Śāktopāya (Shaktopaya) - The way of knowledge
Hi, this is Gabriel Pradīpaka. Last time, we studied Śāmbhavopāya (The Way of Will). This is the highest way to attain to final liberation, but it is somewhat difficult for most people. That's why the following two upāya-s (means or methods) have been designed for those people who failed to grasp the core of Śāmbhavopāya.
The remaining two upāya-s are Śāktopāya and Āṇavopāya. The former uses the Power of Knowledge, while the latter uses the Power of Action. Both means or methods are good, no doubt about it.
In the present document, we will study Śāktopāya (the Way of Knowledge) here. There are two fundamental practices in it: Mantra repetition and understanding of one's mind.
Let us get down to work.
Look at this simple table:
|ŚĀKTOPĀYA||It uses Power of Knowledge (Jñānaśakti)||You use a Śuddhavikalpa or pure thought||Positive function of Śuddhavikalpa (it may be divided into three portions)||
(Power of the Mantra)
|Sattarka (true reasoning)|
|Negative function of Śuddhavikalpa (it removes the sense of duality)|
|You contemplate and understand the mental processes||You learn that your mind is Śakti Herself having undergone contraction|
This table shows all characteristics of Śāktopāya. We are going to study them step by step. First of all: Śāktopāya uses Jñānaśakti as a means to Self-realization. Jñānaśakti is the Power of Knowledge. Knowledge of what? Knowledge of our essential nature. This is also known as Knowledge of Self. One aphorism of Śivasūtra-s (the primordial scripture in Trika) states that the Knowledge of Self is Vitarka:
Firm and unwavering awareness (vitarkaḥ) (that I am Śiva) is the knowledge (jñānam) of Self (ātma).
(See: Pronunciation 3: Aphorisms)
The constant awareness that "I am Śiva" is the real Knowledge of Self. Knowledge is to be understood here in its subtlest sense. It is not knowledge of externals, but our innermost essential nature. Therefore, even though we use firstly the knowledge of mind in this Upāya, we have our eyes on the subtle "I-consciousness" beyond the mind. This "I-consciousness" may be put into words approximately, this way:
"I am", "I am Śiva", this is Knowledge of Self. And this "I am" or "I-consciousness" is Śakti (tattva 2) or Power of Śiva. See "Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir: Part 2". So, this means or method is known as "Śāktopāya" because it is based on Śakti or I-consciousness. It is also called: Jñānopāya, since it uses "Jñānaśakti" or "Power of knowledge".
There are three relevant terms in this Upāya (means or method):
Mahāhrada means "Great (mahā) Lake (hrada)". This is an epithet of "I-consciousness" or Śakti. It is called so, because it is deep, calm and transparent just like a lake. It is "I am", the generative source of all words. The inner mental voice you are listening to right now comes from "I am". In fact, all comes from it. Obviously, the mantra-s (sacred formulae) come from "I am" too. That's why when repeating a mantra one should be lastly conscious of "I am". But I will teach you "mantra-s" later on. Another name for the Great Lake is "Parāvāk" (Highest Speech).
Anusandhāna means "close examination with a view to union". Examination of what? Examination of the Great Lake or "I am".
Mantravīryānubhava means both "the experience (anubhava) of the virility or potency (vīrya) of mantra (mantra)" and "the experience (anubhava) of the generative source (vīrya) of all mantra-s (mantra)". When you do Anusandhāna of the Great Lake, you have an experience of your Essential Nature which is both the embodiment of mantra's potency and the generative source of all mantra-s. It is that simple.
In short, you examine closely "I am" and get a divine experience. This divine experience is known as "Self-realization", "Liberation", "Final release", etc.
In the practical aspect, you will have to use a Śuddhavikalpa in order to realize Mahāhrada or "I am". But, what is a Śuddhavikalpa?
Śuddhavikalpa is a "pure (śuddha) thought (vikalpa)". It is a positive thought leading to the Truth. It may be a "formal mantra" but not necessarily. For example, the simple statement: "I am Śiva" is a Śuddhavikalpa, because when you repeat it all the time leads you to Self-realization sooner or later.
