The important two kinds of Knowledge in Kashmir Shaivism

In this section from the Light on the Tantra of Kashmir Shaivism, Abhinavagupta’s Tantraloka, Chapter One Swami Lakshmanjoo is explaining two different types of knowledge that are important in Kashmir Shaivism.

Intellectual knowledge is nourished by that pauruṣa jñāna and pauruṣa jñāna is nourished by that intellectual knowledge, side-by-side. ~Swami Lakshmanjoo

The important two kinds of Knowledge in Kashmir Shaivism

Audio 2 – 13:11

अहमित्थमिदं वेद्मीत्येवमध्यवसायिनी।

षट्कञ्चुकाबिलाणूत्थप्रतिबिम्बनतो यदा॥३९॥

धीर्जायते तदा तादृग्ज्ञानमज्ञानशब्दितम्।

बौद्धं तस्य च तत्पौंस्नं पोषणीयं च पोष्टृच॥४०॥

ahamitthamidaṁ vedmītyevamadhyavasāyinī /

ṣaṭkañcukābilāṇūtthapratibimbanato yadā //39//

dhīrjāyate tadā tādṛgjñānamajñānaśabditam /

bauddhaṁ tasya ca tatpauṁsnaṁ poṣaṇīyaṁ ca poṣṭṛca //40//

Now, he explains in the thirty-ninth and fortieth ślokas, what is actually the knowledge of bauddha and the ignorance of bauddha (intellectual knowledge and intellectual ignorance).

SCHOLAR: As opposed to inherent ignorance and inherent knowledge.99

SWAMIJI: Yes. That intellect which perceives that, “I am perceiving this object, such and such object, this way (aham ittham, idaṁ vedmi),” this kind of intellectual perception, when it comes into existence by the reflection that has come out from puruṣa who is entangled by the six coverings, . . .*

JOHN: Ah, kañcukas.
SWAMIJI: Ṣaṭ kañcuka. Ābila means, he who is covered by these six coverings.100 From that puruṣa, it is reflected. That reflection is penetrated in that intellect and that intellect then perceives that, “I perceive this in this way.”

*. . . and this kind of perception of the intellect, when it comes forth, that kind of knowledge is called ajñāna, and that ajñāna is bauddha ajñāna. And that bauddha ajñāna is already strengthened and gets more and more life by pauruṣa ajñāna in the coming future. Pauruṣa ajñāna strengthens, nourishes, feeds, that bauddha ajñāna. And it is poṣaṇīyaṁ ca poṣṭṛ ca, pauruṣa ajñāna strengthens the intellectual ignorance and intellectual ignorance strengthens the pauruṣa ajñāna.

SCHOLAR: As in the state of great grief, eventually the object of grief appears before you. Is that what he means here?

SWAMIJI: Yes.

SCHOLAR: It’s the example [given by Jayaratha].

SWAMIJI: This is bauddha ajñāna. Now, what is bauddha jñāna?

JOHN: Forty-one.

SWAMIJI: Forty-one and forty-two:

Audio 2 – 16:08

क्षीणे तु पशुसंस्कारे पुंसः प्राप्तपरस्थितेः।

विकस्वरं तद्विज्ञानं पौरुषं निर्विकल्पकम्॥४१॥

विकस्वराविकल्पात्मज्ञानौचित्येन यावसा।

तद्बौद्धं यस्य तत्पौंस्नं प्राग्वत्पोष्यं च पोष्टृ च॥४२॥

kṣīṇe tu paśusaṁskāre puṁsaḥ prāptaparasthiteḥ /

vikasvaraṁ tadvijñānaṁ pauruṣaṁ nirvikalpakam //41

vikasvarāvikalpātmajñānaucityena yāvasā /

tadbauddhaṁ yasya tatpauṁsnaṁ

prāgvatpoṣyaṁ ca poṣṭṛ ca //42//

[not recited]

When the impressions of a limited being are destroyed (kṣīṇe tu paśu saṁskāre; saṁskāre means, these impressions, traces of limitedness), when the traces of limitedness are destroyed and puruṣa is situated in his own real nature, prāpta parasthite, that knowledge which puruṣa holds, that is vikasvaraṁ (vikasvaraṁ means, all-round shining), and that knowledge is called pauruṣa knowledge, and that is nirvikalpakam, not avikalpitam. There is a difference between nirvikalpakam and avikalpitam. Avikalpitam means, from his [limited] point of view it is avikalpitam.

