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 Trika 5 - Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir

Individual soul and undifferentiated matter; inner psychic organ


 Introduction

Hi, this is Gabriel Pradīpaka once again. This is the fifth document of the series. We are going to study five important tattva-s now.

Since we have not still arrived at the physical world, these tattva-s to be analyzed may be divided into two categories: the first two are causals, and the last three pertaining to the psychic organ.

Through the constant influence of Māyā, these tattva-s come to be manifested and with them the seed for the actual physical world has been sown.

One advise: If you didn't read any or all previous documents of this Trika section, read them before reading this one or you will not understand the teachings properly. Here you are the links to the previous documents: Trika 1 (English), Trika 2 (English), Trika 3 (English) and Trika 4 (English). Let us get down to work.

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 Individual soul and undifferentiated matter

Now that I (Śiva) am using the spectacles of limitation, just one more thing is needed for me to be completely fettered: MĀYĪYAMALA. When this mala or impurity appears, I feel that:

I AM DIFFERENT AND SEPARATED FROM THE THINGS,
AND THESE ARE DIFFERENT AND SEPARATED FROM EACH OTHER.

"Diference" is not a synonymous with "separation" in Trika. In the first two tattva-s (Śiva and Śakti) there was neither difference nor separation because Śiva was alone with no universe to behold. From the third tattva (Sadāśiva) to the fifth one (Sadvidyā), there was an incipient universe. This universe was experienced as a "different" entity but no "separation" existed. Śiva beheld that primal universe feeling complete unity with it, that is, He was different from the universe but was not separated from it at all anyway. The tattva-s 6 to 11 (Māyā and her respective Kañcuka-s) inoculated apparently the notion of separation into the Supreme Being (You) and consequently He came to experience separation apart from difference. From the twelfth tattva down to the last one, Śiva feels both difference and separation. Therefore, difference and separation are not the same thing in Trika. You may feel difference and unity at the same time. The experience of separation comes when the previous unity has been torn asunder. Māyā and Kañcuka-s are not interested in making you experience just difference, because this experience already was in tattva-s 3 to 5. No, their primordial purpose is to make you feel separation from the entire universe. Thus, the cosmic play may be subsequently evolved. Simple.

Māyīyamala is that impurity (mala) which is derived from Māyā (hence its name: Māyīya or also Māyīka). This mala is nothing but Śiva's Jñānaśakti (power of knowledge) being contracted. This power of knowledge adopted a first contraction in the form of Vidyākañcuka (tattva 8) and now it adopts one more contraction in the form of Māyīyamala. This is not its last contraction anyway, because more contractions of it are left. I will study them later on.

In turn, Icchāśakti (power of will) experienced an abrupt contraction in the form of Āṇavamala (between the fifth and sixth tattva-s) and then it contracted itself again giving rise thereby to the Rāgakañcuka (tattva 9). Finally, Kriyāśakti adopted a contraction in the form of Kārmamala when Māyātattva was manifested, and afterward it contracted itself once again giving rise thereby to the Kalākañcuka (tattva 7). As you know, Kalākañcuka is the tattva which gives me back just a little bit power that I lost in Āṇavamala's hands.

When Śiva (You) that is merely pure Consciousness goes through the grinding stones of Māyā and Kañcuka-s, comes to consider Himself to be a Puruṣa. This is the twelfth tattva. The word Puruṣa might be translated into "individual soul". This is approximated anyway. One thing that you "must" understand is the following: Śiva (the real You) willingly assumes contraction. There is no Māyā apart from Himself making Him a limited soul. It is just a play. Śiva is full of sense of humor and fun. He should not be thought of as a solemn Supreme Being. He is playful and all the time wants to have fun. He became you and me and the entire universe just to experience Joy. This has to be understood thoroughly to be able to keep studying Trika properly.

In beholding the entire panorama of the universe which was firstly experienced in absolute unity with me (in Sadāśiva, Īśvara and Sadvidyā tattva-s), I note now that, due to my self-limitation, it shines forth only as an indistinct form composed of undifferentiated matter. I feel separation in respect to this indistinct universe. My brand-new state is as that of Sadāśiva (tattva 3), but there is now a new component: "separation and cease of the awareness of unity". In the waking state I experience a trace of this condition of an indistinct universe separated from me. For example, in the field of vision, you may find that trace when you look out of the corners of your eyes.

