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 Spandanirṇaya (Spanda Nirnaya) Section III (aphorisms 1 to 10) pure - Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir

Pure translation


This is the first set of 10 aphorisms out of 19 aphorisms constituting the third Section (dealing with Vibhūtispanda or supernormal powers originating from Spanda). 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.

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 third Section

In this way, by means of two sections --sections I and II of Spandakārikā-s--, the absorption into the principle of Spanda —which --such absorption-- has to do with both I --Aham-- and the emanated universe --Idam--, (and) is accomplished through the two kinds of trances, with closed eyes and with open eyes— for the manifestation of the State of Perfectly Awakened has been investigated and ascertained|

And now, by saying that the emergence of higher and lower supernatural powers takes place through the practice of grabbing hold of It --of Spanda-- (and) by briefly describing the nature of bondage and Liberation, (Vasugupta) concludes what he began in the first (section) by means of this third section called 'supernormal powers originating from Spanda', which is composed of nineteen stanzas beginning with 'Just as (the Sustainer of this world, when requested) with desire' and ending with 'he (also) becomes the Lord of the group (of śakti-s or powers)|

There --in this third section--, by means of two stanzas --stanzas 1 and 2--, freedom in dreaming state (is mentioned) through the example of the well-known freedom in wakefulness|

By means of one (stanza) --the third one--, by speaking about its opposite --i.e. about the lack of freedom in both waking and dreaming states--, it is intentionally mentioned that constant zealous perseverance should be resorted to indeed|

By means of (the next) couple (of stanzas) --stanzas 4 and 5--, the appearance of the knowledge of the desired object (is described)|

(Next,) by means of one (stanza) --the sixth one--, the manifestation of the power to do (apparently impossible things) as well as conquest of hunger, etc. (are mentioned)|

(After that,) by means of one (stanza) --the seventh one--, the attainment of omniscience (is delineated)|

(And) by means of one (stanza again) —i.e. in the eight one—, 'the destruction of depression' is discussed|

After that, by means of one (stanza) --the ninth one--, the nature of Unmeṣa whose essence is Spanda is defined|

(Immediately afterward,) by means of one (stanza) --the tenth one--, renunciation of supernatural powers —which become an obstacle regarding the supreme trance— is established|

(Next,) by means of one (stanza again) --the eleventh one--, the absorption whose nature is identity with the Self of the universe —(as) has been investigated in the second section— is mentioned|

After that, by means of one (stanza) --the twelfth one--, the device to attain (such) state of absorption is declared|

(Then,) by means of three (stanzas) --the stanzas 13, 14 and 15--, an investigation into bondage --lit. noose-- of a limited individual is mentioned|

(Later,) by means of one (stanza) --the sixteenth one--, transcendence --i.e. the state of surpassing all-- of the principle of Spanda with reference to both states of bondage and Liberation (is) stated|

(Next,) by means of two (stanzas) --the stanzas 17 and 18--, the nature of bondage is (here) dealt with again --lit. repeated-- in order to be eliminated|

(And now,) by means of one (stanza) --the nineteenth one--, while speaking about the means for extirpating that (bondage), the meaning specified in the first aphorism --i.e. in I, 1-- is inserted at the end. (Therefore,) this has been a summary of the section1 ||

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1  In this way, in the sections 1 and 2 of the present scripture, the absorption into the Spanda principle has been studied. In the first section, the emphasis was placed on Nimīlanasamādhi —absorption with closed eyes— while in the second section the emphasis was placed on Unmīlanasamādhi —absorption with open eyes—. At first (in the initial section), the state of Ātmavyāpti —inherence in the Self (in the inner Self)— was emphasized, while later (in the second section) Śivavyāpti —inherence in Śiva (in the universal Self)— was predominant.

And in this third section, Vasugupta (the author of Spandakārikā-s) finishes a topic he started before, in the first section. The topic is 'supernatural powers'. So, this present section is composed of 19 stanzas. The rest of the summary becomes very clear from reading the respective aphorisms and commentaries. Therefore, I do not need to explain anything additional about every aphorism here. What is to be explained about such aphorisms will be explained in the notes under each of the them.Return


 Aphorisms 1-2

And now the (third) section is being explained|

As has been said (in I, 17 of this scripture): 'To the perfectly awakened one, (there is,) constantly, the perception of the principle of Spanda'|

There --in the first section of this scripture--, (it has been affirmed that:) 'For this reason, he who (is) constantly prepared (for discerning the principle of Spanda, attains his own essential state or nature quickly, even in wakefulness)'. By this (statement), a teaching has been imparted for the partially awakened to attain the state of perfectly awakened through his constant practice in wakefulness|

(Next, in I, 23, 24 and 25,) starting with '(Having taken hold) of that (supreme) state (of Spanda)', tearing of the veil of yogī's deep sleep by means of the intensity of the constant practice of the means at every step has been mentioned|

Now, in order to prove the state of perfectly awakened by means of (his --of the suprabuddha or perfectly awakened one-- capacity) to render asunder the ordinary dreaming and deep sleep states, (and) in order to show dreaming-related --lit. suitable for the dreaming state-- supernatural power of this (suprabuddha, Vasugupta) said1 :

Just as the Sustainer (of this world), when requested with desire, produces (all) things which abide in the heart of that embodied soul who is awake after causing the emergence of moon (and) sun, so also in dream, by abiding in the central channel, does (He) certainly reveal always (and) most clearly (his) desired things to him who does not neglect his entreaty||1-2||

The Sustainer (of this world) is one who holds everything within Himself, viz. the Self of Śaṅkara --Śiva-- which is one's own essential nature|

(In the first aphorism, the portion which reads 'Yathecchābhyarthito dhātā jāgrato'rthān hṛdi sthitān... sampādayati dehinaḥ' was translated as follows:) Just as He --the Sustainer of this world, i.e. Śiva, who is one's own essential nature--, when requested with desire, produces (all) 'the things' which abide in the heart of that embodied soul who is awake. (Now the meaning of that portion: Just as He --the Great Lord who is one's own Self--,) when propitiated by force of awareness of internal nature belonging --such force of awareness of internal nature-- to a yogī (endowed with qualities to be described further on), brings about, in virtue of Knowledge (appearing in the form of) Bindu, Nāda, etc., the means for attaining (various supernatural powers such as) 'kṣobha' --lit. agitation, viz. the power to generate agitation in the mind of others--, 'pratibhācālana' --lit. shaking of knowledge, viz. the power to scatter others' knowledge--, 'bodhastobha' --lit. paralyzing knowledge in others--, 'jñānasañcāra' --lit. transmission of knowledge--, etc., (all of which abide) in the mind of (that) yogī —of the one whose knowledge in wakefulness, at the stage of the body, is manifest— who is awake, i.e. whose freedom is manifest in waking state2 |

How (does the Sustainer of this world do that)? By causing the emergence of moon and sun, viz. of Powers of Knowledge and Action. (All that --a tacit 'yadyad' here--) is being (ideally) manifested by the Power of Knowledge is certainly actualized --lit. becomes certainly visible-- by the Power of Action|

The Supreme Lord, having entered the body of the yogī, brings about various (supernatural powers) (such as) transference through penetration, etc., by means of a gradual expansion of (his) apānaśakti and prāṇaśakti whose essence is inherence in (the Powers of) Knowledge and Action, which are opened --expanded-- by the device of having recourse to the Root —which is the Supreme Speech --Pārāvāk-- shining forth due to the absorption (of such a yogī) --due to his strong samādhi--—|

Just as (this topic has been explained by me) in this way, so also (it has been explained here in the stanzas 75 and 55 of Vijñānabhairava):

"When the sleep has not yet come (and) when the external object(s) have disappeared, the mind should concentrate on that state --lit. that state should be perceived by the mind--. (As a result of this concentration,) the Supreme Goddess becomes visible"||

"By meditating on the (prāṇa)śakti —which is thick (at first) and weak --subtle-- (later)—, (and then) penetrating --viz. by making such subtle prāṇaśakti penetrate-- into the (external) dvādaśānta (or else by causing such subtle prāṇaśakti to enter) into the internal dvādaśānta --also called 'heart'--, the meditator acquires freedom in the dreaming state --i.e. he can dream about what he wishes, at will--3 "||

The sense is that, according to the sacred tradition, the Sustainer (of this world), also in dream, by abiding in the central channel —in the abode of Suṣumnā— certainly reveals --makes manifest-- (always and) most clearly —i.e. without any concealment --lit. with an unconcealed form--— the desired things —i.e. (all) which is desired to be known, such as the absorptions or trances pertaining to Āṇavopāya, Śāktopāya and Śāmbhavopāya, etc. (and) also other things—. (To whom does He reveal all that?) To the (aforesaid yogī) who, having reached (the state of) yogic sleep, does not neglect (his) entreaty (and) is constantly occupied with praying to the Fortunate One --the Great Lord-- by means of remembrance of the Power of Consciousness --Spanda-- (to be found) in both (practices), i.e. in the concentration on prāṇaśakti and in the concentration on apānaśakti, which --i.e. prāṇaśakti and apānaśakti-- are connected with exhalation --lit. emission-- and inhalation --lit. mouthful--. (Where does He reveal all those things to the persevering yogī?) In the mirror of (his) intelligence purified --lit. cleaned-- by the sap of (his) practice of absorption --of samādhi--. In the case of this yogī, there is no confusion of mind/perplexity whether in dreaming or deep sleep4 |

