Monday, September 1, 2014

Nandikeshvara Kashika

Nandikeśvara kāśikā is the only surviving work of the great maharishi - Nandinatha (approx. 250 b.C.). It is one of the earliest independent works expounding the darshana of Shaiva Advaita. Here are some sutras from this text.

1. Compassionately willing to elevate the siddhas such as Sanaka and others and to install them in the highest plane of consciousness related to the transcendental sound, Lord Nataraja, the absolute and unparalleled Lord of cosmic dance, sounded the drum (held in His raised right hand) fourteen times at the ending phase of the dance. The transcendental sounds emanating from the drum assumed the form of fourteen aphorisms and came to be known as the collection of Shiva Sutras. Now I proceed to explain the core meaning of those fourteen sutras.

3. The Supreme Lord, who is eternally free from the association of three qualities, having entered the cosmic flux known as maya, through His Conscious Energy becomes all-pervasive, assumes the form of the worlds and governs them.

4. The letter a (अ) is the first and foremost of all the 51 letters; it is self-luminous in nature. Because of its total identity with the Supreme Lord, it shines forth as the Supreme Ishvara Himself. Upon the union of the first letter, a (अ), and the final letter, ha (ह), the word aham gets formed.

9. The letter a (अ) is of the nature of cogitability alone, being the unmanifest. The letter i (इ) denotes chitkala. Because of its pervasive nature, the letter u (उ) denotes Vishnu. That which is in the state of cogitability alone, having associated with chitkala, assuming a form for the sake of cosmic function, creates the worlds and enters into them by means of pervasive nature (Vishnu) and becomes cogitable as the Great Lord (Maheshvara).

10. The Supreme Lord of all, denoted by the letter ṛi (ऋ), being in union with Shivashakti, denoted by the letter lṛi (ऌ), whose form is of the nature of pure consciousness, enters maya, activates it slightly, creates the world of movables and immovables and makes them expand. He does all this solely and absolutely, being One.

11. Not even a slight difference can be seen between the moon and the moonlight and between a word and its meaning. So also, not even the slightest difference can be seen between the modifications and the One which sustains those modifications.

12. Through His own energy, known as Chit-Shakti, and through His own will, the Supreme Lord makes the entire range of worlds to unfold from the causal source known as maya. The knowers of the scriptures realize that the letter ṛi (ऋ), which denotes the Supreme Lord, and the letter lṛi (ऌ), which denotes Shakti, are the specific letters belonging to the category of neuter.

13. The letters e (ए), o (ओ) and ṅa (ङ) indicate the unified state of maya and Ishvara. This kind of unification is seen in all the existents. Since He is the witness-consciousness for all the manifested things, it is ascertained that the Supreme Lord is solely One only, having nothing apart from His own existence.

16. What is known as space evolves from ha (ह). Air evolves from ya (य). Fire evolves from ra (र). Water evolves from va (व). Thus declares the exalted King of Sivayoga through His Agamas.

18. The five subtle elements from which the gross elements arise - namely, sound, touch, form, taste and smell - evolve from the five letters ña (ञ), ma (म), ṅa (ङ), ṇa (ण) and na (न). Sound, touch, form, taste and smell are respectively the qualities of space, air, fire, water and earth. The presence of these five elements is to be realized in all the existents.

21. It has been declared that for all embodied beings, the five organs of knowledge—namely ear, skin, eye, nose and tongue - evolve from the five letters ja (ज), ba (ब), ga (ग), ḍa (ड) and da (द) respectively.

25. The Great Ishvara, the Absolute Lord of the universe, having well associated Himself with the three qualities - sattva, rajas and tamas - which evolve prior to the creation of the worlds, constantly plays, presenting Himself in each embodied being. The three qualities - sattva, rajas and tamas - evolve from the three letters śa (श), sha (ष) and sa (स).

27. Lord Shiva is beyond all these tattvas whose evolution has been told so far. He is the Supreme One. He is the sole witness of all beings and their actions. He assumes a form fit enough to bestow His abounding grace on all beings. “I am the Self of all, and I am one with the supreme letter ha (ह).” Having imparted this final message, Lord Nataraja concealed Himself from the vision of the sages. Thus ends the Nandikeshvara Kashika.


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