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This is the second 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.
I continue explaining the Power of the Self—
After that first Vibration in the form of I-consciousness, His Power becomes threefold||5||
At first, the Power of the Self appears as I-consciousness; after that, It becomes trividhā (or) triple in the form of Will, Knowledge (and) Action for manifestation, maintenance (and) withdrawal of the universe. "Power of Will, Power of Knowledge and Power of Action", these three Powers are not separate from the Power of the Self but (they are) rather Its --of the Power of the Self-- functions. When the Power of the Self wishes to manifest the universe, this ardent desire (is) Its Power of Will. When the Power of the Self says: "I will make it this way", this determination or resoluteness (is) Its Power of Knowledge. When the Power of the Self makes the universe according to Its own Will, this act (is) carried out by Its Power of Action1 .
That very Power of the Self which exhibits this universe, transforms the unlimited Self, by means of multiple impurities (and) sheaths of Māyā, into a limited individual endowed with ego. As this limited individual or atomic self always wanders from this thought to that thought, from this body to that body, and so on and on, (he is) saṁsārī or a transmigratory soul indeed. Therefore, the Self whose nature is Truth, through His very Power, appears as an atomic self in the field of limitation. The atomic self is like air in a pot covered by a hermetic lid. Although the air contained in that pot is doubtless the same as all air (around), even so it (is) incapacitated and unfit because (it is) confined (and) limited by the pot all the time. When this limited individual or atomic self becomes an aspirant in Trika philosophy, then he is taught by the spiritual teacher that his own essential nature is the Self. Nevertheless, because of incapacity and unfitness of this beginner pupil, he does not understand that great teaching according to its true meaning. From that lack of understanding, the final result is a long series of useless and nonsensical questions. Now, I present as examples these questions:
"If I (am) the Self, why do I experience suffering?", "If I (am) the Self, why am I frightened?", "If I (am) the Self, why can I not fly?", "If I (am) the Self, why am I not rich?", "If I (am) the Self, why can I not translate Sanskrit scriptures into English?", "If I (am) the Self, why do I have a sore throat?", "If I (am) the Self, why did I allow myself to be bound by my own Power? --i.e. why did I allow my own Power to bind me?--", "If I (am) the Self, why do I need a spiritual teacher?", etc.2 .
The answer being given to that long series of questions (asked) by the beginner pupil (is) this --i.e. this is the answer to that long series of questions asked by the beginner pupil--: "Who asks?". The Self, whose nature (is) the Highest Truth, does not ask all those questions, because He never experiences fear, suffering or uncertainty. In this way, the one who asks all that (is) the atomic self who is bound by the Power of the Self and is endowed with ego. This atomic self, previously mentioned as air in a pot covered by a hermetic lid, constantly yells: "Since I (am) air, I should blow like a hurricane. Still, I cannot blow in that way!". Even though there are a lot of protests on the part of that beginner pupil, even so he achieves nothing due to his incapacity. Real doing (is) only performed by the Power of the Self, which is replete with omnipotence, and never by the atomic self that is an invent of this Power3 .
When this beginner pupil acquires more experience (and) knowledge, then he understands that, by the idea or fancy that one possesses knowledge appearing as mere words, Liberation from bondage is not at all obtained, without doubt. After all, all the beings are the Self! — So? Thus, the aspirant desists from that foolish reasoning performed by an incompetent intellect, and he proceeds to do quickly whatever he needs to do for attaining his Liberation. Here --in this context--, attainment of Liberation (is), in the highest sense, real accomplishment. Without accumulating experience (and) merit, a spiritual aspirant is devoid of sādhanāśakti or the power of practice, and his accomplishment, from a spiritual viewpoint, is not far-reaching. Just as the Self becomes limited of His own Free Will, even so He becomes freed from all that bondage by His own Will too, certainly. In the example mentioned previously, Will of the Self in the form of Grace (is) that which, having taking off the pot's lid, sets the air inside free from (its) confinement. When that lid, whose essence is contraction/limitation, is removed by the touch of the Self, this atomic self, (who is) now like air that has been released, experiences, for the first time, Love whose form (is) his own essential nature. When contraction/limitation disappears, the atomic self, having achieved complete Liberation, becomes the Supreme Self in person, and from now on he is known as a high-souled one4 .
However, Liberation is always produced in conformity with the intensity of the descent of Power --i.e. Grace's bestowal--. If the descent of Power (is) extremely intense, the spiritual aspirant becomes Videhamukta --viz. one who attains Liberation and leaves at once his physical body-- immediately, no doubt (about it); and if the descent of Power is not extremely intense, then there is Jīvanmukti --i.e. Liberation without death of the physical body-- instead of Videhamukti --viz. Liberation with death of the physical body--. Whether the liberated one abandons or does not abandon the body, all that seems the same to him. Moreover, his intellect (is) at last competent for examining the Highest Reality indeed. In the stage of beginner pupil, his previous reasoning (was): "As I (am) the Self, I do not need to do anything". Nonetheless, after having attained Liberation consisting in a complete recognition of his own Self who is a mass of Absolute Freedom (and) Joy, his thought (is) now: "As I (am) the Self, I do not need to do anything, but I will certainly do, to the utmost of my power, all that is to be done in order to assist others". The high-souled one thinks so because this very Self (is) always ready for bestowing infinite Grace upon fit aspirants. The free person, by dwelling in the Supreme Truth, does not ever oppose the universe manifested by His glorious Power, and in this way he gets absorbed into a perpetual trance full of the blessed Self, in (a trance) that is not gone even when the body falls --when it dies--; there is no doubt (about it)5 ||5||
1 After appearing as I-consciousness, the Power of the Self becomes threefold in the form of Powers of Will, Knowledge and Action. These three Powers are not separate "creations" but rather functions of the very Power of the Self. Its ardent desire to manifest the universe is Its Power of Will. Its Power of Knowledge is the plan that "I will make the universe in this manner". Its Power of Action is the one that finally transforms Its desire and plan into a concrete universe, which is completely "real" (never illusory or unreal) because emanated from the Real Power of the Self. For more information, read Trika 3.
