View Full Version : the highest 1st

14 July 2017, 01:38 PM
hariḥ oṁ

Within the trika śasana , or trika teaching, most know as kaśmir śaivism, there is an offer by abhinavagupa-ji1 called the tantrāloka. This offer is considered a ~big deal~ in this school just due to the brilliance abhinavagupa-ji’s level of consciousness and knowledge. How so?
This tantrāloka is founded upon mālinīvijaya tantra, some know as the mālinīvijayottara tantra. For many that are new to this, the mālinīvijayottara tantra takes the 92 śastra-s or śiva āgama-s (10+18+64 tantra-s) of lord śiva and presents it succinctly for study.

We know this about the mālinīvijayottara tantra: (I practice my saṃskṛtam & devanāgarī here and offer it for those interested in inspecting it)

मालिनीविज्ञयं देव्यास्तन्त्रं रहसि यत्।ह् पुरा ।
परमेशेन संप्रोक्तं भक्तानुग्रहकाम्यया ॥१
कार्त्तिकेयेन यच्चोक्तं श्रुल्वा संपदतोस्तयोः ।
मुनीनां भक्तियुक्तानां संसारार्णवतारणम्।ह् ॥२
तदेतदुर्वनुज्ञातो गोविन्दाश्रमसंज्ञकाः ।
श्रीनोन्दपंडितसुतो बुधेऽलिखत वै बुधः ॥३

mālinīvijñayaṃ devyāstantraṃ rahasi yat|h purā |
parameśena saṃproktaṃ bhaktānugrahakāmyayā ||1
kārttikeyena yaccoktaṃ śrulvā saṃpadatostayoḥ |
munīnāṃ bhaktiyuktānāṃ saṃsārārṇavatāraṇam ||2
tadetadurvanujñāto govindāśramasaṃjñakāḥ |
śrīnondapaṃḍitasuto budhe'likhata vai budhaḥ ||3

Using somadeva vasudeva’s translation for expediency, this says ,
this tantra (entitled) the triumph/victory of the garlanded goddess (devī) which aids in crossing saṁsāra ( birth-after-birth) was formerly revealed to Her in secret by the Supreme Lord; out of a desire to bestow grace upon His devotees was transmitted by kārtikeya, hearing their dialog ( of the Supreme lord and devī) to the devoted the devoted sages.
The learned govindāśrama, son of śrīnondapaṃḍita, instructed by his preceptor copied this on (a) Wednesday.

The essence of the 92 tantra-s are found in the mālinīvijayottara tantra and is the top most śastra of trika śasana , or trika teaching, known as kaśmir śaivism. It is from here, from this tantra that abhinavagupa-ji offers the tantrāloka; it is that expression and explanation of mālinīvijayottara tantra for one’s comprehension.

He says in the first section (or āhnika2 ) verse 19, that the tantrāloka is for those (paṇḍits) who were away from their saṁpradāya ( their school or lineage ) tradition. He is saying what was perhaps lacking in various paṇḍits, I will explain by the command (ājñā) of my master (śambhunātha-ji).

He uses the term ‘paṇḍit’ to infer those that may be scholars, but are perhaps lacking spiritual direct experience, practice.

Why mention all this yajvan ? One, to let you know we’re in good company with this knowledge, and second, the gravity of the work.

Now to the point to be offered
Within the commentary on the 19th verse just referred to above, by rājānaka jayadratha3 a key commentator many today rely on regarding the tantrāloka says the following : pradhane hi kṛto yatnaḥ . What does this say?

pradhane – the best of one's goods ; prize gained or dhana
hi - set in motion
kṛta – what is cultivated
yatnaḥ - endeavor or performance

It says, for one’s endeavor that is set in motion cultivate the best.
Said another way, for what one does, aim for the highest achievement. My teacher said it this way, capture the highest 1st.

In the upcoming posts, I'd like to offer the reader several views & its application on this highest 1st principle. It is aimed for the sādhaka (practitioner) yet most may find it of interest.

iti śivaṁ

1. abhinavagupta is also known as mahāmaheśvarācharya śrīmad abhinavaguptanatha;

his point of view is that of paramādvaita ( the highest-supreme view of non-duality). Yet within the tantrāloka , this offer is the complete light on the trika system – it contains śiva , śakti and nara , or said another way, the Supreme-universal Being view (śiva yet called as paramaśiva, some too call parabhairava, ) this Being’s energy or śakti ( which is non-different from Him) and that of naraor the individual.
This trika view is that of wholeness and undifferentiated to the differentiated i.e. from the Supreme pure being, pure awareness, to the diversity found in the universe ( coded as nara).
We are told that abhinavagupta had up to 20 teachers; There are 4 that are typically called out:

· vāmanātha aligned to dualistic śaivism
· bhūtirāja aligned to the dual-nondual view
· lakṣmaṇagupta, a direct disciple of utpaladeva, aligned to non-dial knowledge
· śambhunātha mentioned above in the post and his wife (acting as a dūtī or conduit) for initiation and additional knowledge aligned to the kaula school (or kula-prakriā called out by jayaratha ); most interesting as this is the 4th school, yet ~labeled the 3 1/2th school

2. āhnika – a division or section, of which the tantrāloka consists of 37.
3. rājānaka jayaratha – offered his viveka (consideration , discussion , investigation i.e. commentary) on the tantrāloka which is recognized today. Jayaratha lived 1150-1200 CE.

