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 Learning Sanskrit - First Steps (5)

Sanskrit alphabet and the levels of Creation - Part 2


Hi, Gabriel Pradīpaka again. Well, this is the second and final document about the relationship between the Sanskrit alphabet and the levels of Creation. There is also an appendix in First Steps - 1, in which you will find more relevant information on this important subject.

After having explained the entire display of letters right from "a" down to "ha", Kṣemarāja now talks about the mystery of Ahaṁ, Kūṭabīja, Sambodha, etc. These subjects are very abstruse and complicated. However, Kṣemarāja, through his simple gloss, makes them easy-to-understand. This is the virtue of his word. Only a great master can turn that which is very difficult into something relatively easy. As you could see, the short seventh aphorism of the Section II of Śivasūtra-s contains an enormous amount of knowledges. Only such a great being as Kṣemarāja himself can extract the nectar of those knowledges and show an easy way to understand them properly. My own commentaries on Kṣemarāja's commentary would not be necessary at all, but somehow I felt that I could make things even easier for you, and this feeling gave rise to them. I hope you experience the Nectar of Kṣemarāja's words as you read this document in the same way as I myself did while commenting on the gloss of the saint.

Important: All that is in brackets and italicized within the translation has been added by me in order to complete the sense of a particular phrase or sentence. In turn, all that is between double hyphen (--...--) constitutes clarifying further information also added by me, except when such double hyphens contain a translated word in red color.

Let us get down to work.


 Commentary by Kṣemarāja: Paragraphs 6, 7 & 8

Kṣemarāja continues to talk about the secret meanings contained in the aphorism 7, Section II, of Śivasūtra-s. Listen to him:

... अत एव प्रत्याहारयुक्त्यानुत्तरानाहताभ्यामेव शिवशक्तिभ्यां गर्भीकृतमेतदात्मकमेव विश्वमिति महामन्त्रवीर्यात्मनोऽहंविमर्शस्य तत्त्वम्।...

... Ata eva pratyāhārayuktyānuttarānāhatābhyāmeva śivaśaktibhyāṁ garbhīkṛtametadātmakameva viśvamiti mahāmantravīryātmano'haṁvimarśasya tattvam|...

... Therefore (atas eva), the principle or essence (tattvam) of I-consciousness (aham-vimarśasya), whose nature (ātmanaḥ) is the Virility or Power (vīrya) of the Great (mahā) Mantra (mantra), (is as follows): "The universe (viśvam), by means (yuktyā) of Pratyāhāra (pratyāhāra), is permeated (garbhīkṛtam) by Anuttara and Anāhata (anuttarānāhatābhyām) (i.e. the letters "a" and "ha" respectively, which are) certainly (eva) Śiva and Śakti (śivaśaktibhyām). (For that reason,) it --i.e. "the universe"-- only (eva) consists (ātmakam) of This --i.e. "Śiva and Śakti"-- (etad... iti)"|...

By "Pratyāhāra", Kṣemarāja is not referring to the well-known aṅga or stage in Pātañjalayoga, wherein you withdraw your indriya-s inward, but to something completely different. In Sanskrit grammar, this term connotes a "combination". The exact technical meaning of Pratyāhāra is the following: "the comprehension of several letters, affixes or roots (and the like) into one syllable by combining for shortness the first member with the Anubandha or indicatory letter of the last member". In this case, there is a union between Anuttara (the letter "a") and Anāhata (the letter "ha") which brings about "aha". Anuttara is the first letter of the alphabet, while Anāhata is the last one. Therefore, the term "aha" includes all letters in her womb, and since from each letter one or several tattva-s (categories or levels in Creation) emerge, the entire universe lies in "aha". But, something is lacking here... Bindu. In Śiva or Anuttara arises a Bindu or Dot. This Bindu is Śakti Herself compacted into a Dot. It is massive Consciousness compacted into a Bindu. Within this Bindu or Divine Womb, all beings and worlds are contained. It has been properly named "a Divine Womb", but it is a special one as it gives rise to all that is manifested right now, but at the same time all is dissolved in this Womb again. It is a particular kind of Womb that both manifests and reabsorbs all simultaneously.

