered by the venerable and principal great Guru so that --lit. with the intention that-- there will not be --lit. let not there be!-- lack of confidence in anybody (with respect to receiving hotā-related initiation). May there be welfare for all!10 ||7||
Here ends the second section (called) Spanda as the emergence of natural Knowledge, in the Spandanirṇaya composed by eminent Kṣemarājānaka --Kṣemarāja--, spiritual preceptor (and) great devotee of Maheśvara, the Great Lord --epithet of Śiva--||2||
1 To spiritual aspirants, teachers (advanced spiritual aspirants), etc., this realization that everything is identical with oneself (i.e. that oneself is one with the entire universe) is the cause of the attainment of the desired object. In other words, it is the cause of their getting Śivavyāpti (inherence in Śiva) directly leading to Liberation. Obviously, in this context 'the desired object' is not supernatural powers, residing in some higher world and so on, but the divine state of Śiva.
2 The desired object is the state of Śiva, as explained in the previous note. And this state of Śiva is achieved, according to this mysterious instruction, by becoming Śiva. By arduously remembering in his mind that everything is Śiva, that there is no state which is not Śiva, he finally becomes Śiva, i.e. he realizes his identity/unity with Him. The particular deity of the mantra being mentioned by Kṣemarāja is not different from Śiva either, though he appears to be someone else. For example, if your mantra is Guru Om̐, the deity of your mantra is Guru, and this Guru is not at all different from Śiva. Now it is clear!
3 Even if the deity of your mantra is the terrifying five-faced Śiva, when you attain this realization of identity with the object of meditation (of identity with the state of Śiva), you just enter into a condition where you perceive your unity with Śiva. You do not see any deity there. He just emerges as a mass of Consciousness and Bliss and you confirm that He is effectively You (the real You). When that happens, since He is one with the entire universe, you become one with the universe too. This is Śivavyāpti leading to Liberation.
You cannot attain this state of Śiva by merely resolving 'all of a sudden' in your mind that you will attain it. Why? Because it is beyond vikalpa-s or thoughts. Instead, it is the fruit of your firm will that persists in the direction of such an achievement. Every day you remember this goal, and you persist every day in your request about becoming one with the Lord who is thoughtless (He is beyond the realm of vikalpa-s) and I-consciousness in all (He is the Aham or 'I' in all the beings). This firm will is not merely mental resolution but something deeper and stronger.
4 According to Trika Shaivism, Śāmbhavopāya is the final means to the attainment of Liberation (the acquisition of the state of Śiva). In Śāmbhavopāya there is full thoughtlessness, i.e. the yogī just patiently waits for Śiva's decision. It is the only thing that he can do (to remain without thoughts and await) because his Liberation is not in his hands, viz. Liberation is the attainment of universality (like Śiva Himself). If someone will achieve this or not, or when, or where, etc., it is not decision of any 'individual'. Why? Because individual is considered to be incapacitated to do so as the last impurity situated between the tattva-s 5 and 6 cannot be crossed over by means of effort. This is a law and I have explained how it works in different parts of my website and also in the blog.
5 To someone who is liberated, all places are 'holy'. Only the ignorant think that only certain places are 'holy' while others are not. This all-pervading ignorance is just lack of Fullness. Because they feel themselves in the wrong way as they lack enough Grace from Śiva, they identify themselves with their bodies, intellects, etc. As a result of their wrong viewpoint, they perceive that Śiva is present only in some places which they call 'holy places', while in the rest of the world, Śiva looks like if absent or at least 'no so present like in the sacred places'. With this kind of mentality not forged by the fire of Tantra-s and the teachings of Guru, nobody goes nowhere. You see this wrong mentality in millions of people going to special 'tīrtha-s' (places of pilgrimage) where there is 'more Power', as they usually say. Do not be like them! Instead, embrace the Śiva's teaching given by glorious Utpaladeva in that stanza.
While you resort to dualism (e.g. I am here but not there, I exist now but not after, etc.), you are doomed to die. But when you go in the direction of non-dualism, in the direction of the acquisition of full unity with Śiva, then you become immortal. This immortality is obtained then by attaining the state of Absolute Freedom in which Śiva dwells. Any other kind of nectar you can enjoy (e.g. the nectar descending from Nādabindu through Lalanācakra down to the tongue, as taught in Haṭhayogapradīpikā), it will not give you immortality, i.e. death will defeat you in the end. This is specified by the quote of Svacchandatantra, that is, that an ordinary nectar is not competent to make you triumph over death. Only the Nectar of Immortality, also called the state of the Great Śiva, can.
