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 Spandanirṇaya (Spanda Nirnaya) Section I (aphorisms 11 to 16) Pure - Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir

Pure translation


This is the fourth set of 6 aphorisms out of 25 aphorisms constituting the first Section (dealing with Svarūpaspanda or Spanda as one's own nature). As you know, the entire work is composed of 53 aphorisms of Spandakārikā-s plus their respective commentaries.

Of course, I will also insert the original aphorisms on which Kṣemarāja is commenting. Even though I will not comment on either the original sūtra-s or the Kṣemarāja's commentary, I will write some notes to make a particular point clear when necessary. If you want a detailed explanation, go to "Scriptures (study)|Spandanirṇaya" in Trika section.

Read Spandanirṇaya and experience Supreme Ānanda or Divine Bliss, dear Śiva.

This is a "pure translation" document, that is, there will be no original Sanskrit, but sometimes there will be a minimal quantity of transliterated Sanskrit in the translation itself of the text. Of course, there will not be any word for word translation. Anyway, there will be transliterated Sanskrit in the explanatory notes. If you are a blind person using a screen reader and do not want to read the notes, or simply if you are not blind but want to skip the notes, click on the respective "Skip the notes" to keep reading the text.

Important: All that is in brackets and italicized within the translation has been added by me in order to complete the sense of a particular phrase or sentence. In turn, all that is between double hyphen (--...--) constitutes clarifying further information also added by me.


 Aphorism 11

Now, there is extirpation of transmigratory existence --i.e. bondage and misery come to an end-- to the one who makes even the ordinary state of consciousness equal to Samādhi --profound absorption in one's own Self-- by a firm grip of the principle of Spanda which has been realized through a perfect contemplation using the Unmeṣa method. (The Unmeṣa method) was explained in the aphorisms "Yataḥ karaṇa..." --aphorisms 6-7-- (and) "Nijāśuddhyā..." --aphorism 9--1 . (Vasugupta) said so:

How (can) this vile transmigratory path (be) his who abides or stands astonished, as it were, while beholding that essential nature (or Spanda) as presiding over (the entire universe)?||11||

(The first line of the aphorism, "Tamadhiṣṭhātṛbhāvena svabhāvamavalokayan", means) while beholding (or) perceiving that one's own essential nature —which is the principle of Spanda recognized --i.e. realized-- by constant study (and) understanding of the abovementioned argument— as presiding over (the entire universe), viz. as pervading even the state of vyutthāna --the ordinary state of consciousness--. According to the traditional teaching indicated in venerable Vijñānabhairava (and) Kakṣyāstotra, (namely):

"When there is development of the middle state by means of the cessation of the vikalpa-s or thoughts, Śakti in the form of vital air neither goes (outward) nor does She enter. By Her --when She assumes that state--, (a Yogī obtains) the nature of Bhairava --he realizes his own Self--2 "||

and also:

"After throwing by the mind all the powers, (such as) the power of seeing, etc. into each of their (respective) objects —simultaneously (and) in all directions—, by standing in the middle like a golden pillar, You alone appear in the form of the universe!"||

(Then, according to that traditional teaching, the Yogī remains) with (his) group of senses widely open simultaneously (and) with (a state where) all (his) thoughts vanished because these two, Visarga and Araṇi --technical names for Nimīlanasamādhi and Unmīlanasamādhi, viz. perfect absorption in the Self while the eyes are closed and perfect absorption in the Self while the eyes are open, respectively-- are firmly settled or established. (Such a Yogī attained that state) by a firm grip of the middle state which simultaneously spreads --i.e. pervades-- through Nimīlanasamādhi and Unmīlanasamādhi.

(Therefore, this Yogī) has entered the holy mudrā --seal-- of Bhairava --the Supreme Self--, which is mentioned in the revealed scriptures (in this way:)

"With (one's) attention turned inward (and) the gaze turned outward, without closing or opening the eyes --without twinkling--. This (is) the Bhairavī mudrā --the mudrā of Bhairava--, kept secret in all the Tantra-s!3 "||

(After having entered Bhairavī mudrā,) he sees the great multitude of objects arising in the space or ether of Consciousness (and) dissolving right there like a long series of multiple reflections appearing (and) disappearing inside a mirror. The best of the Yogī-s who, having broken all (his) mental modifications --having dissolved all his thoughts-- instantly —after one thousand births— by means of a recognition of his extraordinary essential nature that is a mass of unprecedented Supreme Bliss, abides —he stands, he does not desist from the grip (of the principle of Spanda or I-consciousness)— astonished, i.e. as if he had entered Vismayamudrā --the mudrā of amazement--, suddenly —due to (his) achievement of the Great Development or Expansion— experiences the emergence --lit. risen-- (of his) proper real nature4 . How (can) "this" vile transmigratory path (or) pravṛtti --i.e. active worldly life-- which consists in the continuous series of being born, dying, etc. (and) causes tremor in all people (be) his --of that great Yogī--? It is not, due to the absence of its cause characterized by "nijāśuddhi" or "innate impurity" --the Āṇavamala--. Such is the meaning5 |

As mentioned in venerable Pūrvaśāstra --also known as Mālinīvijayatantra--:

"Someone whose mind is fixed on the Supreme Principle, even though enjoying objects, is not touched by the vices just like a lotus-petal (is not touched) by water. The one who is equipped with the mantra, etc. that remove the poison, even though eating poison, does not become unconscious by it. Likewise, a Yogī of great understanding (is not poisoned by this Saṁsāra --transmigration full of misery and bondage--)"||


Skip the notes

1  Unmeṣakrama is the "Unmeṣa method" or even better: "Unmeṣa's way". Anyway, I translated "krama" as "method" and not "way" for the sake of being more descriptive. However, it is not a method but simply "the way" in which the Supreme Self decides to get in touch with the Yogī. The word "unmeṣa" means many things, but in this special context is synonymous with "udyama" or "a sudden flash or elevation of divine Consciousness". At the beginning of his commentary on the aphorisms 6-7, Kṣemarāja said:

"That principle (of Spanda) being investigated with respect, faith --śraddhā-- and care --prayatna-- should be inspected such as it has been established in the Śivasūtra-s:

'Bhairava --Supreme Being-- (is) a sudden flash or elevation of divine Consciousness'

(In other words, it should be inspected) as being a sudden flash or elevation whose nature is Bhairava --the Supreme Self--, viz. as the cessation of all the differences or dualities, as the expansion of one's own vigor or power (and) as the act of applying oneself to the perfect (and) inner essential nature|"

To someone who has experienced his own Self (the principle of Spanda) in that way, this miserable transmigratory existence, where one is born in order to die, and die in order to be reborn, does end, because how could it survive in the presence of That? The principle of Spanda is in everybody as their real essence or "I", but the vast majority cannot realize It. So, this person who has realized It is extraordinary. He did so by His Grace alone, which emerged spontaneously. It is to be noted that this great Yogī was in the stage of Śāmbhavopāya and then he attained Final Liberation by His touch. You learn from the Śivasūtra-s that there are three "means or methods" (upāya-s): Śāmbhavopāya, Śāktopāya and Āṇavopāya. Most spiritual aspirants are practicing Āṇavopāya, some others are engaged in Śāktopāya and just a few are in the stage of Śāmbhavopāya. All these upāya-s were concisely explained by me in Meditation 1, Meditation 2, Meditation 3, Meditation 4 and Meditation 5. Additionally, you can expand your knowledge about the upāya-s by reading the exquisite Kṣemarāja's Śivasūtravimarśinī.

The Yogī who attained Śāmbhavopāya remains attentively waiting for His revelation. Such a high aspirant does not need to do anything else but remain vigilant. The sage Kṣemarāja mentioned this kind of aspirant when he said in his commentary on the aphorisms 6 and 7:

"(Besides,) because instruction is not necessary in the case of a Yogī who has directly perceived the Tanmātra-s (and) is attentively applied to come into contact with the Highest Principle by himself..."

An simple example now, for you to understand how this process of the upāya-s work in practice:

Let us take someone who is desirous to be a surfer... yes, a surfer. Now, I am not an expert in this matter of surfing (except in "surfing the Web", hehe), but I can imagine that the process should consists of three stages, broadly speaking:

  1. Gathering all the right information about surfing, taking classes and... of course... getting a surfing board.
  2. Going to a suitable beach and starting to swim.
  3. Waiting for the wave and surfing!

In the same way, an spiritual aspirant generally will start with Āṇavopāya, which serves as kind of getting ready. He can spend many years performing practices of Āṇavopāya (e.g. visualizations, postures, concentrations on external objects, fixing his mind on breath, etc.). He accumulates merits and experience during all this process. It is very similar to "gathering all the right information about surfing, taking classes, getting a surfing board". Next, he will gradually go beyond Āṇavopāya, toward Śāktopāya. Here, he will learn about how to become conscious of his own I-consciousness (Śakti). At this point, he is very likely to use a mantra or sacred formula in order to succeed faster. This is very similar to "going to a suitable beach and starting to swim". When he is finally successful, he will move toward Śāmbhavopāya, where there is just "vigilance". In other words, his only practice here will consist in being alert to the emergence of God (his own Self or real "I"). It is very similar to a surfer standing on his board and waiting for the wave.

Well, just as it would be useless (and even absurd), to make a surfer standing on his board and waiting for the wave go through the previous two stages (gathering information, taking classes, getting a board, finding a suitable beach and starting swimming) "again", so it is useless to a very advanced Yogī going through Āṇavopāya and Śāktopāya again. Why? Because he is attentively devoted to come into contact with the Supreme Self. When he is about to attain Final Liberation, what is the point of using other lower means? The only reason for him to do so would be for the sake of teaching Āṇavopāya and Śāktopāya, or, maybe, like a mere pastime. Anyway, the latter is not probable, because a very advanced aspirant who spent so many years in search of Final Liberation will not waste his time in that way, in my humble opinion. It would be like a surfer that spent so much time being instructed and practicing, and right at the moment of riding a big wave with his awesome skills and board, makes the decision of going to buy another surfing board!, hehe. Well, it could occur, but it would be a little incoherent, you know.

There is a special mark in a very advanced Yogī. Listen: The ordinary person (i.e. an average person without any spiritual training and so on) is always desiring to do actions (read the aphorism 8) because of his agitation. For example: he thinks about a certain problem and then tries to solve it, or he desires a woman and then tries to get pleasure with her, or he needs more money and goes out to get it, etc. Well, his mental agitation leads him to do all those things. Sometimes he succeeds in satisfying his desires, and other times he does not. When he succeeds, he feels happy for a while, and when he does not succeed, he feels depressed, sad, etc. A very advanced spiritual aspirant does not behave like him at all! As he is well trained and has proper knowledge about the nature of Reality, the first thing he will do when his mind moves that way (e.g. worried about a problem or desiring pleasure or needing money, etc.) is the following: "An inspection of his own Self".

