Bodhapancadasika by Abhinavagupta V
Fifteen Verses of Wisdom
TODAY I AM GOING TO TALK ABOUT A SHORT
text entitled “Fifteen Verses of Wisdom” (bodhapancadasika) by
Abhinavagupta, the great master of all aspects of Kashmir
Saivism. These fifteen verses provide a brief exposition, and capture
the essence, of the doctrine of Kashmir Saivism.
5. The collective state of the universe is His supreme
Energy (sakti), which He created in order to recognize
His own nature. This Sakti, who is the embodiment of
the collective state of the universe, loves possessing the
state of God Consciousness. She is in the state of ignorance,
remaining perfectly complete and full in each
and every object.
Why has He created this supreme Energy in His own nature?
He has done this for one reason – to recognize His own nature.
This whole universe is nothing more than the means by which we
can come to recognize Lord Siva.
You can recognize Lord Siva through the universe, not by abandoning
it, but by observing and experiencing God Consciousness
in the very activity of the world. If you remain cut off from the universe
and try to realize God Consciousness, it will take centuries.
But if you remain in universal activity and are attentive to realizing
God Consciousness, you will attain it very easily.
So, in the universe there is ignorance and there is a way to get
rid of this ignorance. This is the way of meditating in the activity
of the world.
Lord Siva creates this external universe for the sake of realizing
His own nature. That is why this external universe is called
Sakti, because it is the means to realize one’s own nature.
When He was solely Siva, He was in His full splendor of God
Consciousness. He did not recognize His own nature because it
was already there. But He wants His own nature to be recognized.
And yet, because it is already there, there is nothing to recognize.
Therefore, in order to recognize His nature He must first
become ignorant of His nature. Only then can He recognize it.
Why should He want to recognize His nature in the first place?
It is because of His freedom, His svatantrya (independence). This
is the play of the universe. This universe was created solely for
the fun and joy of this realization (1). It happens that when His full-
ness overflows, He wants to remain incomplete. He wants to
appear as being incomplete, just so He can achieve completion.
This is the play of His svatantrya – to depart from His own nature
in order to enjoy it again. It is this svatantrya that has created
this whole universe. This is the play of Siva’s svatantrya.
This process is also known as unmesa and nimesa. Unmesa is
the flourishing of that God Consciousness and nimesa is the withdrawal
of that God Consciousness. Unmesa is expansion and
nimesa is contraction. Siva contains both of these states within
At the time when His nature overflowed, Sakti (2) was in His own
nature. Then He had to separate Sakti from His nature. In that
state of separated Sakti, Siva also exists. However, in that state
Siva is ignorant and wants, as He did before, to have the fullness
of His knowledge.
The evidence that, while being in the state of ignorance, Siva
was already filled with knowledge is found in the fact that, at the
moment He realizes His own nature and is filled with knowledge,
He has the experience that the state of knowledge was already
there (3). So there was never really any separation. Separation only
seemed to exist.
1. This differentiation, which is the universe, has come out because
of the overflowing of the ecstasy of God Consciousness. The ecstasy of
God Consciousness overflows and the external universe flows out from
His own nature.
2. In the state of God Consciousness Sakti is complete, and in the
state of ignorance Sakti is also complete. And yet, Sakti relishes possessing
the state of God Consciousness. In each and every object She is
complete, and in each and every object this completion is neither too little
nor too much. In this external world, this completion is the same as
it was in the state of the fullness of God Consciousness and the same as
it was before the creation of the universe.
3. While experiencing an object, which is also in ignorance, in the
field of ignorance, this experience is also full. But Siva does not know this
fullness and He does not know that He is full. He only knows this fullness
at the time of realizing His own nature. And, when he realizes His
own nature, this memory comes to His mind, “I was already full, so why
was I meditating?”
Retirado de Self Realization in Kashmir Shaivism The Oral Teachings of Swami Lakshmanjoo
Foreword by Lance Nelson