Anusvāra or "ṁ" stands for Bindu in Sanskrit alphabet. In original Devanāgarī it is a simple "dot" placed above a letter. In turn, as Kṣemarāja wisely points out, Anuttara ("a") is Śiva, while Anāhata ("ha") is Śakti. Thus, Bindu is to be placed above "ha" which indicates that even though Anuttara or Śiva appears as the whole universe through His own Power or Śakti, He remains undivided all the time. Bindu is symbolic of "undivision" in Śiva or Anuttara despite the massive manifestation of tattva-s brought about by Śakti or Anāhata. For that reason, "Ahaṁ" represents ALL, in other words, Śiva, Śakti, the universe and the fact that Śiva remains the same although Śakti (His Power) manifests myriad of worlds within Herself. And "Ahaṁ" means "I" in Sanskrit, in the sense that "I am Śiva-Śakti and the universe, but paradoxically I do not assume division though". "Ahaṁ" in Devanāgarī now:


Kṣemarāja continues to comment:

... यथोक्तमस्मत्परमेष्ठिश्रीमदुत्पलदेवपादैः

प्रकाशस्यात्मविश्रान्तिरहम्भावो हि कीर्तितः।
उक्ता सैव च विश्रान्तिः सर्वापेक्षानिरोधतः॥
स्वातन्त्र्यमथ कर्तृत्वं मुख्यमीश्वरतापि च।


... Yathoktamasmatparameṣṭhiśrīmadutpaladevapādaiḥ

Prakāśasyātmaviśrāntirahambhāvo hi kīrtitaḥ|
Uktā saiva ca viśrāntiḥ sarvāpekṣānirodhataḥ||
Svātantryamatha kartṛtvaṁ mukhyamīśvaratāpi ca|


... As (yathā) has been said (uktam) by the verses (pādaiḥ... iti) of Utpaladeva (utpaladeva), our (asmat) eminent (śrīmat) (and) supreme Master (parameṣṭhi):

"The Rest or Repose (viśrāntiḥ) of the Light of Consciousness (prakāśasya) within Itself (ātma) (is) undoubtedly (hi) known (kīrtitaḥ) as the I-concept (aham-bhāvaḥ). That (sā) is certainly (eva ca) called (uktā) Rest or Repose (viśrāntiḥ) inasmuch as it excludes (nirodhataḥ) all (sarva) expectation (apekṣā). Moreover (atha), it is Absolute Freedom (svātantryam), Main (mukhyam) Doership (kartṛtvam) as well as (api ca) Complete Supremacy (īśvaratā... iti)"|...

When you "rest" completely within your own Self, who is Śiva, you are totally conscious of the Real I-Consciousness. As has been expressed by Utpaladeva himself, in this Repose there is no expectation, that is, there is no desire. It is a natural and spontaneous condition in which you do not long for any achievement or accomplishment at all. In fact, you do not even yearn for Liberation.

Besides, Utpaladeva also declares that this State is Absolute Freedom (Svātantrya), Main Doership (kartṛtvaṁmukhyam) and Complete Supremacy (īśvaratā). In other words, It has total Freedom, Omnipotence and Sovereignty... What else might one say about Śiva, the Lord?

... तदियत्पर्यन्तं यन्मातृकायास्तत्त्वं तदेव ककारसकारप्रत्याहारेणानुत्तरविसर्गसङ्घट्टसारेण कूटबीजेन प्रदर्शितमन्त इत्यलं रहस्यप्रकटनेन।...

... Tadiyatparyantaṁ yanmātṛkāyāstattvaṁ tadeva kakārasakārapratyāhāreṇānuttaravisargasaṅghaṭṭasāreṇa kūṭabījena pradarśitamanta ityalaṁ rahasyaprakaṭanena|...

... Therefore (tad), that which (yad) (has been called) so far (iyat-paryantam) "the essence (tattvam) of Mātṛkā (mātṛkāyāḥ)", that very thing (tad eva) has been shown (pradarśitam) at the end (ante) through the Kūṭabīja --kṣa letter-- (kūtabījena). (This Kūṭabīja) is a Pratyāhāra (pratyāhāreṇa) of "ka" (ka) letter (kāra) (and) "sa" (sa) letter (kāra). (Thus, that Kūṭabīja) is formed from the combination (sanghaṭṭa) of the essences --sāra-- (sāreṇa) of Anuttara (anuttara) (and) Visarga (visarga) (respectively). Enough (iti-alam) of bringing to light (prakaṭanena) that which is secret (rahasya)!|...

The essence or "soul" of Mātṛkā is "Kūṭabīja". The word "kūṭa" means "the highest, excellent, mysterious, etc.". And "bīja" means "seed, letter". So, on one hand, the term "Kūṭabīja" is a mystical name for "kṣa" letter. On the other hand, from a grammatical viewpoint, "kūṭa" is a technical name for a letter resulting from the combination of two consonants. Here, the two consonants are "ka" and "sa". Their combination gives rise to "kṣa" letter. For that reason, "kṣa" is known as Kūṭa letter (bīja). "Kṣa" is sometimes placed in the alphabet after "ha". That is why it is said in some scriptures the following: "From a to kṣa" instead of "From a to ha".

