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The aphorisms on Absolute Freedom
Hi, Gabriel Pradīpaka --wrongly-written Pradipaka-- once more. This is the first scripture I compose in Sanskrit. I am making this great effort for two reasons:
- To reconnect spiritual aspirants with their own Self.
- To make Sanskrit literature up to date and fully alive.
At this time of extreme technology I cannot say any more "Before I put pen to paper...", but "before I started to type in front of my monitor" the very first aphorism, I had to vanquish waves after waves of inner demons, hehe, telling me that the mission was impossible and only intended for great sages. If I am going to wait for Gabriel Pradīpaka to become a great sage, this scripture would never have been written, let alone published. After about two weeks fighting against all those hosts appearing as multiple thoughts full of fear, I could finally develop momentum enough as to begin composing my first scripture in Sanskrit. The task looked absolutely immense, not only because Sanskrit grammar can cause one thousand lions to flee in a trice, but also because I had to explain, by brief statements, three complex subjects: Highest Reality, spiritual ignorance and Self-recognition (also known as Self-realization).
Fortunately to me (and to everybody), ego is never the real doer and the aphorisms just came up spontaneously. My work was mainly to eavesdrop attentively on the instructions the inner Guru whispered and then write all that down into Sanskrit. This is always so, but till the moment one starts one cannot understand it. Practically nothing was planned beforehand. Everything just flowed naturally from inside. Unlike most people (including myself before writing this scripture) might believe, the aphorisms were not passed onto me in regular succession. No, they just appeared and I had to put them in order, as if they were bricks forming a wall. Once the wall was complete, I could not add more aphorisms and that was it. Strangely, I could polish every aphorism (brick) but I could not change it drastically or insert it somewhere else because the structure of the wall did not allow me to do that. A very interesting experience I wanted to share with the reader. The feeling that one is never a real doer is pretty obvious while composing a scripture in Sanskrit.
Every aphorism has been succinctly explained by me in order to make the meaning even clearer and stop all possible tergiversation of the original purport. In order to throw more light on this subject, I am in the process of composing an entire and big commentary also in Sanskrit on the present scripture. Obviously, I am always mainly following the teachings of Trika (Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir) because it is my specialty, but I added my own personal experiences too, all of which constitutes what I am now calling: Rosario's Trika or Non-dual Shaivism of Rosario.
All corrections are welcome, since I feel like a rookie in Sanskrit always as I can easily forget, in spite of so many years studying it, one or the entire set of thousands of rules and respective exceptions. People will be able to say that I am a bad writer perhaps or that my knowledge about Sanskrit grammar is poor, but they will never be able to say that I did not try to help spiritual aspirants to the best of my capacity, even crossing the line of my own limitations. In the end, all this is nothing but a drop of His Ocean of Compassion. So, read the Svātantryasūtram and be extremely Happy and Free like the Self.
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 hyphens (--...--) constitutes clarifying further information also added by me.
(Explanation of the Highest Reality)
यावचिन्त्यावात्मास्य शक्तिश्चैतौ परमार्थो भवतः॥१॥
Yāvacintyāvātmāsya śaktiścaitau paramārtho bhavataḥ||1||
These two (etau), the Self (ātmā) and (ca) His (asya) Power (śaktiḥ) —who (yau) (are) inconceivable (acintyau)—, constitute (bhavataḥ) the Highest Reality (parama-arthaḥ)||1||
Succinct exposition: The Self is the Core of all, and His Power has become all. I call the Core "the Self" for the sake of bringing more light instead of more darkness. If I had called Him "Śiva", some people might consider Him as the well-known puranic Śiva who is a great ascetic living in a cave and whose main task consists in destroying the universe, etc. Other people would think that, as Viṣṇu is greater than Śiva, he should be the Core of all and not Śiva. In turn, there is also a tendency to regard Śiva like impersonal while Viṣṇu is personal. There is no end to spiritual foolishness indeed, because there is no difference between Śiva and Viṣṇu really. Anyway, other people could suggest that a better name would be Brahman, etc. In order not to fall into all that ignorant mess of names and viewpoints, I chose to assign the name "Self" to the Core of all. In the end, when spiritual enlightenment arrives, one's own mind is withdrawn (as I will tell by an aphorism later on), and consequently there is nobody to think about if "This Core of all" is personal, impersonal, Śiva, Viṣṇu, Brahman, etc. Ego just collapses and This that remains is the Self as He essentially is.
He and His Power are completely inconceivable, i.e. beyond the mental sphere. The Play of names, viewpoints and such is performed by His Power, which is always so frisky. All in all, the constant question is always: "Is oneself completely free like the Self?". If the answer is "Yes", one has accomplished the goal of life. And if the answer is "No", one must get rid of his own bondage somehow then. This scripture is therefore like a little handbook for your process of Liberation from bondage. I do not look to make you confused with names and complex philosophical viewpoints. My goal is always your Liberation and nothing else than your Liberation. The Self and His Power constitute the Highest Reality. Once you can attain them, so to speak, you are completely free like Them both. The Self and His Power are "two" only in the sphere of words, because as a matter of fact they form one compact mass of Absolute Freedom and Bliss. Just as the sun can be divided into "core of the sun, surface of the sun, crown", etc., so I divide the Highest Reality into two in the world of words in order to explain It to you. The next aphorism will speak about that subject.
तयोरुभयोः स्वरूपं स्वातन्त्र्यानन्दात्मकैकघनत्वेनापि तत्सन्तताध्ययनाय वचोविषय एव द्विधाकृतम्॥२॥
Tayorubhayoḥ svarūpaṁ svātantryānandātmakaikaghanatvenāpi tatsantatādhyayanāya vacoviṣaya eva dvidhākṛtam||2||
Even though (api) the essential nature (sva-rūpam) of Them (tayoḥ) both (ubhayoḥ) (is) one compact mass (eka-ghanatvena) composed of (ātmaka) Absolute Freedom (svātantrya) (and) Bliss (ānanda), it is divided into two (dvidhā-kṛtam) —only (eva) in the sphere (viṣaye) of words (vacas)— for its close study (tad-santata-adhyayanāya)||2||
Succinct exposition: The Self is Absolute Freedom and His Power is Bliss. Both form a compact mass (i.e. omnipresent). In other words, the Highest Reality is always "One without a second", but, in the world of words It is divided into two for studying It in detail. When this division occurs, the act of coming to recognize or realize the Highest Reality is made easier. So, the very Highest Reality generates this division in the sphere of words as a help for the spiritual aspirants to realize It faster.