6 Kṣemarāja quotes five stanzas of the seventh section of Svacchandatantra (more specifically: 226, 244, 259, 260 and 261) in order to show the method to get the real Nectar of Immortality. The stanza 226 being quoted by him is only the second part of it. I will include now the full stanza for you to see the whole thing. It begins with:
"In this way, through his meditation on the Nectar there is conquest of death (produced by) time. Or someone who is established in the Highest Principle is not taken prisoner by all (the kinds of) time"||226||
Next, in the middle, Kṣemarāja quoted only the very last portion of the stanza 244. Unfortunately/fortunately (unfortunately for me, as I have to translate extra content, and fortunately for you because you will receive a more integral teaching), I cannot translate the full stanza without mentioning the two previous ones (242 and 243). Why? Because they form a whole thing, and besides, Kṣemarāja wrote a long commentary in his Svacchandoddyota (the scholarly commentary on Svacchandatantra) on the three aphorism (242 to 244) simultaneously. Ah, I almost forgot it, regarding the stanza 244, there is a difference between the Kṣemarāja's reading and the official reading (as it were). Kṣemarāja wrote the last part of the stanza like this:
"... (the Yogī always) remembers that all is Śiva and Śakti"
while the 'official version' I am showing now says:
"... (the Yogī always) remembers that all is Śiva"
In the official version Śakti is omitted. Anyway, the meaning is practically the same as Śiva and Śakti are one, you know. OK, now the 'full' three sacred aphorisms (242 to 244) in the seventh section of Svacchandatantra, plus the scholarly Kṣemarāja's commentary on these three aphorisms. Now, enjoy:
"(Being) free from the peculiar characteristics (existing) in the course of the tattva-s --elements-- and (being) devoid of causes, the Yogī, in the stage or condition of (those) tattva-s --i.e. when those tattva-s are active--, remains destitute of all undertaking --i.e. moving toward something, figuratively speaking--"||242||
"(Being) totally exempt from attachment and aversion (and) lacking disappointment and happiness, (he) never indeed either desires or censures --rejects-- things"||243||
"(Being) impartial with respect to enemy and friend, brāhmaṇa --priest-- (and) pariah/outcast --lit. one who cooks dogs (for eating), a member of the lowest caste--, (the Yogī) always has an equable view (and) always remembers that all is Śiva"||244||
The purport is that his --of the Yogī-- I-consciousness is not interrupted by the elements, etc. present in the body. Hence, since he is endowed with Consciousness, he is particularly devoid of all undertaking, i.e. of (all) 'moving toward something' whose --of this moving toward something-- sphere of action is 'rejected or accepted' --only these two options--. (In short, he is devoid of) that whose essence is a clinging to life (and the respective fear of death). (Why?) Because he lacks the two causes of that 'moving toward something', viz. the faults (called) attachment and aversion|
His lack (of all that which was mentioned happens) because he lacks disappointment and joy produced by attachment to things. For this reason, the absence of desires, etc. is of his since he spends time with worldly enjoyments only as they present themselves --he does not look for them--, (but) it is not of his --it does not belong to him-- the idea --intention or purpose-- of being someone who injures (or) who helps, (or the idea) about desiring to hear/serve (or) about purity, etc. with regard to enemy, friend, brāhmaṇa --priest-- and pariah/outcaste --lit. one who cooks dogs (for eating), a member of the lowest caste--, (respectively). He only sees all with equality. While remaining in the middle of the world, he does not at all generate rejection as regards the state/condition of the world --he does not urge others to leave the world in order to accomplish the spiritual goal--|
However, this (is) his main mark: 'That he considers all to have the state of Śiva|
That (very truth) has been declared in venerable Vijñānabhairava:
'Wherever the mind goes, whether toward the exterior (or) toward the interior, oh beloved One, the State of Śiva (is) right there since It is all-pervading. (Oh mind,) where will you go (then)?'||(116)
Similarly (in the same scripture):
'One should consider, (with a mind free from thoughts, his) entire body or the world (simultaneously --i.e. with no succession--) as composed of Consciousness; (if he does so, there will be emergence of the Supreme Reality to him) --I added in parentheses the translation of the second line of the stanza: Yugapannirvikalpena manasā paramodbhavaḥ--'|(63)
Finally, Kṣemarāja quoted the stanzas 259 to 261, but only the first portion of the stanza 261. The Kṣemarāja's commentary on these stanzas in his Svacchandoddyota is very long to be added here in this note of explanation (already massive because of the previous addition of the commentary on stanzas 242 to 244). Besides, there is an additional problem to put the commentary of Kṣemarāja on the stanzas 259 to 261 here: The second portion of the stanza 261 is commented together with the stanza 262, as it is a common practice with Kṣemarāja (and Abhinavagupta) to divide the stanzas and next to comment on those portions. Anyway, I will show you the second half of the stanza 261 which was not mentioned here by Kṣemarāja, because he decided that this last part was more related to the stanza 262 than to the stanza 261 (yes, it is such a mess!). OK, now the full stanza 261 for you:
"(The lord of the Yogī-s) rambles about always free, (whether in the beginning, in the middle or at the end). Thus indeed, any other signs/marks of death are torn off --are removed--"||242||
Therefore, as a conclusion to all the previous teachings, the core of the method to get the real Nectar of Immortality is 'Śivadṛṣṭi', i.e. the constant perception/remembrance that all is Śiva, the Great Lord. By this method, all signs or marks of death are completely removed forever. Inferior nectars together with the methods to get them —e.g. that one where you use your tongue to stimulate the descent of nectar from Nāda-Bindu—, which are well-known by yogī-s, should be totally shunned, as by their help death anyway will overpower you at the end. This is the meaning.
