Reflections On Geetarthasangraha Of Abhinavagupta
This paper was presented at the National Seminar to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of Acharya Abhinavagupta conducted at Kalakshetra, Chennai on January 24-25, 2017, organized jointly by Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, Kalakshetra Foundation, Chennai and Bharata-Ilango Foundation for Asian Culture, Chennai.
Bhagavadgita (BG) has been commented upon down the ages. Of the available commentaries, Sankara’s commentary was probably the oldest one and it itself speaks of earlier commentaries available during that period. Most of the commentaries of BG of post Sankara period have been immensely influenced by Sankara’s commentary and certainly it has influenced Abhinavagupta’s (925-1000 CE) commentary which we will discuss here in the course of this presentation.
Upasanas are an integral tool in developing the perception of any philosophy which is astika in nature. It was employed by all philosophers in perceiving the evolution of this universe. स एकधा भवति, त्रिधा भवति, छा.उ.7-26-2 of Chandogyopanishad stands testimony to this claim. Contemplation on SELF paves way for perceiving the evolution of the universe according to one’s own orientation designed by one’s previous karmas of earlier several janmas. Thus emerged so many ideas on evolution of this universe from different philosophers of different places and different background through different perspectives.
Kashmir Saivism too is one such thought processes that emerged from such an upasana and it is known by mainly 3 names such as त्रिकशैवम्, स्पन्दशैवम् & प्रत्यभिज्ञाशैवम् and this idea took roots as a separate philosophy taking cue from Vasugupta’s (800 CE) explanation to SivasUtrAs, which are believed to be revealed by Lord Siva Himself.
Somananda’s (850 CE) Sivadrshtih and some other works developed Vasugupta’s ideas & Utpaladeva (900 CE) in his ईश्वरप्रत्यभिज्ञाकारिका logically coordinated these ideas and created Ishwara-nondualism (ईश्वराद्वयवादः). Abhinavagupta (AG) through his explanatory work (विवृतिः) on Utpala’s ईश्वरप्रत्यभिज्ञाकारिका and his own independent works ParamaarthasaaraH and TantrAlOkah etc. systematized the doctrines of this school. Utpala and AG are two great philosophers of BhAratam and Saivism, and SUnyavAda of Bouddha and Advaitavedanta have influenced this school to a great extent.
In the 35th Āhnika of Tantrāloka, Abhinavagupta traces the origin of Śaivāgama from Bhairava and says that śrirāmacandra studied it partly. According to the Harivamśa Purāṇa, Kṛṣṇa was taught the sixty four Śaivāgamas by Durvāsas. (K.C.Pandey). In the last chapter of Śivadṛṣṭi, Somānanda also traces his lineage to Durvāsas. Thus, in the pratyabhijna system – Somānanda has the role of the founder, Utpaladeva the role of systematiser, and Abhinavagupta (AG) the role of expounder.
Buddhism’s influence over AG’s ideas was due to the tutelage he had from his master SankaranandanaH (शङ्करनन्दनः), who was himself a Buddhist turned to Saivism and the author of the work called prajnAlankAraH.
Let us understand PratyabhijnA School in brief.
प्रति+अभि are the 2 prefixes added with the root √ज्ञा अवबोधने to mean recognition here. To remember, to know, to understand are some of the other meanings of Pratyabhijnaa, The quotation in Sivasutra, “Undoubtedly, I’m that very Absolute Lord. नूनं स एव ईश्वरोहम्”, was the reason for naming this philosophy as PratyabhijnA. In short, it is regaining knowledge or recognition of the identity of supreme Self (according to Sarvadarsanasangraha of Sayanacharya) as Siva, the Lord of the universe (स्वात्मापि विश्वेश्वरः), through the teachings of the Guru.
