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Shiva Sutras 3.17 & 3.18 - Consciousness Congeals in the Shape of Time & Space

Shiva Sutra 3.17

Svamatra-nirmanam apadayati

Svamatra means “the essence of consciousness that coagulates, i.e. that creates. [Jaideva Singh]” This universe, everything we experience via the five senses and the mind, is the coagulated energy of the Oneness. When you look out at the external, whatever is around you in your room, driving in a car, or walking up a mountain trail – everything you perceive, see, hear, smell, touch, and taste, are the temporal forms of God’s coagulated energy and consciousness.

“Beneath the curtain of each atom lies concealed the life increasing Beauty of the face of the Beloved.” [Mahmud Shabistari] Objects are coagulated consciousness. “Objects are determined by Consciousness. [JDS]”

The cosmic ‘stuff’ that underlies the forms that appear solid is compared to water - and all that appears solid is compared to snow as condensed and crystallized water. In Tantra it is said that for the one who “realizes what reality lies in water and its solidified formation snow, nothing remains undone in this world. [SLJ]”

In essence there is no difference between water and snow. Snow is coagulated frozen water. Another way of understanding this is to see the vast ocean. Waves are continually forming, cresting and subsiding on the ocean. In the same way, in the ocean of consciousness waves are forming the appearance of temporal solidity, cresting, crossing and interacting with other waves, and subsiding into stillness. The universe is eternally being created, sustained, and dissolved.

For the enlightened yogi who has become immersed in God consciousness, who has dived into that ocean of nectar, “he can create whatever he thinks, whatever he desires. [SLJ]” When we allow the God-within to emerge and we enter into that state of totally independent free will, then we become the ‘player’ in the material and the subtle worlds.

“When one’s own consciousness congeals in the shape of time and space, that is the measure for the creativity of consciousness. [SLJ]” You become one with space and time, therefore you create not from the external, objective universe, meaning the limited, the ‘thing’ side of the manifested material world. In the state of God consciousness, your “reality of being becomes this universe [SLJ]” and you create through subjective consciousness – the God-within.

Because the yogi experiences the objective world as the product, the creation of his subjective consciousness, he can create whatever is desired. [SLJ] The external world is the projection of all the desires of every being throughout the cycles of time. This world exists to fulfill our every desire. This is why the principle of desire KAMA is considered to be so powerful in the Sanskrit texts.

If we do not fulfill our desires in this life, we transmigrate to a body that will provide the abilities, talents, and circumstances to meet our requirements. The consciousness of most humans being is a veritable whirlwind of insatiable desire. Compelled by desire, we want a thing, power, money, or person - and after having achieved that, we move on to the next desire.

All desires have polarity consequences. The nature of Desire is its temporality. Our pleasure never lasts. Our victories simply do not endure. In the end, with the exception of wisdom, death robs us of everything we have gained. This is expressed in the Sanskrit words sukha-duhkha, meaning pleasure and pain, which are often written as one word. The ancient seers understood that one follows the other.

In the west, we have been taught to ignore this fact of reality. We have been conditioned to believe that we can ‘have it all.’ However the wise know the ultimate emptiness of being little more than a consumer. Unless we are programmed and entrained, people cannot be deluded and driven into buying the endless do-dahs, the gadgets and trinkets of conspicuous consumption. Things cannot make us happy. Perhaps this current cycle of desire is coming to its end.

The one who has understood that there is no difference between water and snow, between the appearance of the universe and the energies (shakti) of consciousness that form it, for that yogi “nothing remains undone in this world. This is his last birth. Liberated, while living (jivanmukta), he won’t again enter into the wheel of repeated births and deaths. [SLJ]”

Krishna asserts this same idea in the Bhagavad Gita VII.2: When Arjuna learns what Krishna is teaching him, when he has realized and understood the truth, then nothing remains to be known in this world. In other words, Becoming God consciousness is all there is to know! This universe is created solely for the purpose of concealing and revealing the Oneness, the ‘play’ of Parabhairava. “This whole universe has come into existence to carry you to God consciousness [SLJ].”  

Abhinavagupta expresses a similar thought in his Paramarthasara, verse 81, when he says that – ‘No other aim of life remains to be accomplished after the rise of satisfaction attained through the awareness and Realization of the Truth.’ [B.N. Pandit]


Shiva Sutra 3.18


“When knowledge of being is established in continuation, and is therefore permanent, then the reality of repeated births and death no longer exists, [SLJ]” We are free from samsara, free from the cycles of birth and death, and we no longer are pulled again and again through time, by the desires lodged in our subtle body, into incarnating in this universe.

For Its own ‘play’ and by Its absolute free will, the Oneness has veiled Itself in each of us, every man, woman and child. By our every thought and act, we have woven the webs of our temporal illusory hologram. We have wrapped our awareness in layers of delusion and buried our real nature, God consciousness, deeper and deeper in bewildering, meaningless conflict and confusion.

Just as a spider produces silk webs from its own body – the spinnerets on its abdomen - so do we project the ephemeral holograms of our own desires, anger and fear. No one does anything to us. Our every thought and act, moment by moment, has generated these self-created snares. Our lives are solely our responsibility. There are no victims. There is only Parabhairava concealed, waiting to be revealed.

We will not find what we are searching for in the external temporal universe. Whatever we gain will become tiresome. Our possessions and victories lose their glamour and inevitably become stale, boring. In the end, death takes our every fleeting attempt to grasp pleasure, safety, and comfort. The real Joy and Bliss lies within in the soul. Eventually everyone will turn inward Home, as we all weary of this sukha-duhkha pleasure-pain polarity world.

There will come a moment for all, when on the deepest levels of our being, each one will realize that the adventures of this world are cyclical, endlessly repeating up-down cycles. We have lost our God consciousness in the adventures offered by Time and Space where there is no lasting Peace. In the Bhagavad Gita IX.33, Krishna tells Arjuna: Having attained this unhappy unpleasant world which is impermanent and perishable – devote yourself to the God-within.

It is the grace of the God-within that brings us to this point of understanding. As Swami Lakshmanjoo says: “This whole universe has come into existence just to carry you to God consciousness.” When the goal has been achieved, permanently in continuity, there is nothing else to be done.

“For the one who has abandoned the world along with its diversity, including the perception of right and wrong, and who realizes that the blades of grass, leaves, rocks, both animate and inanimate from Shiva to the element earth (prithvi), all existent objects and nonexistent (imaginary) objects are one with Lord Shiva (the Oneness, Parabhairava). He (the enlightened yogi) is never born again into this world.” [Sri Kantha Shastra – SLJ]




Swami Lakshmanjoo



MAHMUD SHABISTARI: The Secret Garden, translated by John Pasha; The Octagon Press, London 1969.

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

The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Winthrop Sargeant; State University of New York Press, 1994.

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


Spider Spinneret Image