“The light of Consciousness is not only pure Consciousness”, and Swami Lakshmanjoo explains why this is so in this excerpt from the book Self Realization in Kashmir Shaivism, The Oral Teachings of Swami Lakshmanjoo. This is from Chapter Three; Entrance into the Supreme Reality.
This is a good book to understand some of the basics of Kashmir Shaivism, as well as learn about Swami Lakshmanjoo’s life.
Chapter Three; Entrance into the Supreme Reality.
These Teachings are based on the Parāprāveśikā of Kśemarāja, the chief disciple of Abhinavagupta. The word parāprāveśikā means “that which causes you to enter the Supreme,” that which gives you a push into that highest reality.
I bow to that Consciousness (saṁvid) which shines in the three-fold ways of its energies—supreme, medium, and inferior—and in all the three states of Consciousness. That Consciousness is the heart of Lord Śiva.
The Supreme Energy (śakti) is that Energy beyond limitation. It is non-dual (advaita), monistic. Medium (parāparā) energy is both non-dual (advaita) and dual (dvaita). Inferior (aparā) energy is only dual (dvaita). These three energies correspond to subjective consciousness, conceptual consciousness, and objective consciousness. I bow to that Consciousness which shines in these three ways. That Consciousness is the heart of Lord Śiva. It is both one with the universe and above the universe.
Now the essence.
In the world of Śaivite philosophy, Lord Śiva is seen as being filled with light. But more than this, Lord Śiva is the embodiment of light and this light is different than the light of the sun, of the moon, or of fire.
It is light (prakaśa) with Consciousness (vimarśa); and this light with Consciousness is the nature of that Supreme Consciousness, Lord Śiva.
What is Consciousness?
The light of Consciousness is not only pure Consciousness, it is filled with the understanding that I am the creator, I am the protector, and I am the destroyer of everything. Just to know that I am the creator, I am the protector, and I am the destroyer is Consciousness. If Consciousness was not attached to the light of Consciousness, we would have to admit that the light of the sun or the light of the moon or the light of a fire is also Lord Śiva. But this is not the case.
The light of Consciousness (vimarśa) is given various names. It is called cit–caitanya, which means the strength of consciousness; parā vāk, the supreme word; svātantrya, perfect independence; aiśvarya, the predominant glory of supreme Śiva; kartṛitva, the power of acting; sphurattā, the power of existing; sāra, the complete essence of everything; hṛidaya, the universal heart; and spanda, universal movement. All these are names in the Tantras, which are attributed to this Consciousness.
This I-Consciousness, which is the reality of Lord Śiva, is a natural (akṛitrima), not a contrived, “I.” It is not adjusted I-Consciousness. Limited human beings have adjusted I-Consciousness. Lord Śiva has natural or pure I-Consciousness. There is a difference between adjusted Consciousness and natural Consciousness.
Adjusted or artificial Consciousness exists when this I-Consciousness is attributed to your body, to your mind, to your intellect, and to your ego. Natural Consciousness is that consciousness that is attributed to the reality of the Self, which is all Consciousness. Natural Consciousness is the pure embodiment of Consciousness. It is Śiva.
All of the thirty-six elements, from Śiva to earth, are created by that natural I-Consciousness. And not only are they created by that Consciousness, they also shine in that Consciousness. His creation is not outside of His nature, it exists in His own Self. He has created this whole universe in the cycle of His Consciousness. So, everything that exists resides in that Consciousness.
This must be your understanding. The creative energy which is attributed to Lord Śiva is not that energy of Lord Śiva that creates the universe outside of His Consciousness as we create outside of our consciousness. His creation is not insentient (jaḍa) as our creations are.
This universe, which is created in His Consciousness, is dependent on that Consciousness. It is always dependent on that Consciousness. It cannot move outside of that Consciousness. It exists only when it is residing in His Consciousness. This is the way the creation of His universe takes place.
You must understand that this universe, which is created by the Lord of Consciousness, is one with that Creator Who is wholly prakāśa-vimarśa, self-luminous light with Consciousness.
If this created universe were to remain outside of Consciousness then it would not appear to anyone. It would not exist, just as the son born of a barren woman or the milk of a bird do not exist. If we go into the depth of this understanding, we will see that there is a difference between these analogies. If this created universe were to remain outside of Consciousness, it would not appear to anyone because it would not exist at all. Actually, only Consciousness exists. In this way, because this universe exists, it is one with Consciousness. In reality, nothing would exist if it were separate from this Consciousness.
It is in this sense that we can say that the son of a barren woman or the milk of a bird are existing. They are existing because they are existing in Consciousness as long as they are residing in our thought. When it is in imagination it is existing in Consciousness. Kṣemarāja is telling us that this universe is not outside of Consciousness. So, the son of a barren woman or the milk of a bird are not existing outside of Consciousness. We can think of them, so they are also existing inside of Consciousness.
The Consciousness of Lord Śiva is not overshadowed by this created world. The world cannot obscure Consciousness. On the contrary, Consciousness gives rise to the existence of this world.
This world is existing on the surface of Consciousness. So how could this world cover or conceal the nature of Consciousness? The truth is, this world gets its life from Consciousness. It is filled with the light of Consciousness. The universe can not conceal its life, which is Consciousness. If this universe could conceal the Consciousness of Lord Śiva, how would it exist? It would not—it would disappear.
So it is easy to see that even an argument trying to prove the non-existence of Consciousness could not exist without Consciousness. If you say that God does not exist, I ask you, Who is saying that God does not exist? It is God that says that God does not exist. So it is God Himself who is trying to prove that He does not exist. Why? Because that person who disproves the existence of Lord Śiva, by his very attempt to disprove His existence, proves His existence. This is because that person who is asking the question is Lord Śiva, who exists even before the question of His existence arises.
How can you understand the existence of Lord Śiva? You must comprehend it with your own understanding. Consider how His existence is shining everywhere, in agreement and in disagreement. If you agree that Lord Śiva exists, He is shining. If you do not agree that Lord Śiva exists, He is also shining in that disagreement. In both cases, He is shining.
So, presenting an argument to prove His existence is also useless because the person who is advancing the argument is that very being, already manifested there, who is being proven. Actually, the two classes of objects—internal and objective—and the three classes of bodies—gross, subtle, and subtlest—are dependent on that Consciousness. If Consciousness was not there, none of these objects or bodies would exist.
And furthermore, a proof (pramāṇa) is only given for that which was not known previously and which is only known now. To give proof for that which was already known before the existence of the proof does not make sense. Therefore, a proof of God, Lord Śiva, has no place here.
1. These three states of consciousness are the three aspects that make up any perception. There is the perceiver, which is subjective consciousness; the means of perceiving that object, which is cognitive consciousness; and the object being perceived, which is objective consciousness.
2. The two classes of objects are external objects and internal objects.
The external objective world consists of things, forms, colors, sounds, etc., which exist externally. The internal objective world is made up of pain, pleasures, grief, etc. Internal objects are those objects which are not seen by anyone except that person who is experiencing them. Your internal objects are perceived by you alone. Your internal objects cannot be perceived by me. If you are filled with grief or happiness I cannot experience it nor can I see it. On the other hand, external objects are perceived by everyone.
There are also three classes of bodies: the gross body, the subtle body, and the subtlest body. The gross body is that body which is active in the waking state. The subtle body is that body which is active in the dream- ing state. The subtlest body is that body which is active in the deep sleep state.
Source: Self Realization in Kashmir Shaivism, The Oral Teachings of Swami Lakshmanjoo,
State University of New York Press (Suny).
Copyright © 1994 State University of New York, All rights reserved.