“Attained already..."

Kashmir Shaivism in the Rig Veda & Upanishads

 “Attained already is it as the Supreme effulgence within oneself.”  

— from the Rig Veda as quoted in the Chândogya Upanishad III.17.6 and translated by Swami Muni Narayana Prasad.

The saints and sages in the Sanskrit tradition have long said that the Rig Veda is the source of all the other texts that followed over many centuries. According to Swami Muni Narayana Prasad the Upanishads are generally “appended to the four Vedas and depend on the Vedic tradition of which they are an outgrowth.” The Chândogya Upanishad is part of the Sâmaveda, which is a collection (samhita) of hymns, portions of hymns, and detached verses, all but 75 taken from the Rig Veda.

The Chândogya is one of the 'primary' Upanishads and ranks among the oldest and therefore is said to be an excellent key, a window to understanding the Rig Veda. I have turned to Chândogya Upanishad to shed light on the mysterious layers of possible meanings nested within the Rig Veda. I have accepted Swami Muni Narayana Prasad as a truly enlightened being. His insightful translation of the Chândogya Upanishad is pervaded by his accessible simple brilliant clarity.

Swami Muni Narayana Prasad :img5.jpg

The quotation above is from Chândogya Upanishad III.17.7 and as evidence for the wisdom therein, includes reference to the Rig Veda. Unfortunately the precise location, meaning which of the ten Mandalas, the sukta or hymn, and verse or mantra these two Rig Veda verses are found in, has not been offered; nor have I been able to ascertain the location in other translations of the Chândogya Upanishad. However, based on my trust of Swami Muni Narayana Prasad, here is his full translation of that Rig Veda mantra/verse:

“The most ancient cosmic seed we do perceive is everywhere as if in broad daylight.

“Perceiving it as the Supreme effulgence that transcends all darkness [tamas] as we are, may we attain it. Attained already is it as the Supreme effulgence within oneself. We have attained thus the Sun [Sűrya] that illumines all the gods (effulgent beings), that is Supreme, that is unconditioned effulgence [jyotir uttaman iti] in essence.”

:thumz:Abinavagupta - Version 3.jpg


The Kashmir Shaivite saints Abhinavagupta and Swami Lakshmanjoo also teach this idea that we are already the eternal One within All. Veiling Itself in us and all of the manifested universe, the One remains as the observing friend within us, enjoying our adventures, and patiently waiting the day that we will awaken and regain our real identity as the One Self within.

“Attained already is it as the Supreme effulgence within oneself.”

From the Kashmir Shaivite text Paramârthsâra of Abhinavagupta translated by B.N. Pandit:

47.  "…an aspirant realizes that he is not a finite being, but the great Lord [the One] who is the only hero having multitudes of divine powers as his heroes. He feels actually that he is himself activating playfully the whole circle of such powers…”

Swami Muni Narayana Prasad interprets Chândogya Upanishad III.17.6 in a similar way saying:

“Perceiving one’s own life as a yajńa [in the sense that the One sacrifices Its One-ness into multiplicity] marks also the culmination of attaining wisdom. The seeker’s thirst for wisdom gets quenched then; he calms down and becomes peaceful. He becomes fully convinced of three facts concerning himself:

(1) I am indestructible; what I really am, is the indestructible Brahman [the Kashmir Shaivites would say Parabhairava].

(2) I am undebaseable; the real Substance in me can never be debased, so too am I. What can be adulterated is only the transient apparent form the one Substance assumes. [Interesting that the Sufi Doris Lessing uses the term ‘the substance-of-we’.]

(3) I am the Reality praised even by prânas [the life breath], which seemingly leave the individual living being at death. What is real in the being is the Substance that underlies even the prânas and hence is praised by them.”

This Realization of the God-within as our true identity will not come from merely reading books or any of the numerous other tasks that a teacher may assign. The Realization will only come through Grace when the God-within that we are, wants that Awakening. Our sincerely profound desire for Realization, an intense longing for God more than all the world’s illusions, crying out to return Home — are signs that the God-within desires to enjoy our experience of Waking-up, the sweet Remembering, and our return Home to the Source we are.