With (the word) 'svapna' --dreaming state--, deep sleep is also included|

Here, as regards the revelation of desired things, by repetition, only this (is) the cause. (Why?) Because the Fortunate One --the Great Lord-- does not neglect (His) Favor --lit. due to the non-negligence of (His) Favor by the Fortunate One...--, which --His Favor-- is characterized by the cessation of the turbidness of Māyā (and) which is to be brought about by means of a worship involving a pursuit of the internal nature of the entreaty (or) prayer5 |

If the Supreme Lord, who is undoubtedly Consciousness, is requested by the appropriate method of inner reverence/worship, He certainly produces all that (He was asked for. The term) 'jāgrataḥ' --lit. of one who is awake-- (in the first half of the first aphorism here) should be understood --lit. should be explained-- as a word having a double entendre, viz. (as) 'of one who is awake with reference to the Highest Principle as well as of one who is in the state of wakefulness6 ||2||

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1  The suprabuddha or perfectly awakened (another name is jīvanmukta or liberated while living) is a person who constantly realizes the principle of Spanda. He is conscious of Aham as pervading it all, inside and outside. In fact, there is no inside and outside in his case as those two exist only where there is ignorance about Aham. The integration of inside and outside in a person marks his achievement of Liberation or Mukti. Therefore, one cannot say that a suprabuddha or jīvanmukta perceives two realities, one internal and the other external. So, this Aham pervades it all... plainly... in his perception. A being like this is rarely found in this world. While a physically strong man can travel to elsewhere and find a stronger man, this is not the case with the suprabuddha or jīvanmukta. He can travel around the globe and he is very likely not to find any other suprabuddha/jīvanmukta like him. What is the rest?: For the most part they are ignorant people (called abuddha-s or unawakened ones, beginners in spirituality included), but there is a small percentage of buddha-s (awakened ones, who are awake in dreaming more than they are in wakefulness) along with an extremely minute percentage of prabuddha-s (well-awakened ones —called 'partially awakened' in the context of Spandakārikā-s—, who are awake in deep sleep more than they are in wakefulness). The buddha-s are really yogī-s moving in an intermediate level, while prabuddha-s are very advanced yogī-s.

To the abuddha-s there is hardly ever perception of the Spanda principle due to their heavy state of ignorance about who they really are. If the abuddha is a beginner in spirituality, this heavy ignorance should be in process of being removed little by little. Anyway, there is no warranty of it happening, at least not at the speed it should take place. This accounts for the presence of so many ego-related problems in spiritual communities. It is not that the prabuddha-s (let alone suprabuddha-s) are creating unnecessary trouble, but this is mostly the fault of the abuddha-s there (the beginners). The buddha-s or intermediate practitioners are more prone to be moving away from those ego-related dramas, and the prabuddha-s are so fascinated about the perception of the Spanda principle at the beginning and at the end of the three states of consciousness (wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep) that it is highly improbable for them to be interested in fighting for who has more power in the community. On the other hand, the suprabuddha-s, since they are awake in Turya (in the fourth state of consciousness) more than in wakefulness, are definitely in another world though their bodies are still here. The gradual disappearance of ego-related fights in the life of a yogī shows that he is moving to superior stages of spirituality.

It is a typical characteristic of the abuddha-s to resort to violence in the end. They are fully based on a violent behavior despite they affirm that they are like angels. It is about pressing them in the right way for them to start to develop all kind of verbal violence or even physical. Such persons should realize how wretched their lives are and begin moving to higher states of consciousness. Unfortunately, most of them cannot. Only some abuddha-s can do it and they are called 'beginners in spirituality'. As they move to superior stages in Yoga, they gradually abandon unnecessary violence. Why? Because it is absolutely useless. While there is a necessary violence that one has to resort to in order to preserve his life or others' lives, the massive remaining portion of violence is completely unnecessary and in fact a kind of obstacle to the achievement of Mukti or Liberation, as it were. One cannot enter the Kingdom of the Supreme Lord with a machine gun, you know. There is a moment in the development of a yogī when he understands that violence is generally useless. This process of awakening is always very gradual so the person can get used to the new states without collapsing. To be violent in the world is so common that the yogī who is a beginner in spirituality will run into issues when he has to deal with advanced people who are more peaceful than him. Why? Because he will feel like a sort of caveman in comparison.

Summing it up, the abuddha-s are based on violence in the end, the buddha-s are moving away from it, prabuddha-s are almost without it, and finally suprabuddha-s... oh well, they can do whatever they want because they are free from karmic fruits. Anyway, whether they are peaceful like doves or aggressive like lions, one cannot say that they are peaceful or aggressive. Why? Because they underwent a full divine transformation. After the touch of the Divine, what remains in you cannot be called peaceful or aggressive. It is just divine like the Lord Himself. Though he stays in a human body and apparently behaves like a human being, one cannot call him human really. He is indeed the personification of the Supreme Master. This great being can move in the shadows or else he can reveal himself. When he reveals himself to someone, it is obvious to this person that he is not a common person. Why? Because his knowledge and interests are quite different from those of ordinary people. This great Yogī has then constant perception of the principle of Spanda, i.e. he is constantly conscious of Aham, of 'I AM'. He fully realizes that he is Sat or Existence teeming with Absolute Freedom. The other beings are also Existence teeming with Absolute Freedom, but because they do not possess the treasure called 'realization', it is as if they are not Existence teeming with Absolute Freedom. OK, enough of this!

Afterwards, the sage Kṣemarāja mentioned teachings occurring in the first section. Finally, he affirms that now, in order to prove suprabuddhatā (the state of perfectly awakened) through the capacity of a suprabuddha to annihilate ordinary dreaming and deep sleep states, and also to show his supernormal powers, which are suitable for the dreaming state, Vasugupta formulated the first two aphorisms of this third section. This is clear and it does not require explanation.Return

2  One thing that it should be clear from the beginning: The suprabuddha is not at all interested in displaying supernatural powers. The one interested in these inferior things is a yogī treading the Vibhūtimārga (the path leading to superhuman powers). The suprabuddha has indeed a pile of these powers but he never touches them. They work by themselves, spontaneously. This is the difference between a suprabuddha (a yogī who attained Liberation after having trodden the Muktimārga —the path leading to Liberation—) and a yogī devoted to achieving supernormal capacities. In turn, on one hand, the entreaty in the case of the suprabuddha is automatic. He is not doing it by force. It just happens due to the mere existence of his state of enlightenment. On the other hand, the entreaty of a follower of Vibhūtimārga is not automatic and must be continued by force. The commentary is not clearly showing this difference. That is why it could seem as if the suprabuddha is requesting the Lord always and consequently the Sustainer of this world is rewarding him for that perseverance. But this is never happening, in my humble opinion. Because, if someone is a suprabuddha, he will not be interested in anything else apart from his beholding the Marvel (Absolute Freedom). Where is there room in him for limited powers such as the capacity to agitate the others' minds, to scatter others' knowledge, etc.? When there is nobody else in this universe apart from himself, where are the others and their minds/knowledge to be agitated, scattered, etc.? However, if all these powers appear in such suprabuddha, they do it spontaneously, viz. by themselves.

Because of this Mahāsiddhi (Great Accomplishment) which comes with Mukti or Liberation, everything spontaneously happens around the liberated Yogī without his special intervention. It just happens. So, there is no entreaty being continued by force of perseverance in his case but this entreaty (to call it somehow) just takes place naturally. That is why people around a great Yogī like this immediately feel blessed and many good states are coming to their minds, etc. etc., but the great Yogī never did anything in particular to generate all that. So, this is the difference between the great Yogī who attained the supreme goal known as Mukti or Liberation and the other follower of Vibhūtimārga (the path of supernatural powers), who has to constantly make efforts in order to get some limited capacities.