Siva is the only reality. He is completely free and is capable of doing any action. The world or nescience is His freely assumed form. Out of His free Will & with Himself as the sole basis, He unfolds the universe. There is no material cause or other basis for the world. Consciousness (citisaktih), Bliss (Anandah) Will (Icchasaktih) Knowledge (jnaanasaktih) & capacity to do all actions & assume all forms (Kriyasaktih) are Siva’s principal powers. Creation (srshtih), Sustenance (sthtih), destruction (samhaarah), Obscuration (Tirodhaanam) and the Grace (Anugrahah) constitute His fivefold activity (pancakrtyaani)
The world is a reflection in Him. Just as the reflections in a mirror are not different from it, but appear to be different, the world of multiplicity in Siva, though not different, appears to be different. But, unlike the reflection in a mirror, the world-reflection has no original. Due to Siva’s power of freedom (complete independence), the world-reflection is projected without any original. So, all conscious beings and unconscious things are mere reflections. The world, being a flash of Siva’s consciousness-power (citisakti), is real.
Liberation is attainment of one’s own consciousness & Bliss (cidaanandalaabhaH) by piercing through the veils of ignorance, a state of divine harmony or equilibrium (Saamarasya), in which the Self realizes itself to be the supreme SELF; and yet on the very basis of the advaita, the former continues to have loving devotion for the latter as he did earlier on the basis of dvaita.
Difference beween Advaita of Sankara & Pratyabhijna school of Kashmir Saivism
The thinkers of this school point out that they differ from the school of Vedanta in some significant ways. The Lord who is of the nature of Consciousness is constantly engaged in fivefold activity–ईश्वराद्वयदर्शनस्य ब्रह्मवादिभ्यः अयम् एव विशेषः–सदा पञ्चविधकृत्यकारित्वं चिदात्मनो भगवतः says Kshemarajah in his work called Pratyabhijnaahrudayam. Siva is the substratum as well as the sole possessor of infinite powers अनन्तशक्तिरत्नानामेकाश्रयः (says AG in his introductory verses of Iswarapratyabhijnaavimarsinee,), which constitute His very nature, (svabhaava); and so, He is unlike the insentient-like, powerless and quiescent Brahman of Vedanta- न पुनः शान्तब्रह्मवादिनामिव शक्तिविरहितं जडकल्पम् (AG in ParamaarthasAra). The world is not at all different from Consciousness, for it is the pure & free Consciousness, which flashes forth as the world of infinite multiplicity – ननु जगदपि चितोभिन्नं नैव किञ्चित्—चिदेव भगवती स्वच्छस्वतन्त्ररूपा तत्तदनन्तजगदात्मना स्फुरति (प्रत्यभिज्ञाहृदयम्) Power is the freedom (Svaatantrya) of Consciousness.
One’s own awareness, logic & scripture establish that that the nature of Self is of the form of the supreme Lord. स्वसंवेदनोपपत्ति आगमसिद्धं महेश्वररूपम् आत्मस्वरूपम् says the भास्करी commentary made upon ईश्वरप्रत्यभिज्ञाविमर्शिनी of AG. Liberation is the manifestation of one’s own power through the destruction of the knot of ignorance, and the attainment of the Supreme Lordship through the removal of ego-sense (abhimaana)—अज्ञानग्रन्थिभिदा स्वशक्त्यभिव्यक्तता मोक्षः (परमार्थसारः). परमेश्वरतालाभो मुक्तिः (ईश्वरप्रत्यभिज्ञाविमर्शिनी).
The Pratyabhijnaa or Iswaraadvaya system is one of the most impressive religio-philosophical systems of India. It is also a fine example of Taantrika system. AG exercised considerable influence on the Advaita-Vedaanta dialectician Sreeharshah.
The purport of Gitarthasangraha according to Abhinavagupta
AG in his commentary Gitarthasangraha sums up what he thinks is the meaning of the Gita. According to him, the Mahabharata (MB) shows that the principal Value (pradhaanaphalam) of it is liberation, which is well nurtured (pariposhita) by others like virtue (righteousness) or Dharma. Liberation is the dissolution (laya) of oneself in the Supreme Blissful Lord, who by his very nature is auspicious, omniscient & omnipotent, and not different from anything. Liberation is nothing but the recognition of one’s non-difference (abheda) with the Lord through the contemplation of His oneness. While in other contexts also, the MB explains what liberation is, the Gita, he declares, is the text where its nature is very well explained.