And what is Aśuddhavikalpa? It is exactly the opposite. An Aśuddhavikalpa leads you to slavery. You may find plenty of examples of it: "I am a man", "I am shy", "I am weak", "I am a sinner", "I belong to this country", "I am white", "I am this, I am that". In sum, "I am anything but Śiva", haha! This kind of thought is not auspicious at all. It brings about lastly bondange. But "I am the Self", "I am Śiva", this is Śuddhavikalpa. Despite Śiva is not bound by any vikalpa (pure or impure), a pure thought is helpful. Abhinavagupta, the great Trika master, says the following regarding vikalpa:
विकल्पबलादेव जन्तवो बद्धमात्मानमभिमन्यन्ते।
अतः प्रतिद्वन्द्विरूपो विकल्प उदितः संसारहेतुं
Vikalpabalādeva jantavo baddhamātmānamabhimanyante|
Ataḥ pratidvandvirūpo vikalpa uditaḥ saṁsārahetuṁ
People (jantavaḥ) think (abhimanyante) that they (ātmānam) are bound (baddham) on account of (balāt eva) thoughts (vikalpa). That (saḥ) conception (abhimānaḥ) is the cause (hetuḥ) of their being bound (pratibandha) in transmigratory existence (saṁsāra). That's why (átas), when an opposite (pratidvandvirūpaḥ) thought (vikalpaḥ) arises (úditaḥ), it expels (dalayati) the thought (vikalpam) that is the cause (hetum) of transmigratory existence (saṁsāra). Thus (iti), (that thought) is the cause (hetuḥ) of (their) elevation (abhyudaya).
Abhinavagupta states that : "when Śuddhavikalpa ("the opposite thought") arises in a mind full of Aśuddhavikalpa-s (impure thoughts), Śuddhavikalpa dispels them and it becomes the cause of elevation".
Our current minds are probably full of negative thoughts (Aśuddhavikalpa-s). For example: "I am stupid", "I am imperfect" and so on. It is obvious that using this kind of thoughts you will not be able to attain to Śiva who is Purer than Purest. You need a Śuddhavikalpa. You may choose any of these Śuddhavikalpa-s:
|शिवोऽहम्||Śivo'ham||I am (aham) Śiva (śivaḥ)|
|पूर्णोऽहम्||Pūrṇo'ham||I am (aham) perfect (pūrṇaḥ)|
|परमशिवोऽहम्||Paramaśivo'ham||I am (aham) the Supreme (parama) Śiva (śivaḥ)|
|अहमात्मा||Ahamātmā||I am (aham) the Self (ātmā)|
|ईश्वरोऽहम्||Īśvaro'ham||I am (aham) the Lord (īśvaraḥ)|
|शुद्धात्माहम्||Śuddhātmāham||I am (aham) the Pure (śuddha) Self (ātmā)|
These sentences are not "formal mantra-s" but they are helpful Śuddhavikalpa-s because they lead mind to the innermost reality that is Śiva in every being. Since I teach Sanskrit, I recommend Śuddhavikalpa-s in Sanskrit. However, they could be in any language.
Even though you use Śuddhavikalpa to realize Śiva, you should always remember that Śiva or the Highest Reality is not dependent on thoughts (good or bad). Thoughts simply cannot get to Reality. Abhinavagupta says:
परं तत्त्वं तु सर्वत्र सर्वरूपतया प्रकाशमेवेति न तत्र विकल्पः कस्यैचिदुपक्रियायै खण्डनायै वा।
Paraṁ tattvaṁ tu sarvatra sarvarūpatayā prakāśameveti na tatra vikalpaḥ kasyaicidupakriyāyai khaṇḍanāyai vā|
However (tu), the Highest (param) Reality (tattvam) is everywhere (sarvatra) and the Efulgence (prakāśam eva) (taking on) all forms (sarvarūpatayā). Thus (iti), regarding that (Reality) (tatra), vikalpa (vikalpaḥ) is neither (na... kasyaicid) helpful (upakriyāyai) nor (vā) a hindrance (khaṇḍanāyai).
One could say: "Well, if so, what do I need a Śuddhavikalpa for? There two reasons:
THE POSITIVE FUNCTION OF ŚUDDHAVIKALPA
THE NEGATIVE FUNCTION OF ŚUDDHAVIKALPA
Its negative function is as follows: "Śuddhavikalpa removes the sense of duality".
