In this excerpt from the Tantraloka One, Swami Lakshmanjoo explains why the energy of action is not separate from the energy of knowledge. This is from The Light on Tantra in Kashmir Shaivism, Abhinavagupta’s Tantraloka, Volume One.
Audio 5 – 38:24
यतो नान्या क्रिया नाम ज्ञानमेव हि तत्तथा।
रूढेर्योगान्ततां प्राप्तमिति श्रीगमशासने॥१४९॥
yato nānyā kriyā nāma jñānameva hi tattathā /
rūḍheryogāntatāṁ prāptamiti śrīgamaśāsane //149//
It is explained in the Gama tantra that the energy of action is not separate from the energy of knowledge. In fact, the energy of knowledge has become the energy of action when that energy of knowledge has got entry in yoga, in the supreme limit of yoga, because yoga is action.
Yoga is pertaining to the energy of action, jñāna is pertaining to the energy of knowledge, and icchā is pertaining to the energy of that reality of the point. Icchā is the start, knowledge is the center, and kriyā is the external limit.
SCHOLAR: So, what exactly does he mean by “yoga” here?
SWAMIJI: Yoga means, yogāntatām, when that knowledge has got entry in yoga. Yoga means, to extract your mind from external objects and divert it towards internal objects. That is yoga, and that is action. [Yoga] is action, though this action is an absolutely pure action, away from differentiated action.
SCHOLAR: But then why does he say “yogāntatām”?
SWAMIJI: Yogasya antatām–parākāṣṭha.
SCHOLAR: Parākāṣṭhām . . . ?
SWAMIJI: Parākāṣṭhām, antimam avasthām, the last state of yoga.
SCHOLAR: And why is it kriyā only when it is at the last stage of yoga?
SWAMIJI: That is kriyā because yoga is the last state of kriyā. [It is] “last” in the sense of when yoga is in its full bloom. When there is only a touch of yoga, that is not the last state of yoga. You have got some touches of yoga in śāktopāya also. You have got some touches of yoga in āṇavopāya. In the subtle sphere of āṇavopāya, you have got subtle touches of yoga, but in gross āṇavopāya, you have got gross touches of yoga, for instance, there is mantra also going, japa also going. That is yogasya antatām, and that is kriyā. So, in fact, kriyā has come out from the energy of knowledge, it is no other than knowledge (yato nānyā kriyā nāma, kriyā is not separate from knowledge). Jñānameva hi tat, that knowledge has become kriyā when it has entered in the uppermost limit of yoga. Knowledge has become kriyā.
SCHOLAR: You say, “uppermost limit of knowledge”?
SWAMIJI: Uppermost, topmost.
SCHOLAR: But you said before (inaudible) the lowest limit.
SWAMIJI: [For example], a topmost thief. First, when you are going on the path of theft, you are a very weak thief; you get afraid just in an instant. When you are a topmost thief, you don’t care. That is antatām, yogāntatām. In this sense you should take it. And that is kriyā, because kriyā is an external thing. When [knowledge] goes to the topmost action, then it is kriyā. When [knowledge] goes to [its] weak [i.e., subtle] state, it is not exactly kriyā [because] it is just attached with knowledge also, in the beginning.
JOHN: So then the topmost state would be those grossest in terms of yajñas, pūjās, where action is being . . . ?
SWAMIJI: Yes, that is kriyā.
SCHOLAR: That is yogāntatāḥ.
SWAMIJI: Yes, yogāntatāḥ.
Yogo nānyaḥ . . . he reads now [from the] Gama tantra in the next [verse], the 150th śloka:
Audio 5 – 43:14
योगो नान्यः क्रिया नान्या तत्त्वारूढा हि या मतिः।
स्वचित्तवासनाशान्तौ सा क्रियेत्यभिधीयते॥१५०॥
yogo nānyaḥ kriyā nānyā tattvārūḍhā hi yā matiḥ /
svacittavāsanāśāntau sā kriyetyabhidhīyate //150//
Yoga is not separate from kriyā, and kriyā is not separate from yoga. And that knowledge (yā matiḥ, that knowledge), which is established on the essence of reality (tattvārūḍhā hi yā matiḥ, which has been established in the reality of nature) for the purpose of removing the various impressions in your mind (the various impressions of objects, objective impress-ions), that is kriyā. So, that kriyā is meant for removing those bad impressions in your mind. Those impressions are removed by yoga, and that is kriyā.
JOHN: This topmost yoga, yogānta-, . . .
SWAMIJI: Yogāntataḥ is the topmost [action].
JOHN: Yes, that is really the lowest.
SWAMIJI: Lowest, yes. The topmost is the lowest (laughs).
SCHOLAR: So, yajña will purify the mind.
SWAMIJI: Yajña purifies, yes. This [purification] is the topmost yoga.
JOHN: Or the bottom-most.
Source: The Light on Tantra in Kashmir Shaivism, Abhinavagupta’s Tantraloka, Volume One.
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