18 July 2017, 07:15 PM
hariḥ oṁ

pradhane hi kṛto yatnaḥ .What does this say?

pradhane – the best of one's goods ; prize gained or dhana
hi - set in motion
kṛta – what is cultivated
yatnaḥ - endeavor or performance

It says, for one’s endeavor that is set in motion cultivate the best. Said another way, for what one does, aim for the highest achievement. My teacher said it this way, capture the highest 1st.

What then does this mean ? Most know there is always a hidden meaning (lakṣaṇā) in the wisdom the wise (sūraḥ) offer us, this phrase (vākaya ) is no different.

At the highest level
This term suggests submitting one’s self to the highest attainment and see if that aspirant is ‘ripe’ enough for this grace ( some like to call it śaktipat) to take hold. That is, that one’s blossoming or complete absorption into that pure level of being just occurs with no effort or extraneous techniques (upāye-s). The term given ( from the school I study) is called anupāya. This is defined as ‘no means’ or the no means approach. Completely effortless, without a hint of vyutthāna ( independent action; differentiated / factional spiritual techniques).
Not possible! says the student/ jijñāsu1 . Nothing is impossible when considering the Supreme’s complete freedom (svātrantrya). Well, give me an example says the student. One need to look no further than rāmaṇa mahaṛṣi. This was his experience. He reviews it on several occasionsin the book ‘Talks with rāmaṇa mahaṛṣi’.
He was blessed with the highest 1st as the condition of turyātītā on its own. The term turyātītā means that 4th level of consciousness that is pure awareness, pure Being, that was his own nature to begin with remained manifest. Others would say it is universal consciousness ( the the vernacular of modern new age verbiage).

More views on the highest 1st
Capture the highest, 1st. Now this says within one’s ability always aim for the highest. Only see that goal and nothing else. That is get to this 1st, capture this first, leave other things as they may.

Within our literature (āgama-s) one may note there are typically/traditionally 4 parts ( some call pāda-s):

jñāna ( higher knowledge) which is uttara ( the highest insights)
yoga – practice
kriyā – the action of rituals and worship
caryā - practicing , performing , occupation with , engaging in proper life supporting behaviors.

Within this notion of capturing the highest 1st one may submit themselves to the highest possible jñāna which may come from scriptures or from
one’s teacher ( or others I would assume); This 'knowledge' section is usually 1st to be offered. The idea of one word or idea or notion falling on the ears of that person that is ‘ripe’ and that alone would be enough to expand that person’s awareness to unmīlana samādhi ( realization). Just one word. No different than a light breeze that is just enough to dis-engage a ripe fruit from its branch.

Well, let’s assume then that this does not occur. What then is next? Yoga. Those practices that hone, groom and culture the student to support the experience of the 4th ( pure awareness) as an experience. For those that find this too is not within their nature, then kriyā – the action of rituals and worship will be the purification process. But if too this is found to be difficult than one is asked to practice caryā – proper behaviors that are uplifting and life supporting (dharma).

Note the following: The notion is start with the highest 1st. If in fact the person blooms to fullness in a very short period then all the other approaches below it ( yoga, kriyā, & caryā) are of little use ; like trying to capture water in a wicker basket.

These ideas above are the entry point to this notion of the highest 1st. There are some additional profound offers too that come with this from within this school of trika and tantra. Within this school one can always go deeper and wider. I will address them if there is interest from the reader.


iti śivaṁ
1. jijñāsu - desirous of knowing , inquiring into , examining; but of what ? Self, Being, pure awareness

19 July 2017, 01:29 PM
hariḥ oṁ

I can hear people thinking, where does devotion fall within this conversation ? it was not mentioned? how can this be ?

Well within the arena of this discussion we’re at the most refined levels of our awareness. It is the arena of avikalpa i.e. the thoughtless condition. We’re not residing in this thought and that thought which I have called differentiated/fractured thoughts of things ( time, place, space, ownerships, etc).

It is that subtle field of nirvikalpa i.e. free from change or differences which = the term I just mentioned, avikalpa. Here, in this arena devotion is called prasaṅga . It is defined as devotion to , indulgence in , occupation of , intimate association. It is the intimate & devoted connection to pure Being, and in this school called śiva ( some prefer bhairava as the proper name).

If one took great interest in devotion and cared to read the most insightful revelations of one steeped in this prasaṅga ( intimate connection) consider the śivastortāvalī by utpaladevācārya 1 . His devotion is the continuous memory of the supreme without break or pause (nirantara).

iti śivaṁ

1. utpaladevācārya – utpala+deva+ācārya utpala = blossoming, any flower + deva = divine, of highest excellence + ācārya is the master, knowing or teaching the ācāra or rules, the spiritual guide

utpaladevācārya was a luminary within kaśmir śaivism and author of the śivastortāvalī ; devotional to its core.