In this excerpt from the book Shiva Sutras: The Supreme Awakening Swami Lakshmanjoo reflects on the First Awakening, second sūtra, where we have been told that “differentiated perception is bondage.” Now in the second Awakening with the 9th sūtra, we learn what knowledge means on the level of Shaktopaya and what we need to do here…
9. jñānamannam //
(For such a yogī)
differentiated perception is his food
knowledge of his own nature is his food.
This yogī eats and digests differentiated perception in his own supreme nature of consciousness.
Previously in the second sūtra of the First Awakening, we are told jñānaṁbandhaḥ, “differentiated perception is bondage.” And when that differentiated perception is carried in God consciousness by great Śaiva yogīs, it does not live, it expires. Then, there is no residue of that differentiated perception. This is why he has said in the present sūtra, “differentiated perception is his food,” because he takes it in and digests it in his own nature of God consciousness.
Previously, this point was communicated in this verse:
In that state, where he carries all differentiated perception into one God consciousness and digests it, not only are differentiated perceptions digested but along with differentiated perceptions, death, time, all actions good or bad, all changes of life, all perceptions good or bad, and all discussions of the question of monism or dualism are also digested in that supreme oneness of God consciousness. (Bhargaśikhā Śastra)
This is one explanation of this sūtra. There is also another way to explain it. In this explanation, take the word jñāna to mean knowledge of your own real self, and not differentiated perception. Thus, the reading would be:
For such a yogī, knowledge of his own nature is his food.
So, in one way, because this yogī carries differentiated perceptions from the differentiated to the undifferentiated state, he has explained that all kinds of differentiated perceptions are this yogī’s food. This yogī carries these differentiated perceptions from darkness to light, from sadness to joy. Everything for him is joyous, filled with light and glory. This is one way of explaining the word jñāna.
The other way to explain the word jñāna is that jñāna is the real knowledge of your own nature. This is his food and he is satisfied with this food. Being always satisfied with this food means he doesn’t crave physical food. Of course he eats, he does not starve himself, but he is not attached to food.
He is always intoxicated in his own self because the knowledge of his real nature gives him complete satisfaction.
It is also said in Vijñānabhairava:
Take any one means, in this world of one hundred and twelve means (upāyas), for entering in God Consciousness, and meditate according to that means. The fullness you experience by practicing consistently day by day on that means will give you perfect satisfaction and perfect fullness of self. (Vijñānabhairava 148)
Here, the author says that it doesn’t matter which means you take out of these one hundred and twelve ways. The fullness you experience through constant practice gives you perfect satisfaction and fullness of self.
This is stated in Spanda in this verse:
prabuddhaḥ sarvadā tiṣṭhet . . . ./ (verse 12)
If you lose awareness, then you are gone. You have destroyed the reality of life. You must, therefore, be aware. If you are fully aware of your thoughts, then you will not see any thoughts there. You can’t be partially aware while thinking; this won’t accomplish anything. Be fully aware of what you are thinking and you won’t think anything. If you are aware of what is happening next, nothing will happen. If you are aware that you are dying, you won’t die. If you are aware that you are going from wakefulness to the dreaming state, you won’t go. On the contrary, by establishing this awareness, you will get entry into God consciousness. This is the greatness of awareness, that if you are always aware in continuation, always one-pointed and residing in the one-pointed state of God consciousness, you won’t think anything. If, on the other hand, you are unaware, you will miss the reality of your life.
When this yogī does not maintain awareness in continuity, then, although he possesses the knowledge of God consciousness, there are many occasions when he lacks awareness. For example, if this yogī is aware of God consciousness now and after a short time he becomes unaware, missing that awareness, then after a few minutes he is again maintaining that awareness, this is not the way to maintain awareness. Awareness must be maintained in continuity. And when this yogī doesn’t maintain unbroken awareness, what happens to him?
Continue with verse 10 of the Shiva Sutras Vimarshini.
Or read more in-depth on Spanda (verses 12 and 11) in this blog post from the Spanda revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo.