Author's note: According to tradition,
the Shiva Sutras, Aphorisms of Shiva were found engraved on a stone
by Vasugupta, who probably lived in the 8th century AD, which became
the basis for Kashmiri Shaivism. This is an easy or flexible Translation
of the Shiva Sutras, which is included as a separate section in
the Kindle Version of the book by the same name. By free or easy
translation I mean this is not a strict word to word translation.
The sutras are translated in such a way as to reflect their essence
of central idea. In a way, they summarize the commentary. The Kindle
version contains both strict and flexible translations.
This is just a bare
translation. Shiva Sutras make sense only if you are familiar with
the basic concepts of Tantra, Shaktism or Shaivism. Detailed commentary
for each of the Sutras is available in
the Kindle Version which you may download from Amazon either
for free or for a nomnal cost.
Part 1 - Sāmbhavopāya
The self is the essence of all.
It is pure consciousness, knowledge, intelligence, awareness, vitality,
sensation, which pervades the whole existence.
1-2 jñānam bandhah
Worldly knowledge which arises
from the activities of the mind and senses and infused with maya
is the source of bondage.
1-3 yonivarga kalāśarīram
The body is made up of womb-born
tattvas such as Kala, Niyati, ego, mind, intelligence, senses, etc.
1-4 jñānādhisthāna mātrikā
The letters and letter-forms
and sounds in the alphabet of Sanskrit are filled with the knowledge
and power of Shakti.
1-5 udyamo bhairavah
In the silence between two thoughts
or two consecutive movements of the mind during contemplation, the
illumination of Bhairava (Brahman or Shiva) manifests.
1-6 śakticakrasandhāne viśvasamhārah
Wielding the power hidden in
the Shakti chakras, one should render the objective world as nonexistent
1-7 jāgrat-svapna-susupta-bhede turyābhogasambhavah
Turya enjoyment is possible
in the transitional period between jagrat, svapna and susupta, just
as you are falling asleep or entering a dream or waking up from
1-8 jñānam jāgrat
The knowledge which arises from
the wakeful consciousness is jagrat knowledge. It is essentially
perceptual knowledge, subject to duality, delusion, egoism, division,
separation, and ignorance.
1-9 svapno vikalpāh
The knowledge which arises dream
(svapna) consciousness is vikalpa, imaginary or fantasy knowledge.
It too is subject to the influence of maya and delusion.
1-10 aviveko māyāsausuptam
The knowledge which arises in
deep sleep (susupta) is indistinct and bereft of knowledge and intelligence.
It is completely filled with maya. Hence, nothing can be known about
1-11 tritayabhoktā vīreśah
As the lord of the mind and
senses, Shiva is the enjoyer of all the three states. He is the
one who remains awake, who dreams and who fall asleep in the body
in the embodied state as a part of his play, untouched by any of
1-12 vismayo yogabhūmikāh
Wondrous and blissful is the
state of turya, the transcendental state, which intermittently arises
during the practice of yoga, filling one with amazing feelings.
1-13 icchā śaktirumā kumārī
Uma Kumari is your will power.
She is a virgin goddess who should not be used for selfish enjoyment
or fulfil your desires. If you do, you will be subject to her anger,
and incur karma and sin.
1-14 drśyam śarīram
The body is the visible self.
It houses the true self, which is invisible. You should not consider
your body to be the self, just because you perceive it and become
attached to it. Know that it is just an outer covering.
1-15 hrdaye cittasamghattād drśyasvāpna
When you purify your consciousness,
which flows through the nadis, the heart and the chakras, you will
discern the truth about the wakeful and dream worlds and see them
as they are, without being deluded by them.
1-16 śuddhatattvasandhānād vā apaśuśaktih
By meditating upon the pure
self, you can cleanse your mind and body, suppress the maya shaktis
and overcome your animal nature, which is the cause of delusion,
egoism, ignorance and bondage.
1-17 vitarka ātmajñānam
Through contemplative, meditative
and systematic inquiry into the nature of self with discernment,
separating what self is and what self is not, you will gain the
knowledge of the self
1-18 lokānandah samādhisukham
The bliss of the world and the
bliss of samadhi are the same for an awakened and self-realized
yogi. Even when he is enjoying the pleasures of the world, he remains
established in the bliss of self-absorption.
1-19 śaktisandhāne śarīrotpattih
With meditation upon shakti,
one attains the power to create a new being with a body or transform
an existing body or appear in different bodies at the same.
1-20 bhūtasandhāna bhūtaprthaktva viśvasam-ghattāh
Through practice, a yogi develops
the power to unite or separate elements and bring together various
things to create a world out of them.