In Sadāśiva (tattva 3) I felt complete unity with that indistinct universe, but not at this level. That is the difference. I am now Puruṣa (tattva 12) and the undifferentiated matter is Prakṛti (tattva 13), but what is really Prakṛti? I will explain this to you right now. Pay attention:

In Sadāśiva I experience myself as Śiva. Nevertheless, when I go through all limitations I end up experiencing myself as Puruṣa. The indistinct universe pertaining to Sadāśivatattva is transformed into Prakṛti. Since that indistinct universe is nothing but pure Śakti, Prakṛti lastly arises from Śakti Herself as everything else. When Śakti begins Her play, the first sentiment that I (Śiva) experience is that of absolute unity with Her. She is the perceivable universe and I am the perceiver. Despite the difference, there is no separation. However, after the operation of limitations (Mala-s, Māyā and Kañcuka-s) I come to think that I am separated from Her. The indistinct universe which was previously perceived in complete unity with me is now a mass of undifferentiated matter called Prakṛti.

The power of Śakti makes possible that which is impossible. She does not need to change the universe into something separated from Śiva. She only inoculates the notion of separation into Him. It is that simple. That is why the universe never underwent any transformation. It is Herself (Śakti) forever. The universe is just the false notion of the self-deluded Śiva. Neither there was nor there is nor there will be a universe separated from Śiva. It is only Śakti forever. In fact, She cannot be named "a universe" either. She is pure Consciousness and never was transformed into anything else. If you can understand this subtle teaching, you will save time and effort. This teaching is the core of Trika:

The Lord remains the same, and no universe "separated" from Him has ever arisen. It is just the false notion inoculated by the limitations which is responsible for this apparent separation.

So, the spiritual path according to Trika is one of "recognition" (pratyabhijñā) of this truth. Nothing else is necessary if one develops proper discernment about the real nature of everthing. Prakṛti consists of the very three śakti-s or powers of which the tattva-s 3 to 5 were composed. Those three śakti-s are: Icchāśakti (power of will), Jñānaśakti (power of knowledge) and Kriyāśakti (power of action). The three already had undergone some contractions in the form of Mala-s (Āṇava, Māyīya and Kārma), Kañcuka-s (Rāga, Vidyā and Kalā), and now they undergo one more contraction in the form of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.

Sattva, Rajas and Tamas are "Guṇa-s" or qualities. If you add "Guṇa" to Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, you will note that the last two are changed firstly into "Rajo" and "Tamo" due to a rule of Sandhi or Combination (See Combination documents in "Sanskrit" section). Therefore, the three words with "Guṇa" added to them are as follows:

Sattvaguṇa, Rajoguṇa and Tamoguṇa

You might use only Sattva, Rajas or Tamas if you wish so anyway. The crucial point is to understand that those three Guṇa-s are not a "new" creation but the previous forces having undergone contraction. The following table shows in simple terms how Jñānaśakti, Icchāśakti and Kriyāśakti were changed into Sattvaguṇa, Rajoguṇa and Tamoguṇa respectively.

Icchāśakti is transformed into Rajas or Rajoguṇa
Jñānaśakti is transformed into Sattva or Sattvaguṇa
Kriyāśakti is transformed into Tamas or Tamoguṇa

In the waking state these Guṇa-s are in a unbalanced condition, but in Prakṛti they are perfectly balanced. We might state that Prakṛti is really the three Guṇa-s in complete equilibrium. When the Guṇa-s lose their balance, the rest of the tattva-s (right from 14 to 36) become manifest. In fact, we might assert that these very tattva-s are nothing but different mixtures of Guṇa-s. This viewpoint reduces the entire universal manifestation (from the tattva 14 down to 36) to three forces. Interesting!