In this context, the word "tattva" must been understood as "sāra", that is, "essence, soul, heart, core". "Kṣa" letter is the essence of the Power generating letters, that is, Mātṛkā. Kṣemarāja states that this letter is formed from the union of "ka" --the essence of Anuttara or "a" (Śiva)-- with "sa" --the essence of Visarga--. By Visarga he is not referring to "ḥ" but "ā" (Śakti). There are three kinds of Visarga: "ā" (Para or Supreme), "ḥ" (Parāpara or Supreme/Non-supreme) and "ha" (Apara o Non-supreme). Even though only "ḥ" is commonly referred to as Visarga, one should note that it is really Parāparavisarga or Supreme/Non-supreme Visarga. A table now:

Letter Name Comment
ā Paravisarga
or Supreme Visarga
Śakti Herself, the Highest Form of Visarga.
: Parāparavisarga
or Supreme/Non-supreme Visarga
This letter is commonly called "Visarga". The two dots of which it is composed indicate that Śiva (the upper dot) abides in His own immutable Self despite the manifestation of the universe by Śakti (the lower dot). In other words, Śiva remains the same non-dual Reality although Śakti displays duality.
ha Aparavisarga
or Non-supreme Visarga
The gross form of Visarga. It is not really a formal letter but a sound produced by inhalation. It is also called "Prāṇabīja".

"Ka" is the essence of "a" or Anuttara inasmuch as Kavarga (Ka group or Gutturals: ka, kha, ga, gha and ṅa) emerges from "a". In turn, "sa" is the essence of Visarga ("ā" or Paravisarga to be exact) because it is pure Icchāśakti (Will Power), the Creative Power Itself. Through "sa", "ā" manifests the entire universe. "Sa" is also the sound produced by exhalation and thus it indicates an emission or manifestation. This subject is certainly profound and there would be no end to my explanation indeed!

Kṣemarāja finally says: "Enough of bringing to light that which is secret!". And this is a great truth. We are really fortunate because he compassionately will continue to speak of that which is secret and mysterious in spite of his previous statement.


 Commentary by Kṣemarāja: Paragraphs 9, 10 & 11

Kṣemarāja continues to comment:

... एवंविधायाः

... न विद्या मातृकापरा।

इत्याम्नायसूचितप्रभावाया मातृकायाः सम्बन्धिनश्चक्रस्य प्रोक्तानुत्तरानन्देच्छादिशक्तिसमूहस्य चिदानन्दघनस्वस्वरूपसमावेशमयः सम्यग्बोधो भवति।...

... Evaṁvidhāyāḥ

... na vidyā mātṛkāparā|

ityāmnāyasūcitaprabhāvāyā mātṛkāyāḥ sambandhinaścakrasya proktānuttarānandecchādiśaktisamūhasya cidānandaghanasvasvarūpasamāveśamayaḥ samyagbodho bhavati|...

... (Sambodha, in the aphorism,) is (bhavati) Complete (samyak) Enlightenment (bodhaḥ) consisting (mayaḥ) of an Absorption (samāveśa) into one's own Essential Nature (sva-sva-rūpa), which is a Compact Mass (ghana) of Consciousness (cit) (and) Bliss (ānanda). (Complete Enlightenment) regarding the aforesaid (prokta) group (cakrasya... samūhasya) of powers (śakti) (whose integrants are) Anuttara (anuttara), Ānanda (ānanda), Icchā (icchā), etc. (ādi), (and which) is connected (sambandhinaḥ) with Mātṛkā (mātṛkāyāḥ), whose --i.e. of Mātṛkā-- Efficacy or Power (prabhāvāyāḥ) has been indicated (sūcita) in the Revealed Scriptures (āmnāya) in the following manner (evaṁvidhāyāḥ... iti):

"... There is no (na) knowledge (vidyā) higher (parā) than (that of) Mātṛkā (mātṛkā)"|...

Kṣemarāja says that the term "Sambodha", in the aphorism we are studying (i.e. Śivasūtra-s, Section II, 7th aphorism), means "Samyakbodha" or "Complete Enlightenment". That is to say, he says that the prefix "sam" is an abbreviation of "samyak" (complete). "K" in "samyak" changes to "g" by the 3rd sub-rule of the 2nd rule of Consonant Sandhi. The seventh aphorism studied in First Steps (4) and the current document -First Steps (5)-- declares that:


(From a pleased Guru accrues) enlightenment (sambodhaḥ) regarding the group (cakra) of letters (mātṛkā)||7||

So, this Complete Enlightenment or Sambodha is nothing but an Absorption into one's own Essential Nature, which is a Compact Mass of Consciousness (Śiva) and Bliss (Śakti). Sambodha is a Complete Understanding of the group of powers (Śaktisamūha or Śakticakra). This group of powers is composed of "a, ā, i, etc." as you know.

