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Svātantryasūtravṛtti (Svatantryasutravritti) First chapter (aphorisms 1 to 4 - pure) - Non-dual Shaivism of Rosario
Svātantryasūtravṛtti begins. Firstly, I write, in Sragdharā meter, a laudatory prayer in honor of the pure Self. Secondly, I start the scripture itself.
This is the first set of 4 aphorisms out of 16 aphorisms of which the first chapter (dealing with Paramārtha, the Highest Reality) consists. As you know, the entire work is composed of a full commentary on the 48 aphorisms of Svātantryasūtram. Of course, I will also insert the original aphorisms on which I will be commenting. Even though the commentary is detailed enough, there are a few notes to make a particular point clear when strictly necessary.
Read Svātantryasūtravṛtti and experience Supreme Delight, dear Self.
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. As it is very easy to get drown in the ocean of Sanskrit and Trika, hehe, all corrections (of any kind) are always welcome, of course.
The Self, forming a compact mass made of pure Light, is only Cicchakti --the Power of Consciousness--; and the Power of this Self, which is full of the nectarean sap of Consciousness, (is) Ānandaśakti --the Power of Bliss-- indeed. The transient universe is certainly hewn here, from the pure Light, by His own Power. Now, in my heart, I salute respectfully the Self and (His) Power, whose nature (is) Absolute Freedom (and) Joy.
As long as a person does not perceive his own bondage, so long he (is) assuredly, from a spiritual viewpoint, either a Jīvanmukta --someone who is liberated while living-- or another conditioned being who is merely bound. Most people are not able to perceive their own bondage, namely, they cannot see or understand at every step --on every occasion-- that they are victims to their own mental (and) bodily limitations. If those people could understand the magnitude of their bondage, then they would not be so carefree (and) heedless. Unfortunately, as a lot of people do not understand that truth, therefore transmigration --going from one thought to another, from one birth to another an so forth--, (also known as) bondage, which appears in the form of worldliness full of innumerable thoughts, events, etc., goes on and on. Nevertheless, some people understand their state of bondage. Those (are) doubtless called spiritual aspirants who search for liberation from bondage of spiritual ignorance.
In this world, some spiritual aspirants, bewildered by the multiple doctrines taught by a lot of spiritual teachers, fall prey to sorrow. Out of causeless Compassion of this Self, I composed Svātantryasūtram --The aphorisms on Absolute Freedom-- in order to reconnect those very spiritual aspirants with their own Self that is free from sorrow (and) replete with Independence (and) Cheerfulness. Now, out of His causeless Mercy too, I write this vṛtti or commentary for explaining the secret meanings of Svātantryasūtram. By the first aphorism, the Highest Reality is described succinctly—
These two, the Self and His Power —who (are) inconceivable—, constitute the Highest Reality||1||
These two, the Self and the Power of the Self, who (are) inconceivable —i.e. who are beyond of mind (and consequently) out of the sphere of thought— constitute the Highest Reality (or) Absolute. After having become even all the objects, these very two remain constantly immeasurable --they are never a measurable object-- and unascertained by one's own intellect --the intellect cannot determine or establish what these two really are--. In this way, Their essential nature is impossible to be depicted by a detailed description --i.e. an analysis-- that uses words, images, forms, etc., because all this manifestation --the universe-- has arisen from Them both. Just as a pot is unable to understand the nature of the potter, even so this mind is not able to understand the nature of its creator.
Here, in this aphorism, the Self (is) indicated as Prakāśa or Light only, viz. (as) pure Consciousness devoid of activity, like Brahma in the philosophical system (called) non-dualistic Vedānta1 . Obviously, Prakāśa is not at all mere visible light since It is not an object --since It is not something to be perceived--. For want of a better term, the word Prakāśa --Light, Effulgence-- is used for describing This that is the support of existence. Mere Prakāśa is without any activity; for this reason It cannot manifest the universe which is replete with actions.
