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 Tattvic Chart - Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir

Categories of the manifestation according to Trika system


 Introduction

Gabriel Pradīpaka, again. I have published this document in order to show concisely the thirty-six tattva-s or levels of Creation according to Trika.

Despite this is a kind of summary, I will describe each of the tattva-s to a certain extent. You should use this document as an essential one. Each time you need it, here it is to be used. As you go deeper and deeper into your studies of Trika, Sanskrit, Meditation and other philosophies, you will have to return to it over and over again.

Note that the 25 tattva-s stated by Sāṅkhya (a philosophical system) are the same as the last 25 tattva-s of Trika. Trika reworked the tattvic scheme of Sāṅkhya and added 11 more categories to it. So, if you are a follower of Sāṅkhya, this chart will prove very useful for you too.

Please, go to Trika section on this website for more information on tattva-s or categories.

Let us get down to work.

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 Chart

PARAMAŚIVA
-परमशिव-
(The Supreme Śiva or Source of all)
1. Śiva -शिव- Even though He is beyond description, it might be said that He is the real "I". Śiva is full of Cicchakti (Cit + śakti) or the Power of Consciousness. Both Śiva and Śakti emerge from Paramaśiva or the Supreme Śiva. In Paramaśiva there is not even the subtle "duality" of Śiva-Śakti. All tattva-s emerge from that Reality.
2. Śakti -शक्ति- She is beyond description too. However, it might be said that She is the real "am" . Śiva and Śakti constitute the real "I am". Śakti makes Śiva conscious of Himself, but no separation between them both may be stated anyway. Śakti is, as it were, a very subtle "stress" on the infinite and static body of Śiva. From Her the rest of the tattva-s arises and, in fact, they are a form of Her. There is absolute unity between Her and the rest of the tattva-s. She is full of Ānandaśakti or the Power of Bliss.
ANĀŚRITAŚIVA
-अनाश्रितशिव-
(Śiva without any categories)
3. Sadāśiva or Sādākhya
-सदाशिव or सादाख्य-
Sadāśiva is the abode of Icchāśakti or Power of Will. Here a foggy universe appears. The consciousness is "I am This" (I am this foggy universe). The universe is a "newborn" yet, hence it is indistinct. Since the universe is not fully formed, the side "I" is predominant. The side "This" (universe) is still foggy, not full-grown.
4. Īśvara -ईश्वर- Īśvara is the abode of Jñānaśakti or Power of Knowledge. Here a distinct and clear universe appears. The consciousness is "This is Me" (This distinct universe is Me). The universe is now full-fledged, hence it is distinct. Since the universe is fully formed, the side "This" is predominant. The side "I" is still there but overwhelmed by the divine wonder unfolding itself before Him.
5. Sadvidyā or Śuddhavidyā
-सद्विद्या or शुद्धविद्या-
Sadvidyā is the abode of Kriyāśakti or Power of Action. Here the consciousness is fully balanced between "I" and "This". "This" is the universe, of course. The consciousness is "I am I and This is This". The side "I" is now balanced with the side "This", that is to say, both of them are likewise predominant. This is the unity in the difference, because there is a universe which is different from Śiva ("I") but at the same time there is a underlying unity among them both.
ĀṆAVAMALA -आणवमल- (Āṇavamala or the Primordial Impurity bringing about the rest of the tattva-s in which the difference and dualism is predominant). After Āṇavamala, two more Mala-s or Impurities are produced: Māyīyamala -मायीयमल- and Kārmamala -कार्ममल-, which bring about more difference and attachment to actions respectively.