Śakticakra or Śaktisamūha is related to Mātṛkā (Power that gives rise to letters). Kṣemarāja also says that the Efficacy or Power (prabhāvā) of Mātṛkā has been pointed out in the Revealed Scriptures or Āgama. However, you will surely note that he used the word "āmnāya" and not "āgama". Both of words must be considered to be synonymous in this case. That word (i.e. āmnāya) he uses here may also mean "Sacred Tradition". Thus, Kṣemarāja might be saying that the Efficacy or Power of Mātṛkā has been indicated in his Spiritual Tradition. Both of translations are possible then.

And that Efficacy has been mentioned by stating that "There is no knowledge higher than (that of) Mātṛkā".

Kṣemarāja keeps commenting:

... एतच्चेह दिङ्मात्रेणोट्टङ्कितम्।...

... Etacceha diṅmātreṇoṭṭaṅkitam|...

... This (etad ca) (has been) dealt with (uṭṭankitam) here (iha) through mere (mātreṇa) indication (dik)|...

This whole subject about Mātṛkā has been dealt with here by means of mere indication, that is, there was no getting deep into it. You may think... "Oh, dear Kṣemarāja, you are teasing me". No, Kṣemarāja is not teasing you at all. All that he has spoken of Mātṛkā is just a little crumb which has fallen from the table of Vidyeśvara-s (the Lords of Knowledge). Vidyeśvara-s live in you as Yourself... but to realize this, you must abandon all ignorance or Māyā. How do you accomplish that? By Complete Enlightenment or Sambodha about the group of letters or Mātṛkā.

At last, it is only the inner Guru who will bestow that Sambodha on you when you deserve that bestowal. You must simply perform the spiritual practices recommended by your own guru (i.e. meditation, service, chanting, repetition of a Mantra or any other practice he considers convenient for you to perform). Nothing else needs to be done. In due course, the inner Guru will feel pleased with your devotion and sincere desire of Emancipation, and He will give you the abovementioned gift. Through that Complete Enlightenment or Sambodha, you will realize that the inner Guru is the real "You" in you, that is to say, you will attain total identification with Him. The inner Guru is Śiva, your own Self, of course.

Afterward, you will perceive that Śiva pervades everywhere, within and without. In fact, you will understand that there is neither within nor without because only one Self (You, Śiva) is the solitary or lonely inhabitant of this cosmic dream known as universe. This realization is called "Śivavyāpti" in Trika and it is considered to be the highest accomplishment. It is final Liberation, it is Supreme Joy and Beatitude, it is... what else might I say about it? Experience it by yourself!

Kṣemarāja continues to say:

... विततं त्वस्मत्प्रभुपादैः श्रीपरात्रिंशकाविवरणतन्त्रालोकादौ प्रकाशितम्।...

... Vitataṁ tvasmatprabhupādaiḥ śrīparātriṁśakāvivaraṇatantrālokādau prakāśitam|...

... (This has been) certainly (tu) spread (vitatam) (and) revealed (prakāśitam) through the verses (pādaiḥ) of our (asmat) Master (prabhu) in venerable (śrī) Parātriṁśakāvivaraṇa (parātriṁśakāvivaraṇa), Tantrāloka (tantrāloka), etc. (ādau)|...

In short, Kṣemarāja makes clear that the teaching which has been briefly indicated here is dealt with in depth in those works written by his own Master or Prabhu (Abhinavagupta). This is simple to understand and it does not require any further explanation by me, does it?


 Commentary by Kṣemarāja: Paragraphs 12 & 13

Kṣemarāja says that:

... उक्तं च श्रीसिद्धामृते

सात्र कुण्डलिनी बीजजीवभूता चिदात्मिका।
तज्जं ध्रुवेच्छोन्मेषाख्यं त्रिकं वर्णास्ततः पुनः॥
आ इत्यवर्णादित्यादि यावद्वैसर्गिकी कला।
ककारादिसकारान्ताद्विसर्गात्पञ्चधा स च॥
बहिश्चान्तश्च हृदये नादेऽथ परमे पदे।
बिन्दुरात्मनि मूर्धान्ते हृदयाद्व्यापको हि सः।
आदिमान्त्यविहीनास्तु मन्त्राः स्युः शरदभ्रवत्।
गुरोर्लक्षणमेतावदादिमान्त्यं च वेदयेत्॥
पूज्यः सोऽहमिव ज्ञानी भैरवो देवतात्मकः।
श्लोकगाथादि यत्कञ्चिदादिमान्त्ययुतं यतः।
तस्माद्विदंस्तथा सर्वं मन्त्रत्वेनैव पश्यति।


