A central theme of the philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism is the highly esoteric principle known as spanda which means vibrationless/vibration or established stable movement. In our Shaivism there are two texts that deal specifically with the spanda principle. The Spanda Karika (precise philosophical statements) on the Spanda theory and the Spanda Sandoha (exposition) of the spanda principle. The complete text is available as The Mystery of Vibrationless-Vibration in Kashmir Shaivism: Vasugupta’s Spanda Kārikā & Kṣemarāja’s Spanda Sandoha by Swami Lakshmanjoo.
The theory of spanda was hidden in the body of the Tantras and was extracted by Vasugupta and given to us in the form of the Spanda Karikas. The Spanda Sandoha is a commentary by Kṣemarāja on the first verse of Vasugupta’s Spanda Kārikā.
In the following excerpt from the Spanda Sandoha, Swami Lakshmanjoo makes the final point that “There is no such state of life where śivatā does not exist, where the state of Śiva is not present. This is what we understand through this book.”
Audio 10 – 33:47
yadā kṣobhaḥ pralīyeta tadā syātparamaṁ padam //399
This won’t fit then if It is just introverted. The state of God consciousness would be only . . .
SWAMIJI: . . . introverted, yes.
JOHN: Without having . . .
SWAMIJI: Without having adjustment in the world. If It is aloof from the world, then this part of the śloka won’t fit.
JOHN: If it is only transcendental and not . . .
iti samastaśātrārthaṁ vākaikavākyatayā paryālocya [sarvāsu daśasu]
This way, the essence of all śāstras–he has come to this point after going through the essence of all śāstras; he has come to this point, we have come to this point–that sarvadā (always), sarvāsu daśasu, in all activities, in all states of your life, . . .
. . . you must attain the perception of śaṁkara svabhāva, the nature of Śiva, and you should remain there, you should establish your mind there.
natu atra manāgapi avajñā [atra] vidheyā /
You should not neglect this point.
akhyātinirharaṇāyaiva tu sarvadā yatna āstheyaḥ
So, for removing away, putting aside, the ignorance, you have always to [apply] yourself with absolute effort.
na tu sā daśāsti yatra śivatā na sphurati,
iti upadiṣṭaṁ bhavati / [not recited]
Na tu sā daśāsti, in other words, there is no such state of life where śivatā does not exist, where the state of Śiva is not present. This is what we understand through this book.
yadādiṣṭaṁ parameṣṭhinā śrīsvacchandādiśāṣtreṣu
Lord Śiva has also explained this in the Svacchanda Śāstra and other śāstras also.
yatra yatra nilīyeta manas tatraiva bhāvayet /
calitvā yāsyati kutra sarvaṁ śivamayaṁ yataḥ //400
[not recited in full]
Wherever your mind flows, fix your awareness of God consciousness there. Don’t try to put your mind away from that point. Wherever this mind . . .
JOHN: Is carried to.
JOHN: So don’t spend your energy trying to move your mind . . .
SWAMIJI: No (affirmative).
JOHN: . . . to some other point, just be . . .
SWAMIJI: Just think that there also is the existence of God. Calitvā yāsyati kutra, if it goes, moves here and there, this mind, where will it move? It will move in the cycle of God consciousness, so you are [always] There.401
In this also, he will explain in this Spanda [Kārikā]:
‘. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . na sāvasthā na yā śivaḥ /’402
That state is not existing where Śiva is not present.
The Śiva sūtra also says this. Not this Śiva Sūtra which we have read.403 This is some other Śiva sūtra:
‘sakṛdvibhāto’yamātmā pūrṇo’sya . . .’
This nature of your Self is always perceived, is always present, in fullness.
‘. . . na kvāpi aprakāśa saṁbhavaḥ /’404
There is no question of Its absence anywhere, in any state of life.
There is another reference:
This whole universe is filled with God consciousness.
JOHN: Why do they always use “cidghanam”? Ghanam means “mass of consciousness” or . . .
SWAMIJI: No, ghanam is just like in a rock of salt, this salty taste is ghana, filled.
JOHN: Compacted in there.
SWAMIJI: It is all salt, nothing else.
JOHN: So ghana doesn’t really mean “a mass” like that. It’s not like a “mass of consciousness”.
SWAMIJI: No, ghana is just . . .
SWAMIJI: . . . concentrated.
JOHN: Concentrated pure consciousness.
vyākhyātamidaṁ samastaśāstrāthasūtraṇaparamārtham-atiprasannagambhīramādisūtraṁ, [karotu sarvasya śivam] //
So this way, we have explained this first sūtra of the Spanda [Kārikā], which is samastaśāstrārtham, where all of the points of śāstras, all śāstras, are existing in this first sūtra of the Spanda [Kārikā]. It is prasanna, it is quite clear [and] gambhīram, it is deep. So, we have explained this deep and . . .
SWAMIJI: . . . clear sūtra, clear śloka, the first śloka, and this will make everybody peaceful in the state of Śiva–this explanation of mine.
399 “Yadā kṣobhaḥ, and this is agitation; these [organs] are agitated by this, by being [in] the extroverted position. The position must be diverted inside. Yadā kṣobhaḥ pralīyet, when that position will be diverted inside and this agitation will be vanished, tadā syāt paramaṁ padam, then the supreme state of God consciousness will be there, in the organs also. The organs will be divine. . . . Tadā syāt paramaṁ padam, then that supreme state is shining already there.” Spanda Kārikā 1.9, page 13.
400 The verse as it appears in the Svacchanda tantra reads: yatra yatra mano yāti jñeyaṁ tatraiva cintayet | calitvā yāsyate kutra sarvaṁ śivamayaṁ yataḥ ||4.313||
401 See also Vijñāna Bhairava, Dhāraṇā 90.
402 Spanda Kārikā 2.4, page 47.
403 The Śiva Sūtra Vimarśini of Vasugupta. This text has been published as the Shiva Sutras–The Supreme Awakening (Lakshmanjoo Academy Book Series, 2015).
404 This verse is quoted by Abhinavagupta in his Īśvara Pratya-bhijñā Vivṛtti Vimarśini. It is from the Sārasvatasaṅgraha Sūtra which is no longer available.
405 Unstated source.
Source: The Mystery of Vibrationless-Vibration in Kashmir Shaivism:
Vasugupta’s Spanda Kārikā & Kṣemarāja’s Spanda Sandoha by Swami Lakshmanjoo.
Copyright © John Hughes
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