An excerpt from Abhinavagupta’s Tantraloka, 8th Āhnika, about the highest point—bindu—and it’s meaning in Kashmir Shaivism.
The “Light on Tantra in Kashmir Shaivism, Abhinavagupta’s Tantraloka” Volume 1 and 2 are available in our bookstore. Check back for volume 3 after May 2022.
tatra padmaṁ śaśiprabham /
tacchaktyutsaṅgabhūṣitaḥ // 377 //
Ūrdhve bindvāvṛitirdīptā, above Sadāśiva, above the element of Sadāśiva there is bindu āvṛiti, there is āvṛiti of bindu (āvṛiti means the enclosure of nothingness, enclosure of one-pointedness), that is bindu āvṛiti.
For instance, one-pointedness means all pervasiveness.
For instance, you want to go to kālāgnirudra bhuvana, you want to touch kālāgnirudra bhuvana, you can touch kālāgnirudra bhuvana there–it is bindu āvṛiti–this is the greatness of bindu āvṛiti. When you are established in bindu āvṛiti you can touch everything that is in this world. No matter if it is a million or billion thousand miles away from you, but you can touch it. It is existing in this bindu. This is bindu āvṛiti. Bindu āvṛiti, it is . . .
SWAMIJI: . . . it is one-pointed; everything is one-pointed. So there is no space, no time, nothing. You can touch everything there at one point.
STEPHANIE: Everything is there.
STEPHANIE: Everything is there, in that seed.
SWAMIJI: Everything, yes. It is called bindu āvṛiti, yes.
ERNIE: So if you are one-pointed . . .
SWAMIJI: No, if you have got entry in bindu āvṛiti.
ERNIE: Which means you have to be one-pointed.
SWAMIJI: Yes, one-pointed.
BRUCE H: For all individuals existing it is everything?
SWAMIJI: Everything, yes.
Ūrdhve bindu āvṛiti, bindu āvṛiti is above Sadāśiva. Dīpta, it is delightful. Tatra padma śaśiprabham, in this bindu āvṛiti you will find a lotus, shining lotus in bindu āvṛiti.
Śāntaytītaḥ śivastatra, there in the center of that lotus you will find śāntyatītaḥ Śiva, Śiva who has crossed the circle of śāntātītā kalā.
You know there are five circles in this universe, whatever is created in 118 worlds it is encircled by five circles. One circle, gross circle is niviṛtti kalā. Subtler than that is pratiṣṭhā kalā. Subtler than that is vidyā kalā. Subtler than that is śāntā kalā. And subtlest kalā is śāntātitā kalā. Śāntātitā kalā is found in this bindu āvṛiti, in that one-pointed established state of bindu, point. It is only a point.
So you must understand nothing escapes there, nobody can escape from that bindu.
If bindu is situated . . . for instance, Śiva is situated in bindu āvṛiti, you can’t escape, he knows everything. From bindu you will be caught, no matter if you are away, far away from that bindu āvṛiti, you will be caught. He will find you there. He will find what you are doing, right or wrong; everything is there in bindu āvṛiti. So there is no escape from any action.
BRUCE P: But at first you said, “nothing is there?”
SWAMIJI: Because it is bindu, it is only one point, and everything is there. If there is nothing, that is everything.
And in this śāntātītā śiva; nivṛitti kalā, pratiṣṭhā kalā, vidyā kalā, śāntā kalā all these other four circles are found there, in this fifth circle [of] śāntātītā kalā.
purakoṭibhirāvṛitaḥ // 378 //
You will find numberless rudras, numberless worlds there, existing in this bindu. So everything is there, nothing is deleted there. Right from kālāgnirudra bhuvana to Śiva, you will find in bindu.
layākhyaṁ tattvamuttamam /
nāmnā bindurihocyate // 379 //
Why it is called bindu, why it is called point? Point means layākhyam everything is absorbed there, everything is existing there, so it is bindu. When you put bindu, dot, it means it is infinite. Is it not infinite? Bindu is infinite. Line is not infinite. Line is finite. Bindu is infinite.
SWAMIJI: Because in bindu you will find everything. In line you will find only line. In bindu everything is existing.
ERNIE: So a ‘dot’ represents bindu.
SWAMIJI: A dot, yes. In dot everything is found.
ERNIE: Because the circle is complete, it is whole?
SWAMIJI: Yes, it is complete; it is whole.
ERNIE: Whereas a line continues and continues . . .
SWAMIJI: Yes, it continues. [In dot] there is no continuation, there is no beginning, there is no end.
ityatredaṁ ca varṇitam // 380 //
In Mataṅga śāstra it is said, this is an absolutely pure element of bindu. Catur mūrtim ayam and in this śantātītā Śiva, who is existing in this bindu, in this dot, he is surrounded by four murtis: nivṛitti kalā, pratiṣṭhā kalā, vidyā kalā and śāntā kalā; these circles are there.
And it is sakala niṣkalam; it is sakala and niṣkala. Sakala means when you go down to kālāgnirudra, when you travel right to kālāgnirudra from there; it is sakala. You will find śāntātītā, nivṛitti kalā, pratiṣṭhā kalā, vidyā kalā, śānta kalā separately.
And in bindu you will find in a nutshell, all of these [niṣkala].
So everything is existing there. In Śiva nothing has escaped, everything is there, you can’t escape there. Whatever you do it is there, it is written there, it is quite clear there, in bindu āvṛiti.
So it is worthwhile to do good actions in this world because you can’t escape there in bindu āvṛiti.
BRUCE P: Bad actions also?
SWAMIJI: Bad actions also.
ERNIE: But then you say, there are times that you say, “there is no good or bad?”
SWAMIJI: Yes, when you are aware, then it is fine, then it is okay. When you are one with Lord Śiva then it is okay, you can do anything whatever you like, everything is divine.
ERNIE: This is His creation.
SWAMIJI: If you know that, then.
ERNIE: But if you don’t know it?
SWAMIJI: Then it is not his creation. It is your own creation.
Source: Abhinavagupta’s Tantraloka, 8th Āhnika,
from the audio archives of the Lakshmanjoo Academy
The “Light on Tantra in Kashmir Shaivism, Abhinavagupta’s Tantraloka” Volume 1 and 2 are available in our bookstore.
Copyright © John Hughes