Swami Lakshmanjoo in samadhi

In this special lecture, we will answer the question, are the upāyas a means/practice or a state?

(extract from unpublished interviews with Swamiji, audio archives of the Lakshmanjoo Academy, recorded by John Hughes). All content copyright @ John Hughes.

The upāyas as practice and upāyas as states in Kashmir Shaivism.












rise of



krama mudrā






cit kuṇḍalinī



Breath etc.




JOHN: So the state of each upāya, āṇavopāya, śāktopāya and śāmbhavopāya, is a more complete state. The end of āṇavopāya . . .

SWAMIJI: . . . is the beginning of śāktopāya; the end of śāktopāya is the beginning of śāmbhavopāya; the end of śāmbhavopāya is the rise of unmīlanā samādhi [external samādhi with eyes open].

JOHN: But in the kuṇḍalinī, the experience of kuṇḍalinī, I mean the experience of samādhi in āṇavopāya; there is a samādhi in āṇavopāya is there not?


JOHN: And there is also samādhi in śāktopāya?


JOHN: Is it the same samādhi?

SWAMIJI: It’s not the same.

SCHOLAR: What is samādhi in āṇavopāya, which signals the completeness of āṇavopāya?

SWAMIJI: But these states are automatic. The journey, the path of āṇavopāya is different, and the state of āṇavopāya is different.

JOHN: The journeys are one thing and the states are another thing?


The journey is more . . . I mean it takes time.

SCHOLAR: Yes, but what is the sign of completeness of āṇavopāya, what is the experience which means the sādhakā has attained?

SWAMIJI: To reach the state of āṇavopāya.

SCHOLAR: What is that state?

SWAMIJI: That is turya.

SCHOLAR: But how is turya experienced there, not as nimīlanā samādhi?

SWAMIJI: It is the beginning of nimīlanā samādhi, i.e, when he enters his breath in the central vein. When the breath is sucked; by practicing āṇavopāya the breath is sucked – that is the state of āṇavopāya.

SCHOLAR: What happens when this breath is sucked?

SWAMIJI: Then from mūladhara it rises again – that is the state of śāktopāya.

And when it goes down and in-out, in-out, that is the state of śāmbhavopāya. It is automatic, these states occur automatically, in one instant, there. States have no gap.

Āṇavopāya’s journey is long, śāktopāya’s journey is long, śāmbhavopāya’s journey is long, not the states. States are one-by-one experienced at once, in one instant.

SCHOLAR: But if āṇavopāya state is the sucking down of the breath, and śāktopāya state is the rising of that cit kuṇḍalinī . . .


SCHOLAR: . . . then there is no space in that description for practice of śāktopāya in between fullness of āṇavopāya?

SWAMIJI: But practice is over, practice is not there. It is the state that comes. Then time will come he will get the state of āṇavopāya. If āṇavopāya he has practiced fully, completely, then he will go automatically in śāktopāya, and śāmbhavopāya too.

SCHOLAR: That I understand. But how does sādhakā go from āṇavopāya practice to śāktopāya practice?

SWAMIJI: When he enters in that state.

If your practice is slow and sluggish, and not with full devotion done in āṇavopāya, then it [breath] will be sucked only, and you will come out. When you only practice āṇavopāya in full devotion, then you will go to śāṁbhava state too.

SCHOLAR: But, if a sādhakā was practicing śāktopāya, this would have to mean then, that he had not attained fullness in āṇavopāya, he’d attained proficiency by not fullness.

SWAMIJI: Not fullness.

SCHOLAR: Because if he had attained fullness he would have gone through śāktopāya state, he would be already in śāktopāya.

SWAMIJI: In the state of śāktopāya. Once he has attained the state of śāktopāya he can practice śāktopāya.

SCHOLAR: And when he is in śāktopāya, if he is on śāktopāya practice, that means he has not yet experienced fully that state of nimīlanā samādhi, correct?

SWAMIJI: (It seems that Swamiji agrees.)

SCHOLAR: Now, when he experiences that state for the first time . . .

SWAMIJI: Which state?

SCHOLAR: Of nimīlanā samādhi in śāktopāya state.


SCHOLAR: . . . when he experiences . . . um . . .

SWAMIJI: Then he is worthy of doing the practice of śāktopāya. He can do it very easily then. Because practice is to be done for maintaining these states. These states are not done; they come.

SCHOLAR: Now, when a yogī experiences nimīlanā samādhi, when he is doing śāktopāya practice, does he experience all those six ānandas* . . .


SCHOLAR: . . . that long process, no. He only experiences that if he is reached his fullness in āṇavopāya.