1-21 śuddhavidyodayāccakreśatva siddhih
With the onset of seeing the
pure self in all, which is known as shuddha vidya, one attains the
siddhi or power of lordship over the the energy centers called chakras
in the body.
By reaching the great lake of
pure consciousness wherein resides the great Parashakti called the
Maha Hrda, one experiences the awakening of shaktis who are hidden
in the sacred letters and sounds.
Part 2 – Śāktopāya
2-1 cittah mantrah
The consciousness (chitta) of
a self-realized yogi is as effective and capable as a mantra, with
the power to invoke and manifest the shaktis who reside in it just
as mantras can manifest the shaktis who are hidden in them.
2-2 prayatnah sādhakah
Through willful and pointed
effort, a yogi succeeds in invoking and becoming the lord of the
shaktis who are hidden in his consciousness and in the mantras upon
which he meditates with one pointedness.
2-3 vidyāśarīrasattā mantrarahasyam
The secret of the mantra is
its body which has knowledge as its moving force. A yogi who illuminates
his chitta and mental body with pure knowledge develops a similar
power and gains lordship over the mantra shaktis.
2-4 garbhe cittavikāso'viśistavidyāsvapnah
From the flowering of the chitta
in an impure body which is filled with maya, there arises dreamlike
indistinct knowledge with limited powers.
2-5 vidyāsamutthāne svābhāvike khecarī
With the natural advent of vidya,
there is illumination of the consciousness with khechari and the
attainment of Shiva state and pure knowledge.
The guru is the means to overcome
the impurities of the mind and body, awaken the mantra shaktis who
reside in the matrkas and attain the pure consciousness of the self.
With the help of an adept guru,
a yogi gains the knowledge of matrka chakra and how to harness the
mantra shaktis who are hidden in the sound forms of speech for self-purification
2-8 śarīram havih
The body is the oblation in
the sacrifice of self-purification in which the impurities of the
mind and body are poured in to the fire of knowledge as an offering
to the shaktis who participate in it.
2-9 jñānam annam
In the sacrifice of self-purification,
impure knowledge which arises from the activities of the mind and
senses in the wakeful, dream and deep sleep states and which causes
ignorance, delusion and bondage should be offered as food in the
sacrifice of self-purification
2-10 vidyāsamhāre taduttha svapna darśanam
When the knowledge is thus destroyed
in the sacrifice of self-purification, the yogi experiences the
world as a dream of Shiva and his body as a formation. He realizes
their illusory nature and becomes established in pure knowledge.
3-1 ātmā cittam.
By nature, the embodied self
is also consciousness only. However, it is limited and impure due
to its association with the tattvas in the body and the presence
of maya who veils its illumination and purity.
3-2 jñānam bandhah
The knowledge which arises from
the internal organ (the mind, the senses, intelligence and ego)
is binding because it causes duality, delusion, egoism, attachments
and bondage to samsara.
3-3 kalādīnām tattvānām aviveko māyā
The ignorance of various tattvas
such as kala, etc., which make up the body which are responsible
for suffering and bondage and mistaking them as the real self, this
3-4 śarīre samhārah kalānām
Destroying the impurities in
the tattvas such as kala and renouncing them, one should engage
in the purification of the body.
3-5 nādī samhāra bhūtajaya bhūtakaivalya
By dissolving the impurities
in the nadis and removing the blockages in them, one gains the power
to control, dissolve and separate the elements in oneself and in
3-6 mohāvaranāt siddhih
One may gain supernatural powers
through nadi samhara, bhuta jaya, etc., while still being veiled
by delusion, but not the knowledge of the pure tattva or self-realization.
3-7 mohajayād anantābhogāt sahajavidyājayah
With unquestionable conquest
of māya, one enters the supreme state of Shiva and gains true knowledge
(sahajavidya) which is natural to the self.
3-8 jāgrad dvitīyakarah
When a yogi is firmly established
in the pure knowledge of the self, the wakeful world becomes secondary
to him, like a ray or an extension or projection within himself.
3-9 nartaka ātmā
He sees himself as the dance
master or actor on a stage set by himself, playing different roles
in different forms for his own enjoyment.
The inner self is the stage
where he enacts the dance drama.
The sense organs are the spectators
in that dance drama.
3-12 dhīvaśāt sattvasiddhih
By controlling intelligence
(dhi) and with discernment, using the right means with right knowledge,
purity is attained.
3-13 siddhah svatantrabhāvah
By merging with Shiva, the state
of freedom is attained in which knowledge arises spontaneously and
one has the freedom to exercise his free will and act independently.
3-14.1 yathā tatra tathānyatra
As in the body so elsewhere
a yogi enjoys unobstructed, unrestrained freedom.
