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The difference between initiation and awareness (prātibhā knowledge)

The difference between initiation and awareness (prātibhā knowledge)

badhya dīkṣa prātibhā knowledge Dec 16, 2023
In this excerpt, Swami Lakshmanjoo explains the difference between initiation and automatic knowledge (breakless awareness – prātibhā knowledge).
“Gurvāyattā tu sā dīkṣā this [inferior] initiation is dependent to master. But if once you maintain that prātibhā knowledge (prātibha knowledge means if you have command on awareness, when you have full command on awareness, don’t let anything creep in), and that awareness will carry you to that greatest power of maintaining oneness with Lord Śiva, and without any other support.”  And further down he clarifies what awareness really is…
This is from Abhinavagupta’s Tantrāloka, 13th āhnika (chapter) verse 167-172, Archive of the Lakshmanjoo Academy.


nanu prāgdīkṣayā mokṣo-

‘dhunā tu prātibhātkatham // 167 //

Nanu (it is a question of Pārvatī), prāk dīkṣyā mokṣāḥ, previously you have told that liberation comes forth by being initiated by a master, i.e. when you are initiated by a master you are liberated. Now you say by your own automatic knowledge [prātibha] you get liberation. What is the right thing then? I am confused!

iti devyā kṛite praśne

prāvartata vibhorvacaḥ / 168a

On this question of Pārvatī prāvartata vibhorvacaḥ, Lord Śiva explains again.

dīkṣayā mucyate jantuḥ

prātibhena tathā priye // 168 //

Priye, O Dear, dikṣaya mucyate jantuḥ by initiation also one gets liberated, [and] by pratibhā also one gets liberated. This is the main thing. By being initiated you get liberated, and with your own automatic knowledge, you get liberated.

Now there is a difference between automatic knowledge [prātibha] and initiation [dīkṣa].

gurvāyattā tu sā dikṣā

badhyabandhanamokṣaṇe /

prātibho’sya svabhāvastu

kevalībhāvasiddhidaḥ // 169 //

That initiation is depending on your master, i.e. initiation will be done by your master, initiation won’t happen automatically. When you are initiated by your master then you are initiated; you can’t initiate yourself by your own self. So it is dependent to master, i.e. this [inferior] initiation.

For what purpose he is being initiated?

Badhya bandhana mokṣaṇe. Badhya is who is already entangled in ignorance, in the field of ignorance, in the world of ignorance. The person who is entangled in ignorance, he is badhya. And bandhana is this chain; the chain of ignorance by which he is bound in this universal field. Just to unchain that, for that, initiation is being done.

Prātibho’sya svabhāvastu but this automatic knowledge [prātibhā] which I have explained here, it is just automatic. He has not to depend on meditation, he has not to depend on anything, just awareness. If he is once aware . . .

You see if you do practice with awareness, with real awareness (I don’t mean this so-called awareness), . . .

DEVOTEES:  (laughter)

SWAMIJI:  . . . with real awareness, with real awareness, if you practice after one hour you will get samādhi; in one hours practice you’ll get samādhi, you’ll get trance. There is no doubt about it.

JOHN:  What does real awareness mean, break-less awareness?

SWAMIJI:  Break-less awareness, and scattering all other opposite agencies of thought.

JOHN:  Which means, those things which would take you away from your awareness.

SWAMIJI:  For instance, you are aware, you maintain awareness on that point. On that point of awareness, just this thought will creep there, this leakage that, “this awareness is very nice . . . this awareness is very nice.” He will make friendship with you. That enemy will make friendship with you just to creep in your mind, just to tell you that “awareness is best.” And this “awareness is best” this also is an obstacle. This will create another series of thoughts.

“This is very nice . . . I am so happy . . . and I am one-pointed now . . . I am one-pointed!” This thought also will carry you away from one-pointedness.

So by this, these are the ways and tricks of this māyā, that carry you away from that awareness.

So you have to be aware, bas, AWARE! Don’t let anything like the praise of awareness and nothing happen in between. Just go on doing with awareness, don’t let any thought come. This is what happens and everybody is crying, all disciples are crying, “we don’t achieve anything!”

What will happen to the master?