The Guṇa-s appear in a definite sequence: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. However, as I said that they are contractions of three higher powers, they are really Jñānaśakti, Icchāśakti and Kriyāśakti respectively. Note that the sequence of the latter has changed if compared to the previous table. The table follows the sequence in which Sadāśiva (Icchāśakti), Īśvara (Jñānaśakti) and Sadvidyā (Kriyāśakti) tattva-s are manifested. They are the tattva-s 3, 4 and 5 respectively. Look the following table to understand what I have just said. On this table, the order to be followed is that of the Guṇa-s:

Jñānaśakti (4th tattva) is transformed into Sattva or Sattvaguṇa
Icchāśakti (3rd tattva) is transformed into Rajas or Rajoguṇa
Kriyāśakti (5th tattva) is transformed into Tamas or Tamoguṇa

You surely note something strange: "When the order of the Guṇa-s is correct, the one of the Jñāna, Icchā and Kriyā śakti-s is altered". You may notice that something is apparently wrong: "4th tattva, 3rd tattva and 5th tattva". No, nothing is wrong. I will explain this mystery to you right now. Listen:

The tattva-s 3, 4 and 5 (Sadāśiva, Īśvara and Sadvidyā), which are formed from Icchā, Jñāna and Kriyā śakti-s, follow a specific order that is in accordance with how the Supreme Consciousness works. On the other hand, the Guṇa-s Sattva, Rajas and Tamas follow a particular order that is in accordance with how the lower and limited consciousness works. One more table for you to understand what I meant:

ORDER OF MANIFESTATION IN THE SUPREME CONSCIOUSNESS ORDER OF MANIFESTATION IN THE LOWER AND LIMITED CONSCIOUSNESS
Icchāśakti (3rd tattva) Sattva or Sattvaguṇa (Jñānaśakti contracted)
Jñānaśakti (4th tattva) Rajas or Rajoguṇa (Icchāśakti contracted)
Kriyāśakti (5th tattva) Tamas or Tamoguṇa (Kriyāśakti contracted)

So what? What does all this mean? It means the following:

When the Supreme Being manifests the universe, He follows this sequence: Icchā (will), Jñāna (knowledge) and Kriyā (action). You may say, "so what?" I will use common words now to describe the process of manifestation by the Highest Consciousness or Paramaśiva:

The Supreme Being wants to manifest a universe. This is His Icchāśakti or power of will. Then, He plans or knows how to do it. This is His Jñānaśakti or power of knowledge. And at last He actually does it. This is His Kriyāśakti or power of action. The order is "wants, knows, does".

On the contrary, the order followed by the lower and limited consciousness is somewhat different. Firstly one has to have a previous knowledge which is used as a base. The limited being cannot desire something "original" because he needs always a previous knowledge. For example, if you invented a particular device, you did it by basing your investigations on a knowledge that existed before your desire of creating that device. It is easy to understand. So, in any creation done by a limited being, the sequence is always: knowledge, will and action. In sum, the limited being has a previous knowledge on which his desire to create something is based. Then, he wants to create a certain thing. And at last he actually does it. So, the sequence is "knows, wants, does". You may wonder, why he is bound to follow the aforesaid order? The answer is obviously: the order of the Guṇa-s (Sattva, Rajas, Tamas) makes him follow that order. The primal law of firstly knowledge, secondly will and lastly action is an all-pervading one in the realm comprising the tattva-s 14 to 36. It is impossible for a limited being (someone who is a puppet of his mind) to desire something without basing on a previous knowledge. Try to do it and you will see how difficult it is. Therefore, a good method to enter a higher consciousness is "to attempt" to imitate approximately how the Supreme Consciousness works. It is difficult if we use merely our ordinary mind, but uplifting if we develop a subtle discerment to do it.

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 Inner psychic organ

Antaḥkaraṇa or "the inner psychic organ" consists of Buddhi (intellect), Ahaṅkāra (ego) and Manas (mind). It is not as a cake composed of three portions but rather it should be considered to be one "only" entity playing a triple role. Yes, this is a good concept to fully understand what Antaḥkaraṇa is really and how it works within us.

Prakṛti is nothing but the three Guṇa-s in perfect balance. However, a first unbalance occurs: Sattva becomes predominant. Rajas and Tamas are still there, but they are not predominant. Buddhi or Mahat (according to Sāṅkhya system) is the name associated with that first lack of equilibrium regarding Guṇa-s.