The Power of the Self is I-consciousness, which gives Him --the Self-- activity. This I-consciousness --ahaṁvimarśa-- is also called "Vimarśa" plainly. If the Highest Reality were merely Prakāśa or Light, then, due to the absence of I-consciousness, the universe would not appear2 . Since the universe consists of all the objects --the ones to be experienced-- (such as) blue, body, etc., then the Self must become the experient of that (universe)3 . Having acquired I-consciousness through His own Power and having become an aggregate of Prakāśa and Vimarśa --Light and I-consciousness--, this Self can finally experience the universe. For this reason, the Highest Reality is never only Prakāśa or Light, but rather an aggregate of Prakāśa and Vimarśa --Light and I-consciousness-- really. That (very teaching) is mentioned in the beautiful Parāprāveśikā:
"Here, the essence or self (of) the Supreme Lord (is) certainly Prakāśa or Śiva; and Prakāśa (is) the essential nature (of) Vimarśa or Śakti. That is called Vimarśa (who, while acting) as the one who manifests, displays --i.e. maintains-- and dissolves the universe, flashes (as) 'the natural I-ness'|
If (the Supreme Consciousness) were to be without Vimarśa or Śakti, It would be consequently powerless and(, as a result,) inert|"
According to what is taught by venerable Kṣemarāja, the Power of the Self, during manifestation, maintenance and dissolution of the universe —(all of which) is performed by that (Power) Itself too—, continues existing as I-consciousness. In the Trika system, Śiva (is) defined as the Supreme Self who (is) the Highest Experient, and not as the well-known puranic Śiva, the god of the triad (consisting of) Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva, who (is) a great Yogī sitting on a tiger's skin and lives on the mountain Kailāsa. Those supposed spiritual teachers who are incapacitated by their own impurity, (who) are ignorant (and) illiterate, (who) are devoid of theoretical and practical knowledge --theory and direct experience--, (are) most certainly agents of spiritual ignorance whose form (is) never-ending delusion. For that reason, in order to remove the endless confusion brought about by unfathomable ignorance, I used, in Svātantryasūtra, the term "Ātmā" --the Self-- in the sense of "Śiva"4 .
In this way, being the substratum of all in the form of Prakāśa --Light-- and I-consciousness --Vimarśa--, the Self and (His) Power constitute most certainly the Highest Reality||1||
1 For more information about Prakāśa and Vimarśa according to Trika (non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir), read: Trika 1 and Trika 2. Non-dualistic Vedānta is one of three kinds of Vedānta. In turn, Vedānta, as a whole, is one of the six orthodox (based on the sacred Veda-s) philosophical systems in India: Read First Steps 1, First Steps 2 and First Steps 3 to pick up more relevant information.
2 The concept of an emerging universe associated with I-consciousness might seem extremely advanced and only intended for supernatural beings, but it is very easy. Just answer this: When did you live without your "I"? Never, because you feel your own existence all the time despite your intellect elaborates theories after theories about a supposed previous and/or future nonexistence. I am completely sure about that because I feel my "I" fully. In fact, there is no one feeling the "I" partially. Besides, this "I" must be here or the universe is just nonsensical, viz. the universe cannot exist without "I" here. Imagine a universe without "I" now: "... drive home" or "... love..." or "... have a dog", etc. The concept of "we", as an expanded "I", could not exist either. For example, imagine this: "... are humans", "let... make love and not war", "..., the founders of this republic", etc. The same is valid with reference to "you", "he" and so on. In fact, none of the previous phrases could even have been delineated without the presence of "I" right here and right now. Without I-ness, no universe is possible then because of the absence of a experient of that universe. If nobody were experiencing the universe, it could not appear in the first place. So, the connection between I-consciousness and the universe is natural. The idea of a universe completely devoid of "I-ness" is just happening on a mental level because nobody has experienced that ever. This is a mystery: So many people speaking about a universe existing without "I-ness" either in the past or in the future, but at the same time nobody has experienced that fully ever! If the reader is ready to understand the meaning behind my previous phrase, he can have a revelation of his own "I-consciousness". There is nothing difficult about it.
3 It is very common in scriptures dealing with Trika to define the universe like "blue, body, etc." in order to express that the universe consists of objects such as the blue color, the body, etc. The presence of these objects would be pointless if there was not someone experiencing them. This experient is the Self.
