In this excerpt, Swami Lakshmanjoo explains why the aspects (all-pervading, being eternal, and consisting of universal forms) of Lord Shiva and his energies are not separate from Him.
This is from The Light on Tantra in Kashmir Shaivism, Abhinavagupta’s Tantraloka, Volume One.
Audio 2 – 55:25
उक्तं च कामिके देवः सर्वाकृतिर्निराकृतिः।
जलदर्पणवत्तेन सर्वं व्याप्तं चराचरम्॥६५॥
uktaṁ ca kāmike devaḥ sarvākṛtirnirākṛtiḥ /
jaladarpaṇavattena sarvaṁ vyāptaṁ carācaram //65//
In the Kāmika tantra, this is said that the Lord is sarvākṛti, possesses all formations of the world and possesses no formation at all (sarvākṛti and nirākṛti). If, from one point of view, you experience Him, you will see that He is sarvākṛti, all formations are His. And, from another point of view, if you perceive Him, you will find that He has no formation at all.
SCHOLAR: Because all forms are His, He has no forms.
SWAMIJI: Yes. Jaladarpaṇavattena sarvaṁ vyāptaṁ carācaram, as the whole universe is reflected in water [or as] the whole universe is reflected in a mirror, in the same way, the whole carācara universe is reflected in His own nature.
SCHOLAR: Carācara, moving and unmoving.
SWAMIJI: Moving and unmoving.
Audio 2 – 56:38
न चास्य विभुताद्योऽयं धर्मोऽन्योन्यं विभिद्यते।
na cāsya vibhutādyo’yaṁ dharmo’nyonyaṁ vibhidyate /66a
In fact, these aspects of Lord Śiva (three aspects: all-pervading, being eternal, and consisting of universal forms), these three aspects also are not occupied by Lord Śiva because He is [also] not universal, He is [also] not all-pervading, He is [also] not eternal. If He were all-pervading and [not] not all-pervading, [then] not-all-pervading-ness would be excluded. So, there is not real pervasion [if that were the case].
SCHOLAR: There is nothing for Him to pervade.
SWAMIJI: No. “There is nothing for Him to pervade” – not that! If He is [only] all-pervading, then not-all-pervading is excluded there (the negation of all-pervading-ness is excluded), [but] there is no negation at all for Him: He is all-pervading and He is not all-pervading. That is the reality of His Being. He is eternal and He is not eternal at the same time. He is universal and not universal also. [Otherwise], the classes of not-universality [would be] excluded there. So, you can’t say that He is all-pervading only. You can’t say that He is eternal only. You can’t say that He is universal only. He is the negation of the universal also. He is the negation of all-pervading-ness also. He is the negation of universality.
SCHOLAR: He says in this verse that these attributes of Lord Śiva are not in reality distinct from each other (anyonyaṁ vibhidyate).
SWAMIJI: Anyonyaṁ na vibhīyate, yes. These are not separated aspects of Lord Śiva.
SCHOLAR: His being is not divided by the fact that He can be seen in these three ways.
SWAMIJI: Yes. Only one aspect He has occupied: that aspect which includes each and every aspect of God.
SCHOLAR: This is the next verse now.
Audio 2 – 59:26
एक एवास्य धर्मोऽसौ सर्वाक्षेपेण वर्तते॥६६॥
तेन स्वातन्त्र्यशक्त्यैव युक्त इत्याञ्जसो विधिः।
eka evāsya dharmo’sau sarvākṣepeṇa vartate //66b//
tena svātantryaśaktyaiva yukta ityāñjaso vidhiḥ /67a
And that real aspect is svātantrya. Svātantrya He has possessed. He is the possessor of svātantrya śakti. So, “He possesses svātantrya śakti,” this is the real way of explaining His energy.
SCHOLAR: And this implies all the others.
SCHOLAR: Sarvākṣepeṇa vartate.