आत्मा प्रकाशात्मकशुद्धबोधोऽपि सोऽहमिति वचोविषये स्मृतः॥३॥
Ātmā prakāśātmakaśuddhabodho'pi so'hamiti vacoviṣaye smṛtaḥ||3||
Although (api) the Self (ātmā) (is) pure (śuddha) Consciousness (bodhaḥ) consisting of (ātmaka) Prakāśa or Light (prakāśa), He (saḥ) is called (smṛtaḥ) "I" (aham iti) in the sphere (viṣaye) of words (vacas)||3||
Succinct exposition: The Self is pure Consciousness, viz. the Supreme Subject who is never an object. Therefore, He cannot be perceived in the form of "this" or "that". He cannot even be delineated in thought by any means. Anyway, in the world of words, He is called "I" or also "real I" for the sake of showing that He is higher than the false "I" or ego.
या प्रथमस्पन्दात्मिकास्य शक्तिः साहंविमर्श एव॥४॥
Yā prathamaspandātmikāsya śaktiḥ sāhaṁvimarśa eva||4||
His (asya) Power (śaktiḥ sā), which (yā) constitutes (ātmikā) the first (prathama) Vibration (spanda), (is) I-consciousness (aham-vimarśaḥ) indeed (eva)||4||
Succinct exposition: In the immutable nature of the Self, there is suddenly a slight stress in the form of a subtle vibration. This is His Power appearing as I-consciousness, i.e. as This who makes the "I" (the Self) conscious of His own existence. Both the Self and His Power form then: "I Am". Without His Power, the Self cannot know about His own existence, not to mention the existence of the universe. This is one of the reasons why I will say that the Self is in solitude in a next aphorism. For more information, read Śiva and Śakti in Trika 2.
तस्मादहंविमर्शरूपात्प्रथमस्पन्दात्परमस्य शक्तिस्त्रिविधा भवति॥५॥
Tasmādahaṁvimarśarūpātprathamaspandātparamasya śaktistrividhā bhavati||5||
After that (tasmāt... param) first (prathama) Vibration (spandāt) in the form (rūpāt) of I-consciousness (aham-vimarśa), His (asya) Power (śaktiḥ) becomes (bhavati) threefold (trividhā)||5||
Succinct exposition: His Power, after making Him conscious of His own existence, breaks off into three powers: Power of Will, Power of Knowledge and Power of Action. For more information, read Trika 3.
त्रिविधा भूत्वा सा विश्वमुत्पादयति॥६॥
Trividhā bhūtvā sā viśvamutpādayati||6||
After having become (bhūtvā) threefold (trividhā), It --His Power-- (sā) manifests (utpādayati) the universe (viśvam)||6||
Succinct exposition: Through these three Powers of Will, Knowledge and Action, the Power of the Self is able to manifest the entire universe, step by step. For more information, read Trika 4, Trika 5 and Trika 6.
विश्वमिदमस्य शक्त्या जन्यते न तु प्रत्यक्षमात्मनैव॥७॥
Viśvamidamasya śaktyā janyate na tu pratyakṣamātmanaiva||7||
This (idam) universe (viśvam) is generated (janyate) by His Power (asya śaktyā) and not (na tu) by the Self (ātmanā) Himself (eva) directly (pratyakṣam)||7||
Succinct exposition: It is His Power (the slight stress on the Body of the immutable Self) who produces the universe and not Himself. This is very important. If one could ask the Self about the existence of the universe and such, He would answer: "What universe are you talking about?". He is always alone and without a second. He comes to be conscious of His own existence and the existence of the universe through His Power and not otherwise. Still, He is ever in the same State. He never moves even a millimeter. This is why He is is known as the Core of all.
सा शक्तिरहंविमर्शभावेन तत्स्फारात्मकविश्वरूपेण वा तिष्ठति॥८॥
Sā śaktirahaṁvimarśabhāvena tatsphārātmakaviśvarūpeṇa vā tiṣṭhati||8||
The Power (of the Self) (sā śaktiḥ) remains (tiṣṭhati) as (bhāvena) I-consciousness (aham-vimarśa) or (vā) in the form of (rūpeṇa) the universe (viśva) that is (ātmaka) an expansion (sphāra) of that --of I-consciousness-- (tad)||8||
Succinct exposition: The Power of the Self, the slight stress on the immutable cosmic Body of the Self, appears in two ways: as "I Am" (I-consciousness pervading everything, e.g. "I am Gabriel", "I am John", "I am Michel", etc.) or as the universe formed from minds, bodies, external objects, etc. The universe is only a expansion of "I Am" in the same way that "I am Gabriel" is an expansion of "I Am" in myself.
आत्मा सदा विविक्तं तिष्ठति॥९॥
Ātmā sadā viviktaṁ tiṣṭhati||9||
The Self (ātmā) stays (tiṣṭhati) always (sadā) in solitude (viviktam)||9||
Succinct exposition: The Self has nothing to do with what His Power does. His State is never disturbed by all that either. He remains in absolute solitude, i.e. He is the One without a second, the impartial Witness in the middle of all these thoughts, objects, people and so on. He never changes, he never perishes, he is never lost or gained, etc. He remains always as what He essentially is. The rest of processes: thoughts, objects, people, changes, birth, death, bondage, Liberation, etc. are only the result of the Play of His own Power and not "really" His own doing. Yes, there is no way to describe all this without looking like contradictory. This is so because the words are always in the field of limitation.
