The Yoga of Knowledge & Action as explained in Kashmir Shaivism

Swami Lakshmanjooo explains the yoga of knowledge and action in this excerpt from Chapter Three, verse 5-9, of the Bhagavad Gita, in the light of Kashmir Shaivism.

When you do actions and remain in God consciousness, then that fruit will be, automatically, the knowledge of Parabhairava. ~Swami Lakshmanjoo

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DVD 3.1 (12:05)

Jñānaṁ kramaṇā rahitaṁ na bhavati, karma ca kauśalo-petaṁ jñānarahitaṁ na bhavati [comm.]. Jñāna cannot remain without actions, and actions cannot remain without knowledge. Actions and knowledge are interdependent. Ityekameva vastu jñānakarmaṇī, it is only one element (i.e., jñāna and karma).

It is well said in Shaivite philosophies:

na kriyārahitaṁ jñānaṁ na jñānarahitā kriyā /

jñānakriyāviniṣpanna ācāryaḥ paśupāśahā //

Action cannot remain without knowledge and knowledge cannot remain without action. So, the master who is efficient in activity and knowledge, both of these simultaneously, he can elevate the whole universe. He alone is capable of elevating the whole universe.

Do you understand?

Tasmājjhānāntarvarti karmāparihāri [comm.]. Karma (action), which is residing in the center of knowledge, you cannot avoid it. You cannot avoid it. It is impossible to avoid that karma (action).

Yataḥ paravaśa eva kāyavāṅmanasāṁ parispandāt [comm.]. Paravaśa eva means dependently. He will be dependent to do something. Without doing something he won’t remain [alive]. He won’t live.

Still he will breathe! If he does not do anything, still he will breathe. If he does not do anything, [still] he will think. If he does not do anything, he will sleep and go into the dreaming state, and do activities there (e.g., rides and walks, ride on pathways) in dreaming state. He will do something.

DENISE: So that’s action too?

SWAMIJI: Yes, actions are predominant everywhere.

Now, if you say that, “no, I want to remain like this, with eyes closed, bas!” [You] don’t move your body [and say] that, “I want to remain like this.” If you say that, I, [Lord Kṛṣṇa], have got the answer to that.

DVD 3.1 (16:07)

कर्मेन्द्रियाणि संयम्य य आस्ते मनसा स्मरन् 

इन्दियार्थान्विमूढत्मा मूढाचारः स उच्यते  ॥६॥

karmendriyāṇi samyamya ya āste manasā smaran /

indriyārthānvimūḍhātmā mūḍhācāraḥ sa ucyate //6//

Karmendriyāṇi, all organs of action, one who will squeeze all of his organs of action, his own organs and ya āste, who just sits, manasā smaran, through mind, what will he do? Indriyārthān, through mind he will be thinking, he will go here and there, and his disciples will think, “our master is in samādhi.” [But] sometimes he goes to sleep.


DENISE: The master.

SWAMIJI: Their master who is just idly sitting for meditation. This meditation is fraud! This meditation does not work.

Indriyārthān, he goes here and there through mind. Mūḍhācāraḥ sa ucyate. Mūḍhācāraḥ, he is a fraud and he is not a good master. He is [more] wretched than an ordinary person. An ordinary person who works day and night in the garden and goes on digging the ground and everything, that person is far better than that yogi who sits like this [Swamiji sits straight].


yastvindriyāṇi manasā . . .

Now, who is the best one? The best yogi is that person . . .

DVD 3.1 (18:09)

यस्त्विन्द्रियाणि मनसा नियम्यारभतेऽर्जुन 

कर्मेन्द्रियैः कर्मयोगमसक्तः स विशिष्यते  ॥७॥

yastvindriyāṇi manasā niyamyārabhate’rjuna /

karmendriyaiḥ karmayogamasaktaḥ sa viśiṣyate //7//

The one who is always walking, talking, and fully aware of God consciousness while walking, while talking, while doing gup-shup (idle conversation), and seeing, shaking hands, karmen-driyaiḥ karma yogam asaktaḥ, without being attached to all of these. He sees . . . he [walks] on the pathway for a change, but he does not know where he went and wherefrom he returned. Because, it is just like rathyaṁ grāmaṇe tṛṇaparṇādivat. When you walk on the roadside, you will see [objects] on the roadside here and there. When you go in motorcar, in motorcar ride, you see leaves and everything on the right side and on the left side of your car, but those impressions of leaves do not remain in your mind; it is just nirvikalpa63.