SWAMIJI: Yes. This implies [that] all other energies are there. The sixty-seventh [śloka]:
Audio 2 – 01:00:00
bahuśaktitvamapyasya tacchaktyaivāviyuktatā //67b//
Although Lord Śiva has innumerable energies, but all those innumerable energies are one with that svātantrya śakti (tat śaktyaiva āviyuktatā).
SCHOLAR: Inseparability from that energy.
SWAMIJI: Inseparable, yes. But still then, there are two, there remain two. The monistic [doctrine] is destroyed by this theory.
JOHN: By Śiva and having . . .
SWAMIJI: . . . having His svātantrya energy. There are two, so there is not oneness. For this, he explains in the next śloka, the sixty-eighth:
Śiva and Śakti are One (68 – 85)
Audio 3 – 00:00
शक्तिश्च नाम भावस्य स्वं रूपं मातृकल्पितम्।
तेनाद्वयः स एवापि शक्तिमत्परिकल्पने॥६८॥
śaktiśca nāma bhāvasya svaṁ rūpaṁ mātṛkalpitam /
tenādvayaḥ sa evāpi śaktimatparikalpane //68//
[not recited in full]
This energy is, in fact, the reality of that Being, and it is mātṛkalpitam, it is just for the time being to be accepted. Otherwise, the energy and the energy-holder are one.
SCHOLAR: It’s a cognitive distinction (mātṛkalpitam).
SWAMIJI: Yes. For instance, there is a fire. Burning energy is there. Burning energy is never separated from the fire, or lightning energy is not separated from fire, heating energy is not separated from fire, cooking energy is not separated from fire. All these energies are one with that fire. So, He is only one. Although śaktimat parikalpane, you call Him the energy-holder, although He holds the svātantrya śakti, He is one.
Audio 3 – 01:19
मातृकॢप्ते हि देवस्य तत्र तत्र वपुष्यलम्।
को भेदो वस्तुतो वह्नेर्दग्धृपक्तृत्वयोरिव॥६९॥
mātṛklṛpte hi devasya tatra tatra vapuṣyalam /
ko bhedo vastuto vahnerdagdhṛpaktṛtvayoriva //69//
This mātā (mātā means, anyone), devasya tatra tatra vapuṣi alam klṛpte, the formation of the Lord is variously imagined [klṛpte] by mātā, by the one who needs it that way. For instance, if you need [the energy of] cooking from fire, you believe that this fire has the energy of cooking and you ignore the energy of lightening, you ignore all other energies of fire. That is mātṛ klṛpte. So, . . .
Do you understand?
JOHN: So, people take one energy out of . . .
SWAMIJI: One energy according to your needs.
JOHN: Needs and tastes, yes.
SWAMIJI: [When] you have got the energy [of heating], [then] there is no [need for the] energy of lightening here. The energy of heating is only [there] because you need that energy of heating. But, in fact, this fire has not only the energy of heating. Ko bhedo vastuto vahner dagdhṛpaktṛtvayoriva, in fact, the energy of dagdhṛ (dagdhṛ means, burning energy) or paktṛ (cooking energy), all these energies are not separated from fire. So, fire is one. All energies are included in that, included in it, they are not excluded. In the same way, Lord Śiva has innumerable energies and all those innumerable energies are one with Him.
SCHOLAR: So, when you speak of fire and say that fire has various capacities, various śaktis, you can always reduce them to one which is still namable.
SCHOLAR: But you can’t with Śiva because svātantrya śakti . . . all you can say is that It’s svātantrya.
SWAMIJI: Svātantrya śakti creates all energies because there is svātantrya.
SCHOLAR: It is absolutely non-specific. There is no viśeṣa.
SWAMIJI: Yes, there is no viśeṣa*.
*distinguishing, specific, that which differentiates, viz. attribute.
Source: The Light on Tantra in Kashmir Shaivism, Abhinavagupta’s Tantraloka, Volume One,
revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo
All rights reserved, Copyright © John Hughes