द्वैपायनेन मुनिना यदिदं व्यधायि शास्त्रं सहस्रशतसम्मितमत्र मोक्षः।
प्राधान्यतःफलतया प्रथितस्तदन्यधर्मादि तस्य परिपोषयितुं प्रगीतम्॥
मोक्षश्च नाम सकलाप्रविभागरूपे सर्वज्ञसर्वकरणादिशुभस्वभावे।
आकाङ्क्षया विरहिते भगवत्यधीशे नित्योदिते लय इयान् प्रथितःसमासात्॥
यद्यप्यन्यप्रसङ्गेषु मोक्षो नामात्र गीयते। तथापि भगवद्गीतायाः सम्यक् तत्प्राप्तिदायकाः॥
He introduces himself, his Guru & his commentary in these following introductory verses:
तास्वन्यैःप्राक्तनैर्व्याख्याःकृता यद्यपि भूयसा। न्याय्यस्तथाप्युद्यमो मे तद्गूढार्थप्रकाशकः॥
भट्टेन्दुराजादाम्नायं विविच्य च चिरं धिया। कृतोऽभिनवगुप्तेन सोऽयं गीतार्थसङ्ग्रहः॥
He ends his commentary thus: One attains Vishnu (the omnipresent) beyond all His alternatives (vikalpaatigaH) through clear awareness (vibodha) of one’s own self; thereafter, while the sense organs function due to their own momentum, whatever one does spontaneously (helaataH) makes him attain Samkara (the Beneficient, the cause of prosperity).
भङ्त्वाऽज्ञानविमोहमन्थरमयीं सत्वादिभिन्नां धियं
प्राप्य स्वात्मविबोधसुन्दरतया विष्णुं विकल्पातिगम्।
हेलातःकुरुते तदस्य सकलं सम्पद्यते शङ्करम्॥
In his introduction, AG indicates the purport of Gita thus: While knowledge is what is important, actions should not be abandoned. Performance of actions, while based on knowledge, doesn’t bind—कर्मणां ज्ञाननिष्ठतया क्रियमाणानामपि न बन्धकत्वम्. While knowledge is the main thing and knowledge & actions are not equally important, the latter is inevitably connected with the former as both together constitute Consciousness – ज्ञानक्रियामयत्वात् संवित्तत्वस्य says he, in chapter 3.3 of GS.
Influence of Sankara & others over Abhinavagupta’s Gitarthasangraha
As we discussed in the beginning, AG’s GS was certainly influenced by Adi Sankara’s commentary on BG and he knew of Sankara’s commentary only through Bhaskaracharya’s commentary as he himself indicates with veneration to this effect in the beginning of 18th chapter of BG thus: “अत्र च अध्याये यदवशिष्टमस्ति वक्तव्यं, तत् प्राक्तनैरेव तत्रभवद्भट्टभास्करादिभिः वितत्य विमृष्टमिति किमस्माकं तद्गूढार्थप्रकाशनमात्रप्रतिज्ञानिर्वहणसाराणां पुनरुक्तप्रदर्शप्रयासेन”. Bhaaskaracharya’s refutation of Sankara’s several ideas in several places of Gita has emboldened AG to refute Sankara furthermore and in some places, even Bhaskara’s ideas themselves are refuted by AG, which indicates his independence in freely commenting upon BG.
As Bhaskaracharya, another Kashmirian philosopher, Rajanaka Ramakantha, whose commentary “Sarvatobhadram” on BG too, was known to AG and he freely quotes those ideas in his commentary to present us a picture of a great lineage of commentators of BG through the prism of Kashmir Saivism. All these seem to indicate that in Kashmir valley of AG’s time, there were heated discussions on the purport of BG. It is to be borne in mind that Sankara’s bhashya roused sharp criticism first among those followed the Kashmirian text of BG viz., Bhaskaracharya. The reaction to this thought process came from south later through Bhagavad Ramanujacharya’s Visishtadvaita philosophy (1100CE).