परमार्थो स्वातन्त्र्यानन्दस्वभावघनो नाभावत्वं सम्पूर्णशून्यता कदाचिदस्ति॥१०॥
Paramārtho svācchandyānandasvabhāvaghano nābhāvatvaṁ sampūrṇaśūnyatā kadācidasti||10||
The Highest Reality (parama-arthaḥ), which is a compact mass (ghanaḥ) whose nature (sva-bhāva) (consists of) Freedom (svācchandya) (and) Bliss (ānanda) is (asti) never (na... kadācid) nonexistence (abhāvatvam), i.e. absolute (sampūrṇa) void (śūnyatā)||10||
Succinct exposition: Both the Self and His Power are always existent and never nonexistent. If the Highest Reality were absolute void, nobody would have perceived It in the first place, and consequently nobody would realize that It is the Highest Reality. As there is always "Someone" who constantly realizes the presence of the Highest Reality (i.e. the Highest Reality Itself appearing as "I Am"), there is never nonexistence, viz. absolute void. This subject is extremely subtle.
नास्य परमार्थस्याभावो जातुचित्साधितुं शक्यते॥११॥
Nāsya paramārthasyābhāvo jātucitsādhituṁ śakyate||11||
Nonexistence (abhāvaḥ) of this (asya) Highest Reality (parama-arthasya) can never (na... jātucid... śakyate) be proven (sādhitum)||11||
Succinct exposition: Nonexistence of the Self and His Power can never be proven because the one proving it "must first exist". If the denier of Its existence does not exist, then how could he even attempt to deny It? And if the denier exists, then there is existence and not absolute void. For this reason, atheism appearing in the form of deniers of the Highest Reality, only reaffirms Its existence. While there is a certain argument for the existence of an atheist in the form of someone who does not believe in a "personal God endowed with human characteristics and the like" or else who does not believe in an "impersonal God", there is never a argument for the appearance of an atheist who conceives the Highest Reality as absolute void. If the Highest Reality were absolute void (absolute nothingness), the very atheist would not exist in the first place. Though such a person insists on calling himself "atheist" out of sheer stubbornness, he is just proving the existence of the Highest Reality by his affirmations. In short, nonexistence or absolute void is never occurring and consequently it can never be proven. This subject has been elucidated extensively by the sage Kṣemarāja while commenting in his Spandanirṇaya on the aphorisms 12-13 of Spandakārikā-s.
परमार्थः परमं पदं कृत्स्नस्य विश्वस्य भित्तिभूतस्तदभावस्य तथा॥१२॥
Paramārthaḥ paramaṁ padaṁ kṛtsnasya viśvasya bhittibhūtastadabhāvasya tathā||12||
The Highest Reality (parama-arthaḥ), the Supreme (paramam) State (padam), acts as the background or substratum (bhitti-bhūtaḥ) of all the universe (kṛtsnasya viśvasya) and also (tathā) of its absence --of the absence of universe-- (tad-abhāvasya)||12||
Succinct exposition: The Self and His Power in the form of "I-consciousness" (I Am) are the constant support of all that exists. One could think of Them both as the earth and mother nature. While the earth provides the ground for Life, mother nature displays it. In the same way, the Self is always in the same State of Absolute Freedom. On Him, the Power of the Self displays the Play known as the universe or the absence of universe. When the universe is manifested, the Highest Reality is the substratum, and when the universe is dissolved, the Highest Reality continues being the substratum of that dissolution. Next, when the universe is manifested again, the Highest Reality is here again, as the foundations of all that is manifest. This cycle of universe appearing and disappearing goes on and on till one perceives the Truth, i.e. until one attains Liberation.
यत्त्वेकरसं सर्वेषां भूतानामेतत् परमं पदम्॥१३॥
Yattvekarasaṁ sarveṣāṁ bhūtānāmetat paramaṁ padam||13||
The Supreme (paramam) State (padam) (is) This (etad) which (yad) certainly (tu) has one taste (eka-rasam) in all the beings (sarveṣām bhūtānām)||13||
Succinct exposition: The Supreme State, the Highest Reality, is always experienced as the same "I Am" by all the beings. It never changes even a little bit. That is why the aphorism states that the Supreme State has one taste always.
एषा परमा दशा सर्वदारोध्या॥१४॥
Eṣā paramā daśā sarvadārodhyā||14||
This (eṣā) Supreme (paramā) State (daśā) (is) always (sarvadā) unobstructed (arodhyā)||14||
Succinct exposition: As It is a compact mass of Freedom and Bliss, It occupies all. For example, during the various states of wakefulness, dream and deep sleep, the Self remains as the Witness to those three states. He is a compact mass pervading them all. If He was not a compact mass, one would not detect the transition from one state to the next (e.g. from wakefulness to sleep). Besides, there would be problems to explain the processes of memory, because with every change of state, one would forget all that was experienced in a previous state. As this is not so, i.e. one detects the transitions from one state to the next, and the memory is safely kept, all this indicates the presence of "Something or Someone" that does not change through the states and that is omnipresent. As the Highest Reality is so, It is never obstructed by anything, because "all that occurs" is always happening "in the states" and never "in Itself".
If the Highest Reality could be obstructed by something, there would be an interruption in the existence of the universe. As nobody has ever experienced total nonexistence (since there is always someone existing even in the middle of void), it is proven that the Highest Reality is never obstructed by anything at all. There is never total annihilation of the Highest Reality because there is always someone looking how the rest of beings die, etc. In the end, This One who always survives and exists even after the greatest universal annihilation is always the Highest Reality. If a total annihilation had ever existed, nobody would exist now. Also, nobody could remember it. Since all the annihilations are always recollected, there had to be "someone" surviving always. This One, as I said previously, is the Highest Reality. Thus, the absence of total death, total nonexistence, total unconsciousness, total "everything" is fully proved by the same process of detecting the presence of "someone" constantly perceiving death, void, unconsciousness, etc. Yes, one can insist on all that (i.e. total nonexistence, total death, etc.) as being a "solid reality", but it is just mere "solid" stubbornness and never something to be proven by "solid" arguments. One's own existence proves the existence, consciousness, eternity, etc. of the Highest Reality. Hence It is always "unobstructed".