His behavior is difficult to be described, but here we go: He understands that the solution to his problems, that the source of his pleasure, money, etc. is NOT something external but his own "I". So, he will not immediately move like an ordinary person does, but he will attempt to remain in his own Self at all costs. He will inspect his own essential nature till he can feel His Unmeṣa, viz. until the Lord emerges in the form of his own Self. If you do not like the word "Lord" or "God", just call It "That" (in an impersonal manner). Beyond the names, Reality is just Reality. And such a great Yogī knows the "way" or "krama" of this Reality. He knows that Reality likes to emerge spontaneously and bestow divine Grace upon deserving people. Due to the accumulated merits, he also knows that he is fit for receiving that Grace fully, sooner or later. So, he just does not pay attention to his inner agitation (problems, desire for pleasure, money, etc.) and uses all that momentum to inspect That (the real "I"). He knows that, as a limited individual, he cannot direct the goad of his desire or will, but if he succeeds in getting in touch with his own Self or "I", he becomes like That (read the aphorism 8).

When he succeeds in such an inspection, That arises and gives him Final Liberation, i.e. he realizes his divine "I". This realization at first lasts a little while. Then, it will last more and more time till the Yogī becomes fully stabilized on such a realization. When even his ordinary state of consciousness (vyutthāna) has the same taste (ekarasa) as his samādhi or perfect absorption in the Self, viz. when he is able to experience That at all times, he is said to have attained the goal of life (his divine "I"). No bhava or transmigratory existence (from one thought to the other, from one body to the other, etc.) is possible after this.

Lies bring about "agitation". As the false "I" is not "real" in the sense that is not your own real "I" but an invention consisting of a false identification with body, mind, etc., is, as a matter of fact, a "lie". As a result of its presence, an agitation occurs. Now, I will say something that it could sound crazy: The final purpose of the agitation is realization of your own Self and not "solving problems, getting pleasure, money, etc.". If one is duly trained and instructed, he will use his agitation in order to achieve Final Liberation and not for solving problems, getting pleasure, money, etc., because the latter will produce even more agitation. So, this is the mark of a great Yogī, that he cuts the chain of ignorance by directly inspecting the nature of the Perceiver or Knower (his own Self or real "I") on the occasion of the agitation. He does not run after problems, people, money, etc. but remains in his real "I" or principle of Spanda. Therefore, while breath is still in this physical body, one should strive to be like such a Yogī. May God be praised always!Return 

2  The stanza being quoted is very tricky. In the commentary of Kṣemarāja and Śivopādhyāya, the stanza is fully explained. I will translate for you, as a gift, the entire commentary on this 26th stanza of Vijñānabhairava:

"Śakti, in the form of vital air, does not go (outward) —i.e. She does not go from the heart to the (external) dvādaśānta --a point situated at twelve fingers from the nose--— nor does She enters—i.e. She does not move from the (external) dvādaśānta to the heart (either)—. (She does so) only when there is development of the middle (state) —viz. of the state of the middle subtle channel --Suṣumnā--— by means of the cessation of the vikalpa-s or thoughts|

With reference to what was mentioned, this is the meaning: After throwing simultaneously the multitude of all powers, (such as) the power of seeing, etc., into each of their respective objects, (one should) behold --lit. beholding-- that support, i.e. his own essential nature which is the principle of Spanda, by a state devoid of thoughts, viz. by a firm grip of the middle state that simultaneously pervades Nimīlanasamādhi --perfect absorption in the Self while the eyes are closed-- and Unmīlanasamādhi --perfect absorption in the Self while the eyes are open--. (In other words, one should behold his own essential nature or Self) by keeping the group of senses widely open simultaneously due to a state where his thoughts vanished because these two, Visarga and Araṇi --technical names for Nimīlanasamādhi and Unmīlanasamādhi--, are firmly settled or established. (This is Bhairavī mudrā, which will be described by the following stanza, in an 'easier' way:)

"With (one's) attention turned inward and the gaze turned outward, without closing or opening the eyes --without twinkling--. This (is) certainly Bhairavī mudrā, which confers His State immediately"

When there is entering into Bhairavī mudrā --i.e. when one enters Bhairavī mudrā--, the Śakti in the form of vital air does not move outward, nor does She enter --viz. breathing stops--. By Her, while She is in that way, the nature of Bhairava takes place --one can realize his own nature essential or Bhairava when She assumes that condition--. By that form of Bhairavī --His Śakti-- manifest in the state where prāṇa and apāna --vital air going out and in, respectively, through exhalation and inhalation-- have ceased (to move), the Yogī obtains the nature of Bhairava --lit. he becomes a holder of the Bhairava's nature; in short, he realizes his own Self--. This couple of stanzas (belongs to) the stage of Āṇavopāya, which resorts to the 'middle state'".

Now you understand why I translated the stanza of Vijñānabhairava in the manner I did. It was not my invention but my interpretation was based on this "simple" commentary, lol. Oh yes, it was a little hard to understand, specially if you do not have direct experience of those states, but nobody said that studying Vijñānabhairava and the respective commentaries would be a stroll in the park, hehe. NO, it is a serious challenge!

OK, if I have to further explain "even" the difficult commentary on the "extraordinarily" difficult stanza of Vijñānabhairava, this note of explanation will be like three mammoths in a row, hehe. Anyway, take it easy, because the sage Kṣemarāja will say something "similar" even in his commentary on the present 11th stanza of Spandakārikā-s (just keep reading the text and you will see). For picking up more relevant information about the topic of the middle state, dvādaśānta, etc., check Śrīgurupādukāpañcakam - Commentary and Meditation 5.Return 

3  To fully understand what has been said, read note 2 (the previous one) if you did not do so yet. In turn, in order to get more information about the Tantra-s, read Tantricism - Overview.Return 

4  Yes, Kṣemarāja has a style that is really "involved", with extralong sentences that can kill a big rhino, haha. On top of that, I am always so literal as possible in my translations because I am thinking about the Sanskrit students reading the translation and trying to decipher the way the sentences in Sanskrit are written. Beyond all those obstacles, I can say that Kṣemarāja has personal experience in matters that are very secret, and, "compassionately", he is sharing that with us. What he described pertains to the phases a great Yogī experiences right before attaining Final Liberation. So, it is not a minor question but the most important thing in life. And by "in life" I mean "everybody's life". What could it be more important that the attainment of one's real divine "I"? Nothing at all!

Well, as my translation of the long Kṣemarāja's sentences consisted of also long sentences, I will explain them to you in detail now, for removing any possible doubt. Listen:

The "middle state" means "the state of the middle subtle channel", i.e. the state of Suṣumnā. As you surely know, there is a subtle channel running through the spinal column, from its basis up to Brahmarandhra (on top of the head). Now, the Yogī develops the middle state little by little, in the course of many years full of strenuous efforts. Right before Final Liberation, that development or "vikāsa" is complete. When that happens, he feels how Kuṇḍalinī (the Power of the Self, i.e. Spanda) flows strongly through Suṣumnā up to Brahmarandhra on top of the head. He had felt Her before, of course, but when the development is complete, She flows very strongly through the middle subtle channel. The Yogī is very surprised about that strong surge of Kuṇḍalinī, but this is just the tip of the iceberg, because what he will experience after that will be absolutely overwhelming.

Most spiritual aspirants have some experience as for meditation with the closed eyes. As they advance in their spiritual development, they lastly attain Nimīlanasamādhi after a few years generally. This is a profound absorption in one's own Self (samādhi) that happens when one has his eyes shut (nimīlana). So, this great Yogī has plenty of experience about that kind of absorption with the eyes closed. Anyway, after feeling how Kuṇḍalinī moved strongly through Suṣumnā up to Brahmarandhra, he starts feeling "a Presence" coming near him from inside --"from inside", I use this for want of a better expression, because the Lord cannot be described in a space-time framework at all!--. The Lord is approaching him in that indescribable way, and he can fully feel Him. You can call the Lord: That (in an impersonal manner), if you like. Lord, That, Reality, Self, essential nature, etc. are the same Truth always. Remember this. When the Lord comes close to him, i.e. when That comes within the reach of his recognition (pratyabhijñā), the Yogī experiences a colossal Joy in Nimīlanasamādhi, much greater than ever before. Anyway, this is not the end of the process of Final Liberation but just the beginning. It takes some time, obviously, despite my description looks short.

OK, one day, That comes near him again and the Yogī remains with his eyes open in Unmīlanasamādhi (an absorption in one's Self with the eyes open). But this time, Unmīlanasamādhi is not as before, because he notes that he cannot close his eyes, even by force. NO. He will remain with his eyes open (without closing or opening them, i.e. without twinkling at all) while That grabs him from inside, as it were. This is Bhairavī mudrā. If I said that the Yogī had experienced a colossal Joy while in Nimīlanasamādhi, now in Bhairavī mudrā the Bliss is extracolossal. He remains like a golden pillar in the middle of all objects. He is Śiva in person. He perceives that the objects appear and disappear in the space of Consciousness like reflections in a mirror.

But something else occurs after remaining in Bhairavī mudrā through His Grace. As the two kinds of absorption —Nimīlanasamādhi and Unmīlanasamādhi— are firmly settled or established in him, his mind just stops. At this point, the Bliss the Yogī experiences is so huge that he is "forced" to open his mouth and firstly inhale vital air. After a while, he exhales vital air through his mouth, and the process of inhalation/exhalation continues in this way. Sometimes the tongue even lolls out naturally. This is Vismayamudrā or the mudrā of amazement. He opens the mouth spontaneously just as during an orgasm in a sexual intercourse. Anyway, in the usual orgasm the Joy of one's Self is felt through different gross organs and this is why it is not fully satisfying and lasting. However, the Yogī experiences the Joy of his own Self in a direct massive way, without the need of any gross (or even subtle) organs acting as intermediaries.

As the Self pervades both Nimīlanasamādhi and Unmīlanasamādhi, the great Yogī could experience Him in both ways (with his eyes closed and open). While he abides astonished there, with his mouth and eyes open for hours and hours, he cries enormously. So many people run after common orgasms during so many years, till their bodies just cannot deliver more pleasure in that way. Therefore, imagine a state where you could feel millions orgasms every second during hours or days. Since the Bliss is unprecedented, he cannot help crying like a baby. He is not sad, but absolutely struck with astonishment! He ignored "in practice" that so much Joy could exist inside though he knew that "in theory", and now that this Bliss has finally emerged, he cannot believe what he has found. This is the exact sensation.