Abhinavagupta explain the sense of duality in this manner:
द्वैताधिवासो नाम न कश्चन पृथग्वस्तुभूतोऽपितु स्वरूपाख्यातिमात्रं तत्।
अतो द्वैतापासनं विकल्पेन क्रियते।
Dvaitādhivāso nāma na kaścana pṛthagvastubhūto'pitu svarūpākhyātimātraṁ tat|
Ato dvaitāpāsanaṁ vikalpena kriyate|
That which is known as (nāma) sense (adhivāsaḥ) of duality (dvaita) is nothing (na kaścana) standing apart (pṛthak) and being tangible or substantial (vastubhūtaḥ), but rather (api tu) that (tad) which is merely (mātram)
non-apprehension (akhyāti) of one's own Essential Nature (svarūpa... iti). Therefore (átas), by means of (Śuddha)vikalpa(vikalpena) the annulment (apāsanam) of duality (dvaita) is brought about (kriyate).
When you do not realize your Self, you experience duality. This sense of duality is not a "thing" which is tangible or substantial. It is merely your non-apprehension, non-realization of your Self. Nothing else. The world is as you see it. If you do not experience your real "I", you only see duality in the world. However, if you realize your true "I" (essential nature), you will see that the world is full of non-duality. In short, you will experience the world as your own body or form. See the Aphorism 14 in Pronunciation 3.
All right, to remove the sense of duality is "the negative function of Śuddhavikalpa". What about its positive function?
The positive function may be divided into three portions: Mantraśakti, Sattarka and Śuddhavidyā.
I will explain Mantraśakti to you right now.
The aphorism 22 of Śivasūtra-s states:
By uniting (anusandhānāt) with the Great (mahā) Lake (hrada) (the Yogī has) the experience (anubhavaḥ) of the generative source --virility or potency-- (vīrya) of (all) mantra-s (mantra).
(See Aphorism 22 in Pronunciation 3)
The Great Lake (Mahāhrada) is Śakti or "I-consciousness" or "I am". When you have an experience of what "You are really", you experience the virility or potency of mantra. "Mantravīrya" is a synonymous with "Mantraśakti". Both of them mean "potency or power of mantra".
Therefore, "I-consciousness" or "I am" is the source from which all mantra-s arise. That's why when you repeat a mantra you are led to this source, you are led to experience who "You are" indeed. This is the reason why a mantra is so important. It brings you back to its generative source or "I am". Through a mantra you come to recognize your essential nature or Self. Very good, but what is a mantra? All people talk about mantra-s without understanding their true meaning. The great Kṣemarāja (Abhinavagupta's disciple) says:
भेदमयसंसारप्रशमात्मकत्राणधर्मता चास्य निरुच्यते।
bhedamayasaṁsārapraśamātmakatrāṇadharmatā cāsya nirucyate|
This (Mantra) (asya) is explained (nirucyate) to be characterized (dharmātmatā) by a reflection (manana) over (ātmaka) the Highest (para) Reality (sphurattā) and (ca) having the protection (trāṇa) in the form (ātmaka) of the dissolution (praśama) of transmigratory existence (saṁsāra), which is composed (maya) of differences (bheda), as its inherent nature (dharmatā).
I got dizzy, and you? But it is very simple:
"Mantra is the reflection (mental awareness) by which you feel your identity with the Highest Reality and thus you save yourself of transmigratory existence, which is full of differences".
According to Kṣemarāja, the real Mantra is not a word, but your mind pondering over the Highest Reality. This special mind that searches for the Truth is called "Citta" in Trika. And this Citta is the Mantra. The celebrated sacred words known as "mantra-s" are simply the recipient for the Highest Reality. The real Mantra is Citta or your mind pondering over this Supreme Reality contained in the "mantra-s". To understand this is crucial. If you do not understand the right meanings in Trika, you will fail to understand the whole thing.
That's why, the first aphorism of Section 2 in Śivasūtra-s states:
The mind (of someone who is devoted to the inquiry into the Highest Reality by using a mantra) (cittam) is the Mantra (mantraḥ).