4 In Trika, the Self and His Power are called: Śiva and Śakti. Their technical names are Prakāśa and Vimarśa, respectively. There is a common belief that Śiva in the Trika system is the well-known puranic Śiva (the god who appears in the Purāṇa-s, the ancient narrations acting like a kind of commentary of the sacred Veda-s), who is a great ascetic, who lives on a certain holy mountain, etc. In turn, Śakti is often identified with the second wife (Pārvatī) of that god, etc., etc. All that nice puranic story has nothing to do with Śiva and Śakti as defined in Trika, because in this system they are inconceivable and not even possible to be delineated in thought. How could they be two people replete with attributes and stories then? At the most, it can be said that the concept of Śiva and Śakti in Trika is the result of a very long (many many centuries) evolution of the primitive puranic concept about them both. In fact, Trika's basic literature has nothing to do with Veda-s, Purāṇa-s and so forth, but it is strictly tantric.
All those people who do not have knowledge and experience enough about philosophy and spirituality, who are incapacitated due to their own impurity, when they assume the role of supposed spiritual teachers, they become indeed agents of spiritual ignorance, which appears in the form of an endless confusion such as that of considering the Trika's attributeless Śiva as the puranic Śiva who is full of attributes. In order to put an end to that mess brought about by all those supposed spiritual teachers, I use the word "Ātmā" (the Self) instead of the term "Śiva".
Even though the essential nature of Them both (is) one compact mass composed of Absolute Freedom (and) Bliss, it is divided into two —only in the sphere of words— for its close study||2||
Even though the svarūpa (or) essential nature of Them both —of the Self and (His) Power— (is) one compact mass consisting of Absolute Freedom (and) Joy, it is divided into two in the sphere of words —with reference to the words— for a close analysis of that essential nature1 . Prakāśa and Vimarśa --Light and I-consciousness, viz. the Self and His Power-- abide inseparably as one Reality. Their separation or difference (takes place) only in the sphere of words for the intellect to understand them both so much as possible. Thus, there is never a Power of the Self that is separate or different from the Self Himself. Besides, the Self together with His own Power are not objects endowed with attributes (such as) light, sound, mind, body, etc., but rather the imperishable immutable Witness of that --of those objects--2 . That point (is) is made clear in venerable Spandanirṇaya:
"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...'|"
According to the teaching of illustrious Kṣemarāja, here, in Spandakārikā-s I-13 —"However, that principle (of Spanda) is not thus perceived or realized, (that is), as a state of recollection"—, the Spanda principle, whose nature is the Power of the Self, is indicated by the word "tad" --that--, but this word is not the Highest Reality truly because the Highest Reality (is) at all times Reality beyond utterance. For the sake of the people who perform meditation, worship, service, etc., the Self Himself, in the sphere of words and through of His own unfathomable Power, becomes utterable, viz. describable by words (such as) That, Lord, Absolute and so forth. In this manner, this Self has two forms: a fictitious knower who is describable as well as a real Knower who is indescribable truly3 . Also, the Self is never devoid of His Absolute Freedom since even having become, in the sphere of words, an invented experient (such as) That, Lord, Absolute, etc., He remains constantly Free.
"I am the Self" or "I am not the Self", these two notions or conceptions (exist) only in the realm of words, as the term "Self" is an invention. Of course, the term "I", which will be talked about later on, (is) also fictitious. In this way, by means of the aforesaid teaching, all dispute or mutual contradiction between dualism and non-dualism is definitely eliminated4 .
If the Highest Reality had not invented the fictitious knower consisting of terms (such as) That, Lord, Absolute, etc., then It could not be dealt with by anyone ever --i.e. nobody could never deal with the Highest Reality--. And if this be so --if nobody could deal with the Highest Reality for lack of a way of addressing It--, even atheism would not exist due to absence of the terms That, Lord, Absolute, etc. Here you perceive again the Absolute Freedom of the Self, because after having made Himself known by various words, He stays continuously (and) everywhere in His own essential nature which is beyond all words5 . (May) this glorious Self be praised always!||2||
1 This is always monotheism despite, in order to study the Highest Reality, It is divided into two: the Self and His Power. By the expression "one compact mass", their inherent unity is clearly pointed out anyway. The division, then, is only useful with the aim of studying the Highest Reality in detail. Nevertheless, one should always keep in mind that the Self and His Power form one Reality. If you have one you have the other one way or the other; they are the two sides of the same coin.
