Not knowing is saṁsāra, and that too is the sweet will of Lord Śiva. He has created this not knowing also. ~Swami Lakshmanjoo

In this excerpt, Swami Lakshmanjoo tells us that through ‘not knowing’ one is caught in the cycle of worldly existence (saṁsāra) and that too is the free will of Lord Shiva.

This is the 11th verse and a continuation of the previous lecture on the Bodhapañcadaśikā by Abhinavagupta, which was about time.

Not knowing is saṁsāra, and that too is the sweet will of Lord Śiva. He has created this not knowing also. ~Swami Lakshmanjoo



यदेतस्यापरिज्ञानं तत्स्वातन्त्र्यं हि वर्णितम् ।

स एव खलु संसारो जडानां यो विभीषकः ॥११

yadetasyā-parijñānaṁ tat-svātantryaṁ hi varṇitam /

sa eva khalu saṁsāro jaḍānāṁ yo vibhīṣakaḥ  // 11 //

Yadetasya aparijñānam. Now if we don’t understand like this, i.e. that this is only a trick, there is no time, actually, there is no span of time, it (only) appears like that. And if it were correct, then there would not have happened this difference . . . the difference of time. Only your one day is equal to 100 years of a mosquito. In one days time he is created, he protects, he does everything of his own, and he is destroyed.

ERNIE: [Then] 24 hours would be the same for everybody?

SWAMIJI: Yes, 24 hours according to your own cycle, 24 hours according to the cycle of Lord Śiva. No, not Śiva, Sadāśiva.18

And not knowing this, when you don’t know it (what?) . . .

BRUCE P: The difference.

SWAMIJI: . . . the difference, tat svātantryam, that too is the independent svātantrya [free will] of Lord Śiva. You should not go in the depth of why, why it is not understood. If it is not understood, that too is the svātantrya of Lord Śiva. Sa eva khalu saṁsāra, and that is the world.

That not knowing, not knowing in that way is saṁsāra, this existence of the world.

Jaḍānāṁ yo vibhīṣikaḥ. And those who are ignorant, they are terrified, it terrifies them. This kind of svātantrya, this kind of independent svātantrya of Lord Śiva, terrifies those who are ignorant. They cry.

BRUCE P: Not knowing that they don’t know?

SWAMIJI: No. They don’t know that they don’t know!

BRUCE P: They feel that they don’t know?

SWAMIJI: No they don’t feel. If they would feel ‘they don’t know’, then they would know. As soon as they feel that they don’t know they would know.

BRUCE P: Then what terrifies them?

SWAMIJI: Not knowing! Just not knowing, and not knowing that they are not knowing.

ERNIE: Pure ignorance

SWAMIJI: Pure ignorance. Not knowing that they are ignorant.

BRUCE P: How do they know that they are ignorant?

SWAMIJI: They don’t know. They think that they know, but they are ignorant. They know that they are living in saṁsāra.19 And they don’t know the difference of time; that this is different in each and every being. They don’t know that.

That not knowing, that is saṁsāra, and that too is the sweet will or svātantrya of Lord Śiva. He has created this not knowing also.

And this not knowing terrifies those who are ignorant. They are caught in that grip, they cry.


18  In the state of Śiva ( Paramaśiva) there is no time. The concept of time only starts with the creation of Sadāśiva.

19  Saṁsāra – in the cycle of worldly existence.


Source: The Bodhapañcadaśikā, Abhinavagupta’s “Fifteen Verses of Wisdom” featuring Swami Lakshmanjoo’s revelation (along with discussion and questions and answers by his closest devotees) is available as a six-part online study series: “Kashmir Shaivism and the Transformation of Life“. Includes a 127-page transcript in PDF format, with downloadable video and audio material (8 hours).

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