Excerpt from the Shiva Sutras: The Supreme Awakening, Third Awakening…
(Continuing the first verse, “What is the individual being?”)

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2. jñānaṁ bandhaḥ //

(For this limited individual),
all knowledge is bondage.

Whatever knowledge this individual possesses is bondage for him. The meaning of the present sūtra is different from the meaning given for the second sūtrā of the First Awakening which is also jñānaṁ bandhaḥ. We’ve seen that this second sūtrā of the First Awakening is to be understood as jñānaṁ bandhaḥ and ajñānaṁ bandhaḥ, “Knowing differentiatedly is bondage and not knowing undifferentiatedly is bondage.” But here, in the present sūtra, whatever knowledge he possesses in the state of limited individuality is differentiated knowledge. In this state, there is no possibility of possessing undifferentiated knowledge.

Depending on the three intellectual organs, intellect, mind and ego, the knowledge found here functions in three ways. The three intellectual organs first understand what is to be enjoyed, then establish that understanding, and finally attach ego to that understanding. And these three intellectual acts are one with (sukha) pleasure, (duḥkha) pain and (moha) illusion. Sukha is connected with the sattvika state of life, duḥkha is connected with the rājasik state of life and moha is connected with the tāmasik state of life. These three states of life are controlled by this limited knowledge of the individual being. Therefore, this kind of knowledge causes you to possess only differentiated knowledge, not undifferentiated knowledge. When he is entangled by these three kinds of differentiated knowledge, he travels in the world of repeated births and deaths in various ways and that, in reality, is bondage.

It is said in Tantrasadbhāva Śastra,

Sometimes he is situated in the state of sattva guṇa. At other times, he is situated in the state of rājas guṇa. And, at other times he is situated in the tāmas guṇa state of being. In brief words, he is only residing in the perceptions of the guṇas, not beyond them. This is why, being disconnected with the previous state of life and united with the next state of life, he moves in various births and deaths. (Tantrasadbhāva)

This is told in Spanda in these one-and-a-half verses,

When the five tanmātras1 give rise to the three intellectual organs, intellect, mind and ego, then collectively there are eight organs. These eight organs are said to be puryaṣṭaka and they function in our dreaming state. This puryaṣṭaka prevents you from getting through to the reality of your self. When the reality of your nature is ignored, then you are dependent on enjoyment which cannot be refused. Because of this, you are played and entangled by the wheel of repeated births and deaths.

Now you will be told how to end this wheel of repeated births and deaths. (Spanda Kārikā 3.17–18)

To be continued . . .

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1. The five tanmātras are gandha, rasa, rūpa, śabda, and sparśa. These five tanmātras correspond to the five great elements (mahābhūtas). Gandha tanmātra arises from the element of earth (pṛithvī mahābhūta). Gandha tanmātra is the home of smell. Rasa tanmātra has come out from the element of water (jala mahābhūta). Rasa tanmātra is the residence of the impression of taste (rasa). From the element of fire (tejas mahābhūta) issues forth rūpa tanmātra. Rūpa tanmātra is the residence of form, where the impression of form resides. From the element of air (vāyu mahābhūta) rises sparśa tanmātra, which is the sensation of touch. And finally, rising from the element of ether (ākāśa mahābhūta) is śabda tanmātra, the tanmātra of sound.

For an explanation of all the elements, see also:
Kashmir Shaivism, The Secret Supreme” by Swami Lakshmanjoo.

(source: Shiva Sutras: The Supreme Awakening, by Swami Lakshmanjoo)
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