In this excerpt from the Manual for Self Realization: 112 Meditations of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, (verse 14-18) Swami Lakshmanjoo explains why there is no difference between energy and energy holder (between Bhairavi/Bhairava or Shiva/Shakti or Shiva/Parvati) in Kashmir Shaivism.
वकथ्या परमार्थतः ॥१४॥
भैरवी भैरवात्मनः ॥१५॥
विमलं विश्वपूरणम् ।
akathyā paramārthataḥ // 14 //
bhairavī bhairavātmanaḥ // 15 //
vimalaṁ viśvapūraṇam / 16a
This state of Bhairava is beyond the limitation of space, time, and formation. It has no space, It has no time, It has no form–It is beyond that, beyond these three (dikkāla kalana unmuktā). Deśa uddeśa aviśeṣiṇī, there is no uddeśa or deśa, [there is no] nomination of the seat of Lord Śiva.
Do you know where Lord Śiva resides? In Śivaloka. Śivaloka is the residence of Lord Śiva in the heavens, and the residence of Lord Śiva in this universe is [Mount] Kailasha. He lives on the top of Kailasha. This is all humbug!
Dikkāla kalana unmuktā, there is no deśa (neither space, nor time, nor form) and there is no uddeśa (nomination of his particular place)–deśa uddeśa aviśeṣiṇi.
Vyapadeṣṭum aśakyāsau, this state is, in fact, indescribable, It can’t be described. Akathyā paramārthataḥ, in reality, It can’t be told. Antaḥ, internally It happens; It is filled with your own ecstasy, your own ānanda. It is beyond the apprehension of vikalpa (vikalpa unmukta gocara), beyond thought.
Yāvasthā bharitākārā bhairavī bhairavātmanaḥ, that state, which is filled, always filled, always full, that state of Bhairavī, [which] is that full state of Bhairava, is, in reality, to be known as absolutely pure, and absolutely filled with universal existence (viśva pūraṇam).54
That state is not the object of vikalpas, It can’t be perceived by vikalpas (thoughts). You can’t perceive It through the mind. [It is] vikalpa unmukta gocara, It is not vikalpa gocara as you are vikalpa gocara to me. With vikalpas, I can understand you, but you can’t understand That state through vikalpas. Vikalpa unmukta gocara, It has gone above the cycle of becoming the object of vikalpas–vikalpa unmukta gocara. [Bhairavī] has gone above [becoming] the object of thoughts. You can express It but you cannot feel It just like we feel in this-ness, objectivity. For instance, you have the information of the Tantrāloka*. If you have the information of the Tantrāloka and you need the Tantrāloka book to explain–you take the support of the Tantrāloka book and you explain the words of the Tantrāloka–that is vikalpa sahita gocara. It is not vikalpa unmukta gocara because it is in that state of subjectivity, which is attached to objectivity. This [state of Bhairavī] must be in pramiti bhāva (that is vikalpa unmukta gocara).
JOHN: Pramiti bhāva.
SWAMIJI: Pramiti bhāva is the state of that pundit, that scholar, who does not take the support of the Tantrāloka. I will show you, I will make you understand more vividly. For instance, I understand, I know, the Tantrāloka. For the time being, I know the Tantrāloka [but] I have no books. I don’t remember any śloka (verse) in my mind. In my mind, I don’t remember any śloka, but whenever somebody asks me [about] some śloka, bas, [the explanation] comes out. Where was that śloka residing in my brain? Where? In the nirvikalpa state. That is pramiti bhāva. That state is of Pārvatī. That state is of that Universal Consciousness where there are no objects of vikalpa. [On the other hand], this is the object of vikalpas, when you take the support of a book.
एवंविधे परे तत्त्वे
कः पूज्यः कश्च तृप्यति ॥१६॥
evaṁvidhe pare tattve
kaḥ pūjyaḥ kaśca tṛpyati // 16b //
When you put this thing in your view, evaṁ vidhe, in this supreme essence of transcendental truth, who is to be worshiped and who is the worshiper? Kaḥ pūjyaḥ, who is to be worshiped? Kaśca tṛpyati, who is the worshiper?
यावस्था परिगीयते ।
सा परा, पररूपेण
परादेवी प्रकीर्तिता ॥१७॥
yāvasthā parigīyate /
sā parā pararūpeṇa
parādevī prakīrtitā // 17 //
This state of Bhairava that is already sung in the body of the Tantras, yāvasthā parigīyate (parigīyate, sung), that state is in Its supreme way (pararūpena), [and It] is the state of Bhairavī (parā devī).
In other words,
The real state of Bhairava is the state of Bhairavī.
Whenever you explain, whenever you find out, what is the real state of Bhairava, you can’t find it out because the real state of Bhairava is, in fact, the real state of the knower. It can’t be found [because] It is the [finder]. The real state of Bhairava is the perceiver, It is not perceived. You can’t perceive that state. When It is perceived, when there is a desire in you to perceive It, you can perceive It [only] when It comes down in the state of Bhairavī. So that is the way. When you tread on the level of Pārvatī, then you are treading on the path. This is the journey we have to do, the journey we have to do in the field of Pārvatī, not in the field of Bhairava [where] there is no journey. He is the knower of everything, so It can’t be found, that state cannot be found. That state can only be found when It comes down one step lower at the state of Pārvatī.
So, now, here we will describe one hundred and twelve ways to enter in the universal and transcendental state of consciousness. One hundred and twelve ways will be explained in this book, and those one hundred and twelve ways will reside only in the field of Pārvatī. It can’t reside in the field of Bhairava because Pārvatī is the way.
This is what he puts down [as] the foundation stone for entering in the consciousness of the one hundred and twelve ways.
Evaṁvidhā bhairavasya yāvasthā parigīyate, this state of Bhairava, which is sung in the Tantras, is really the supreme state of the Goddess, Pārvatī (sā parā pararūpeṇa, in Its supreme way is parā devī prakīrtitā).
But is there any difference of supremacy?
Is there a difference of supremeness between Lord Śiva and Pārvatī?
This is what he explains now.
अभेदः सर्वदा स्थितः ।
परा शक्तिः परात्मनः ॥१८॥
abhedaḥ sarvadā sthitaḥ /
parā śaktiḥ parātmanaḥ // 18 //
Just as between energy and the holder of energy there is no differentiation at all to be found–always there is abheda, there is unity, unity between energy and the holder of energy (śakti and Śiva), there is no differentiated-ness–in the same way, tat dharma dharmitvāt (tat dharma means, all the aspects of Lord Śiva–tad dharma; tat means Lord Śiva, of Lord Śiva), all the aspects of Lord Śiva are held by Pārvatī Herself (tat dharma dharmitvāt).
“Dharmi” is the holder of all aspects. Dharmi, who is dharmi? Pārvatī. Tat dharma, all the aspects of Lord Śiva are held by Pārvatī.
So, parā śakti parātmanaḥ, that supreme energy is the energy of the supreme Lord. There is no difference in any case.
*The Tantrāloka is the masterwork of the most revered master of Kashmir Shaivism, Abhinavagupta
54 “Bharitākārā means, the state (āvasthā) of fullness. Bharitākārā is the qualification of Bhairavī, and it belongs to Bhairava. This state, which is of Bhairavī, belongs to Bhairava.” Vijñāna Bhairava, additional audio (USF archives).
by Swami Lakshmanjoo