Shiva Sutras 2.8, 2.9 & 2.10 – The Fire of God Consciousness & Samadhi
In his closing commentaries on the previous sutra, Swami Lakshmanjoo speaks of the Heart. He says that this entire universe is the external heart of the state of Shiva, while the internal heart of the state of Shiva abides in our own body. This is not the physical heart. Everything is consciousness and the internal heart is consciousness, the state of “perceiving and that is all pervading. It pervades the whole body [SLJ].”
Heart (hridaya) is the deepest consciousness, the center of reality, the light of consciousness in which the entire universe is rooted [Jaideva Singh – Pratyabhijnahridayam]. Because the whole is contained in every part, this center pervades the entire universe and our body. “The individual mind intently entering into the universal light of foundational consciousness sees the entire universe as saturated with that consciousness.” [Jaideva Singh – Shiva Sutras]
Paul Eduardo Muller-Ortega has explored the Heart as a symbol in Kashmir Shaivism to an enlightening depth in his book ‘The Triadic Heart of Shiva’ (1989). I highly recommend this book as an excellent introduction to Kashmir Shaivism and its greatest genius Abhinavagupta.
Muller-Ortega says that according to Abhinavagupta, the Heart in Kashmir Shaivism is the very Self of Shiva and the Goddess (Devi), who is not different from Shiva. The Heart is the abode of their union, and pure consciousness as well as unlimited bliss. “As consciousness the Heart is the unbounded infinite light (prakasha), as well as the absolute freedom (svantantrya) and spontaneity (vimarsha) of that light to appear in a multitude and variety of forms.”
Muller-Ortega writes that the Heart is the ocean of consciousness, the ocean of light as consciousness. The eternal pulsation-vibration (spanda) of Shiva’s being drives the entire process of manifestation and dissolution.
Lao Tzu’s famous first verse in the ‘Way of Life’ sums it all up succinctly: “Existence is beyond the power of words to define.” Terms may be used, but none are absolute. Kashmir Shaivism uses various Sanskrit words as ‘approaches’ to understanding the One. The Oneness as Shiva with, and not separate from, Shakti becomes woven into endless multiplicity. What words can describe the visible and invisible intricacies of the power beyond our comprehensions that sets into motion that which is immovable?
God consciousness must be experienced. Not by mere words can God consciousness - the totality of the immeasurable, immutable, eternal, imperishable - be known. You must Become that. Only by your own immersion, devotion, intensity of intention and focus can you come to experience the Oneness. By no other means can God consciousness be known.
The wonderful illuminating Sanskrit terms found in Kashmir Shaivism are approaches. “Kashmir Shaivism is the mystical geography of awareness.” [John Hughes - from his introduction to Swami Lakshmanjoo’s Shiva Sutras]
If at first you find these terms non-linear and confusing, you must not be concerned. Understanding will come as you embrace these brilliant, yet still imperfect efforts to categorize and contain the cosmic energies that interplay and interact together to weave and unweave waveforms that appear as this universe. The One God consciousness never ceases to be the Oneness, and is simultaneously all multiplicity.
Shiva Sutra 2.8
For those who have understood the Theory of Letters, Matrikacakra, which was discussed in sutra 2.7 explaining how the Sanskrit alphabet as root-vibration brings about the expansion of the entire universe – those dedicated yogis will find “the Kingdom of God consciousness everywhere [SLJ].”
We have three bodies: gross, subtle, and subtlest. The gross body is experienced in waking state, the subtle body in the dreaming state, and the subtlest in the state of deep sleep. We make the mistake of believing that these three bodies are our real identity. We put ‘I consciousness’ on these three states and think, ‘I am my body.’ Even after death, our consciousness remains identified with and attached to the spirit body.
As we understand how the universe and everything in it is generated by sound as letters, we can remove this ‘I consciousness’ from the three bodies. Symbolically we offer them into the fire of God consciousness, “causing them to be digested in the fire of God consciousness.” When we have done this, made this symbolic offering, then “only God consciousness and no other consciousness remains. The yogi finds the kingdom of God consciousness everywhere [SLJ].”
The teachings of Kashmir Shaivism echo earlier Sanskrit texts and this idea of offering the mechanics of our individual ego-consciousness into fire is found in the Bhagavad Gita IV.27: The way of action of great yogis is the offer all the actions of the organs of senses and all the actions of breathing completely in the fire of the one-pointedness of God consciousness. [SLJ]
Shiva Sutra 2.9
When we come to experience the universe as the Oneness, then it is said that the food of such a yogi is differentiated perception. In other words, everything that the five senses transmits to our brain as the multiplicity of solidified matter is ‘digested’ as food.
I believe that what this verse implies is that when we reach union with the One, we are so exalted and in such a state of subtle bliss that we feel completely full. We are no longer interested in the food provided by the five senses. We are filled in God consciousness.