2 The Self and His Power are not objects but the Supreme Subject or Witness to the entire aggregate of objects known as the universe. They cannot be ever perceived and consequently recollected in the same way as one perceives and remembers mere objects. For example, if you see an apple, you can remember its form, color, odor, etc. But this cannot be done in the case of the Highest Reality. This point is elementary and crucial. Since the the Highest Reality (the Self and His Power, as it was stated in the first aphorism) has no form essentially because of its being beyond space and time, one can realize or recognize the Highest Reality but never perceive It like one does in regard to an object. When spiritual enlightenment arrives (i.e. recognition of the Highest Reality), one does not see, hear, touch, etc. anything that is "special" but Its presence as the Supreme Subject who is an impartial Witness of the universe is completely evident. This has to be fully understood. The division into the Self and His Power is made in order for helping the intellect to understand this Reality that is inconceivable, i.e. that no ordinary mind can think of properly.
3 The expressions such as "tattattvam" (that Principle), "spandatattvam" (the principle of Spanda), "Lord", "Absolute", etc. etc. are not the Self and His Power (the Highest Reality) a matter of fact, because They are beyond utterance always, viz. They cannot be put into words ever. Nonetheless, the Self Himself invents all those appellatives or names in order for people performing spiritual practices to be able to address Himself comfortably. He does so only in the field of action of words, as it is obvious, and by means of His own Power. As a result, the Self assumes a double form: Although He is really indescribable, He makes Himself describable. He is then the real Knower or Experient (the Witness or Supreme Subject) but at the same time He plays the role of a fictitious knower or experient appearing in the form of terms such as "That", "Lord", "Absolute", "God", etc. This is the meaning.
4 The Self is always Free and Independent. By that I mean that He has nothing to do with the state of one's mind, actions, success, failure, life, death and all that fuss. He is absolutely Supreme and no ordinary mind can understand Him rightly ever. However, He can be realized or recognized through direct experience. He is so Free because even after having become the fictitious experient or knower called "That", "Lord", "Absolute", "God", etc., He retains His Freedom always.
In turn, the notions "I am the Self" or "I am not the Self" exist in the realm of words alone, simply since the word "Self" is an invention of the very Self. Besides, the term "I" is also an invention happening only in the sphere of influence of words. This is why when one realizes or recognizes the Self, there is no "I" becoming "Him" and so forth. It is just "This" revealing Himself. If you analyze the phrase "I am the Self", you notice that if "I" is "the Self", why are they existing separately in the sentence? This is very subtle. The explanation is that the expression is only in the form of "vikalpa" in one's mind. Yes, in general usage, vikalpa is synonymous with "thought", but according to the sage Patañjali in his Yogasūtra-s I, 9, the term "vikalpa" can be used specifically in the case of a fluctuation or modification of mind based on verbal knowledge about something that does not exist. In this case, the reality behind the expression "I am the Self" does not exist indeed (it is just verbal knowledge or cognition), because "I" is already "the Self". The separation between "I" and "Self" is only made in the world of words and not "in reality". When one reads that kind of expressions, viz. "I am the Self" or even "I am not the Self", his mind assumes a state of fluctuation called vikalpa according to Patañjali. So, the reality behind that expression is only happening in the mind through a flow of words. Can you understand me? For God's sake, I hope so, hehe!
Additionally, all controversies between dualism and nondualism come to an end, because all of them are only occurring in the territory of words. Dualism and nondualism have nothing to do with polytheism and monotheism. NO, forget about that misconception if you have it in your mind. Dualism is to consider that one "is not" the Self totally but a creation or manifestation brought about by Him, while nondualism is to consider that one "is" the Self completely. Obviously, in this world, dualism wins for a vast margin. Still, there is never a dispute or mutual contradiction between them both. The apparent contradictions only arise in the realm of words and never "as a matter of fact". I mean, if someone realizes the Self "truly", he will have no problem with dualism and nondualism. He will understand both at the same time. The dispute arises only in the mind of people who did not realize the Self yet. As they are not Self-realized people, they fall prey to the multiple words. As all the words are produced by His Power alone, this Supreme Power deludes most people at all times and prevents them from attaining Self-realization.
