In this excerpt, Devi is asking: “O Lord, what is the real essence of the way we have to tread?” and Swami Lakshmanjoo is revealing to us what Lord Shiva’s answer is as he explains important concepts of Kashmir Shaivism.
This is an excerpt from the Vijnana Bhairava: The Manual for Self Realization, verses 2b – 4, revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo.
किं रूपं तत्त्वतो देव शब्दराशिकलामयम् ॥२॥
किं वा नवात्मभेवेन भैरवे भैरवाकृतौ ।
त्रिशिरोभेदभिन्नं वा किं वा शक्तित्रयात्मकम् ॥३॥
नादबिन्दुमयं वापि किं चन्द्रार्धनिरोधिकाः ।
चक्रारूढमनच्कं वा किं वा शक्तिस्वरूपकम् ॥४॥
kiṁ rūpaṁ tattvato deva śabdarāśikalāmayam // 2b //
kiṁ vā navātmabhedena bhairave bhairavākṛitau /
triśirobhedabhinnaṁ vā kiṁ vā śaktitrayātmakam // 3 //
nādabindumayaṁ vāpi kiṁ candrārdhanirodhikāḥ
cakrārūḍhamanackaṁ vā kiṁ vā śaktisvarūpakam // 4 //
O Lord, Deva, what is the real essence of the way we have to tread, kiṁ rūpaṁ tattvato deva? (This is one sentence, exclusive sentence.)
O Lord, what is the real essence of the way we have to march, we have to tread? Tattvato means “in reality, real essence.”
Is the way of that to tread on the fifty letters [śabda rāśi] and return? Is this the way of śabda rāśi kalā, the way we have to make the journey from “a” to “kṣa” and return from “kṣa” to “a” again; is this the way? She [Pārvatī] puts this question: kiṁ śabda rāśi kalāmayam tattvam?
Or, kiṁ vā navātma bhedena, or is it navātma bheda, is it the journey of the nine states: the journey from one state to the second, from the second to the third, from the third to the fourth, from the fourth to the fifth, to the sixth, to the seventh, to the eighth, to the ninth, and then back again to the first? Is this the way?
The nine states are:
The first state is prakṛiti. The original source of the material world is prakṛiti. Puruṣa is the individual soul who treads on that material world–this is the second. The third is kañcukas, five kañcukas, five coverings of puruṣa, five kañcukas (you have not to go in the depth of letters here); this is kañcuka–kalā, vidyā, rāga, kāla, and niyati7. Then the fourth point is māyā. Māyā is the personified will of supreme will.
There is a difference between prakṛiti and māyā. Prakṛiti is the original source of the material world; māyā is the personified will of the supreme Lord, supreme Self. This is the difference between māyā and prakṛiti. Otherwise, the function of prakṛiti is just like the function of māyā; only the personified will of the supreme Self is māyā, where[as] the original source of the material world is prakṛiti. Prakṛiti, puruṣa, kañcukas, and māyā–these are four.
Then you have to tread again in the pure state of knowledge–that is śuddhavidyā. The pure state of knowledge and action, that is īśvara. Establishment in knowledge and action, that is sadāśiva. And universal energy is Śakti, and its holder is Śiva.
These are the nine states. This is navātma bheda. This is navātma bheda when you keep before you the theory of states.
When you keep before you the theory of words, then those words are respectively: h r kṣ m l v y ṇūṁ. These are navātma bheda from the mantric point of view8. You have to tread on this field of mantra, mantra field.
And [with regard to] states, [you must tread] the field of states from prakṛiti to Śiva and back to prakṛiti with his glory. When you tread from prakṛiti, you are not glorified; when you return from Śiva, you are glorified with garlands and with Shaivism and with Śiva–thought and everything–everything comes with you.
Is this the way of navātma (bhairave means in Bhairava Āgama9), bhairavā kṛitau, for entering in the state of Bhairava (bhairavā kṛitau: naimittikī saptamī [seventh case in Sanskrit grammar]), bhairavā kṛitau, for entering in the formation of Bhairava?
Or, triśiro bheda bhinnam vā kiṁ vā śakti trayātmakam, or, just as in the Triśiro-bhairava10 it is said you must tread on the three energies–from parā, parāparā, and aparā–and then return again. From aparā to parāparā, from parāparā to parā, from parā to parāparā, and then from parāparā to aparā again–this is the reality of the journey in Shaivism.
Is that the way? This is the asking of Devī.
Or, nāda bindumayaṁ vāpi kiṁ candrārdha nirodhikāḥ, is this the way to travel–from nāda to bindu, from bindu to ardhacandra, from ardhacandra to nirodhikāḥ, from nirodhikāḥ to nādānta, then śakti, then vyāpinī, and then samanā. Is this the way? Or, if this is [not] the way, then you tell me clearly what is the real way I have to travel.
Nāda means . . . (first you have to begin traveling, begin the journey, from nāda), nāda means “a”, “u”, and “ma”, akāraśca, ukāraśca, makāraḥ–this is nāda11.
Then bindu. One-pointed perception in the movement of breath while reciting this mantra aum–that is bindu.
Then ardhacandra. Ardhacandra is that state of movement of aum-kāra where there is no breath, without breath. Ardhacandra is without breath. Breath stops there.
Then nirodhikā, the establishment of the stoppage of breath. In ardhacandra, there is apprehension of breathing again, but in the nirodhikā state, there is no question of the breathing way. Nirodhikā is complete establishment of breath-lessness.