What attracted Abhinavagupta towards Bhagavadgita
So, it is therefore nothing but natural that AG, one of the greatest thinkers of his age, was attracted by the profound philosophy, the practical approach to arrive at a sort of samanvaya (equilibrium) among different Indian philosophical systems & by the apparent simplicity & remarkable flexibility of the language of BG. BG’s profound influence on AG is discernible in his earlier writings like the Paramarthasara, Tantraloka & Iswarapratyabhijnavivrtih. Therefore, he seems to have been compelled inwardly by his own philosophical spirit to write GS. In fact, AG holds BG in a very high esteem and calls it once as आदिसिद्धसूत्र in his Iswarapratyabhijnaavivrtih.
Let us understand the GS in brief and also understand what made AG to take up BG to comment upon it
AG refers to a view, most probably approvingly, that the Pandava-Kourava war story of MB is to be interpreted allegorically. It is an extension of the Vedic DevAsura war episode, representing the perennial tug of war between the good & bad instincts, between the godly & demoniac natures & between the knowledge & ignorance – a war that is being fought inwardly in every individual. Arjuna is the embodiment of confusion & ignorance and seeks help from the Lord Krishna, the Master of wisdom for guidance to have a purposeful instruction. This fact is indicated according to AG in the 1st chapter of BG and the very location of Arjuna’s chariot i.e. between the rival armies indicates that the hero remains undecided & confused between wisdom & nescience, At the end, as Arjuna understood the detailed teachings of Krishna, he becomes decisive and starts performing what is expected of him as a kshatriya in the battle field.
As it is understood that the correct understanding of the nature of the Self is the basis for undertaking proper action, in connection of which an advice is sought after by Arjuna. Hence Srikrishna is obliged to explain at length, the nature of the Self; the question of bondage and liberation; the methodology to attain the latter; and other related items. In different contexts of teachings of Krishna on these topics, the teachers of different schools of philosophies find some cardinal principles of their respective schools. Basing on that, they write commentaries upon the entire BG text in such a manner as to suit to their respective view-points. This GS may also be considered in a way a commentary of usual nature. For, it is too short & too mystic and it leaves many verses of the BG unexplained. Word-by word explanation we find very seldom here. Hence the GS appears to show us, in a way, how the great mystic, poet and grammarian AG is responding to (not actually commenting on) the BG from his ideal life of Saivism.
Let’s examine how some of the ideas of KS have been reflected in the GS in few verses
1. Basic Tenet of KS is reflected in the invocatory verse
A. Rajaanaka Abhinavagupta introduces the ideas of PratyabhijnA school in his Gitarthasangraha’s invocatory verse itself thus:
य एष विततस्फुरद्विविधभावचक्रात्मकःपरस्परविभेदवान् विषयतामुपागच्छति। यदेकमयभावनावशतः एत्य भेदान्वयं स शम्भुरशिवापहो जयति बोधभासां निधिः॥
According to the Pratyabhijña system, Śiva is the ultimate reality and has two aspects – Parā or anuttaradaśa अनुत्तरदशा and Aparadaśa or विश्वमाया viśvamaya. Maheśvara in his anuttara state is free from ‘aham’ and ‘idam’. The state anuttaraa is explained in Sanskrit thus: अनुत्तरमिति – न विद्यते उत्तरम् अधिकं यतः which means that there is no superlative state higher than this state. In the aparadaśa His icchā, (the desire) jnāna (knowledge) and kriyā (execution) śaktis(power) stream-forth manifested by various objects in the process of creation. He is the caitanya and cause of the world and he has kartṛtvaśakti (executing power) and jnātṛtvaśakti (to know everything). He is also sarvakriyāsvatantra (possessing absolute freedom to do anything) and it is this śakti that causes multiplicity and diversity of effects. By contemplating on Him, the aspirant attains oneness with Him. Abhinavagupta alludes to this fundamental principle in this invocatory verse of the Gītārthasangraha, according to which the absolute anuttara, because of its svātantryaśakti, has manifested through various stages as the universe. By a process of meditation, an aspirant attains the realization of his total identity with Him.
