The span of life and time . . .

This is the continuation of the previous lecture on the Bodhapañcadaśikā by Abhinavagupta, who wrote the [15 verses of wisdom] for ‘those dear devotees who are not intellectually inclined”. In this part Swamiji is explaining the 10th verse…



तेषु वैचित्र्यमत्यन्तमूर्ध्वाधस्तिर्यगेव यत् ।

भुवनानि तदंशाश्च सुखदुःखमतर्भवः ॥१०

teṣu vaicitryam-atyantam – ūrdhvādha-stiryageva yat /

bhuvanāni tad-aṁśāśca sukha-duḥkham-atir-bhavaḥ // 10 //

In the previous śloka he has explained that these varieties of creation and destruction are residing in his own nature. He destroys this universe, he creates, protects, conceals and reveals; but that too, is done in his own nature. That he has in previous śloka explained.

Now he, in this śloka he says, teṣu vaicitryam, and you find varieties of creation and destruction in this world. This is variation i.e. they don’t tally with each other.

For instance, in 24 hours time the span of life ends in mosquitoes; those mosquitoes who are fighting with each other, their span of lifetime is 24 hours. And that 24 hours is equal to their 100 years. And our 24 hours is 24 hours, and our span of life is 100 years at the most. And then, Gods and those who have died in pitṛiloka, they are residing in pitṛiloka, 14 their one day of 24 hours is equal to our six months. Our six months pass, and there only 24 hours pass.

And in the same way it expands, the span of time expands by and by and ultimately Lord Śiva’s twinkling of eye. Twinkling of his eyes, it is just to make you understand that, exactly it is not twinkling of eye also. It is just a flash. In the twinkling of his eye, 100 years of Sadāśiva expires. One hundred years of Sadāśiva.15

You can calculate, how much span of time is 100 years of Sadāśiva. And 100 years of Sadāśiva are over in one twinkling of Lord Śiva. He opens his eyes and Sadāśiva is created; he closes his eyes and Sadāśiva is destroyed, i.e. 100 years of Sadāśiva end.

So this is vaicitrya. Teṣu vaicitryam, so you find varieties of this time. So you cannot depend upon any time. Time only appears, it does not exist.

BRUCE P: You were talking about varieties of creation and destruction?

SWAMIJI: Yes, varieties of destruction and creation is according to time. A human being is destroyed after 100 years. So this is time, after that particular time he ends, i.e. his span of lifetime ends.

In the same way the span of a lifetime of Sadāśiva ends, at the top. And this is only in the twinkling of the eye of Lord Śiva. This is variety, which we come to know in this universe of 118 worlds.

Teṣu vaicitryam atyantam ūrdhvādha stiryageva yat. Some are created in the upper cycle, some are created in down below, some are created in the center, and it is like that. Some are created in sideways. And there are 118 worlds, 16 those are created. Tadaṁśāśca, and small portions of worlds are created attached to those worlds. Pain is created pleasure is created, intellectual power is created, according to the status of being. You see that mosquito has intellectual power according to its existence. And Lord Śiva has intellectual power. And that intellectual power is also a trick.

For instance, he cannot understand what is meditation.


DENISE: Lord Śiva?

SWAMIJI: No, this mosquito.

DENISE: Oh, the mosquito! (laughs)

SWAMIJI: A mosquito cannot understand. Lord Śiva can. So this intellectual power is also created in variations. This is bhavaḥ, this is the world, sukha duḥkha matir bhavaḥ.17


14  Pitṛiloka is the world (loka) of deceased ancestors. Our one year is equal to one day in pitṛiloka, i.e. our summer is day and our winter is night, in the world of gods and deceased ancestors.

15  Sadāśiva exists at the level of the 34th tattva, above where there is only Śiva and Śakti.

16 Kashmir Shaivism recognizes 118 worlds (bhuvana), 36 elements (tattvas), and 5 circles (kalas), which make up the totality of the objective world. Side-by-side Kashmir Shaivism recognizes world of letters, words, and sentences, which make up the three aspects of the subjective world. See also: Swami Lakshmanjoo, Kashmir Shaivism, The Secret Supreme, chapter 2, “The Six-fold path of The Universe – Ṣaḍadhvan.”

17  Sukha duḥkha matir bhavaḥ means, both pleasure (sukha) and pain (duḥkha) are created in this world.

(source: Audio Archives of the Universal Shaiva Fellowship
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