Part Two: Shiva Sutra 2.7 – Matrikacakra, The Theory of Letters that Expand the Universe & Everything Consists of Everything Else
“Matrika means letters or lettered sound. It is through matrika that all human activities are carried on.” Shiva dwells in the heart of all letters. All letters are the inner life of Shiva, the expression of that Supreme Creative Consciousness, the “cosmic creative stress” which through its divine pulsation (spanda) brings about the emanation, projection, expansion, and dissolution of the universe. [Jaideva Singh/Shiva Sutras]
Even after a Dissolution, when the universe is unmanifest, the universe remains implicit as seed (bija) eternally within the One. Just as the fluid in the egg of a peacock contains the totality of profusion of its adult magnificence and beauty, so does the entire manifested multiplicity of this universe remain implicit in the Oneness, Lord Shiva. The universe repeatedly becomes manifest during the Cycles of Time and returns to its state of being implicit, inherent, latent, unexpressed after a Dissolution.
From this cyclical concept of the manifested and then un-manifested universe as consciousness always lying implicit in the One, we might imagine that all the four Cycles of Time (yugas) exist simultaneously, one nested within another, as merely ‘apparent’ temporal holograms.
The universe is nothing but consciousness. This idea of the universe being eternally implicit brings the theory of David Bohm’s Implicate Order to mind. In his implicate (enfolded) order “space and time are no longer the dominant factors determining the relationships of different elements. Rather an entirely different sort of basic connection of elements is possible, from which our ordinary notions of space and time, along with those of separately existent material particles, are abstracted as forms derived from the deeper order.”
The universe is consciousness. “In fact, this universe is created by this supreme energy of consciousness…[SLJ].” The energy of consciousness (cit shakti) is one of the five great energies of the Oneness, Shiva. These five great energies are termed wheels (cakras) because they move like wheels.
In Kashmir Shaivism the Oneness is referred to as Shiva - and Lord Shiva has these five great energies: consciousness, bliss, will, knowledge, and action. These five energies are not discrete, not individually separated from each other. Each one of the five energies contain the other four and are continually interplaying with and within one another.
Perhaps musical chords and scales reflect this idea of one containing the others and the interplay between them to create something new. One note contains all the other notes. One note, for example a G, in one octave resonates and vibrates with all the other Gs in every octave. And these resonating sounds as musical notes, harmonious or dissonant, create chords and are constantly combining to make the sounds of symphonies, songs, ragas, etc.
Music illuminates the connection between metaphysical principles and physical reality. Alain Danielou: “Music was therefore justly considered by the ancients as the key to all sciences and art – the link between metaphysics and physics…” In music, “By the artificial construction of harmony we can go beyond the phenomenon of sound vibrations and perceive not sounds but immaterial relations through which can be expressed realities of a spiritual nature. We can thus lift the veil by which matter hides from us all true realities.”
“Beneath the curtain of each atom lies concealed the life increasing beauty of the face of the Beloved.” - The Secret Garden, Mahmud Shabistari.
The basic metaphysical principle here is: SARVAM SARVATMAKAM – which means that ‘Everything consists of everything else’ [Jaideva Singh – Paratrishika Vivarana]. Shiva, the Oneness, is ubiquitous, immanent within everything, permeating the entire universe from the galaxies to your teaspoon or toe. All the great five energies of Shiva contain the other four. Everything is everything.
The world is simply a form of consciousness
The energy of consciousness (cit shakti) creates the five great elements: ether, air, fire, water, and earth. One element is predominant in each, while again each of the five elements contains all the other four. “So in each and every energy of Lord Shiva, all five energies exist.” [SLJ]
The five elements are the result, the manifestation and creation of the energy of consciousness, the Shakti power of CIT (pronounced chit). This creative Shakti-energy-power is personified as the goddess and is not different from Shiva.
“By the power of her own will she (cit shakti) unfolds the universe upon her own screen (i.e. in herself as the basis of the universe).” [Jaideva Singh – Pratyabhijnahrdayam]
"Consciousness shines in various external and internal forms. There is no existence of objects apart from consciousness. Therefore the world is simply a form of consciousness." [Kalikakrama, as quoted in the Shiva Sutras translated by Jaideva Singh]
Thus in Kashmir Shaivism, the universe has no material cause other than consciousness. The world is simply a form of consciousness. Matter is consciousness. Matter might be imagined as condensed consciousness that creates the ‘appearance’ of solidity.