परमार्थो घन इत्युच्यते स्वसर्वव्यापकत्वात्॥१५॥
Paramārtho ghana ityucyate svasarvavyāpakatvāt||15||
The Highest Reality (parama-arthaḥ) is said to be (ucyate) "a compact mass" (ghanaḥ) due to Its omnipresence (sva-sarvavyāpakatvāt)||15||
Succinct exposition: It penetrates all the states of consciousness as their immutable Witness: waking, dream and deep sleep. The expression "svasarvavyāpakatvāt" may also be translated as "due to Its all-pervasiveness", that is, "because It pervades everything". If the Highest Reality were not immutable and a compact mass, one could not detect changes and transitions through the states of consciousness. What is changing constantly is just a manifestation of the Power of the Self and never the Highest Reality as It essentially is.
न परमार्थात्पृथक् किञ्चिदप्यस्ति॥१६॥
Na paramārthātpṛthak kiñcidapyasti||16||
There is nothing at all (na... kiñcid api asti) apart from (pṛthak) the Highest Reality (paramārthāt)||16||
Succinct exposition: As all that exists is an expansion of the Power of the Self, there is never nothing that is not the Highest Reality. If something exists, that is the manifestation of His Power. And as the Power of the Self is always in oneness with the Self, in the end, all that exists shines constantly with the Light of the Highest Reality.
(Explanation of the spiritual ignorance)
आत्मा स्वतन्त्रो विश्वस्य सत्तां नैव जानाति॥१॥
Ātmā svatantro viśvasya sattāṁ naiva jānāti||1||
The Self (ātmā), the Free One (svatantraḥ), does not (na eva) know (jānāti) about the existence (sattām) of a universe (viśvasya)||1||
Succinct exposition: As the Self is always one with His Power, all that this Power manifests is always seen as full of the Divine. There is no universe existing separately from His Power and therefore from Himself. He also ignores the existence of a universe during the state when the Self is experienced without His Power emerging as the universe, i.e. as pure Consciousness only conscious of His own existence in the form of "I Am". Let alone when the Self inconceivably dwells completely absorbed in Himself, not even conscious of His own existence as "I Am". For all those reasons, He never knows about the existence of a universe. The universe is just the Play of His Power.
विश्वमस्य शक्तेः स्फारमात्रम्॥२॥
Viśvamasya śakteḥ sphāramātram||2||
The universe (viśvam) (is) only (mātram) the expansion (sphāra) of His Power (asya śakteḥ)||2||
Succinct exposition: The universe is the expansion of His Power and not something else. An ordinary mind cannot understand this truth because this mind is a manifestation of His Power too. When the Power of the Self communes with Him, the universe disappears. Therefore, the universe (this changing manifestation) is never the Highest Reality as It essentially is, because it appears and disappears. The universe is only the expansion of His Power.
Non-perception (anupalabdhiḥ) of that (tad) truth (satya) (is) spiritual ignorance (ajñānam) indeed (eva)||3||
Succinct exposition: When one loses sight of that truth, i.e. when one loses sight of the Free One and consequently start to believe that the universe is not the expansion of His Power but "something else", that state is known as spiritual ignorance in the sense of Āṇavamala such as the next aphorism will state.
Spiritual ignorance (ajñānam) (is) Āṇavamala (āṇava-malam) in this context (iha)||4||
Succinct exposition: Āṇavamala is a contraction of the Power of Will (one of the three forms His Power assumes in manifesting the universe). This spiritual ignorance is also known as the primordial impurity. It makes the Self feel that He is not the Self but "a limited individual". This is deliberate, viz. the Self willingly assumes that conditioned state manifested by His own Power. When the Self, of His own Free Will, loses sight of His own Perfection (Fullness) and the eternal truth that this universe is always an expansion of His Power, that marks His entrance into spiritual ignorance, which results in identification with the upcoming causal, subtle and physical bodies. Read Trika 4 for more information.
अज्ञानादेव सर्वा अन्याः परिमितता उत्थिताः॥५॥
Ajñānādeva sarvā anyāḥ parimitatā utthitāḥ||5||
All (sarvāḥ) the other (anyāḥ) limitations (parimitatāḥ) arise (utthitāḥ) from spiritual ignorance (ajñānāt eva)||5||
Succinct exposition: From Āṇavamala itself, the rest of limitations (the other two mala-s or impurities, along with Māyā and her Kañcuka-s) just comes up. Again, read Trika 4 for additional elucidation.
अणुरात्मा खल्वज्ञानेन तु बद्धः॥६॥
Aṇurātmā khalvajñānena tu baddhaḥ||6||
A limited being (aṇuḥ) (is) certainly (khalu) the Self (ātmā), but (tu) bound (baddhaḥ) by spiritual ignorance (ajñānena)||6||
Succinct exposition: There is no difference between a limited being and the Self really, but in the Play exhibited by His own Power, the only difference would be the presence of spiritual ignorance. When the Self again willingly decides to get rid of spiritual ignorance, that is known as Liberation or spiritual enlightenment. I will speak about this by another aphorism later. Still, the Self remains always the same, i.e. as the Core of all. If the Self were to change even a little bit, then He would not be the Highest Reality but another manifestation of His Power.
अयं बन्धोऽस्य शक्तेः क्रीडा केवलम्॥७॥
Ayaṁ bandho'sya śakteḥ krīḍā kevalam||7||
This (ayam) bondage (bandhaḥ) (is) only (kevalam) a Play (krīḍā) of His Power (asya śakteḥ)||7||
Succinct exposition: The resulting bondage due to the presence of spiritual ignorance is only a Pastime of His Power. This cannot be understood by the ordinary mind, since, as I told a while ago, this mind is just a product of the Power of the Self. Anyway, the truth that the apparent bondage of the Self is just a Play carried out by His Power can be realized by the Self through His own Grace.