6. Māyā -माया- Māyā is Ignorance. Trika's Māyā is not like that of Vedānta. In Trika, Māyā is a tattva or a "real" level of Creation. Māyā is in charge of drawing a veil over the essential nature of Śiva (apparently, of course). Māyā turns the Infinite Self into someone full of limitations. Amazing! Māyīyamala and Kārmamala arise on account of the operation of the Māyātattva. These two impurities bring more diffences and attachment to actions with them. Sometimes, Māyā is considered to be "a sixth" Kañcuka or Sheath wraping the consciousness with a subtle but strong veil of ignorance.
7. Kalā -कला- Kalā is the first Kañcuka or Sheath of Ignorance. It gives the notion of "limited activity" to the consciousness which was veiled by Māyā. It is Kriyāśakti (Omnipotence) having undergone contraction. It infuses the erroneous notion: "I have limits regarding action, I cannot do this, I cannot do that, etc." This tattva is the root for the future Karmic Law, that is, Karma can work on a limited individual because of the operation of Kalā which restrains his inherent "Omnipotence". KAÑCUKA(S)
-कञ्चुक-
8. Vidyā -विद्या- Vidyā is the second Kañcuka or Sheath of Ignorance. It gives the notion of "limited knowledge" to the consciousness which was veiled by Māyā. It is Jñānaśakti (Omniscience) having undergone contraction. It infuses the erroneous notion: "I have limits regarding knowledge, I do not know this, I do not know that, etc.".
9. Rāga -राग- Rāga is the third Kañcuka or Sheath of Ignorance. It gives the notion of "limited will" --leading to attachment-- to the consciousness which was veiled by Māyā. It is Icchāśakti (Absolute Will) having undergone contraction. It infuses the erroneous notion: "I lack something, I need something", and consequently the final result of that need in the form of "I am attached to something" arises.
10. Kāla -काल- Kāla is the fourth Kañcuka or Sheath of Ignorance. It gives the notion of "parts" --leading to the notion of time-- to the consciousness which was veiled by Māyā. It is Ānandaśakti (Supreme Bliss) having undergone contraction. It infuses the erroneous notion: "I am not everlasting, eternal, I just live a few years, I am old, I am young, etc.".
11. Niyati -नियति- Niyati is the last Kañcuka or Sheath of Ignorance. It gives the notion of "space" to the consciousness which was veiled by Māyā. It is Cicchakti (the Power of Consciousness) having undergone contraction. It infuses the erroneous notion: "I am here and that is over there, I am not all-pervading, etc.".
12. Puruṣa -पुरुष- It is Śiva Himself having undergone all previous limitations (Kañcuka-s). Despite the self-imposed limitation, Śiva remains the same though. This Puruṣa is the inner Self in all beings. Although it is the goal to be attained in Sāṅkhya, Trika considers it to be just a step in the involution/evolution of Śakti.
13. Prakṛti -प्रकृति- Prakṛti is merely that state in which the three qualities (Guṇa-s) remain completely balanced. These Guṇa-s are Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. They are the well-known Jñānaśakti, Icchāśakti and Kriyāśakti, respectively, having undergone one more contraction. When the Supreme Witness (Śiva) is covered by the veil of Māyā and her Kañcuka-s, He is "apparently" transformed into Puruṣa. This Puruṣa beholds His Śakti and She appears now to be formed from three forces known as Guṇa-s or qualities. Neither Śiva nor Śakti were "essentially" modified, but Śiva, through a self-imposed limitation, changed His viewpoint and began to consider Himself to be an individual soul. Interesting!
14. Buddhi or Mahat
-बुद्धि or महत्-
It is the first evolute of Prakṛti. Buddhi constitutes the determinative faculty by which you decide a course of action in your life. In short, Buddhi is "the intellect". It is a predominantly sattvic tattva, that is, Jñāna (knowledge) is predominant in it. Buddhi is also that principle which allows you to abstractly catalog a particular object, animal or person under a definite category. For example, "That is a dog", "This is a hat". ANTAḤKARAṆA
-अन्तःकरण-
Inner (psychic) organ
15. Ahaṅkāra or Asmitā
-अहङ्कार or अस्मिता-