SWAMIJI: Āṇavopāya, yes.

SCHOLAR: Is it only then that he experiences that long process?

SWAMIJI: He will begin with cit kuṇḍalinī if he develops only śāktopāya practice.


SWAMIJI: He won’t start in sucking breath . . . no sucking of breath.

SCHOLAR: Then how does he experience the rise of kuṇḍalinī?

SWAMIJI: That is what I am going to tell you.

When you are developing āṇavopāya fully, then this state begins from sucking the breath inside of your central vein. And after you have experienced the śāktopāya state in that, and śāmbhavopāya also, the state of śāmbhavopāya too; then your master tells you, don’t practice āṇavopāya now, practice śāktopāya now for developing more awareness.

So he practices śāktopāya.

SCHOLAR: But he has already experienced śāmbhavopāya.

SWAMIJI: He has experienced [śāmbhavopāya].

SCHOLAR: So why is he practicing śāktopāya now?

SWAMIJI: To get it fully.

SCHOLAR: To get it fully. Now it’s coming clear now, yes.

SWAMIJI: Then he practices śāktopāya, and a time comes when the state also is to come now. But the state begins with the rise of kuṇḍalinī, not the sucking of breath down. Sipping is not experienced in that state.

SCHOLAR: But if he doesn’t experience the fullness of āṇavopāya he cannot go on to śāktopāya . . .

SWAMIJI: No never!

SCHOLAR: . . . he doesn’t experience śāmbhavopāya in āṇavopāya.

SWAMIJI: And once he has developed this kind of state of śāktopāya and goes to unmīlanā [eyes open] samādhi also, then he comes down in jāgrat [wakefulness] again and master tells him to practice on śāmbhavopāya now.

SCHOLAR: But he has already experienced unmīlanā even in āṇavopāya?


SCHOLAR: Now what is that state there? It’s not so great as later on?

SWAMIJI: It [is not] so great, but it is not permanent. It is not permanent there.


SCHOLAR: But he experienced krama mudrā there.

SWAMIJI: Yes, he experienced that too.

Krama mudrā is experienced . . . everything is experienced by āṇavopāya also.

SCHOLAR: Ah! Now that makes it clearer.


SWAMIJI: Then master tells you to practice śāmbhavopāya now.

And when you practice śāmbhavopāya and the time comes for its state . . . what happens? The sucking of breath doesn’t take place at all, and the rising of kuṇḍalinī doesn’t take place at all. Only krama mudrā takes place at once. The breath is choked at once, and krama mudrā is functioning.

SCHOLAR: Where does the breath go?

SWAMIJI: Finished!

JOHN: It stops.

SCHOLAR: It doesn’t go down, it doesn’t go anywhere?


It is automatic. This state is not to be done. Choking comes bas, finished, his breath is over, and krama mudrā takes place. That is the fruit of śāmbhavopāya, the practice of śāmbhavopāya.

SCHOLAR: And then what happens in anupāya?

SWAMIJI: Anupāya is no upāya.

SCHOLAR: He doesn’t do anything there.

SWAMIJI: Then he is complete. He is always drowsy . . .

DEVOTEES: (Laughter . . . !)

SWAMIJI: . . . just like me.

So everything is complete: āṇavopāya is complete, it will make you reach to its completion, to jagadānanda state. Śāktopāya also.

SCHOLAR: But only a weak form of jagadānanda, only weak form in the first place, not permanent.

SWAMIJI: It is not permanent.

SCHOLAR: To make that permanent he must go in śāktopāya . . .


SCHOLAR: . . . and tread that path. And eventually, tread the path of śāmbhavopāya.

KAMALA:  Even after having experienced it you have to practice it in different forms too.

SWAMIJI: Practicing is done throughout your life.

JOHN: For that jivan mukti who is in anupāya, who is in that state of jagadānanda, does he do practice also still?

SWAMIJI: Yes, he is in practice.

JOHN: Everything is practice for him?



“Nijānanda is in āṇavopāya, nirānanda is āṇavopāya, parānanda is āṇavopāya, [bhramānanda is āṇavopāya, mahānanda is āṇavopāya], up to cidānanda. Cidānanda is not āṇavopāya. Cidānanda is in śāktopāya.” ~Swami Lakshmanjoo in interview 1987.

For more information on the “Seven States of ānanda/turya bliss see the book Kashmir Shaivism, The Secret Supreme, chapter 16, The Seven States of Turya, or read/listen to this excerpt on our blog.

For information on meditation read more here…

[ END ]


Source: audio archives of the Lakshmanjoo Academy, recorded by John Hughes.

All content copyright @ John Hughes

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