The terms Bindu (or Vindu) and Nāda have different meanings according to the contexts: Here they stand for Jñāna and Kriyā (moon and sun, as they will be called later on), i.e. Knowledge and Action. In practice, this Bindu will emerge as a supernormal dot of light from the space between the eyebrows and Nāda will be experienced as supernormal sound which expands from the crown of the head through Suṣumnā —the central channel which, running through the spinal column, pierces the main Cakra-s in the subtle body— (I explain this complex topic in Meditation 6).Return

3  The Sustainer of this world brings about the means for attaining various supernatural powers by causing the emergence of moon and sun (Powers of Knowledge and Action, respectively). The Śakti's viewpoint is being used by Kṣemarāja here, in his explanation. Why? Because soma and sūrya (moon and sun) symbolize different things across the different viewpoints (across Śāmbhavopāya, Śāktopāya and Āṇavopāya). In Śāmbhavopāya, they symbolize Vimarśa and Prakāśa (Śakti and Śiva), but, in Śāktopāya, they represent Jñānaśakti (Power of Knowledge) and Kriyāśakti (Power of Action), and finally, in Āṇavopāya, they stand for apāna (the vital energy accompanying the inhalation) and prāṇa (the vital energy accompanying the exhalation), respectively. So, in this context, according to Kṣemarāja, moon and sun must be understood from the Śāktopāya's viewpoint as Jñānaśakti and Kriyāśakti (Powers of Knowledge and Action). The first Power is more internal, as it were, and always relating to 'planning' (i.e. to all that is being ideally manifested), while the second Power has always to do with the final actualization of all that was planned by the first Power, i.e. Kriyāśakti will materialize all that which was ideally manifested (planned) by Jñānaśakti.

In the following paragraph, Kṣemarāja mentions the Āṇavopāya's viewpoint (moon and sun as apāna and prāṇa) as of the essence of the Śāktopāya's viewpoint (assigning moon and sun to Jñānaśakti and Kriyāśakti). The process is like this: By gradually expanding apāna in inhalation and prāṇa in exhalation, the breathing process slows down little by little till it comes to a stop. With this stoppage, samāna (the vital energy residing in the navel area) is developed. After its development, udāna starts to flow upward through Suṣumnā (running through the spinal cord). As udāna ascends more and more it becomes Jñānaśakti, and finally Jñānaśakti becomes Kriyāśakti. Now it is clear.

The sage expressed 'The Supreme Lord, having entered the body of the yogī', because the Lord is not inside in the way people like to think about Him. No. Why? Because He is beyond space and therefore one cannot affirm that He is inside or outside. It is just ego (a drop of His I-consciousness) which postulates that He is inside the physical body (a small place for Him if you consider the exiguous dimensions of the body!). But Paramaśiva is inside, outside and beyond inside/outside too. That is why Kṣemarāja used the expression 'anupraviṣṭaḥ' (having entered) regarding the body, in order to show that now He finally took up residence in a particular body due to the constant entreaty of the yogī.

After gradually expanding apāna and prāṇa in this way by resorting to the Root —to Pratibhā or Pārāvāk, the Supreme Speech— which has now shone forth because of the strong absorption of that yogī, the Supreme Lord produces various supernatural powers such as transference of knowledge, etc. The meaning of this is simple to understand, I guess. One thing you need to take into account: The above-mentioned Supreme Speech cannot be attained because She is ALL. You cannot attain the ALL, because the ALL already attained you. You can attain all other levels of speech before the Supreme Speech, but you cannot attain Supreme Speech Herself. Because She is You! Anyway, you can realize your unity with Her. And despite you can call this 'an attainment', it is not a real attainment but only a realization.

Now, to consolidate his comments, sage Kṣemarāja is quoting the stanzas 75 and 55 in Vijñānabhairava. In order to explain this, I will have recourse to the two authoritative commentaries: The one by Kṣemarāja/Śivopādhyāya (partly written by the former and partly written by the latter) and the other by Ānandabhaṭṭa (his commentary is generally known as Vijñānabhairavakaumudī). The partial commentary is just plainly called 'vivṛti' (exposition, comment, etc.), but the partial commentary by Śivopādhyāya is known as 'Vijñānabhairavoddyota' (Vijñānabhairava-uddyota).

Now the elucidation of the aphorism 75 of Vijñānabhairava by means of the Kṣemarāja/Śivopādhyāya's commentary... but as almost always, there is a slightly different reading in the version I have, i.e. there is a slight difference between the reading of the Vijñānabhairava's stanza 75 being quoted in Spandanirṇaya and the same stanza in the commentary by Kṣemarāja/Śivopādhyāya. In Spandanirṇaya, you can read 'vinaṣṭe' (from 'vinaṣṭa' - 'disappeared'), but in the commentary by Kṣemarāja/Śivopādhyāya you instead read 'praṇaṣṭe' (from 'praṇaṣṭa' - 'disappeared'). So the difference is only the use of different prefixes: 'vi' in the former and 'pra' in the latter. I will make all this very clear below:

"When the sleep has not yet come (and) when the external object(s) have disappeared, the mind should concentrate on that state --lit. that state should be perceived by the mind--. (As a result of this concentration,) the Supreme Goddess becomes visible||75||"

When the sleep has not yet come (and) when the dark covering of the mental fluctuations along with the group of external objects have vanished from sight, the mind should concentrate on that state which is manifest --which is devoid of any veil-- in the middle --between upcoming sleep and cessation of wakefulness' mental fluctuations together with the group of external objects-- —i.e. an acquisition based on firmly taking hold of one's own pure Consciousness—. This (dhāraṇā or concentration) (is) also the Śāmbhavopāya stage because when she --the dhāraṇā-- takes place in this way --in the manner which was described--, she shines as the Supreme Goddess|

And likewise, (the same truth is established) in the philosophy of Vasiṣṭha --the Guru of Rāmacandra--:

"(There is) a state which appears at the beginning of sleep (and) at the end of wakefulness. The one who contemplates that state immediately attains the imperishable Bliss"||


The same reading problem with the commentary called Kaumudī by Ānandabhaṭṭa (i.e. 'praṇaṣṭe' instead of 'vinaṣṭe'). Besides, the constant problem with numbering, because practically always, the number of the stanza will be 'minus one'. In other words, the stanza 75 in all the texts will be 74 in the Kaumudī:

"When the sleep has not yet come (and) when the external object(s) have disappeared, the mind should concentrate on that state --lit. that state should be perceived by the mind--. (As a result of this concentration,) the Supreme Goddess becomes visible||74||"

The state which appears (and) is sleep (and at the same time) wakefulness --in short, it is between wakefulness and sleep-- is said to be the Supreme State since it is established that this very state makes Consciousness evident or manifest|

For example, by means of (the following aphorism in Yogavāsiṣṭha), etc., (this teaching) has been --lit. is-- discussed:

"(There is) a state which appears at the beginning of sleep (and) at the end of wakefulness. The one who contemplates that state immediately attains the imperishable Bliss"||


All in all, the yogī desiring supernatural powers, enters Turya (the fourth state of Consciousness, the state of the essential Self) in order to attain his goal. However, the yogī desiring Mukti or Liberation does not have this limited goal. Instead, he is going for the experience of Turyātīta (the State beyond Turya, the State of Paramaśiva), which once gotten marks the achievement of Liberation. This is the difference between the two kinds of yogī-s. All this is, of course, Śāmbhavopāya as there is no support (e.g. an object, the middle point between inhalation and exhalation, etc.).

Now the commentaries on the stanza 55 in Vijñānabhairava:

Kṣemarāja/Śivopādhyāya have again a different reading, and this time the change is significant: 'svapnasvātantryamāpnuyāt' (quoted by Kṣemarāja in Spandanirṇaya) appears as 'muktaḥ svātantryamāpnuyāt'. So, the change in the meaning is important. Besides, in my opinion this commentary is not completely exact. I prefer the one by Ānandabhaṭṭa in his Kaumudī, as his description of the process is more exact. Let us see:

"By meditating on the (prāṇa)śakti —which is thick (at first) and weak --subtle-- (later)—, (and then) penetrating --viz. by making such subtle prāṇaśakti penetrate-- into the (external) dvādaśānta (or else by causing such subtle prāṇaśakti to enter) into the internal dvādaśānta --also called 'heart'--, the meditator acquires Absolute Freedom (and accordingly becomes) liberated||55||"

By meditating on the prāṇaśakti —which is thick or dense at first, (but which) afterward --lit. after that-- gradually becomes, by the method of prāṇāyāma, thin or subtle— (as residing) in the (external) dvādaśānta --at the end of twelve fingers from the tip of the nose-- and in the internal dvādaśānta --also called 'heart'--, (such) meditator --lit. the one who meditates (so)-- becomes the Free and Supreme Lord||55||

Finally, the commentary by Ānandabhaṭṭa in his Kaumudī and again the same different reading like in the commentary by Kṣemarāja/Śivopādhyāya, and again the same 'minus one' effect regarding the number of the stanza (i.e. 54 and not 55):

"By meditating on the (prāṇa)śakti —which is thick (at first) and weak --subtle-- (later)—, (and then) penetrating --viz. by making such subtle prāṇaśakti penetrate-- into the (external) dvādaśānta (or else by causing such subtle prāṇaśakti to enter) into the internal dvādaśānta --also called 'heart'--, the meditator acquires Absolute Freedom (and accordingly becomes) liberated||54||"

By meditating on the prāṅaśakti —which is thick at first [i.e. she becomes thick due to the rule with reference to the act of consuming food, drinks, etc. ] (but) afterward, by means of the teachings of the Guru, by means of the breath stoppages, etc., she becomes subtle—, (and) after that, by making her --such subtle prāṅaśakti-- penetrate into the internal dvādaśānta --called hṛdaya--, etc. or into the (external) dvādaśānta, consequently it is certain that (the meditator) becomes the Free and Supreme Lord||54||

As you can see, the commentary by Ānandabhaṭṭa is more complete and descriptive. This method given here starts with Āṇavopāya but leads to Śāmbhavopāya, and again, you can use it to go after Mukti (Liberation) or to go after ephemeral siddhi-s (supernatural powers). Return

4  Why is dreaming so important? Because when you are dreaming you are in subtle body (puryaṣṭaka) traveling on saṁskāra-s (impressions of past actions). And it is by means of the subtle body that you will move to another body after leaving the present one (after dying). So, if you can get rid of puryaṣṭaka, you can get rid of Saṁsāra (Transmigration full of pain). Hence the importance of dreaming.