The process continues during the time which is necessary. Every day, the Yogī spends several hours absolutely overwhelmed by the Joy coming from his own essential nature, his Self, his real "I". He abides astonished, he does not desist from his grip of the principle of Spanda or I-consciousness. This is a way of speaking, because in reality, it is the compassionate Lord who grabs the Yogī and by force keeps him completely one-pointed on Him. As the process of Final Liberation comes to an end, the Yogī is given other states, e.g. he is no more interested in sense enjoyments, he experiences His omniscience, etc. But, beyond all these additional experiences, only one thing keeps all his attention: the unprecedented Bliss. This is because he never felt something like that before. But he is able to experience That now, after innumerable births or lives.

In due course, the process is finished and he attains Final Liberation. Nobody can say when it will "exactly" happen, because the Self is absolutely Free. Still, after that experience of astonishing Bliss, the days of his transmigratory existence as a limited being are numbered. One day, all of a sudden, due to the Great Development or Expansion of Consciousness and Bliss, his own essential nature (his proper real nature, his true "I") will emerge on Its own, and this is the end. From that time on, he will live like a liberated one (Jīvanmukta) or discard his physical body (Videhamukta). Whether or not the body is retained, such a great Yogī is the Supreme Śiva Himself enjoying Absolute Freedom.

If you are already a liberated one, you already knew all that, obviously. But if you are still a spiritual aspirant making his way, keep these teachings with you like a kind of map. They will confirm all your future experiences with your own Self when the time of your Liberation finally comes. Now, it is very clear!Return 

5  The Lord bestows Final Liberation upon this Yogī by removing Āṇavamala (the primordial impurity). According to Trika, all impurities but Āṇavamala can be removed by effort. Āṇavamala is only removed by His Grace and NOT otherwise according to this philosophical system. When the primordial impurity is finally removed, the Yogī enjoys Absolute Freedom and the transmigratory existence cannot affect him any more.Return 


 Aphorisms 12-13

Now, the Vedantī-s or followers of Vedānta, the Naiyāyika-s or followers of Akṣapāda --the founder of the system Nyāya, i.e. Gautama--, the Mādhyamika-s or followers of the Mādhyamika system --a Buddhist school--, etc.1  indicated2  (that), when there is dissolution of the agitation, "Tattva or Reality remains only as nonexistence in the form of the destruction of the universe". In opposition to the Reality or Truth as experienced by them, (Vasugupta) defines the extraordinary character of the principle of Spanda —the subject-matter of the (present) treatise— in order to awaken them (from the deep sleep of their ignorance):

Nonexistence cannot be contemplated, and there is no absence of stupefaction in that (condition either), because by coming into contact with "abhiyoga" --i.e. by hearing the declaration made by the person who has just emerged from that state--, it is true that it --i.e. the condition of stupefaction-- (really) existed||12||
For this reason, that artificial knowable (is) always like the state of deep sleep. However, that principle (of Spanda) is not thus perceived or realized, (that is), as a state of recollection||13||

Nonexistence as imagined by the Vedantī-s, etc., according to the argument (presented in Chāndogyopaniṣad):

"In the beginning, this was nonexistent indeed, etc.3 "|

cannot be contemplated because there must be a real object to be contemplated for the contemplation (to take place). Or, since nonexistence is nothing --lit. due to nothingness of nonexistence--, even if it was (considered as) something (and thus) it could be contemplated, there would nonexistence of nonexistence --lit. due to the nonexistence of nonexistence--, (because "nothing" is "nothing" and not "something". If "nonexistence" disappears in its becoming "something", then, there is nonexistence of that very nonexistence). Moreover, where there is nonexistence --absence-- even of the contemplator, how (is) the destruction of the universe going to be contemplated (then)? However, if there is admission of a contemplator --if the presence of a contemplator is admitted to exist--, (consequently) there is no destruction of the universe because the contemplator remains --lit. due to the continuance of the contemplator-- (as a witness). So, nonexistence of the universe is not certainly Reality|

Now, this is the position (of the followers of Mādhyamika Buddhism): "This imaginary --invented-- contemplator contemplates the universal destruction —which is being conceived by his imagination—, (and) on the perfection of (his) contemplation, he (himself) becomes nonexistent because of (his) identification with the object of contemplation --nonexistence, in this case--"|

With reference to that (argument), it is said (as a reply): on that contemplation of nonexistence there is no absence of stupefaction or insentience, i.e. the absence of stupefaction or insentience does not exist there, but rather there is stupefaction or insentience indeed

"Therefore (whether) existent (or) nonexistent, whatever is excessively imagined, on the perfection of the contemplation, that (is) evidently a result or product of imagination"||

According to the (abovementioned) principle, on the contemplation of nonexistence --lit. on nonexistence being contemplated-- —which is destruction of the universe— there is never the attainment of the Highest Reality|

Then, it is said:

"(Void or śūnya is) that which is entirely devoid of all supports --lit. those characterized by supporting--, of all tattva-s or categories (of universal manifestation, and) of all latent impressions derived from the (five) Afflictions. (Nonetheless,) it is not a void in the true sense of the word4 "||

That (is) "void" such as described by Nāgārjuna|

True!, if the Free Power of the Supreme Reality —that is a mass of Consciousness (and) Bliss— is admitted as being the substratum acting as background, just like in Vijñānabhairava, etc., by the stanza beginning with

"(The Supreme State) is beyond the notions of direction (and) time"|

the contemplation of the void is described by establishing that the (Divine) State of Consciousness, (also known as) the Power of the Supreme Lord (or) the Power of the Supreme Reality, acts as the background or substratum. Otherwise, this statement "it is not a void", (proclaimed by Nāgārjuna), would be certainly void --i.e. meaningless or nonsensical--, since it has been taught (above): "whatever is excessively imagined5 "|

That which is said in Ālokamālā, viz.:

"That State --viz. the Highest Reality-- is said to be void which is something unknown to people like ourselves. It is not that which follows as a consequence of the sense (given to it) by atheism according to the popular meaning"||

that (is) true indeed! (Still, as) it is unknown to people like yourselves, it should have been said: "It cannot be described because it is unknowable". But why (to call it) "state of void"? Besides, so long that state of void is verily known as long as it is contemplated or conceived, because of its being delineated in thought|

And if that (State) --the Highest Reality-- cannot be known by people like yourselves, therefore, worship to a true spiritual teacher who is skillful at realizing that State should be performed. One —together with the other— must not be thrown into the unfathomable great delusion for making use (of the term) "state of void", according to one's own judgment. Enough of this!|

Now, "how is it known that there is stupefaction or insentience in that (state of void)?". With reference to this (question, Vasugupta) expressed the answer by this (phrase): "because..." --i.e. because by coming into contact with "abhiyoga"--|

Abhiyoga (is) the declaration —whose nature is an examination or reflection related to that state (of void)—: "In what condition was I?", (expressed) by someone who has risen from samādhi --perfect concentration--. By coming into contact with it --with abhiyoga--, i.e. due to (or) on account of it, because (there is) certainty or determination (that) "that --the condition of stupefaction or insentience-- (really) existed", (in other words,) since there is the statement "I was excessively unconscious", therefore, the state of stupefaction or insentience (is) artificial as it is recollected in that manner. On the contrary, that (state of stupefaction or insentience), being experienced, (just) declares or makes known the existence of the Perceiver (or) Experient whose nature is being the experiencer of (such) a state, and not --i.e. it does not declare-- "nonexistence". In the state of nonexistence or absence of the universe, the undivided nature of Consciousness --the Perceiver or Experient-- certainly "abides". Its nonexistence can never be proclaimed or described. This is what is meant to be said|

An objection!: (A knowable object such as) blue, etc. is recollected (after having been) seen (and) determined. But there is no determination of that which is void because the activity or function of the intellect --the determinative faculty-- is off (at that time). Then, how is it said, from the subsequent determination "that (really) existed" (expressed by the one who has just emerged from the state of void, that) "that (is) a state of stupefaction or insentience"?6 |

(Now the reply:) It is said that this state or condition --mode-- pertains to the object --the knowable--. Therefore, so long that whose essence is being "this" --"that whose essence is being this" = "the object"-- is not recollected as long as it is not determined as being "this" --as an object as such-- by the experient who rises up to one's own Self7 . However, though contracted or limited in the artificial states of void, etc., the Knower (is) the Highest Reality (in the form of) the unconventional state of "I" --i.e. the real "I"--. In one's own Self, there is no separation from Him. (There is only) a thought determinative of Himself — Thus, then it has been proved, by one's perception, (that there is a experient) perceived as "I" (and) whose form is the śūnyapramātā --the experient of void, also known as Pralayākala--. (It is this śūnyapramātā who) is recollected afterward --after one emerges from the void-- as being chiefly consisting of contraction or limitation --extremely limited due to the Āṇavamala or innate impurity-- in correlation with the universe --which is expanded as that very void--. Hence, there is no inconclusive argumentation or failure of proof. As this is so, consequently that state of void (is) artificial.