So, the real "mantra-s" are not mere words. They are lastly the mind of the person who is completely absorbed in mantra repetition. This is also said by Sarvajñānottara:
उच्चार्यमाणा ये मन्त्रा न मन्त्रांश्चापि तान्विदुः।
मोहिता देवगन्धर्वा मिथ्याज्ञानेन गर्विताः॥
Uccāryamāṇā ye mantrā na mantrāṁścāpi tānviduḥ|
Mohitā devagandharvā mithyājñānena garvitāḥ||
(Those) are not (na) mantra-s (mantrāḥ) which (ye) are pronounced (uccāryamāṇāḥ). Due to the illusory (mithyā) knowledge (jñānena), even (ca ápi) the deluded (mohitāḥ) and proud (garvitāḥ) gods (deva) and celestial musicians (gandharvāḥ) consider (viduḥ) those (tān) to be mantra-s (mantrān).
You must understand this before you keep going on. Mantra is the "Subject", the Self, God, Brahma, Śiva, the Knower, etc. It can never be reduced to a mere object. It is not something perceived by the senses or mind, but the Knower Himself. This is crucial. If you do not understand that the Mantra, You and God are identical with one another, your practice using a sacred word will not bear appropriate fruit at all. You should repeat a mantra as if it is your own name. At the same time, you should not forget that the Mantra is one with God. The three (Mantra, God and You) are the same Reality. If you can grasp this, you will be successful, no doubt about it.
This is also said in Kaṇṭhīyasaṁhitā:
पृथङ्मन्त्रः पृथङ्मन्त्री न सिद्ध्यति कदाचन।
ज्ञानमूलमिदं सर्वमन्यथा नैव सिद्ध्यति॥
Pṛthaṅmantraḥ pṛthaṅmantrī na siddhyati kadācana|
Jñānamūlamidaṁ sarvamanyathā naiva siddhyati||
(If) the mantra (mantraḥ) and the practitioner of the mantra (mantrī) are different from each other (pṛthak... pṛthak), (then, the mantra) is never (na... kadācana) successful (siddhyati). All (sarvam) this (idam) is the root (mūla) of the knowledge (jñāna) (of Mantrayoga. If one practices) in a different manner (anyathā), (the mantra) is not (na) successfull (sidhyati) indeed (eva).
The mantra emerges from the Supreme I-Consciousness or Śakti. She is the generative source of all mantra-s as I said at the beginning of "Mantraśakti" section. These are not only my words but also those of Tantrasadbhāva. In this scripture, Śiva says to Śakti:
मन्त्राणां जीवभूता तु या स्मृता शक्तिरूपया।
तथा हीना वरारोहे निष्फलाः शरदभ्रवत्॥
Mantrāṇāṁ jīvabhūtā tu yā smṛtā śaktirūpayā|
Tathā hīnā varārohe niṣphalāḥ śaradabhravat||
She who (yā) is considered (smṛtā) to be the Śakti or Supreme Power (śaktirūpayā) is (bhūtā) certainly (tu) the life (jīva) of the mantra-s (mantrāṇām). Thus (tathā), O fine (vará) waisted one (ārohā), without (Her) (hīnāḥ) (those mantra-s) are as unfruitful (niṣphalāḥ) as (iva) autumnal (śarat) clouds (abhra).
Therefore, your practice with a mantra will lead you step by step to become conscious of your own Self who is Śakti Herself. This Self is the root of all words, not only mantra-s. You use a mantra or sacred word to go near that Reality. When you attain to the aforesaid Reality, you let the mantra go and simply become absorbed in your own essential nature or God. But the mantra goes anywhere because it is also the Supreme Self. It served apparently as a vehicle carrying you toward God, but it is the goal too. The mantra is the vehicle as well as the goal or destination. The mantra is You. Don't forget this. Even though there is no end to this subject, I finish Mantraśakti right now. In due course, we will keep studying it.
Sattarka is the next stage in Śāktopāya. You are using a Mantra and Sattarka begins operating then. But, what is Sattarka? Abhinavagupta says:
तथाविधविकल्पप्रबन्ध एव सत्तर्क इत्युक्तः
Tathāvidhavikalpaprabandha eva sattarka ityuktaḥ
It is said (iti uktaḥ) that Sattarka (sattarkaḥ) is certainly (eva) a continuous series (prabandhaḥ) of thoughts or ideas (vikalpa) similar (tathāvidha) (to Śuddhavikalpa).
