Shiva Sutras 1.3

yonivargah kalashariram

The third sutra in the first section continues the explanation of how the Oneness conceals Itself in Space/Time to move into the adventure of this universe. The Sanskrit texts are very precise in detailing the steps of descent, which are the result of our own Free Will. As the Oneness, we do actually want this journey, we enjoy this illusion of Separation, we like playing in our self-created worlds.

Yoni here means “the cause of the universe” [SLJ]. Yoni also means the womb (matrix) or source. As a symbol of the feminine principle, the yoni is traditionally formed into primordial symbolic sculptures and revered. Here in the context of Kashmir Shaivism, yoni is the source and cause of the universe.

From yoni emerges the “kingdom” of MAYA, the “manifestation of the differentiated world” [SLJ].  MAYA is often translated as ‘illusion’ – but the idea of a primal force of creativity is more accurate. MAYA is the Mother of all apparent forms and her modes of creativity are the three gunas – sattva, rajas, and tamas. The etymology of the Sanskrit word guna is ‘rope,’ – ropes can be tied into knots, implying that which binds and ties us into the hologram.

Sattva guna may be understood as the state of purity, goodness, and peace. When sattva dominates our consciousness, those are the moments we are open to the light of knowledge. A tranquil state will draw wisdom to you.

Rajas is characterized by passion, those activities driven by desire. Restlessness, enterprise, ambition, and greed arise from the guna rajas. When we feel cut off from the Oneness, our Source, we feel empty and from this feeling of lack and limitation we are driven to act. Deep insecurities drive us to seek material success, to acquire things as security and fill our emptiness. These actions bind us in the temporal hologram.  

The guna tamas is the inertia, laziness, and stupor that arise from ignorance of our real nature. This ignorance leads to depression as we feel we are useless, incapable, and hopeless.

Locked into tamas guna, we wallow in laziness and self-pity - perhaps finding an easy escape in drugs and alcohol, rather than doing something constructive. The real crime of the pharmaceutical corporations and their serotonin inhibitors is the fact that, like demons, they rob their victims of the opportunity to evolve past depression and find the God-within.

During the manifestation of this universe, these three gunas are in a state of ‘imbalance’ - and they are constantly shifting, replacing each other as they compete to dominate our consciousness. If you apply your own awareness - that intelligence (buddhi) that allows you to discriminate - and begin to watch how the gunas generate your compulsions, over time you will be able to observe their repetitive patterns and begin to detach your consciousness from their deluding powers.

Within Maya reside the MALAS or impurities, meaning the limitations as ignorance of your own nature that keeps you in bondage. The impurity that causes you to think in terms of duality and differentiation - this is mine, this is not mine – is called mayiya mala and removes you from the awareness that everything is One.

This mayiya mala “provides the individual with the physical and psychic vehicles in which he is cabined, caged and confined” [JDS]. We identify with our body, the data-collecting vehicle we currently inhabit - and by thinking this is all we are, we become trapped.

The second word in the verse, kalashariram, describes the embodiment of actions. KalA (long A) divides temporal appearances in thought and form. “When an action enters your body, your self in knowledge, and your mind in your thought, and leaves an impression on you…” [SLJ].

Every thought and action we have throughout our life is encoded into our being in the subtle body. We cannot erase one line. The cumulative aggregate of these thoughts and actions is carried with us and propels us from one body to the next in life after life — samsara.

This impurity of action is termed karmamala and also binds us in the temporal hologram. Karma is “either good or bad. … With good actions you will fall, with bad actions, you will fall” [SLJ]. Whatever we think and whatever we do will draw us deeper, further into manifestation.

As long as we are at the mercy of the gunas and being compelled to act through our own proclivities and compulsions, we are not free — for as long as we do not realize that we are not these habits, tendencies, and compulsions, they will bind us to our own self-created delusions.

The only way to find liberation and release from repeated births and deaths is the Realization of the God within us all - Self Recognition. Once we discern and recognize the mechanics of Maya and her gunas, we wake up and Remember that we are not the Doer of anything. There is only one Doer and that is the Oneness, our real identity.

Bhagavad Gita V.8:  The knower of truth thinks, I do not do anything. “…it is only the senses operating on their objects.”

As long as we identify with the vehicle and remain deluded by illusory multiplicity, we are ‘played’ by MAYA. When we wake up, we can once again access our Free Will.




The Bhagavadgita in the Mahabharata A Bilingual Edition, translated & Edited by J.A.B. van Buitenen; The University of Chicago Press, 1981



John & Denise Hughes have given me permission to quote from Swami Lakshmanjoo’s Shiva Sutras. Thus: [SLJ]. For this honor I am deeply grateful.



Swami Lakshmanjoo