2 The Power of the Self not only manifests the entire universe but also It manufactures the limited individual who is atomic in size. It does so through multiple impurities (mala-s) and sheaths of Māyā (generating difference or duality). For more information about this, read Trika 4. This atomic self is the Supreme Self but appearing without His inherent Fullness in the field of limitation. You do not need to go too far to see him in person. Just take a mirror and watch (no jokes). These teachings sometimes might look like related to "someone else", but NO, they are always related to the "reader". If the reader cannot get that, he or she cannot make the most of his/her reading. So, it is always about you, reader, and not about a remote Supreme Self who became an atomic self in some distant region of this galaxy, etc. When the reader is able to relate all these teachings to himself, they make sense and are useful. If these teachings are regarded as relating to "somebody else", they are unfruitful and useless.
The examples are always "approximate" and never "identical" with the real situation. That of the air contained in a hermetically closed pot is handy in order to understand the exact position of a limited individual (a. k. a. atomic self). When an atomic self is initiated by a Trika teacher (in fact, the same thing occurs in any spiritual path based on nondualism), he is taught that "he is identical with the Supreme Self". As he is limited by his own incapacity and unfitness, he mistakes the real meaning of the teaching for something else. The final result is a long series of internal and external debates replete with doubts about "If I am the Self, why...?". This is pretty normal in regard to beginners in Trika. In the end, the pupil is little by little led to the acquisition of a new type of intellect by which he will be able to reason adequately. The intellect of the beginner pupils is not fit for reasoning about the Highest Reality because of its inherent limitation. If it were "fit", he would not be a beginner pupil at all, right? In the end, if the pupil is not conduced to the obtainment of a higher intellect and consequently keeps reasoning by the lower intellect, only the teacher is the one to be blamed.
If the spiritual teacher treats his beginner pupils as people devoid of limitation, he is not a good teacher. For example: If he teaches his beginner pupils "like a parrot" that "You are the Self", and at the same time he does not understand that those pupils cannot fully get such a teaching, he is not an adequate teacher. Spiritual teachers dealing with beginner pupils as if these pupils were Abhinavagupta himself in person, are never good teachers. As you surely know (or maybe not), Abhinavagupta is the greatest Trika teacher of all times. In this way, the teacher "must" understand that those pupils, being atomic selves, will take his teachings through their limited egos and not through a massive experience of the Self. If the teacher does not understand that, he is not mature enough as to be a spiritual teacher really. If the spiritual path were only related to "statements", books would be more than enough to attain Final Liberation. But in practice, those atomic selves appearing as beginner pupils will have to make a lot of efforts in the right direction before they can get a glimpse of what teachings such as "I am the Self" really mean/imply. Mere egos will say: "Oh, I am the Self", but being without real experience of the Self, they will continue to be so limited as before. If the teacher is good enough, he will lead those atomic selves to the possession of a higher kind of intellect. Through this top-notch intellect, they will be able to examine the Supreme Truth from an adequate perspective. In the end, this high-quality intellect will lead a pupil to Self-realization, i.e. to Final Liberation in the form of a recognition of his own Self. If the teacher does not know how to conduce his pupils to that type of intellect, he is only a source of information and not a real spiritual teacher. In this case, I do not see the point of being with such a teacher except for mere accumulation of knowledge. It is never enough to know that "I am the Self", but one must be able to experience that teaching thoroughly.
3 The Self never asks about His suffering, fear or uncertainty. He is immaculate and real in the highest sense of word. He has nothing to do with all those doubts raised by the beginner pupil. It is just ego or I-ness based on the identification with a physical body that is interested in all those things such as suffering, fear and uncertainty. This limited ego continuously protests, but his protest does not change anything regarding his limitation. Real doing is performed by the Power of the Self and not by Its invent (the atomic self or limited individual). Thus, if the limited self wants "to do" in a real manner, he must do so through the Power of the Self and not by himself. When the Power of the blessed Self remains available to a limited self, he is no more a limited self but the Self Himself. Availability of the Power of the Self is another name for Final Liberation (also known as spiritual enlightenment). If the Power of the Self is not available, the atomic self cannot do anything "really" because he is always dependant and not free in the truest sense. This teaching looks obscure when one is a beginner in spirituality, but it is completely clear in the final stages. Merely being the Self is not enough to have real Power then. One should have Self-realization or complete recognition of his own essential nature in order to recover his lost omnipotence. Difficult to explain in words, but simple to understand once the experience of the Self is within one's own reach.
