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Books > Yoga > Finding the Hidden Self: A Study of the Siva Sutras
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Finding the Hidden Self: A Study of the Siva Sutras
Finding the Hidden Self: A Study of the Siva Sutras
Description
About the Author

Roger WOrthington PH.D. Studied Eastern Philosophy for nearly thirty years adn specializes in classical Indian Philosophy in Particular the philosophy of Yoga. he has a master's degree from Keele University in England and a Doctorate in philosophy from the State university of New York at Buffalo.

Acknowledgments

I was first drawn to begin studying the Siva Sütras in the late 1980s, and in the course of doing a new translation and writing this commentary I received help, advice and encouragement from several kind and learned people. The first was Jeanine Miller, a friend and an accomplished Vedic scholar, who provided the impetus to begin writing this book, as well as the great benefit of her wisdom. I also thank two distinguished teachers, Sri Mathoor Krishnarnurti (now Executive Director of Bharatiya Vidya Bbavan, Bangalore) and Sri B. B. Konnur (Paiduranga), for their kindness and support.

While this book is not written as a work of comparative ii1osophy, it deals with a set of ideas that are attracting comment in the West, albeit from a different perspective. The Eastern spiritual tradition is very rich, and I believe it has much o offer students of philosophy, especially on this question of consciousness. The original sutras are less well known than her ancient Indian texts, and few editions as yet have Leared in English. I am familiar with four in total—one by Srinivasa Iyengar, senalized between 1907 and 1909, another by I. K. Taiinni, published in 1976, and a third by Jaideva Singh, which appeared in 1979, all of which originated in India.

Finally, there is the translation by Mark Dyczowski, 1992 (USA), which is primarily a translation of Bhaskara’s commentary, the Värttika. This work adds greatly to the scholarship attaching to Kamiri Saivism.

When I came to the U.S. in 1998 I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet Sri Rajmani Tigunait, pandit, and spiritual director of the Himalayan International Institute, and the Institute has honored me m accepting this work for publication. I hope he readers will share my love of this text, and will gain something, not just from my labors in writing and translating, but from the labors of all those who have helped to make this project come to fruition.

Introduction

An attempt has been made in this book to uncover some of the mysteries contained in the verses, or slokas, known as the Siva Sütras. This book started from a deep spirit of inquiry into the nature of mind and consciousness, and while the translation from the Sanskrit is as accurate as possible, the main emphasis has been placed on the underlying philosophy. Many Western philosophers have searched hard for the elusive entity called consciousness, but nowhere has it been captured better than in these sutras, which simply speak of how things are, and not of suppositions. There is little intellectual, speculative thinking in classical Indian philosophy, because it stems from the realm of direct experience. But such experience is what in the West would be called “intuitive,” and as such it is partly outside of normal, everyday conscious activity. Hence these sütras may require a certain act of faith on the part of the reader, but such faith should not be blind, and it is my hope that the reader will recognize the profound nature of this text and increasingly realize the living truth contained within it. I have tried to preserve the inner qualities of the original, while making it accessible to present-day English-speaking readers.

The verses are a good subject for meditation, and can perhaps best be understood in this way. Some readers will be familiar with other literature on the philosophy of yoga composed in the form of sutras, such as the Yoga Sütras of Patanjali. These can serve as a useful preparation or supplement to the Siva Sütras, and it is necessary from the beginning to understand the essential characteristics of this aphoristic form of teaching. A sutra is a condensed verse, and is usually an incomplete sentence. The text is composed of sütras strung one after another after another. The main reason for this compositional technique is that short phrases are easier to remember. These aphorisms are part of the oral tradition of spiritual teaching, whereby knowledge has been passed on from guru to disciple—sometimes for thousands of years—without the need for writing. Aphorisms are not verses in the normal literary sense, but are phrases which encapsulate an idea or a particular aspect of a teaching. The teacher is then expected to elaborate and comment on the text as part of the method of instruction.

