Swamiji explains to us how and why Lord Shiva disconnects Himself from His energy and yet is never disconnected from it at the same time.
This is from the Bodhapañcadaśikā by Abhinavagupta, who wrote the “15 verses of wisdom” for ‘those dear devotees who are not intellectually inclined”.
This part is starting with verse 6 till verse 8. You can review the previous verse here.
एष देवोऽनया देव्या नित्यं क्रीडारसोत्सुकः ।
विचित्रान् सृष्टिसंहारान् विधत्ते युगपद्विभुः ॥६
eṣa devo’nayā devyā nityaṁ krīḍāras-otsukaḥ /
vicitrān sṛiṣṭi saṁhārān vidhatte yugapad-vibhuḥ // 6 //
Eṣa deva, this supreme Lord Śiva who is all pervading, vibhuḥ, anayā devyā along with this energy of his own nature . . .
Which is his energy? The universal existence. The universal, the cycle of universe is his energy.
. . . with the cycle of the universe this Lord Śiva, nityaṁ kriḍārasotsukaḥ, he is fond of playing and playing and playing and falling.
Look at Viresh, when he is too much excited he jumps, he hits his head. In the same way God has done this. He has crushed his own nature because of too much of ecstasy. He wants to disconnect that ecstasy. But that ecstasy in its real way cannot be disconnected at all. He knows that. But still for fun he disconnects this for the time being. And at the time of again realizing his own nature he feels that it was already there.
BRUCE P: He doesn’t completely disconnect. Doesn’t he remain in non-ecstasy?
SWAMIJI: Non-ecstasy, yes . . . he just ignores ecstasy.
And, vicitrān sṛiṣṭi saṁhāran vidhatte yugapad vibhuḥ. He creates, vicitrān sṛiṣṭi saṁhārā, he creates varieties of creation and varieties of destruction. He creates birds, he creates bugs, he creates all nonsense [things] in this world. Whatever is possible; whatever is not possible, he creates that.
BRUCE P: The purpose is to see . . . ?
SWAMIJI: The purpose is to see that God Consciousness is also there.
And he creates it yugapat, simultaneously, he does not create this in succession.10
अतिदुर्घटकारित्वमस्यानुत्तरमेव यत् ।
एतदेव स्वतन्त्रत्वमैश्वर्यं बोधरूपता ॥७
ati-durghaṭa kāritvam asyānuttaram-eva yat /
etadeva svatantratvam aiśvaryaṁ bodha-rūpatā // 7 //
This, atidurghaṭakāritā, this can be done, this kind of action cannot be indulged by any other power in this universe. Only Lord Śiva can do this. Lord Śiva can just ignore his own nature totally, altogether, by his own svātantrya [independent freedom]. And although he knows that if he totally ignores that; see a rock, see in a rock, where is the existence of Lord Śiva? In rock there is nothing, it is just a rock.
BRUCE P: That is what he sees?
SWAMIJI: Yes, he wants to disconnect his God Consciousness altogether in his creation, and see that it is not disconnected. Although it is disconnected, it is not disconnected. In real sense it is not disconnected.
So it is, ati durghaṭa kāritvam; asya anuttamam, and supreme, supreme active durghaṭa kāritvam; durghaṭa kāritvam is action which cannot be acted [done] by any other power except for Lord Śiva.
How can you become . . . if you are life-full, how can you become without life?
But he can, Lord Śiva can become without life. Lord Śiva can become jaḍa [inert], i.e. altogether just disconnected totally from God Consciousness. He can do it.
So it is atidurghaṭa kāritā is attributed to Lord Śiva only.
And it is a supreme way of acting. This kind of drama is a super-drama. It is not drama . . . [for example] you can play parts, but with life, you cannot play the part of a rock . . . can you play that?
In drama, in that screen; in that screen you cannot play the part of a rock.
BRUCE P: No I can’t.
SWAMIJI: He [Lord Śiva] can become a rock. He can become such a thing, that there is absolutely absence of complete consciousness.
Etadeva, this is his svātantrya, this is his glory, this is his intelligence. So he is, etadeva svātantryam, so he is perfectly independent, perfectly glorious, and perfectly intelligent. This is the intelligence. Intelligence is not that you will become, you will play the part of lady. Intelligence is, you will play the part of a rock, you will play the part of a tree. This is intelligence. And this kind of intelligence is found only in the state of Lord Śiva and nowhere [else].
परिच्छिन्नप्रकाशत्वं जडस्य किल लक्षणम् ।
जडाद्विलक्षणो बोधो यतो न परिमीयते ॥८
paricchinna prakāśatvaṁ jaḍasya kila lakṣaṇam /
jaḍād-vilakṣaṇo bodho yato na parimīyate // 8 //
Now, on the contrary, that state of consciousness which can play a part only in an individual way . . .
He [Lord Śiva] does not [only] play part when he is a rock. When he has taken the part of a rock. At the same time, at that very moment, he has become a tree. At that very moment he has become a bird, he has become a tiger, he has become a jackal, he has become a man, he has become a human being, he has become God – Brahma, Rūdra, Viṣṇu, Īśvara, Sadāśiva11 – and all of these he has become simultaneously. This is aparicchinna prakāśatvam [his unlimited expansion].