... Uktaṁ ca śrīsiddhāmṛte

Sātra kuṇḍalinī bījajīvabhūtā cidātmikā|
Tajjaṁ dhruvecchonmeṣākhyaṁ trikaṁ varṇāstataḥ punaḥ||
Ā ityavarṇādityādi yāvadvaisargikī kalā|
Kakārādisakārāntādvisargātpañcadhā sa ca||
Bahiścāntaśca hṛdaye nāde'tha parame pade|
Bindurātmani mūrdhānte hṛdayādvyāpako hi saḥ|
Ādimāntyavihīnāstu mantrāḥ syuḥ śaradabhravat|
Gurorlakṣaṇametāvadādimāntyaṁ ca vedayet||
Pūjyaḥ so'hamiva jñānī bhairavo devatātmakaḥ|
Ślokagāthādi yatkañcidādimāntyayutaṁ yataḥ|
Tasmādvidaṁstathā sarvaṁ mantratvenaiva paśyati|


... In venerable (śrī) Siddhāmṛta (siddhāmṛte) (it has) also (ca) been declared (uktam) (by Śiva Himself to Pārvatī, his consort):

"Here (atra), that (sā) Kuṇḍalinī (ghana), whose nature (ātmikā) is Consciousness (cit), is (bhūtā) the Seed (bīja) and Life (jīva). Over and over again (punar), a triad (trikam) consisting (ākhyam) of Dhruva (dhruva), Icchā (icchā) (and) Unmeṣa (unmeṣa) --i.e. "a, i and u" vowels respectively-- arises (jam) from that (tad) Abode (astataḥ) of letters (varṇa).

From "a" (a) letter (varṇāt) (emerges) "ā" (ā iti), and so on (iti-ādi), right up to (yāvat) the portion (kalā) of Visarga (vaisargikī) --i.e. Parāparavisarga or "ḥ" to be exact--. From Visarga (visargāt) (is produced the group of letters) that begins (ādi) in "ka" (ka) letter (kāra) (and) ends --anta-- (antāt) in "sa" (sa) letter (kāra). And (ca), (in turn,) that (Visarga) (saḥ) (appears) in five ways (pañcadhā):

(1) Outside, (in the form of the universe) (bahis) and (ca... ca) inside (antar) (2) in the heart (hṛdaye), (3) in nāda --i.e. in the throat in this case-- (nāde) (and) certainly (atha) (4) in the Supreme (parama) Stage (pade) --i.e. between both of eyebrows--. (Besides,) that (saḥ) Bindu --i.e. Visarga-- (binduḥ) undoubtedly (hi) pervades (vyāpakaḥ) from the heart (hṛdayāt) up to (5) the top (ante) of the skull (mūrdha), (that is), up to the Self (Himself) (ātmani).

However (tu), the mantra-s (mantrāḥ) devoid (vihīnāḥ) of initial (ādi) "a" (a) (and) final (antya) "ma" (ma) --i.e. devoid of "aham" or I, Śiva--, are (syuḥ) like (vat) autumnal (śarat) clouds (abhra). The (essential) characteristic (laksaṇam) of a Guru (guroḥ) (is that) he explains (to his disciples) (ca vedayet) (that Mahāmantra or Great Mantra) whose measure (etāvat) (is as follows:) it begins (ādi) with "a" (a) (and) ends (antyam) with "ma" (ma) --i.e. "Aham" or I, Śiva--.

That (saḥ) Knower (jñānī), (that) Divine (devatā-ātmakaḥ) Bhairava (bhairavaḥ), is to be worshipped (pūjyaḥ) like (iva) Myself (aham). Seeing that (yatas) --to such a Guru-- any thing (yatkiñcid), whether it be a hymn of praise (śloka), a laudatory song (ghāthā), etc. (ādi), is united or connected (yutam) with (the Mahāmantra or Great Mantra) beginning (ādi) with "a" (a) (and) ending (antya) with "ma" (ma); therefore (tasmāt), (such a Guru) knowing (vidan) in that way (tathā), sees (paśyati) everything (sarvam) only (eva) as a Mantra (mantratvena... iti)"|...

Siddhāmṛta is a celebrated scripture. Kṣemaraja has extracted five beautiful stanzas from it in order to clarify the subject even more. Siddhāmṛta states that Kuṇḍalinī is the Seed and Life, and the Abode of letters from which the triad formed from "a, i and u" arises. The "a" vowel is named "Dhruva" (it means "fixed" as well as "polar star") as it is as "fixed" as the polar star. This vowel is the embodiment of Śiva, who is a "fixed" Reality, as it were. It has another epithet: "Anuttara". In turn, the "i" vowel is named "Icchā" as it is the Power of Will (Icchāśakti) itself, from which the entire universe has been manifested. Lastly, "u" is named "Unmeṣa" as it stands for the "opening of the Śiva's eyes", that is, Śiva (You) is fully conscious of Himself and the universe. This supreme state of consciousness is full of divine Knowledge or Jñānaśakti (Power of Knowledge).