"Therefore (whether) existent (or) nonexistent, whatever is excessively imagined, [on the perfection of the contemplation, that (is) evidently a result or product of imagination] --the rest of the stanza was added in brackets--"|

According to the abovementioned precept, it --the state of void-- is manifested by only imagining what has not existed (ever. The state of void) is shown by the Supreme Lord in that way —viz. as a goal to be achieved— to the fools, in order to conceal and protect Knowledge. Such is the purport|

Jñeya, i.e. that which is to be known and whose form is knowable, (is used as) an example (in the aphorism 13 in order to show that the state of void is) always like deep sleep|

This (is) the meaning — Deep sleep (has) always the nature of Moha or Delusion --Māyā-- (and) is accomplished by everyone effortlessly. Then, "what is the point of this other void to be gained by the effort of samādhi --perfect concentration-- since there is no difference in regard to unreality of them both"?|

And as a general rule, many enter this great ocean of Moha or Delusion --Māyā-- (called) void, which is difficult to be crossed. (The ones who do so are) mostly Vedantī-s or followers of Vedānta, Naiyāyika-s or followers of Akṣapāda --the founder of the system Nyāya, i.e. Gautama--, the followers of Sāṅkhya, Buddhists, etc.|

This void has become an obstacle even to those who are desirous to enter the principle of Spanda (because) they relax their efforts|

(Vasugupta, the author of Spandakārikā-s,) will say that --in I, 25--, beginning with:

"Then... in that Great Ether"|

(and ending with:)

(To the partially awakened one, that condition is) like the state of deep sleep, [(and thus) he remains] stupefied|

Therefore, it is noticeable the great desire and enthusiasm of the author of the book --i.e. Vasugupta-- to destroy this (theory of void)|

(Vasugupta,) even after proving --after establishing as truth-- that that --the theory of void-- is so here --in I, 25--, i.e. (that) is (something) to be abandoned, will also establish as truth (the following) in this (aphorism) --in I, 15--:

The effort which is directed to deed|

For that reason, we have made --lit. made by us-- an effort (to show) its --of the theory of void-- faults. Thus, there should not be anger or irritation with us on the part of you, the worthy ones!, who listen --lit. who give ear to-- (and) perceive --see-- the teaching|

When the Buddhists are censured by their faults, the followers of the doctrine of Vedānta, etc. (are also) censured because there is similarity in (their) reasoning. Thus, nothing else is said --i.e. the author does not go into details--|

Therefore, now we are going to speak about the subject (of this book) --viz. about Spanda--. That principle called Spanda is not thus —in this way— perceived or realized like the void, (that is,) as a state of recollection, because it is impossible for It to be absent at some time --lit. because of the impossibility of Its absence at some time--8  inasmuch as (Spanda) is the uniform Perceiver or Experient (in whom all the states are) always strung together (like beads in a necklace)|

So (the sages) said (in Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣad IV, 5, 15):

"Ah!, how --i.e. by what means-- does one know --or "should one know"-- the Knower?"||

Even if the state of absorption in the Self is recollected when one comes back to vyutthāna --the ordinary state of consciousness-- by means of the residual impression of vital energy, etc., the principle of Spanda is not really thus (recollected), but rather It (is) only the Highest Experient whose essence is uninterrupted Light (and) Bliss in which all (the states) are strung together (like beads in a necklace)|

(Vasugupta) will say that (in II, 4):

"Therefore, there is no state that is not Śiva, (whether) in word, object (or) thought --cintā--"|

For this reason, there is never a state of recollection or stupefaction --insentience-- in the case of this (principle of Spanda) whose nature is the uninterrupted Delight of I-consciousness --Spanda cannot be recollected because It is not an object but the Subject, and It is not the void of unconsciousness/insentience either--|

That special mention about It --about Spanda-- which has been made by the word "tad" here --in the last line of the aphorism 13--: "tattattvam" (or) "that principle (of Spanda)", refers to the supposed (experient) whose nature is not the Highest Reality, and not, as a matter of fact, to the (Experient) who is the Highest Reality, in accordance with what was described in the venerable Pratyabhijñākārikā-s --also called Īśvarapratyabhijñā--:

"The Self not deprived from Absolute Freedom...9 "|

(And) by this (phrase) --in the last line of the aphorism 13--: "na... pratipadyate" (or) "is not... perceived or realized", (Vasugupta) said this: "There is no apprehension of this principle (of Spanda) as a state of recollection"||13||

Skip the notes

1  Read First Steps (1), First Steps (2) and First Steps (3) to achieve a better understanding of the different philosophical systems in Sanskrit.Return 

2  For Sanskrit students: "upādikṣan". This rare specimen is conjugated in Aorist Tense (7th variety), 3rd P, plural, Parasmaipada. Aorist Tense is similar to Past Tense in English, but there are several things one should take into account too: Read Verbs (1) to pick up more information about Aorist Tense. It is NOT a present participle as one could believe at first glance. NO. The verb is "upādiś", derived from the root "diś" (being "upa" and "ā" mere prefixes added to the root, obviously). The verb "upādiś" means "to inform, indicate, declare, etc.", hence "upādikṣan" was translated as "they indicated" —do not mistake this verb with the well-known "upadiś" (to teach), because "upādiś" is formed from "upa + ā + diś" while "upadiś" consists of "upa + diś"—. It is to be noted that the conjugation is Parasmaipadī, because the verb "upādiś" is like that, though the root "diś" could also be conjugated in Ātmanepada in this way: "adikṣanta". Therefore, since the verb "upādiś" is to be conjugated in Parasmaipada (and not in Ātmanepada), the sage Kṣemarāja wrote: "upādikṣan" and not "upādikṣanta". Well, hopefully you understood me. The study of Aorist Tense is one terrifying portion of "Verbs" in the Sanskrit grammar, you know. Aorist Tense is almost nonexistent in Classic Sanskrit (since 500 BC up to date). Being Spandanirṇaya about one thousand years old, I wonder why Kṣemarāja conjugated the verb in that archaic manner. Weird! We must pray to God for him not to do it again, hehe.Return 

3  The sage Kṣemarāja is not criticizing the Vedānta or even Chāndogyopaniṣad, but he is simply pointing out that some followers of Vedānta misunderstood the teachings by taking "asat" as "nonexistent", in a literal way. I can prove my point, for example, by simply showing you the commentary Rāmānuja wrote on that portion. Rāmānuja was the founder of Viśiṣṭādvaitavedānta, one of the three types of Vedānta. What Kṣemarāja quoted occurs at the very beginning of the third lesson or adhyāya, nineteenth section or khaṇḍa, i.e. in III, 19.1. Rāmānuja comments after quoting the respective portion:

"Asadevedamagra āsīt — This world was 'asat' in the beginning, i.e. it existed as unmanifest name and form".

Note that "this" refers to the universe and not to Brahma (the Absolute). Besides "asat" should not be taken in a literal way as "nonexistent" but as "unmanifest name and form". The word avyākṛta is a technical term of Vedānta that can be translated as "unmanifest". Still, its meaning is much deeper and subtler. I translated it in that manner for want of a better/shorter definition in English. Avyākṛta is an elementary substance from which everything was created. By no means it is "nonexistent". NO. It DOES exist indeed. Well, the point is that "asat" must not be taken in a literal way like "nonexistent". Therefore, Kṣemarāja, as I said before, is criticizing the followers of Vedānta who misunderstood the real meaning of "asat". In all philosophical schools there are always groups of people that tergiversate the teachings because of their simple ignorance about the deep meanings of some technical words. This is no surprise then.

Regarding his criticism about Buddhism, etc., please, always take into account both the time and place where he lived: Kashmir and the Middle Ages. It was, for example, a time and place full of philosophical debates against Buddhism. Even Vasugupta, worried about what some Buddhists were doing in Kashmir, prayed to the Lord for a solution and in this way he got the celebrated Śivasūtra-s. Besides, these people are "sages", i.e. great spiritual personalities and not mere argumentative aspirants looking for a little victory. You can realize their wisdom by merely reading the present treatise: Spandanirṇaya, where Vasugupta and Kṣemarāja are describing and teaching extraordinary truths.Return 

4  That stanza was written by Nāgārjuna (as Kṣemarāja will express), the famous Buddhist master. The five Afflictions mentioned there are the well-known five Kleśa-s defined by the sage Patañjali in Yogasūtra-s II, 3.Return 

5  If in English is already a tongue twister, in Sanskrit is a super tongue twister, haha. Funny! Well, despite the laughters, the matter is serious, because what the sage is trying to prove is that the void as put by the Mādhyamika-s (the followers of Mādhyamika Buddhism) is not the Highest Reality because the Highest Reality has to be "something" or It would never be "attained" by anyone. Nobody can achieve the void because if it is a "real" Void (absolute nothingness), even the one attaining it would disappear too. What is the use to attain a Highest Reality where you disappear in the process? So funny! Who is going to enjoy Final Liberation if the Highest Reality be a Void really? Because the aspirant previously in bondage, after attaining Final Liberation, would vanish along with his bondage too, haha. Sorry, but I cannot stop laughing. This Play of the Lord is so cool! Yes, that teaching of the Mādhyamika-s at the time when Kṣemarāja flourished was "void", haha.

Fortunately, the great Buddhist master Nāgārjuna "fixed" the things by saying that "it is not a void in the true sense of the word". In this case, Kṣemarāja agreed because "void" is dealt with like in Vijñānabhairava, i.e. like something existing indeed. Certainly, when one meditates deeply, sometimes he enters a condition of void which is full of stupefaction or insentience, viz. one remains unconscious there, like in deep sleep. Anyway, as one "remembers" that state of void, it "existed" as mere stupefaction or unconsciousness while at the same time the Highest Reality remained the same as the Witness to the void. If the Highest Reality had not remained as a witness, one would not be able to remember the void which was experienced. So, the Highest Reality has "existence" and is not "mere nothingness". Therefore, by the word "void" one only indicates that "there is no manifest world as in wakefulness or dream" but NOT that there is nothing at all, because the very Perceiver of that void keeps existing always. The Perceiver or Lord is never void or He could not remember anything ever! If there be a real Void, there would be many problems to explain the memory processes too, because the Void appearing now and then would be erasing all the memories, haha. Well, that problem with the Void theory will be discussed later by Kṣemarāja himself. Besides, no Karma Law would be possible, because all the records of your good and bad actions would be erased too. This would be cool if only touched the bad records, hehe.

I am verily impressed by the Lord and His Plays. Why? Śivasūtra-s were revealed to Vasugupta for him to be able to refute the Buddhist teachings in Kashmir. Now, the Lord had to become those Buddhists first, haha. Great move! He manifested all those Buddhists in Kashmir in order to give Śivasūtra-s to Vasugupta. After that, Trika could fully develop as a solid philosophical system we can enjoy now. I suppose that Buddhism was somehow affected too with all those debates occurring at that time. The Lord is both the ones that follow Him and the ones that deny Him. If you lose sight of Him, you will not understand what is happening here. OK, now it is clear, right?Return 

6  The objection is clearly formulated in spite of, perhaps, the confusion produced by my own translation which is constantly like the act of a tightrope walker in the sense that I must always arrange it all in a way that is "so literal as possible" as well as "so legible as possible". On top of that, English is not my native language! As I cannot "avoid" any word in my "word for word" translation, I am forced to include them all. Most Sanskrit translators do not use my method and in this way they are more free to make the sentences more legible... but they are also more free to summarize too much, add their own opinions to the text (without clearly marking them in some way) or even make mistakes. And this is a fact I can observe frequently with my trained eye. In short, I can see when another translator is sweating and then summarizing it all in order to keep going and so on. This is very obvious to me, but it will surely go unnoticed to the vast majority of readers. This is the tragedy!

