This is an excerpt from the “The Mystery of Vibrationless-Vibration in Kashmir Shaivism: Vasugupta’s Spanda Kārikā & Kṣemarāja’s Spanda Sandoha revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo, which addresses a down to earth question…
What to do when you have slipped from that onepointed-ness, and you have slipped down.
A central theme of the philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism is the highly esoteric principle known as spanda. Swami Lakshmanjoo tells us that the word ‘spanda’ means established, stable movement. That is, it is movementless-movement, vibrationless-vibration. It is this secret, mysterious, and yet essential principle that Swami Lakshmanjoo clarifies and elucidates in his revelation of the two texts dealing specifically with this principle, the Spanda Kārikā, and the Spanda Sandoha.
The theory of spanda is not new. It was hidden in the body of the Tantras and extracted by Vasugupta, founder of the Shiva Sutras, and initiator of monistic Shaivism in the valley of Kashmir. Vasugupta composed the Spanda Kārikā, a text filled with the fundamental precepts (kārikās) regarding spanda and the philosophy surrounding it.
Vasugupta composed the Spanda Kārikā, a text filled with the fundamental precepts (kārikās) regarding spanda and the philosophy surrounding it. Kṣemarāja, the chief disciple of Abhinavagupta composed a detailed commentary on the first verse of the Vasugupta’s Kārikā, which is known as the Spanda Sandoha.
Audio 3 – 37:35
दिदृक्षयेव सर्वार्थान्यदा व्याप्यावतिष्ठते ।
तदा किं बहुनोक्तेन स्वयमेवावभोत्स्यते ॥११॥
didṛkṣayeva sarvārthānyadā vyāpyāvatiṣṭhate /
tadā kiṁ bahunoktena svayamevāvabhotsyate //11//
Didṛkṣayeva sarvārthān, when, on the other side, if I have slipped from that one-pointedness, if you have slipped [from] one-pointedness, and that [point of having] slipped, where you have slipped down, . . .
ERNIE: Slipped to.
SWAMIJI: . . . if you feel that that point is also one with that God consciousness–sarvārthān, wherever you go, wherever your mind travels, think that it is filled with God consciousness–that way too is also helpful in this process.
Yadā vyāpyāvatiṣṭhate, when you pervade everything, it is said there, yatra yatra mano yāti108, let you keep your mind loose, let it go anywhere, but be attentive . . .
JOHN: Where it goes.
SWAMIJI: . . . where it goes, be attentive, and feel that “This is also God consciousness”, “This also is God”, “This is also God consciousness”. Bas, divert it to God consciousness, then there is no worry. That way too is also helpful. Svayameva avabhotsyate, this you can feel by your own self. You will feel that yourself, how it works. That too works.
ERNIE: This is inferior though.
SWAMIJI: No, this is not inferior. That too is not inferior. If you feel God consciousness, the existence of, the presence of, God consciousness everywhere, then let it be loose, let your mind take place according to its own nature. That too works.
ERNIE: And just having the idea that this is God consciousness is enough?
SWAMIJI: Bas, yes. Only remain in God consciousness [and feel that], “This is divine, divine, everything divine”.
ERNIE: Yes, but doesn’t that have to be . . . I mean, it can’t be a fantasy, it can’t be imagination.
SWAMIJI: No, you can’t remain away from God consciousness. If you don’t remain away from God consciousness anywhere, in any step, then no worry. That too also works.
JOHN: This is imagination? I mean, infusing all your thoughts with God consciousness. First you have to imagine that, “This is God consciousness”, “This is God consciousness”, in the beginning. It’s not a . . .
SWAMIJI: Yes, yes. God consciousness is, just remain attentive between two breaths, in the center of two breaths. If you don’t move your consciousness from the center of two breaths in any case, no worry. That works.109
So, what you have to do? Next śloka:
Audio 3 – 40:24
प्रबुद्धः सर्वदा तिष्ठेज्ज्ञानेनालोक्य गोचरम् ।
एकत्रारोपयेत्सर्वं ततोऽन्येन न पीड्यते ॥१२॥
prabuddhaḥ sarvadā tiṣṭhetjñānenālokya gocaram /
ekatrāropayetsarvaṁ tato’nyena na pīḍyate //12//
Prabuddaḥ sarvadā tiṣṭhet, always remain prabuddhaḥ (alert), alert in your own nature. Jñānenālokya gocaram: gocaram means, the whole cycle of the objective world, you should perceive with jñāna110. For instance, [when] you play with Viresh, think that you are playing with God. If you think that you are playing with Viresh . . .