Translating aphorisms is therefore a process of reconstruction, requiring knowledge not merely of the language but of the underlying teaching. This reconstruction can lead to variations of interpretation; hence it is necessary always to supply the original Sanskrit lokas or sutras. Sloka is the more general term, and can be used to refer to any sacred verse or hymn. The word sütra literally means “thread”: sütras are threads of words that are woven together to clothe a living body of thought that is itself a conceptual image of an underlying spiritual reality that is beyond words.

The Siva Sütras describe the creative principle which is behind the whole manifested universe, in relation to the evolving nature of human consciousness. The origin of the Sütras is mysterious; legend has it that they were discovered engraved on a large tablet of stone by Vasugupta, on the Mahadeva Mountain (Mount Kailas) in Kamfr. Vasugupta was said to have been guided by Lord iva in a dream to the spot where the stone lay, and these Sütras are regarded by many as a divine revelation. They constitute one of the two main texts of Kamiri aivism. (The other main text is the Pratya-bhijna-hrdaya [The Secret of Self-Realization].) aivism, which is the practice of devotion to the Lord iva, is an ancient practice and is part of the Hindu tradition. iva is worshipped as the Supreme Being, and is here revered as the creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe. However, in other Hindu texts Brabma and Visnu are given the roles of creator and preserver, respectively.

Siva has countless manifestations, and accordingly, in Vedic and post-Vedic literature siva is referred to by many different names, of which 108 are most sacred and used in daily prayers of devotion. (Over a thousand names for Siva are given in the Linga Purãas, although these are of later origin.) It is important to remember that Lord iva is primarily worshipped through mantra. The best-known mantra, “Om namah Sivayal,” or pancakari (“the five-syllabled mantra”), is recited by the devotee countless times, in the conviction that by the japa (constant repetition) of a mantra its power is increased.

In Saivite literature Siva and his consort appear in different forms and are known by different names. For readers without a knowledge of Hindu mythology this may be confusing, and the aim here has been to strive for simplicity, in relation to both the text and the commentary. The siva Sütras are central to the Saivite religion, but it is not within the compass of this work to delve into the symbolism and mythology. siva,Isvara and Mahevara are essentially different names for one and the same being. While Parvati is one of many names given to the consort of Siva, reference is made in this work only to Sakti, whose power is synonymous with the universal Divine Mother.

The Lord siva is worshipped by all Hindus, and the tradition of revering this aspect of the deity reaches back to before the beginning of recorded history. Vasugupta founded the first major school of Saivite philosophy in the mid-ninth century A.D. Kemaraja, a pupil of Abhinavagupta (an eleventh-century Saivite scholar and philosopher), was writing somewhat later. Kemaraja was the author of the Pratya-bhijna-hrdaya, and wrote a commentary on the Siva Sütras known as the Sivasütravimarsini. This commentary is familiar to devotees, and has been an authoritative commentary ever since it was first written, roughly a thousand years ago.

The history of the Sütras is really not so important as their contents: that is, their insights into the nature of mind and consciousness. 1 The vastness of scope and the profundity of the Sütras is awe-inspiring, and encompasses the whole of the creative energy that manifests in every form in the universe.

The Siva Sütras are divided into three parts, or “books.” Book One, Sãmbhavopãya, which comprises 22 sutras, has been said to correspond with the jnana-yoga of the Bhagavad Gitã. It concerns the supreme divine state, or the creative spirit of the universe, which is present in every being. It describes the way towards realization of the Divine, and towards the realization of Sakti, or that power of the Divine which is within. Some commentators consider it the most important part of the teaching, as it deals with the successive states of consciousness and with the nature of atma itself.

Book Two, Sãktopãya, which comprises only 10 sutras, is concerned with mantra-yoga. It relates to the supreme divine powers, of which mantra is an outward expression. These powers are derived from the union of citta and and sound (in its purest form) is employed as the vehicle of expression.