Remember that Śuddhavikalpa is a "pure thought or idea" in any language. A positive thought like "I am Śiva" as well as a formal Sanskrit mantra are Śuddhavikalpa-s. An appropriate company gives rise to Śuddhavikalpa-s in one's mind, and a unsuitable company gives rise to Aśuddhavikalpa-s. Company's influence is very powerful. Try to have good company for as long as possible. When the company is adequate you experience a uplifting. However, good company is scanty in this world. It is just like a rare flower. For example, there are tons of mediocre writings but very few real scriptures. A sacred scripture is a good example of what I mean by "adequate company". In regard of scriptures, there are two main categories: scriptures written by human hand and scriptures which have been revealed. The latter are known as Āgama-s or Revealed Scriptures. For example: Śivasūtra-s (the foremost scripture in Trika) is an Āgama, because it was revealed to Vasugupta by Śiva Himself. It was not written by any human being.
An Āgama is an important generative source of Śuddhavikalpa-s in you. When you read it, you feel divine inspiration, you come to experience real spirituality. Abhinavagupta defines the function of the Āgama. Listen to him:
आगमस्य समुचितविकल्पोदये व्यापारः
Āgamasya samucitavikalpodaye vyāpāraḥ
The function (vyāpāraḥ) of the Āgama (āgamasya) is (to bring about) the emergence (udaye) of the right (samucita) thought (vikalpa).
And, of course, "Samucitavikalpa" is synonymous with "Śuddhavikalpa".
Sattarka or "the series of thoughts similar to Śuddhavikalpa" is a reflection that re-inforces the work done by Śuddhavikalpa itself. Sattarka leads to Bhāvanā or "Creative Contemplation". Abhinavagupta explain this:
अस्फुटत्वाद्भतमिवार्थमभूतमिव स्फुटत्वापादनेन भाव्यते यया।
Asphuṭatvādbhūtamivārthamabhūtamiva sphuṭatvāpādanena bhāvyate yayā
(Bhāvanā is that contemplation) by which (yayā) --by causing it to arrive at (āpādanena) manifestation (sphutatva) --a thing (artham) --that though real and existent (bhūtam iva) (appeared) as (iva) unreal and nonexistent (abhūtam) owing to obscurity or unmanifestation (asphuṭatvāt)-- reappears (bhāvyate).
Oh yes, Abhinavagupta have some writings extremely abstruse. Let's make things more simple:
You repeat your mantra. Almost immediately Sattarka emerges as a series of thoughts similar to mantra or Śuddhavikalpa. For example: "Mantra is God, I am God, all is God". Got it? Then, in due course, Bhāvanā arises. It is a kind of creative contemplation by which that Reality apparently unmanifested and nonexistent reappears. In a word, that Reality or Supreme Self can be perceived by you now thanks to your Mantra or Śuddhavikalpa, Sattarka and Bhāvanā. Got the point? It is very difficult to define what Bhāvanā exactly is. This subtle contemplation is like a diver delving into the depth of the ocean and lastly finding a hidden treasure. And not only this, this diver takes the treasure up to the surface too. When you realize you are the Mantra and God, you may be sure that the divine treasure has surfaced.
The treasure is known as Śuddhavidyā or Pure Knowledge. This special knowledge is the final reward for you. Only bliss, bliss and nothing but bliss may be found in Śuddhavidyā. As Śuddhavidyā becomes predominant in you, you come to perceive your eternal divinity which is full of freedom and bliss. When you get to the previous realization you are a true human being at last.
When Śuddhavidyā (Pure Knowledge) appears, that is the dawn of the highest state. In this stage, you begin realizing the underlying unity in this universe. That which was once seen as different and separated from oneself, is seen now as being one's own inner Self. The experience is transcendental and indescribable.