A slight twist in the translation of a little phrase could change dramatically the entire meaning of a teaching. I have seen people believing for years that a text says something... which it does not say really! Well, this is pretty common among people ignoring Sanskrit grammar, and inaccurate translations are the eternal cause for their disgrace. I, by no means, want to be another cause for the already enormous disgrace of so many people. I am not joking, but speaking seriously. If there are any errors in my translations, be sure that my own laziness/imagination/tiredness are not the cause for it. What is the cause then? Only the reach of my knowledge/experience at the time of writing that translation. Obviously, I am not speaking about mere typos.

For all those reasons, I prefer to use the word for word method because it keeps my human laziness/imagination/tiredness at bay, forcing me to "read everything such as it was written" and not as my mind "would wish it had been written". Besides, I am always thinking about the Sanskrit students reading my translations and needing to know how I could pull it off, i.e. the way the sentences are structured in Sanskrit, etc.

Well, regarding the objection, Kṣemarāja affirmed previously: "Abhiyoga (is) the declaration —whose nature is an examination or reflection related to that state (of void)—: "In what condition was I?", (expressed) by someone who has risen from samādhi --perfect concentration--. By coming into contact with it --with abhiyoga--, i.e. due to (or) on account of it, because (there is) certainty or determination (that) "that --the condition of stupefaction or insentience-- (really) existed", (in other words,) since there is the statement "I was excessively unconscious", therefore the state of stupefaction or insentience (is) artificial as it is recollected in that manner."

What the objector is saying is specifically that "how can there be certainty or determination that that condition of stupefaction or insentience --i.e. unconsciousness-- really existed if the intellect was OFF at the moment of the experience of void?". The intellect is the determinative faculty by which one determines what an object is, e.g. "it is blue" in case one sees that color. However, if the state of void is artificial, that is, if it is invented or manifested from Supreme Consciousness as the rest of objects, but it is NOT the Supreme Consciousness essentially, then how could it be determined to exist without an intellect ON? This is the doubt!. Now Kṣemarāja will proceed to remove it. Keep reading the text, please.Return 

7  By the phrase: "by the experient who rises up to one's own Self", the sage is making clear that despite there are seven classes of "experients", all of them are, in the end, one's own Self (Śiva). Therefore, in spite of the variety of experients, there is always and everywhere "one Experient" (You!). Read more about the seven experients in the fourth note of Śivasūtravimarśinī III, 19. There is another possible translation for this sentence if one considers another possible meaning of "upāroha" (derived from upa + ā + roha). As the word "roha" also means "shoot, sprout, etc.", "upāroha" might mean the same thing: shoot, sprout, etc., viz. "an impression". In this case, "upāroheṇa" should be translated as "through the impression". In this way, the sentence:

Therefore, so long that whose essence is being "this" --"that whose essence is being this" = "the object"-- is not recollected as long as it is not determined as being "this" --as an object as such-- by the experient who rises up to one's own Self.

will have to be transformed into

Therefore, so long that whose essence is being "this" --"that whose essence is being this" = "the object"-- is not recollected as long as it is not determined as being "this" --as an object as such-- by the experient through the impression (of such an object retained in) one's own Self.

Anyway, though the last translation is possible, I prefer the first one. Hence I translated so in the text itself.

What the sage is establishing is simply that it is always one's own Self (the Experient) who determines that an object "exists" and not the intellect itself. Till the Self does not determine an object, the object cannot be recollected. As in the state of void the intellect --determinative faculty-- is OFF, there seems to be this inconvenience of how the very state of void could be determined to exist then. However, being the intellect itself a manifestation of this Self, even in the absence of the former the latter can carry out the determination with no problems at all! And when the intellect is working, it is again one's own Self who is really working through it. Therefore, the absence of an intellect ON will not mean any inconvenience at all, because the Self can determine by Himself always. Kṣemarāja will say something similar soon. Very clear!Return 

8  As the word "upalabhya" means "perceivable, perceptible", then "upalabhyatva" is "the state of being perceivable or perceptible". Finally, the term you see in the text is "anupalabhyatva", viz. "absence of the state of being perceivable or perceptible"... long... better, "absence of perceptibility". However, I chose the translation "absence" plainly, because Spanda is not "something to be perceived" but the "Perceiver". Yes, the phrase in Sanskrit is clear to me: "anupalabhyatva" is "absence of perceptibility", i.e. a state where Spanda is not detected to exist... but it took me a while to understand the word rightly. Nonetheless, the readers might be made confused with that definition since the verb "to perceive" is involved there. I mean, Spanda is "impossible to be perceived" because It is the Perceiver or Experient. So, in my opinion, it is better to translate it as "absence" (in the sense of "absence of detection") instead of "absence of perceptibility" as this last translation might be considered as if Kṣemarāja was saying that the Perceiver can be perceived, which is not right. OK, hopefully you understood my point.

The entire phrase "anupalabhyatvāyogāt" literally that means: "because of impossibility of absence of perceptibility", but also the following translation is acceptable: "because of unsuitableness of absence of perceptibility". In short, making it legible: "because it is imposible for It --Spanda-- to be absent" or "because it is not suitable (to say) that It is absent". Now you can understand my way of translating!Return 

9  To understand why the sage Kṣemarāja declared: "in accordance with what was described in the venerable Pratyabhijñākārikā-s --also called Īśvarapratyabhijñā--" you would have to read the entire stanza of that scripture (exactly I, 5, 16) along with the previous one (i.e. I, 5, 15) and also the entire commentary by Abhinavagupta (the famous Kṣemarāja's guru). As that would take too much time, I already did it in your place. Summing it up (because the commentary is extralong and complex): The Highest Reality cannot be described by any means. NO word exists which is able to "exactly" express what That is. Then, for the sake of people performing meditation, worship, service, etc., the Highest Reality "invents" (manifests) an "artificial" Highest Reality (which I translated in the text as "the supposed experient whose nature is not the Highest Reality") which is a "fictitious experient or knower". So, the Highest Reality manifests something you can call "Master", "Lord", etc. by your mind. Next, the Highest Reality or Self deals with Its own manifestation as if the Self (i.e. the Highest Reality) had a "double" nature (one that is impossible to be known/described and other that is knowable/describable).

In this way, the Highest Reality, though impossible to be known or described, makes Itself knowable and describable for being able to deal with Itself! Cool! The Highest Reality does so by Its Absolute Freedom or "Svātantrya". And still, this Self or Highest Reality, "due to Its Absolute Freedom" is never deprived from this Absolute Freedom even after assuming the form of a "fictitious experient or knower" such as "Master, Lord, etc.". Hence the quoted portion of the stanza reads: "The Self not deprived from Absolute Freedom". Now you know why the sage quoted that portion of stanza extracted from Īśvarapratyabhijñā.

In the text on which Kṣemarāja is commenting (i.e. in Spandakārikā-s I, 12-13), the Highest Reality or Self is designated as "tattattvam" or "that principle" (you can read it in the last line of aphorism 13). The word "tat" there, derived from "tad" (that), refers to the "knowable/describable" manifestation that the Highest Reality or Self made out of Itself and NOT to the Highest Reality or Self Itself, because the Highest Reality or Self cannot be described/indicated/named/etc. Got the point?

Anyway, as human beings do NOT have any other manner to "designate/describe/name/etc." the Self or Highest Reality, they are forced to use words such as "Master, Lord, that principle, etc." Well, now it is very clear, I suppose. These teachings have many implications: For example, to say "I am the Lord" or "I am not the Lord" is only happening in the world of words, because the "Lord" is just an invention (a supposed experient) manifested by an indescribable/unspeakable Highest Reality. In fact, the very term "Highest Reality" is "again" another invention to explain something that is not possible to explain with the parameters we normally use (words, images, etc.). So, the Highest Reality is neither a Lord, nor an "I" nor a void nor anything else which can be put into words, but one is forced to describe That somehow in order to study It, worship It, meditate on It, etc. If the Highest Reality had not manifested/invented that "Lord", "I", "Master", "Spanda", etc. out of Itself, one would be unable to deal with It, and as a result, no worship, meditation, study, etc. would be possible. Imagine people saying: "May... be praised!", "What is the nature of ...?", "... manifested this universe", "I am the eternal ...", haha. In fact, one should not even use suspension points to indicate the Highest Reality, hehe. Philosophical studies, worship, meditation, service, etc. would be impossible to undertake under such circumstances! Even atheism would be nonexistent, because "how to deny something which cannot even be uttered?", haha. This is why it is generally said that the presence of an atheist "just" affirms the existence of what he or she is denying. So funny!

Here you see the Absolute Freedom of this Highest Reality, because even after becoming "someone knowable by words" (e.g. Lord, God, Master, etc.) in order to deal with Itself in a comfortable way, It retains Its indescribable nature always and everywhere. When one is limited, the processes of life, death, pleasure, pain, day, night, creation, destruction, people, absence of people, bondage, liberation, good, evil, worshippers, atheists, etc. are seen as realities occurring in a space-time framework. But, when one, as to speak, realizes the Highest Reality (yes, yes, just a way to describe what cannot be described), all those processes appear to him like "the movement of a Reality beyond space-time". So, to a person who has realized his own Self (the Highest Reality), all these processes of life, death, pleasure, pain, etc. appear in way that is not possible to describe in a space-time framework. OK, dear reader/indescribable Highest Reality, hehe, now the subject should be clear to you!Return 


 Aphorisms 14-16

An objection!: In "in whom (all this universe) rests, etc." --in Spandakārikā-s I, 2--, it is said that in the case of Consciousness there is (Its) assuming the form of kārya (or) universe --i.e. Consciousness assumes the form of the universe--. (Consequently,) "an artificial form —consisting of a negation --void--— was assumed by It --because void is also part of the universe--. (Such an artificial form) has arisen from (Its) act of abandoning That --Its own nature--". How (then is) It --Consciousness-- (said to be) uninterrupted Delight of I-consciousness (and) devoid of stupefaction or insentience --without unconsciousness--? Thus, (Vasugupta) said (the following) with reference to (that) doubt or objection1 :

It is said that (there are) two states in this (principle of Spanda, viz.) the state of deed (and) the state of doer. Of those, the state of deed is perishable, but the state of doer (is) imperishable||14||
Only the effort which is directed to deed disappears in this (state of Samādhi). When that (effort) has disappeared, (only) a fool (would) think "I have disappeared"||15||
There is never cessation of that inner state or nature which (is) the abode of the attribute of omniscience, on account of the nonperception of another||16||

