Kashmir Shaivism's 15 Verses of Wisdom
Fifteen Verses of Wisdom (bodhapancadasika) by
Abhinavagupta, the great master of all aspects of Kashmir
These fifteen verses provide a brief exposition, and capture the essence, of the doctrine of Kashmir Shaivism.
Fifteen (15) verses of Wisdom
1. The brilliance of the One Being's light does not vanish in external light or in darkness because all light and darkness resides in the supreme light of God Consciousness.
2. This Being is called Lord Siva. He is the nature and
existence of all beings. The external objective world is
the expansion of His Energy and it is filled with the
glamour of the glory of God Consciousness.
3. Siva and Sakti are not aware that they are separate.
They are interconnected just as fire is one with heat.
4. He is the God Bhairava. He creates, protects, destroys,
conceals, and reveals His nature through the cycle of
this world. This whole universe is created by God in His
own nature, just as one finds the reflection of the world
in a mirror.
5. The collective state of the universe is His supreme
Energy (Sakti), which He created in order to recognize
His own nature. This (Sakti), who is the embodiment of
the collective state of the universe, loves possessing the
state of God Consciousness. She is in the state of ignorance, remaining perfectly complete and full in each
and every object.
6. The supreme Lord Siva, who is all-pervasive and fond
of playing and falling, together with the Energy of His
own nature simultaneously brings about the varieties
of creation and destruction.
7. This supreme action cannot be accomplished by any
other power in this universe except Lord 'Siva, who is
completely independent, perfectly glorious and intelligent.
8. The limited state of consciousness is insentient and
cannot simultaneously expand itself to become the various forms of the universe. The possessor of independence is absolutely different from that insentient state
of consciousness. You cannot, therefore, recognize Him
in only one way. The moment you recognize Him in one
way you will also recognize Him in the other way.
9. This Lord Siva, who is completely independent
(svatantra), has the diversity of creation and destruction existing in His own nature. And, at the same time,
this diversity is found existing in its own way as the
field of ignorance.
10. In this world you will find varieties of creation and
destruction, some of which are created in the upper
cycle, some of which are created below, and some of
which are even created sideways. Attached to these
worlds smaller portions of worlds are created. Pain,
pleasure, and intellectual power are created according
to the status of being. This is the world.
11. If you do not understand that there is actually no
span of time, this misunderstanding is also the independence (svatantrya) of Lord Siva. This misunderstanding results in worldly existence (samsara). And
those who are ignorant are terrified by worldly existence.
12. & 13. When, because the grace of Lord Siva is showered upon you, or due to the teachings or
vibrating force of your Master, or through
understanding the scriptures concerned with
Supreme Siva, you attain the real knowledge
of reality, that is the existent state of Lord Siva,
and that is final liberation. This fullness is
achieved by elevated souls and is called liberation in this life (jivanmukti).
14. These two cycles, bondage and liberation, are the play of
Lord Siva and nothing else. They are not separate from
Lord Siva because differentiated states have not risen at
all. In reality, nothing has happened to Lord Siva.
15. In this way the Lord, Bhairava, the essence of all being,
has held in His own way in His own nature, the three
great energies: the energy of will (iccha-sakti), the
energy of action (kriya-sakti), and the energy of knowledge (jnana-sakti). These three energies are just like
that trident which is the three-fold lotus. And seated
on this lotus is Lord Bhairava, who is the nature of the
whole universe of 118 worlds.
16. I, Abhinavagupta, have written and revealed these
verses for some of my dear disciples who have very little intellectual understanding. For those disciples,
who are deeply devoted to me, I have composed these
fifteen verses just to elevate them instantaneously.
Source: Self Realization in Kashmir Shaivism by John Hughes pp. 21-34; State University of New York Press