Then comes the state of nādānta, entrance in the soundless state of sound. This is the soundless state of sound. Nādānta means when you enter in that sound which is soundless, soundless sound.
Then establishment of ahaṁ is śakti in the state of supreme oneness–vyāpinī and samanā.
Is this the way?
Vā, or, cakrārūḍham anackaṁ vā kiṁ vā śakti svarūpakam, or you have to travel on that universal energy which is moving in such a velocity that movelessness takes place–that is anackam. Anackam means “without movement.” Cakrā rūḍham means “in the wheel of movement.” Anackam, without movement. That energy, that svarūpa of energy, is that the way to make yourself established in that state?12
She puts these questions before Lord Śiva.
JOHN: There are so many words in Shaivism that have a different meaning than their ordinary meaning. Anacka means without vowels, literally, doesn’t it?
JOHN: And you have translated this as movement-less movement.
JOHN: Can you say to us why this is, why this word means movement-less?
SWAMIJI: Movement, because it is spanda [vibration]; movement-less, because there is no vikalpa, there is no thought.
JOHN: Yes, but why does the word anackam, which usually means no vowels, why is it in our Shaivism it means movement-less-ness?
SWAMIJI: For instance, you have to utter “ka”; for instance, for some time just say “ka”–you cannot utter “ka” if there is not “a” in the end.
“a” is found in the class of “ac”12 [vowels]; “aiuṇ ṛilik eoñ aiauc”13 –that is “ac”; “ac” is vowels. So when there are no vowels, you can’t utter it. So it is why he says anackam [i.e. an-ac-kam, without “ac”].
JOHN: But you have translated this as movement-less wheel of movement?
SWAMIJI: Because there is no movement, you can’t utter it.
When you recite “ka” without “a” (it is just practice; it is just one-pointedness), it does not move in the outside circle of the uttered letters.
She has risen in the wheel. She is moving in the wheel, the śakti, but, in the movement also, she is not moving at all–that is anacka.
But it cannot be without movement because then it will be jaḍa [inert]; you will have to nominate it as jaḍa, just like a rock. It is not a rock. It is all-consciousness.
So there is some movement, and you cannot observe that it is moving. In movement, it is not moving; in movable, it is not moving.
Spanda and aspanda–in spanda, it is aspanda; in aspanda, it is spanda–both.14
JOHN: And that’s what this is? This cakrārūḍham is to enter into the movement-less quality of letters?
SWAMIJI: Yes, cakrārūḍham means, in other words, [that] in all the mātṛikā cakra, you’ll find in each and every letter the same state, in the cycle of mātṛikā cakra.
JOHN: So in the movement of these letters, the movement is what?
SWAMIJI: It is immovable movement.
JOHN: Immovable movement.
JAGDISH: So these cakras are mantras or other states?
SWAMIJI: Cakra mātṛikā cakra. Mātṛikā cakra is the collection of all letters from a to kṣa.
It is not ṣaṭ cakra here.15
[Devī‘s questions continued]
Cakrārūḍham . . .
JAGDISH: . . . anackaṁ vā.
SWAMIJI: . . . kiṁ vā śakti svarūpakam, what is the svarūpa [formation] of śakti in that cakra–cakrārūḍham anackaṁ.
JOHN: So she is saying, “Is the nature of śakti to be found in this?”
SWAMIJI: No. Śakti, first, the means. Śakti the pathway on which you have to tread. Because later on he will say śaivī mukham ihocyate16. Śaivī means śakti; mukham is the pathway.
It is said that the pathway is śakti.
You have to sentence your mind to Lord Śiva through that pathway–Pārvatī Śakti17 (not Pārvatī who is residing in Kailash).
JOHN: Oh, she wants to know what is the pathway in this cakrārūḍham, in this movement-less wheel of movement?
SWAMIJI: Yes, yes.
JAGDISH: And śakti svarūpam. . .
SWAMIJI: Kiṁ vā śaktisvarūpaka.
JAGDISH: . . . means?
SWAMIJI: The svarūpa of śakti. Is this the śakti–that anacka. Is this the formation of śakti?
JAGDISH: Or . . . ?
SWAMIJI: If she is cakrārūḍham, if she is anacka, or if she is only śakti, only energy, the embodiment of energy.18
This is the question of Devī.
7 The five kañcukas are: kalā, limited action; vidyā, limited knowledge; rāga, limited desire; kāla, limited time; and niyati, limited place. See also Kashmir Shaivism, The Secret Supreme 1:7-8. [Editor’s note]
8 The ṇūṁणूं) of the Navātma mantra (ह् र् क्ष् म् ल् व् य् णूं) consists of “ṇa” (ण) plus “ūṁ”(ऊं), i.e. two syllables, which when separated make up the total of nine (nava) syllables of the mantra. [Editor’s note]
9 Āgama means that which has come out from above, from the original source that is Śiva.
10 Triśirobhairava [Tantra]is [also] a Bhairava Āgama; so this will teach you the same course of the journey.
11 This [process] applies to every mantra; [aum] is just an example.
12 The set of vowels.
13 The first four sūtras of the Aṣtādhyāyī, Pāṇini’s classical text on Sanskrit grammar. [Editor’s note]
14 It is the intensity of movement in such velocity that it appears without movement.
15 ṣaṭ cakra refers to the six (ṣaṭ) cakras in the body described in classical texts. [Editor’s note]
16 See verse 20.
18 Cakrārūḍham is spanda; anackam is aspanda; śakti svarūpam is only energy.
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