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Organs of Cognition in Kashmir Shaivism - (Tattvas) Part Two

Organs of Cognition in Kashmir Shaivism - (Tattvas) Part Two

jñānendriyas kashmir shaivism sanskrit Feb 20, 2024

This is part two of an excerpt from the transcript of the audio that was the basis of the book Kashmir Shaivism, The Secret Supreme, book with free audio.

We offer an in-depth study of the “Tattvas (Elements); The Building Blocks of Creation according to Kashmir Shaivism as an online course on our website, which includes Q&A and discussions by John, Denise Hughes and George Barselaar, who studied and lived for many years with Swami Lakshmanjoo.

“These thirty-six elements are the most important points for entering in Shaivism.”

~Swami Lakshmanjoo

Continued from the previous blog post: (tattvas: Mahābhutas – five great elements up to tattvas Karmendriyas – organs of action. Now the five organs of cognition…


JOHN: What are the organs in Sanskrit, organs of cognition called?
SWAMIJI: Organs of cognition, these are called jñānendriyas.
JOHN: Jñānendriyas.
SWAMIJI: And these  [Five Organs of Action] are called karmendriyas. These [Five Subtle Elements] are called tanmātrās. And these  [Five Great Elements] are called pañca mahābhūtas.
JOHN: Pañca-mahābhūtas. So, jñāna means knowledge.
SWAMIJI: Jñāna means knowledge, organs of knowledge.
JOHN: So these would be more of the mental organs that we experience the world with and those.
Are these five too?
SWAMIJI: Yes these are five. I don’t remember the order.
First was śabdaḥ, sparśaḥ, rūpaḥ, rasaḥ and gandhaḥ [Five Subtle Elements].
No it is not, it is there. You have it already written there.
JOHN: Śabda, sparśaḥ, rūpaḥ, rasaḥ and [gandhaḥ].
SWAMIJI: You have already written it.

Now comes [Pañca jñānendriyas – Five Organs of Congnition]  śrotra, tvak, cakṣu, [rasanā and ghrāṇa].
Shall I get the book? In the meantime, you . . .
It creates and is not created.
DENISE: Un-manifest.
SWAMIJI: Un-manifest and manifestation come out from that. That is tattva.
JOHN: Manifestation comes out. But in the ābhāsavāda, in the manifestation, from the Parama Śiva, when everything comes out from the ultimate reality . . .
SWAMIJI: The real tattva is Parama Śiva.
JOHN: So then all the rest of the tattvas . . .
SWAMIJI: And he has created these small tattvas.
JOHN: Small powers, they are not absolute because, for example out of this tattva touch does not air comes, ultimately. So then the tattva of air isn’t . . . because it isn’t somewhat . . . it is in some sense created by the tattva of touch. Is that correct?
SWAMIJI: It is not created, yes.
JOHN: Is not created. But they all . . . don’t they . . .
SWAMIJI: It is the creator.
JOHN: It is the creator.
SWAMIJI: Creator, not created.
JOHN: Not created.
SWAMIJI: It creates.
JOHN: It creates, the tattva, then in vāyu or the tattva of . . .
SWAMIJI: Vāyu tattva, yes, creates.
JOHN: . . . tattva of air creates air?
SWAMIJI: It creates air.
JOHN: Now nothing created it. Didn’t tattva of air come from sparśaḥ.
SWAMIJI: Sparśaḥ, yes, saparśaḥ is connected with air.
JOHN: Connected with air. But we can’t say that sparśaḥ created . . .
SWAMIJI: From sparśaḥ vāyu comes out.
JOHN: Vāyu comes out but it doesn’t create vāyu. It just comes, flows out.
SWAMIJI: It flows out.
JOHN: And then from that tattva it creates air.
SWAMIJI: Yes. In the same way all the tattvas do the same from Parama Śiva.
JOHN: Parama Śiva. And he is the, from him flows out . . .
SWAMIJI: He is the real tattva. It is called Parama tattva.
JOHN: Parama tattva.