5 People performing spiritual practices such as meditation, worship, service, etc. can deal with the Highest Reality (i.e. they are able to address It) because the Highest Reality created a fictitious experient or knower appearing in the form of "names" designating It (e.g. the word "God"). If It had not invented those names, nobody could address the Highest Reality in any way because of Its inconceivable (beyond human understanding) nature. Even the ones who deny the existence of the Highest Reality would be in trouble, and I am not joking. How to deny something when you ignore even how to name it in the first place? This is another reason why the presence of deniers of the Highest Reality just proves Its existence.
Finally, you (the reader) easily notice again how absolutely Free the Self is, since having made Himself known by multiple terms He dwells forever and everywhere in His own essential nature, in His own State (in Turya, the fourth state of consciousness, the state of being a Witness), which the words just cannot reach by any means. This means that whether He stays in the king of the sages or in the king of the fools, He enjoys divine Autonomy and Independence always. Nothing can disturb His State or obstruct His Will. As the entire universe is a mere manifestation of His opulent Power, what or who could get in His way then? If someone is trying to block the Self some way, he is the Self again. As the Self cannot block the Self ever, He remains unobstructed forever. When one realizes Him as He essentially is, one experiences the real meaning of the word Freedom in all respects.
So many people just cannot understand my teachings yet. Who are they? The Self, of course. And if some day someone can at last understand my teachings, that one is the Self too. He appears to be, through His majestic Power, in a state of ignorance and enlightenment at the same time. Anyway, He constantly remains in His own State as the Core of all. He is immutable and therefore He does not move a millimeter at any time. All the changes are manifested by His Power, but in the end there is no change at all. This apparent contradiction cannot be fully understood till one realizes Him through His Power. When one experiences Self-realization, he recognizes his own true Self, and at that moment he also realizes he was always the Self. Though the recognition or realization is new, one's own nature is always the same Self. May this glorious Self be praised always!
Although the Self (is) pure Consciousness consisting of Prakāśa or Light, He is called "I" in the sphere of words||3||
The blissful Self, who (is) essentially pure Consciousness consisting of Prakāśa or Light, attains the status of "I", in the sphere of words, through His own Power (appearing) as I-consciousness. When this Self —the Heart or Core of the Highest Reality—, (who is) the Supreme Experient remaining beyond the universe, can never even be delineated in thought, then how could He become "I"? Nonetheless, the Self Himself, by His Power, turns into "I" in order to indicate His superiority in regard to mere ego composed of limited I-ness. This is the meaning1 ||3||
1 The Self is forever the Core or Heart of the Highest Reality. He cannot even be delineated in thought by any means because of His being the Supreme Experient or Knower (and not an object). Consequently, He can never indeed become "I" except in the universe of words. He does so through His own Power. Additionally, His apparent transformation into "I" serves the purpose of showing that He is superior to mere ego, which is simply I-ness in the field of limitation. The meaning is already very clear from the text itself, but I wanted to develop a little bit on the subject.
Now I begin the exposition or discourse about the Power of the Self—
His Power, which constitutes the first Vibration, (is) I-consciousness indeed||4||
In the immutable essential nature of the Self, which is an ocean of pure Consciousness, (there) suddenly arises a slight wave in the form of a subtle throb. This wave here (is) the Power of the Self rising as I-consciousness. And through His own Power, the Self realizes His own existence. For this reason, the Self, accompanied by His Power, is indicated as "I" certainly. Without His Power, the Self could not know His own existence, and in His not knowing that, He would be mere Prakāśa or Light (and consequently) powerless1 .
"(1) Truth, (2) invented truth and untruth, and (3) absence of Truth", (this is) the group of three truths. "Truth" (is) the Supreme Truth, namely, this Self endowed with His own Power; in short, (It is) the Highest Reality consisting of Light and I-consciousness forming a mass of Absolute Freedom (and) Bliss, undoubtedly. "Invented truth and untruth" (are) the innumerable manifestations of the Power of the Self, which are characterized by transience, pleasure (and) pain. For example: "Your body is fat" or "Your body is thin". Regarding the aforesaid examples, whether it is true or untrue, all that (is) an invented truth or an invented untruth because it is associated with transience, pleasure (and) pain. Finally, "absence of Truth" (is) absolute lack of Truth —which will be talked about later on—, in the form of nonexistence, that only exists as a mere word but not in reality2 .