There is more space in an electron than there is matter. “The space which an electron occupies is only one fifty-thousandth in diameter of its distance from the nucleus; the rest of the atomic interior is empty. If the nucleus were enlarged to the size of a dried pea, the nearest electron would circle around it at a distance of about 175 yards. …it is doubtful whether it is permissible to say that the electron ‘occupies space’ at all. ” [Arthur Koestler-The Sleepwalkers]
Rene Guenon in ‘The Reign of Quantity’ makes some wonderfully startling observations concerning the idea of matter: “…the idea of ‘matter’ is therefore as illusory as it possibly could be, since it corresponds to no reality of any kind…it could be said that materialization exists as a tendency.”
Guenon prefers to use the word ‘solidification’ indicating an ongoing process as we descend into the depths of the Kali Yuga. He remarks that in the previous cycles of time we all possessed faculties which allowed us “to pass beyond the bounds” of the sensible world (i.e. the five senses). In our current era, “never have either the world or man been so shrunken, to the point of their being mere corporal entities, deprived…of the smallest possibility of communication with any order of reality!”
The universe is consciousness and created by consciousness. Matter is consciousness. Everything is consciousness and everything is everything. The parts contain the whole and interact with one another. Nothing is discrete.
The power of consciousness is CIT SHAKTI and here she is known as Matrikacakra, the lady that generates the letters. The Sanskrit letters contain the creative energy that manifests the universe. The cit shakti holds the entire universe within itself. “Every letter of the (Sanskrit) alphabet represents energy in some form.” [Jaideva Singh – Paratrishika]
Swami Lakshmanjoo: “In perceiving, you should not perceive things one by one. See what is in the beginning and see what is in the end (simultaneously). Take the first letter and the last letter and combine them and you have perceived the whole universe. …unite them by means of taking them in one point.”
To Become the One again, we need to learn to collapse our linear thinking and move beyond conditioned ideas of space and time, leaving behind all preconceptions of mechanical laws such as cause & effect. Think in terms of Totality – weave the beginning and end into one.
“Whatever is perceived is PRAKASHA (the light of consciousness). It is the state of the universal ‘I’. Carrying all that is perceived to your own nature, to that point of the Self, and establishing it there is called SVANTANTRYA (the absolute freedom).” [SLJ]
In Jaideva Singh’s translation of the Shiva Sutras, he says this about the difficult and complex Matrikacakra theory: “If a man wants to understand the mystery of life, if he wants to turn to the source of his being, he will have to understand the mystery of Matrika (lettered sound). Matrika not properly understood only confines us to the feverish activities of life, and thus becomes a source of bondage. If properly understood, she becomes our savior.”
The sole reason and motivation to immerse your consciousness in the theory of MATRIKACAKRA is for your own Liberation, your own freedom from repeating cycles of birth & death. Understanding these ancient sacred teachings will reveal the nature of the universe to you, and the processes by which it is manifested and dissolved, and very soon will lead you to the Home you in fact never left!
Bohm, David (1980), Wholeness and the Implicate Order, London: Routledge
Music and The Power of Sound, The Influence of Tuning and Interval on Consciousness, by Alain Danielou; Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vermont, 1943/1995.
The Sufi Dialogue: The Secret Garden, written in the 14th century by Mahmud Shabistari; Octagon Press, London, 1969.
Abhinavagupta PARA-TRISIKA-VIVARANA, The Secret of Tantric Mysticism, English translation with notes and running exposition by Jaideva Singh; Sanskrit text corrected, notes on technical points and charts dictated by Swami Lakshmanjoo; edited by Bettina Baumer; Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi, 1988/2000.
Pratyabhijnahridayam, The Secret of Self-Recognition, translated by Jaideva Singh, Sanskrit Text with English Translation Notes and Introduction; Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Ltd. Delhi, 1963, 2003.
The Sleepwalkers, the History of Man’s Changing Vision of the Universe, by Arthur Koestler; Arkana Penguin Books, London, 1959/1989.
The Reign of Quantity & the Signs of the Times, by Rene Guenon, translator Lord Northbourne; Sophia Perennis, Hillsdale, N.Y., 1945/2004.
Shiva & Parvati