During dreaming, in the case of the yogī who does not neglect his entreaty, the Lord remains in Suṣumnā and from there He reveals all that such a yogī desires. For example: The different absorptions or trances relating to Āṇavopāya, Śāktopāya, Śāmbhavopāya, etc. In other words, He makes that yogī understand and accomplish all the 112 dhāraṇā-s or concentrations postulated in venerable Vijñānabhairava. This yogī abides in yogic sleep (yoganidrā), which was achieved by the method given in the above-mentioned stanza of Vijñānabhairava. He is constantly busy with remembering Spanda to be found in both practices, viz. in the concentration on the vital energy moving with the exhalation as well as in the concentration on the vital energy moving with the inhalation.

Where is He revealing all those things to the persevering yogī? In the mirror of his buddhi or intellect. All the things that this yogī dedicated to the attainment of supernormal powers gets come through his intellect. In the same way, all the Bliss that the other yogī devoted to the achievement of Liberation obtains comes through his buddhi too. This intelligence is purified by the sap of his samādhi, and, I would add, by the studies of the Śiva's scriptures. No doubt that to this spiritual aspirant there is no mayic bewilderment. In this world replete with ignorance, it is very usual to see myriads of people confused about who they are or what is their goal in life or even, silly enough, confused about the existence of God. Well, nothing of this is happening to the referred to yogī. So simple as that!Return

5  Here Kṣemarāja establishes that by the word 'svapna' in the aphorism, deep sleep is also included. Because both bodies are interconnected (causal and subtle bodies). The passive saṁskāra-s (impressions manufactured by past actions) are stored in the causal body in deep sleep because they are not actively occupied in creating pleasure and pain during the present lifetime. These kinds of karma are known as sañcita and āgāmi (stored and future). On the other hand, the type of karma which is actively busy with granting the good and bad fruits during the current lifetime is called prārabdha (begun). It has started with this lifetime and will not be over till the body dies. As it is giving pleasure and pain, it is working at the level of the subtle body (and not at the level of the causal body as the previous two kinds of karma). During Liberation, if you are to retain your physical body, then sañcita and āgāmi are destroyed but prārabdha stays. Why? Because without the fuel of karma there is no life in a physical body. In the case of the videhamukta-s (the ones who abandon the body during Liberation), all the three types of karma are destroyed, but in the case of the jīvanmukta-s (the ones who retain the body during Liberation), only the first two types of karma are annihilated. Prārabdha must remain in their case or there will be no continuance of life.

Besides, as regards the question about why not leaving sañcita or āgāmi active instead of prārabdha, the answer is simple: Because the prārabdha already began and manufactured the physical body in order for it to experience the consequences of previous actions. If another type of karma could be left active instead of prārabdha after Liberation, so the form of the body would have to drastically change as the entire set of new saṁskāra-s getting enabled demand another kind of body for it experience the respective fruits. A dramatic change in the form of the body of Great Yogī would be disturbing to everybody around. As in general, the Great Yogī will tend to keep his achievement of Liberation hidden, this disturbance regarding the drastic bodily change is not welcome. OK, enough of revealing this!

The difference between a yogī (before Liberation) and the Lord is that the former could neglect his entreaty —he could forget to remember Him—, but He will never neglect His Favor in the form of cessation of the turbidness of Māyā. Māyā is extremely turbid. Hence the constant confusion among people. They experience confusion with reference to the Highest Reality because of her turbidness. When you are covered with this darkness, you move in the range starting with foolish atheists and ending in confused yogī-s who still cannot realize that they are the Supreme Lord. But, if you managed to please Him somehow (although there are standard methods to please Him, e.g. worship, service, etc., the reason why the Lord becomes pleased with a yogī is always shrouded in mystery), then He will confer you the capacity to realize that You are Him.Return

6  As I said in the previous note: There are standard methods to please Him (worship, service, etc.), but in the end, the right method for you is always a kind of customization of the standard ones. Certainly that the Lord, when pleased, will give the yogī all that he desires to get. But again, why should a yogī desire something apart from Liberation? The yogī-s desiring something else are ones who tread the path of Vibhūti (supernatural powers).

And finally, according to Kṣemarāja, the word 'jāgrataḥ' (lit. of the one who is awake) is used not only with reference to being awake in respect to the Highest Reality but also in respect to common wakefulness. In a nutshell, such a word refers to the one who stays in wakefulness, who does not go to sleep, after the Lord caused the emergence of moon and sun. Now the purport is clear.Return


 Aphorism 3

(Vasugupta) said that: 'However, if (someone) is not attentive in this way, then he is not a yogī --lit. the state of a yogī is not his--'1 :

Otherwise, the manifesting Power, according to its characteristics, is always free (to act) as in the case of the common people, during the two states of wakefulness (and) dream||3||

If, the Sustainer (of this world) is not constantly propitiated according to the aforesaid device, then, in the absence of (his --of the yogī--) abiding in his own essential nature, the manifesting Power —the Power of the Supreme Lord—, whose nature is manifesting, determing, etc. common and uncommon things in wakefulness and in dreaming state, is always —viz. every day— free (to act,) even with respect to this yogī, as in the case of the common people (regarding what to manifest during those states of waking and dreaming). The sense is that that --lack of propitiation of the Sustainer of this world, i.e. of the Great Lord-- makes even the yogī fall into the hole of Transmigration (full of misery) as in the case of the ordinary people2 |

As has been said:

"The outgoing inclination or tendency of the living beings comes from the Lord --it is His Will--"|

'Taddharmakatvataḥ' (in the aphorism) --lit. according to its characteristics-- (means) according to the condition of Freedom belonging to the manifesting Power of the Fortunate One --of the Lord-- during the display of the states of sleep, wakefulness, etc.. This is the purport3 ||3||

Skip the notes

1  If someone does not have the treasure of such attention, then he is not a real yogī (whether one going for Liberation or for supernatural powers). By this statement, Vasugupta showed that the vast majority of reputed 'yogī-s' in this world are not real yogī-s. Because when you do not have this kind of constant state of alertness, then the Supreme Power (Śakti) will manifest the things She wishes so, and not what you desire to get. This is what Vasugupta is about to say by the aphorism 3 of this section.Return

2  Because the yogī forgets to propitiate the Sustainer constantly, then, His manifesting Power will treat him like if he were an ordinary person and make visible to him things like in the case of the common people. In other words, the yogī ceases to be a yogī due to his fault regarding constant ārādhana or propitiation. This marks his return to miserable Saṁsāra teeming with affliction.

By 'common and uncommon things', Kṣemarāja is referring to the 'common' things that are exhibited by the Supreme Power during wakefulness as well as the 'uncommon' things that the same Power display in dreaming. 'Common' in this context means 'perceived by everybody' (e.g. sea, mountains, etc.) and 'uncommon' means 'perceived only by an individual' (e.g. unicorns). The common things remain in wakefulness and can be perceived by everybody around, however, the uncommon things remain in dreaming state and can be perceived only by the dreamer.Return

3  Every tendency in every individual is the result of Paramaśiva's Will. The expression 'Taddharmakatvataḥ' (according to its characteristics) occurring in the aphorism refers to the characteristics of the Supreme Power. Another name for this Supreme Power is Svātantryaśakti (Power of Absolute Freedom). In a nutshell, She will decide what to manifest during waking, dreaming, etc. from Her own state of Freedom, as in the case of the ordinary people.Return


 Aphorisms 4-5

Thus, after establishing --i.e. proving-- the means to cleave asunder the states of dreaming and deep sleep for attaining the state of the perfectly awakened, (Vasugupta) defines, based on example and reasoning, the means of absorption into the principle of Spanda for the perfectly awakened, (and) points out that the process of knowing the object which is desired to be known takes also place in this way1 :