Whenever the Self is expressed (and) described by someone, all that (expression and description) is not totally true really —in the highest sense— but rather a manifestation of the Power of the Self in the field of words always. On this account, it is not possible to put the Truth, whose nature is the Highest Reality, into words by any means. Thus, the essential Truth, which is the Highest Reality (and) is not related to the multiple words, is always connected with one's own experience. If this is so, what (is then) the use of a scripture replete with knowledge about the Self to someone? — Because, in order for recognizing the Truth, i.e. the Highest Reality, a spiritual aspirant needs to understand Its --of the Highest Reality-- nature, manifestations, etc. Besides, by certain type of practice, the aspirant must accumulate merit (and) experience —this will be discussed later—. Without that, Truth does not ever become revealed to the aspirant, since even if such a revelation were to happen, even so it would be useless and nonsensical because the aspirant himself is not fit3 .
Whatever is put into words, it is invented (or) manufactured by the Power of the Self. In this sense, all this manifestation of His Power in the form of knowables (such as) body, ego, mind, things, etc. (is) only an invention and not at all the Truth, i.e. the Highest Reality composed of Prakāśa or Light (and) Vimarśa or I-consciousness — For example, whenever someone says: "I am this person endowed with a particular mind, body, etc.", all that (is) an invention of the Power of the Self, because, as his nature --the nature of that person who says-- is identical with the essential Self, he --such a person-- constantly remains beyond utterance --what he truly is cannot be formulated by words--. Through various words, His Power keeps manifesting incessantly invented people, invented families, invented cities, invented countries, invented worlds, etc. All that exists and (is) real without doubt since it has arisen from the Power of the Self, which is completely Real. Nevertheless, all that (is) an invent indeed, (an invent) relating to pleasure, pain, change, etc. in the sphere of limitation, and not one's own essential nature (or) Supreme Truth full of Absolute Freedom (and) Joy4 .
In the arena of limitation, there are invented truth and untruth, which are characterized by transience, pleasure (and) pain — Some examples: "I am this body", "You are from this country", "We are human beings", "This is pleasant", "That is unpleasant", "They are my friends", "He feels better", etc. Although this aggregate of perceiver, perception (and) perceivable --the object being perceived-- manufactured by the Power of the Self (is) totally real, (is) however completely invented. The Self, the Highest Perceiver or Experient in person, is not connected with transience, pleasure, pain and so forth, because He is not an invent. And all this invention of His Power, appearing in the form of the universe as a drama, (is) only for the recognition of the Free Self, and not otherwise. He (is) certainly bound who is not intent on recognizing his own Free Self, and for this reason, such a bound person does not cease to transmigrate from this body to another body, from this thought to another thought, etc.5 .
Absence of Truth (or) absolute void whose nature is nonexistence —which will be spoken about later on—, apart from in the sphere of words, does not at all exist ever. "Why?", because that invented absolute void is perceived or experienced by someone always. Who (is) the perceiver or experient of that --of the supposed absolute void--? The Truth, i.e. the Highest Reality! In short, nonexistence of the Self (is) no doubt another invention manufactured by the Power of the Self. The other voids in the form of deep sleep, etc. (are) constantly full of existence because they are remembered, but nonexistence is never remembered due to the constant presence of the Rememberer, viz. of the Self6 .
In his Sāṅkhyapravacanasūtra, truthfulness (is) so indicated by venerable Vyāsa:
"Veracity or Truthfulness (is) concordance of speech (and) mind --manas or manasa-- as regards the fact. Just as (it has been) seen, inferred (and) heard, so (should) speech and mind (be; that is, one should speak and think of exactly as he has seen, inferred and heard). Hereafter, that word (is true which is) uttered for the sake of transferring one's own knowledge (to other people), if (it) is not deceitful, confusing or senseless. This (word) serves for the benefit of all beings, (and) not for harming (those very) beings. And thus, if (that) spoken word would have as its chief object to damage the beings, it would not be truth... it would be only sin. Through that pretended virtue, (which) only has the appearance of (real) virtue, one gets to the painful darkness of hell. For that reason, after having investigated, one should speak the truth that is beneficial to all beings."