By the word "Śuddhavidyā" I do not mean the Sadvidyātattva also called "Śuddhavidyā". Not at all. Śuddhavidyā is a special knowledge which arises in you when you have done all that was needed to do. It ripens like a fruit. In due course, the fruit will fall down. You keep repeating your mantra and Śuddhavidyā appears by itself. Nobody can neither make it arise nor make it disappear. Śuddhavidyā is Śakti Herself revealing Her own nature to you. And when this revelation happens, you realize that Her nature is Your nature. Enlightment is the final result, of course. Enlightment is a synonymous with Liberation, Freedom and all the rest.
Many people think that they are free, but truly speaking, just that person in whom Śuddhavidyā has dawned may be called "Free". These holy beings are a real blessing for us all. What else should one say about them?
There are two main methods to be used with one's own mind:
1) Control of mind: When you use this method you restrain your mind at all cost by using different techniques. You may use the concentration on the image of a saint or different mudrā-s (seals) or anything else. You may go this way, but remember that it is very hard. To control the mind is a very difficult task indeed. However, it is possible if you make a strenuous effort under the guidance of an appropriate guru.
2) Understanding of mind: This is an easier method. You do not restrain your mind, but rather you consider it to be Śakti Herself having undergone a process of successive contractions or limitations. Still, Śakti remains the same. You do not see mere thoughts but the Divine Power playing a role. Śakti apparently becomes your mind and plays this role for Her delight. And Her delight is Your delight if you possess the right viewpoint. You do not fight against the mind anymore. You keep beholding it and taking pleasure in its movements. This is Śivadṛṣṭi (the vision of Śiva). However, this viewpoint is a gift of the Divine Grace of Śiva. It can be practiced thought, but lastly it is God Himself who bestows His vision on you. When you receive this particular point of view, you realize that there was never a God other than You. At that moment, you realize your inherent unity with Śiva. And this is Enlightment or Final Liberation.
In sum, even though Śāktopāya has predominantly to do with Mantra, there is also room for the method of understanding one's mind. That is, Mantra is the primary method of Śāktopāya, and the "Understanding of mind" is a subsidiary one. Of course, the frontier between the two methods is indistinct, because one method is mixed up with the other somewhat.
Important: Go to Trika 4 (English) when you need, in order to fully understand what I am about to teach you.
There are two impurities: "Āṇavamala and Kārmamala". The first one brings about the notion of imperfection, of not being the Supreme Being, while the latter generates the notion of being a limited doer. How and where are those impurities born? They are born from Śiva. And, since Śiva is Me, I am lastly responsible for their birth. I delude myself so that the play of the world is manifested.
The first impurity or mala arises between the fifth and sixth tattva-s. It restrains, as to speak, my realization that "I am Śiva". To go beyond Āṇavamala the Divine Grace is the only way. You cannot go through it by mere meditation techniques or anything else. No matter how hard your effort may be, you will not be able to cross by your personal efforts. It is only Śiva's Grace the path to tread. No way out, except Anugraha or Śiva's Grace. When the yogī has overcome all his limitations, just Āṇavamala stands between him and Śiva. Then he should practice vigilance. This is Śāmbhavopāya. I like to compare the aforesaid vigilance to a person awaiting at the Heaven's gates. This person must be patient and remain vigilant. When the doors are opened just a little bit, he should make the most of that chance and go in quickly enough before they are shut up again. The method is simple here: "To remain vigilant without sleeping (spiritually speaking, of course) and to make the most of any chance to go in". As I said before: this is Śāmbhavopāya. One upāya leads to the other. Śāktopāya should lead you to Śāmbhavopāya ultimately.
However, you are now in Śāktopāya attempting to free yourself from the limitations and impurities. Let's study the second impurity now: Kārmamala. This mala brings about the notion of doership in you. It is formed from a link among Āṇavamala y Kalākañcuka [I recommed you to visit my page Trika 4 (English) right now]. Kalākañcuka is a Kañcuka or sheath of ignorance. It is a limited form of Kriyāśakti or Power of Action having undergone contraction. In short, Kalā makes me just a little bit conscious of the power which was firstly contracted by Āṇavamala. It is something like this:
You had one million dollars. All of a sudden, a couple thieves take all your money. However, one of them gives you back one dollar for you to take a bus and return your home. This apparently compassionate thief is Kalā (tattva 7), and the other is Āṇavamala. Got it?