In this —in the principle of Spanda— it is said (that) there are --lit. there is-- two states, (viz.) "the state of deed and the state of doer", differentiated or separated by merely the use of words. Because as a matter of fact That (is) only one principle whose essence (is) Śaṅkara --Śiva--, a mass of Free Light. (This principle), being pervaded by an Activity --i.e. Spanda-- whose nature (is) Light (and) which is not different or separate from the existence of the doer, shines forth in unity with that (Activity or Spanda; and) by Its assuming the form of tattva-s --categories of universal manifestation--, worlds, bodies —as well as the absence of (all) that— It --the principle-- is called "the object" --the effect, what has been done by the doer--, because there cannot be causality on the part of any other (principle) than that (one)2 |

According to what has been stated in venerable Īśvarapratyabhijñā:

"The power (known as) existence is not of the insentient --e.g. a seed-- (but of Cetana --the Supreme Śiva--), whether (it) --the sprout-- exists (or) does not exist (in the cause). Hence, the relation between cause and effect --between kāraṇa and kārya-- (is really) the principle of doer and action --of kartṛ and karmatva, being karmatva the action, i.e. what was done by the doer--3 "||

He --the Lord, i.e. Śiva-- exhibits this state of deed --manifestation of objects-- of His (in this way:) By means of the process of uniting (and) separating various manifestations (such as) space, time, etc., He makes appear (other) endless manifestations (such as) body, blue, etc., which, though nondifferent from His essential nature which is Consciousness, (shine forth) as different, like the reflections in a mirror. And whatever He manifests, all that, because of its being manifested, (is) perishable --lit. characterized by destruction-- with reference to its external form. Nevertheless, its destruction (is) abiding in the form of Aham or the (real) "I" --Śiva-- by plunging the manifestation of Idam or This --the object-- --so, there is no real destruction actually, but a mere withdrawal of the objective aspect or manifest form, i.e. an abiding in the Self or real "I"--. For this reason, only that which (constitutes) the knowable portion of the experient —(such as) body, etc.— is manifested and withdrawn by the Divine Lord, and not the doer (aspect) --i.e. the knower portion-- —which is the Light of the (real) "I"—, because of (his) oneness with the Divine Lord even after his entering the body, etc. Hence, "tatra" --read aphorism 14--, i.e. out of those two —viz. from among the states of deed --or knowable object which has been or is being done-- and doer --the subject or knower--— the state of deed --all that is objective-- (is) perishable, but the state of doer, whose nature is the Absolute Freedom of Consciousness, (is) imperishable since he does not deviate from his essential nature --lit. since there is not his deviation from the essential nature-- even during the manifestation and dissolution of the world|

But if there was deviation (from his essential nature), neither (of the processes) —viz. manifestation and dissolution of the world— would appear. Thus, even in the states of stupefaction or insentience --the void--, this (principle of Spanda is) only Sentience --absence of stupefaction or insentience, i.e. it is not a void!-- whose essence is a undivided Delight of I-consciousness4 |

An objection!: On the consummation of samādhi --perfect absorption-- of void and in the state of deep sleep, etc., we do not perceive Its state of doer --Spanda as the Subject-- anywhere because of imperceptibility of (Its) activity --i.e. because Its activity is not perceived--|

True! The effort (or) ardent desire which is directed to deed —viz. (which) is directed toward the function of setting the senses, etc. in motion— disappears (or) stops in this (state of Samādhi of void), i.e. in the state of cessation of deed --when perception of objects comes to an end because one enters the void--. When that (effort) has disappeared, (only) an abuddha —viz. a fool whose sense of Self --the Subject-- has been carried off or removed by the Samādhi of void— would think: "I have disappeared"|

However, the inner essential nature which is the Light of the "I", for this very reason --for being the Light of the "I"--, (is) the abode of the attribute of omniscience. And this --i.e. its being the abode of the attribute of omniscience-- implies (that It is) also (the abode) of omnipotence, etc. (Then,) Its --of the inner essential nature or Spanda-- cessation never occurs (or) takes place. It is not possible at any moment on account of the nonperception of some other perceiver of Its cessation --i.e. because nobody is seen as perceiving Its cessation--. If someone is perceived --i.e. if there is someone seeing Its cessation--, he himself (is) that inner Consciousness. (And) if (someone) is not perceived --i.e. if there is nobody seeing Its cessation--, in that case how (is there such a) certainty (that) "the state of cessation exists"?5 |

Moreover, nobody else perceives --lit. anyone else does not perceive-- Its cessation except He Himself --the Self or essential nature--, whose essence (is) Light. Therefore, (He being this eternal Light,) how (is) His nonexistence or absence (possible)?|

Thus, (the phrase) "on account of the nonperception of another" (in the aphorism 16 means) in this (context) "because of the absence of the perception of another doer or agent --i.e. of another subject--". Such is the sense!6 |

And likewise, just as the absence of a pot is determined from perceiving the ground without --lit. free from-- the pot, so the absence of the Self would also be determined from the perception of someone devoid of Self. (However, according to the argument) "the existence of the perceiver of that --of the absence of Self in someone-- is inevitable", (consequently) nonexistence of one's own Self as the perceiver of that (absence of Self) is not proved or established --in short, it cannot be proved that one ceased to be while perceiving that hypothetical person devoid of Self, because if that nonexistence of oneself had been real one would not have realized the absence of Self in the other person--|

And if on the cessation of the effort directed to deed --to all that has been manifested-- He --the Subject-- were to cease or disappear, therefore afterward there would not be perception of anybody else, (and) the absence of perception of other (beings) would be the (inevitable) consequence. This is the meaning|

Besides, on account of the nonperception of another —(in the sense of nonperception) of an external effort (on the part of the senses) during deep sleep, etc.— how (is) the cessation of the internal principle (of Spanda) --of the Subject-- suspected by the fools? Because, on the cessation of one thing, how is (this cessation) occurred to another thing? --less literal and more legible: "Because how can the cessation of one thing affect another thing?"-- etc.|

And likewise, on account of the nonperception of another —(in the sense of nonperception) of an effort directed to deed --to the objective manifestation--, (which results in the appearance of a void)—, i.e. on account of the manifestation of (this) nonperception, there is never cessation of that internal perceiver --the Subject-- whose nature is Light. (Why?) Because that inner state or nature --the Subject or Self-- (which is) the abode of the attribute of omniscience knows even that state of absence or void. Otherwise, "that (state of absence or void) cannot be established or proved --lit. is not established or proved--"|

(The word) "anyasya" --"of another" in the aphorism 16-- (is) in Genitive case --the sixth one-- (to convey the sense) in (both) Nominative case and Accusative case7 |

In regard to the word "antarmukha" --i.e. "inner"-- (in the aphorism 16: by the use of that specific term) the possible or probable state of doership --the condition of the Subject as the doer-- as the counterpart, so to speak, of the state of deed --the object-- is mentioned. As a matter of fact, by the aforesaid argument His condition as the Knower of the (various) states (has been declared too)|

(The term) "antarmukha" (in the aphorism 16) is to be used --interpreted-- in this way: "antár" (means) "consisting in the perfect or full I-consciousness", (and) "mukha" (means) "whose main or most important characteristic" --more legibly, "the principle of Spanda is This whose main or most important characteristic consists in the perfect or full I-consciousness", i.e. Spanda is "I AM"--8 ||16||

Skip the notes

1  The objector was clear in his formulation "in Sanskrit", but my "word for word" translation might look complicated. The matter is very simple: "In Spandakārikā-s I, 2 it is said that all this universe comes forth from Consciousness and rests on It. So, Consciousness has assumed the form of the universe. As a consequence of Its assuming the form of the universe, It has also assumed the form of the void --which is called artificial since it is not It but Its invention--. Why? Because the void is a part of the universal manifestation. In this case, how then is Consciousness said to be uninterrupted Delight of I-consciousness and devoid of unconsciousness?".

Now it is more legible. Obviously, to make it more legible I had to abandon the strict "word for word" translation. There must be a balance between being legible and being literal. The word for word method tends to be more literal than legible. This is intended for people desiring to check how the scripture was composed in Sanskrit. Yes, the rest of people will suffer a little, but I always use to add a note of explanation every time I cannot keep that balance in the way I would like to. Besides, as the style of Kṣemarāja is involved, I am fighting not only against the usual difficulties of having to translate a scholar treatise like the present one but also against the way in which it was written in Sanskrit. By "involved" I do not mean that Kṣemarāja is making grammatical mistakes. NO, I mean that he writes too long sentences, uses lengthy compounds, too many adjectival phrases in a row, etc. All this makes the already difficult process of translating even more difficult. OK, I cannot blame him really, because he wrote all that about one millennium, you know. Even old English is tricky, right? Good, keep reading the text, please.Return 

2  As the sage is addicted to write "extralong" sentences and I am addicted to follow him so literally as possible to the very hell if necessary, hehe, you get mammoth translations as a result. Besides, the last sentence could not be broken in several short ones because what he said about "causality" affected a big portion of what he mentioned before. Well, hopefully you have understood me. OK, as I could not keep the balance between being literal and being legible in the translation, I will explain it all little by little:

In the principle of Spanda there are two states: the state of deed (kāryatva) and the state of doer (kartṛtva). As the word "kāryatva" derives from "kārya" --that which has been done, that which is being done, deed, etc.--, it was translated in that way --i.e. the state of deed-- instead of "state of that which has been done or is being done". Why? Because it is very long and confusing. So, "kāryatva" refers to the "state of deed" in the sense of "object" --the universe--, because it is the object the one which has been done or is being done. Got the point? Hence "kāryatva" might "also" be translated as "objectivity" or "objective universe".

In turn, since "kartṛtva" derives from "kartṛ" --doer, agent, etc.--, it was translated in that way as "the state of doer". So, "kartṛtva" refers to the "state of doer" in the sense of "Subject" --the Supreme Self manifesting the universe--. Hence "kartṛtva" might "also" be translated as "subjectivity". Despite the "kartṛ" or Subject undergoes several limitations till He becomes a mere "sakala" or "limited experient", it is to be noted that in this context Kṣemarāja is speaking about the Highest Subject or Self. Good!

These two states of deed and doer look like different or separated only by the use of words, because they are one and the same Reality. This principle of Śaṅkara or Śiva (the Self as "I") —who is Light or Prakāśa in total Freedom— is pervaded by Śakti (His Power or Spanda) —who is mentioned as being an Activity whose nature is the same Light and as not being different or separate from the existence of the doer—. As Śakti or Spanda makes Śiva feel: "I am", She is not different or separate from the very existence of the "doer" (the Lord!). This being so, the principle appears in unity with that Activity or Spanda. And, by assuming the form of the universe (composed of tattva-s, worlds, bodies, the absence of all that, etc.), this very principle is known as "the object". In other words, this Activity or Spanda pervading the Lord Himself —and not being different from Him—, emits the entire universe or "the object", which is an "effect" or something which is done by the doer (by the Lord or Self).