This same idea of this school is reflected in AG’s paramarthsara also thus: इति शक्तिचक्रयन्त्रं क्रीडायोगेन वाहयन् देवः। अहमेव शुद्धरूपःशक्तिमहाचक्रनायकपदस्थः॥ verse 47, etc.
- The theory of ābhāsavāda is an important tenet in this system. Maheśvara manifests as the world of objects and the objects as ābhāsas or manifestations of Him. His two aspects prakāśa & vimarśa correspond to jnānaśakti and kriyāśakti. The objects of this world were created by his vimarśaśakti. All that exists – whether it is subject or object – is only an abhasa or manifestation of the परसंविद् parasamvid, absolute consciousness. In order to realize that supreme, a person should understand that all abhasas are identical with samvid. This idea is reflected in यो मां पश्यति सर्वत्र सर्वं च मयि पश्यति। तस्याहं न प्रणश्यामि स च मे न प्रणश्यति।।6.30।।
- एष एवार्थः स्पष्टीक्रियते- यो मामिति। प्रणाशः अकार्यकारित्वात्। तथाहि परमात्मनः सर्वगतं रूपं यो न पश्यति तस्य परमात्मा पलायितः स्वरूपप्रकटीकाराभावात्। यच्चेदं वस्तुजातं तत् तद्भासनात्मनि परमात्मनि निर्विष्टं भाति; तथाविधं यो न पश्यति स परमात्मस्वरूपात् प्रणष्टः तद्व्यतिरेके सति अनिर्भासनात्। यस्तु सर्वगतं मां पश्यति तस्याहं न प्रणष्टः स्वरूपेण भासनात्। भावांश्च मयि पश्यति तत् तेषां भासनोपपत्तौ द्रष्टृतायां परिपूर्णायां स न प्रणष्टः परमात्मनः।
The idea is that the subject-object relationship is possible provided they meet on common ground – the supreme consciousness. Every given object is nothing but consciousness and the consciousness is the object; ghata is samvit and samvit is ghata and there is no bheda.
[Page 136&137 on abhAsavAda]
Similarly the interpretation of verse 11 in Chapter 3 is situated in this same context. These creations are enjoyed by the deities of the sense organs (indriyadevatāḥ) just as yajna is needed by the devatas in heaven.
देवान्भावयतानेन ते देवा भावयन्तु वः। परस्परं भावयन्तः श्रेयः परमवाप्स्यथ।।3.11।।
देवाः क्रीडाशीलाः इन्द्रियवृत्तयः करणेश्वर्यो देवताः रहस्यशास्त्रप्रसिद्धाः ताः अनेन कर्मणा तर्पयत, यथासम्भवं विषयान् भक्षयतेत्यर्थः।
The tāntrika who is in the state of Bhairava should not restrain the senses from the objects that Iśvara has made available so that the yogi uses up his karma. This offering destroys bheda. This is referred to by the use of the term rahasyaśāstra and is a unique perspective of Abhinavagupta’s system. This interpretation of AG in this context might be influenced by the concept of dooteeyaaga, which is enjoined in the secret literature of the Kaula system of Kashmir Saivism as a means to the realization of supreme reality
(Chapter III Page 67 Note 8. Rahasyaśāstra Chapter III verses 11-13)
2. Doctrine of Tattvas
1. Kriyāśakti manifests the objects of the world – विश्वपदार्थावभासनलक्षण viśva-padārtha-avabhāsana-lakṣaṇa. These are classified into 36 categories. Kriya is an antar-bahir-vrttih which according to a temporal sequence kalākramānuga, is born in the subject (mātur eva). Among these tattvas are included the pancabhūtas.
Chapter III – Page 68 Verses 14.