अणवोऽज्ञानमूलका अस्या दिव्यायाः क्रीडायाः फलम्॥८॥
Aṇavo'jñānamūlakā asyā divyāyāḥ krīḍāyāḥ phalam||8||
The limited beings (aṇavaḥ), rooted in (mūlakāḥ) spiritual ignorance (ajñāna), (are) the result (phalam) of this divine Play (asyāḥ divyāyāḥ krīḍāyāḥ)||8||
Succinct exposition: All the limited beings, based on spiritual ignorance, are the fruit of the divine Play of His Power. Every conditioned individual around is nothing but the Self willingly assuming limitation. When a limited being realizes that, he is said to be "liberated" or "enlightened", spiritually speaking. Such a liberated soul was always identical with the Self, but he did not realize that. When he realizes it, he realizes that he always realized it. This cannot be understood by an ordinary mind either, obviously, except from a theoretical viewpoint. Nevertheless, one can realize his identity with the Self through His Grace. When I say "identity" I mean "exactly that" and not "similarity". One is fully the Self, whether or not one realizes that. If one were not the Self already in full measure, one could not realize Him wholly ever. This subtle teaching is difficult to be understood but absolutely true.
अज्ञानं पश्चाद्बन्धश्चात्मनः स्वाच्छन्द्यं दर्शयतः॥९॥
Ajñānaṁ paścādbandhaścātmanaḥ svācchandyaṁ darśayataḥ||9||
Spiritual ignorance (ajñānam) and (ca) the subsequent (paścāt) bondage (bandhaḥ) exhibit (darśayataḥ) Absolute Freedom (svācchandyam) of the Self (ātmanaḥ)||9||
Succinct exposition: His assuming spiritual ignorance and experiencing the resulting bondage is an act that shows His Absolute Freedom. The Self is so Free that He can be a limited individual and then, in a trice, become unlimited again. There is no way to describe or think about Him accurately. He is totally inconceivable. In this sense, the presence of spiritual ignorance does not deny but reaffirms His State of Total Freedom and Independence.
(Explanation of the recognition of one's own Self)
आत्मन एषा परमा दशा यद्यपि सर्वेषु भूतेषु वर्तते तथापि नैव सर्वैस्तैः प्रत्यभिज्ञायते॥१॥
Ātmana eṣā paramā daśā yadyapi sarveṣu bhūteṣu vartate tathāpi naiva sarvaistaiḥ pratyabhijñāyate||1||
Although (yadi api) this (eṣā) Supreme (paramā) State (daśā) of the Self (ātmanaḥ) exists (vartate) in all the beings (sarveṣu bhūteṣu), nonetheless (tathā api) It is not (na eva) recognized (pratyabhijñāyate) by them all (sarvaiḥ taiḥ)||1||
Succinct exposition: Though all the beings are always the very Self, yet not all of them recognize that truth. This is why search for freedom from bondage does make sense.
सर्वमिदं स्वस्वातन्त्र्यमपि दर्शयति॥२॥
Sarvamidaṁ svasvātantryamapi darśayati||2||
All (sarvam) this (idam) shows (darśayati) His (sva) Absolute Freedom (svātantryam) as well (api)||2||
Succinct exposition: Except the Self, who could be so Free as to remain bound in some beings while free in others? On that account, this condition of exhibiting freedom in some beings and bondage in others is nothing but another reaffirmation of His inherent Absolute Freedom.
यस्मादात्मा स्वेच्छयैवाज्ञानेनाणवमलेन बद्धस्तस्मात्स्वाच्छन्द्येनाप्यज्ञानेन मुक्तः॥३॥
Yasmādātmā svecchayaivājñānenāṇavamalena baddhastasmātsvācchandyenāpyajñānena muktaḥ||3||
Since (yasmāt) the Self (ātmā) becomes bound (baddhaḥ) by spiritual ignorance (ajñānena) —by Āṇavamala (āṇava-malena)— of His own Free Will (sva-icchayā eva), therefore (tasmāt) He becomes freed (muktaḥ) from spiritual ignorance (ajñānena) by His own Will (svācchandyena) too (api)||3||
Succinct exposition: A limited individual cannot get rid of spiritual ignorance by himself, because his supposed individuality and limitation are an invention of His Power. That which is an invention cannot attain Highest Reality ever. In this sense, one's ego can never become freed from all limitations by himself, since he is a manifestation, an invention, of His Power. Only the Self can set Himself free from spiritual ignorance, because He is "Real" (not an invention) and besides it was Him who willingly fell a victim to Āṇavamala in the first place. Oh Self, now bound and in the next moment liberated, I bow to You!
तस्य हेतोरणोः प्रयत्नोऽज्ञानं नाशयितुं न शक्नोति॥४॥
Tasya hetoraṇoḥ prayatno'jñānaṁ nāśayituṁ na śaknoti||4||
For that reason (tasya hetoḥ), the effort (prayatnaḥ) of a limited individual (aṇoḥ) cannot (na śaknoti) remove (nāśayitum) spiritual ignorance (ajñānam)||4||
Succinct exposition: The limited individual in the form of an ego can, by effort, remove all limitations but Āṇavamala (spiritual ignorance). Removal of Āṇavamala is only performed by the Real Self who firstly assumed that heavy limitation of His own Free Will. In the case of conditioned individuals who have overcome all limitations except Āṇavamala, "what will they do next then?". Just stay on the alert for His Revelation. I teach this by a aphorism later on.