From the Paramârthsâra of Abhinavagupta translated by B.N. Pandit:

48.  "This whole universe appears in me, just as objects like a pitcher etc. appear in a clear mirror; everything flows out from me, just as the manifold variety of the dream world emanates from the dreaming person. A successful Sivayogin, realizing his own nature, feels all phenomena as the wonderful reflections of his own divine powers.”


Swami Lakshmanjoo

The Kashmir Shaivite Swami Lakshmanjoo, who I have the greatest reverence and respect for, has explained verse 48 in Abhinavagupta’s Paramârthsâra thus:

“…pratibhimbavada, reflection, the treatment of reflection. This whole universe is the reflection of Parabhairava. You will see, nothing is existing which is not existing in [the] Parabhairava states. Nothing is here. Not even one straw of grass also… So, Parabhairava is not far away from you. He is here, he is universal…”

Verse 68 in Paramârthsâra of Abhinavagupta translated by B.N. Pandit, the sage Abhinavagupta encourages us to say — rather like a mantra, until it becomes so deeply impressed that we begin to feel the truth of it as our essential real nature — this:

68.  "I am infinitely potent and absolutely pure consciousness. All this is my own divine play. It is being manifested by me through my divine powers.”

The Kashmir Shaivite Swami Lakshmanjoo’s enlightened state infuses and reverberates in his words; he explains verse 68 in Abhinavagupta’s Paramârthsâra thus:

“…who is elevated, who is installed in the supreme knowledge of Parabhairava, he creates the perception that, ‘I am Maheshvara [transcendent Lord]! I am Parabhairava! I am the source of each and every being! And each and every being is my own manifestation!’ …limited and unlimited, he fires in his own elevated fire of God consciousness. …he is very shining, he becomes a being of light, tremendous light.”

 Paramârthsâra of Abhinavagupta translated by B.N. Pandit:

74.  “Such a yogin [yoga means union, therefore a yogin is in union with the One] sees his infinite, all pervasive and pure I-consciousness as the only worship-able deity and finds it in all bodies and all outward objects… 75. The oblations to be offered consist only of contemplation of the unity of Self with respect to all phenomena shining in its pure and divine nature... It is a symbolic worship in which the individuality is merged in the universal Self…”


Parabhairava in Kashmir Shaivism

Swami Lakshmanjoo clarifies this by saying that because everything is Parabhairava, everything we do is an act of worship. Thus our every thought, word and deed carries the potential to connect with the God-within us. Parabhairava is the combination of the three forces that make up the universe. Parabhairava is an acrostic word meaning para the highest; bha from bharana or maintenance of the universe; ra indicates ravana or withdrawal of the universe; va indicates vamana or projection i.e. manifestation of the universe. [Jaideva Singh]

In the Bhagavad Gita IX.27 Krishna tells Arjuna: Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer as ritual sacrifices or give away in charity, whatever austerities you practice, do that as an offering to the One; dedicate whatever you do, all to the One.


Rig Veda I.164.46

Sages call the One being in many ways.

[translation R.L. Kashyap]

:Rig Veda 2014:619px-Rigveda_MS2097.jpg


The Paramârthsâra of Abhinavagupta translated by B.N. Pandit:

60. "The state of liberation [Moksha] is not confined to any special abode (like Vaikuntha), nor does it necessitate any ascension (towards any celestial abode). Liberation is the illumining of one’s divine potency attainable by means of resolving the knots of ignorance.

"Fully liberated beings have not to ascend to any divine abode like Brahmaloka or Vaikuntha. Ignorance regarding one’s real nature, consisting of supreme and divine potency, is bondage and as soon as such ignorance is annihilated, one’s really natural purity and divinity shine through the spiritual lustre of his own pure consciousness and that is liberation. Such a being is liberated even while living in a physical form."