Book Three, Anavopãya, is the largest in terms of size and scope, and comprises 45 sutras. It describes the philosophy and understanding behind astanga-yoga (“eight-limbed yoga”); it concerns itself with the nature of the Divine Consciousness and with the constituent elements of the universe. In samädhi (a state of absorption and bliss) these elements are transformed as the yogi enters the higher states of consciousness. Turiya (the fourth state of consciousness, beyond waking, dreaming and sleeping) acts as the vehicle or mode of transformation.

The Siva Sütras are unquestionably demanding, containing is they do a comprehensive spiritual realization in a most compact form. But it is hoped that the reader who greets this challenge will find the experience deeply rewarding.

Back of the Book

Western philosophers have searched hard for the elusive entity called consciousness, but nowhere has it been captured better than in the Siva Sutras. These Sutras describe the creative principle behind the universe and how it manifests in human consciousness.

The origin of the Sutras is mysterious; legend has it that the sage Vasugupta discovered them engraved on a large stone tablet on Mount Kailas in Kasmir. Lord Siva, the creator ,preserver, and destroyer of the universe, guided Vasugupta to the tablet in a dream, and the Siva Sutras are regarded by some as divine revelation.

The Siva Sutras are unquestionably demanding, containing as they do an exposition of spiritual philosophy in a most compact form. The reader who accepts the challenge will be richly rewarded.

“ A new translation of the Shiva Sutras, one of the greatest of Sanskrit texts, is welcome ……Roger Worthington has succeeded in getting into the spirit of the meaning enshrined in the aphorisms. His translation will provide a sure guidance to those who wish to penetrate into the sacred precincts to the eternal gnosis as preserved in Hindu texts.”

Contents

Acknowledgments ix
The Spelling and Pronunciation of Sanskrit Letters and Wordsxi
Introduction 1
Book One Sambhavopaya: The Realization of Siva 7
Book Two Saktopaya: The Realization of Sakti 41
Book Three Anavopaya: The Realization of the Atmic Energy of the Supreme Being 59
Bibliography 115
Glossary 117
Index 123
About the Author 125

Finding the Hidden Self: A Study of the Siva Sutras

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2002
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About the Author

Roger WOrthington PH.D. Studied Eastern Philosophy for nearly thirty years adn specializes in classical Indian Philosophy in Particular the philosophy of Yoga. he has a master's degree from Keele University in England and a Doctorate in philosophy from the State university of New York at Buffalo.

Acknowledgments

I was first drawn to begin studying the Siva Sütras in the late 1980s, and in the course of doing a new translation and writing this commentary I received help, advice and encouragement from several kind and learned people. The first was Jeanine Miller, a friend and an accomplished Vedic scholar, who provided the impetus to begin writing this book, as well as the great benefit of her wisdom. I also thank two distinguished teachers, Sri Mathoor Krishnarnurti (now Executive Director of Bharatiya Vidya Bbavan, Bangalore) and Sri B. B. Konnur (Paiduranga), for their kindness and support.

While this book is not written as a work of comparative ii1osophy, it deals with a set of ideas that are attracting comment in the West, albeit from a different perspective. The Eastern spiritual tradition is very rich, and I believe it has much o offer students of philosophy, especially on this question of consciousness. The original sutras are less well known than her ancient Indian texts, and few editions as yet have Leared in English. I am familiar with four in total—one by Srinivasa Iyengar, senalized between 1907 and 1909, another by I. K. Taiinni, published in 1976, and a third by Jaideva Singh, which appeared in 1979, all of which originated in India.

Finally, there is the translation by Mark Dyczowski, 1992 (USA), which is primarily a translation of Bhaskara’s commentary, the Värttika. This work adds greatly to the scholarship attaching to Kamiri Saivism.

When I came to the U.S. in 1998 I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet Sri Rajmani Tigunait, pandit, and spiritual director of the Himalayan International Institute, and the Institute has honored me m accepting this work for publication. I hope he readers will share my love of this text, and will gain something, not just from my labors in writing and translating, but from the labors of all those who have helped to make this project come to fruition.

