Continued from the first part of the excerpt from the book Kashmir Shaivism, The Secret Supreme, by Swami Lakshmanjoo. Chapter Six, The Theory of Speech: Vāk.

These three states of speech are, respectively, called subtlest, subtle, and gross. Gross speech is vaikharī vāk, subtle speech is madhyamā vāk, and subtlest speech is paśyantī vāk. Each state of speech is itself also gross (sthūlā), subtle (sūkṣmā), and subtlest (parā). Therefore, there is gross paśyantī, subtle paśyantī, and subtlest paśyantī, gross madhyamā, subtle madhyamā, and subtlest madhyamā, gross vaikharī, subtle vaikharī, and subtlest vaikharī. In Śaivism, the locations of these different refinements of sound are indicated for the easy apprehension of the aspirant.

First, I will explain gross (sthūlāpaśyantī, then gross madhyamā, and then gross vaikharī. Next, I will explain subtle (sūkṣmāpaśyantī, subtle madhyamā, and subtle vaikharī. And finally, I will explain subtlest (parāpaśyantī, subtlest madhyamā, and subtlest vaikharī.

When you play on any metal-string instrument, such as a sitāra, the sound which is produced by that instrument resides in gross paśyantī. And when one concentrates on that sound which exists in gross paśyantī, one should enter in samādhi, enter in that supreme transcendental Being. In fact, it is said in our Kashmir Śaivism, that those who cannot enter into their real nature while listening to the sound of a metal string instrument are worthless. They have no capacity, no ability of concentration. That sound should and must take you inside because that sound is paśyantī, even though it is gross paśyantī. The sound of gross madhyamā is produced by a drum instrument which is covered by leather. Concentration on this gross madhyamā is also helpful for carrying the aspirant inside his own real nature.3

The third speech, gross vaikharī, is said to be all the sounds which are produced by the mouth, through the contact of the lips and tongue. In this state of speech, no concentration is possible. No one can enter into samādhi by concentrating on this gross vaikharī except for that aspirant who is residing in the śāmbhava state. He enters into samādhi through ordinary talk. This, therefore, also leads him to that supreme consciousness.

To explain subtle (sūkṣmā) paśyantī, subtle madhyamā, and subtle vaikharī, I will combine them and explain them together, as is traditionally done in our Śaivism.4 The inclination in thought that (ṣaḍajaṁ karomi) “I will play this string instrument,” or the inclination (madhuraṁ vādayāmi) “I will play on this drum,” or the inclination (bruve vacaḥ) “I will speak to you,” is subtle. It is this thought which resides in the mind, in the consciousness, of the thinker. And this is not so much a thought as an inclination to think this thought. It is that point, that inclination, that first comes to the mind. In these three inclinations to think a thought, the inclination “I will play this string instrument” is subtle paśyantī, the inclination “I will play this drum” is subtle madhyamā, and the inclination “I will speak to you” is subtle vaikharī.

And when only the sensation of the thought “I will play this string instrument,” or “I will play this drum,” or “I will speak to you,” begins, when it just starts to take rise, that sensation, which is only in the thoughtless world, is subtlest. It is before desire.

For those aspirants who reside in the śāmbhava state, there are no restrictions of only traveling in some particular vāk. They can travel in each and every state of vāk, and yet remain in the śāmbhava state. The aspirant of the śāmbhava state can travel in gross paśyantī, subtle paśyantī, and subtlest paśyantī, gross madhyamā, subtle madhyamā, and subtlest madhyamā, gross vaikharī, subtle vaikharī, and subtlest vaikharī, and still remain in his transcendental state. This is the greatness of the śāmbhava state.

The aspirant of the śākta state, which is that aspirant who has gained transcendental consciousness through adopting the means of śāktopāya, for him there are only two movements ofspeech in which he can travel, subtle and subtlest. If he tries to travel in the movement of gross speech, he will be scattered; he will go astray from his reality.

Those aspirants who are in the state of āṇavopāya can only utilize the gross movement of speech, because they have no experience of the subtle or the subtlest states of speech. They must, therefore, initially practice on the gross state of speech. In the long run, their concentration on that gross speech will finally carry them to śāktopāya, where they will then reside in their own nature.

End of the Theory of Speech in Kashmir Shaivism by Swami Lakshmanjoo.

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3. Although it is easier to enter into gross paśyantī than it is to enter into gross madhyamā, it is more difficult to reside in gross paśyantī than it is to reside in gross madhyamā. You can not easily reside in gross paśyantī unless you have the grace of the Master.

4. Abhinavagupta explains these three states of subtle sound together in the third chapter of the Tantrāloka.

(source: Kashmir Shaivism, The Secret Supreme, by Swami Lakshmanjoo)

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