4 When the pupil abandons the category of "a rookie" and acquires more experience and knowledge, then he finally gets that mere words will not make him a free person. At that moment, he stops his useless doubts and protests, and proceeds to make all that is necessary to do in order to have real "accomplishment" or "achievement", i.e. a real apprehension of his own spiritual nature. As he accumulates more experience and merit by meditating, chanting, serving his teacher, etc. he becomes fit to attain Final Liberation. My description is short but the process "generally" (viz. in the vast majority of the cases) takes a long time (years, decades or even lives). Pupils who are too prone to feel depression at the least failure will have to abandon that weak attitude or they will not be successful in getting Final Liberation from bondage, that is, they will remain limited selves or invents moving from one thought to another, from one experience to another, from one body to another, and so on.
When a pupil performs spiritual practices (meditation, chanting of mantra-s, service to the teacher or whatever his spiritual tradition prescribes for realizing the Self), he acquires a special power called "sādhanāśakti". The word "sādhanā" literally means "accomplishment, performance, worship, adoration, etc.", but in Yoga it is usually utilized as synonymous with "abhyāsa" (practice). As a pupil performs sādhanā, he gains that power and becomes different from another pupil who has just started the spiritual path. The difference lies in the increased spiritual performance of the one with sādhanāśakti in comparison with that of the rookie. This power is the final result of so many efforts carried out by a pupil. Finally, when the Self decides to bestow His Grace upon a pupil who has done all that he had to do, He sets him free instantly of His own Free Will. When this happens, the limited being experiences Love for the first time. This Love is not like anything he had previously experienced. It never begins or ends. It is totally unconditional and compassionate. Completely immaculate and holy. Only the ones who have experienced their own essential nature can understand my words. To be liberated amounts to be the Self fully. As the Self is immaculate and holy, the former limited individual becomes exactly like Him. At that time he understands in the fullest sense of word that the goal is not "to win" in life but to become identical with Him. Accordingly, a fully enlightened person is not someone who "wins" all the time in life, but one who is able to become identical with the blessed Self at all times. I explain this mysterious teaching in my upcoming commentaries.
5 An erroneous idea in spirituality is that the limited individual is now completely limited 24 hours a day, and next, when the Self bestows His Grace on him, he is completely enlightened 24 hours a day. This is not true at all but in exceptional cases where Grace bestowal is extremely intense and the liberated one is even forced to leave his physical body. In the vast majority of the cases, Grace bestowal is regulated and gradual in order not to kill the aspirant, you know. When even a miserable star like the sun can easily kill the physical body, just imagine how shocking the revelation of the Supreme Self has to be if given completely and 24 hours a day all of a sudden. So, Self-realization "in general" will start little by little and it will increase as one's own system can tolerate the high voltage of the Power of the Self. This must be fully understood or one will not understand the process of Final Liberation and the categories of liberated ones described in the scriptures.
The liberated one, whether or not he becomes a spiritual teacher (not all the liberated ones will become guru-s then), is someone who is always intent on assisting others. Why? Because he is the Self, and the Self is always ready for granting His Grace upon a deserving aspirant. As the Self is immaculate, holy and the possessor of causeless mercy, so the liberated one is exactly like Him. The one who enjoys spiritual enlightenment never comes into conflict with the ways this universe moves because he perceives it as a manifestation of His own Power. In this way, having assumed those qualities, he remains like the Self at all times in the end, i.e. in perpetual samādhi or trance even after the body dies.
After having become threefold, It --His Power-- manifests the universe||6||
Through Will, Knowledge and Action, the Power of the Self is able to manifest the entire universe, step by step. When books (such as) Parāprāveśikā, Ṣaṭtriṁśattattvasandoha, etc., which explain the universal manifestation in the form of thirty-six categories, have already been written, then what (is) the use of writing another explanation? However, I say this now: In the universal manifestation, there are pure course and impure course. On one hand, purity of the pure course is indicated by complete unity, (and) on the other hand, impurity of the impure course is pointed out by total absence of unity. The atomic selves manufactured by the Power of the Self dwell in the impure course. But those high-souled ones who after leaving their bodies --after dying-- do not become completely dissolved in the Highest Reality, reside in the pure course for assisting others. There is a group of eight lords of knowledge that specially assist the spiritual aspirants. Their names (are): "Ananteśa, Sūkṣma, Śivottama, Ekanetra, Ekarudra, Trimūrti, Śrīkaṇṭha and Śikhaṇḍī". The colors of their bodies (are): "blood-red, white, blue, yellow, black, crimson, red and dark brown", respectively. Of those, the one who gives me special assistance, (is) Ekarudra undoubtedly. His big body is sparkling jet-black in color, and (his) face, even though eyeless, sees into the heart of the spiritual aspirant1 .