Introduction

An attempt has been made in this book to uncover some of the mysteries contained in the verses, or slokas, known as the Siva Sütras. This book started from a deep spirit of inquiry into the nature of mind and consciousness, and while the translation from the Sanskrit is as accurate as possible, the main emphasis has been placed on the underlying philosophy. Many Western philosophers have searched hard for the elusive entity called consciousness, but nowhere has it been captured better than in these sutras, which simply speak of how things are, and not of suppositions. There is little intellectual, speculative thinking in classical Indian philosophy, because it stems from the realm of direct experience. But such experience is what in the West would be called “intuitive,” and as such it is partly outside of normal, everyday conscious activity. Hence these sütras may require a certain act of faith on the part of the reader, but such faith should not be blind, and it is my hope that the reader will recognize the profound nature of this text and increasingly realize the living truth contained within it. I have tried to preserve the inner qualities of the original, while making it accessible to present-day English-speaking readers.

The verses are a good subject for meditation, and can perhaps best be understood in this way. Some readers will be familiar with other literature on the philosophy of yoga composed in the form of sutras, such as the Yoga Sütras of Patanjali. These can serve as a useful preparation or supplement to the Siva Sütras, and it is necessary from the beginning to understand the essential characteristics of this aphoristic form of teaching. A sutra is a condensed verse, and is usually an incomplete sentence. The text is composed of sütras strung one after another after another. The main reason for this compositional technique is that short phrases are easier to remember. These aphorisms are part of the oral tradition of spiritual teaching, whereby knowledge has been passed on from guru to disciple—sometimes for thousands of years—without the need for writing. Aphorisms are not verses in the normal literary sense, but are phrases which encapsulate an idea or a particular aspect of a teaching. The teacher is then expected to elaborate and comment on the text as part of the method of instruction.

Translating aphorisms is therefore a process of reconstruction, requiring knowledge not merely of the language but of the underlying teaching. This reconstruction can lead to variations of interpretation; hence it is necessary always to supply the original Sanskrit lokas or sutras. Sloka is the more general term, and can be used to refer to any sacred verse or hymn. The word sütra literally means “thread”: sütras are threads of words that are woven together to clothe a living body of thought that is itself a conceptual image of an underlying spiritual reality that is beyond words.

The Siva Sütras describe the creative principle which is behind the whole manifested universe, in relation to the evolving nature of human consciousness. The origin of the Sütras is mysterious; legend has it that they were discovered engraved on a large tablet of stone by Vasugupta, on the Mahadeva Mountain (Mount Kailas) in Kamfr. Vasugupta was said to have been guided by Lord iva in a dream to the spot where the stone lay, and these Sütras are regarded by many as a divine revelation. They constitute one of the two main texts of Kamiri aivism. (The other main text is the Pratya-bhijna-hrdaya [The Secret of Self-Realization].) aivism, which is the practice of devotion to the Lord iva, is an ancient practice and is part of the Hindu tradition. iva is worshipped as the Supreme Being, and is here revered as the creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe. However, in other Hindu texts Brabma and Visnu are given the roles of creator and preserver, respectively.

Siva has countless manifestations, and accordingly, in Vedic and post-Vedic literature siva is referred to by many different names, of which 108 are most sacred and used in daily prayers of devotion. (Over a thousand names for Siva are given in the Linga Purãas, although these are of later origin.) It is important to remember that Lord iva is primarily worshipped through mantra. The best-known mantra, “Om namah Sivayal,” or pancakari (“the five-syllabled mantra”), is recited by the devotee countless times, in the conviction that by the japa (constant repetition) of a mantra its power is increased.