SCHOLAR: For the limited subject.

SWAMIJI: From the limited subject[’s point of view]. Nirvikalpakam is for the unlimited subject.101 Vikasvara avikalpātma jñānaucityena yāvasā, and, to that puruṣa, who is filled with that real knowledge, that intellect which is existing in that puruṣa according to the existence of his own knowledge of pauruṣa, which is vikasvara and avikalpa (all-round shining and thoughtless; without any impressions, without any differentiated impressions), and that intellect is called bauddha jñāna.

And that intellectual knowledge is nourished by that pauruṣa jñāna and pauruṣa jñāna is nourished by that intellectual knowledge, side-by-side.

JOHN: So, this avikalpa, that is not “thought-less” in the same way as nirvikalpa is “thought-less.”

SWAMIJI: Avikalpakam is “thought-less,” yes, nirvikalpa. Avikalpitam, [as described] previously in that [pauruṣa] ajñāna, that is not “thought-less.” This [avikalpakam] is “thought-less.”

SCHOLAR: The difference being that, in the first case, there is no awareness . . .

SWAMIJI: There is no awareness.

JOHN: It’s like śūnya (voidness)!

SCHOLAR: . . . and no judgment, but here there is awareness but no judgment.

JOHN: So that other one is śūnya.

SWAMIJI: That other one102 is exactly like śūnya; not śūnya, but like śūnya.

Audio 2 – 18:53

तत्र दीक्षादिना पौंस्नमज्ञानं ध्वंसि यद्यपि।

तथापि तच्छरीरान्ते तज्ज्ञानं व्यज्यते स्फुटम्॥४३॥

tatra dīkṣādinā pauṁsnamajñānaṁ dhvaṁsi yadyapi /

tathāpi taccharīrānte tajjñānaṁ vyajyate sphuṭam //43//

[Among] these two perceptions,103 this ignorance of puruṣa is destroyed by being initiated by masters. When you get initiation from your master, then that ignorance concerned with the puruṣa is destroyed. Although it is destroyed there, the fruit of that destruction is perceived only at the end of the body, not in his lifetime. Although it is there, that knowledge is there, pauruṣa jñāna is there, but the fruit of pauruṣa jñāna [i.e., liberation] is found, is perceived, only at the end of leaving that physical body.

SCHOLAR: Swamiji, when he says “dīkṣādinā,” is he only meaning kriyā dīkṣā104 and these dīkṣās, or also higher dīkṣās?

SWAMIJI: Higher dīkṣās (initiations) also.

SCHOLAR: Vedha dīkṣā as well?

SWAMIJI: Yes, vedha dīkṣā.105

SCHOLAR: So, how can vedha dīkṣā occur and bauddha jñāna not appear?

SWAMIJI: Vedha dīkṣā. Bauddha jñāna will appear only by knowledge, by book knowledge.

JOHN: Does he explain later why it is the case that you don’t attain mokṣa [while embodied] if you don’t have bauddha jñāna? What it is . . .

SWAMIJI: Yes, he will explain it. Now, the forty-fourth śloka:

Audio 2 – 20:35

बौद्धज्ञानेन तु यदा बौद्धमज्ञानजृम्भितम्।

विलीयते तदा जीवन्मुक्तिः करतले स्थिता॥४४॥

bauddhajñānena tu yadā bauddhamajñānajṛmbhitam /

vilīyate tadā jīvanmuktiḥ karatale sthitā //44//

Now, if pauruṣa jñāna is there existing, pauruṣa jñāna is there, and bauddha jñāna is also [there]–bauddha jñāna has completely destroyed the bauddha ajñāna (intellectual ignorance)–when that intellectual ignorance is also destroyed in his lifetime (if pauruṣa jñāna is there and intellectual ignorance is also destroyed by intellectual knowledge), then jīvan mukti106 is there, karatale, in his hand. Then he is jīvan mukta; he has not to wait for leaving his body. So, bauddha jñāna has got this kind of power to make him jīvan mukta, but only in the case [that] there is pauruṣa jñāna existing in his nature.

