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Thread: Sodashi or 16 divisions

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    Sodashi or 16 divisions

    Hari Om
    This post is inspired by Satay as he discussed 16 offerings in a past post. What is the significance of 16?
    Where do we see this 16 used .Lets see if we can discover the value of this Sodashi or 16 divisions. [Interesting to note that 16 or 1+ 6 = 7 , a discussion posted in ]

    We know of the 16 kala's in time and Siva, the Kalasargakaram ( who is the cause of the 16 parts) that is, of kala's. There is the 16 parts, or shodasanatam, or modifications (vikriti's) by which creation is completed. What are these? A few ideas are reviewed here and can be found in the Svetasvatara Upanishad.
    And what of the vyahriti's? the sacred utterances? There are 3 ( bhu+bhuvah+suvah), yet Mahachamasya muni taught a 4th, of which is Mahah. These 4 vyahriti's are 4 fold, hence 4X4 or 16 parts. Here's some thoughts on this matter.

    One idea on shodasi
    We also know of the kala's of time which is the 15 tithi's of Chandra ( the moon). This is the panchadasi Mantra (15 phonemes). Please refer to : for a discussion.
    This mantra is considered to be owned by Siva, as the mantra is Siva+Shakti together. So, the spiritual representation of the Divine as the light of knowledge (jnana) is the sun. The moon is soma, the delight of existence, the bliss of existence. It is clear why Siva wears the moon on His head, as the offerer of the bliss of existence. And when the moon is full it is owned by soma.
    Each digit is an aspect of the divine - waxing and waning, as creation goes on. We also see in the In the Bhagavad-Gita Gita, that krsna points to the following: (BG chapt 10.21 and 10.23)
    Of the Adityas I am Visnu, of lights I am the radiant sun ( or ravi) , I am Marici of the Maruts, and among the stars I am the moon ( or sasi). And we also know Krsna denoting himself as Siva.
    What does this to do with sodasi or 16? For the moon, waxing and waning, is done in 15 parts but there is a sixteenth. That is, after fullness (pournima) yet before pratipada or the 1st tithi, there is the 16th. This is a gap or junction point (Sandhya or junction, sandhi) at these times. And what is there ? Neither the 1st tithi or the 15th tithi. What is there is silence, turiya, Siva, Brahma, Fullness.

    The Sri Vidya mantra is 15 phonemes, the 16th syllable makes it sundari, pure consciousness…the crowning bija, is the seed sound (bijaksara) of Kamalatmika or just Kamala.

    Second idea on shodasi - Svetasvatara Upanishad
    What are the kala's called out in this Upanishad? Prana ( life force), sraddha (faith), Kha (akasha, or space), Vayu ( or air/gas/wind principle) Jyotih (light, some say fire, then I would use agni or tejas), Apa (fluid/water principle), Prithvi (material/solid/earth principle), Indriya's (sense organs), Manas (mind), anna (food and experience as experiences feed the senses), Virya ( semen) , tapas (discipline or austerity), Mantra (sacred sound vibration/verses), Karma (actions), Kala (time/division), and Nama (name). In this Upanishad it calls out the all-blessed-one, the auspicious, Siva who is the cause and origin of the 16 parts.

    And what of the vikriti's by which creation is manifest? The 5 tattvas ( apa, akasha, vayu, etc.) the 5 organs of knowledge ( they are called Jnanya Indriyas seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching and are tightly aligned with the 5 tattvas), 5 organs of action are hands,feet, mouth/speech generative organ, and excretory organ. Add the mind, and this give us the 16. Others say the 16 is composed of the 14 worlds 7 higher and 7 lower + Virat + Sutratman.

    Third idea on shodasi - vyahriti's from the Taittiriya Upanishad
    The vyahriti's, sacred utterances, are bhu+bhuvah+suvah , yet Mahachamasya muni taught a 4th, of which is Mahah. These 4 vyahriti's are also 4 fold, hence 4X4 or 16 parts. Lets take a look at these and the items associated to each, postioned under each.
    Bhu_____________ Bhuva__________ Suvah_________ Mahah
    World ____________Sky_________ The next world______the Sun
    Fire_______________Air____________ The Sun _______ the Moon
    Rik_____________Saman__________ Yajus________ Brahman or Om
    Prana ___________Apana___________Vyana__________ Food

    It is said that Atman at its root is vyap, to cover. So the Vyahriti of Mahah covers, or includes all other vyahriti ( bhu+bhuvah+suvah ). We get 16 parts, yet its covered overall by Mahah , and this is Brahman, the underlying principle (sub-stratum) of everything seen and unseen. It is nish-kalam Indivisible, yet the support for all parts.