All that has been established is thus, simply because there cannot be causality on the part of any other principle than that one, i.e. because no other principle can be the cause of all that. It is only one principle which brings Subject and object (doer and deed) into existence, so to speak. This is the purport! Now everything looks totally clear!Return 

3  The terms "seed" and "sprout" that I added come from the commentary by Abhinavagupta on this stanza. Also, the interpretation of "yad" (usually meaning: who, which, etc.) as "yad vā" (whether) comes from the same commentary. The same is true regarding why I added the word "Cetana" or "Supreme Śiva" as the real Doer or Cause. In fact, the entire interpretation comes from that commentary because the stanza itself is so abstruse that it can be understood in several different ways! The Abhinavagupta's commentary is even more complicated than the stanza itself! "Unfortunately", I was forced to read it entirely in order to understand the stanza properly. And I could understand it finally, but "by no means" I will write its translation here because it would add more "unnecessary" confusion. With Spandanirṇaya and the involved Kṣemarāja's style of writing we have more than enough!Return 

4  The objector, in the introduction to the commentary on the stanzas 14-16, strived to prove that Spanda is a void or nonexistence. In other words, he was trying to prove that Spanda is ultimately "asat" (lit. nonexistent or nonexistence). But the word "asat" should not be taken as meaning "nonexistent or nonexistence" (in a literal way) even in Advaitavedānta (not to mention in Trika). NO. "Asat" is "unmanifest". It does exist, but it is not manifest. This is the sense.

The sage proved that Spanda is not a void in the sense of "nonexistent", but Existence Itself. It assumes the state of asat or unmanifest when taking the form of a void but it is NOT nonexistent. The word "sat" (existent or existence) derives from the verb "as" ("to be" in the sense of "to exist") when the Kṛt or Primary affix "at" is added to the base. The base is constructed with the form the root assumes before the ending of the 3rd P, plural, Present Tense: "santi" (they are). As the termination is "anti", the base is "s". So, I add the affix "at" to "s": "sat". Simple! Read Affixes (1) to learn more.

Now, the aspect "Sat" (Existence) of the Supreme Being is very important. Most Indian philosophies agree with each other regarding this aspect of His, but not all of them affirm that Bliss or Ānanda is an essential part of Him. For example, systems like Trika and Advaitavedānta are systems Saccidānanda (Sat-Cit-Ānanda or Existence-Consciousness-Bliss) because they declare that Final Liberation is full of That in "that manner". But other systems are only Saccit (no Bliss in the Final Liberation). These systems declare that Enlightenment does not involve Bliss but only "cessation of pain and pleasure". Well, I speak a little more about this subject in First Steps (3).

The sage Kṣemarāja showed that Spanda (the Supreme Being) "exists" at all times, and never deviates from Its own essential nature. In other words, the sage is saying that Spanda is characterized by Sat or Existence. Spanda is not a void, is not nonexistence, but the Highest Degree of Existence. This is not mere theory but a fact that is so evident in everybody. One's own Self or Spanda "never" deviates from Its own essential nature. One never feels that he did not exist in the past. One's intellect can establish whatever it wants, but one does not feel nonexistence ever. I use the verb "to feel" because I cannot find a better one. I use it in the sense of "to detect". In other words, one can think about his possible "nonexistence" before being born, but he cannot feel/detect it. NO. One feels himself as existing all the time. This is a undeniable truth that everybody experiences constantly.

Even what most people call "death" is nothing else than a repose on the "I" after abandoning the state of "This". I mean, destruction is just a word to name that process, because in the end nothing is destroyed. NO. Everything is lastly becoming unmanifest in regard to its external form, because the Doer or Subject remains always the same. This is so since the Doer is Sat or Existent/Existence. Well, one thing is noticing that His aspect Sat is always ON in everybody, and a very different thing is to have a direct experience of Sat as such (i.e. pure). This process of experiencing Spanda as "pure" Sat is rather frightening. It happens naturally all of a sudden. The Yogī feels as if a mountain was falling on him. Not "on his body" but "on him". I cannot explain it in a better manner. For example: "you were sitting there, very relaxed, when the entire roof fell on you". It is something like this. The strange thing is that "nothing" (physically speaking) is falling on you. This is the experience of His Sat.

After you recover from the first contact with "pure" Sat, you notice that you do not pay any more attention to other verbs such as "to know" or "to do". NO. All your attention is on "to be", i.e. on the Sat aspect of the Lord. The sensation is so irresistible that you cannot even think of anything else but "Existence". The perception of Existence is so overwhelming that you forget the other aspects such as "to know" and "to do". No Bliss either, just Existence pervading everything the whole time. The experience could last several hours while you are there, trembling in trance and full of His Sat. This is one of the most terrifying experiences a spiritual seeker will have to undergo because the sensation of being crushed by something immense is extremely "real". Therefore, His Sat aspect is extremely solid and staggering. It must be like that, because Spanda cannot deviate from Its own essential nature ever. So, through Its massive all-pervading Existence who is Life of all lives, Spanda makes sure that the process of manifestation and dissolution of the universe will take place always. Good!Return 

5  The reader should not be made confused by the words: Spanda, essential nature, inner Consciousness, etc. All those terms refer to the "same thing", viz. the Highest Reality. Therefore, all of them are synonymous with Śiva, Śakti, Paramaśiva, Lord, God, Absolute, etc. Yes, there are always some subtle technical differences in the definitions, but this is only taking place in the world of the words (e.g. Spanda is Śakti or the Power of the Lord, but as Śakti is one with the Lord, Spanda is the Lord in the end). Trika affirms that one's own essential nature or Self is the Lord, is Spanda, is God, is the Absolute, etc. Then, you should consider all those words used to define your own Self as identical in this context. True, while one studies some subjects in depth, he should pay attention to the subtle differences between the various definitions, but this is not the case now.

Regarding the argument presented by Kṣemarāja: he continues to prove that the aspect Sat (Existence) of your own Self or essential nature is eternal. It never "departs from Its own nature". It never "ceases". This essential nature is all the time ON, never sleeps, never goes on vacation. Because if the essential nature or real "I" was to take a vacation, the entire universe would collapse automatically. Even death is not affecting one's essential nature, because in order to die "someone" must be dying. That "someone" who is dying never dies, because if he would die he could not behold his own death. Yes, it is difficult to describe, but I affirm, with all my heart, that death is not occurring ever. What the vast majority of people call "death" is simply a body being unmanifested. As the vast majority of people are convinced that they are the bodies, death is very real to them. Anyway, death is never touching their essential nature, because, being Sat Itself, It can never cease to exist. Therefore, despite the stats seem to declare that innumerable living beings have been dying for eons, nobody died, ever! Nobody was born either, ever! I am speaking the truth. Birth and death are only affecting the bodies, not the Self or Being. He is called "Being" for His existing uninterruptedly.

Nevertheless, according to Trika, though everybody is the immortal Spanda essentially, most of them will not realize It in practice. This is because Spanda or Self conceals Itself from most people. One might wonder: "Why?". Because they are undeserving as their merit is not enough to have Its revelation. The Power of this Spanda or essential nature is so monumental that It can veil certain portions of Itself to Itself. An ordinary human mind cannot understand this. If someone is thinking: "Well, but Trika affirms that one is the Self already". Yes, but since one generally fails to realize that Truth, it is as if one was not the Self "in practice". And how to accumulate merit then? According to Trika, one must practice by following the teachings given in the Śivasūtra-s (along with its detailed explanation: Śivasūtravimarśinī), i.e. one must follow the three methods or upāya-s. After performing those methods for, generally, many years, the Lord decides one day that the amount of merit is enough and reveals His nature to the "fortunate aspirant". Although the explanation looks dualistic, the experience is completely "nondualistic", as it were, because in the end what the "fortunate aspirant" will realize is beyond the range of words. The "fortunate aspirant" will be shown his own essential nature or Self in a inconceivable way.

At the time of His revelation, that "blessed one" will understand that he is not the false "I" and all that is associated with it (individuality, body, mind, etc.). NO. He will recognize his essential nature as IT IS, as Saccidānanda (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss). This recognition is called Final Liberation, of course. Liberation from what? Liberation from Āṇavamala (the innate impurity) which leads the Supreme Self to consider Himself to be a limited individual. Āṇavamala, according to Trika, can be removed by the Lord alone. Only the One who wrote the prologue of the transmigratory existence of this limited being is able to write its conclusion. May this compassionate Lord be praised always!Return 

6  There is a double sense here. Yes, the sage is specifying that in this context the phrase "on account of the nonperception of another" means "because of the absence of the perception of another doer or agent (subject)", i.e. nobody else is seen as perceiving the end of the Supreme Self. Besides, even if one were to perceive someone whose Self has "apparently" ceased (e.g. a dead man), the Self would continue to exist as oneself (the Subject who perceives). Absolute cessation or disappearance of the Self cannot be seen anywhere, because His Sat aspect always manages to remain as the "existing" Subject. This is why the Subject always exists and is "only" one. There are not "two or more" Subjects really (except in one's imagination).

Someone could say: "But I perceive different people out there". The reply to this is: "Yes, but not different Subjects". Why? Because He is the person himself who is asking. Besides, even if that person were to imagine that different Subjects dwell in different bodies "out there", he cannot perceive them "directly". So, if this person is ignorant from a spiritual viewpoint will think: "The Subjects in them are invisible". But if he is instructed and experienced, spiritually speaking, will not think like that. Because he will realize that the Subject is the whole time "himself". And if that person is extraordinarily instructed and experienced, well, in that case, he would not have asked that question in the first place.

But there is another meaning for the phrase "on account of the nonperception of another". According to the aphorism 15, only the effort directed to deed disappears when one enters the void. In other words, as the effort to set the senses in motion and keep them directed toward their respective objects ceases, the manifestation of such objects also ceases and one enters the Samādhi of void --absorption in the void--, where the objective world has altogether disappeared. But though "another" (i.e. the effort made by the senses to perceive, which results in the unmanifestation of the universe) is not perceived in the void, this does not imply that "there is nothing" (nonexistence). NO. The Subject (the doer or agent) always abides as such, completely unaffected by the universal unmanifestation. Why? First, on account of His immortal Sat aspect which endows Him with Absolute Existence; and second, there is always the question: Why should the disappearance of something have always to do with the disappearance of another thing? Therefore, those who look to hold the position that the cessation of the universe "necessarily" implies the cessation of the Subject are just holding a nonsensical argument.