अनुपाय आत्मानुग्रहमात्रेण तात्कालिकं स्वस्वरूपप्रकाशनम्॥५॥
Anupāya ātmānugrahamātreṇa tātkālikaṁ svasvarūpaprakāśanam||5||
In Anupāya (anupāye) (there is) immediate (tātkālikam) revelation (prakāśanam) of one's own (sva) essential nature (sva-rūpa) by means of the Self's Grace only (ātma-anugraha-mātreṇa)||5||
Succinct exposition: His Grace, automatically triggered by the words of a genuine spiritual teacher, descends immediately upon an extremely deserving spiritual aspirant. This is the upāya (means or method) where there is very little effort on the part of the aspirant. It is not a real means or method but the almost instantaneous spiritual enlightenment of a very advanced disciple.
अनुभवपुण्यराशीकरणार्थमन्ये त्रय उपायाः॥६॥
Anubhavapuṇyarāśīkaraṇārthamanye traya upāyāḥ||6||
The other (anye) three (trayas) means or methods (upāyāḥ) (are) for the sake of (artham) accumulating (rāśīkaraṇa) merit (puṇya) (and) experience (anubhava)||6||
Succinct exposition: These methods are: Śāmbhavopāya, Śāktopāya and Āṇavopāya. Through them a spiritual aspirant accumulates merit and experience enough as to receive the Grace of the Self Himself. The Self is always pleased with Himself, but that does not mean that He is pleased with an spiritual aspirant. Someone could say: "But the aspirant is also the Self". Yes, but He is so inconceivably Free that He can be pleased and not pleased at the same time with Himself. Since His behavior is always beyond all mental processes, never attempt to understand it by the mind. To fully understand Him one needs His Grace and the resulting Self-realization.
शाम्भवोपाय इच्छोपाय आत्मन उद्यम उन्मज्जनेऽवहितता॥७॥
Śāmbhavopāya icchopāya ātmana udyama unmajjane'vahitatā||7||
In Śāmbhavopāya (śāmbhava-upāye) —the means or method (upāye) in which (the Power of) Will (is used) (icchā)— (there is) vigilance (avahitatā) for the udyama (udyame) (or) emergence (unmajjane) of the Self (ātmanaḥ)||7||
Succinct exposition: This upāya (means or method) is for advanced aspirants whose only task is to stay on the alert for His revelation. They remain vigilant all the time, with their minds arrested completely. When the time comes, He emerges all of a sudden. No limited individual can know when He will arise that way, because Absolute Freedom is of His only. This explanation might look like dualistic but it is not really. I just cannot explain it exactly by words because these are a manifestation of His Power. Therefore, words will always fall short to describe the unfathomable Self.
In Śāktopāya (śākta-upāye) —the means or method (upāye) in which (the Power of) Knowledge (is used) (jñāna)— (there is) attention (avadhānam) on I-consciousness (aham-vimarśe)||8||
Succinct exposition: This means or method is also too advanced in the case of the vast majority of spiritual aspirants. One's attention is on I-consciousness, i.e. on His Power. Hence the name "Śāktopāya" or "the means pertaining to Śakti (His Power)". Mantra-s are repeated here but not for long like in the next means I will describe soon. The mantra is repeated once or for a very short period of time. The important thing here is to use the Mantra in order to detect I-consciousness in oneself. As I-consciousness (His Power) is the source of all Mantra-s, the aspirant becomes aware of I-consciousness through a Mantra. Very simple to explain, very difficult to practice to most aspirants.
आणवोपाये क्रियोपाये कस्मिंश्चिदन्यस्मिन्नप्यवधानं दत्तम्॥९॥
Āṇavopāye kriyopāye kasmiṁścidanyasminnapyavadhānaṁ dattam||9||
In Āṇavopāya (āṇava-upāye) —the means or method (upāye) in which (the Power of) Action (is used) (kriyā)— the attention (avadhānam) is applied (dattam) to something else (kasmiṁścid anyasmin api)||9||
Succinct exposition: This means or method is always the most crowded. Beginners in spirituality and even middle aspirants will be around here for a long time. The attention is not applied on His revelation or on I-consciousness but on something else (intellect, vital energy, body or objects). Mantra-s are repeated too, like in Śāktopāya, but for long periods of time and in a more mechanical way. In the end, one means or method leads to the other, viz. Āṇavopāya leads to Śāktopāya, and Śāktopāya leads to Śāmbhavopāya. Finally, Śāmbhavopāya leads to Liberation. The transition from one means to the other is generally gradual and takes many years in the majority of the cases.
मोक्षो नान्यः स्वस्वभावप्रत्यभिज्ञायाः॥१०॥
Mokṣo nānyaḥ svasvabhāvapratyabhijñāyāḥ||10||
Liberation (mokṣaḥ) is nothing but (na anyaḥ) a recognition (pratyabhijñāyāḥ) of one's (sva) essential nature (sva-bhāva)||10||
Succinct exposition: Liberation, also known as "removal of spiritual ignorance", is nothing more than a recognition or realization of the Self, who is the essential nature in everybody. Once one recognizes or realizes the Self, the goal of life is attained. The words recognition or realization are used instead of knowledge, because knowledge is usually applied to objects, not to the Supreme Subject. While one can "know" objects and define what they are, one cannot know and define the Self because He is the Highest Subject and consequently beyond knowledge. Sometimes, the expression "knowledge of the Self" is used in uppercase like this: "Knowledge of the Self", in order to point out that that Knowledge is not ordinary knowledge but a special one. To remove all possible confusions, the words recognition or realization are preferred.
आत्मनि प्रसन्ने मोक्षो भवति॥११॥
Ātmani prasanne mokṣo bhavati||11||
When the Self is pleased (ātmani prasanne), Liberation (mokṣaḥ) takes place (bhavati)||11||
Succinct exposition: He is not like a person who is glad with someone and the like. Anyway, it is a way of describing the process of descent of His Grace upon a spiritual aspirant who be deserving enough. Liberation will not take place by efforts then. The efforts end when they bump into Āṇavamala (spiritual ignorance). This is only removed by His Grace and not by efforts, however hard one may try. Hence, Śāmbhavopāya is related to vigilance for His revelation and not to concentrations on I-consciousness, intellect, vital energy, etc.