The pure course, replete with worlds, is connected with Sahasrāra --the supreme cakra on top of the head--, and consequently, when the Power of the Self moves in Sahasrāra, It indeed shows the qualified aspirant the abodes, in those worlds, of the high-souled ones who have left their bodies. This is the method: After becoming fully absorbed into samādhi or trance, there is, in the first place, a mental invocation --the name of the high-souled one is uttered mentally--, and after that the Power of the Self goes quickly to the abode of that high-souled one who has already left his body. And if that high-souled one who left the body is completely dissolved in the Highest Reality, then the Power of the Self floods the entire Sahasrāra, and It goes up to the Great Ether. When the Power of the Self has not arrived at Sahasrāra, It could delude the aspirant, but when It reaches Sahasrāra, It cannot, because of Its association with the Self whose nature (is) Truth. Now, my explorations in the worlds of Sahasrāra: The Great Teacher Abhinavagupta dwells in a region at four fingers from Brahmarandhra --Brahmā's hole-- backward; and very near him (resides) his main disciple called Kṣemarāja. Śaṅkarācārya, the founder of Non dual Vedānta, lives in a region at three fingers from Brahmarandhra backward. The two Seers Jamadagni and Kaśyāpa dwell in a region very close to (that) of the aforesaid high-souled ones. The Seers Vasiṣṭha, Vyāsa, Viśvāmitra, Kratu and Pulastya remain in Brahmarandhra. Venerable Great Beings Vasugupta, Atri, Bharadvāja, Nārada, Pulaha, Kutsa, Rebha, Agastya, Kuśika, Marīci and Aṅgirās (are) already totally dissolved in the Highest Reality2 .
The high-souled ones who reside in the worlds of the pure course in Sahasrāra can doubtless be born again here in this world for helping humankind, but those who have become thoroughly dissolved in the Highest Reality cannot, because they do not live (either) in the pure course or in the impure course. Since the ones who have wholly dissolved in the Highest Reality pervade everywhere as Consciousness, therefore they remain as one's own Self characterized by Absolute Freedom (and) Bliss in all the beings3 .
When the Self reveals Himself, the spiritual aspirant, having obtained real accomplishment, becomes a liberated one, and this Liberation is not mere statement (that) "I (am) the Self", but rather a full absorption into his own essential nature. After (his) body falls, the liberated one goes to some world in Sahasrāra, or else, having totally dissolved in the Highest Reality, is not born again in this world, this is the truth4 ||6||
1 By means of the Powers of Will, Knowledge and Action, the Power of the Self can manifest the entire universe, in a succession of 36 tattva-s or categories. This subject is dealt with by scriptures such as Parāprāveśikā and Ṣaṭtriṁśattattvasandoha. Also, I explained it all succinctly in Trika 2, Trika 3, Trika 4, Trika 5 and Trika 6. Therefore, it does not make any sense to repeat it all "again". Anyway, I can say this: In the universal manifestation there are two courses, one pure (tattva-s or categories 1 to 5, or 3 to 5 according to other interpretations, as the categories 1 and 2 are the Self and His Power and therefore beyond both courses) and another impure (tattva-s or categories 6 to 36). The first course is characterized by complete unity while the second one is full of difference or lack of unity. The atomic selves or limited individuals live in the worlds of the impure course, according to different hierarchies. But, the great beings who have attained Final Liberation, i.e. who have realized their inherent divine nature, do not live in those worlds of the impure course. Part of them live as baindavadeha-s (as those whose bodies are made of Bindu --the fourth body beyond the other three: causal, subtle and physical--) in the worlds of the pure course, while the rest got totally dissolved in the Highest Reality (the Self and His Power) forever. Those who retained their fourth body in order to live in the pure course, did so for the sake of assisting humankind in multiple ways, even by being born again here in this world directly. The ones who became completely dissolved in the Highest Reality are right here and right now as the omnipresent Self, but they, having abandoned even their fourth body, did not even retain the slightest form of individuality and cannot be born here again. Oh yes, this is very difficult to understand, specially if one believes that the Earth is the most impressive creation of the Supreme Self. There are other mysteries and subtleties about all that I said, but for now you have enough information.
In the pure course, there are also eight lords of knowledge, whose main function is passing divine knowledge to atomic selves who are fit to receive it. Their bodies have different colors, such as I have described. The one assisting me is Ekarudra. I saw him in meditation long before I knew even his name indeed. His body is huge and sparkling jet-black in color. Once, during my trances, he took me in his immense hands and saw into my heart. That is why I told all that about him. Besides, he has no visible eyes but two dark empty eye sockets. Additionally, he has no mouth but speaks clearly in the heart. The experience of having his vision is so overwhelming to an atomic self that one has to have it to fully understand my statements. I was also told by him that all my teachings and ways of teaching about the Truth come directly from him. So, now this is made known to you reader too. So far, since I never saw any of the remaining seven lords of knowledge, my description of them comes from books and not from my direct experience as in the case of Ekarudra. Enough of revealing this for now!
2 In the pure course, there are a lot of worlds, all of them connected with Sahasrāra --the supreme cakra located on top of the head--. Real trance or samādhi takes place when the Power of the Self reaches that supreme cakra and becomes united with the Self there. That mixture of Self and Power of the Self is Supreme Consciousness that is always holy, immaculate and extremely blessed. When Sahasrāra is activated and the Power of the Self (mixed with the Self) starts moving there, strong trances happen to an aspirant. Final Liberation will occur right there too. At the stage when the Power of the Self becomes available in Sahasrāra, It (the Power of the Self) behaves like the needle in a compass pointing to the north always, i.e. It always points in the direction of the Self. However, one can consult It about the exact location of the worlds where the great beings who have left their bodies dwell. Every time the Power of the Self in Sahasrāra is asked according to the method I taught above, It moves to the region where that great being currently lives. Or else, if the great being became totally dissolved in the Highest Reality, the Power of the Self floods strongly the entire Sahasrāra and goes up to the Great Ether located at twelve fingers from the center of the cranium, i.e. It moves to Brahmarandhra (the Brahmā's hole) and from there It becomes one with the universal vital energy. To fully understand all these processes, I would need to give you a complete course dealing with cakra-s as a mere short note of explanation is just not up to the task.