It is impossible, but even if one could prove that the Subject ceases along with the universe, there will be always the problem of "how will the universe manage to arise again if the Subject ceased?". Because, not being perceived by anyone, how could the universe be meaningful then? I mean, what is the purpose of a universe arising for "nobody"? Of course, everybody's experience shows that the Subject never ceases, because there is constantly Someone perceiving the manifestation and dissolution of the world. Who is that? Oneself! Because there is one Subject only.

Yes, one could conceive by his intellect the existence of multiple Subjects, and even one could imagine them all ceasing to be, etc. But, as the intellect is a manifestation or invention of the Subject according to Trika and many other philosophical systems, it is not fit for proving that. It would be like my PC proving my cessation, hehe. Anyway, you could tell me that I am using my intellect to generate argument: NO. Intellect is just the means (as well as my hands on the keyboard are a means) to convey you that knowledge. The real core of such an instruction is the Subject Himself who is experienced naturally by everybody. If the reader resorts to his own experience, he will realize "without a doubt" that he "never" ceased/ceases to exist. And in the event that the reader considers that he ceased to exist at some point of his past, etc. (e.g. during a kind of short/temporary death), there is always the problem of explaining how he knows that if he really "ceased to exist". What most people meant in those situations is that "their bodies ceased to exist", but not themselves essentially. When one believes that the body is the real Self, there is this problem with death, but when one recognizes that his real Self is the immortal essential nature or Spanda, death is no more a trouble.

Also, by "manifestation and dissolution of the world" I mean "all these objects and people around, that appear and disappear, all these thoughts that appear and disappear, etc.". I am not speaking about the mammoth universe beheld by the astronomers, which is full of galaxies, etc., which appeared at a certain time and will disappear in the far future. NO. The universe of the astronomers is not the real universe but an invention of the Lord for them to behold through their equipments. Yes, this colossal invention is also a part of "the universe", but not a relevant one to a human being. I am not saying that science is nonsensical. NO, I am saying that the Lord is a Joker. Why? Because an average astronomer will be there for years trying to detect when the universe began or when it will be finished, measuring absolutely overwhelming distances between galaxies that look like specks of dust in the great framework of an expanding universe. The same astronomer will behold that there are stars that make the sun look like a joke, galaxies that are so immense that the Milky Way is like their back yard, etc. He will see all those marvels, etc., but "generally" will fail to realize that his Self is immensurable and therefore the Greatest Reality by far! Not realizing that his own real "I" is most impressive than all that he observes through his telescope, he remains a limited being anyway. Yes, an astronomical limited being, because he lost sight of the Greatest Reality, his Self, his real "I". What is the point of watching the space in that case?

NO, I am not saying that astronomy is useless (this would be another nonsense), but it cannot explain the Mystery of the origin and destiny of this universe "while" the astronomer fails to recognize his own divine "I". Of course, I am speaking "in general", but as I like astronomy too, I constantly notice how the astronomers fail to understand that the Core is in themselves, not outside, in a distant frontier, etc. Besides, one's own physical body could be star dust and the like, but one is not the dull physical body but the immortal Self who is beyond space and time, who is impossible to measure and describe. If one does not understand this simple truth, what is the use of understanding how distant galaxies move and so on? But if one realizes his own Self, his real "I", then he will understand everything simultaneously and will be in a position to "fully" explain the origin, nature and processes of the universe. And not before! Though this looks like a discourse against astronomy or astronomers, this is not so. NO. It is against the innate ignorance pervading practically the whole humankind.

Just as the Lord manifested the void and stopped the spiritual advancement of many people, now He seems to be fond of manifesting a hyper huge universe full of endless galaxies, etc. Consequently so many people will be investigating that hyper huge universe that they will not notice that the Most Important Thing is themselves. Because, what could that hyper huge universe do if its immensurable Perceiver --Oneself-- was not NOW and HERE watching it? Good joke, Lord!

Also, even those colossal galaxies will come to an end sooner or later. In this sense they are like any other object: perishable! So, if somebody is wise enough will undertake first the study of his own immortal Self because this Self is imperishable. Unfortunately, due to the Lord's joke, the things are exactly upside down, i.e. in general, a person will start with the inspection of the mammoth universe by neglecting his own Self. As this is nonsensical, the conclusions he will arrive at will also be "nonsensical". To study the perishable after pushing aside the Imperishable: this is a mark of spiritual ignorance. This being the case, what is the point of paying attention to the interpretations and conclusions of somebody who is so ignorant? The matter of "shortage of real guidance" in the present humankind is a serious problem. Humankind needs wise people who have managed to overcome the Lord's jokes and received His Grace. Only these sages can act like beacons here.

When someone attains Self-realization, when he becomes so Free as the Supreme Self, all the apparently colossal universe is dramatically perceived as very little. To someone who became enlightened the entire universe is perceived as something insignificant resting on a corner of His Being. This is not my own invention after a feverish night of Sanskrit translations, but something that it is indicated in the scriptures. For example, the sage Patañjali says something like that in his Yogasūtra-s IV, 31, where he declares that the knowables (objects) appear to be few to someone in the process of achieving Final Liberation. So, there is a kind of rule that could be formulated in this way: "The more spiritually ignorant a person is, the bigger it will seem the universe to him". This is so because spiritual ignorance is marked by a predominance of "the object". But in a wise person, full of right understanding, the Subject is predominant and the object is secondary. Consequently, when one attains Final Liberation (i.e. when one realizes the Subject in oneself), his knowledge becomes infinite and the entire universe is perceived as insignificant and easy to be known. While one does not have this experience, he finds it difficult to understand how is this possible, no doubt about it. Therefore, it is lastly a matter of realizing the Highest Reality in oneself by the Grace of this Highest Reality.

For that reason, in the past You bewildered a lot of people with Your void, oh Lord! Now, you are making them confused with this hyper mammoth universe "out there" which causes one's existence to look even more miserable than ever before. Therefore, stupefied due to Your void in the past, and now shocked by Your astronomical universe, they keep failing to realize their Essence. Really, Your Power to veil Your own nature is absolutely astonishing, Lord! So, this is the way in which one should address the Supreme Self in the modern times: "I want neither the void nor this hyper huge universe, I want YOU, my Self!". And once the Highest Reality is fully realized in oneself, the rest is automatically known thoroughly. After that realization one can leads the life he wishes, because the goal of life has been attained. And yes, he could opt to keep watching far brilliant spheres, etc., but now he knows the Truth behind all that colossal manifestation and is no more bewildered and deluded by it.

OK, summing it up!: "on account of the nonperception of another" means "on account of the nonperception of another Subject", as the sage declared, but also "on account of the nonperception of objectivity (because the effort directed to it on the part of the senses has ceased)" (when one enters the void and the universe disappears because the senses are no more operative). Now it is very clear!Return 

7  To understand this subject you have to read my explication of the cases in Declension (1). Anyway, I will explain what the author meant in the present context: Nominative case is designated in Sanskrit as "kartṛ" while Accusative case is called in Sanskrit "karma". Those two words also mean "subject" and "action/object". So, you already know what I will say, right? The term "anyasya" or "of another" (declined in Genitive, in the aphorism 16) conveys the sense in Nominative case this way: "on account of the nonperception of another = because another (Subject) is not perceived", i.e. there is only one Subject always. In turn, the same term "anyasya" conveys the sense in Accusative this way: "on account of the nonperception of another = when the Subject does not perceive another --the effort made by the senses in order to perceive, which results in the unmanifestation of the universe--", i.e. when the objective universe (action/object) has been dissolved and the Subject just perceives a void. Then, the aphorism 16 declares the following two things:

"There is never cessation of that inner state or nature which (is) the abode of the attribute of omniscience, because another (Subject) is not perceived||16||"

"There is never cessation of that inner state or nature which (is) the abode of the attribute of omniscience, when the Subject does not perceive another --viz. the effort of the senses in order to perceive, which results in the unmanifestation of the universe or state of void--||16||"

Therefore, the Subject (the inner state or nature) never ceases to be, even when the object or universe is unmanifest. Besides, He never ceases because of His being the only Subject. If He were to cease, the universe would cease forever and could not arise again ever! Yes, yes, it is difficult but understandable if you intellect makes the proper effort. Nobody said that reading Spandanirṇaya would be like reading a passing novel, hehe. Joking apart, as you read the scholar Kṣemarāja's commentary, you realize how deep the meaning contained in the Spandakārikā-s is. Evidently Vasugupta, its author, knew what he was doing.

Hence, study of the works of these great personalities is so important. Final Liberation is a matter of "understanding" and not of "practices". Certainly, for many years the "practices" will occupy a large portion of the day of any spiritual aspirant. But as he approaches to the end of his journey, right understanding becomes prevalent. If someone has this type of right understanding, he does not need to perform any spiritual practice. But of course, in general, most people will get a subtle intellect full of right understanding after performing practices for many years. This is practically a rule, but as always, there are exceptions. This is why, in a spiritual community, there are several activities occurring every day. Each of those activities aims at a particular aspirant of a certain level. Also in general, the higher the level of an aspirant the lesser he moves, in the sense that his "practices" are more static (physically speaking) because they are related to "a pure intellect full of right understanding". They remain vigilant and desirous to get in touch with the Supreme Principle, hence their stillness. Hopefully you understood me "rightly", hehe.Return 

8  Spanda is Śakti, the Power of the Lord who is one with Himself! She is like His face. Just as you start knowing a person when you can see his face, so you begin to know Him through Her alone. And as the Lord is nobody else but your own Self, the process of knowing Him involves automatically the process of knowing "yourself". The term "antarmukha" was inserted by Vasugupta in order to show that the Subject is the counterpart of the object (or deed), which is external. Since this terminology of "inner" and "external" is not very accurate but only a way to show the difference between Subject and object/deed, Kṣemarāja wrote "iva" ("so to speak") in his commentary. In reality, the Subject or Self is the Knower persisting through all the states of consciousness. He is not inside or outside, because space cannot even touch Him slightly. So, we have to use all these terms to describe Him, you know.

In the end, despite "antarmukha" literally means "inner, internal", the commentator specifies an additional interpretation: "This whose main or most important characteristic is the perfect/full I-consciousness". Therefore, Spanda is the real "I", the essential nature, the Power of the Lord, the Power of the Self, the Subject and so on. It is the Highest Reality in all. Without this perfect I-consciousness nothing could exist. Since it is never disturbed by anything, It remains the same through all the states, processes, changes, etc. It never grows or decreases at all. Accordingly, as this Highest Reality is so, one should pray to It in this manner: "Oh You, glorious Lord, be merciful to me!".Return 


 Further Information

Gabriel Pradīpaka

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

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