In this excerpt, Swami Lakshmanjoo reveals “Why Lord Shiva has created this universe, which is Shakti, His supreme energy?”
This lecture is from the Bodhapañcadaśikā [15 verses of wisdom]. You can study the complete text of the Bodhapañcadaśikā in-depth in our online course, “Kashmir Shaivism & The Transformation of Life”, which gives a thorough introduction to Kashmir Shaivism.
Bodhapañcadaśikā [15 verses of wisdom]
तस्यैवैषा परा देवी स्वरूपामर्शनोत्सुका ।
पूर्णत्वं सर्वभावेषु यस्या नाल्पं नचाधिकम् ॥५
tasyaivaiṣā parā devī svarūp-āmarśanotsukā /
pūrṇatvaṁ sarva-bhāveṣu yasya nālpaṁ na cādhikam // 5 //
Tasyaiva parā devī, this collective state of the universe, which is reflected in the mirror of God consciousness; this whole universe which is reflected in the mirror of God consciousness, is His supreme energy.
And why he has created this supreme energy in his own nature?
Just to recognize his own nature.
This whole universe is just the means to recognize Lord Shiva. You can recognize Lord Shiva through the universe. You cannot recognize Lord Shiva by abandoning the universe.
So you have to observe and experience God consciousness in the very activity of the world. If you remain cut off from the universe and try to realize God consciousness it will take centuries. If you remain in universal activity and be attentive to realize God consciousness it will be very easy for you to understand. So this outside universe is created just for the sake of realizing his own nature.
That is why it is called Shakti. This whole universal state is called Shakti, this is the means to realize one’s own nature.18
BRUCE P: Why should he want to recognize?
SWAMIJI: It is svātantrya. Because if he does not recognize it, what is the fun of the universe? The universe is created just to recognize him.
JOHN: Just for fun.
SWAMIJI: Just for fun, yes . . . it is svātantrya.
This is why in Śaivism this is svātantrya vāda [theory of svātantrya] everywhere.
If he were only Shiva . . . he was there, he was in his full splendor of God consciousness . . .
ERNIE: There is no lack there?
SWAMIJI: No, it is full, it is already full.
SWAMIJI: When fullness is overflowed . . . you know what happens afterward?
He wants to remain incomplete, he wants to appear as incomplete, just to achieve completion. So this is the svātantrya. This svātantrya has created this whole universe. So in the universe, there is ignorance, and for ignorance, you want to get rid of that ignorance. And there is a way, there is a way, that in the activity of world you will meditate and bas, reach the state of God consciousness.
So this is the fun of svātantrya.
SWAMIJI: You leave it. You leave it when it is overjoyed [overflowing].
nijaśaktyā vaibhavabharāt aṇḍacatuṣṭya (paramarthasāra)19
When it is overflowed, when it overflows then you want to disconnect it.
ERNIE: So that’s his position?
SWAMIJI: That is his position . . . disconnected because of too much of it (joy). You want to get disconnected from that state and then connect yourself, (then) it gives pleasure, that is svātantrya. This is why this whole universe is created. Otherwise, there was no reason to create this universe, when God was there already in his own knowledge, completely.
To enjoy his own fullness of God consciousness. Fullness of God consciousness he has enjoyed already, he was enjoying already.
It was too much. So he wanted to disconnect it . . , for the time being, and realize it again. So it is unmeṣa and nimeṣa. Unmeṣa is flourishing of that God consciousness and nimeṣa is winding that God consciousness, extract and contract. Expansion and (contraction) i.e. unmeṣa and nimeṣa.20
This is svātantrya. So this is the way, how this universe is created. Otherwise, there was no room for this universe to be created.
What for . . . if God consciousness was already full?
But it was over, over . . .
SWAMIJI: . . . overflowing, and then he wanted to do something else.
ERNIE: When it was overflowing, Shakti was still . . . ?
SWAMIJI: Shakti was in his own nature at that time. When it overflowed too much then he had to separate Shakti from his nature. And then in Shakti also Shiva is existing; and that Shiva was ignorant, and he wanted to have this fullness of his knowledge, as before.
This is the way.
JOHN: So he contains both of those in himself at the same moment, though. There is not a point where he is separated from the universe and then . . .
SWAMIJI: No, at the moment he realizes his nature from ignorance to knowledge, he experiences at that very moment that it was already there. This is the proof, this is the proof of his being already filled with knowledge, in ignorance also. In ignorance also, when this ignorance vanishes from that individual, he experiences and this memory comes in his mind, “that it was already there, it was already there.” (This memory comes) at the time of knowledge at the time of existence of God consciousness.
ERNIE: So there was never really any separation at all?
SWAMIJI: No, (that) separation seems to be by svātantrya.