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

The word 'hi' means 'kila' --indeed, certainly, undoubtedly, etc.--|

Undoubtedly, just as a thing that is perceived as indistinct (at first), even though an (extremely) attentive mind (might be involved in the process of perception) —due to the errors (in such perception) relating to the distance, etc.—, appears not only clearly but even more clearly afterward when beheld —when minutely examined --lit. strongly looked at--— with the vigorous exertion of one's own power connected with seeing something perceptible, so, whatever thing —i.e. whatever power of the principle of Spanda— which actually exists in any form —i.e. in anything whose nature is a compact mass of Bliss—, 'in any place' —i.e. in one's own essential nature that is Śaṅkara --Śiva--—, 'in any condition' —i.e. in the form of a penetration into non-duality—, that (very thing) —the subject of the sentence --viz. 'tad' is in nominative case--— quickly arises —i.e. becomes manifest— more clearly 'in that manner' —(that very thing) is (quickly) brought about by the vigorous exertion of one's own power —i.e. by means of the persevering effort of the practice of unity with that (compact mass of Bliss) which resides inside—2 |

How? By grabbing hold (of the Cosmic Force of Spanda, in other words), by submerging the invented stage of experient/knower of body, etc. belonging --the invented stage-- to the worshiper in his own Self. And likewise, (this would be another interpretation of the stanza 5:) In the case of a yogī/spiritual aspirant who keeps grabbing hold of the (Cosmic) Force of Spanda by repeatedly instigating/provoking the stage of invented experient/knower of body and intellect, whatever thing desired to be known (by him), e.g. a treasure, etc., (situated) in any place —in a (certain) region, etc.—, in any form —as actual gold, etc., in any condition —having a (certain) appearance --lit. remaining with an appearance--—, that (very thing) becomes immediately manifest in that manner3 ||5||

Skip the notes

1  By means of all the knowledge displayed by Vasugupta, a yogī endowed with persevering effort and alertness can destroy the play of the three states of consciousness (waking, dreaming and deep sleep). These three are kṛtrima or artificial, and the proof of it lies in their constant rotating. What is Real is permanent. The state of Turya is 'akṛtrima' or non-artificial. It is Real because it is permanent. But, how did one arrive at the condition in which waking, dreaming and deep sleep reign supreme? Due to the primordial ignorance (Āṇavamala) that massively contracts the Will of the Lord. But despite that heavy contraction, the state of Turya runs through the other three states like a thread through beads in a necklace. Though Turya is present at all moments in the background, only a very advanced disciple (or directly an enlightened person) can realize it during the unfoldment of the ordinary states (wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep). To the vast majority of spiritual aspirants will be much easier to detect Turya in the union between such states: Between waking and dreaming, between dreaming and deep sleep, and between deep sleep and waking. Obviously that the first case (between waking and dreaming) is the most simple approach at first, but the other points of revelation are also possible as one advances in spirituality. These unions, these gaps between the states, are just points of entrance to Turya. Turya is the essential state of every living being. It is the state of the Self. Anyway, due to the abnormality unleashed by Āṇavamala, now the individual lives in the wretched wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep, which are considered to be real treasures by the ignorant.

Now Vasugupta defines, based on example and reasoning, the means of samādhi into the Supreme Power which is Svātantryaśakti or Power of Absolute Freedom. But this is now in the case of the suprabuddha or perfectly awakened one, and not in the case of spiritual aspirants (disciples). Why? Because with all the previous explanation Vasugupta already gave is enough to generate a suprabuddha. As this is the firm conviction of the author (Vasugupta), now he is elucidating everything but in the case of the suprabuddha. In these aphorisms 4 and 5, Vasugupta establishes the process of knowing the object which is desired to be known. This process takes place in this way, that is, as pointed out in the aphorisms 4 and 5.Return

2  At first, Kṣemarāja indicates that the particle 'hi' is to be understood as having the meaning of 'kila', i.e. 'indeed, certainly, undoubtedly, etc.'. He did so because 'hi' has other meanings, e.g. because. But now, thanks to the indication by Kṣemarāja, the purport is very clear.

The analogy is related to someone seeing something from a long distance at first. The object being seen looks like indistinct even if the one watching has an attentive mind. But later, through the strenuous exertion of one's cakṣurindriya or power of seeing, the same thing appears not only clearly but even more clearly. In the same way, whatever power or śakti of the Spanda principle, which actually exists in any form, in any place and in any condition, that very thing quickly becomes manifest more clearly in that manner by the vigorous exertion of one's own power. According to Kṣemarāja, the meaning of 'in any form' is 'in anything which is of the nature of a compact mass of Bliss, viz. Paramaśiva'. In turn, 'in any place' would mean 'in one's own Self who is Śiva', because He is a compact mass and therefore occupies every place. And 'in any condition' should be interpreted as 'in the form of a penetration into non-duality'. Why? Because however the condition of that thing may be, it is a power or śakti of the Spanda principle. Therefore, it is fit for being penetrated by the non-dualistic viewpoint. In other words, it is fit for being assimilated into His Light. And because all this is so, that thing can be quickly brought about by the strenuous exertion of one's own power, viz. by means of the device of alaṁgrāsa, which has to do with constant perception of unity in all the things. Because the compact mass of Bliss exists in oneself as it exists in the thing which is desired, by constant practice of unity with the internal compact mass of Bliss there is revelation of such thing which is also nothing else but a compact mass of Bliss. OK, now it is clear, I guess. The key to success in Yoga is always 'to be aware of one's own Self'.Return

3  How to do all this? By being aware of one's own Self (as I pointed out at the end of the previous note of explanation). By grabbing hold of the Cosmic Force of Spanda, i.e. by dissolving the invented ego in the ocean-like Self of everybody. Following, Kṣemarāja indicates another interpretation of the aphorisms:

If a yogī or spiritual aspirant becomes extremely conscious of the Cosmic Force of Spanda in himself. How? By repeatedly instigating/provoking his limited individuality which is nothing but an invention, i.e. by challenging his sense of individuality by means of constant remembrance of the unity of all things. Then, as a result, whatever thing he wants to know, e.g. a treasure, etc. situated in any region, etc., as actual gold, silver, etc., and having any appearance, that very thing immediately appears before him in that manner. And there is no doubt about it. Anyway, the final way to find out if all this is true lies in developing a firm grip on Spanda at all times. Without this actual development of awareness, the entire thing just becomes mere bookish theory.Return


 Aphorism 6

(Vasugupta) said that: 'Hence even the power of doing, etc. become manifest --lit. becomes manifest-- from the (Cosmic) Force1 ':

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

The sense is that, just as even the sage who abstains from eating, whose essential bodily ingredients are weakened, by grabbing hold of the (Cosmic) Force of Spanda (and) by repeatedly instigating the stage of experient/knower of the vital energy, is engaged (in doing) what is to be done —the action which is necessary to be done—, i.e. he does, by taking hold of that (Cosmic) Force, what seemed impossible; likewise, even he who is extremely hungry appeases (his) hunger, thirst, etc. by grabbing that (Cosmic) Force2 |

For someone who has entered the stage of the compact mass of Consciousness, there is no subjugation under the pairs of opposite because the stage of vital energy, etc. is the substratum of that --of the pairs of opposite--, and since here --i.e. in the context of a fully liberated person-- that --the stage of vital energy, etc.-- is submerged in the stage of Consciousness3 ||6||

Skip the notes

1  Now Vasugupta is on the point of showing the key to be successful in the achievement of supernatural powers which are based on power of doing, etc. It is always the same grabbing hold of the Spanda principle. And even in the case of the yogī who is only interested in Mukti or Liberation, the same rule is valid, viz. one should constantly grab hold of the principle of Spanda. One way to do it is to realize that Spanda in the body is behind the senses. Most senses are residing in the skull. In this way, concentration on the center of the skull as the dwelling place of Spanda is a way to gain entrance to It. Very simple method, but anyway it is so difficult to practice. Why? Because one's Māyā will insist on keeping you busy, outside and inside, with a pile of idiocy (a pile of trifles which, nonetheless, rob you of your time every day). This is the force of ignorance being rooted in Āṇavamala. Without this in the middle, the attainment of Liberation and supernatural powers would be almost like a stroll in the park. However, a few people among the mass of ignorant beings can start to practice like this during longer and longer periods of time. This kind of being is known as yogī or a person endowed with knowledge and capacity enough as to find time for keeping his attention concentrated on higher pursuits in life. That is why Vasugupta warned about this in the aphorism 3, when affirmed that if the practitioner is not constantly attentive to the principle of Spanda, i.e. that if the practitioner is not a real yogī, then Spanda can do as It wishes, as in the case of common people.Return

2  Even a sage who is fasting, in whom the seven essential ingredients of his body (chyle, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow and semen) are weakened, if he holds on to the Cosmic Force of Spanda while at the same time repeatedly instigates his limited individuality (by challenging it, by casting doubt on it) --he believes that he depends on vital energy because he is convinced that if he cannot breathe for some reason, he will cease to exist--, then he will be successful in all his undertakings. And what it seemed to be impossible becomes possible. And in the same way, someone who is hungry, thirsty, etc. can appease his strong desire to eat, drink, etc. by the same device of holding on to the Spanda principle.Return

3  If a yogī has penetrated into the stage of the compact mass of Consciousness (Paramaśiva), then for him there is no subjugation under 'dvandva-s' or pairs of opposite (e.g. heat/cold, pleasant/unpleasant, etc.). Why? Because prāṇa (vital energy) is the foundation of those pairs of opposite. Therefore, since the stage of prāṇa is submerged in the stage of the compact mass of Consciousness, in Paramaśiva, it is impossible for him to be under the sway of dvandva-s.Return