Kuṇḍalinī is Śakti, of course, and is not epithet at all: So, why do we have to use those two terms? Good question. Well, listen my "double" answer:

  1. From a strictly technical viewpoint, Kuṇḍalinī is Śakti but located in a body. When you talk about your own "Śakti", as it were, that is, Śakti in your body, you should use the term Kuṇḍalinī. However, when you refers to the Cosmic Power permeating all, you should use the term Śakti. Got it? Granted, most people use the terms as mere synonymous.
  2. Kuṇḍalinī is a residue of Śakti. In other words, Śakti is not completely "consumed", as it were, throughout the whole process of universal manifestation, but a little residue still remains. This residue is located within one's own body... hmmm... truly speaking, within the subtle body indeed... hmmm... even though Kuṇḍalinī is beyond all bodies, no doubt. The word "Kuṇḍalinī" literally means "coiled" (fem.). Kundalinī is coiled in Mūlādhāracakra, at the base of the spinal column.

According to the ancient knowledge, there is three ways in which Kuṇḍalinī appears:

  1. Śaktikuṇḍalinī: the dormant spiritual aspect of Kuṇḍalinī coiled in three and a half folds in Mūlādhāracakra. The first fold is related to the objective aspect of Śakti, that is, the knowables or prameya-s. The second fold pertains to the knowledge aspect, that is, it is associated with the process of knowing those very knowables or objects. This process is known as "pramāṇa". In turn, "pramāṇa" is also the knowledge itself within that process of knowing. The third fold is linked to the subjective aspect, that is, the "limited" experient himself of all those prameya-s or knowables. The remaining half fold refers to Pramā or True Knowledge. In Pramā, subject and object remain in a undistinguishable unity.
  2. Prāṇakuṇḍalinī: the awake mundane aspect of Kuṇḍalinī, which is externally oriented to life. Śakti Herself becomes Prāṇaśakti or vital energy to manifest and sustain all living beings. She is within all of them, no doubt... that is why, they are alive.
  3. Parākuṇḍalinī: Kuṇḍalinī who has realized Her essential divinity. When Śaktikuṇḍalinī is finally awakened, She goes up to the crown center of consciousness (Sahasrāracakra) generally through a gradual process, step by step. When She reaches that cakra, She becomes conscious of Her true nature and is then known as Parākuṇḍalinī or the Highest Kuṇḍalinī.

This is not the only way to classify Kuṇḍalinī. According to others, Kuṇḍalinī might be divided into three kinds:

  1. Prāṇakuṇḍalinī: Kuṇḍalinī dwelling in Mūlādhāracakra (at the base of the spinal column).
  2. Citkuṇḍalinī: Kuṇḍalinī dwelling in Anāhatacakra (in the heart area).
  3. Parākuṇḍalinī: Kuṇḍalinī dwelling in Ājñācakra (in the middle of the skull, on a level with the space between the eyebrows).

As you surely know, a real master may awaken the dormant spiritual aspect of Kuṇḍalinī in you. That guru will generally awaken Prāṇakuṇḍalinī, which is commonly called "Kuṇḍalinī". However, if the disciple is spiritually developed to a certain extent, he might awaken Citkuṇḍalinī in Anāhatacakra or even Parākuṇḍalinī in Ājñācakra instead... well, this is also another long topic.

So, in short, Kuṇḍalinī is residual Śakti dwelling in one's body. This Kuṇḍalinī is sometimes also called Mātṛkā or "ununderstood little mother" on account of her being the "ununderstood" source to all sounds in this universe. That is why, Siddhāmṛta states that She is the Abode of letters.

Afterward, Siddhāmṛta describes how the various letters arise from one another... well, I already have explained that to you. Nevertheless, it is interesting the fivefold aspect of Visarga. Here the author is referring to Visarga as Visargaśakti or the Manifesting Energy of the Lord Himself. In short, Visargaśakti is Śakti manifesting a universe of multiple forms. Siddhāmṛta describes how this Visarga or Visargaśakti appears in five specific places. Regarding the four bodily areas referred to, if they are meditated on properly, act as a kind of "doorways" to higher levels of consciousness, which are a manifestation of Visarga, got it? Let us see each of those "doorways":