18 “O dear Pārvatī, just like by the light of your torch or candle, or by the rays of sun, all the differentiated points of deśa, or ‘space’ are known, are understood; in the same way Shiva is being understood by Shakti, by his energy. Energy is the means by which you can understand and enter in the state of Lord Shiva.” Swami Lakshmanjoo, Vijñāna Bhairava, Verse 21.
In Kashmir Shaivism ‘the showering of grace’ is called ‘Śaktipāta’. There is no such thing as Śivapāta, because for Shiva there is nowhere to go and nothing to realize. Shiva is the realizer! [Editor’s note]
19 “When the glamour of His own energies, cit śakti, ānanda śakti, icchā śakti, jñāna śakti and kṛiyā śakti are overflowing with glamour, he creates this universe. This is the creation because he was overflowing in his way, in his being.” Paramārthasāra, verse 4.
Cit śakti, ānanda śakti, icchā śakti, jñāna śakti and kṛiyā śakti, are Shiva’s energies of consciousness, bliss, will, knowledge and action, respectively. These are the five universal energies existing in the state of God consciousness. [Editor’s note]
20 “By whose unmeṣa and nimeṣa, by whose twinkling of eye – unmeṣa is opening of eye, nimeṣa is closing His eyes – you find jagataḥ pralayodayau, the rise and dissolution of one hundred and eighteen worlds. One hundred and eighteen worlds rise when He opens His eyes, and one hundred and eighteen worlds are destroyed when He closes His eyes.” Swami Lakshmanjoo, Spanda Kārika, verse 1.
Source: The complete text of the Bodhapancadashika is available
as an online course, “Kashmir Shaivism & The Transformation of Life”,
All Content is subject to Copyright © John Hughes.
December 27, 2015
It seems to me that Svamiji is talking about Om Purnam adah purnam idam…. everything is full, that is full and this is full; even when fulness is taken away from fullness, only fullness remains….and that which is taken away is also full!
This is to be understood along the lines viz. ‘it is only logical to assume that there is something higher then logic’….hence the humor of Shiva: hasyarasa! Only free-willed and free-wheeling laughter!
Avtar krishen koul
June 29, 2017
Beautiful Philosophy of life.
September 5, 2017
He needed to explain “svatantrya” to clear the meaning.
September 5, 2017
svatantrya = absolute, independent, universal freedom
September 7, 2017
Yes. But what I meant was in the context of the concepts of Yantra, Mantra and Tantra. The Sea-tantra or the tantra of the self.
A tar Krishen koul
September 5, 2017
Universal freedom is what the Hindu philosophy teaches in all its religious books. We have to observe n safeguard it.
September 7, 2017
O no…auto correct at work again. I meant Sva-tantra.
September 7, 2017
Svātantrya is a very technical term in Shaiva philosophy. I would suggest to read the excerpts on svātantrya from chapter 7 of Secret Supreme which sheds more light on the nature of svātantrya.
In our Śaiva system, there are three malas or impurities. These malas reside in māyā. They do not reside in svātantrya śakti. Even though svātantrya śakti and māyā are one, yet they are different in the sense that svātantrya śakti is that state of energy which can produce the power of going down and coming up again, both at will, whereas māyā will only give you the strength of going down and not the ability of rising up again. Once you have come down, you cannot move up again. This is the reality of the state of māyā. It binds you.
Māyā śakti is that universal energy which is owned by the individual being, the individual soul. And when that same universal energy is owned by the universal being, it is called svātantrya śakti. Svātantrya śakti is pure universal energy. Impure universal energy is māyā. It is only the formation that changes through a difference of vision. When you experience svātantrya śakti in a crooked way, it becomes māyā śakti for you. And when you realize that same māyā śakti in Reality, then that māyā śakti becomes svātantrya śakti for you. Therefore, svātantrya śakti and māyā śakti are actually only one and the three impurities (malas), which are to be explained here, reside in māyā śakti, not in svātantrya śakti.
August 24, 2019
This kind of understanding of the universe is being presented with simplicity and ease. Good fortune indeed !
October 16, 2019
In the 14th speech piece of Swamiji ,in the transcript , there is a question in brackets saying ” ( quote from ….? ) . I think that quote is from 4th sloka of Abhinavgupta’s paramārthasāra.
Ashok Kumar Dhar
May 13, 2020
For students of Sciences, imagine a Sine wave of energy and correlate what n how Swamiji has explained the point of flexion of swatantriya sakti and point of inflexion of Maya sakti become clear to see with Swamiji’s explaining .
One such sine wave (Einstein says, Particle is equivalent of Energy ) can be thought to be individual being , individual soul. The ocean of waves can be thought to be a universal set, which is further subset of bigger or furtheron whole universe. See, how we are part of universe as also Swatantriya Sakti out of its Free Will takes firm of a small wave to enjoy and have FUN , our and simple fun.
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