“He is the Light of all Darkness, all Ignorance of Light. All absence of Light and Presence of Light Have come out from that Light.” (Stava cintāmaṇi)
“Stava cintāmaṇi is the work of Bhaṭṭanārāyaṇa. Bhaṭṭanārāyaṇa is one of the most important Shaivite masters.
Stava cintāmaṇi means stava – hymns, cintāmaṇi – jewel. Cintāmaṇī jewel is that kind of jewel, i.e. whatever you wish it will come. It is the bestower of all your boons, all your desires. All your desires are fulfilled by that cintāmaṇi; that jewel. And this is the jewelry of that cintāmaṇi of hymns to Lord Śiva. It purifies all your desires and wishes.” ~Swami Lakshmanjoo
Devotional hymns have always held an important place in the history of the Monistic teachings of Kashmir Shaivism. The recitation of such devotional hymns is a common part of the daily spiritual practice for many Shaiva aspirants.
Stava Cintāmaṇi, The Magical Jewel of Devotion in Kashmir Shaivism, is a sublime and unique hymn addressed to Lord Shiva, whom the author, Bhaṭṭa Nārāyaṇa, clearly holds as the Supreme Reality. Though highly devotional, these hymns are at the same time practical and deeply philosophical.
The Sanskrit text of the Stava Cintāmaṇi with Kṣemarāja’s commentary was first published in the Kashmir Series of Texts and Studies, Volume X, in Kashmir (1918). This was the text used by Swami Lakshmanjoo in his translation and commentary of this present publication.
Swamiji’s love for devotional hymns is evidenced by the fact that he translated and commented upon the Stava Cintāmaṇi on three occasions.
Audio 1 (17:08)
प्रसरद्विन्दुनादाय शुद्धामृतमयात्मने ।
नमोऽनन्तप्रकाशाय शंकरक्षीरसिन्धवे ॥३॥
prasaradbindunādāya śuddhāmṛtamayātmane /
namo’nantaprakāśāya śaṅkarakṣīrasindhave //3//
I bow to that Śaṅkara,3 who is just like the ocean of milk, a milk ocean. I bow to that Śaṅkara who is just like a milk ocean, a vast milk ocean, and prasarat bindu nādāya, where there are flows, two-fold flows, of bindu and nāda.
Bindu is prakāśa and nāda is [vimarśa].4 Bindu is I-consciousness; nāda is to observe I-consciousness.5 Consciousness is bindu; “I am consciousness, I am God consciousness,” this is nāda.
For instance, this prakāśa of sūrya (sun), the prakāśa of the light of the moon, [the prakāśa of] the light of fire, it is bindu, but there is no nāda in it, there is no understanding power of that prakāśa. There is prakāśa in the sun, but [the sun] does not know that, “I am prakāśa.” He is just a [star].6 He does not understand that, “I am filled with this prakāśa.”
When there is understanding power, the understanding that, “I am this prakāśa,” that is nāda. Bindu and nāda are both found in God consciousness. In other lights, only bindu is found, not nāda. Nāda is understanding.
Fire is burning but it does not know that, “I am burning.” In the same way, the light of the moon, the light of the sun, they are absolutely unaware of their nature. So there must be, there is, bindu and nāda both in God consciousness.
In the same way, prakāśa and vimarśa is bindu and nāda according to the śāmbhava state. According to śāktopāya, jñāna and kriyā (knowledge and action) will be bindu and nāda. According to āṇavopāya, breathing in and breathing out, in-going breath and out-coming breath, will be bindu and nāda.7 [Bindu and nāda are] inhaling and exhaling from the āṇavopāya viewpoint, and knowledge and action from śāktopāya, and prakāśa and vimarśa from śāmbhavopāya.8 You understand? It is very easy.
Prasarat bindu nādāya, so I bow to that Lord Śiva who is filled with bindu and nāda.
The flows of prakāśa and vimarśa [are] always there according to the śāmbhava state, according to the śākta state, and according to the āṇava state. [In the] āṇava state, what is bindu and nāda?
ERNIE: In-breath and out-breath.
SWAMIJI: Inhale . . . , yes. And śāktopāya?
DENISE: Action and knowledge.
SWAMIJI: Action and knowledge. And śāmbhavopāya?
ERNIE: Prakāśa . . .
SWAMIJI: Prakāśa and vimarśa. Śuddhāmṛtamayātmane, and this is the embodiment of nectar, pure nectar. The purest nectar you will find only in God consciousness. Other nectars you will find in the gods. They have become immortal by that. By using that nectar, they have become immortal in heaven, but immortal only for some particular period. Kṣīṇe puṇye martya lokaṁ viśanti,9 after some [time], say one billion years, they come down again. That nectar, the effect of that nectar, is vanished, is gone. But this nectar, which you find in the state of God consciousness, Lord Śiva, it is immortal nectar. It is real, pure nectar. It will never fade, it will never vanish. That nectar is always remaining, residing, eternal. That is meant by “śuddha amṛta mayātmane.” And namo ananta prakāśāya, and He is the light of all lights, He is the light of all darknesses (all ignorance of light). All absence of light and the presence of light have come out from That light. Śaṅkara-kṣīra-sindhave, and I bow to that Śaṅkara10 who is just like a milky ocean.
3 Lord Śiva.
4 “In the world of Shaivite philosophy, Lord Śiva is seen as being filled with light. But more than this, Lord Śiva is the embodiment of light and this light is different than the light of the sun, of the moon, or of fire. It is light (prakāśa) with consciousness (vimarśa), and this light with consciousness is the nature of that supreme consciousness, Lord Śiva.” Self Realization in Kashmir Shaivism–The Oral Teachings of Swami Lakshmanjoo, ed. John Hughes (State University of New York Press, Albany, 1995), 3.56-57. See Appendix 2 for an explanation of vimarśa.
5 That is, to be Self-aware.
6 That is, insentient (jaḍa).
7 Bindu (prakāśa) arises from the internal turning point of breath in the heart, while nāda (visarga) arises from the external turning point of the breath, which is twelve finger spaces outside the body.
8 See Appendix 3 for an explanation of the three means (upāyas): śāmbhavopāya, śāktopāya, and āṇavopāya.
9 Swami Lakshmanjoo, Bhagavad Gītā In the Light of Kashmir Shaivism (with original video), ed. John Hughes (Lakshmanjoo Academy, Los Angeles, 2013), 9.21.
10 Lord Śiva.