Shiva Sutras 3.18 & 3.19 – One Collective Sound

Shiva Sutra 3.18

Vidya ‘vinashe janmavinashah

When we fully realize our own innate God consciousness, we never have to return to the repeating cycles of birth and death. “When this pure knowledge of consciousness is established in continuity, the birth (janma) is gone forever. [SLJ]”

As we learn to remain in our own higher consciousness and be the observer of our thoughts and acts, we become liberated from all birth that inevitably leads to death. The cause of birth is said to be, “Action attached with ignorance… [SLJ]”

It is only when we have wrongly identified with the ego that we remain enmeshed and tied in the webs of our self-created temporal illusory holograms. Thinking that we are the body, the five senses and the mind gives us the false idea that we are separate from the One, and at the mercy of differentiated perception.

Enlightened yogis perform actions without attachment. The steadfast yogi, the knower of truth, thinks ‘I do not do anything!’ [Bhagavad Gita V.8]. Actions without attachment do not bind us in illusion. Thus we liberate our Souls from birth and death.


Shiva Sutra 3.19

Kavargadisu maheshvaryadyah pashumatarah

For most yogis, the journey Home is a series of reversals. Just as the Oneness is forever expanding and contracting, moving out as the manifested universe and returning within through periodic dissolutions; so we experience feeling united in and with our God consciousness, and then falling back into our self-created states of delusion and differentiated perception.

There are moments, perhaps days of total emersion in God consciousness; and yet if we lose our focused awareness, we can ‘fall’ again into ignorance. When we allow this to happen, the very forces that have moved us toward enlightenment will again turn into Maya’s powers of illusion and hold onto our consciousness with a vengeance.

Swami Lakshmanjoo: “… if, through negligence, the yogi who has already perceived his own nature allows his awareness to ebb, then he become the object of those mothers of beasts (pashu-matarah).” They ‘play’ with him, meaning they push him into greater delusion.

The Sanskrit texts often refer to ignorant human beings as beasts. While this may feel a bit harshly derisive, the term ‘sheeple’ has become common in the west to describe the herd of humanity who are easily controlled and manipulated because they have interest no in becoming intelligently aware of current social, economic, and political realities.

This idea of man being a ‘beast’ is found in the one of the primary Upanishads, the Brihadaranyaka. I have quoted this passage at the top of my website for many years now. Its meaning has deepened for me over time - and I now understand that the ‘gods’ are my own sense organs, the five senses and the mind, etc. The purpose of the sense organs is to bind our consciousness in this manifested differentiated universe. Brahman is another Sanskrit word for the Oneness, God consciousness, Parabhairava.

“And to this day, [those] who...know the self as I am Brahman [the Oneness], become all this universe. Even the gods [our own sense organs] cannot prevent his becoming this, for he has become their Self. ...if a man worships another deity thinking: He is one and I am another, he  does not know. He [who does not know] is like a sacrificial animal to the gods. As many animals serve a man, so does each man serve the gods. Even if one animal is taken away, it causes anguish to the owner; how much more so when many are taken away! Therefore it is not pleasing to the gods that men should know this [that they are the Oneness].” – Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, I.iv.10


How does the Oneness manage to bind Itself into limited and differentiated forms? People who are ignorant of their own God consciousness are called ‘beasts’ (pashu). What are the ‘mothers of beasts’ in this sutra? How do our sense organs keep us bound in ignorance?

The answer is sound, which begins as transcendent sound. The supreme energy Shakti, which is always one with the Oneness, and “which is the supreme transcendental speech (Paravak), descends to the field of the universe, she first becomes will (iccha), then knowledge (jnana) and then action (kriya). [SLJ]”

Shakti becomes letters, the vowels and consonants that make up words, and the words that make up sentences. What we think and say, and our investment in the reality of and attachment to what we think and say, actually does serve to bind us in our own self-created illusory webs. The spoken word is sound.

While many of us might consider how we speak in order to improve communication with others and the results thereby achieved - most of us never think about what we say.  However, the understanding given here by Swami Lakshmanjoo is on another and far deeper level.

This is my understanding of what he is saying in his explanation of this sutra: In God consciousness, we are in a state of awareness that receives and perceives sound – letters, words, and sentences – as the fusion, amalgam, and equilibrium of all frequency waveforms of the One. This awareness of the One within each and every frequency of the spectrum of sound liberates us from reacting to what is ‘said’ in ways that would drag us back into duality.

We understand that on the deepest level, all words are the sounds of the emanations of God consciousness. This awareness keeps us away from the pernicious ‘delusion-thicket’ snare of making judgments – this is good, this is bad. Everything is God. Words lose their power to trigger reactions that bind us back down into polarity and differentiated perception.

“To derive meaning, you have to attach your individual consciousness. When individual consciousness is not attached to these letters, words, and sentences, then you will become one with Lord Shiva (God consciousness, the Oneness). [SLJ]”

The example of two reactions to a simple sentence is given. If someone says, ‘Get a bucket of water’ you can “observe this is only the flow of consciousness in its own nature. The word ‘get’ will have no meaning. It is only the letters g-e-t and nothing else. There is no meaning in the separate letters. To derive meaning, you have to attach your individual consciousness. [SLJ]” This is possible for yogis who have transcended the power that these sounds, as letters and words, have over their consciousness.

The second reaction is one we would consider more ‘normal’ and is seen as the reaction of the ignorant. “For those ignorant people, those beasts, these letters, words and sentences pierce their minds…[SLJ]” Our senses and mind are pierced, penetrated and conquered by these sounds, which cause conditioned and conditioning reactions of various emotions, happy and sad.

The ignorant are like ‘beasts’ and react in predictable, conditioned, habitual, and compulsive behavior patterns. We have all observed these patterns in our own behavior. The enlightened yogi has the awareness to perceive the sound of letters-words-sentences as being Divine, the Oneness - all sounds are God consciousness. The yogi is no longer ‘played’ by these. These ‘mothers of beasts’ no longer has any power over such a yogi.

Jaideva Singh summarizes this sutra thus: “…even if a person has realized the truth, he is, if he happens to be heedless, deluded by…deities (the sense organs – ‘the mothers of beasts’) governing the limited individuals by means of the application of words that influence his mind.”

There are eight mothers of beasts: the five senses, the mind (manas), intellect (buddhi), and limited ego (ahamkara).

“In the center of the subtle opening in the crown of the head (brahmarandhra) is situated the supreme energy (Shakti) of Lord Shiva, (she is) the Divine Mother, surrounded by the eight mothers of beasts. In their hands, they hold the noose, which entangle and bind one with limitation, keeping one from the unlimited state. These supreme terrible (mahaghora) shaktis create disturbance and ignorance again and again, and are very difficult to conquer.” [SLJ - Timirodghata Tantra]



One collective sound - the Vijnana Bhairava - Verse 41

In these sounds [of stringed instruments] you will find separate sounds, but if you go into the depth of this hearing, you will see that collectively one sound is proceeding from the instrument, one collective sound.


This can be heard by anyone [but] only the man with awareness can rise with the sound.


It can be heard by anybody, but you have to maintain that awareness.


And that collective sound is continuous, without any successive movement.


It is continuous, without breakage, although it is successively put down [sounded], because the player puts that finger successively on those strings.


The one who is one-pointed on that one collective sound, after contemplating on that collective sound, in the end, he becomes one with the supreme ether of consciousness.



Swami Lakshmanjoo



VIJNANA BHAIRAVA, The Manual for Self Realization, Revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo, Edited by John Hughes; Universal Shaiva Fellowship, 2007.

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.

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