However, that truthfulness pointed out by illustrious Vyāsa (is) only connected with the invention whose form is the universe replete with transience, pleasure (and) pain, namely, the explanation of the great sage moves in the sphere of invented truth (and) untruth. Real truthfulness is not like that but rather abiding in one's own nature which is the essential Self. Even if truthfulness as taught by venerable Vyāsa is practiced by someone, he does that by means of an abiding in one's own Free (and) Blissful Self, and not otherwise. Consequently, since abiding in the Self moves in the sphere of Truth, it --i.e. abiding in the Self-- is supreme truthfulness at all times indeed7 ||4||
1 The Self is basically Prakāśa or Light. If He were only that, He would never be conscious of His own existence. In this case, no universe would emerge as a result, because "I" (Aham) is the corner stone of the universal experience. His Power is also known as Vimarśa, which, appearing as I-consciousness, makes Him realize His existence. Prakāśa is like clay, and Vimarśa is the potter with his wheel. Of course, this is an imperfect example, because the potter and the potter's wheel are different from clay, but in the case of Prakāśa and Vimarśa both form a compact mass, i.e. they are in complete unity.
Therefore, as I say in the laudatory prayer in the beginning of this commentary: "The transient universe is certainly hewn here, from the pure Light, by His own Power." In short, the Power of the Self manufactures or invents an entire universe out of the Self Himself. In this sense, all this invent called the universe is completely real as His Power, but being something manufactured, it is never the Highest Reality (the Self and His Power) as It essentially is. Hence, the universe is always full of pleasure, pain, changes and the like.
2 The three levels of truth are: Truth, invented truth and untruth, and absence of Truth. The first one is the Highest Reality (the Self and His Power), the second moves in the field of action known as the universe, and the last one is never actually existing except in the realm of words. The first level is completely devoid of transience, pleasure and pain. It is the State of the essential Self and never an invention of His Power. The second level is just a giant invention manufactured by His tireless Power. At this level, there are never-ending truths and untruths that are always connected with transience, pleasure and pain. Finally, the third level is just a philosophical abstraction because in practice, as the Self exists constantly and forever, His absence is never really perceived. If the Self were to cease to exist, His Power would cease with Him, and the universe (the invent or manifestation of His Power) would experience a serious interruption. As nobody has ever experienced that interruption, to state that there is a state of total absence of Truth (i.e. nonexistence of the Self) is quite a nonsense, because every time a person experiences an apparent interruption of the universe in the form of a void, that experience is remembered by someone. Who is he? The Self! As a result, the experiences of void confirm the permanent existence of the Self instead of denying it. The subject related to nonexistence will be dealt with in depth in my commentary on the eleventh aphorism of this very first chapter.
3 As the Self cannot be described by any means, every time someone attempts to do that, the result is always not fully true (in the highest sense) but rather an invention or manifestation of His own Power in the plane of words. Therefore, the Self is always related to one's own experience. The obvious question now is: "What is the point of reading or writing a huge scripture replete with knowledge about the Self then?". The purpose is to understand the nature, manifestations, etc. of the Highest Reality. Additionally, a spiritual aspirant must accumulate merit and experience through various practices or he will be without any sādhanāśakti (power that comes from practicing). If that power is not in the aspirant, he will be a mere theoretician with no real power to fully realize the Self. Also, without merit and experience enough, the aspirant just cannot make the most of an experience of spiritual enlightenment simply because His Power draws the veil of ignorance. When this veil is drawn, the aspirant experiences the dark void of Māyā. This process also prevents his system from getting broken by the intensity of the experience. If someone, completely devoid of merit and experience, were exposed to a full revelation of the Highest Reality all of a sudden, he would just collapse instantly. It would be like an ant ascending to the category of human suddenly. If that were to happen, that person could not understand what is occurring to him. In theory, the Self can give Final Liberation to any creature bound by ignorance because of His Absolute Freedom, but in the vast majority of the cases He will give that treasure to the ones who are deserving and experienced. Then, Final Liberation also known as spiritual enlightenment is practically never cheap and available to everybody just like that. The subject related to accumulation of merit and experience will be analyzed in detail when I comment on the sixth aphorism of the third chapter later.