Besides, I informed you about the results of my own explorations of the worlds in Sahasrāra for several reasons, the main one being: To stop the constant tendency of thinking about the ancient yogī-s as the only ones who can do all that, while the modern ones are always atomic selves only admiring the saints of the past. This is not true at all and I am proving my point clearly with my commentary in Sanskrit on the aphorism above. As the Self is the same Self all the time, whether in past, present or future, I see no obstacle for me to attain what they achieved if His Grace is backing me up. This constant notion that "one will not be able" is understandable in beginners but not in advanced aspirants. If oneself is not going to attain all that is described in the scriptures, then "Who else is going to do it?" and "What is the point of reading them?". No use merely reading about the accomplishment of others in the past while one continues eternally limited. One has to achieve the same thing too. This should be the attitude of all aspirants in order to be successful in their spiritual path. Mere bookish knowledge cannot bestow real spiritual power to anybody. But when that knowledge is coupled with direct experience one acquires real spiritual power as a result.
3 The high-souled ones living in the pure course, still retaining their extremely subtle fourth body (Bindu), can take births in this world in order to start or promote processes of spiritual elevation. In fact, their constant work over the centuries has made it possible that humankind enjoys some kind of "civilization" right now. Without their assistance, humankind would be yet in the stone age from all viewpoints. In turn, the high-souled who has dissolved even their extremely subtle individuality in the Highest Reality, cannot take more births here. They remain as the Self endowed with Absolute Freedom and Bliss in everybody instead.
4 Spiritual enlightenment, also known as Final Liberation, only happens when the Self reveals Himself to the aspirant and not otherwise. Every philosophical system proposes a means to that revelation, but though the means were different, the revelation is the same thing always. If the Self does not become revealed, the aspirant remains an aspirant and cannot become a liberated being. When the aspirant finally attains spiritual enlightenment by His revelation, this is not mere statement such as "I am the Self", but real accomplishment in the form of a complete absorption into his own essential nature. This means that the liberated one becomes completely indifferent to the states of his body/mind. In whatever condition they may be, the liberated one is always in the same condition of Absolute Freedom and Bliss as the Self. If the process of Liberation is by a massive Grace's bestowal, the liberated one will be forced to abandon his body, and if Grace's bestowal is not so massive, he will retain his body. In any case, after his death, which always reaches the physical body, sooner or later, such a liberated person will go to some world in the pure course or else he will become thoroughly dissolved in the Highest Reality as I explained above.
This universe is generated by His Power and not by the Self Himself directly||7||
Whether or not the Power of the Self generates this universe, the Self, who (is) always Immaculate and Blessed, remains constantly in His own essential nature. "Self, Power of the Self and atomic self --viz. limited individual--", these three (are) the eternal triad; and metaphorically speaking, they could be considered as Father, Mother and son, respectively. This is ignorance: "I am this body; I am this mind; this is my family; these are my friends; those are my enemies, etc.". By that ignorance, Mother Power of the Self nourishes Her own son all the time. That Mother becomes the universe —which consists of body, mind, ego, intellect, fear, life, virtues, etc.— of this atomic self. Thus, for innumerable births, Mother Power of the Self keeps nourishing Her son. Nonetheless, the venerable Mother of this limited son who transmigrates from one body to another body, from one thought to another thought, during (his) last birth, decides to introduce the atomic self to his Father.
The Father of the atomic self (was) constantly with him during a great deal of births as his own Self in the form of the Highest Knower, but as the meeting between Father and son was not desired by the Mother because of a strong motherly feeling, the atomic self transmigrated uninterruptedly without knowing his own Father. During the last birth of this blessed son of the Blessed Ones, Mother Power of the Self, by express request of Her Husband, leads Her own son certainly to his extraordinary Father1 . When affectionate Mother Power of the Self enters Sahasrāra, then She says this to Her son: "This One is Your Father". As the Father of this atomic self is the Free Awesome Self, consequently the son becomes doubtless overwhelmed by the experience of Absolute Freedom (and) Bliss. Thus, the very Self, the Only One who is Free in the highest sense of word, reveals Himself to His son out of causeless Love2 . All the other different kinds of love come from Self's Love that has been made clear or manifest indeed by means of His Revelation. At that moment, the son, having completely realized unity with his Father, says: "Stay here forever", because he does not want to lose Him again. Having drunk the wine of ignorance for so many births, the son right now recognizes his own essential nature revealed as his very Father. Even his Mother looks completely transformed since She does not continue to nourish him with ignorance in the form of "mine", and instead of limitation She has become his Supreme Bliss3 . After having been dissolved into the Absolute Freedom of his Father and in the nectarean Joy of his Mother, this atomic self becomes fit for Liberation from bondage, and all the meanings looked for by him in objects, people, thoughts, etc., appear now only as his Awesome Parents. This is the golden day of the one who got completely dissolved into the Self, no doubt (about it)4 .