Liberation is not ascension…

That which we seek is already attained and residing within us. Where will we go, how is ascension up or down meaningful, relevant when we have become One with the Source of All? Swami Lakshmanjoo says this regarding verse 60 in the Paramârthsâra of Abhinavagupta:

“Actually, the liberation from repeated births and deaths, and being centred in Parabhairava’s state, and that Parabhairava’s state is called Moksha, and that Moksha is not somewhere in the uppermost akasha…it has not some particular place where one reaches and gets liberated from repeated births and deaths.  …for attaining Moksha you have not to tread from the state where you are already existing in the field of mâyâ. You are existing in the field of mâyâ and you have to get elevated by and by, by and by, by abhâysa [practice]; but you have not to tread, there is no journey to be covered. The starting point is the ending point of your journey.”


The Paramârthsâra of Abhinavagupta translated by B.N. Pandit:

81:  “Realization of the Truth is not itself as full of taste as the awareness of one having attained such realization. No other aim of life remains to be accomplished after the rise of satisfaction attained through such awareness.”

In Bhagavad Gita VII.2, Krishna says the same to Arjuna: “I shall explain to you in full this Wisdom-Knowledge [jńâna] with discriminating understanding; having been known understood, nothing further remains to be known here in this world.”

“Attained already is it as the Supreme effulgence within oneself.”

Wandering happily purposively in search of liberating Wisdom-Knowledge within the Rig Veda, the Upanishads and Kashmir Shaivism, we feel and understand the threads of Truth Satya woven throughout the sacred Sanskrit texts. The Chândogya Upanishad VI.8.7 says simply: TAT TVAM ASI, meaning Thou art That! We have always been the ubiquitous imperishable immutable One pervading All, Brahman, Parabhairava, that which cannot be named and simultaneously is all names. Knowing we are That is our Return to God-Consciousness and our Enlightenment.

Rig Veda I.164.39

The mantras exist in the supreme ether, imperishable,

In which the gods are seated.

One who knows not That,

what shall he do with the Rik?

But those who come to know That are perfect.

[R.L. Kashyap]


V. Susan Ferguson






Chândogya Upanishad, with the original text in Sanskrit and Roman transliteration; Translation with Extensive Commentary by Swami Muni Narayana Prasad; D.K.Printworld Ltd., New Delhi, 2006.

RIG VEDA SAMHITA: Mandalas 1 – 10, 12 volumes, (Text in Devanagari, Translation and Notes), by R.L. Kashyap; Saksi, Published in collaboration with ASR, Melkote; Sri Aurobindo Kapali Sastry Institute of Vedic Culture, Bangalore, India, 2009.

RIG VEDA Mantra Samhita, Complete text with auxiliaries, [Sanskrit only], Editor R.L. Kashyap; Sri Aurobindo Kapali Sastry Institute of Vedic Culture, Bangalore, 2003.

RGVEDA for the Layman, A Critical Survey of One Hundred Hymns of the Rigveda, with Samhita-patha, Pada-patha and word meaning and English translation, by Shyam Ghosh; Munishiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 2002, Nandi, Indira.

The Four Vedas: Mantras in Sanskrit with Transliteration & English translation (Set of 22 Volumes); Rig Veda, complete in 12 volumes; translated by Swami Satya Prakash Sarawati and Satyakam Vidyalankar; DAV Publication Division, Delhi, 2008, 2011.

Essence of the Exact Reality or Paramârthsâra of Abhinavagupta, with English translation and notes by Dr. B.N. Pandit; Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 1991.

Abhinavagupta’s Paramârthsâra, Essence of the Highest Reality, revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo; edited by John Hughes, Universal Shaiva Foundation, Culver City, CA, 2010.

Vijńânabhairava or Divine Consciousness, A Treasury of 112 Types of Yoga; Sanskrit Text with English Translation, Expository Notes, Introduction and Glossary of Technical terms by Jaideva Singh, 1979; [Dedicated with Profound Respects to Swami Lakshmanjoo, “Who unsealed my eyes.”]; Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi, 2001.










Questions or comments about articles on this site:
Email V. Susan Ferguson:  Click Here

Copyright© V. Susan Ferguson
All rights reserved.

Technical questions or comments about the site:
Email the Webmaster: 
Click Here