When Śāmbhavopāya, Śāktopāya and Āṇavopāya are practiced (śāmbhava-śākta-āṇava-upāyeṣu abhyasteṣu), the Powers (śaktayaḥ) of Will (icchā), Knowledge (jñāna) (and) Action (kriyā) (are) active (utthitāḥ)||12||
Succinct exposition: The Power of Will is active in Śāmbhavopāya because one remains at will in a state of vigilance with his mind totally arrested. The Power of Knowledge is active in Śāktopāya because one is inquiring into the root of all that has been manifested, i.e. into I-consciousness. The Power of Action is active in Āṇavopāya because one will have to perform many things by using objects, intellect, body and vital energy.
मोक्षात्पूर्वं च तास्तिस्रः शक्तय आनन्दशक्तितां यान्ति॥१३॥
Mokṣātpūrvaṁ ca tāstisraḥ śaktaya ānandaśaktitāṁ yānti||13||
Before (pūrvam ca) Liberation (mokṣāt) those (tāḥ) three (tisraḥ) Powers (śaktayaḥ) turn into Power of Bliss (ānanda-śaktitāṁ yānti)||13||
Succinct exposition: When His Grace is about to descend upon a praiseworthy aspirant, all those Powers of Will, Knowledge and Action become the Power of Bliss only. In other words, the aspirant experiences I-consciousness (His Power) fully in the form of massive Joy. It is all the existent Bliss deposited on one place: the aspirant. The magnitude of this experience is beyond description.
यावत्परमानन्दोन्मज्जनं चमत्कारप्रकर्षाद्विस्मयमुद्रा वर्तते॥१४॥
Yāvatparamānandonmajjanaṁ camatkāraprakarṣādvismayamudrā vartate||14||
During (yāvat) the emergence (unmajjanam) of Supreme (parama) Bliss (ānanda) there is (vartate) Vismayamudrā --mudrā of amazement-- (vismaya-mudrā) due to the intensity (prakarṣāt) of the Joy of pure I-consciousness (camatkāra)||14||
Succinct exposition: Bliss is so massive, like high-voltage, that the aspirant is forced to open his mouth wide. Sometimes, his tongue just lolls out too. This is the mudrā of amazement, because it looks like a gesture of great surprise: a big "Oh!". The surprise lies in the extraordinary dimension of the Joy being experienced. If an aspirant devoid of merit and experience enough could experience this Supreme Bliss, he would enter into a state of void so his system will not be damaged in the process. Only a very advanced and experienced disciple endowed with exceptional merit will be able to remain stable while the Power of the Self is fully revealed to him. If one cannot remain stable, i.e. conscious, but one rather enters into a state of void, he is not ready yet. In order for enjoying that Supreme Bliss, the aspirant must remain conscious while it occurs. This stability is only possible once one accumulated enough experience and merit, and not before.
इहास्याचिन्त्यशक्तेरहंविमर्शस्य सारं ज्ञायते॥१५॥
Ihāsyācintyaśakterahaṁvimarśasya sāraṁ jñāyate||15||
Here (iha), the essence (sāram) of His inconceivable Power (asya acintya-śakteḥ) —I-consciousness (aham-vimarśasya)— is known (jñāyate)||15||
Succinct exposition: By "is known" I meant "is experienced, realized". When the aspirant is flooded with Supreme Joy and he can enjoy It without entering a state of void, he realizes what His inconceivable Power is really. This is the second most awesome experience a living being can have. I explain this statement by the next aphorism.
परमानन्दस्य चोन्मज्जनमहन्तारसशालि न चास्ति मोक्षः स्वस्वातन्त्र्यशक्त्यभावात्॥१६॥
Paramānandasya conmajjanamahantārasaśāli na cāsti mokṣaḥ svasvātantryaśaktyabhāvāt||16||
Though (ca) the emergence (unmajjanam) of Supreme Bliss (parama-ānandasya) (is) full (śāli) of the sap (rasa) of I-consciousness (ahantā), yet it is not (na ca asti) Liberation (mokṣaḥ) because of the absence (abhāvāt) of His (sva) Power (śakti) of Absolute Freedom (svātantrya)||16||
Succinct exposition: When His Power of Absolute Freedom appears, Bliss as experienced previously is gone and replaced with Peace beyond human understanding. It is like having a huge burden removed from one's back. This huge burden is spiritual ignorance keeping oneself in the sphere of limitation. This is Liberation. This is the goal of life. This is the most awesome experience a living being can have. This is the Supreme State.
अस्मिन् पदे सहसैव शिखाग्रे सहस्रार उन्मनाभूमिरनुभूता॥१७॥
Asmin pade sahasaiva śikhāgre sahasrāra unmanābhūmiranubhūtā||17||
In this state (asmin pade), the Unmanā (unmanā) stage (bhūmiḥ) is suddenly experienced (sahasā eva... anubhūtā) in the tip (agre) of śikhā --lit. tuft on the head-- (śikhā) in Sahasrāra (sahasrāre)||17||
Succinct exposition: The Unmanā stage is located in the tip of śikhā in Sahasrāra, though in reality it is beyond space and time. This subject is explained in full detail in Meditation 6. Summing it up, the experience is like that of a "feather" on the head. After feeling that "feather" right there, in Sahasrāra, the Self appears as He essentially is. This cannot be described in any way, because the experience is not within the sphere of space, time, words, world, individuality and so on. Still, I composed a few more aphorisms as a description of the final experience in the spiritual path, after thousands of births.
उन्मनायामुदितायां चित्तं संह्रियते॥१८॥
Unmanāyāmuditāyāṁ cittaṁ saṁhriyate||18||
When Unmanā appears (unmanāyām uditāyām), the mind (cittam) is withdrawn (saṁhriyate)||18||
Succinct exposition: After having the sensation of a "feather" on the head, the mind is withdrawn by His touch. While one can hear the voice of mind loudly in general, when the Self reveals Himself to an aspirant, the voice of the mind is heard like a far whisper nobody cares. This experience is absolutely impressive, because the invention called "individuality" is gone along with the mind.