“He is always intoxicated in his own self because of the knowledge of his real nature gives him complete satisfaction. [SLJ]”
Here we are also reminded that we can lose this state of awareness. “If you lose awareness, then you are gone. You have destroyed the reality of life. [SLJ]”
Here Swami Lakshmanjoo says something I find particularly interesting. He expresses the idea that placing awareness on anything alters it. He expresses the mysterious idea that if you are fully aware of what you are thinking, you won’t think anything. “If you are aware of what is happening next, nothing will happen.” He uses a potent example and says that if you are aware that you are dying, you will not die.
In physics this is known as the observer effect, because it is understood that observing a thing changes it. In quantum physics a highly controlled experiment demonstrated that a beam of electrons was affected by being observed. “The experiment revealed that the greater the amount of watching, the greater the observer’s influence on what actually takes place.” [Science Daily link below]
For the ones seeking enlightenment, we must understand that only a continual unbroken great awareness will hold the sought after state of God consciousness. When I was young, people often said that in spiritual life we experience ‘one step forward and two steps back.’ This experience of going in-and-out of God consciousness is described in the Shiva Sutras. We can and often do lose what we have earned – and we must then regroup and with even greater intensity win back our God consciousness.
Shiva Sutra 2.10
Among all who meditate, who has not dozed off during meditation? Swami Lakshmanjoo explains that when we cannot maintain awareness we enter into the dreaming state.
The more familiar Sanskrit term SAMADHI used to describe the state from which we may fall into the dreaming state. Samadhi is defined as one pointedness; concentration; absorption; union; a calm, desireless fixity; a unifying concentration; equal mind; (from the verb-root dha meaning “to hold” - and the prefixes: Â and sam meaning “together completely”).
Swami Lakshmanjoo defines samadhi as absorption, the mystical trance in which you experience God consciousness. My understanding is that samadhi has variations and is very subtle, not experienced through the five senses.
Later in the Shiva Sutras, verse 3.6, Swami Lakshmanjoo quotes a verse from the Lakshmi Kaularnava Tantra 8.18: “When such a yogi experiences the state of universal consciousness of Lord Shiva, not only in his internal state of consciousness of self but also in the very active life of the universe, this is called real samadhi.” God is everywhere!
These insightful distinctions are what make the Shiva Sutras so valuable to those who are practicing. What good are our experiences when we don’t understand them? Experiences can be squandered and lost, when we do not have the knowledge to accept and affirm their reason and place in our spiritual development. The Shiva Sutras give us precise markers on the path Home.
When you cannot maintain awareness the energies, which hold us in the temporal illusory hologram, will ‘play’ with us. They will bring all kinds of enticements into our consciousness and direct our focus back to illusory ephemeral desires. This is their job. The Creator is so immensely powerful that It must create endless ways to ‘trick’ Itself - as us - into remaining in the holographic universe It created for Its own ‘play’ of concealing and revealing.
Those aspirants who acquire special yogic powers (siddhis) are also tempted and often derailed. They are so pleased with their new powers that they become lost in their enjoyment of a variety of siddhic carnival acts. “Having weakened his power of going forward, through the attainment of these yogic powers, all obstacles of life play with him. [SLJ]”
Again and again in the Shiva Sutras we are warned off yogic powers. They come, but they act as hindrances to the real thing, God consciousness. In the Bible Jesus was always reluctant to perform miracles. Here the message is clear: “Do not become attached to yogic powers, be detached from them.” [Malini Vijaya Tantra - SLJ]
SHAKTOPAYA - a means to enter God Consciousness
The second Section of the Shiva Sutras is the understanding of one ‘means’ (upaya) of realizing your God consciousness known as shaktopaya in Sanskrit. This originates from the energy of knowledge. In shaktopaya you meditate on your own nature, the God within you. “This meditation is not accomplished through the recitation of mantra. It is only accomplished with thought. You must maintain awareness… [SLJ]”
The secret here is an unbroken awareness of the God within you that simultaneously permeates and pervades everything, this entire temporal illusory universe and everything in it.
The Way of Life, Tao Teh Ching, According to Lao Tzu, translated by Witter Byner; A Perigee Book, 1944, 1994.
A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy, Sanskrit Terms Defined in English, John Grimes; Indica Books, 2009.
Swami Lakshmanjoo: Shiva Sutras, The Supreme Awakening, With the Commentary of Kshemaraja, Revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo, and edited by John Hughes; Universal Shaiva Fellowship, 2002.
Jaideva Singh: Siva Sutras, The Yoga of Supreme Identity, Text of the Sutras and the Commentary Vimarsini of Kshemaraja Translated into English with Introduction, Notes, Running Exposition, Glossary and Index; Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi, 1979 and reprints.
Quantum Theory Demonstrated: Observation Affects Reality
ScienceDaily (Feb. 27, 1998)