The previous metaphor clearly shows this eternal Play of the three. On the one hand, the Self, always in Peace, Blessed and Free, and on the other hand, the Power of the Self, who not only is devoted to serving Her own Husband so much as possible constantly, but even She is dedicated to protect and preserve the playground —i.e. the entire universe— of Her son. In the end, the atomic self (is) Blessed and Free like his Father, but the whole time he considers himself as wretched as well as bound, until the arrival of his golden day5 .
Oh Glorious Self! Oh Source of this triad! Please, stay here always! All this universe (is) most assuredly nothing but a huge garland on Your beautiful neck||7||
1 Power of the Self always binds the limited individual. It is not "technically" correct to say that the Power of the Self that bound the atomic self will also set him free in the end. That is not exactly so. Only when the Power of the Self is mixed with the Grace of the Self Himself, becomes liberator instead of cause of bondage. This is the meaning of "by express request of Her Husband" then, i.e. He infuses the Power of the Self with His Grace and then this modified Power of the Self becomes bestower of Liberation. Without His Grace, no limited individual can be completely free in spite of his strenuous spiritual efforts because what is human can never approach what is Superhuman but the situation is exactly the opposite.
2 When the Power of the Self enters into Sahasrāra, specifically in Brahmarandhra there in the crown of the head, She gets united with the Self Himself (Her Husband in the metaphor). Only this Self is absolutely Free in the highest sense of word. No limited individual, whether he be human or demigod or god, etc. can be so free as Himself, because all of them are subject to some type of limitation one way or the other. As He is that Free, He remains always arodhya (unobstructed) and possessor of causeless Love. What cause could the Free Self need in order to share His Love with Himself? This can only be fully understood after realizing the Self and not before.
3 Mother Power of the Self finally stops binding the atomic self when he attains Self-realization by His Grace. When She binds, ego is born and the subsequent feeling of "mine" arises. In this way, the limited individual becomes a possessor of body, mind, actions, objects, thoughts, etc. This is bondage. When She appears mixed with His Grace, She gives Liberation. When Liberation happens, the Power of the Self becomes what essentially is: Supreme Bliss. Hence, Liberation is always endowed with Supreme Bliss according to the Trika system and also my own experience. If there is no direct experience of Liberation, everything is bookish knowledge and nothing else. That is like mere chitchat to the ears of one who has attained spiritual enlightenment because it is partially true always and not completely true, as the ones speaking about Liberation, not having realized the Self, merely rely on testimony and deduction to postulate their teachings. The only ones who should teach about Liberation are those who have realized the Self at least for one second, and not the ones who are only knowers of the Self by testimony and deduction even for entire lifetimes. There is nothing as the direct experience to provide with right knowledge. Unfortunately, the situation is exactly the opposite in this world, viz. people with no actual Self-realization to a minimal degree at least, begin instructing other people about how to achieve Liberation. As it is taught in Holy Bible: "If one blind person leads another blind person, both will fall into a ditch". This is also a fruit of the all-pervading ignorance or lack of Fullness.
4 When an atomic self realizes he is the Self, that is his golden day, i.e. the day when he finally experiences Fullness. Self-realization puts an end to his former search for Fullness in objects, people, activities, etc. All the meanings sought in other things and beings before Self-realization are found right here and right now in the Self alone. This is also very difficult to be understood without actual Self-realization.
5 The process of ignorance is completely real and never "illusory" as postulated by some schools of thought. The Power of the Self is completely Real and therefore Her son (the limited individual) is also real. This atomic self "plays" like a child in the playground manifested by his own Mother only for him. In this sense, all atomic selves are like children playing here, in the universe, in their playground. They play at being this or that, e.g. they play at being father or mother, they play at earning money by working as engineers, they play at being politicians and rule countries, they play at being soldiers, etc. All that is merely a childish play carried out by those atomic selves. Final Liberation will not come from merely playing like a child for innumerable births in this universal playground but through His Grace, which is "generally" obtained once the atomic self has made all the respective efforts he had to do first. Bondage is never perceiving the Self as something else due to a wicked ignorance that falls on Him like a kind of veil or something. NO, that is not true. Ignorance is only "lack of Fullness". I will speak about this lack of Fullness by another metaphor in the commentary on the next aphorism.
There is always this matter about the atomic self being already the Self, and then: why should the Self not desire to bestow His Grace on him "immediately" if he is Him after all? The answer is simple and apparently contradictory: "He does not want to do so". Nobody can force the Self to confer His Grace on someone because He is totally Free. This, again, cannot be fully understood without actual Self-realization. Aspirants claiming that they should be given divine Grace because they are the Self, are not mature enough, spiritually speaking.
The Power (of the Self) remains as I-consciousness or in the form of the universe that is an expansion of that --of I-consciousness--||8||
When the Power of the Self, in the form of Bindu --the entire universe reduced to a little dot--, remains only as I-consciousness, then It --the Power of the Self-- is the pure Delight of Consciousness; but if It gets expanded as the universe, this great Delight diminishes immensely. As a consequence of that, momentary flashes of Supreme Bliss springing as little delights are experienced by that atomic self —who is bound by the Power of the Self— due to the universal manifestation consisting of an expanded Bindu1 . This very Self who is completely expanded when It --the Power of the Self-- remains as I-consciousness, must assume contraction or limitation for His Power to expand as the universe. And metaphorically, the Self, who is like venerable Garuḍa —always Free and Pure—, after stopping to fly in the Sky of Consciousness, becomes a limited individual out of infinite Love for His own Power. In this way, He contracts Himself --He assumes limitation-- for It to expand --for His Power to expand-- in the form of the universe; and this act of His (is) as an Eagle which, having accepted to fold (His) wings, lives like a hen on the ground. Since the Self gets thus contracted or limited, therefore, the act of concealing His own essential nature (is), in the highest sense, spiritual ignorance appearing as lack of Fullness2 .
