Shiva Sutras 3.4 & 3.5 – The Means to Transcend Limited Perception
God is everything and everyone, including you. If you feel now and again that I am repeating the same idea - that is because there is only this one idea. The first Shiva Sutra 1.1 says that God consciousness is “the reality of everything. [SLJ]” The difficultly comes in getting that understanding beyond the intellect and into our very being, so that the ever expanding nectar sweetness of the God within is felt every moment, in our every thought and act.
The third section of the Shiva Sutras offers the aspirant practical means (upayas) to achieve God consciousness. Ways of maintaining awareness in breathing, reciting mantras, and other disciplines are explained. This is called anavopayah, which is said to be the ‘inferior’ means because it utilizes the external, literally the five elements - earth, water, fire, air, and ether; and requires more effort.
The Vijnana Bhairava Tantra is another Shaivite text that will help you on your way Home. It gives the aspirant 112 ways to achieve God consciousness. The most accurate version of Swami Lakshmanjoo’s teachings on this text is the one recorded and transcribed by John Hughes, the Universal Shaiva Foundation.
Swami Lakshmanjoo describes these 112 ways as giving sugar to a child with medicine. He says that no one can take the “medicine where you have to do nothing.” By this he means that in fact there is nothing to be done – we are all already the Oneness, what he terms God consciousness, Parabhairava. However to remove the Veils of Maya we have placed on our own consciousness, most of us must take the medicine by these means, practices and disciplines, as support to achieve our real nature. [SLJ - Vijnana Bhairava Tantra]
I will not describe the details of many of these means, especially breath techniques. I feel it is best for you to get them personally from Swami Lakshmanjoo’s writing. He says that these kinds of meditations are found in every Tantra text of Shaivism. I am not qualified to instruct you in these exercises. I would not know what might suit an individual, as we are all very different and require the kind of means suited to our particular personal proclivities.
Shiva Sutra 3.4
Sarire samharah kalanam
The mind wanders ceaselessly. Anyone who has ever tried to meditate or even sit in silence for a time has discovered what a wild horse monster the mind can be. In the Bhagavad Gita VI.33 & 34, Arjuna doubts his ability to follow Krishna’s teachings because he knows how difficult controlling the mind can be. Arjuna does not see how an evenness of mind can be achieved permanently, because the mind is unstable and wandering, harassing, unyielding, and as difficult to control as the wind.
Krishna agrees with Arjuna that the mind is arduous to control, but reassures him that such equilibrium is possible through means - upayas. Later in Chapter XVIII.37, Krishna tells his friend that in the beginning our efforts may feel like poison, but turn to nectar as we move beyond the clutter and impatience of our chaotic thoughts and find peace, tranquility, and serenity. The implication is that in the beginning this is not so easy for most of us. But the effort brings a reward greater than all the gold, success, and power in this external temporal world.
Here in the Shiva Sutras we are introduced to the idea of a means to God consciousness by taking your thoughts through specific sequences in order to discipline the mind, thereby purifying your thoughts from delusion. These methods will “curtail this limitation of being. [SLJ]”
Our hologram is divided into five circles or enclosures, from gross to subtle. We are told to use our imagination to move from the gross manifestation to the subtle. We do this by putting the effect into the cause, moving from one circle of manifestation to the next, which lies within it – like layers of an onion - until we reach the cause of all the layers and find there is only One.
Swami Lakshmanjoo: “…take your attention from the gross orbit to the subtle orbit and then to the subtlest orbit, absorbing one into another.”
In the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, verse 56, there is a similar instruction. “Just take the gross formation of the world and make it enter in it subtle formation of the world through imagination…take that subtle formation of the objective world in its most subtle formation…by making the journey successively from gross (sthula) to subtle (sukshma), and from subtle to subtlest (para)…he transcends the state of mind, he becomes un-minded. That is his Samadhi. [SLJ]”
The same effect is achieved by reading the Kashmir Shaivite Sanskrit texts. They all say essentially the same thing – everyone and everything is God! But by reading and rereading these timeless words of wisdom your consciousness will finally get the message that differentiated perception is the Illusion (Maya) you can transcend. Your consciousness will be elevated and come into resonance with the eternal Truth within you.
For those who have active noisy minds or are intellectually inclined, these methods are useful. They serve to lead us into right thinking about our universe and who we are in it. There are further instructional details in this sutra which you will want to access for yourself.
The achievements of those who have become un-minded are extolled by Krishna in Chapter Twelve of the Bhagavad Gita. The ones who have reached the imperishable (aksharam), that which is beyond definition (anirdeshyam), the unmanifest unseen (avyaktam), the all pervading (sarvatragam), unimaginable and inconceivable (acintyam), the unchanging (kutastham), the immovable (acalam), the eternal (dhruvam); who have controlled all the senses and become even minded, rejoicing in the welfare of all beings – they attain God consciousness.
Krishna then says that attaching the mind to the Unmanifest is difficult (duhkham). However our innate simple human feelings of love can also be a means to reach God. By becoming devoted to God in our Hearts, we learn that the God within us is everywhere and soon our consciousness enters into that which we always are – the One.
The trick is to always think of God. The old Indian adage is ‘God is the pot!’ meaning everything we see, touch or hear is God. When you are washing the dishes think of the plates and water as God. When a friend is angry with you, see them as God, perhaps a bit lost and confused in that moment – but God nonetheless. See the light of the soul, which is also your soul, in their eye. See God in every eye.
Soon the subtlest feelings of Love will fill your Heart and expand that delightful nectar into every corner of your Being. These subtle feelings are beyond all others, beyond the five senses and the intellect, beyond words to describe. Krishna tells Arjuna, “Henceforth you shall dwell in Me” [BhG XII.8], in God consciousness, in Parabhairava.
Shiva Sutra 3.5
In this sutra, Swami Lakshmanjoo explains a breathing technique that removes our awareness from the gross elements and diverts our attention away from the five senses. I recommend the recordings of these teachings in the Shiva Sutras made by John Hughes years ago in Kashmir. You will know what is useful to you.
In the beginning of our journey Home, most of us need to practice disciplines that will lead us into more the subtle realms. You will not always need these ‘inferior’ means and someday may find that the God within you has opened your Heart to the ultimate Reality that you are and always have been the Oneness. These inferior means of concentration and realization often lead to the other two. Where one ends, another may begin.
You will not need to meditate or practice breathing or read books or anything, but simply remain in God consciousness. Swami Lakshmanjoo says that when his disciples really understand what he is teaching them, they won’t want to listen to him anymore! He has a wonderful sense of humor about all this. I sometimes feel Swami Lakshmanjoo looked at people with a gently amused sense of wonder at the endless array of predicaments God gets Itself into. But that is just my intuition.
Vijnana Bhairava, The Manual for Self Realization, Revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo, edited by John Hughes; Universal Shaiva Fellowship, 2007.
The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Winthrop Sargeant; State University of New York Press, 1994.