DENISE: And you are not playing with God.
SWAMIJI: . . . [and lament that], “He teases me, he does everything naughty”, then you are down. If you see that he is also divine, then there is no worry.
DENISE: [Viresh] said, “No” (laughter).
SWAMIJI: Ekatrāro . . . (laughter) you have not to ask him. You have to feel in your own self.
ERNIE: But that’s very . . . what I am trying to say is that people who walk around the world thinking, “I am God, I am God, everything I see is God”, but they are nothing, they are . . . you understand what I mean?
SWAMIJI: That imagination is transformed into reality afterwards, if you do it, if you practice it like that.
DENISE: You don’t go around telling everybody, do you?
SWAMIJI: If you feel One couple, one couple you feel that, “This is Gaurī and Śaṅkara, [they are] Śiva and Pārvatī, Śiva and Pārvatī, Śiva and Pārvatī”, [then] there is no worry–you are with Śiva and Pārvatī. This is the diversion of your thought, sir. You have to divert your thought from individuality to universality.
ERNIE: Right, but it’s a secret and it’s a private thing. You don’t . . .
SWAMIJI: No, you have not to show. It is to be done inside.
DEVOTEE: Within yourself.
SWAMIJI: Within yourself.
JOHN: But with imagination.
SWAMIJI: Yes, imagination! Imagination works! Imagination is transformed into reality afterwards, after some time of this practice.
Prabuddhaḥsarvadā tiṣṭhet, always remain attentive, alert! Jñānenālokya gocaram, feel everything as one with divine consciousness. Ekatrāropayet sarvam, just focus each and every activity of your world towards God consciousness. Tato ’nyena na, so there is no worry afterwards [because] you are one with God consciousness, you are living in God consciousness.
[Kṣhemarāja] gives a reference of the Utpalastotrāvalī111 here:
paśyatīśa nikhilaṁ bhavadvapuḥ /
yasya nityasukhinaḥ kuto bhayam //112
That person who perceives this whole universe, the whole cycle of the universe, as just one with God consciousness–svātmapakṣaparipūrite jagati, in this world, he sees that everything resides in God consciousness–tasya nitya sukhinaḥ, he is always filled with that supreme blissful state. Kuto bhayam, there is no fear for him from anything, any other substance in this world.
108 “yatra yatra mano yāti bāhye vābhyantare’pi vā / tatra tatra śivāvasthā vyāpakatvātkva yāsyati // Keep your mind absolutely loose; don’t put any effort to control it. Keep your mind loose [in the] outside objective world and [in the] inside objective world. . . . and see that this is only the expansion of God, the expansion of your own consciousness, and that your consciousness is pervading outside, in the outside objective world and the inside objective world, [then], where [will] that state of śiva bhāva will go? It is there!” Vijñāna Bhairava, dhāraṇa 90, verse 116.
109 “Only by maintaining an unbroken chain of awareness will he be able to discover the reality between any two thoughts or actions. The practice of centering is meant to function between any two actions or any two thoughts. He can center between any two thoughts or any two movements, between one thought and another thought, between waking and dreaming, between one step and the next step, between one breath and the next breath. All actions and all thoughts are the proper framework for the practice of śaktopāya. The śaktopāya yogi must simply insert continuous awareness in the center of any two actions or thoughts.” Kashmir Shaivism, The Secret Supreme, 36.
110 Knowledge (jñāna) of God consciousness.
111 Utpalastotrāvalī is another name for the Śivastotrāvalī, a collection of devotional hymns composed by Utpaladeva. See Swami Lakshmanjoo, trans., Hymns to Shiva–Shivastotrāvalī by Utpaladeva, ed. John Hughes (Lakshmanjoo Academy Book Series, Los Angeles, 2015).
112 Śivastotrāvalī, 13.16.
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