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 Spandanirṇaya (Spanda Nirnaya) - Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir

Commentary of Kṣemarāja on Spandakārikā-s - Only the translation


 Introduction

Hi, Gabriel Pradīpaka --wrongly-written Pradipaka-- again. The discovery of Śivasūtra-s --wrongly-written Shiva Sutras-- by Vasugupta marked the beginning of Trika system (also known as "Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir"), at least in its formal aspect. On Śivasūtra-s this entire philosophical system is based. If you want to have an overview of Trika literature, read Trika 2. After Śivasūtra-s were discovered and spread by Vasugupta, he felt that he should somehow write a kind of running commentary on them. He did so, and his commentary was known as Spandakārikā-s --wrongly written Spandakarikas or Spanda Karikas-- (a collection of concise statements in verse --kārikā-s-- about the Primordial Vibration or Throb --Spanda--). Spanda is synonymous with Śakti --wrongly-written Shakti or Sakti-- or I-consciousness. Spanda is the Power of Śiva --wrongly-written Shiva or Siva--, by which He is conscious of Himself. Besides, Spanda allows Him to manifest, maintain and withdraw the entire universe. Spanda is a Divine Throb, but not in a physical sense. Not at all. It is a kind of movement in the space of Consciousness. Śiva is with no movements, but somehow something is moving in Him and this is Spanda. Well, it is difficult to explain this by using limited terms as it is a Divine Reality which lies beyond all words. There are four commentaries on Spandakārikā-s:

Vṛtti (by Kallaṭa --a disciple of Vasugupta--)

Spandapradīpikā (by Bhaṭṭotpala)

Vivṛti (by Rāmakaṇṭha)

Spandanirṇaya --wrongly written Spanda Nirnaya-- (by Kṣemarāja --wrongly written Kshemaraja or Ksemaraja--)*

*It is to be noted that there is another commentary by Kṣemarāja called "Spandasandoha", but it is only a commentary on the first aphorism of Spandakārikā-s.

The present document deals with Spandanirṇaya by Kṣemarāja. This commentary in prose is considered to be the most authoritative among the four. It is a very long commentary indeed, full of scholar terms and sesquipedalian compounds (long and abstruse compounds) to which Kṣemarāja seems to be addicted.

Vṛtti by Kallaṭa gives a simple explanation of the kārikā-s. In turn, Bhaṭṭotpala wrote a commentary which is principally a compilation of quotes extracted from other books. However, the commentary by Rāmakaṇṭha (i.e. "Vivṛti") closely follows Vṛtti by Kallaṭa. As you can see, only Kallaṭa and Kṣemarāja wrote original commentaries.

Of course, I will also insert the original aphorisms on which Kṣemarāja is commenting. Even though I will not comment on either the original sūtra-s or the Kṣemarāja's commentary, I will write some notes to make a particular point clear when necessary. Due to the length of the scripture, I decided to divide the translation into several documents as you can see above. The present document acts as a sort of "portal" document. I will be showing here only the translation of Spandanirṇaya. If you want a detailed explanation, go to "Scriptures (study)|Spandanirṇaya" in Trika section.

Nothing else to be said. Read Spandanirṇaya and realize your identity with Spanda, the Divine Throb.

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 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.



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