  1. Visargaśakti or simply Visarga is the entire universe, as Visarga itself gives rise to it constantly. Granted, it is ultimately Śakti who manifests the world, but She appears as Visargaśakti or Visarga to do so.
  2. She also dwells in the heart. By "heart", the author is not referring to the physical organ, undoubtedly, but to Anāhatacakra (a subtle center placed in the cardiac zone). Within Anāhatacakra, you may hear the "unstruck" sound or Anāhatanāda. Nobody is making that sound, and nobody can prevent it from sounding. Śakti Herself, in the form of Visarga, is sounding as Anāhatanāda indeed.
  3. She is also located in the throat. By "throat", the author is not referring to the physical throat, no doubt, but to Viśuddhacakra (a subtle center placed in the laryngeal zone). Viśuddhacakra manages all that is related to "vāk or speech" in you, and that is why it was called "Nāda" (sound) in the stanza. Four tattva-s are associated with this cakra: Power of hearing (Śrotrendriya - tattva 17), Power of speaking (Vāgindriya - tattva 22), Sound-as-such (Śabdatanmātra - tattva 27) and Ether or Space (Ākāśa -- tattva 32). See Tattvic Chart for more information.
  4. She may also be found in the space between the eyebrows. However, the author is really referring to Ājñācakra (a subtle center placed in the middle of the skull, on a level with the space between both of eyebrows). It is here called "the Supreme Stage", since when Kuṇḍalinī gets there, you receive the inner guru's bidding or "ājñā" (for that reason the cakra is called Ājñā) that you should go on toward the crown center of consciousness (Sahasrāra). Besides, that bidding allows you to go "The Way of Siddha-s" up to Sahasrāracakra (the subtle center placed at the top of the skull).
  5. She also lives in Sahasrāracakra as the Divine Śakti Herself. Ah!, I forgot to tell you what "The Way of Siddha-s" is. Listen: "Suṣumnānāḍī" is the most important subtle channel in the subtle body. It runs from Mūlādhāracakra (at the base of spinal column) up to Sahasrāracakra (at the top of the head). Well, the portion of Suṣumnānaḍī running between Ājñācakra (located in the middle of the skull) and Sahasrāracakra is known as "The Way of Siddha-s" or "Siddhapatha" in Sanskrit. Siddha-s are Perfected Beings, that is, they have attained the highest state of consciousness or Śiva. Every person who wants to arrive in that divine condition, must go along "The Way of Siddha-s" from Ājñā to Sahasrāra. Macrocosmic Āṇavamala [innate limitation in all beings, See "The region between tattva-s 5 and 6" in Trika 4 (English)] dwells in a microcosmic manner above Ājñācakra itself. Nobody can go through Āṇavamala without "Divine Grace". This Divine Grace does not come from anyone outside... in fact, nothing comes from anyone outside... another long topic. Well, without Divine Grace or Anugraha, you cannot go beyond Āṇavamala. The bidding of the inner Guru which you receives in Ājñācakra acts as a "magical" key that opens the door of Āṇavamala for you. For that reason, all your efforts end up when Kuṇḍalinī reaches Ājñācakra. From there on, everything is done by Divine Grace alone, and thus your personal intervention in the form of spiritual practices is no longer necessary. After going through Siddhapatha or The Way of Siddha-s, Kuṇḍalinī gets to the Core of all in Sahasrāracakra, and you become a Siddha or Perfected Being. Congratulations! No certification that you are now quite a Siddha is given though, hehe.

Ahhh!, the fourth stanza of Siddhāmṛta declares that any mantra devoid of Aham or I-consciousness is like an autumnal cloud. The autumnal clouds do not contain rain, and thus they are "useless", as it were. Likewise, a mantra without Aham or I-consciousness is useless. But, what does all that mean really? Listen: Aham is Śiva-Śakti or I-consciousness. If you repeat a mantra, but You (Śiva-Śakti) do not identify with that mantra, no Aham is poured into it. However, when you become identified with it, that mantra is instilled with Aham or You, and so it is not useless like an autumnal cloud, see my point? Abandon all imagination in which a distant and mysterious guru is instilling a secret mantra with his own divine Aham and bla bla bla... no, You are Śiva and every time you realize your identity with the mantra through repetition, you are pouring Aham or I-consciousness or Śiva-Śakti into it. If You feel that You are the mantra, the mantra is useful... if not so, it is useless. It is that simple! I do not know why some people make things so complicated!

True, a good guru will explain "a" and "ma" letters to you, so that all your doubts may be dissolved. Besides, he will teach you the real essence of Aham or I-consciousness. As I said to you before, all is Śiva. And since Śiva is the mantra, all is the mantra. And as You are the mantra itself, all is You. Śiva, mantra and You are the same thing. It is really simple to understand.