DEVOTEES:  (laughter)

SWAMIJI:  He has to suffer.

Gurvāyattā tu sā dīkṣā this [inferior] initiation is dependent to master. But this prātibhāprātibhā knowledge . . . if once you maintain that prātibhā knowledge (prātibha knowledge means just if you have command on awareness, when you have full command on awareness, don’t let anything creep in), and that is kevalī bhāva siddhidaḥ that awareness will carry you to that greatest power, greatest power of maintaining oneness with Lord Śiva, and without any other support.

kevalasya dhruvaṁ muktiḥ

paratattvena sā nanu /

nṛiśaktiśivamuktaṁ hi

tattvatrayamidaṁ tvayā // 170 //

nā badhyo bandhane śaktiḥ

karaṇaṁ kartṛitāṁ spṛiśat /

śivaḥ karteti tatproktaṁ

sarvaṁ gurvāgamādaṇoḥ // 171 //

punarvivekāduktaṁ tad-

uttarottaramucyatām /

kathaṁ vivekaḥ kiṁ vāsya

devadeva vivicyate // 172 //

Kevalasya dhruvaṁ muktiḥkevala is one who is independent in meditating, in maintaining awareness (not meditating), maintaining awareness. You have to be aware, you are there, Lord Śiva is present, just be aware! You have to just remain aware and you are one with Lord Śiva. But that awareness, you must understand what that awareness is. That awareness is very difficult to understand.

There are so many disciples, so many masters preaching this method of awareness, but nobody has understood it. Only one person understands in one billion disciples ‘what awareness really is’.

Awareness . . . you have to see it yourself; you are yourself the authority, nobody will help you there. You have to see yourself what awareness really is. Awareness is one-pointed . . . undisturbed one-pointedness, undisturbed one-pointedness; undisturbed from any other agency.

This is also a foreign agency . . . what?

“This awareness is very nice, it has made me peaceful.”

This thought also, this is a foreign agency, foreign matter. This you should avoid. Go on, go on maintaining awareness, then you will see what will happen.

JOHN:  But maintaining awareness in meditation doesn’t mean having that point, say you had some point of concentration, it doesn’t mean just having that point and losing your subjectivity–that’s not awareness?

SWAMIJI:  No, that point is subjective.

JOHN:  Some people believe you hold that point–outward point–and they don’t put any stress on inner subjectivity.

SWAMIJI:  No, this subjectivity, this is also one drawback in our understanding. Subjectivity does not reside inside only.

It is everywhere!

Subjectivity is everywhere!

So what can I say, what more can I say? You have to find out yourself. Unless you don’t find out yourself, guru and śāstras will do no help.

BRUCE P:  Who finds out, who has to find out?

SWAMIJI:  Yourself.

BRUCE P:  The individual?

SWAMIJI:  This individual; the individual consciousness. The individual consciousness has to find out.

BRUCE P:  How could it possibly find out?

SWAMIJI:  As you are taught by your master.

BRUCE P:  But I’m taught that it’s nothing I do?


BRUCE P:  But it’s nothing I do. It’s God’s grace shining.

SWAMIJI:  But that is grace. When once you come to that point, that is grace, that is the sign of grace.

[Laughing . . . !]

It is very difficult sir.

DEVOTEES:  (laughter)

SWAMIJI:  Kevalasya dhruvaṁ muktiḥ paratattvena . . .

Paratattvena there must be a comma, after paratattvena . . . no, after , after  there must be comma [,].

. . . kevalasya dhruvaṁ muktiḥ paratattvena sā, that liberation takes place by awareness founded by you only; not by awareness founded by a master. Awareness founded by intellect [śāstras] won’t do anything, awareness founded by master won’t do anything. Awareness must come within your own self. It is why fully aware people will never get mad, it is not possible; they won’t become insane, never! Because they have got fully developed the intellect, intellectual power. This is your own intellectual power that will survive there. This is God’s grace, if it survives, this is God’s grace.

So it is definitely you will be liberated by that!

(source: Abhinavagupta’s Tantrāloka, 13th āhnika (chapter) verse 167-172,
from the Archive of the Lakshmanjoo Academy.
All Content is subject to Copyright © John Hughes

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