So, the equation is simple:
Āṇavamala + Kalākañcuka = Kārmamala
We replace now the respective notions inoculated by them for their Sanskrit names:
I am imperfect + I am limited in respect of action = I am a doer of good and evil deeds
As I told you previously, it is impossible to overcome Āṇavamala by personal efforts. So, your attention should be paid to both Kalākañcuka and Kārmamala. To annul the equation you may start with Kalākañcuka or with Kārmamala. You choose your way, friend.
1) Karmayoga is a good path to get rid of "Kārmamala" (the root of Karma). The foremost teaching in Karmayoga is that you are not a doer, just the Supreme Being is the Doer of everything. You learn to separate your "I" from the action. Ultimately, you realize that "you" do not exist at all. Just He is. When you are so transparent and light, you feel that you are a tool of the Supreme Will. You do not feel a doer of good and evil deeds any longer. Thus you overcome the Karma's law, because it needs a "doer" to work. And now, since there is no doer in you, there is no Karma. And because no Karma does exist, no Kārmamala is there either. Got the point?
2) Mantrayoga, the primary method in Śāktopāya, is a good path to get rid of "Kalākañcuka". The Mantra repetition generates Mantric Power or Mantravīrya. As I repeat the Mantra, I become gradually conscious of my inherent Omnipotence. Mantravīrya is a synonymous with Mantraśakti. When I realize my absolute Power of Action or Kriyāśakti, then Kalākañcuka is weakened and the previous equation is lastly annulled. This is an indirect manner to overcome Kārmamala too.
When I overcome Kārmamala at last (directly or indirectly), I enter Śāmbhavopāya (The way of Will). As I said before, you remain vigilant in this upāya. You are waiting for a chance to go in when the doors are opened a little. To go in is the same thing as to experience Śuddhavidyā or Pure Knowledge. When Śuddhavidyā arises in you, you have entered the Divine Kingdom, be sure.
In turn, Śuddhavidyā is awakened by Bhāvanā, as to speak. Bhāvanā is that "Creative Contemplation" which gives rise to Śuddhavidyā or Pure Knowledge. It is like a diver finding and taking a treasure up to the surface. And Bhāvanā comes from Sattarka or the correct thoughts about the real nature of the Mantra, You and Śiva. In sum:
MANTRA + SATTARKA lead to BHĀVANĀ
Afterward, Bhāvanā awakens the essential Śuddhavidyā in you and the Enlightment or Liberation is at hand. After that, nothing else can be said.
The subsidiary method in Śāktopāya is the understanding of one's mind. You cease fighting against your mind and begin considering it to be Śakti Herself. This generates enormous Joy in you. Your mind is no longer the enemy to be defeated, but rather a good friend who had been mistaken for an enemy because of sheer ignorance. This is really a way out for us all. Nevertheless, this understanding comes from Śiva Himself. Without His Grace it is impossible to have this standpoint in respect of the mind. You are now learning this method and this is also Śiva's Grace, got it?
Well, I will give you a final techniques now for you to practice:
These are three techniques belonging to Śāktopāya. Have fun!
निजदेहे सर्वदिक्कं युगपद्भावयेद्वियत्।
निर्विकल्पमनास्तस्य वियत्सर्वं प्रवर्तते॥४३॥
Nijadehe sarvadikkaṁ yugapadbhāvayedviyat|
Nirvikalpamanāstasya viyatsarvaṁ pravartate||43||
(If) in one's (nija) body (dehe), one contemplates (bhāvayet) over the spatial vacuity (viyat) in all directions (sarvadikkam) simultaneously (yugapad) with a mind (manāḥ) free from thoughts (nirvikalpa), the Complete (sarvam) Vacuity (viyat) comes about (pravartate) to him (tasya).
"In all directions simultaneously" means "without succession". You should feel the spatial vacuity in all directions and without succession. That is, you experience it instantaneously, not gradually, step by step. And the phrase "the Complete Vacuity comes about to him" means "he experiences Absolute Void all around". And this Absolute Void is really the unlimited space of Supreme Consciousness.
There are two conditions to succeed in this practice:
1) yugapat (simultaneously). Remember: It is all at the same time, not stage after stage. You feel the void without succession.
