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Shiva Sutras- The Supreme Awakening

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Item Code: NAZ473
Author: Swami Lakshmanjoo
Publisher: Ishwar Ashram Trust
Language: English
Edition: 2016
ISBN: 9780983783381
Pages: 324
Other Details 9.00 X 7.00 inch
Weight 630 gm
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Book Description
About the Author

Swami Lakshmanjoo was born in Srinagar, Kashmir on May 9, 1907. He was the last and the greatest of the saints and mas- ters of the tradition of Kashmir Shaivism. Having a deep un- derstanding of the philosophy and practices of Kashmir Shaivism, he was like a splendid and rare jewel. Beginning from childhood he spent his whole life studying and practicing the teachings of this unique sacred tradition. Because of his intel- lectual power and strength of awareness, he realized both spiri- tually and intellectually the reality of its thought.

Being born with a photographic memory learning was always easy. In addition to complete knowledge of Kashmir Shavisim he had a vast knowledge of the traditional religious and philo- sophical texts of India. When translating or teaching he would freely draw on other texts to clarify, expand and substantiate his teaching. He could recall an entire text by simply remem- bering the first few words of the verse.

In time his reputation as a learned philospher and spiritual adept spread. Spiritual leaders and scholars journeyed from all over the world to receive his blessing and to ask him questions about various aspects of Kashmir Shaiva philosophy. He gained renown as a devotee of Lord Shiva and as a master of the nondual tradition of Kashmir Shaivism.

Throughout his life Swami Lakshmanjoo taught his disciples and devotees the ways of devotion and awareness. He shunned fame and recognition and did not seek his own glory. He knew Kashmir Shaivism was a most precious jewel and that by God’s grace, those who desired to learn would be attracted to its teach- ings. His earnest wish was that Kashmir Shaivism be preserved and made available to all who desired to know it.

On September 27, 1991 Swami Lakshmanjoo attained the great liberation and left his physical body.

About the Book

The Shiva Sutras, gifted by God to the sage Vasugupta for the upliftment of humanity, is one of Kashmir Shaivism's most important and revered texts. Swami Lakshmanjoo gives the reader a penetrating vision of the glorious journey of the Supreme Awakening; the traveling from limited individuality to absolute oneness with God.

Basing his rendering on the esoteric commentary of Abhinavagupta's chief disciple Kshemaraja and drawing on his own experience, Swami Lakshmanjoo shows us the way home.


This book is the distillation of over 16 hours of tape recorded audio lectures. It was Swami Lakshmanjoo’s intent, in giving these lecture translations, to disclose in English the esoteric meaning of these Siva Siitras of Vasugupta as well as that of the commentary, called VimarSini, by Ksemaraja, both of which were originally composed in Sanskrit. In attending these lec- tures it became obvious to this editor that Swami Lakshmanjoo was completely in command of his subject matter. Infact, his command of Sankrit was superior to that of English, a condi- tion he declared many times during his discourses. So, although absolutely fluent in Sanskrit many times he had to search for the appropriate word in English to clearly elucidate the San- skrit texts. In fact on occasion he would tell us that he was not looking to translate the Sanskrit closely, but rather to give us the essential meaning of the text. Realizing that Kashmir Saivism is an oral tradition and to maintain the flavor and strict intent of Swami Lakshmanjoo’s translation Lhave tried, as much as possible, to preserve his style of English and vocabulary. Because of this at times the English rendering may seem stilted, uneven and repetitive. I beg your indulgence and ask for your understanding in this regard. To be honest I am awed and humbled by the power and depth of Swami Lakshmanjoo’s un- derstanding. I only pray that I have been able to do justice to his rendering of this great Kashmir Shaiva scripture. The text used by Swami Lakshmanjoo in this rendering is the Siva Siitra VimarSini, published in 1911 as a volume in the Kashmir Series of Texts and Studies. This text was actually the first volume of an extensive series of Kashmir Shaiva texts which were collected, edited and published in the early part of the 20th century by the Research Department of Kashmir State under the authority of the Government of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. This work was done at the express wish of the Maharaja Pratab Singh who had a great fondness for Kashmir Saivism. Swami Lakshmanjoo, in using this early text of the Siva Stitra VimarSini, discovered numerous errors, omis- sions and extraneous additions which he corrected in his own copy and incorporated in this rendering. This original text in Devanagari, incorporating Swami Lakshmanjoo’s textual cor- rections, is appended at the end of this book.

To preserve a smooth flow of the text for the English reader, with the exception of the Stitras themselves the Sanskrit for the verses being referenced in Ksemaraja’s commentary is not included in the body of this work. The interested Sanskrit reader can find these verses in their original Devanagari in the appen- dix.


The series of twenty lectures derived from the revelations that comprise this book began on 7 June 1975, at the ashram of the preeminent Kashmir Saivaite philosopher/saint Swami Lakshmanjoo. Lakshmanjoo, known to his devotees as Swamiji, lived on the eastern side of the Kashmir Valley on a hill overlooking the famous Dal Lake just near the famous Mogul garden, Nishat. The area surrounding Swamiji’s ashram has for centuries been sanctified by the sacred feet of great Saivaite masters. Abhinavagupta and others frequented this peaceful tract of land and enjoyed the beautiful orchards that spread majestically over the hillside. To the north, within walking dis- tance, is the valley of Harvan where, at the foot of Mahadeva Mountain, the Siva Siitras were revealed centuries ago to the great sage and Siva devotee, Vasugupta.