 Aphorism 7

As in this way, by following the reasoning-based method (shown) in the aforesaid aphorism --in the previous aphorism--, '(does) take place (the appearance of) a multitude of such supernatural powers from this --from the application of that method--', therefore1 :

Just as (there is) omniscience, etc. (with regard to the body) when the body is governed or presided by this (principle of Spanda), so (also), through the establishment in one's own Self, there will be thus everywhere||7||

Just as the attributes of omniscience, omnipotence, etc. —in the form of experiences, instruments, etc. with reference to things suitable to that state— get manifest to the embodied being when the body is governed or presided —i.e. pervaded— by this principle of Spanda which is his own essential nature, so (also) if this (embodied being), by withdrawing all like the contraction of a tortoise's limbs or by the device of the great expansion, gets established in his own imperishable Self who is Consciousness —(in other words,) he directs (his) state of absorption toward That Itself --toward this imperishable Self--, which is recognized by the aforesaid signs or tokens serving as a proof—, then there will be thus omniscience, omnipotence, etc. —which are adequate to Śaṅkara --Śiva--— 'everywhere', from Śivatattva --category 1 of the universal manifestation-- down to the element earth --category 36--2 ||7||

Skip the notes

1  And now, because tons of supernatural powers suddenly appear due to the application of the method which was previously explained, therefore the author is ready to speak about this stage in Yoga.Return

2  Omniscience, omnipotence, etc. with regard to the body appear when the yogī realizes Spanda in the body. But these powers will only reside where the body resides. This is the goal of a yogī only interested in supernatural powers. However, if such yogī turns the attention away from those limited powers and, by the devices of saṅkoca (contraction of a tortoise's limbs) or vikāsa (great expansion), direct it to the Core of Spanda, to Paramaśiva Himself, then his omniscience, omnipotence, etc. will reside everywhere (from the first to the last tattva or category of manifestation) and not only in the body. This is the difference between a yogī who is only interested in miserable supernatural powers tied to the body and a yogī who goes after Liberation.

The device of saṅkoca consists in retracting all the senses inward. It is related to Nimīlanasamādhi (trance with closed eyes). In turn, the device of vikāsa consists in the opposite, i.e. in fully opening all the senses while at the same time the attention is firmly concentrated on the inner Reality. It is related to Unmīlanasamādhi (trance with closed eyes). The first device is connected with Ātmavyāpti (inherence in the inner Self) while the second one is connected with Śivavyāpti (inherence in Śiva, in the Cosmic Self). Obviously, the second device is much more important than the first one. A beautiful example of vikāsa is given by Kṣemarāja while commenting on I, 11 of this Spandanirṇaya.

Besides, this Paramaśiva or Supreme Śiva is recognizable by the aforesaid signs or tokens serving as a proof, i.e. it is possible to recognize Him as dwelling in the state of Turyātīta (beyond Turya). But firstly one must enter Turya in the way which was explained before. Also, it is possible to reason about Him in the way which has been taught in this scripture and in many other ones.

When a Great Yogī has attained the stage where his omniscience, omnipotence, etc. are everywhere, what else is to be said about him? Anyway, Vasugupta will say something else about him later on.Return


 Aphorism 8

(Vasugpta) said that even this (takes place) through His Favor1 :

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

As a matter of fact, depression which resides in the body (amounts to) the destruction of Joy belonging to a person who is proud of (his) body --i.e. who erroneously considers his body to be his Self--. That plunderer, by taking away the wealth of the Highest Consciousness, grants misery in the form of limitation. And that depression glides, springs and continues --lit. there is gliding, springing and continuance in the case of that depression-- from ignorance —from non-recognition that one's own essential nature is a compact mass of Consciousness and Bliss2 |

If that ignorance is destroyed/cut off by Unmeṣa, whose nature will be shown later on, then that depression, due to the absence of (its) cause whose essence is ignorance, how might it exist? It might not exist. This is the meaning3 |

And in the absence of depression in the body, the future/inevitable states of affliction (such as) physical sickness, etc. (are) also (absent) indeed. In the case of the yogī, the more (such states of affliction) will diminish ---lit. they diminish-, the more his essential nature will shine intensely --lit. shines intensely-- like with reference to gold, which when gets very hot shines intensely when the dross is removed4 |

In this way, the absence of depression while he is still residing in the body (is) the glory/the manifestation of might of the highest Yogī|

As has been said by the supreme Yoginī Madālasā while addressing (her) little child --lit. young child--:

"You, do not become a fool as regards this body of yours, which is a decaying sheath (and) which is to be abandoned. This body (is) a sheath tied to you by (your) good and bad actions (and) by (your) arrogance, etc.5 "||
(See Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa 25, 14)

By means of this --by means of the stanza of Madālasā-- it has also been explained indirectly that to the yogī desirous of limited supernatural powers who pierces/perforates (his) body with the sap of the practice of absorption --samādhi-- there is conquest of ailments (such as) wrinkles, gray hairs, etc.6 ||8||

Skip the notes

1  Even the device of Unmeṣa which is to be described later also happens due to His Favor.Return

2  Depression in this context amounts to the psychological one (the one based on mental processes) and not to the organic one (the one based on problems with the organs of the body), in my opinion. People suffering from madness are not included here either. The author, in my humble opinion, is speaking about the usual depression related to lack of accomplishments in life (about not having a good job, a family and similar trivialities).

Depression in a person indicates that that person is not in the possession of a real I (the essential nature). This depression destroys all possibility of Joy. This occurs in a person who is proud of his body, who is attached to his body as if it were his own Self. This act of considering the body to be the real Self is the direct outcome of the second aspect of Āṇavamala (primordial ignorance) called Bauddhājñāna (intellectual ignorance). The first aspect is Pauruṣājñāna or ignorance about the Self.

Depression is considered to be a plunderer since it takes away the wealth of the Highest Consciousness and gives instead misery in the form of limitation replete with pain. Depression sucks a lot of energy and leaves the person in a horrible condition. When it is strong, even people around that person start to feel their own energy down. Depression comes from ignorance, i.e. from not recognizing that one's essential nature is a compact mass of Consciousness and Bliss. The liberated person is always beholding the Marvel which is his own essential nature, so how could he be depressed? In the presence of such Consciousness and Bliss, how could depression survive in him? It could not!Return

3  But, if by Unmeṣa (which will be defined in the next aphorism) such ignorance is totally destroyed, then depression can never become manifest due to the absence of its cause. This is clear, isn't it?Return

4  And, if there is no depression in the body, then all the future states full of pain such as physical sickness, etc. are absent too. The more these states full of pain are removed, the more one's essential nature will shine, i.e. the more it will be recognized. Like gold getting very hot due to the increasing fire fully shines when all the impurities in it are removed.Return

5  And this is the mark of the highest Yogī, that he is completely devoid of depression. He is not a constant winner in life (he is not superhero!). He can lose too, but he does not become depressed. He is not attached to the fruits of his actions. As this is so, how could depression overpower him?

Arrogance regarding the body is pretty usual. If you cannot see it in yourself, you can see it in other people, specially in the ones who are considered to be 'famous' in this world. All the time carrying this ignorant viewpoint about their miserable physical bodies that are now and tomorrow will be dumped in a hole. And all the rest of fans always fascinated about the bodies of their idols. All this is just ignorance which will unleash tremendous affliction sooner or later. A liberated person cannot be a fan of anyone because he has perceived his own Self. Once you perceive the Highest Reality, there is nothing 'higher' to perceive and become fascinated about. He cannot admire anyone specifically because the Self is one in all of them and because their bodies, due to their fleeting nature, are anything but something to be admired. The teachings are completely clear then.Return

6  By means of the aforesaid stanza of Madālasā, there is something which is indirectly insinuated: That the yogī looking for supernormal faculties, due to his practice of samādhi in which the body is just secondary, gets the capacity of being free from usual ailments such as wrinkles, gray hairs, etc. This is the meaning.Return


 Aphorism 9

Now, with reference to the doubt about this which is Unmeṣa, i.e. 'What is its nature and by what means is it obtainable?, (Vasugupta) said:

That is to be certainly known as Unmeṣa wherefrom there is emergence of another (awareness --according to Kṣemarāja-- or thought --according to others--) in one (person) who is (already) occupied with one thought. One should perceive that (Unmeṣa) by himself||9||

"When an object (of meditation) is about to leave, consciousness is controlled (and) does not move indeed toward another object, then by resting in the middle of that --between the two objects, the manifested and the unmanifested-- the impression of such repose on the middle state exceedingly expands --fully awakes--1 "||
(Vijñānabhairava 62)