JOHN: So at the time of dīkṣā, that pauruṣa jñāna isn’t fully manifested.

SWAMIJI: Pauruṣa jñāna is manifested, but it cannot manifest . . .

JOHN: Completely.

SWAMIJI: . . . [as long as] there is the limitation of the body.

SCHOLAR: It is still avikalpitam.

SWAMIJI: It is still avikalpitam.107

SCHOLAR: For him at that level, too. It108 doesn’t affect the awareness of the mind.109

SWAMIJI: Now, the forty-fifth śloka:

Audio 2 – 22:08

दीक्षापि बौद्धविज्ञानपूर्वा सत्यं विमोचिका।

तेन तत्रापि बौद्धस्य ज्ञानस्यास्ति प्रधानता॥४५॥

dīkṣāpi bauddhavijñānapūrvā satyaṁ vimocikā /

tena tatrāpi bauddhasya jñānasyāsti pradhānatā //45//

Now he explains in this forty-fifth śloka the [greater] importance of bauddha jñāna from the Śaiva point of view. Bauddha jñāna is a must here! If bauddha jñāna is not there, then nothing is there. If bauddha jñāna is there, everything is there. So, intellectual knowledge is to be achieved from all sides. Because, dīkṣāpi, this initiation also becomes successful if there is intellectual power in the disciple to receive it. At the time of receiving initiation from his master for attaining pauruṣa jñāna, you need the intellectual power. The disciple needs intellectual power to receive it, to grasp it–how to meditate, how to concentrate on the Self. If he has not that intellectual power, that dīkṣā won’t be successful. So, in that way also, bauddha jñāna is predominant.

SCHOLAR: So this bauddha vijñāna is not as Jayaratha takes it: the bauddha jñāna which is necessary in the master in order to be able to initiate the disciple.

SWAMIJI: No, no, that is not it.110

SCHOLAR: But surely if intellectual knowledge (bauddha jñāna) is required for . . .

SWAMIJI: For the disciple.

SCHOLAR: . . . for dīkṣā–right?–then how could it be the case that he would remain un-liberated until death if he already had bauddha jñāna to some extent? If he already had bauddha jñāna, which is the prerequisite of . . .

SWAMIJI: Only bauddha jñāna.

SCHOLAR: . . . adept yogis. You said, if [dīkṣā] is preceded by bauddha vijñāna, dīkṣāpi bauddha vijñāna pūrvā . . .

SWAMIJI: Dīkṣā. Dīkṣā means, pauruṣa jñāna sambandhini. Dīkṣā means, initiation that will create pauruṣa jñāna in you.

SCHOLAR: Yes.

SWAMIJI: That initiation will take place, it will be successful, only when there is intellectual knowledge, some intellectual knowledge, some traces of intellectual knowledge, in the disciple. Otherwise, it won’t be understood.

SCHOLAR: Not complete śāktopāya awareness, not complete intellectual knowledge . . .

SWAMIJI: Not complete but . . .

SCHOLAR: . . . like in śāktopāya.111

SWAMIJI: No (affirmative). You must have some intellectual power to receive it. When there is no intellectual power, that pauruṣa jñāna won’t be understood. That dīkṣā (initiation) won’t be understood.

JOHN: So Shaivism excludes duffers.

SWAMIJI: Duffers, yes, absolutely (laughs).

SCHOLAR: Bhairava śāstra.112

SWAMIJI: Tena tatrāpi bauddhasya jñānasya asti pradhānatā. So, the predominance lies only in bauddha jñāna there, not in pauruṣa jñāna.113

[In the following verse, Abhinavagupta says], “This two-fold knowledge and two-fold ignorance is not my own invention”:

D) Confirmation of

Knowledge and Ignorance

From various Śāstras (46–51)

Audio 2 – 25:20

ज्ञानाज्ञानगतं चैतद्द्वित्वं स्वायम्भुवे रुरौ।

मतङ्गादौ कृतं श्रीमत्खेटपालादिदैशिकैः॥४६॥

jñānājñānagataṁ caitaddvitvaṁ svāyambhuve rurau /

mataṅgādau kṛtaṁ śrīmatkheṭapālādidaiśikaiḥ //46//

[not recited]

This is explained in the Svāyambhu śāstra, in the Ruru śāstra, in the Mataṅga śāstra, by Kheṭapāla, etcetera, masters.