Buddhi is the intellect. It is the fourteenth tattva (See Tattvic Chart). As it is predominantly sattvic, it reflects the pure Light of the inner Self. In other words, it acts as a mirror on which you can see the purity of your own Spirit. But you should not forget that the other two Guṇa-s are also a part of its nature. Thus, the mirror is not all the time completely limpid and crystalline. Here you are a simple chart with the three Guṇa-s and their characteristics:

GUṆA-S OR QUALITIES CHARACTERISTICS
Sattva or Sattvaguṇa
(Jñānaśakti contracted)
Lit. "(1) Existence, (2) Goodness". It is associated with the characteristics of illumination, knowledge, pleasure, purity, virtues and the like.
Rajas or Rajoguṇa
(Icchāśakti contracted)
Lit. "Passion". It is associated with the characteristics of movement, pain, anxiety, activity and the like.
Tamas or Tamoguṇa
(Kriyāśakti contracted)
Lit. "Darkness". It is associated with the characteristics of heaviness, inertia, dullness, indifference, laziness and the like.

The continuous mutation of the three Guṇa-s is the responsible for the likewise continuous mutation in Buddhi. You have surely noted that your intellect is not always "brilliant and pure". It is maybe so for a while. After that, it becomes cloudy and so many "crazy" ideas arise in it. The limited being does not know how to stop once and for all that endless mutation in the intellect. That conditioned person needs the help of new ideas, new knowledges, which will affect positively his intellect and finally stop the "mechanical" mutation. For example: if you contemplate continuously on the idea that "I am Śiva, I am the Self", your intellect will become sattvic because that idea is sattvic (See Śuddhavikalpa in Meditation 3). When the intellect is sattvic, the mutation slows down and lastly stops. At that moment, Buddhi is a clear mirror reflecting the pure Light of the Spirit. That is why the philosophical systems are very important. They give positive ideas to us so that the mutation of our Buddhi-s comes to an end.

When you can see the Spiritual Light of your own Self being reflected on Buddhi, you simply merge your limited being into that Supreme Being. You lose your separate identity from the Lord and become the Lord Himself. Paradoxically, you were always Him but somehow you failed to realize your innermost nature and assumed a false identity. That false identity is Gabriel (substitute your own name for Gabriel).

Gabriel is the ego or tattva 15. From the ego, Manas --the mind-- (and its Jñānendriya-s) and Karmendriya-s are derived. But, I will explain Jñānendriya-s and Karmendriya-s to you later. Ego is called Ahaṅkāra in Trika. "Aham" is "I" and "kāra" is "doer". In short, "I am a doer". Besides, from a technical viewpoint Ahaṅkāra is the aggregate of all Saṁskāra-s or impressions. Every act we do produces a subtle impression within us. However, do not worry about Saṁskāra-s for now. I will also explain this topic to you later on.

Ego is predominantly rajasic, that is, the qualities of passion, anxiety, desire and activity are predominant in it. As Rajas is really Icchāśakti (Power of Will) having undergone a process of contraction, the ego is completely "creative". From Ahaṅkāra, practically all remaining tattva-s will emanate. Although the ego is rather static, it contains immense activity inside. It is responsible for all that you experience in your day-to-day life. If you have ever played a computer game, you will surely understand what I mean. You play the game for a long time, you experience pleasure, frustration, joy, failure, etc. You have enemies to overcome, secret keys to find and all that. You roam hallways, courtyards, hills, castles, futuristic cities or anything else. However, all that is just the creation of the developer's mind. That developer makes your computer work in a particular way, and thus you are able to enjoy a computer game. Regarding this universe, which is a Divine Play, we could consider Śakti to be the developer, while Ahaṅkāra would be the computer. This is merely an analogy though.

All that is being perceived by you now is the Divine Play designed by Śakti and carried out by Ahaṅkāra. Māyīyamala makes you think that you are separated from everything and everybody. In turn, that mala brings about the notion of objects being separated from each other. Why does this happen? Because Śakti (the developer) designed the game like that, haha! Besides, Āṇavamala makes you feel that you are not Śiva. If you realize your true nature, the game would come to an end. Afterward, Kārmamala makes you feel that you are a doer, which prepares all for the arrival of Ahaṅkāra. When you get involved in the play of Kārmamala, you forget your real essence because of your being constantly worried about good and evil actions. Śiva (You) is not a doer, but somehow He is transformed into one due to Kārmamala.