According to (this) precept (stated in Vijñānabhairava 62), that Unmeṣa, since it makes that Bliss of I-consciousness to appear/blossom, is to be certainly known and investigated 'wherefrom' —viz. from the principle of Spanda in which there is no division of pramāṇa --knowledge/means of knowledge-- and prameya --object-- --lit. of fire and moon--, where the entire multitude of thoughts has been instantly swallowed up due to the cessation --lit. shutting of the eyes-- of their support because of the throbbing of pure Consciousness shining forth from the intensity of the concentration on it --on the middle state, as pointed out in the above stanza in Vijñānabhairava--— there is emergence of another —i.e. (there is) another extraordinary manifestation whose essence is the amazing Bliss of Consciousness— in one (person) who is (already) occupied with one thought —(that is to say,) in a yogī who is one-pointed on something, viz. on a particular support through which the mental fluctuations can come to a halt—. (Such Unmeṣa) can be known by the yogī in this way indeed, and after that (he should perceive that Unmeṣa by himself, in other words,) he should perceive (It) 'by himself', viz. in himself by approaching (It) in the form of I-consciousness with an attention/attentiveness devoid of artificial efforts —(why?), because of the absence (in It --Unmeṣa--) of objectivity in the form of 'this'— (and also) he should recognize (this Unmeṣa) as being an extraordinary Bliss full of amazement2 |

Others (say that this aphorism should be interpreted like this:) 'In one (person) who is (already) occupied with one thought (such as) reflection on an object, etc., that wherefrom there is instantly emergence of another thought (and) which penetrates both thoughts (is) Unmeṣa'3 ||9||

Skip the notes

1  And now, as I usually do, the commentaries on Vijñānabhairava. First, the one by Kṣemarāja/Śivopādhyāya. Regarding 'reading', there is only one discrepancy between the version in Spandanirṇaya and that of the Kṣemarāja/Śivopādhyāya's commentary: 'nyakte' (from 'nyakta' - 'disappeared') instead of 'tyakte' (from 'tyakta' - 'left'):

"When an object (of meditation) is about to disappear, consciousness is controlled (and) does not move indeed toward another object, then by resting in the middle of that --between the two objects, the manifested and the unmanifested-- the impression of such repose on the middle state exceedingly expands --fully awakes--||62||"

When the bhāva or object —the thing which one is meditating on, (such as) the form (of Śiva) endowed with three eyes, four arms, etc.— is about to disappear —when it is about to be vanished, when it is about to become invisible—, cit or consciousness is controlled —viz. it is completely checked— (because) the intensity of practice has made it firmly fixed --concentrated-- (and) does not move indeed toward another 'bhāva' —i.e. toward another object (such as) a body, pot, etc. which are visible—|

According to the author of the commentary on Veda --probably Sāyaṇa and his Vedārthaprakāśa--, 'nyakta' --the crude form of 'nyakte', which is declined in Locative case-- (means) immersed, concealed (and) disappeared|

(And) 'nyakta' (means too) Vedic recitation|

However, with reference to the reading 'Bhāve'vyakte', (then the second word would be) 'avyakte' through the coalescence of the letter 'a' (with the final 'e', and its sense would be practically the same as) the meaning which was mentioned before --i.e. disappeared, invisible, etc.--|

Thus, with regard to Dhyānayoga --Yoga of meditation-- with support (has) also (been stated that):

"Trance --full absorption-- is said to be the mind (that), abandoning (the duality of) meditator-meditation, gradually has the object of concentration as its sole sphere of action (and is) like a lamp in a place sheltered from the wind"||
(Adhyātmopaniṣad 35)

According to the precept (stated) in the Yoga scripture, by abandoning (the duality of) meditator and meditation, by arriving --lit. since there is arrival-- at one repose on the middle state which is a void without the support of an object of concentration, i.e. by resting in the middle of those objects —the manifested and the unmanifested—, (then) through a repose on the middle state in which there is no form, the bhāvanā (or) impression of (such) a repose on the middle state exceedingly expands —fully awakes—. The sense is that, on that account, there is a repose on the middle (state) whose nature is only consciousness joining those two --the manifested and unmanifested objects-- into one (and) pervading the initial, middle and final states of (such) two objects —manifested and unmanifested—||62||

So, according to Kṣemarāja/Śivopādhyāya, there are two ways to practice this dhāraṇā or concentration:

(1) In the first method you just concentrate on an object and keep concentrating till the moment when it is about to disappear. However, you do not permit it to be vanished but on the contrary you keep it manifest by the force of your concentration. At the end of this process, only the object of concentration will be your only object during trance or samādhi, which will lead you to an experience of your own Self. This type of trance is taught in the famous Pātañjalayogasūtra-s too.

(2) In the second method you start the same (concentrating on one object) but next you permit it to disappear. Anyway, you do not permit any second object attracting your attention to appear. In this way, you just rest on the middle state between one object and another. There, you experience a full expansion of the impression of such repose on the middle state, i.e. you have a revelation about your own Self who is nothing but the principle of Spanda.

All this is Śāktopāya, of course, because your final goal is to rest on I-consciousness (Śakti or Spanda), which is revealed in the origin and end of everything.

Now, the commentary on this stanza by Ānandabhaṭṭa in his Kaumudī. The reading in this book is fortunately the same reading as in Spandanirṇaya. Anyway, the number of the aphorism in Kaumudī is again one less number, i.e. 61 instead of 62:

"When an object (of meditation) is about to leave, consciousness is controlled (and) does not move indeed toward another object, then by resting in the middle of that --between the two objects, the manifested and the unmanifested-- the impression of such repose on the middle state exceedingly expands --fully awakes--||61||"

When an object (of meditation) has been accepted, consciousness is controlled (and) does not move indeed toward another object —viz. it does not move toward another thing—, then, bhāvanā --the mind, according to the commentator--, in the form of a state whose nature is a void in the middle of both (objects), exceedingly expands —i.e. by way of an extraordinary blossoming, the mind attains a superlative expansion indeed. The sense is that, (through this dhāraṇā), Brahma Himself --the Absolute Himself-- arises||61||

Ānandabhaṭṭa understood this type of concentration only as a repose in the middle of two objects. The rest is clear enough, in my opinion.Return

2  There might be confusion to understand 'the first sentence' of this commentary due to the involved style of sage Kṣemarāja. I had to add between long hyphens the lengthy translation of '... tadekāgratāprakarṣollasatsaṁvitsphāratastadālambananimīlanājjhaṭiti grastasamastacintāsantateragnīṣomāvibhedātmanaḥ spandatattvād...', and next I continued to add other Kṣemarāja's pompous additions between long hyphens too. But the main problem is the long first addition. You are not understanding me? I will make it clearer by showing the text (without red translations, obviously) in two ways:

First, the text as it occurs in my translation of the first sentence:

"According to (this) precept (stated in Vijñānabhairava 62), that Unmeṣa, since it makes that Bliss of I-consciousness to appear/blossom, is to be certainly known and investigated 'wherefrom' —viz. from the principle of Spanda in which there is no division of pramāṇa --knowledge/means of knowledge-- and prameya --object- --lit. of fire and moon--, where the entire multitude of thoughts has been instantly swallowed up due to the cessation --lit. shutting of the eyes-- of their support because of the throbbing of pure Consciousness shining forth from the intensity of the concentration on it --on the middle state, as pointed out in the above stanza in Vijñānabhairava--— there is emergence of another —i.e. (there is) another extraordinary manifestation whose essence is the amazing Bliss of Consciousness— in one (person) who is (already) occupied with one thought —(that is to say,) in a yogī who is one-pointed on something, viz. on a particular support through which the mental fluctuations can come to a halt—."

It is specially confusing the first part of the sentence because of the presence of that long addition between long hyphens. Let us remove it now for you to have the meaning of this sentence presented in a more understandable way:

"According to (this) precept (stated in Vijñānabhairava 62), that Unmeṣa, since it makes that Bliss of I-consciousness to appear/blossom, is to be certainly known and investigated 'wherefrom' there is emergence of another —i.e. (there is) another extraordinary manifestation whose essence is the amazing Bliss of Consciousness— in one (person) who is (already) occupied with one thought —(that is to say,) in a yogī who is one-pointed on something, viz. on a particular support through which the mental fluctuations can come to a halt—."

Now reading the sentence should not be that complicated. I left the other additions but I could remove them too. Look:

"According to (this) precept (stated in Vijñānabhairava 62), that Unmeṣa, since it makes that Bliss of I-consciousness to appear/blossom, is to be certainly known and investigated 'wherefrom' there is emergence of another in one (person) who is (already) occupied with one thought."

OK, after stripping the first sentence of all the additions between long hyphens, the underlying translation is clear and not messy. The sage Kṣemarāja, in his efforts to make the things so simple as possible, usually makes them even more complicated. All those extra explanations of different terms should be communicated by another sentence and not added to the same sentence, which transforms it into something extremely long and difficult to understand.