इह स्वतन्त्रताभावेन स्वात्मप्रकाशनमस्ति॥१९॥
Iha svatantratābhāvena svātmaprakāśanamasti||19||
Here (iha), there is (asti) revelation (prakāśanam) of one's own (sva) Self (ātma) as (bhāvena) Absolute Freedom (svatantratā)||19||
Succinct exposition: When all that takes place, one feels His Freedom fully. One realizes that individuality and the respective universe associated with that is just an invention, a manifestation of His Power. This realization is only possible in the case of an extraordinary aspirant who did all he had to do before. If this realization came before one is ready, he would enter a state of void, except the Self decides to grant Liberation to a undeserving aspirant. As He is totally Free, He is not bound to any rule, but in general He will only give His Grace to deserving aspirants, for obvious reasons.
तदात्मा ह्यात्मानं प्रत्यभिजानात्येव॥२०॥
Tadātmā hyātmānaṁ pratyabhijānātyeva||20||
Then (tadā) the Self (ātmā) recognizes (pratyabhijānāti) the Self (ātmānam) undoubtedly (hi... eva)||20||
Succinct exposition: In the end, it is always the Self Himself who reveals the Self to the Self. Although this explanation looks contradictory in the sphere of words, it is completely true. Only the Absolutely Free Self can set the Self Free. Nobody else can, viz. no limited individual can because all of the limited individuals are inventions of His Power and not the Highest Reality as It essentially is. This is the best way in which I can describe the process by words.
Liberation (mokṣaḥ) is characterized (lakṣaṇaḥ) by complete (samyak) absence (abhāva) of attachment (āsakti)||21||
Succinct exposition: When the Self is blessed with His own Absolute Freedom, he accordingly experiences complete detachment. He can live on this planet or in the most remote galaxy of the universe. It is the same thing to him. A liberated person can keep an equable state effortlessly at all times and in all circumstances. He can make the decision of looking like a usual person too. As the liberated one is totally Free like the Self, he can do anything. His remaining in the Self is the Highest Achievement. This is what the next aphorism will describe.
एतत्परमं पदमुच्यते यतोऽस्मात्परतरं नान्यत्किञ्चिदस्ति॥२२॥
Etatparamaṁ padamucyate yato'smātparataraṁ nānyatkiñcidasti||22||
This (etad) is said to be (ucyate) the Supreme (paramam) State (padam) because (yatas) there is nothing whatsoever (na anyat kiñcid asti) superior (parataram) to It (asmāt)||22||
Succinct exposition: It is the Supreme State because there is no other experience higher than This. When one have such a realization or recognition of the Self, one immediately understands that there is nothing whatsoever superior to This. When one does not have such a realization or recognition of the Self, one just cannot understand it. It is that simple!
आत्मैवाज्ञानेन स्वशक्तिविजृम्भितेन बद्धः स्वानुग्रहेण वा मुक्तः स स्वातन्त्र्यभरितः सर्वदा॥२३॥
Ātmaivājñānena svaśaktivijṛmbhitena baddhaḥ svānugraheṇa vā muktaḥ sa svātantryabharitaḥ sarvadā||23||
Whether the Self (ātmā eva) is bound (baddhaḥ) by spiritual ignorance (ajñānena) —which is a manifestation (vijṛmbhitena) of His own (sva) Power (śakti)— or (vā) liberated (muktaḥ) by His own Grace (sva-anugraheṇa), He (saḥ) (is) full of (bharitaḥ) Absolute Freedom (svātantrya) at all times (sarvadā)||23||
Succinct exposition: The Self abides in His own Free State at all times, whether He is bound by spiritual ignorance or liberated by His own Grace. Both bondage and Liberation only reaffirm His Absolute Independence and Freedom. There is no doubt about it. In order to fully understand these teachings, the Self needs to realize the Self directly.
कृतिः श्रीमुक्तानन्दपरमहंसोपजीविनः परमशिवदत्तोपदेशस्य गब्रिएल्प्रदीपकनाम्नो योगिनः। श्रीमदभिनवगुप्तस्य महाशिष्याय श्रीक्षेमराजाय नमोऽस्तु। इति शिवम्॥
Kṛtiḥ śrīmuktānandaparamahaṁsopajīvinaḥ paramaśivadattopadeśasya gabrielpradīpakanāmno yoginaḥ| Śrīmadabhinavaguptasya mahāśiṣyāya śrīkṣemarājāya namo'stu| Iti śivam||
(This is) the work (kṛtiḥ) of the yogī (yoginaḥ) by the name of (nāmnaḥ) Gabriel Pradīpaka (gabriel-pradīpaka), who is dependant (upajīvinaḥ) on venerable Muktānanda Paramahaṁsa (śrī-muktānanda-paramahaṁsa) (and) who has received the teachings (datta-upadeśasya) from the Supreme Śiva (parama-śiva)|
May there be (astu) a salutation (namas) to venerable Kṣemarāja (śrī-kṣemarājāya), the great disciple (mahā-śiṣyāya) of illustrious Abhinavagupta (śrīmat-abhinavaguptasya)!|
May there be welfare to all (iti śivam)!||
Succinct exposition: The name of the individual (Gabriel Pradīpaka) as being the author of this scripture is just a formality. That is why I wrote "who has received the teachings from the Supreme Śiva", i.e. "who has received the teachings from the Self Himself, the real author". I also pay my respects to my Guru (Muktānanda Paramahaṁsa), who kindled my Light with His Light. Finally, I wanted to mention my salutation to the great sage Kṣemarāja, because most of my current translations are translations of his own scriptures. I have learnt so many things from him during so many years. All this has been the revelation of the Self to the Self. May there be welfare to the Self appearing in the form of everybody then!
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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