7 Kṣemarāja affirms this because the Self or Ātmā in Vedānta is devoid of any activity, i.e. lacks Svātantrya (Absolute Freedom) full of omniscience and omnipotence, while the Ātmā in Trika Shaivism is full of It, full of Absolute Freedom. I will add now the full aphorism in Śvetāśvataropaniṣad III, 15 for you to see the whole thing:
"Only Puruṣa --the Supreme Person-- (is) all this —what has been and what is to be—. And (He is) the Lord of immortality since He overgrows (the size of the entire universe) by food"||15||
8 As usual, in my fervent attempts to make all this clear for readers, I will add the full stanza IV, 392 in Svacchandatantra plus the full commentary. Now, a thing about the commentary: Kṣemarāja comments the full stanza separately, i.e. the first half has a exclusive long commentary while the second half has a exclusive short commentary. To make it all worse, he comments on the first part of the aphorism IV, 392 together with the second part of the previous aphorism (IV, 391)! This makes the whole thing a little bit clearer to scholars but more confusing to laymen.
Besides, I am forced to translate the aphorism 391 (and a little bit of the last part of the aphorism 390 too) in this way: The first half will be in brackets —because Kṣemarāja is not commenting on this here, but with the full commentary about the second part of 390... what a mess!— and the second half will be translated word for word as usual. To increase the difficulty even more, there are two differences between the first portion of the aphorism quoted by Kṣemarāja here, in his Spandanirṇaya, and the aphorism in the original Svacchandatantra (at least in the version I have available now):
Ta ātmopāsakāḥ sarve na gacchanti paraṁ padam|
Ta ātmopāsakāḥ śaive na gacchanti paraṁ śivam|
Oh well, 'sarve' means 'all' (in the sense of 'all of them') while 'śaive' means 'in (Trika) Shaivism'; and 'padam' means here 'State' (in accusative case) while 'śivam' means 'Śiva' (in accusative case). Not a great difference really in the final meaning of this first portion of IV, 392 but anyway all these different readings are always annoying. Hopefully you have understood me:
OK, aphorisms IV, 391-392 in Svacchandatantra plus the full commentary by Kṣemarāja in his Svacchandoddyota:
"[... Ātmavyāpti --inherence in the Self-- is this; (but) Śivavyāpti --inherence in Śiva-- is higher or beyond. (Śivavyāpti is furnished with) a state with no remainder of bondage, and devoid of all the limiting factors in the form of 'courses' --i.e. of 'ṣaḍadhva', the six courses of manifestation--.] As they do not know --lit. not knowing... by whom-- the Supreme Principle, the State of Śiva, they invent/imagine It --lit. invented/imagined by whom--||391||"
"Those worshipers/servants of the Self do not reach, in Trika Shaivism, the Supreme Śiva."