And Unmeṣa method is precisely that abiding in the middle state between two awareness (according to Kṣemarāja) or between two thoughts (according to others). Unmeṣa causes Camatkāra (Bliss of I-consciousness) to emerge. For this reason, it should be known and investigated (i.e. one should practice it). From Unmeṣa, which literally means 'opening of the eyes', from the place where Consciousness reveals Itself —since it is devoid of the divisions of knowledge/means of knowledge and object, since it is devoid of thoughts as they have no support due to the vibration of pure Consciousness appearing from the intensity of the concentration on this middle state—, another reality emerges in one person who is already having one thought. According to Kṣemarāja, what is emerging is another awareness. That is why he said: 'there is another extraordinary manifestation whose essence is amazing Bliss of Consciousness'. The core of this new awareness is, obviously, I-consciousness (Aham). But according to others, what is emerging is another cintā or thought. And this person who is occupied with one thought is not a common person merely flowing in Saṁsāra, but a yogī practicing concentration on something through which his thoughts can be stopped.

And this Unmeṣa —which is called 'method' but it really is just the efflorescence of divine Consciousness—, should be approached by the yogī in the form of I-consciousness (i.e. he should consider Unmeṣa to be Aham Itself, or, as Kṣemarāja put it: He should recognize this Unmeṣa as being extraordinary Camatkāra or Bliss full of amazement). No artificial efforts are needed. Why? Because all the artificial efforts pertain to the inferior Āṇavopāya, in which one uses mantra repetition, concentration on breath, an object, etc. as a support. Here, in Unmeṣa, since it is Aham, there is no need for those artificial efforts since there is no 'idam' or 'this'. That is why concentration on Unmeṣa is not for all the spiritual aspirants but only for the ones treading Śāktopāya.Return

3  As I said before, other authors consider Unmeṣa to be the origin of another thought in the case of a person who was already occupied with one thought. And this Unmeṣa penetrates both thoughts, i.e. It joins both thoughts into one. Without Unmeṣa joining thoughts like this, there would not be continuity of coherent thinking and memory. Though this gap between thoughts was described like a 'void' above (in the first note on this aphorism), it is not the Buddhist void. Why? Because Buddhist void just does not exist. By Buddhist void I mean 'absolute void'. There is no absolute void because in order to have it we should not be conscious of it. What do I mean? That if someone knows that absolute void exists, his knowing denies the existence of absolute void. Because if it is 'absolute' void, nobody can be perceiving it. If someone perceives it, then it is not absolute due to the presence of two realities: The person perceiving the void and the void itself. This problem with the nonexistent void is extremely foolish, but anyway Buddhism and other systems postulating this 'absolute' absurd still thrive in this world. Their thriving here shows how ignorant most people here are.

So, to have an absolute void you need to be completely ignorant about it. If you know about it, so it is not really absolute after all. This is so simple to understand to the wise but extremely difficult to understand to the unwise. OK, this topic called 'absolute void' was already investigated in this scripture. I just refreshed your memory. So, the void of Unmeṣa is not absolute, it is not a void where there is absolute nothing. No! It is full of divine Consciousness, which is always Subject and never an object. It is called a void in the scriptures of Trika because there is no object there (no 'idam' or 'this') and not because there is nothing at all. Oh my God, to have to explain these things is just childish, but here you have it.Return


 Aphorism 10

Now, (Vasugupta) points out that, with reference to each of those supernatural powers which merely arise from the practice of Unmeṣa (and) which even limited yogī-s can summon by means of effort, the supreme Yogī should consider them to be rejectable indeed1 :

From this (Unmeṣa), Vindu --divine light--, Nāda --divine sound--, Rūpa --divine form-- (and) Rasa --divine taste-- soon appear to an embodied soul as a disturbing factor||10||

From this Unmeṣa which is being observed, Vindu --divine light-- —in the form of the light of a star which is the generic light (containing) all the knowables—, Nāda --divine sound-- —in the form of an unstruck sound which is a sound, (if you will excuse the repetition), that integrates all the words—, Rūpa --divine form-- —a glare shining even in darkness— and Rasa --divine taste-- —an extraordinary taste (experienced) in the tip of the tongue— soon appear in the space between the eyebrows, etc. of the yogī, whose 'I' --lit. state of 'I'-- (situated) in the gross, subtle bodies, etc. has not (yet) been dissolved, as a disturbing factor —as a factor granting satisfaction (but) which certainly is an obstacle for the attainment of the principle of Spanda—|

As (Patañjali) said (in Yogasūtra-s III, 37):

"Those (supernormal powers) are obstacles or hindrances in Samādhi, (but) accomplishments in Vyutthāna --i.e. the ordinary state of consciousness in which the mind fluctuates--"||37||

Thus, it has been said (in such aphorism) that: Even in the case of a yogī who is intent on perceiving Unmeṣa, (but still erroneously) considers the body to be the Self, (then) Vindu, Nāda, etc. become factors which cause agitation/disturbance2 ||10||

Skip the notes

1  And now Vasugupta, after describing supernatural powers during nine aphorisms, is about to say in the 10th aphorism that all that is just a disturbing factor. Why? Because there is no Liberation! Obviously, he is about to say this to the person following Muktimārga (the path of Liberation) and not to the one following Vibhūtimārga (the path of supernormal capacities). The latter will be very happy with his new powers, but the former will be disturbed by the presence of these temptations. And if the yogī seeking Liberation indulges in those inferior powers over and over again, then he will gradually lose all his progress in Muktimārga. So simple as that!

All these powers such as omniscience, omnipotence, etc., if they are not renounced, they remain tied only to a body and a particular ego. So they are just called 'limited powers'. But if the yogī renounces them in order to embrace divine Consciousness, then all those powers become universal. In other words, if you do not renounce them, your omniscience, omnipotence, etc. will remain only tied to your body and personality. However, if you renounce them, your omniscience, omnipotence, etc. will be everywhere. This has already been explained before, but now I am refreshing your memory once again.Return

2  Vindu or Bindu (it is usual that 'v' and 'b' are interchangeable in many Sanskrit words). Bindu is supernatural light emerging in the form of a dot from the space between the eyebrows. In this dot of light which is a compact form of Śakti, lies the entire universe of objects. But now Kṣemarāja specified that Bindu has the form of a star. What a problem! No problem really. It is the same dot of light but it takes the form of a 'tārakā' or 'star' in order to move you to the innumerable worlds of experience. These worlds of experience are comprised not only of the 118 worlds but also of all the different kinds of life an embodied soul has experienced in the past, experiences at present and will experience in the future. So, with the destruction of the star during meditation in the form of an explosion, there is no possibility of a future life. All in all, no reincarnation for that lucky person. This experience happens before Liberation and it is a sign that Absolute Freedom is coming very soon.

Nāda or divine sound appears from inside a yogī who is concentrated on Unmeṣa. It is unstruck sound, like the humming of bees, or like the sound emitted by a brook. Rūpa or divine form is a glare shining even in darkness and Rasa is an amazing taste a yogī experiences in the tip of his tongue.

All those experiences are rooted in the 5 Tanmātra-s which are the generic aspects of sounds, touches, forms, taste and smells. The experience of all these supernatural powers is a stage in the process of getting final Liberation. It is sometimes called 'the attack of Tanmātra-s'. And to reject them is a very hard fight indeed! When most people are completely caught by mere sounds, touches, forms, taste and smells, which generate just a minute quantity of pleasure, it is easy to understand how difficult is to move beyond Tanmātra-s, which contain all the possible sounds, touches, forms, taste and smells. It is a tremendous temptation! Anyway, the yogī following the path of Liberation should relinquish them one way or another.

This yogī experiencing all those extraordinary realities is not very elevated indeed —that is why he is still struggling against supernatural powers—. He is one who believes that he is the gross body or the subtle body or the causal body. For example: He believes that all that happens to the physical body happens to him. Or he believes that if he could not breathe for some reason, he would die. Or when he is sleeping deeply, he believes that he has disappeared due to the experience of the void.

These supernormal powers give satisfaction but not Liberation. In Pātañjalayogasūtra-s (Patañjali's Yogasūtra-s), this topic is elucidated in III, 37 (in the aphorism 37 of the third section dealing with supernatural powers). I will add the famous commentary by Vyāsa on this aphorism:

"Those (supernormal powers) are obstacles or hindrances in Samādhi, (but) accomplishments in Vyutthāna --i.e. the ordinary state of consciousness in which the mind fluctuates--||37||"

Commentary — To a mind absorbed in samādhi --trance--, those (supernormal powers) —(such as) prātibha --foreknowledge--, etc. which spring up (are) obstacles or hindrances since they oppose to the perception --realization-- of That --of the Self--. (Nonetheless,) to a mind remaining in Vyutthāna --in any state but samādhi--, (those supernormal powers) which spring up (are) accomplishments||37||

Very well, now the Patañjali's aphorism should be easier to understand. The teachings are again repeated then, because the yogī whose mind is 'vyutthita' (extremely active in any state but samādhi) will consider all those supernormal powers to be accomplishments. Anyway, the yogī who is in samādhi, who is seeking Liberation, will consider all those things such as Vindu, Nāda, etc. to be obstacles or hindrances to his state of absorption in the Self. Enough for now!Return


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Gabriel Pradīpaka

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