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Why our masters have explained to meditate

Why our masters have explained to meditate

abhinavagupta bodhapañcadaśikā kashmir shaivism May 20, 2024

This is verse 9 of the Bodhapañcadaśikā by Abhinavagupta, who wrote the [15 verses of wisdom] for ‘those dear devotees who are not intellectually inclined”. The Bodhapañcadaśikā, Abhinavagupta’s “Fifteen Verses of Wisdom” is available as part of the "Self Realization in Kashmir Shaivism" by Swami Lakshmanjoo.

In this excerpt Swami Lakshmanjoo answers the question “Why our masters have explained to meditate.”

Abhinavagupta and the Kashmir Shaiva Lineage.
Original painting by Claudia Dose.


एवमस्य स्वतन्त्रस्य निजशक्त्युपभेदिनः ।

स्वात्मगाः सृष्टिसंहाराः स्वरूपत्वेन संस्थिताः ॥९

evamasya svatantrasya nija-śakty-upabhedinaḥ  /

svātmagāḥ sṛiṣṭi saṁhārāḥ svarūpatvena saṁsthitāḥ  // 9 //

So, asya svatantrasya, this Lord Śiva who is svatantra, all round svatantra, (svatantra is independent); nija śakti upabhedinaḥ svātmagā sṛiṣti saṁhārāḥ. These varieties of creation and the varieties of destruction, are existing in his own nature. And at the same time [they are] existing in its own way, which is ignorance. In the field of ignorance, the field of ignorance is also there.

ERNIE: That’s in its own way?


And at the same time, it is why our masters have explained to us to meditate; to meditate to find out, what a rock is. When you meditate, then a rock will become universal. Then there is nothing, there is no problem. When there is only a rock there is a problem, when there is only Bruce there is a problem, when there is only John there is a problem. When John will come to know that he is Universal, there is no problem.

It is why meditation is produced for realizing the reality of God consciousness in Shaivism.

So this sṛiṣṭi saṁhāra, this creation and destruction . . . creation and destruction are done in two ways, i.e. creation in the cycle of knowledge and creation in the cycle of kriyā it is in action. Creation and destruction in the cycle of kriyā [action], and creation and destruction in the cycle of knowledge. Creation and destruction in the cycle of kriyā is just what it is.

For instance, there is a mountain. It is created; it is created, it is in action. Its action after one thousand centuries, it will become dust. It will fall and . . .

JOHN: It will crumble.

SWAMIJI: . . . it will crumble, it will become dust. So it is in action, this is in action. Now you must, you have to divert this activity of this created thing into knowledge, in knowledge. Then it will possess the seat of universality. In that universality, there is knowledge it is jñāna, pūrva jñāna.34

So this sṛiṣṭi and saṁhāra, creation and destruction; when action is created knowledge is destroyed, when knowledge is created action is destroyed.

You know how action is destroyed?

For instance, if I perceive this mountain, it is in action; if I perceive it in my knowledge, knowledge of God consciousness, I won’t feel that it is in action then. Because after one thousand centuries, when it will become dust; after one thousand centuries when it will become dust, I will feel that it has taken the formation of dust, it is not destroyed. So it was not in action, it was in knowledge.

So this is vicitra sṛiṣṭi saṁhāraḥ, the variation of creation and destruction takes place in this way.

BRUCE P: How is knowledge destroyed by action?

SWAMIJI: As Lord Śiva has destroyed his nature in jīva bhāva, paśu bhāva, [in limited individual state]. When he has become ignorant, he has destroyed his nature, knowledge, by becoming jīva . . . limited.

ERNIE: So, that knowledge then is the knowledge of [his] true nature . . .

SWAMIJI: Knowledge, we have to hold knowledge, we have to search for knowledge.

ERNIE: But then knowledge is the true nature of that mountain. The knowledge that you are speaking of isn’t how many rocks are in the mountain?

SWAMIJI: When knowledge is there, then there is universality. Universality is [when] ‘rock is also God, dust is also God’.

ERNIE: Ah, this is the knowledge!

SWAMIJI: This is the knowledge.