The State of Śiva (is) invented by them --lit. by whom--, viz. by the propounders of the doctrine of the multiple selves —i.e. by the shaivites who follow the systems called Pāśupata, Lākula, etc.. As there is identity or oneness of the selves —who are also one with Śiva— with the infinite attributes of omnipresence, eternity, formlessness, consciousness, creatorship, etc., (the idea that) the nature of Śiva is divided (into multiple selves) is proclaimed by means of an improper reasoning which is only the imagination of someone. All those worshipers/servants of the Self —which --i.e. the Self-- pervades or is inherent as explained— do not reach —i.e. do not become one with Him— in Trika Shaivism —in this non-dualistic system— the Supreme Śiva —i.e. the essential nature (already) explained—. (And) the propounders of the doctrines (called) Sāṅkhya-Yoga and Vedānta, etc., 'being in an inferior state --inferior to Trika Shaivism--', who among them has the capacity/fitness for the achievement of such State (of Śiva)?|
Also, by simultaneously using the third case in declension --Instrumental case-- instead of the seventh one --Locative case-- --viz. by replacing 'śaive' (in Trika Shaivism) to be found in the first line of the aphorism 392 —which is the word 'śaiva' (Trika Shaivism) declined in Locative case— with the same word but declined in Instrumental case, i.e. 'śaivena' (by means of Trika Shaivism)--, (then the final result would be, provided there is also removal of 'na' --do not--, 'Ta ātmopāsakāḥ śaivena gacchanti paraṁ śivam', whose meaning is as follows: 'Those worshipers/servants of the Self reach, by means of Trika Shaivism, the Supreme Śiva'. In other words:) All the worshipers/servants of the Self reach, by means of Trika Shaivism —viz. by means of the knowledge declared in the non-dualistic philosophy of the Supreme Lord --Paramaśiva--—, the Supreme Śiva|
(The same thing) is also mentioned in venerable Mṛtyujit --Netratantra--:
"Those worshipers/servants of the Self who speak about another (Self separated from Paramaśiva) do not get to the Supreme Śiva. They do not reach, in Trika Shaivism, the Supreme State"||
(Netratantra VIII, 30)
The purport is that, here --in this world--, the ones who only speak about another (Self separated from Paramaśiva) do not get to the Supreme Śiva. Besides, they do not (either) reach (the Supreme Śiva) by any pramāṇa or proof, i.e. they cannot prove (Him)||
All of them indeed!:
"The ones who are pleased with the principle of the Self --with the attainment of Ātmavyāpti-- go to the state of the principle of the Self||392||"
Reality contained in the principle of the Self (is truly) a contraction or limitation whose essence is primordial ignorance/non-realization about the non-duality in Paramaśiva. Those who are pleased with that --with the principle of the Self, i.e. with the attainment of Ātmavyāpti-- —those who are finding comfort or consolation in that --in the principle of the Self, i.e. in the attainment of Ātmavyāpti--—, (such as) the followers of Pāśupata, etc., attain that state of the Self, viz. (they reach) that state whose nature is the pure state of Vijñānakevala --i.e. of Vijñānākala--, but (they) do not (attain) true Liberation as they do not abandon duality --lit. due to (their) not abandoning duality--||392||
So, the goal in Trika Shaivism is always 'Śivavyāpti' (lit. inherence in Śiva) or full realization of the non-duality of the Supreme Śiva. In other words, it is to realize that the entire universe is Him and Him alone. According to Trika Shaivism, only Śivavyāpti is a bestower of real Liberation. Anyway, before reaching Śivavyāpti, a yogī in Trika Shaivism must attain Ātmavyāpti. This is just a temporary phase a yogī achieves by vigorous nimīlanasamādhi (trance with closed eyes). After some time like this, the practitioner enters unmīlanasamādhi (trance with open eyes), and next again he returns to nimīlanasamādhi, and then back to unmīlanasamādhi again, and so on and on. This automatic process is called Kramamudrā or the mudrā relating to a sequence, i.e. the yogī perceives the Supreme Śiva inside himself (in Aham or I) and outside (in Idam or This, viz. in the universe) repeatedly in sequence. With the establishment of the Kramamudrā, the state of Śivavyāpti is finally gotten. This is true Liberation according to Trika Shaivism.
Nevertheless, many systems such as Pāśupata, Lākula, etc. postulate that the state of Ātmavyāpti is real Liberation. Why? Because their founders failed to renounce duality regarding their essential nature (Paramaśiva). In other words, they could not realize, due to the powerful Āṇavamala (primordial impurity forcing the Lord to feel 'not Full', 'imperfect'), that they were also one with the universe. Instead, they kept the duality between Aham and Idam, between 'I' and 'universe' and this act of theirs threw them down into a limited state known as 'the state of Vijñānakevala/Vijñānākala', in which they feel they are Śiva but they lack Absolute Freedom. They only experience themselves as Consciousness but they have no Power. It is a rather static state and a kind of prison too (a golden cage) as they remain there satisfied with only that. And because the goal of all those followers of inferior paths is the state of Śiva with no Absolute Freedom, they never mention the Absolute Freedom of the Supreme Lord in their studies.