It is the second evolute of Prakṛti. Ahaṅkāra constitutes the limited "I-ness". In short, Ahaṅkāra is "the ego". Not only from it, Manas, Indriya-s and Tanmātra-s emerge, but all these principles are also sustained by Asmitā. Its main characteristic is "self-appropriation". It makes "pure I-ness" a doer, hence one of its names is "Ahaṅkāra or I-doer". It associates pure "I", who is a mere witness, with a particular action or concept. For example, "I do my job", "I construct buildings", "I love you", "I am poor", etc. Let us remove the Ahaṅkāra and the sentences would be like this: "Job is being done", "Buildings are being constructed", "There is love for you", "There is poverty", etc. It sounds somewhat strange, doesn't it? Well, a world without ego would be wonderful, but what the heck, it is impossible for now. Ahaṅkāra also gives "volume" to all. It is the cause for this 3D universe. The ego is predominantly rajasic.
16. Manas -मनस्- It is the third evolute of Prakṛti. Manas constitutes a net of thoughts. In short, Manas is the ordinary mind which is the source and the controller of the future Jñānendriya-s (Powers of perception) and Karmendriya-s (Powers of action). Other of its functions is to straighten and color the primitive image formed in the retina. Manas works only in 2D, not 3D. To assign the third dimension is the work of Ahaṅkāra. Manas is predominantly tamasic.
17. Śrotra -श्रोत्र- or Śravaṇa -श्रवण- The power of hearing. It is that energy that ordinarily circulates through the organs of hearing (ears). JÑĀNENDRIYA-S
-ज्ञानेन्द्रिय-
Powers of Perception (predominantly sattvic)
18. Tvak -त्वक्- The power of feeling by touch. It is that energy that predominantly circulates through the skin.
19. Cakṣus -चक्षुस्- The power of seeing. It is that energy that ordinarily circulates through the organs of seeing (eyes).
20. Jihvā -जिह्वा- or Rasanā -रसना- The power of tasting. It is that energy that ordinarily circulates through the organ of tasting (tongue).
21. Ghrāṇa -घ्राण- The power of smelling. It is that energy that ordinarily circulates through the organ of smelling (nose).
22. Vāk -वाक्- The power of speaking. It is that energy that ordinarily circulates through the organ of speaking (mouth). KARMENDRIYA-S
-कर्मेन्द्रिय-
Powers of Action (predominantly rajasic)
23. Pāṇi -पाणि- The power of handling. It is that energy that ordinarily circulates through the organs of handling (hands).
24. Pāda -पाद- The power of locomotion. It is that energy that ordinarily circulates through the organs of locomotion (legs and feet).
25. Pāyu -पायु- The power of excreting. It is that energy that ordinarily circulates through the organ of excreting (anus).
26. Upastha -उपस्थ- The power of sexual activity and restfulness. It is that energy that ordinarily circulates through the organs of sexual activity and restfulness (genitals).
27. Śabda -शब्द- Sound-as-such. You can recognize different sounds because of this sound pattern. TANMĀTRA-S
-तन्मात्र-
Subtle elements (predominantly tamasic)
28. Sparśa -स्पर्श- Touch-as-such. You can recognize different kinds of touch because of this touch pattern.
29. Rūpa -रूप- Color-as-such. You can recognize different colors because of this color pattern.
30. Rasa -रस- Flavor-as-such. You can recognize different flavors because of this flavor pattern.
31. Gandha -गन्ध- Odor-as-such. You can recognize different odors because of this odor pattern.
32. Ākāśa -आकाश- The space or 3D framework within which the entire physical world exists. MAHĀBHŪTA-S
-महाभूत-
Gross elements (predominantly tamasic)
33. Vāyu -वायु- All that is gaseous. So, it is not only the ordinary "air".
34. Agni -अग्नि- or Tejas -तेजस्- All that contains heat and color. So, it is not only the ordinary "fire".
35. Āpas -आपस्- All that is liquid. So, it is not only the ordinary "water".
36. Pṛthivī -पृथिवी- All that is solid. So, it is not only the ordinary "earth".

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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.