So in this way he spreads his nature, he expands his own nature. But jaḍa, on the contrary that person who is jaḍa [inert] he cannot, if he lives in such and such place he cannot live . . .
SWAMIJI: . . . simultaneously in another place. If you are living in Kashmir, nobody will experience your existence in the United States, at that very moment. When you go there, you will ignore the existence of [being] here. This is not found in God Consciousness. God Consciousness is everywhere in each and every way, all the time, in present, past and future. He is unlimited.
So this limited prakāśa rūpatā [formation of his light] is attributed only to jaḍa.
What is the translation of jaḍa?
JOHN: Inert, insentient.
SWAMIJI: Insentient [unconscious].
BRUCE P: But he has created that. A rock is the creation of God?
SWAMIJI: A rock is the creation of God only when it is a rock only. Rock is God itself when it is a rock also, it is a human being also, it is God also, it is a tree also, it is a a bird also. Then it is God. Then it is universal way!
When it is only rock [jaḍa, limited], then it is a rock.
And when it is a rock also, at the same time a tree also, it is a bird also, it is Denise also, it is Bruce also, Ernie also; everybody and Lakshmanjoo also, it is God.
So, when this kind of cognition is surviving, then this is the survival state of God, i.e. God not rock. A rock is then a rock when it is only a rock, paricchinna prakāśatvam; paricchinna, that is the limited state of being is jaḍa [inert]. Jaḍāt vilakṣaṇo bodha, this bodha, the possessor of svātantrya is bodha, he is absolutely vilakṣaṇa.
Vilakṣaṇa is . . . what is vilakṣaṇa?
SWAMIJI: Indifferent from that jaḍa.
Yato na parimīyate, so you cannot recognize him in one way. If you recognize him in one way, on the other side you will recognize him in another way. And at that very moment you will recognize him in another way.
BRUCE P: But, that is his play though. That’s why he has created differentiation.
SWAMIJI: That is [his] play. And in this play he has played this kind of trick also at the same time, an adjusted trick, that rock has become only a rock.
BRUCE P: Then what use is that rock to him?
SWAMIJI: No he enjoys, he enjoys the state of rock, individually and universally also . . . he enjoys. But the rock does not enjoy. The rock itself does not enjoy, because it is limited. This is a two way existence, i.e. ignorance and knowledge. When there is knowledge, a rock is not only a rock then, rock is universal, a rock is rock also, a rock is Denise also, Stephanie also everybody, rock is an almirah (cupboard) also – in that way.
When a rock is [only] rock, just ignorant; then it is a rock and nothing else. It is limited, crying, in crises, screaming, yelling, sad, not satisfied.
But at the same time God is satisfied in a rock.
ERNIE: The ignorance aspect?
SWAMIJI: The ignorance aspect, he enjoys that because he knows the ignorance is not in real sense ignorance at all. He enjoys that.
This is the reality of Kashmir Shaivism as explained by Abhinavagupta.
10. Lord Śiva creates and destroys this universe simultaneous (yugapat). In the previous verse the expansion and contractions (unmeṣa and nimeṣa) equates with the principal of spanda (vibrationless vibration) in Kashmir Shaivism.
“It is concluded, therefore, that the supreme reality of Śāṅkara’s (Lord Śiva–Paramaśiva) consciousness is that it is in a state of movement (spanda). It is not fixed or situated in any one place. It is located everywhere. Wherever there is space, it is there. Wherever there is not space, it is there. It is in space and beyond it.” Swami Lakshmanjoo, Shiva Sutra – The Supreme Awakening, chapter 1, page 17.
“Take one thought. Contemplate on that one thought with unwavering concentration. Then, when another movement rises in your mind from that first thought, that is spanda and that is unmeṣa. You have to observe it yourself and that will be spanda.” (Spanda Kārikā 3.9) Ibid., 1, 31.
11. In Kashmir Shaivism, Brahma, Viṣṇu and Rūdra (Śiva) are not the same as the Trimurti of Hindu Mythology, where they are respectively referred to as the creator, preserver and destroyer.
“ . . . this is Śiva who has become Rudra, this is Śiva who has become Viṣṇu, . . . This is only one Śiva taking the part of all these deities.” Swami Lakshmanjoo, Tantrāloka 6. 179.
“Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Rudra, Iśvara, Sadāśiva and Anāśritaśiva, govern the six states of apanā [subtle internal breath]. These six great beings not only govern these six states in apāna; they govern six states of life also. Childhood is governed by Brahmā, youth is governed by Viṣṇu, old age is governed by Rudra, death is governed by Īśvara, rebirth is governed by Sadāśiva and liberation is governed by Anāśritaśiva. Ibid., 6.190.
Source: The Bodhapañcadaśikā, Abhinavagupta’s “Fifteen Verses of Wisdom” featuring Swami Lakshmanjoo’s revelation is available as a six part online study series: “Kashmir Shaivism and the Transformation of Life“. Includes 127 page transcript in PDF format, with downloadable video and audio material. Total audio time 8 hours.
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