2) nirvikalpamanāḥ (with a mind free from thoughts). To succeed in the technique your mind should be still enough before. A good method to achieve this is to concentrate on the breath. Every time you are sitting for meditation, begin your practice by concentrating on your breath. This concentration stills the mind. Afterward, you may do the aforesaid practice or any other one.
Although the unlimited space of Supreme Consciousness is known as an Absolute or Complete Vacuity, is full of Consciousness. It is not nothingness. It is devoid of knowable objects but filled with the Subject or Śiva.
तनूदेशे शून्यतेव क्षणमात्रं विभावयेत्।
निर्विकल्पं निर्विकल्पो निर्विकल्पस्वरूपभाक्॥४६॥
Tanūdeśe śūnyateva kṣaṇamātraṁ vibhāvayet|
Nirvikalpaṁ nirvikalpo nirvikalpasvarūpabhāk||46||
(If) with a mind free from thoughts (nirvikalpam), one contemplates (vibhāvayet) over a part (deśe) of his body (tanū) as (iva) void (śūnyatā) just for a little while (kṣaṇamātram), he would become liberated from thoughts (nirvikalpaḥ) and dwell (bhāk) in the very nature (svarūpa) of Nirvikalpa --the thought-free state-- (nirvikalpa).
You contemplate over a part or region of your own body as void now. At the beginning, you practice this technique just for a little while. As you practice it more and more, you become liberated from thoughts and attain to the Śiva's state, which is free from any thoughts. The real "You" or Śiva is beyond mental processes. No thought can contain Him because He is the original source of mind. He is the root of all thought and not a mere mental object. He is indescribable because of His thought-free state. And He is You. When you realize this, you experience immense peace and bliss. It is that simple.
एवमेव जगत्सर्वं दग्धं ध्यात्वा विकल्पतः।
अनन्यचेतसः पुंसः पुम्भावः परमो भवेत्॥५३॥
Evameva jagatsarvaṁ dagdhaṁ dhyātvā vikalpataḥ|
Ananyacetasaḥ puṁsaḥ pumbhāvaḥ paramo bhavet||53||
Thus (evam eva), when someone meditates (dhyātvā) --with an onepointed (ananya) mind (cetasā)-- by imagining (vikalpataḥ) that the entire (sarvam) world (jagat) is being burnt (dagdham); in such a person (puṁsaḥ), the highest (paramaḥ) state (bhāvaḥ) of man (pum) appears (bhavet).
The image of the world being completely burnt makes your mind thought-free. The disappearance of the world is symbolic of the absence of knowable objects. When there is nothing to know, mind becomes introverted. And at that moment of absortion, you attain to the Śiva's state which is called here "the highest state of man". Even though it seems that a person attains to Śiva, you should not forget that he is always Śiva. In fact, everyone is Śiva.
When mind frees itself from thoughts just Śiva is left. So, try to make your mind devoid of thoughts. When you succeed in doing this, you will attain to Him who was always You, though. A paradox.
Śāktopāya is based on Śakti's viewpoint. Śakti is the Power of Śiva, is the "AM" in the Supreme "I AM", is I-consciousness. Through a process of successive contractions She is apparently transformed into all this universe. It is only an appearance because She is always Śakti and did not undergo any process of transformation.
This upāya has two methods: Mantra and understanding of one's mind. Mantra is predominant, of course, but the second method is very important too. Through Mantra repetition one human being comes to realize that he is Śiva Himself and not a limited person. Śiva-Śakti are the essential nature in everyone. When a person discovers his real Self, is filled with peace and bliss. Peace and bliss are a synonymous with Śiva-Śakti.
Śāktopāya uses Jñānaśakti or Power of Knowledge. One has to learn how to pronounce the Mantra properly. He also must learn how his mind works. Of course, one should learn from his guru's lips, books, "websites" (haha!) or any other media, as much as he can about the Mantra subject. The more he knows about the Mantra, the more quickly he will advance in Śāktopāya. A true knowledge of mind's nature is indispensable too. Although this upāya appears to be based on the Mantra, it is really based on Śakti Herself (hence its name: Śāktopāya) or I-consciousness because Śakti is the generative source of all mantra-s.
Well, this document is finished. Meditate and attain to Śiva right now, dear "Śiva".
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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