The present edition of the Spandakarikas with the Nirnaya
of Ksmemaraja is based on the collation of the following
A : Belonging to this office Library. Contains 37 leaves written in exquisite Sarada characters. Each page of it contains 16 lines. It is a transcript of some old manuscript, written on new Kashmiri paper and is on the whole incorrect.
B : Belong to Pandit Rajanaka Mahesvara of this department. Consists of 40 leaves, is written is Sarada characters on new Kashmiri paper about fifty years old and is generally correct. Unfortunately, it runs only up to the 25th Karika. Despite this defect, it has proved a valuable guide in the preparation of the present edition. .
C : A transcript kindly got prepared, at the request of the Research Department, by the Curator, Government Oriental Manuscripts Library, Egmore, Madras, of about 54 pages, without beginning and wanting in the commentary on the 13th stanza of the 3rd section. .
I have here to express my thanks to the Curator, Government Oriental Manuscripts Library, Madras, through whose kindness I secured a copy of the complete work in his possession, and to Pandit Mahesvara Rajdan, Pandit of my office, as also to those of my subordinates who helped me every now and then with their suggestions in preparing the present volume of the Kashmir Sanskrit Series.
Ever since the beginning of the Christian era until, more or less definitely, the close of the seventh century, the valley of Kashmir remained in close contact with the Buddhists. They carried on their proselytizing propaganda successfully and the whole of Kashmir came under their sway.
Teachers like Dignaga and Dharmakirti appealed most to the minds of the people and consequently the belief of the populace in the tenets of the Saivaism received a great shock. The voice of the Saivaistic teachers of this period was feeble in comparison with that of the Buddhists. The former busied themselves with the work of giving the coloring of the Dualistic Saivaism to the extant Saivagamas. The present Idealistic monism was unknown of less heard and spoken of. It was in the 8th century that Vasugupta was born and studied the Saivagamas from the standpoint of the Idealistic Monism. The power of augmenting was so strong in the Buddhist philosophers that even he felt in a fix to meet them and come out triumphant in creedal controversies.
Some of the Buddhist teachers, headed by Ngabodhi, engaged him in a wordy warfare of discussions. When all his intellectual resources failed him to gain victory over Bodhi, he tried to seek divine help and implored the favor of Siva. To him, He appeared in a dream and instructed him to repair to the Mahãdeva mountain, where he could find the Sivasütras engraved on the rock. Thus, receiving the holy command, Vasugupta hurried to the spot and great was his joy when he found them there. The Sutras were copied and published by him.
Arrangement of the Karikas
Ksemaraja in his own recension of the Karikas follows
partially the same order and division as was adopted by
Ramakantha. The Karikas, numbering in all fifty, are arranged
into three chapters and each chapter is called Nissyanda, i.e.,
vibration. The first vibration goes by the name of the vitality in
real nature, the second by the energy in the rise of intuition and
the third by the energy in and of glory. The last section, though
called Nissyanda, does not form part of the main body of the
book and is a mere panegyric on the author's spiritual teacher
and the author.
What does spanda really mean
The author himself undertakes to discuss what spanda
really stands for by both positive and negative lines of description.
Positively the describes it as that power of consciousness
which infuses life into the physical senses, otherwise appearing
insentient. The realisation of that power is within an easy reach
to him who watches and observes clearly his own free conscious
nature. This mode of exertion is according to the Saivaistika
terminology known as 'Bhairava.' The same power of spanda,
while animating the senses, is aptly described as causing creation
existence and dissolution. Every phenomenon in the life-history
of the animate nature is brought into existence, maintained and
lastly put to an end by the same power. The realisation of that
state places one above the fears of creative and destructive forces
that bring about changes in everything whether animate or
Negatively it means a state wherein no pain, no pleasure,
no perceptible exists. It is said that an object when sensed
represents nothing more than its consciousness, viz. apart from
consciousness it has no basis. For fuller treatment of this point
the attention of the reader is drawn to pages 62-63.
The objection how an individual soul, regarded identical
with that principle, experiences the limitation in his powers, is
best replied by the author when he says that it is his free will
that makes him appear as limited in his glory. When, on the
other hand, the individual soul, out of his own free will, identifies
him self with that radical principle of universal consciousness,
all his chains drop down and his original glory returns to him,
The embodied soul, though in reality identical with that
principle of universal conscious energy, does not appear as such,
owing to the three self-imposed limitations known as Anava,
Mayiya and Karma. These defilements circumscribe his powers
of desire, knowledge and activity. When, through persistent
introspection and the right mode of approaching things external,
these impurities are over, there shines forth that supreme state
wherein there is perfect bliss, perfect knowledge and perfect
The supreme state is not, as some blindly suppose, a kind
of vacuum, but it is rather an inexhaustible store-house of
complete knowledge and complete activity. As an ever-present
perceptivity spanda principle can never assume the state of being
The spanda principle itself appears in the subject-object
relation. When identical with light, it appears in the subjective
aspect and, when identical with the manifest action, it assumes
the form of the object. Consequently, the whole world whether
subjective of objective, being the manifestation of that one
principle, is always known to him who realises the essence of
that principle. For that principle constitutes both the subject
and the object the only two logical constituents of the Universe.
The author enumerates several emotional moods in which,
as a consequence of one's attentive frame of mind, the spanda
principle is well realised.
Original Tantric Texts (18)
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