अन्नाद्भवन्ति भूतानि पर्जन्यादन्नसम्भवः।यज्ञाद्भवति पर्जन्यो यज्ञः कर्मसमुद्भवः।।3.14।।
अन्नात् अविभागभोग्यस्वभावात् कथञ्चित् मायाविद्याकालाद्यनेकापरपर्यायात् भूतानि विचित्राणि भवन्ति।
Hence, the commentary to verse 14 talks about the different tattvas such as māyā, vidyā, kalā. Both the bhoktā and bhoga are the products of the kalā tattva. स्वयमेव हि भोग्यञ्च भोक्तारञ्च प्रसूयते TA 9.215। vidyā, kalā tattvas along with kalā, rāga and niyati form the five kancukas or coverings of māyā to obscure the universal self. Hence, by the word ādi, these are indicated. These, then, are the causes of anna. And in bhutāni are included all the remaining tattvas that are born of prakrti starting from buddhi to prthvi. Similarly, the word parjanya in this verse is interestingly interpreted as the individual soul. Dr. S. Sankaranarayanan has given beautiful possible explanation to the interpretation of the word parjanya as individual soul that is 12th tattva in the list of tattvas.
[Page 69, 71]
2. anuttara / parāsamvid
कर्म ब्रह्मोद्भवं विद्धि ब्रह्माक्षरसमुद्भवम्। तस्मात्सर्वगतं ब्रह्म नित्यं यज्ञे प्रतिष्ठितम्।।3.15।।
तच्च उच्चलदच्छानाच्छादितैश्वर्यं ब्रह्म अक्षरात् प्रशान्ताशेषैश्वर्यतरङ्गात् संविन्मात्रात्।
Here the term akShara has been interpreted by AG to denote what is beyond and higher than 36 tattvas – The teachers in the pratyAbhijna system such as utpaladeva only admit of 36 tattvas while the 37th tattva is termed anuttara in the kaula system. This anuttara tattva, the state of consciousness beyond and superior to which there is nothing and has the names parā, paripurNa, parabhairavasamvid or parāsamvid. Anuttaramiti na vidyate uttaramadhikam yataH
3. Other Tattvas:
1. Prakrti theory & Isvara as creator of the world-Chapter VII-Page 152
On explaining the nature of Prakrti, the Gita says,
भूमिरापोऽनलोवायुः खं मनो बुद्धिरेव च। अहङ्कार इतीयं मे भिन्नाःप्रकृतिरष्टधा॥
अपरेयमितोऽनन्यां प्रकृतिं विद्धि मे पराम्। जीवभूतां महाबहो!ययेदं धार्यते जगत्॥7.4&5
इयमिति प्रत्यक्षेण या संसारावस्थायां सर्वजनपरिदृश्यमाना सा च एकैव सती प्रकाराष्टकेन भिद्यते इति एकप्रकृत्यारब्धत्वादेकमेव विश्वमिति प्रकृतिवादेऽपि अद्वैतं प्रदर्शितम्। सैव जीवत्वं पुरुषत्वं प्राप्ता परा ममैव, नान्यस्य।
The prakrti theory, i.e the theory of prakrtipariNaama, acc., to which the universe is the modification of single basic material called prakrti. This is the theory upheld by the sAnkhyas. Acc., to this, Purusha & Prakrti are two different categories; of them the Prakrti modifies itself as the universe, consisting of the Mahat down to the Earth. This theory is not acceptable to the Kashmir Saivites who uphold the theory of Saiva absolutism acc., to which the same Siva manifests (aabhAsa) both as Purusha & Prakrti, which are therefore not different from one another. Yet, the former i.e., Purusha, because it is sentient, is referred to be superior to the other, AG reads this theory in the Gita verses and commented to this effect here. It may be noted that AG could read the above theory of identity of Purusha & Prakrti here, provided he had a text like अपरेयमितोऽनन्याम् or something like that. AG’s wording सैव जीवत्वं प्राप्ता etc., indicates he had such a reading with him, as against अपरेयमितस्त्वन्यां found in the Vulgate & accepted by Ramakantha & Anandavardhana also. However it is to be noted that the former concludes that the division of Prakrti into superior & inferior ones & into the sentient & non-sentient ones is only due to illusion, मायावभासितपराऽपरभेदेन जडचेतने द्वे प्रकृती।