So, Śakti has to write several lines with codes to give rise to the Mala-s, Kañcuka-s, ego, etc. She is all the time bewildering Her Husband (Śiva). That is Her Play and Cosmic Delight. In fact, Śiva and Śakti are not two entities but one. To understand Their Play, you will have to realize your unity with Them. When you realize that you are essentially Śiva-Śakti, you also understand the nature of this Divine Pastime. It cannot be apprehended by the ordinary mind, because this mind is a creation of Them. Got my point?

Ahaṅkāra gives birth to Manas (the ordinary mind) because it needs a means to control the Jñānendriya-s (Powers of Perception) and Karmendriya-s (Powers of Action), which are not still manifested. Then, the principal duty of Manas is to control the Indriya-s. See Tattvic Chart.

Manas (tattva 16) is also responsible for the flow of thoughts you experience constantly. If you try to stop that flow, you will note that you can only do this for a short period of time. There is a kind of pressure behind Manas giving rise to the thoughts. That pressure is Ahaṅkāra or ego. Ahaṅkāra is not composed of thoughts but impressions, which are the deep source of all those thoughts. At the same time, there is something that knows how this process is going on. That "something" is Buddhi or intellect. It reflects the pure Light of the inner Self who is a Witness to all mental processes.

Manas is simply composed of thoughts. It is tamasic. Tamas is a contraction of the Power of Action (Kriyāśakti). There are lots of activity in Manas, but that activity is performed in the darkness (Tamas) of ignorance. Observe your ordinary thoughts, that is, almost all your psychic life. You will realize that they are both active and dull. By "dull" I mean that they lead you to nowhere. It is just activity without any awareness of its origin, without rhyme or reason.

Buddhi knows how the mental processes go on because Sattva is predominant in it. Remember that Sattva is Power of Knowledge having undergone a contraction. Ahaṅkāra is creative, that is to say, it manifests thoughts after thoughts because Rajas is predominant in it. Remember that Rajas is Power of Will having undergone a contraction. And finally Manas is both active and dull because Tamas is predominant in it. Remember that Tamas is Power of Action having undergone a contraction. A simple chart now:

ANTAḤKARAṆA CONSISTING OF TATTVA-S 14, 15 & 16 GUṆA-S BEING PREDOMINANT CHARACTERISTICS OF THOSE TATTVA-S
Buddhi or intellect Sattva (a contraction of Jñānaśakti --the Power of Knowledge--) It is the knowing aspect of Antaḥkaraṇa or Inner Psychical Organ because it is as a mirror reflecting the inner Self who is a Witness to all our activities.
Ahaṅkāra or ego Rajas (a contraction of Icchāśakti --the Power of Will--) It is the creative aspect of Antaḥkaraṇa or Inner psychic Organ because it is a mass of impressions (Saṁskāra-s) acting as seeds which give rise to the vast majority of our thoughts.
Manas or mind Tamas (a contraction of Kriyāśakti --the Power of Action--) It is the active as well as dull aspect of Antaḥkaraṇa or Inner Psychic Organ because it is composed of turbulent thoughts which are not mostly able to lead you somewhere. By "somewhere" I mean "a true spiritual development".

The physical universe has not been still manifested. After Manas, four sets of five tattva-s each will have to be manifested in order that the entire universe is fully unfolded. Nonetheless, I will talk about those 4 sets of 5 tattva-s each on next document.

The process of involution of Śakti into the matter is simultaneously a process of universal evolution. The real unfoldment occurs from Śiva (You) down to the last tattva (tattva 36), but in the day-to-day life one tends to perceive the opposite. You surely perceive that the impressions (images, sounds, odors, etc.) enter your system and produce an effect there. It is as a rebound: you manifest all, but at the same time you experience that all is affecting you from the outside, haha! Good joke! It is just as a wave turning back into the ocean from which it came, but paradoxically the ocean feels moved and affected for that backward movement of the wave, hehe! The following explanation of other functions of Buddhi, Ahaṅkāra and Manas will be related to the aforesaid backward movement of Śakti. In other words, I will consider that something is entering your system from "the outside" (which is lastly your own manifestation). To make things easier: I will use the "common and ordinary" viewpoint, according to which there is a reality out there being perceived by you and affecting you too. Let us down to work:

You see a dog and say: "That is a dog". Great!, but how did you do that? The process is not a simple one. As it occurs at tremendous velocity, you take it for granted. In fact, you surely take most miracles in your life for granted, and this behaviour is synonymous with "ignorance". Look at your hands and do not take them for granted. Do not think: "Oh, they are simply two hands". Ponder over the mystery hidden behind your hands. This is a good practice for you.