In Trika Shaivism it has already been proved at length that the doctrine of the multiple selves is false as all the selves or beings are one with the infinite attributes of omnipresence, eternity, formlessness, consciousness, creatorship, etc. belonging to the Supreme Śiva. So, the notion of the state of Śiva being divided into multiple beings is just the result of an improper reasoning. The followers of these wrong systems speak about 'another Self separated from Paramaśiva', and consequently they cannot grasp the state of Paramaśiva as pervading all everywhere. But if through the Grace of this very Lord, they have access to Trika Shaivism's teachings, and again by the Grace of the very Lord, they decide to follow these holy teachings, then they can finally realize the real state of Paramaśiva. This is Śivavyāpti, this is true Liberation!
9 So, when the disciple attains Ātmavyāpti (inherence in the Self), he does so by means of the favor of his own inner Self (Ātmā). His spiritual preceptor then should lead the disciple for him to reach Śivavyāpti (inherence in Śiva). In a nutshell, his Guru has to take the disciple to the State where he finally realizes that not only his inner Self is Śiva but also the entire universe. This perception of unity between the individual Self and the universal Self is called Śivavyāpti. This is also Liberation!
Finally, with reference to dīkṣā or initiation, there are four types:
- Sāmayikadīkṣā or conventional initiation: The disciple is initiated into the rules of proper spiritual behavior.
- Putrakadīkṣā or initiation as a spiritual son: The disciple is initiated to become the successor of his own Guru.
- Sādhakadīkṣā or initiation as a spiritual aspirant: The disciple is initiated into the secrets of spirituality.
- Ācāryadīkṣā or initiation as a spiritual preceptor: The disciple is initiated to become a Guru.
10 In this initiation of the disciple who achieved Ātmavyāpti in order for him to attain Śivavyāpti, real Liberation takes place. This is the culmination of all spiritual efforts made, many times, for a very long time. It is marked by the acquisition of Jagadānanda (the Bliss to realize that 'jagat', the universe, is none other than Paramaśiva) after the process of Kramamudrā (as I explained above, in the note 8). In Ātmavyāpti the disciple only experienced Cidānanda (the Bliss to realize the inner Self who is internal Consciousness). All in all, after receiving this supreme initiation, the putraka, etc. (the spiritual son who will turn into the successor of his own Guru, etc.) gets true Liberation.
In the quote of Parātrīśikā 26 (the last portion of Rudrayāmalatantra), Śiva (the author) speaks about the mantra Sauḥ, which is sacred to the followers of Trika Shaivism. This topic of the mantra of the Heart (i.e. Sauḥ) is fully explained in Kṣemarāja's Parāprāveśikā. In short, knowledge about this mantra, about the Heart or Core of all, simply means knowledge about the all-inclusive nature of the Supreme Reality (Paramaśiva). When the disciple is explained by the Guru that, just as the huge banyan tree --Bengali fig-tree-- resides in a little seed, so also the entire universe resides in Paramaśiva. This is the highest type of initiation as it enables the disciple to realize the Totality. Before, in ignorance, the universe was perceived as a separate reality different from the individual, but now, after being initiated in this way, the disciple realizes that, as a matter of fact, all is Paramaśiva (inside and outside), and that he himself is Paramaśiva too. There is no way to put this experience into precise words due to the limitation inherent in the words themselves. This is, of course, the attainment of real Liberation according to Trika Shaivism.
Finally, Vasugupta (the author of Spandakārikā-s) did not add the word 'eva' (only) at the beginning of the second half of the stanza 7. Here: 'Iyaṁ nirvāṇadīkṣā' (this initiation conducive to Nirvāṇa or Final Emancipation). In short, he did not wrote: 'Iyameva nirvāṇadīkṣā' (only this is initiation conducive to Nirvāṇa or Final Emancipation). Why? One would think that the answer is: Because Vasugupta was restricted by the meter requirements. Anyway, according to Kṣemarāja, Vasugupta did not add 'eva' like with the previous lines of stanzas 6 and 7, because the traditional initiation which has to do with priests offering oblations to the fire during a sacrifice is also initiation. So, if he had added 'eva', this could generate lack of confidence in some people. In other words, they could not find consolation in that kind of traditional initiation. With the compassionate attitude of Vasugupta being revealed by Kṣemarāja this second section is now finished. May there be welfare for all the beings who are always one with Paramaśiva!
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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