Like that you should act in this world.

DVD 3.1 (19:54)

नियतं कुरु कर्म त्वं कर्म ज्यायो ह्यकर्मणः 

शरीरयात्रापि च ते न प्रसिद्ध्येदकर्मणः  ॥८॥

niyataṁ kuru karma tvaṁ karma jyāyo hyakaramaṇaḥ /

śarīrayātrāpi ca te na prasiddhyedakarmaṇaḥ //8//

[Lord Kṛṣṇa]: So you should do action, always do action with God consciousness. Karma jyāyo hyakarmaṇaḥ. Karma is, action is very superior, most superior, more superior than discarding actions. Śarīrayātrāpi ca te. Śarīrayātrā means this bodily existence also is dependent to karma. Without karma, bodily existence . . . the body won’t exist, the body won’t live, it will be shattered to pieces.

DVD 3.1 (20:55)

यज्ञार्थात्कर्मणोऽन्यत्र लोकोऽयं कर्मबन्धनः 

तदर्थं कर्म कौन्तेय मुक्तसङ्गः समाचर  ॥९॥

yajñārthātkarmaṇo’nyatra loko’yaṁ karmabandhanaḥ /

tadarthaṁ karma kaunteya muktasaṅgaḥ samācara //9//

O Arjuna, you should do actions, yajñārthāt, you should do actions, leave actions in God consciousness, bas! Don’t crave for its fruit, [then] all your actions will bear no fruit. And when they bear no fruit, what is remaining in the background of fruit? The knowledge of Parabhairava. The supreme Bhairava state will shine automatically.

JOHN: What does it mean [when] he says it won’t bear fruit, these actions will bear no fruit? I mean, it bears some fruit . . . what does it mean?

SWAMIJI: No, these actions will bear fruit [only] when you ask for them, when you ask for fruits. When you do actions and remain in God consciousness, always be introverted and do all actions, then there will be no fruit from that. And that fruit will be, automatically, the knowledge of Parabhairava.

The Yoga of Knowledge & Action as explained in Kashmir Shaivism


63 “The state of God consciousness . . . kāla adi paricchedā abhāva, there is no limitation of time, there is no limitation of space, there is no limitation of form. It is formless. There is no difference [found] in the state of God consciousness, e.g., there is no difference between specks and hankie. Specks and hankie are the same . . . in nirvikalpa state . . . there is only throbbing of this[-ness].” Swami Lakshmanjoo, Parātriśikā Vivaraṇa (1982-85).

“[For example, in] some peacock painting, citra vijñāna, there are differentiated things, there are so many various colors in that painting. But we don’t perceive those various colors one by one. What do we then perceive? We perceive, “this is a peacock.” That is Lord Śiva! The totality, that is nirvikalpa. These variations of those colors is savikalpa.” Ibid.

“When you say idam (e.g., “this is such and such a thing, this is a book, this is a pot”) . . . this is just directing you to limitation only, not unlimited thing. . . . When you perceive some particular object, it means the other objects are not included there, so it is limited. . . . Where there is limitation, that is vikalpa, it is not nirvikalpa. Nirvikalpa is that state where there is unlimited surface of understanding.” Ibid.

“In reality . . . everything, whatever exists, it is in nirvikalpa state [where] you can’t define anything . . . you can define only in the vikalpa state, in the cycle of vikalpa, e.g., when you say “this is specks cover.” But it is not specks cover in real sense, i.e., in the state of God consciousness. It is just nirvikalpa, you can’t say what it is . . . but it is! Saṁketādismaraṇam, when you understand, “this is mine, O, this was in my house, and this is mine,” this memory takes place in the vikalpa state, not nirvikalpa state; and that vikalpa state cannot [exist] without anubhavam, i.e., nirvikalpa state.” Ibid.

Nirvikalpa is the cause of all vikalpas; undifferentiated state is the cause of all vikalpas . . . it is not something foreign [to vikalpas], it is their life.” Ibid.