SCHOLAR: That’s commentators.

SWAMIJI: Yes, commentators. [Abhinavagupta says], “So this is not new. So this is not my invention regarding this knowledge and ignorance.”

Audio 2 – 25:50

तथाविधावसायात्मबौद्धविज्ञानसम्पदे।

शास्त्रमेव प्रधानं यज्ज्ञेयतत्त्वप्रदर्शकम्॥४७॥

tathāvidhāvasāyātmabauddhavijñānasampade /

śāstrameva pradhānaṁ yajjñeyatattvapradarśakam //47//

That śāstra which carries you to the essence, to the reality, of that which is to be known,114 that śāstra is concerned [with] maintaining, for experiencing, or attaining, the glory of bauddha vijñāna. This śāstra is needed for that, i.e., that śāstra which will carry you to that point of That [which] is to be known. So, advaita śāstra115 is concerned . . . advaita śāstra is a must for attaining the glory of bauddha jñāna.

SCHOLAR: But dīkṣā is a necessary prerequisite for that.

SWAMIJI: Yes, previously you must have dīkṣā (initiation). Only bauddha jñāna won’t liberate you.

JOHN: Can you gain the fullness of bauddha jñāna without pauruṣa jñāna? Can a person have pūrṇa (complete) bauddha jñāna without . . .

SWAMIJI: Without pauruṣa jñāna? No.

JOHN: So, there is a very close correlation . . .

SWAMIJI: Yes. Pauruṣa jñāna is first. Pauruṣa jñāna must be there first, existing, and then bauddha jñāna is glorious. Bauddha jñāna will glorify itself and pauruṣa jñāna also. If there is only bauddha jñāna, not pauruṣa jñāna, bauddha jñāna is of no use and the holder of that bauddha jñāna is useless.

SCHOLAR: But isn’t it more than no use? Isn’t it just impossible to have bauddha jñāna unless you have already destroyed āṇavamala? You can think those thoughts, but can you have bauddha jñāna? It’s impossible to have bauddha jñāna, surely. How can you think, “I am all this . . .”?

SWAMIJI: Complete bauddha jñāna won’t exist until there is pauruṣa jñāna. That is true.

SCHOLAR: So, it is really bauddhājñāna (intellectual ignorance).

SWAMIJI: Yes.

JOHN: So, they grow together then?

SWAMIJI: They grow together. It is already explained previously.

JOHN: So then, the whole function of Śaiva sādhanā (practice) is, on the one hand, practice and devotion to the master, and on the other hand, this . . .

SWAMIJI: Intellectual power, yes.

________

99 The scholar is referring to pauruṣa ajñāna and pauruṣa jñāna, respectively.

110 Although that is not what is meant in this instance, Swamiji tells us: “The master must be established in God consciousness which has come in his experience by getting entry in svātantrya; svātantrya, which makes him one with Lord Śiva. Sa eva hi guruḥ kārya, that guru you must find out for getting initiation in these rituals. Tato asau dīkṣaṇe kṣamaḥ, he is the perfect master to handle these rituals, no other master. That master who is only authorized in rituals without [personally] getting entry in God consciousness is not fit to become a master. He knows rituals but he has not āveśa, he has not experienced the entry of God consciousness, so he is not a fit master for this.” Tantrāloka 15.38 (LJA archive).

111 The three upāyas (practical means) that are prescribed in Trika are śāmbhavopāya, śāktopāya, and āṇavopāya. Abhinavagupta introduces the subject of the upāyas in verse 70, and discusses the three upāyas in great detail from verse 139 onwards. See Appendix 25 (p418) for a detailed explanation of the upāyas.

112 Monistic scripture/doctrine.

113 That is, in order for an initiation to produce the desired result: embodied liberation.

114 Lord Śiva (jñeyatattva).

115 Advaita śāstra (non-dual scripture) refers to the Bhairava śāstras, the monistic scriptures of Kashmir Shaivism, which are the substance of the Tantrāloka.

(source: Light on the Tantra of Kashmir Shaivism, Abhinavagupta’s Tantraloka, Chapter One, revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo

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