True Tantra

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Tantra quotes, texts

By Abhinavagupta

I pay my obeisance to Lord Shiva who is transcendent to the world and yet has got embodied in the form of the world. He is the eternally luminous divine Light, the Self and posessed of infinite Shakti. (1)

Yourself I am and conversely I am yourself. I am you yourself and not I. Where neither I nor you dwell, to Him I pay my obeisance. (2)

Inside the body I have always wished to discover you as the Self and yet neither you could be seen nor the Self. What rather was seen was you yourself. (3)

This last verse is very interesting. You look inside the body for the Self and the Supreme, but do not find it, rather you find your very own Self and find it to be unlocated since it is unmanifest.

It was rather you yourself who appeared to me, your devotee in the form of the world. Having envisioned you as my Self, I pay my obeisance to you. (4)

What is described here is a very high state. Misguided tantrics believe this means they can engage in the sensuality of enjoying the world since it is Shiva anyhow, but that is so wrong. You can only do so if you have reached the exalted state of unity consciousness, but not before; that is, if you want any spiritual benefit from it. So many tantrics today (most of them) take verses like this to legitimize any kind of indulgence in sensuality (usually sexual), but they miss the point: You can only do so AFTER you have realized Shiva as everything (unity consciousness).

The verse also makes it clear that enlightenment is an act of grace on behalf of the Lord. You do not generate your own enlightenment. That is simply not possible, since you act from the standpoint of ignorance. God/Shiva/the Self reveals itself yo you at a certain point when you have become able to hold what is given to you, not before. Thus devotion is extremely important. You need to develop loving-surrender to God in and as everything (parabhakti).

I am you, and you yourself is I. There is no difference between you and I in any respect. Difference (if any) lies in the will to get absorbed in you. (6)

You cannot understand this if you have any identifications left. You have to be utterly free and in that freedom only does this devotion exist where you realize you are one with God. First you realize void in Self-realization. Then you move towards this realization of the Lord as everything. And since the Lord is everything, He is also you.

You are I and That, too, is you yourself. All these ununding pronominal variations lie based in you without any scope in you. In this state of things, where is any scope for the world in you? (7)

Let us stop from the continuity of statement regarding the difference. Having tasted the essence of devotion to you, no way does one feel ashamed that all this gets absorbed in you. (8)

Language fails to describe this high state of parabhakti. It is non-dual devotion. When you reach this state you are constantly in love with everything, or rather not everything, but a pure nothingness of God which permeates everything as bliss.

Exactly the same is [the impossibility] of worship of the Supernal in any state and ever. As such, it is imperative [for the devotee] to keep his mind always engaged in the contemplation on the Lord with the sense of unification of all in Him. (20)

"Exactly the same" refers to the previous verses that explained that formal acts of devotion and service become meaningless in the state of parabhakti because you offer, for example, a cake, that is Krishna, to Krishna. What you offer constantly is your very self, thus you should constantly contemplate that all is One in and as God. This contemplation cannot be performed unless you have moved well beyond mere Self-realization. It is not a matter of mentally reminding oneself of a fact one has not realized. It is a matter of merging into that unity when ever the mind separates itself from it.

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