And a true guru receives his spiritual knowledge from the divine Vidyeśvara-s or Lords of Knowledge. Who are these mysterious Vidyeśvara-s? In Īśvaratattva (tattva 4) there are eight bhuvana-s or worlds whose names are as follows:

  1. Śikhaṇḍī
  2. Śrīkaṇṭha
  3. Trimūrti
  4. Ekarudra
  5. Ekanetra
  6. Śivottama
  7. Sūkṣma
  8. Ananta

Each of those worlds or bhuvana-s has a kind of ruler or patriarch. In fact, the names of those worlds are the names of those eight patriarchs ruling them. Here you are their colors:

  1. Śikhaṇḍī (dark brown)
  2. Śrīkaṇṭha (red)
  3. Trimūrti (crimson)
  4. Ekarudra (black)
  5. Ekanetra (yellow)
  6. Śivottama (blue)
  7. Sūkṣma (white)
  8. Ananta or also Ananteśa (blood-red)

In turn, their names indicate their respective attributes:

  1. Śikhaṇḍī (wearing a tuft of hair)
  2. Śrīkaṇṭha (having a beautiful throat)
  3. Trimūrti (having three forms)
  4. Ekarudra (lonely Rudra)
  5. Ekanetra (one-eyed)
  6. Śivottama (the best of the auspicious beings)
  7. Sūkṣma (the subtle one)
  8. Ananta (infinite) or Ananteśa (lord of Ananta --the world-- or infinite lord)

These eight patriarchs are the celebrated Vidyeśvara-s or Lords of Knowledge. They are śakti-s or powers that manage all knowledge in this universe. They live in You as Yourself.

Kṣemarāja finishes now his masterpiece in the form of this commentary through the last paragraph (the 13th):

... एतच्च स्पन्दे

सेयं क्रियात्मिका शक्तिः शिवस्य पशुवर्तिनी।
बन्धयित्री स्वमार्गस्था ज्ञाता सिद्ध्युपपादिका॥

इत्यनेनैव भङ्ग्या सूचितम्॥७॥

... Etacca spande

Seyaṁ kriyātmikā śaktiḥ śivasya paśuvartinī|
Bandhayitrī svamārgasthā jñātā siddhyupapādikā||

ityanenaiva bhaṅgyā sūcitam||7||

... This (etad) (has been) also (stated) (ca) in the Spandakārikā-s (spande):

"This (iyam) very (sā) Power or Śakti (śaktiḥ) of Śiva (śivasya), whose nature (ātmikā) is activity (kriyā), abides (vartinī) in the paśu or conditioned being (paśu) (and) binds (him) (bandhayitrī). (However, when Śakti) is known or realized (jñātā) as staying (in the aforesaid paśu) (sthā) like the way (mārga) toward one's own Self (sva), produces (upapādikā) success (siddhi)"||
(See Spandakārikā-s III, 16)

(Thus,) through this (quote) (anena eva) has been indicated (sūcitam) (the same idea) but indirectly (bhaṅgyā)||7||

The operative power of Śiva residing in a limited being is the Mātṛkācakra or group of letters. As you know, the letters form words, and the words sentences and so on. That group that once deluded you, may turn out to be a path to Liberation if you understand it properly. If your approach is appropriate, you may turn Mātṛkācakra into a way to final Emancipation. Right understanding is the key here, as you can see. Do not fight against Mātṛkācakra, which, for example, produces all your thoughts. Instead, attempt to understand it and attain Enlightenment through it. All your thoughts arise from Mātṛkācakra. Do not fight them. Go to their source. There you will find Mātṛkācakra, which is the Śakti Herself appearing in the form of Visargaśakti or Manifesting Power. Meditate on that source of letters and be forever blessed.



It has been a long page, no doubt. You have learnt that it is really useless to fight Mātṛkācakra and her progeny (thoughts, words, etc.). Instead, you know now that you must try to understand it properly. Kṣemarāja has analyzed every letter of Sanskrit alphabet (origin, properties, etc.). His commentary is a masterpiece, no doubt about it, and deserves to be read over and over again to fully grasp the core of his teaching. There are people that fight against Mātṛkā when they attempt to empty their minds of thoughts. They only get frustration as a result. However, there are other people that use this divine knowledge about Mātṛkā and stop fighting their minds. They just try to be conscious of the origin of all thoughts and thus get real understanding of Mātṛkā. When they approach Mātṛkā in that way, the very power that once bound them becomes now cause of Liberation and Bliss. What else might it be said about it? See you.


 Further Information

Gabriel Pradīpaka

This document was conceived by Gabriel Pradīpaka, one of the two founders of this site, and spiritual guru conversant with Sanskrit language and Trika philosophy.

For further information about Sanskrit, Yoga and Indian Philosophy; or if you simply want to comment, ask a question or correct a mistake, feel free to contact us: This is our e-mail address.