In the next verse, Eswaratatva is defined acc KS
एतद्योनीनि भूतानि सर्वाणीत्युपधारय। अहं कृत्स्नस्य जगतःप्रभवःप्रलयस्तथा॥ 7.6
……..एवं च त्वमेवोपधारय यत् अहं वासुदेवो भूतः सर्वस्य प्रभवःप्रलयश्च। अहम् इत्यनेन प्रकृतिपुरुषपुरुषोत्तमेभ्यो व्यतिरिक्तोऽपि ईश्वरः सर्वथा सर्वानुगतत्वेन स्थितः इति साङ्ख्ययोगयोर्नास्ति भेदवादः इति प्रदर्शितम्।
Here AG gives the basic principle of problem of creation acc., to the Kashmir Saivism. Acc., to this theory, the entire universe is the manifestation of the Lord’s nature i.e., Prakrti, which is not different from Him, and which is His power of producing wonder (camatkAra). The Lord is taken to be the creator of the universe, only because He manifests as such. The present passage may be better appreciated if it is read along with AG’s following verses in paramaarthasaara:
दर्पणबिम्बे यद्वन्नगरग्रामादिचित्रमविभागि। भाति विभागेनैव च परस्परं दर्पणादपि च॥ विमलतमपरमभैरवबोधात्तद्वद्विभागशून्यमपि।अन्योन्यञ्च ततोऽपिविभक्तमाभाति जगदेतत्॥ PS.12-13
2. The idea of Iccha-jnana-kriyAshaktis of KS – Chapter VII – Page 153
Under the verse बलं बलवतामस्मि कामरागविवर्जितम्। धर्माविरुद्धो भूतेषु कामोस्मि भरतर्षभ॥ 7.11 ….कामः इच्छा संविन्मात्ररूपा, यस्याः घटपटादिभिर्धर्मरूपैर्नास्ति विरोधः। इच्छा हि सर्वत्र भगवच्छक्तितया अनुयायिनी न क्वचिद्विरुद्ध्यते, धर्मैस्तु आगन्तुकैर्घटपटादिभिर्भिद्यते इति तदुपासकतया शुद्धसंवित्स्वभावत्वं ज्ञानिनः॥
Here AG gives a dose of the KS concept of the Sakti. He takes kama in the sense of Icchaa sakti, one of the forms of universal sakti, which manifests in three stages viz, paraa, paraaparaa & aparaa. In the 1st stage, sakti is said to be in the form of sat-cit-aananda or being-consciousness-Bliss, and the Icchaa, jnaana & kriyaa saktis exist in total identity with Cid & Ananda. No experience is possible in the absence of paraa sakti.
In the 2nd stage i.e. paraapara, the Icchaasakti fully manifests, followed by the manifestation of Cit-sakti (self-consiciousness) & Ananda. They are the functions of Paraasakti & are of the nature of Cit (Self-consiouness). Here they have nothing to do with sensuous pleasure.
From this stage arises the aunmukhya, (the 1st flicker of the Will) leading to the 3rd or aparaa stage where the jnaana & kriyasaktis (powers of the knowledge & action) are fully manifest.
These 3 stages are believed to exist in between the highest state of realization & the state of mundane existence. We in the mundane existence are in the 3rd stage & in order to achieve realization, we should concentrate our mind on the 2nd or paraapara stage. This is what seems to have been prescribed in the Sivopanishad passage, quoted by AG in the sequel.
With this I think I have done justice to the topic I have taken for discussion in this seminar and I thank the organizer of this seminar Dr. Padma Subrahmaniyan and the sponsors of this seminar, the IGNCA of New Delhi, for offering me this wonderful opportunity to learn the nuances of Kashmir Saivism and posing faith on me to present a paper in the august presence of elder research scholars like Dr. R. Nagaswamy and others. Thanking you all and salutations to Rajanaka Abhinavagupta.