4 All that is put into words, it is an invention or manufacture of the Power of the Self. Certainly, this universe is a form adopted by His Power, but the universe is never the Highest Reality such as It essentially is. When one gets Final Liberation, this fact is very clear. Yes, the entire universe looks like an expansion of one's own Power, which is in full unity with Oneself (the Self). Anyway, it is still an invent and not the Self as He essentially is . Highest Reality is always the Self and His Power as Aham or "I". The rest is a manifestation of the Power. This can be confusing while one does not have the experience of Final Liberation, but after having gotten it, it is crystal clear. In turn, if the universe is seen fully as the essential Self, then it is not any more "the universe" but the Self Himself in person. In this way, all the phrases describing inventions, e.g. "I am this person with this body, mind, opinions, etc." is just an invention and never the Highest Reality. All that is within the reach of perception of senses and mind is invented, all that is in the mind is another invent too. In fact, the mind itself is invented. This world is also another invention of His Power. Why is all this an invent and not the Highest Reality? Because all those things are constantly associated with transience, pleasure, pain, change and the like, while the Self and His Power are always free from all that. The universe is absolutely real (never illusory as put by some philosophical schools), but still it is an invention and not the absolute Truth full of Freedom and Joy.
5 The Self is Real in the full sense of word because He is not an invent or manifestation carried out by anybody. The whole universe, appearing as a drama manifested by His Power is only for the sake of recognizing His own essential nature and not for mere sense pleasure. People are in bondage who cannot get yet that they were born as incarnations of the Self in order to elevate themselves to the plane of the Self Himself through a full recognition of their true spiritual nature. As they are in bondage, they experience pleasure, pain, change and the rest of miseries in this world. They will continue to transmigrate from one body to another body, from one thought to another thought and so on until they realize their own Self. What else could one say regarding this then?
6 Absence of Truth in the form of an absolute void or nothingness, i.e. nonexistence, is never existing really except in the world of words. Nonexistence was invented by His Power in order to veil His essential nature once again. The notion that absolute void is the goal of life is spread by several philosophical systems due to the great delusion perpetrated by the Power. If the Self could cease to exist, nonexistence would be possible. But as the Self is absolute existence in person, nonexistence cannot exist ever anywhere, because of the presence of the Self-existent One. There are, nonetheless, a series of voids such as that of deep sleep, but all of them are inventions of His Power and consequently they are perceived. As they are perceived, they can be recollected. The Self is both the One perceiving and the One remembering them all. As He is constantly existing, nonexistence is never remembered by anyone. This is so simple to understand that one wonders how there are some philosophical systems even today postulating that the absolute void (i.e. nonexistence) is the Highest Reality. This is another nonsense manufactured by His frisky Power undoubtedly. As I said in a former note of explanation, I will explain the nonexistence of nonexistence itself in the commentary on the eleventh aphorism of this first chapter .
7 In his Sāṅkhyapravacanasūtra, venerable Vyāsa gives a amazing explanation of what truthfulness is. He does so while he comments on the aphorism 30 of the 2nd section of Pātañjalayogasūtra-s. But that definition is only valid when pleasure, pain, transience, etc. do exist. It is not valid in the realm of the Truth Itself, viz. of the Self, because He is without a second, without pain, without pleasure, without transience and so on. That is why I stated respectfully, as an expansion of the explanation given by the great sage, that real truthfulness (i.e. truthfulness in the highest sense) is always an abiding in the Self who is Truth Itself in complete Freedom. Even if someone wants his behavior in life to abide by the precept pointed out by Vyāsa, he will do so only by abiding in his own Self and not otherwise. If one cannot abide in that way, he will not be able to follow that precept to the letter. How to be completely truthful if one ignores what Truth is? If one does not know his true Essence and continues to think that he is the limited individual endowed with body, mind, personality, opinions and similar trifles, how will he be able to follow the words of the great sage? This is not possible except one recognizes the Blessed One by His own Grace. Since truthfulness as put by Vyāsa is still dependent on abiding in the Self, I prove that "abiding in the Self" is at all times the highest mode of truthfulness. May this glorious Self be praised always!
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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