In Saivite literature Siva and his consort appear in different forms and are known by different names. For readers without a knowledge of Hindu mythology this may be confusing, and the aim here has been to strive for simplicity, in relation to both the text and the commentary. The siva Sütras are central to the Saivite religion, but it is not within the compass of this work to delve into the symbolism and mythology. siva,Isvara and Mahevara are essentially different names for one and the same being. While Parvati is one of many names given to the consort of Siva, reference is made in this work only to Sakti, whose power is synonymous with the universal Divine Mother.

The Lord siva is worshipped by all Hindus, and the tradition of revering this aspect of the deity reaches back to before the beginning of recorded history. Vasugupta founded the first major school of Saivite philosophy in the mid-ninth century A.D. Kemaraja, a pupil of Abhinavagupta (an eleventh-century Saivite scholar and philosopher), was writing somewhat later. Kemaraja was the author of the Pratya-bhijna-hrdaya, and wrote a commentary on the Siva Sütras known as the Sivasütravimarsini. This commentary is familiar to devotees, and has been an authoritative commentary ever since it was first written, roughly a thousand years ago.

The history of the Sütras is really not so important as their contents: that is, their insights into the nature of mind and consciousness. 1 The vastness of scope and the profundity of the Sütras is awe-inspiring, and encompasses the whole of the creative energy that manifests in every form in the universe.

The Siva Sütras are divided into three parts, or “books.” Book One, Sãmbhavopãya, which comprises 22 sutras, has been said to correspond with the jnana-yoga of the Bhagavad Gitã. It concerns the supreme divine state, or the creative spirit of the universe, which is present in every being. It describes the way towards realization of the Divine, and towards the realization of Sakti, or that power of the Divine which is within. Some commentators consider it the most important part of the teaching, as it deals with the successive states of consciousness and with the nature of atma itself.

Book Two, Sãktopãya, which comprises only 10 sutras, is concerned with mantra-yoga. It relates to the supreme divine powers, of which mantra is an outward expression. These powers are derived from the union of citta and and sound (in its purest form) is employed as the vehicle of expression.

Book Three, Anavopãya, is the largest in terms of size and scope, and comprises 45 sutras. It describes the philosophy and understanding behind astanga-yoga (“eight-limbed yoga”); it concerns itself with the nature of the Divine Consciousness and with the constituent elements of the universe. In samädhi (a state of absorption and bliss) these elements are transformed as the yogi enters the higher states of consciousness. Turiya (the fourth state of consciousness, beyond waking, dreaming and sleeping) acts as the vehicle or mode of transformation.

The Siva Sütras are unquestionably demanding, containing is they do a comprehensive spiritual realization in a most compact form. But it is hoped that the reader who greets this challenge will find the experience deeply rewarding.

Back of the Book

Western philosophers have searched hard for the elusive entity called consciousness, but nowhere has it been captured better than in the Siva Sutras. These Sutras describe the creative principle behind the universe and how it manifests in human consciousness.

The origin of the Sutras is mysterious; legend has it that the sage Vasugupta discovered them engraved on a large stone tablet on Mount Kailas in Kasmir. Lord Siva, the creator ,preserver, and destroyer of the universe, guided Vasugupta to the tablet in a dream, and the Siva Sutras are regarded by some as divine revelation.

The Siva Sutras are unquestionably demanding, containing as they do an exposition of spiritual philosophy in a most compact form. The reader who accepts the challenge will be richly rewarded.

“ A new translation of the Shiva Sutras, one of the greatest of Sanskrit texts, is welcome ……Roger Worthington has succeeded in getting into the spirit of the meaning enshrined in the aphorisms. His translation will provide a sure guidance to those who wish to penetrate into the sacred precincts to the eternal gnosis as preserved in Hindu texts.”

Contents

Acknowledgments ix
The Spelling and Pronunciation of Sanskrit Letters and Wordsxi
Introduction 1
Book One Sambhavopaya: The Realization of Siva 7
Book Two Saktopaya: The Realization of Sakti 41
Book Three Anavopaya: The Realization of the Atmic Energy of the Supreme Being 59
Bibliography 115
Glossary 117
Index 123
About the Author 125
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