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Action 1 - Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir

Āṇavopāya (Anavopaya): Compendium of techniques - Part 1


Introduction

Gabriel Pradīpaka --wrongly-written Pradipaka--, once again. I have decided to group all techniques of Āṇavopāya --wrongly-written Anavopaya-- on a series of documents (this is the first one), so that you may find them easily when necessary during your practice. Those which were included in Meditation 1, Meditation 4 and Meditation 5 are also included here. All techniques were directly extracted from Vijñānabhairava, a celebrated Tantra in Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir. As usual, you will also find that I have written a detailed translation and explanation of every technique. Enjoy!

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 hyphens (--...--) constitutes clarifying further information also added by me.

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Technique 1

कालाग्निना कालपदादुत्थितेन स्वकं पुरम्।
प्लुष्टं विचिन्तयेदन्ते शान्ताभासस्तदा भवेत्॥५२॥

Kālāgninā kālapadādutthitena svakaṁ puram|
Pluṣṭaṁ vicintayedante śāntābhāsastadā bhavet||52||

One should imagine (vicintayet) that his own (svakam) body (puram) has been burnt (pluṣṭam) by Kālāgni (kāla-agninā) rising (utthitena) from the great toe of the right foot (kālapadāt). Then (tadā), there is (bhavet) lastly (ante) a flash (ābhāsaḥ) of Peace (śānta).

Vijñānabhairava, 52

"Kālāgni" literally means "the fire (agni) of Time (kāla)". Some authors add "the end of" to the translation: "the fire of the end of Time". In short, this fire is the destroyer of all when the final dissolution of the whole universe takes place. In the human being, it remains latent and dormant within the great toe of the right foot, which is technically called "kālapada".

There is one thing to be fully understood: Most people associates the fire with "that which burns up impurities and sins", but this viewpoint is not valid in Trika on higher stages. According to this philosophical system, the whole universe and oneself is permeated by just one Pure Self. In fact, one is that supreme Self who is spotless. Even though at the beginning of the spiritual path one person may have certain notions of impurity or sin, his final goal should be to get rid of them. Thus, Kālāgni is not here a fire burning impurities and sins but something which is symbolic of a growing awareness of unity being developed in that person who uses this technique. A growing fire that burns one's own body symbolizes a growing realization of the unity underlying in this universe.

As the body is burnt to ashes, your sight of that one all-pervading Reality becomes more distinct because you stop identifying your real Self with the gross physical body. This is the meaning of the aphorism.

A final advise: If your notion of impurities and sins is still strong, imagine that Kālāgni is burning it up. So, you will be free from it and experience supreme Peace.

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Technique 2

उपविश्यासने सम्यग्बाहू कृत्वार्धकुञ्चितौ।
कक्षव्योम्नि मनः कुर्वञ्छममायाति तल्लयात्॥७९॥

Upaviśyāsane samyagbāhū kṛtvārdhakuñcitau|
Kakṣavyomni manaḥ kurvañchamamāyāti tallayāt||79||

Sitting (upaviśya) confortably (samyak) on a seat (āsane), placing (kṛtvā) the two arms (bāhū) in the form of an arch (overhead) (ardhakuñcitau) and fixing (kurvan) the mind (manaḥ) in the holes (vyomni) of the armpits (kakṣa), one enters (āyāti) a peaceful condition (śamam) due to his absorption (layāt) in that (restful pose) (tad).

Vijñānabhairava, 79

This is a very simple technique. When you concentrate your mind on the holes of the armpits, what you are really doing is to make it as hollow as them. A hollow mind is one devoid of thoughts. Besides, the pose itself induces a peaceful state in you. It is a very good technique because of its simplicity.

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Technique 3

शिखिपक्षैश्चित्ररूपैर्मन्दलैः शून्यपञ्चकम्।
ध्यायतोऽनुत्तरे शून्ये प्रवेशो हृदये भवेत्॥३२॥

Śikhipaksaiścitrarūpairmandalaiḥ śūnyapañcakam|
Dhyāyato'nuttare śūnye praveśo hṛdaye bhavet||32||

There is (bhavet) penetration (praveśaḥ) into the highest (uttare) Void (śūnye) --the Heart-- (hṛdaye) for him who meditates (dhyāyataḥ) on the five (pañcakam) voids (śūnya) by means of the multicolored (citrarūpaiḥ) circles (maṇḍalaiḥ) (appearing) on the feathers (pakṣaiḥ) of the peacocks (śikhi).

Vijñānabhairava, 32

The five voids are the Tanmātra-s or subtle elements (sound as such, touch as such, color as such, taste as such and smell as such). They give rise to the five gross elements: ether, air, fire, water and earth. They are a kind of five voids behind one's own senses because they have no concrete appearance. If you take a feather of peacock, you will see five circles. If you fix your attention on them, you will be absorbed in the void which is behind your sight and consequently in the other four voids behind the rest of your senses. This absorption in the Tanmātra-s will lead you to the absorption in the Absolute Void (the Heart or Core of all, not the ordinary physical heart).

Śiva is here depicted by a "Void" because He is devoid of the universe as such. However, although He looks like a Void, He is really full of Consciousness. Just as a huge tree does not appear to be latent within a tiny seed since they are apparently so different from each other, so the entire world rests on Śiva and is united with Him despite it seems to be so different. The universe is full of objects and subjects, but Śiva is without them all, hence He is called "Absolute Void". This Void is not like that postulated by Buddhism. Trika states that Śiva is a "conscious" Being who manifests all from His own free Will. And that Śiva is You. This should be fully understood.

to be continued

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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.

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