[Pañca jñānendriyas – Five Organs of Cognition]

SWAMIJI: Ghrāṇa, ghrāṇa is the first . . .
JOHN: Ghrāṇa.
SWAMIJI: . . . first jñānendriya, ghrāṇa. Ghrāṇa means this . . .
JOHN: Smell.
SWAMIJI: Not breathing. Not for breathing, but for smell.
JOHN: The nose then for smell.
SWAMIJI: Nose for smell. And then jihvā for rasa, tongue . . .
JOHN: Rasa.
SWAMIJI: Rasa. No, jihvā, jihvā is jñānendriya. Rasa has come in tanmātrās.
JOHN: Jihvā?
SWAMIJI: Jihvā means tongue. Not for speech, but for taste because speech also comes from tongue. And that is organ of action. That is not organ of cognition.
JOHN: Speech action.
SWAMIJI: Speech action. And then comes sparśa . . . tvak, tvak, tvak.
JOHN: Sparśa
SWAMIJI: No, tvak, and then comes cakṣuḥ.
JOHN: And then . . . so tvak is touch?
SWAMIJI: Touch, yes. For touch, tvak is for touch.
JOHN: For touch.
SWAMIJI: Tvak is not touch.
JOHN: It creates touch.
SWAMIJI: It creates touch.
JOHN: So then comes ghrāṇa creates smell, jihvā creates taste.
JOHN: And tvak creates touch.
SWAMIJI: And then cakṣu, netra, eyes.
JOHN: Cakṣu?
SWAMIJI: It is called in Sanskrit cakṣuḥ. Cakṣuḥ means eyes. By which you see, it creates rūpaḥ, form. And then last is śrotra, ear for hearing sound. I think you have followed.
JOHN: Yes.
SWAMIJI: And these elements are called gross elements.
JOHN: All the above?
SWAMIJI: All above. And these are objective elements. Now you will see objective cum subjective elements. Objective cum subjective elements will come now. I have put the explanation of tattvas in the way of rising not coming down.
JOHN: Rising not crushing, yes.
SWAMIJI: Not coming down, we are rising up to Parama Śiva.
JOHN: We are rising on the top.
SWAMIJI: I like rising. I don’t like coming down. So we must rise. It is the way I have put the first earth gross and then we will come to the subtle and subtle to the final, finer and finer.
JOHN: Subtler and subtler to the finest.
SWAMIJI: Finest is Parama Śiva.
Antaḥkaraṇas, three antaḥkaraṇas will come. Three tattvas of antaḥkaraṇas. Antaḥkaraṇas means internal organs, three internal organs.

[Antaḥkaraṇas – Three Internal Organs]

JOHN: There are three?
SWAMIJI: Yes three. These are three tattvas. Manas-mind, buddhiḥ-intellect, and ahaṅkāra-ego, ego connected with objectivity.
JOHN: Connected with objectivity?
SWAMIJI: Objectivity. Manas, buddhiḥ and ahaṅkāraḥ.
JOHN: Could you say something more about the functions of these three organs manas, buddhiḥ and ahaṅkāra because that’s always been very difficult for me to understand.
SWAMIJI: Manas, manas is called only saṁkalpasādhana, the way by which you create thoughts. “I am going there. I will go there. I have done this. I will do that.” This is the action of manas.
JOHN: Manas.
SWAMIJI: The action of intellect is to confirm, whether I should do this or not. This is confirmation field. The confirmation field resides in buddhiḥ, intellect.
JOHN: When you have choice then?
SWAMIJI: Not choice. The righteousness.
JOHN: Rightness and then choice comes after that.
SWAMIJI: Then choice comes after that. “Should we do this action or not,” you ask internally and buddhiḥ replies, “No, you should do it. You should not do it. It is bad. It is sin. It is good, you should do it.”
DENISE: Like a conscience sort of? People say you have a conscience.
SWAMIJI: Conscience. It is just like conscience but not that super conscience. That super conscience is absolutely pure, without distinction.
JOHN: So then in the intellect, we’d also use that to confirm whether a mathematical answer was correct. Whether we have done . . .
SWAMIJI: That is done by intellect, that is buddhi here.
JOHN: So all the kinds of thinking, when we make decisions.
SWAMIJI: It is why I have put this class in objective and subjective both. And then is ahaṅkāra, ego connected with objectivity. Ahaṅkāra is when you attribute action or any knowledge you attribute to your own self, “I have done this. I have mistaken. I am mistaken. I have done this. This ought not to be done.” This is called ahaṅkāraḥ. These three tattvas are called three antaḥkaraṇas, antaḥkaraṇas internal organs. You have put that already.
JOHN: In Sanskrit could that be broken down as I-maker, I ahaṁ, I kāra be from kṛi, to make. So I maker is creating the I.
SWAMIJI: Yes. But limited I.
JOHN: Limited.
SWAMIJI: Not unlimited I.

Then comes prakṛiti and puruṣa in Kashmir Shaivism, these two tattvas. These two tattvas are interdependent.


All Content is subject to Copyright © John Hughes.

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