    Fourth - An interesting Observation - Sanatkumara's (Skanda) discourse on Bhuma Vidya to Narada
    In this discourse Sanatkumara discusses in the 7th chapter of the Chhandogya Upanishad, Bhuma Vidya, the knowledge of Brahmanuma, Fullness. Skanda-ji ( also the same of Sanatkumara) talks of 25 dimensions to lead Narada to understanding. After each subject Narada, a most excellent sishya, asks 'yes, but is there something more, or superior to this just reviewed and may I know about it' . This happens 15 times for the subjects of name, speech, mind, will, memory… till Skanda-ji talks of life. After his discussion on life the 15th item, and before going to the 16th item Satyam, Narada is unable to speak. The knowledge that is revealed is that profound it brings silence to Narada. It is an example given by this Upanishad of Sandhya or junction, sandhi. It is a profound example of ativadi - that is transcended speech, Speech that is pregnant with Truth , as explained by Swami Krishnananda on this matter.The timing of this ativadi was not haphazardly placed. It was done at the junction of 15 and 16. The sandhya for Turiya to be exposed, within the gap.

    Skanda-ji then must move the conversation along and discusses Truth next. How appropriate for the junction/gap Allows the Truth of the Absolute to come though in the conversation via ativada. He says our speech becomes True because our speech is based upon the knowledge of the True. Knowledge here is actual realization of the Absolute, the unmanifest (auyakata). This is the Supreme Station param dhama ( some say akshara parabrahman).

    Fifth - the 16 offerings of a puja - if others well versed can adjust/comment, it is welcomed, so we all can learn. This is from Ganesha puja vidhi. The Kalasa-puja , the 16 steps. Note the offerings of the tattvas, sound, mantra, etc.

    We welcome the Lord to the puja and invocation (avahananam),
    The offering of:
    1. a seat ( asanam),
    2. water to wash His feet (padyam) and hands (arghyam)
    3. and fresh water to sip (acamaniyam),
    4. Snanam (bath),
    5. vastram (cloth, garments),
    6. upavitam ( sacred thread),
    7. gandha (sandalwood),
    8. kummuman (red vermillion or tikka),
    9. pushpam (flowers),
    10. arcana or arca, or arcanam - the puja to the murthi fom 'murc' a form or become solid ( the image of the Divine)
    11.dupam ( incense),
    12.dipam ( light),
    13. naivedyam ( food),
    14. Tambulam (betal leaf),
    15. nirajanam ( arati, karpoora or camphor),
    16.mantra (some say mantgrapusham or pushpamjaleem a Handful of flowers),
    then namaskarah (saluations and namaste)

    Last edited by yajvan; 21 February 2007 at 10:16 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva


  2. #2
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    Re: Sodashi or 16 divisions

    Wow, thanks.

    /steeping like tea on that post, hehe
    yaireva patanaM dravyaiH siddhistaireva choditA .
    shrI kauladarshane chApi bhairaveNa mahAtmanA .

    It is revealed in the sacred doctrine of Kula and by the great Bhairava, that the perfection is achieved by that very means by which fall occurs.

  3. #3
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    Re: Sodashi or 16 divisions

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post
    What is the significance of 16? Where do we see this 16 used .Lets see if we can discover the value of this Sodashi or 16 divisions.
    Namaskar Yajvan,

    Thank you so much for this post. This post will be something for me to muse through slowly and repeatedly, so that I can imbibe the full import .


  4. #4
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    Re: Sodashi or 16 divisions

    Hari Om

    Namaste ZN and AD,

    Thank you for your posts... the selection of numbers as I find in the various works of muni's , yogi's, punditji, etc. are mindful selections to teach or provide additional insights and guidence to the sadhu.

    If we look at the Brahma Sutras, the work of Krsna-dvaipayana (rishi Vyasa, the son of Parashara, a great seer and father of Jyotish), we see the following about this work:
    • It has 4 chapters, or adhyaya's
    • 16 sections of padas
    • 223 adhikarana's or topics of discussion
    • 555 Sutra's or stitchs, lines , or aphorisms
    Now, what's the link? we see this 4 , in jyotish , as a moksha house ...that of liberation. We see 16 as 4X4, the 16 we just commented on this is overall post on shodasi. So what of the 223 topics? 2+2+3=7
    we have discussed this seven .

    What of the 555 sutra's ? 5+5+5=15 the beginning of the gap or Sandhya or junction; also the 15th tithi is pournima or Fulless.
    One last obeservation - if you add all the numbers given above,
    4+16+223+555 = 798. Now, what could be so special about 798?
    We keep the 7 anchored then add 9 to it we get 16. We take the 7 and add 8 to it we get 15. Where do we find Sandhya or junction? Between 15th and 16th tithi of the month. What shines through there? Turiya,the 4th. This Brahman.

    Now, if one wishes to run out and start reading the Brahma Sutra's, it would be my humble suggestion to first read the primary Upanishads, some say there are 12, some say 10, some 13. then one can choose to read this great work but only in concert with additional commentary of one stotriya ( one knowing the shastra's) and commentry (Bhashya) by an enlightened one e.g. Shankara, Ramanuji, & Nimbarkacharaya, as Adhikarin's - competent to understand and transmit the light to Rishi Vaysa's work. Without this, the words are just printed ink with no life.

    Last edited by yajvan; 24 February 2007 at 12:16 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva


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