So long this universe, which is the Play of His Power, exists as different from Him as long as the Self is contracted or limited as an atomic self of His own free Will. Nevertheless, in the aforesaid arrival of the golden day, the Supreme Eagle who had become like a hen wants to fly again in the Sky of Consciousness. When the Self spreads (His) wings, the entire universe is perceived as not different from Him, and His Power, instead of binding, becomes, doubtless, cause of Liberation. However, as the awesome Eagle behaved like a hen for so many births, consequently He has to make a lot of attempts to fly for the first time. When He recovers His lost Sky, His Power inevitably ceases to manifest the universe as different from Him. This (is) the Supreme State replete with Absolute Freedom (and) Bliss, there is no doubt about it3 .
By that metaphor, it is also shown --as it was shown in the commentary on the previous aphorism by another metaphor-- the return of the atomic self to his Source, the immaculate Self. Moreover, in the metaphor, I compared the Self to an eagle because it is without any ego. The Self (is) always faultless, perfectly pure and certainly devoid of evil. Even though, as taught by illustrious Kṣemarāja in the first aphorism of venerable Pratyabhijñāhṛdayam, the Power of the Self (is) the cause of manifestation, maintenance and dissolution of the universe, yet the Self Himself remains completely holy and beyond all the actions performed by His Power. Since nobody is here like Him, therefore, this blessed Self abides always Supreme. Oh Glorious Self! Oh pure Love! Please, stay here always!4
My exposition or discourse about the Power of the Self, which had begun in the fourth aphorism, (is now) concluded5 ||8||
1 Bindu is the entire universe reduced to a compact dot. It is the Power of the Self in Its pure form, i.e. as I-consciousness. In reality, when one sees this Bindu, it acts like a mark that the Power of the Self is in Its state as I-consciousness predominantly. I said "predominantly" because one can experience the Bindu with or without universe displayed. As this subject is extremely complex and in the end a matter of direct experience, I make it easy in my commentary by saying that when Bindu appears, the universe is compacted, and when the universe gets expanded, Bindu, the compact dot, also gets expanded and disappears as such. In other words, one lives in a huge Bindu but he does not notice it till Bindu gets compacted into a tiny dot of Consciousness. When Bindu is like this, one experiences the pure Delight of Consciousness, i.e. blissful I-consciousness; but when it gets expanded, this Delight gets diluted, as it were, and It only shines forth as drops of Joy. This is called "happy moments" by most of people. As a matter of fact, it is a sign of misery or transmigration from one body to another body, from one thought to another thought. When one ceases to transmigrate that way, he experiences the whole Delight at the same time and not scattered as when he was in bondage. Enough of this for now as I could easily continue to write till filling a volume with this kind of knowledge about Bindu .
2 If the Self remains expanded, His Power cannot get fully expanded as the universe. This is a way to explain the processes, obviously, because the Highest Reality is always beyond utterance, i.e. beyond the realm of words. It is impossible to accurately describe This Reality by words, because the latter emerge from the Highest Reality and not vice versa. Anyway, by using metaphors the task is simplified immensely for readers to understand how the things work.
I have read somewhere that nobody knows the reasons by which the Self manifests the universe. In reality, it is His Power who does that and not Himself. Still, I wrote the reason in the commentary: "out of infinite Love for His own Power". By "Love" I do not mean the usual human emotion augmented but a superior kind of Feeling only possessed by the Highest Reality. In fact, the word Love falls short too, but it is the most accurate way of describing This according to my experience. The Self is like Garuḍa, the celebrated vehicle of Lord Viṣṇu, flying Free and Blissful in the Sky of Consciousness. But for His Power to display this little universe, this Supreme Eagle folds His wings and starts living like a hen on the ground, viz. He contracts His Powers and divine Attributes for this universal Play to take place. People are amazed at the majesty of the universe, but if they could perceive the Eagle (the Self), they would finally realize that the universe is an insignificant thing in comparison. Hence when someone realizes the Self, he is not impressed by anything related to the universe. I cannot describe this in a better manner, because it is always a matter of direct experience and not of words.
Spiritual ignorance is then, not like a veil falling on the Self and making Him appear to be something else (as stated in some philosophical schools), but rather the very Self folding His wings, viz. becoming "not Full". All in all, ignorance in this context is a voluntary act of contraction or limitation of His Fullness carried out by the Self Himself. Nobody can bind Him but He assumes limitation for the universe to thrive. This lack of Fullness (spiritual ignorance) is essentially Āṇavamala or impurity pertaining to the atomic self, all of which will be explained in full detail later on, by the commentaries on the aphorisms of the second section.
3 The universe full of duality exists while the Self continues to assume contraction or limitation, i.e. while He continues to be an atomic self. The atomic self is the Eagle living like a hen, all the time on the ground, bound and only enjoying flashes of happiness. However, when He decides to recover His apparently lost Freedom, the universe is perceived as eternally one with Him. This happens in the golden day of the atomic self, when he attains spiritual enlightenment. At this time, the Self reveals Himself, and His Power, who was cause of bondage becomes cause of Liberation. This process occurs "in general" gradually, which was made clear by me when I wrote that the Eagle had to make a lot of attempts before finally taking off the ground. He lastly recovers His apparently lost Sky and is able to enjoy His essential nature full of Absolute Freedom and Bliss once again.