Swamiji met with us in the morning once or twice a week in a small glassed-in lecture hall, its mud walls adorned with the illustrations of gods, goddesses, and the pictures of saints and holy men. Those attending these lectures—about eight in all gathered at nine in the morning at the entrance of the ashram and waited for Swamiji to come and open the gate. I remember the excitement I would experience each morning in anticipa- tion of his lecture. I knew that these talks were filled with pre- cious knowledge. This doesn’t mean that I fully understood ev- erything Swamiji taught us but I did have a clear intimation of its importance. I was convinced that these lectures contained a secret knowledge that held the key to the human predicament.

Here, humankind was being given the understanding and means to obtain liberation from the bondage of samsara—the endless cycle of birth and death.

Upon opening the gate, Swamiji would greet us warmly and invite us to follow him along a short path to the building that housed the lecture hall. After entering the hall, we would each find our own place on the soft Kashmiri rugs covering the mud floor across from Swamiji, who would face us sitting cross-legged on a rug behind a small table where he placed his Sanskrit copy of the Siva Siitra VimarSini. In preparing to give the lec- ture, Swamiji would wait patiently while he was fitted with a lapel microphone and while I checked to see that the tape-re- corder was working. Swamiji was always concerned about the lectures being recorded and would never start until I gave him the assurance that everything was in working order.

The recording of Swamiji’s lectures first began in 1971. I had arrived in Kashmir for the sole purpose of asking him if he would teach me Kashmir Saivism. His reply was, “Yes... if you have enough time I will be willing to teach you.” I then asked him if I could record his lectures. He agreed readily, saying, “It would be a good idea to make recordings of my lectures.” As time passed and I continued my studies, I meticulously recorded everything that Swamiji said during our meetings. One day, before commencing our class, Swamiji turned to me and said, “I am. very pleased with your continued efforts to tape-record and preserve my teachings. Before, I was concerned that the tradition and understanding of Kashmir Saivism would be lost with my passing from this world. Now, however, because there are audio recordings of my teachings, I am hopeful that the true understanding of Kashmir Saivism will be preserved and will not be lost.”

Although he was obviously well-versed in all aspects of Indian and Saiva philosophy, Swamiji never approached any teaching from a detached scholarly point of view. Sitting at his feet and hearing him translate and explain the Siva Siitras, I realized that these stitras and their true understanding was not at all foreign to his own experience. In fact, I understood that in explaining the Siva Siitras, Swamiji was actually revealing his

own experience. I have heard it said somewhere that the phi- losophy of Kashmir Saivism is the mystical geography of aware- ness. How true this seemed to be. Sitting at Swamiji’s feet, I un- derstood that he had realized this geography. It was his own home. He was not like a scholar describing the ocean while standing on the shore. He was the ocean. This makes the translation presented here even more real and personal. It is for this reason that I em- phasize that this book stands as a revelation and not as a strict translation.

The Siva Sutras

Kashmir Saivism is a system of philosophy known as the Trika system. The Sanskrit word trika means “threefold.” In Kash- mir Saivism, trika is used to refer to the threefold signs of hu- mankind and their world. These three signs are Siva, Sakti and the bound individual (nara), and the three energies of Siva. These three energies are para Sakti, supreme energy; parapara Sakti, medium energy; and apara Sakti, inferior energy. Trika philosophy explains that the realm of apara Sakti, the lowest energy, is found in states of wakefulness (jagrat) and dreaming (svapna). The domain of parapara sakti, the medium energy, is established in the state of sound sleep (susupti). And fi- nally, the province of parasakti, the supreme energy, is found in the fourth (turya) state. These three primary energies represent the threefold activities of the world. The phi- losophy of Trika Saivism declares that the whole universe and every action in it, whether spiritual, physical, or worldly exists within these three energies.

In his book, Kashmir Saivism, the Secret Supreme, Swami Lakshmanjoo tells us that Trika philosophy is intended for any human being without restriction of caste, creed, or color. Its purpose is to enable the aspirant to rise from individual- ity to universality. Trika Saivism is composed of four schools of practice and philosophy. These are the Pratyabhijiia sys- tem, the Kula system, the Krama system and the Spanda sys- tem. All four of these schools of Kashmir Saivism accept and are based on sacred scriptures called 4gamas. The word agamas refers to the sacred teachings that exist within Lord Siva. And so these scriptures, as agamas, are understood to be Siva’s revelation.

In Saivism, there are 92 agamas, delineated as follows: the monistic Bhairava Sastras, which are supreme (para), number 64; the mono-dualistic Riidra Sastras, which are medium (parapara), number 18; and the dualistic and inferior (apara) Siva Sastras number 10.

Because the Siva Siitras were revealed to the sage Vasugupta by Lord Siva, they are also considered a divine revelation and as such are accepted as 4gama S€stra. In fact, in revealing the absolute monism central to the philosophy of Kashmir Saivism, the Siva Siitras are considered to be one of the most important agamas of Trika Saivism.

Stitras are short sentence statements, many times without a formal verb, which, like a string, run through and bind together that which they are revealing. There are three complete com- mentaries and one smaller commentary available on the Siva Siitras. These commentaries are the Siva Siitra Vimarsini by Ksemaraja, the Siva Siitra Varttikam by Bhatta Bhaskara, the Siva Sttra Varttikam by Varadaraja and a brief commentary known as the Siva Sutra Vrtti by an unknown author. Ksemaraja, the author of the VimarSini, lived in the tenth century C.E. Bhatta Bhaskara, the author of the Siva Siitra Varttikam lived in the eleventh century C.E. Varadaraja, the author of the other Varttikam on the Siva Sitra, lived in the fifteenth century C.E. It is not known when the Vritti was written but because it corresponds so closely with the VimarSini of Ksemaraja, it is thought that it must have been written during the time of Ksemaraja.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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