Back to the dog, I will teach you now how the process of perception really happens within your Antaḥkaraṇa:

(1) Cakṣus or Cakṣurindriya (power of seeing --see "Cakṣus" in Tattvic Chart) operating through your eyes produces a faded and inverted 2D image of a dog on the retina.

(2) Manas, which controls Cakṣus and the rest of Indriya-s, straightens and colors that 2D image of a dog.

(3) Ahaṅkāra takes that 2D image and searches for a similar image in its 3D library. When the ego finds one, it compares both of them. At the moment it does so, the 2D image is transformed into a 3D one. Thus, the dog image becomes endowed with volume through that process of comparison.

(4) Buddhi, take the brand-new 3D image and assign a name to it ("dog") after searching for a suitable label in its own library.

So, you are able to affirm: "That is a dog". Note that if Ahaṅkāra would not exist, you would see the world in two dimensions only. In turn, if Buddhi would not exist you actually would see a 3D world, but you would not be able to affirm what a particular thing is. It would be a world of people not knowing how to name the things. Strange! That is why the world is lastly the creation of Antaḥkaraṇa. You are not really perceiving something outside, but your own mental contents. In fact, one could wonder: "Is there actually a reality out there or is everything a mental world as a dream in wakefulness?" Interesting! Well, find yourself the answer. This teaching is a key to final Liberation if after reflecting on it for a long period of time you come to realize its true meaning. Use it wisely.

Of course, you may use this very framework to explain any other process of perception (olfactory, auditory, etc.), just substitute the respective Indriya which is used (power of smelling, hearing and so on) for Cakṣus (power of seeing). Good!

Another chart now to summarize the fourfold process of perception (from a visual viewpoint this time):

STEPS IN THE PROCESS OF PERCEPTION DESCRIPTION
(1) Perceiving a faded and inverted 2D image Cakṣus (the power of seeing) operating through one's own eyes places a faded and inverted 2D image of a dog on the retina.
(2) Straightening and coloring that 2D image Manas straightens and colors that gross 2D image which was supplied by Cakṣus.
(3) Transforming the 2D image into a 3D one Ahaṅkāra compares the 2D image of a dog with one of its own library. Thus, a brand-new 3D image of a dog emerges magically.
(4) Placing a convenient label on the brand-new 3d image Buddhi assigns a suitable lable ("dog") to that brand-new 3D image of a dog.
In fact, your intellect could assign an entire set of labels to the dog: "That is a dog... hmmm... a fox terrier indeed!" Note that "hmmm". In that short period of time, Buddhi was searching for the label "fox terrier" in its library. It is somewhat slow sometimes, haha! If you know a great deal of names, that indicates that your Buddhi has an enormous library of labels. However, to know names does not mean "to understand" that which is designated by them. Remember this.

This process of perception is ocurring constantly in your life. Attempt to grasp how wonderful and miraculous it is. Only a Divine Being could create so marvelous process, and that Divine Being is You!

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Concluding remarks

I am really glad because after studying this document you are now a little closer to Enlightenment and a little farther from ignorance. Knowledge is a tremendous power when is put into action. You should apply this power to the development of consciousness. Firstly free yourself from your own fetters and then help everyone who also wants to become free from bondage. Still, do not forget that both Liberation and bondage are lastly the Divine Play of Śiva (You yourself!).

Next document will deal with the remaining tattva-s: Jñānendriya-s (Powers of Perception), Karmendriya-s (Powers of Action), Tanmātra-s (Subtle Elements) and Mahābhūta-s (Gross Elements). It will be a great document indeed!

Be happy and free forever. See you!

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 Further Information

Gabriel Pradīpaka

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

For further information about Sanskrit, Yoga and Indian Philosophy; or if you simply want to comment, ask a question or correct a mistake, feel free to contact us: This is our e-mail address.