The Real Truth About Everything
Or PARAMARTHASARA of Abhinavagupta


The almighty Lord brought into existence these four spheres… by means of the abundance of luxuriousness of His Divine Powers.

An ANDA is a sphere that contains in it a series of phenomenal elements and serves as a sheath (Veil) that covers and hides the divine nature of the Absolute.

Four such spheres are:

 SHAKTI – the divine power of God projecting Itself externally and covering the Absolute with pure creation. Manifesting diversity within unity, it hides the basic absoluteness and the perfect unity of the Absolute God and contains in it the four pure TATTVAS (‘that-ness’, the very being of a thing, its constitutive principle) from SHAKTI to VIDYA.

The sphere of MAYA pushes into oblivion the natural purity and divine potency of the Absolute, covers it with five sheaths (Veils) or limiting elements called KANCUKAS and presents the Absolute as a finite being called PURUSHA.

 The five KANCUKAS have their origin in MAYA TATTVA and are in charge of binding PURUSHA, the individual Self, in the temporal illusion of separateness and an individual identity (AHAMKARA - the small identity-self ego). The five KANCUKAS are:

NIYATI – binds us in the temporal holographic illusion that we are confined and limited by the law of cause and effect.

KALa – binds us in the temporal holographic illusion that we are confined and limited by time. KALa is the principle of Time.

VIDYA – binds us in the temporal holographic illusion that we can acquire only limited knowledge.

KaLA – binds us in the temporal holographic illusion that we can only have a limited power of action, energy, and creativity.

RAGA – binds us in the temporal holographic illusion that we are somehow empty and incomplete. This is the principle that drives us to want to acquire, own, and possess endless quantities of ‘things’. We all hope that the possession of things and people will fill up that emptiness we feel inside. RAGA binds us with a passionate intensity of desire for and an attachment to things (objects and people) in the false hope that they will complete us.

The sphere of PRAKRITI covers Purusha with all psychic elements, senses, the sense organs (nose, hands, etc.), the subtle objective elements called TANMATRAS, the three GUNAS (tamas, rajas & sattva) and four gross element s up to water.

The sphere PRITHVI covers the absolute with the solid gross existence.

 The Absolute, PARAMATMAN, lies beyond all four of these spheres (ANDAS).

… The Absolute God creates them (these spheres) playfully in the process of the manifestation of His Godhead. He creates them out of His own Self in the manner of reflections and covers His real Self with them.

Such creation is something like a kind of transmutation, which is different from transformation. Neither God nor His divine power undergoes any change or transformation while appearing in the form of all these created TATTVAS (constitutive principles), which shine in His psychic light as the reflections of His own divine powers.

Within such four spheres lies the whole phenomena along with its wonderfully diverse types of bodies, senses, organs, and series of worlds. The individual finite being is there the experiencer of pleasure and pain.

In reality he is none other that the Lord Himself, having taken up such form of the bounded being.

It is the basic nature of the Lord to appear playfully as the finite-being and to revolve in the cycles of transmigratory existence.




Essence of the Exact Reality or

PARAMARTHASARA of Abhinavagupta
With English translation & notes by Dr. B.N. Pandit
Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers; 1991, New Delhi


Abhinavagupta’s Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita
Translated from Sanskrit with Introduction & Notes by Boris Marjanovic
Indica Books; 2004, Varanasi India


VIJNANABHAIRAVA 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
Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi; 2003




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