Shiva Sutras 3.1, 3.2 & 3.3 – Entanglement in Sense Impressions & the Subtle Body
Shiva Sutra 3.1
Atma cittam describes the mind that has become entangled in the various sense impressions, which make us believe that our individual egos are the ‘doers’ and that life is about satisfying our endless desires for things, people and power. We forget that we are the Oneness and this state of delusion leads to entanglement “in the wheel of repeated births and death. [SLJ]”
Atma is the Sanskrit word usually taken to mean the Self, the individual soul within each of us. The use of the word ‘soul’ is misleading in the context of Indian thought. In the west we have been taught to believe that each of us has an individual soul and when we die our unique-to-us soul goes to heaven or hell, or even nowhere.
However the understanding of Atma in the Sanskrit texts is this: There is only one Atma. There is only one soul. In the final, deepest, and ultimate level of being, there is only one soul. Atma is the Oneness, God consciousness, which takes on the temporal appearance of separation and limitation, to conceal and reveal Its nature, and play in Time and Space
One root meaning of Atma is “to move constantly. Owing to primal ignorance of its real nature…it moves on to various forms of existence. [Jaideva Singh]” The Oneness has taken on the temporal ‘appearance’ of multiplicity as you and me and endless diversity.
Citta is that “mind which is eternally saturated with the impressions of sensual pleasures. This individual is attached to the three intellectual organs – mind (manas), intellect (buddhi), and ego (ahamkara). [SLJ]”
Shiva Sutra 3.2
Here we have forgotten our real nature, which is God consciousness, and have fallen into the illusion that we are separate from the Oneness. This false delusional state is the result of the three intellectual organs. Our intellect selects what we might want, our mind tells us how we can get what we want, and attachment to the results is produced by our ego – “I have done this. This is mine.”
“For this limited individual, all knowledge is bondage. [SLJ]” Deluded by our limited intellectual organs, all knowledge is experienced as differentiated, and therefore entangles us deeper and deeper into multiplicity, our self-created temporal illusory hologram.
In the Bhagavad Gita XVI.13-15, Krishna describes the snares of egoistic thinking: The deluded ones are strangled by 100s of nooses of expectation and think ‘I have gotten this, this is mine, I will get my desires, I have slain my enemies – who is equal to me?’ While the wise understand the mystery that he/she is not the Doer.
Our subtle body (puryastaka) is individual. As we move from one life to another we build and add to our subtle body, which is the accumulation of all our various desires and cravings deposited in it as residual traces (vasanas) of our every thought, desire, and act. It is this subtle body that we mistakenly identify with.
It is our subtle body that drags us into lifetime after lifetime to find a suitable environment, a body to satisfy the as yet unfulfilled desires we are attached to. We are magnetized to the specific frequencies that resonate with the totality of our consciousness.
The experience of differentiated knowledge leads to desires that entrap us in repeated births and deaths (samsara). All desires eventually lead to pain. Everything in this universe is temporal and comes to an end. Even the rich, brilliant, and beautiful get old and die. Eventually we all lose everything.
In the Bhagavad Gita V.22, Krishna tells Arjuna that pleasures are born of sense contact, and are in reality nothing more than wombs of pain (duhkha-yonayas); and because they are temporal, not lasting, not eternal, the one who is wise is not attached to these pleasures.
Swami Lakshmanjoo comments on this same verse to help us understand how an enlightened yogi views pleasure: “…he thinks…these enjoyments (bhogas) which are placed before me, they are fine…I can have them; but I am not particular to have them. If they are there, let them be there. If they are not there, well and good, I won’t have them…I am not attached. [SLJ’s BhG]” The one who is enlightened does not think he/she must have anything.
Here in simple language the idea of ‘non-attachment’ is illustrated for us. When we achieve God consciousness, enlightenment, there is an inevitable detachment from the drama of all things – the ‘coming and goings’ of the external world. What do we need when we have become Everything?
The capacity for non-attachment is the natural outcome of being elevated beyond self-created illusory delusions. We have moved beyond thinking we are our current individual identity and our subtle body. We have become aware and observe the mechanics that compel our attachment to unending webs of entanglements. We are free from being “played and entangled by the wheel of repeated births and deaths. [SLJ]”
Shiva Sutra 3.3
Kaladinam tattvanamaviveko maya
In Kashmir Shaivism we learn that when we experience the world as differentiated multiplicity, we are consequently pushed further into delusional entrapments. We descend. As long as we think that we are one with our body and God is not— then our own senses, mind, intellect, and ego will draw our consciousness ever deeper into the webs of bondage.
This movement down in consciousness is reversed when we realize the truth. Finding God within you reverses this process. “And when you know that all bodies are my bodies and all bodies are universal bodies and you know you possess a universal body, knowing, ‘I am God,’ then you are truly elevated. [SLJ]”
It is as if we are stuck in a sort of cosmic elevator, a lift. Our confused perceptions will cause us to descend into limited understanding. Going down. Until we realize that we are one with everything, then our perceptions, the five senses, the intellect, etc., will serve to enlighten us. We will perceive God everywhere in all. Going up!
Swami Lakshmanjoo translates the Spanda Karika 1.20 thus: “For those who are fully aware of God consciousness, organs of action and organs of the intellect lead them to that supreme state of God consciousness. For those who are not aware, these same organs deprive them completely of that God consciousness.”
These ‘organs’ are the instrumental mechanisms by which the Creator intentionally binds Itself in Time and Space; they become the means of Liberation once we realize they are just our own elaborate brilliant hidden tricks. I often think of this as a switch. Either you are in God consciousness and feel one with the world, or you are not and feel separate, insecure, and fearful.
Real knowledge lies within. The God within you does not need to learn any lesson, or to master algorithms and become a rocket scientist. The God within already knows everything. The God within does not need to evolve, and is ubiquitous thus there is nowhere to ascend to. The God within is now and always All. Therefore shifting or switching our consciousness into ‘that’ which we have always been, opens the door to the knowledge that liberates.
When knower and knowledge are one, the God within will reveal the eternal secret to you. Until then we continue to live in MAYA’s energies of illusion - and MAYA is “the personified will of the supreme will. [Vijnana Bhairava - SLJ]” God is deluding Itself to enjoy playing as multiplicity.
God conceals Its real nature and then reveals Itself within each and every one of us throughout the cycles of time. This universe is the Divine Play of God. We are God! We forget.
Bhagavad Gita, In the Light of Kashmir Shaivism, Chapters 1-6, revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo, edited by John Hughes; Universal Shaiva Fellowship, 2008.
The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Winthrop Sargeant; State University of New York Press, 1994.
SPANDA-KARIKAS, The Divine Creative Pulsation, translated into English by Jaideva Singh; Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi, 1980. 2005.
Vijnana Bhairava, The Manual for Self Realization, Revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo, edited by John Hughes; Universal Shaiva Fellowship, 2007.