“When that [absolute] consciousness descends in the cycle of differentiatedness (bhedasāratālabdhatayā), then artha bhāvaṁ kuryat, then “this is right, this is wrong, this is pot, this is that and this is that,” this kind of [discriminating] activity takes place. Otherwise, in the state of absolute consciousness, there is no [discriminating] activity at all; it is one with God consciousness. But these vikalpas, these differentiated aspects of life cannot exist without coming out from that nirvikalpa bhāva.” Ibid.

“The first flow of [perception], it is nirvikalpa (without impression). . . . That is prathama anusaṁdhāna, the first movement of realization. That is nirvikalpa, that is the reality of God. . . . it is just aham (I-ness), it is not idam (this-ness). First there is some sensation, after that sensation you come to this [realization] that, “this is a pot, this is a jug, this is tape recorder.” This is the next step from that point of God consciousness, state of God consciousness. Otherwise, there is only sensation, vibration, some vibration of coming out. You don’t come out first. It is only the vibrating force that makes you to go outside.” Ibid.

Vikalpas will be attributed afterwards, after [they are] established in nirvikalpa state. So nirvikalpa state is the life of the object. For instance, I want to see Denise. Before that, I see only a phantom figure of Denise, and before that I see only seeing force, and before that I see only myself, and that is nirvikalpa.” Swami Lakshmanjoo, Tantrāloka 1.179 (1972).

“This happens in each and every activity of your daily life . . . in each and every perception, you have to start from that first throb [of nirvikalpa].” Swami Lakshmanjoo, Parātriśikā Vivaraṇa (1982-85).

“When I begin to deliver lectures with the help of a book, it is savikalpa knowledge. When I deliver lectures . . . without the help of [books], without keeping [books] in front of me . . . that is nirvikalpa, that knowledge is nirvikalpa. . . . It is only residing in the oneness of God consciousness because there is no need of getting help from books, from other sources.” Ibid.

“It is dharmi (the holder of all aspects). The holder of all aspects is Lord Śiva; all aspects of present, past, future.” Ibid.

“Memory exists through nirvikalpa, otherwise memory would not exist at all.” Ibid.

“How that past knowledge is united in this present knowledge? That is antarāla, that is the gap, the gap [between] these two (present and that past) . . . these two knowledges of present and past were absolutely separate from each other, so how could they be united [in memory]? There is only one way to unite them, i.e., by this nirvikalpa state, which is always there in the gap; and that antarāla, the state in-between the two objects, it is saṁvit ātmakameva, it is just consciousness, that is God consciousness.” Ibid.

“You can’t practice on nirvikalpa. You have to practice just after that . . . when it is [just about] to become savikalpa. That is prathama ābhasa, prathamā prasara, the first flow outside. At that first flow, you have to watch. You can’t watch [nirvikalpa], because it is not watched, it is the watcher. . . . You can’t watch the watcher, you can’t see the seer.” Ibid.

“In the same way, you have to contemplate on each and every element of the universe. . . . When your saṁvitti [consciousness] observes this earth element (pṛthvī), in the beginning it is nirvikalpa, in the end it is savikalpa; and after it has ended in savikalpa state, take it back to nirvikalpa saṁvitti. This is to be done in śāmbhava state. So it will rest in the nirvikalpa state in the end. It has come out from nirvikalpa saṁvitti, it resides in nirvikalpa saṁvitti, it is to be carried to nirvikalpa saṁvitti.” Swami Lakshmanjoo, Tantrāloka 3.279 (1973).

“You have to rise to nirvikalpa state through vikalpa in āṇavopāya and śāktopāya. But in śāmbhavopāya, you have not to rise [with vikalpa]. You have to get establishment in an instant with awareness, with awareness of śāmbhava state. And that is the real samāveśa (absorption).” Tantrāloka 1.179 (1972).

Source: Chapter Three, verse 5-9, The Bhagavad Gita, in the light of Kashmir Shaivism
by Swami Lakshmanjoo
also available as video download
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  1. November 6, 2018

    Could you indicate a book explaining the cycle of births and deaths (Samsara) according to Kashmir Shaivism?

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