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Yogic Powers and the Shiva Sutras 1.19 -1.21


1.19  saktisandhane sarirotpattih

1.20  bhutasamdhana-bhutaprithaktva-visvasamghattah

Yogic powers are the subject of sutras 1.19 & 1.20. Over the years I have observed many who in the beginning are attracted to yogic practices when they learn that such disciplines will induce special powers, the siddhis. I have often thought of these siddhic powers as the proverbial carrot-in-front-of-donkey sort of enticements, which might serve to motivate the naïve or as simply seen as the ambition for power.

Swami Lakshmanjoo is very clear in stating that real yogis do not want these powers. Why? The answer is simple and logical. These special powers exist in and affect the external hologram and therefore draw your consciousness back into that illusory world. They entangle you the same illusory energies you are endeavoring to transcend by merging into the One.

SLJ: “…this kind of achievement is attained by those yogis who have attachment for the body, attachment for disciples, attachment for the public…who have slightly come down from God consciousness. For elevated yogis…do not care for these powers or for matters of the world.”

By achieving God consciousness and being always focused, resting in the Absolute, you will have become complete in “internal consciousness…Incompletion rises in the external world. [SLJ]”


Shiva Sutra 1.21


The real use for yogic power is the concentration of “energy of will for attaining the universal state of being. [SLJ]” In Kashmir Shaivism the aim of a focused will is to become the totality of the metaphysical principles that make up this universe - creation, destruction, and preservation (BHAIRAVA). Time and time again we are led back to this point. Entry into God consciousness is what matters. Entry into God consciousness will reveal the Knowledge within that waits for you and is your enlightenment.

The yogi then realizes that he/she was never anything but God. “Pure knowledge arises…whereby he realizes, “I am the whole universe. I am not only my body, I am one with the universe. [SLJ]”

As Abhinavagupta puts it, the yogi thinks this, “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. I am all this … [Abhinavagupta/Paramarthasara].”

When you become the Oneness, why do you need to display your powers? You have realized the goal. What remains to be done?


It is not my intention here to reveal every jewel in the Shiva Sutras to you. There are many understandings and technical Sanskrit terms of the Kashmir Shaivite School that you will want to read and over time contemplate for yourself. Only you can cultivate the field of wisdom in your own Heart.

What I am hoping for is to open a small window into their value as a superb guide to your own enlightenment. I began to read the Jaideva Singh translation in 1997 and I am still learning from these pearls every time I reread them.

I listen to the Swami Lakshmanjoo CDs very often and I am amazed that I could have missed this gem or that one in an earlier listening. The Shiva Sutras are like the Bhagavad Gita in this way. You can read them throughout your life and always learn something new.

Jaideva Singh is highly regarded by other Sanskrit scholars and yet he dedicates his translations of the Kashmir Shaivite texts to Swami Lakshmanjoo. Jaideva Singh spent many summer days in Kashmir listening to Swam Lakshmanjoo at his ashram speak on these sacred texts.

Singh and many others acknowledge Swami Lakshmanjoo as the last living master, the embodiment and scholar of the tradition of Kashmir Shaivism. He was born with a photographic memory and easily learned the texts by heart. “Because of his intellectual power and strength of awareness, he realized both spiritually and intellectually…spiritual leaders and scholars journeyed from all over the world” to learn from him. [John Hughes]

One of my favorite quotes on Swami Lakshmanjoo comes from Mark Dyczkowski, the wonderful Sanskrit scholar, sitar musician, and Oxford don. Dyczkowski is talking about his experiences in Kashmir in the 1970s at the ashram:

“His [Swami Lakshmanjoo] exposition of the great works of the ancient Kashmiri masters—Abhinavagupta, Utpaladeva and Ksemaraja—would fill us with wonder. Somehow he sees much more in them that could ever be grasped through mere bookish knowledge and we could all feel that behind his words lay another dimension beyond them in which he lived and from which he beckoned us to join him.”

Even though I never met Swami Lakshmanjoo, he has become my revered source of a multitude of understandings. Every text that is published by Swami Lakshmanjoo and the hours of recordings, audio and video that carry his voice are imbued with his God consciousness. The sound of his voice somehow allows me to experience on a deeper level what he is talking about. Even if it is only for a moment, I do understand. Now it is up to me to hold on to the teachings and make them my own, in my own heart and mind.

In the Bhagavad Gita recordings, Swami Lakshmanjoo himself says that we must all find out the truth in our own consciousness. “Master means your own consciousness. You have to insert your all-force in your own consciousness. Then you’ll find it out. Don’t try to catch me. I have nothing to do with this. It is your own business to have it.”

Enlightenment is up to us in the end. The sublime depth of understanding flowing from the words of Swami Lakshmanjoo can also be found in the writings of Abhinavagupta. Only the truly enlightened masters can speak this way. We have the opportunity to listen, to ‘hear’ if we have the ears. Then we must find an adamantine Will within our own consciousness and head for Home.



Swami Lakshmanjoo: Shiva Sutras, The Supreme Awakening, With the Commentary of Kshemaraja, Revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo, and edited by John Hughes; Universal Shaiva Fellowship, 2002. Introduction by John Hughes.

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

Jaideva Singh: Siva Sutras, The Yoga of Supreme Identity, Text of the Sutras and the Commentary Vimarsini of Kshemaraja Translated into English with Introduction, Notes, Running Exposition, Glossary and Index; Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi, 1979 and reprints.

The Yoga of Vibration and Divine Pulsation, by Jaideva Singh, with an Appreciation of Jaideva Singh by Mark Dyczkowski; State University of New York Press, 1992.

Bhagavad Gita, In the Light of Kashmir Shaivism, Chapters 1-6, revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo, edited by John Hughes; Universal Shaiva Fellowship, 2008. Book and 14 DVDs.