4 As it was shown by the metaphor of Father, Mother and son in my commentary on the previous aphorism, even so by this metaphor of the eagle behaving like a hen, I am showing the process of ignorance and enlightenment. But despite the atomic self (the limited individual) being identical with the Self, the former canNOT get Final Liberation on his own. This apparent contradiction is completely understood when one gains Final Liberation. On the level of the ordinary mind, it is contradictory to think that the atomic self, being the Self Himself, cannot gain Absolute Freedom on his own, right? When atomic selves are taught that they are the Self, they mostly think that they will gain Final Liberation on their own since they are the Self. But, "in practice", this will turn out to be false, and I am absolutely sure of that. I do not need any scripture to prove my point because I have direct experience on the subject. Certainly that when Final Liberation happens, one realizes that "Oneself is the Self". There is no doubt about it. But, Gabriel (the atomic self in my case) can never gain Final Liberation on his own. I cannot, as Gabriel, become liberated, because the atomic self is an invention of His Power.
The superstar in the spiritual path is NOT the atomic self but the Self. As atomic selves are extremely arrogant in general, they say phrases like "I am the architect of my destiny" or "it is my choice always" or "I will do it myself" or "I will cleanse my cakra-s and move the Power of the Self right up to Brahmarandhra in the crown of the head" or "I will balance the energy in my entire subtle body" and such. But the facts "prove" beyond doubt that they continue to be limited in spite of all their efforts going to this or that teacher, or practicing this or that method. Facts clearly show a spiritual aspirant that "he cannot do it on his own", but he "generally" refuses to accept the truth before his own eyes. This is also ignorance. As a result, a person was in bondage while occupied only with mundane matters, but now that he started his spiritual path in order to remove that bondage, he continues to be bound and cannot get Final Liberation. Most aspirants in this world are in this condition. I can see them every day in my virtual and real life. They cannot enjoy Absolute Freedom and Bliss beyond the external circumstances, but rather they change to the tunes of His Power appearing as "the world and their lives". They cannot escape because they insist on keeping the atomic self "on the stage playing the role of the superstar". Hence it is not surprising they keep failing to attain spiritual enlightenment despite all their pretensions, protests and claims.
How to get rid of all that spiritual ignorance? It is necessary that the Eagle flies. If the Eagle keeps living like a hen, the aspirant cannot be Free ever. This is easier said than done. It is not about smiling and say "flow, let it be" but the process is much more complicated and painful. Why? Because the Self does NOT want to fly just like that. It will take a lot of time and effort to convince Him to do so. This is apparently contradictory with the statement about the identity between Self and atomic self, but I am not lying but establishing the truth. To convince Him to fly up and recover His lost Sky, the aspirant will have to be "awesome". The more awesome the aspirant, the less surprised he will be by my statement. The less awesome the aspirant, the more surprised he will be by my statement. Vanity and arrogance are endless like His eternal Power indeed. In the end, the aspirant will have to accept, sooner or later, that He is the real superstar and not the tedious atomic self that is an invention of His Power. When the atomic self is finally dethroned because he realizes that there is no other being like Him here, one advances to the next stage and the odds to get Final Liberation will be in his favor. Nobody can force the Self to grant spiritual enlightenment, but if the spiritual aspirant manages not to be the superstar any more, there will be a chance for him to receive His Grace. There is no other way out apart from that. If the reader still does not believe me and thinks that he or she will get Final Liberation on his/her own only because he/she is the Self, he/she is absolutely wrong. It is about time and experience for him/her to learn how the process works actually.
So, there appears to be a kind of duality: "Self and atomic self", but there is none. Anyway, this does not imply that the atomic self will gain his freedom on his own. That will never happen like that and I am totally sure about that. Hence my praises to Him in this scripture. "Why should I praise to the Self if He is myself?", a reader could wonder. Because "myself" is an invent of His Power. If you can understand me now, good for you, and if you cannot, it is a question of time and experience. Whether in this lifetime or maybe in the next one, you will remember my teachings (in fact, the Trika's teachings) and accordingly you will realize Trika is fully right about the way to get Final Liberation. While the atomic self continues to be sitting on the throne, one cannot achieve Final Liberation ever. This is a law no atomic selves can break. One can go to supernatural worlds, one can get all supernatural powers, one can have the capacity to answer all questions always, etc., but that is not Final Liberation. When one is so Free as the Self, that is Final Liberation. Meanwhile, one remains bound to a greater or lesser extent.
The illustrious sage Kṣemarāja composed Pratyabhijñāhṛdayam, which consists of 20 aphorisms. The first aphorism of his Pratyabhijñāhṛdayam establishes that His Power is the cause of the siddhi of the universe. The word "siddhi" here is not to be interpreted as "perfection, supernatural power, etc." (its usual meanings) but as "manifestation, maintenance and dissolution".
Este documento foi concebido por Gabriel Pradīpaka, um dos dois fundadores deste site, e guru espiritual versado em idioma Sânscrito e filosofia Trika.
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