ERNIE: Real though, real knowledge.

SWAMIJI: And there is no difference between that dust after two thousand centuries, that dust and rock. Before two thousand centuries, it was rock, the shape of rock, and after two thousand centuries [it became] the shape of dust, there is no difference between [these two] when there is knowledge.

ERNIE: Real knowledge.

SWAMIJI: That is God.

BRUCE P: What is the purpose of action?

SWAMIJI: It is svātantrya [his independent freedom]. It is play.

BRUCE P: To realize himself?

SWAMIJI: No, it is just his own play.

BRUCE P: For no purpose at all?

SWAMIJI: No, there is purpose.

BRUCE P: What purpose?

SWAMIJI: Just play, this play is the purpose.

BRUCE P: It is not to reflect himself on his own screen?

SWAMIJI: No, there is no effect at all, no effect in both ways.

Because if it was only in action, not in knowledge, whenever, after many lives this knowledge takes place, he will find out and he will recognize that nothing had happened at all from the very beginning of ignorance I was already there.

So it is a trick, it is a trick. It is not destroyed at all. It is a trick to appear as if it is destroyed.

ERNIE: This is the play.

SWAMIJI: This is the trick; this is play. He is tricky – Lord Śiva.

ERNIE: But, you know, so many people in the west have an idea that God is compassionate, and all loving, and all understanding. But if you have an idea that God creates and destroys your ignorance, and if you are suffering because you are ignorant, for whatever reasons, then that position is not able to . . .

SWAMIJI: No, when it is realized then there will be no difference, you won’t feel any difference in being compassionate and in the absence of compassion.

JOHN: But there’s nobody for God to be compassionate to . . .

SWAMIJI: No . . .

JOHN: . . . only to himself?

SWAMIJI: . . . at that moment. He transcends . . . these limited boundaries of dualistic ways of thought he transcends at the time of knowledge. He comes out from these narrow boundaries.

ERNIE: So then as far as compassion, not compassion, that doesn’t exist?

SWAMIJI: That exists.

ERNIE: But not in a real way?

SWAMIJI: No, that exists in a real way. That exists in a real way, but you have to find out.

ERNIE: So then God really has nothing to do with morals?

SWAMIJI: Morals?


SWAMIJI: No, that is not the point.

ERNIE: Yes, I know that’s not, but for so many people it is the point though?

SWAMIJI: No, it is the course for beginners to tread, that there must be morals, there must be character, there must be everything; it is for us. Not when you realize it! When you realize it in a complete way, then you come to the point of Shaivism afterwards. Then, at that moment, right and wrong has nothing to do with it. But till then we have to follow all the rules and regulations of śāstras35 till then.

ERNIE: No, but the reason I am curious is, “why do you have to follow the rules, if it doesn’t matter anyway?”

SWAMIJI: Yes, that is true, it does not matter anyway. But it matters in the beginning. It carries you away from that point.

ERNIE: Of that experience of the true position, “I see!”


Once you realize that experience of the true position, then there is no . .

ERNIE: No problem.


asyāṁ bhūmau sukhaṁ duḥkhaṁ /

bandhau mokṣasciti jaḍa

ghaṭakumbhavat ekārthaḥ  // 


At the time of reaching that supreme state of God consciousness pleasure and pain has no value. Pleasure is the same, pain is the same; death is the same, life is the same. Death and life are the same. Sukhaṁ bandhau mokṣaḥ, bondage and liberation (are the) same, existence and non-existence, same; rock, becoming rock, becoming intelligent, same. At that moment.



34 The literal meaning of pūrva jñāna is the ‘first or previous knowledge’. Here it is used in the sense of ‘pre-eminent or highest knowledge’.

35 For the rules and regulations of śāstras see: Self Realization in Kashmir Shaivism, The Oral Teachings of Swami Lakshmanjoo, chapter 4, Talks on Discipline.


Source: The Bodhapañcadaśikā, Abhinavagupta’s “Fifteen Verses of Wisdom”, available as part of the "Self Realization in Kashmir Shaivism" by Swami Lakshmanjoo.

All Content is subject to Copyright © John Hughes.

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