3-14.2 visargasvābhāvyād abahih sthitestatsthitih
For a self-realized yogi what
has spread out or exists outside as his body or the world is not
external, but internal only as an aspect of himself and his pure
With his mind firmly fixed upon
Shiva, a yogi should practice concentration on the seed or the cause
to cultivate purity.
3-16 āsanasthah sukham hrade nimajjati
Abiding in concentration, with
his mind firmly fixed upon the self by the power shakti, he should
effortlessly sink into the lake of pure consciousness.
3-17 svamātrā nirmānam āpādayati
With Parashakti who is now an
inseparable part of him, the self-realized yogi manifests creation.
3-18 vidyā avināśe janma vināśah
With the dawn of indestructible
knowledge, there is the destruction of the causes of bondage to
the cycle of births and deaths.
3-19 kavargādisu māheśvaryādyāh paśumātarah
Mahesvari and others of the
“ka” group of shaktis become mothers of pashus or beings who are
born with animal nature, veiled by maya.
3-20 trisu caturtham tailavadāsecyam
In the three states of wakeful,
dream and deep sleep states, the bliss of the fourth state of turya
should be dropped like oil.
3-21 magnah svacittena praviśet
Through mental absorption (chitta
magna) by abiding in the steady state of contemplation (asana),
one should reach the self through one’s own consciousness (svachitta).
3-22 prāna samācāre samadarśanam
With the slow movement of prana
in the body, there arises the seeing of sameness or the same self
3-23 madhye'vara prasarah
A disconnected state of enjoyment
and duality arises in the middle of turya, when the attention or
control is lost or weakened.
3-24 mātrāsu svapratyaya sandhāne nastasya
By reconnection oneself to the
objects and the like and finding oneself in them in the state of
nonduality, the loss is regained.
3-25 śivatulyo jāyate
In the unified state of illuminated
consciousness, the yogi becomes pure and resplendent just as Shiva.
Although he is liberated from
the body and bondage, he performs his bodily functions as acts of
penance or worship to keep it alive.
3-27 kathā japah
The speech of the liberated
yogi has the purity, sanctity and illumination of a sacred muttering.
3-28 dānam ātmajñānam
The teaching of self-knowledge
by the liberated yogi is a gift to the world.
3-29 yo'vipastho jñāhetuśca
He who is established as the
lord in the avipa shaktis who control the avis (beings in their
animal state) is the cause of knowledge and the most qualified to
gift the knowledge of self.
3-30 svaśakti pracayo'sya viśvam
The universe is the outflow
or expansion of his own shaktis.
Preservation and destruction
are also filled with his shaktis and illuminated by him only.
3-32 tat pravrttāvapyanirāsah samvettrbhāvāt
Even during such outward activities
such as creation and destruction, the self-knowing state of the
pure self remains unbroken.
3-33 sukha duhkhayorbahirmananam
His equanimity and self-knowing
prevails because he thinks that dualities such as pain and pleasure
are not happening to him, but external.
3-34 tadvimuktastu kevalī
Becoming free thus from impurities,
attachments and dualities, he remains in oneness as kevali.
3-35 mohapratisamhatastu karmātmā
The deluded one is verily a
being of karma. He is produced by karma, made up of karma, guided
and bound by karma.
3-36 bheda tiraskāre sargāntara karmatvam
Upon discarding duality and
division, the power to manifest another creation arises.
3-37 karanaśaktih svato'nubhavāt
From his own experience, the
adept yogi realizes his karanashakti or the power to cause, create
or manifest reality at will.
He also keeps energizing the
three states of consciousness (wakeful, dream and deep sleep) and
the three states of activity (beginning, middle and end) with the
first, the bliss of turya or the memory of it.
3-39 cittasthitivat śarīra karana bāhyesu
Just as he fills his consciousness
(chitta) with the fourth state of turya, so should he practice the
same when his mind is externally engaged with his body, senses and
3-40 abhilāsādbahirgatih samvāhyasya
Due to desires, the ignorant
and deluded being (samvāhya) is outbound and moves among the sense
objects of the world.
Fixing his consciousness in
the blissful fourth state of turya and suppressing desires, the
yogi dissolves the jiva in him and thereby the limitedness and egoism
which arise from it.
3-42 bhūtakañcukī tadā vimukto bhūyah
Then, freed from the influence
and the limitations of gross and subtle bodies, he becomes free
and equal to the supreme lord.
3-43 naisargikah prānasambandhah
In the self-realized state,
although freed from the limitations of jiva, the connection with
prana remains natural, smooth and flowing due to the illumination
3-44 nāsikāntarmadhya samyamāt
kimatra savyāpasavya sausumnesu
After doing samyama or control
on the middle of the prana shakti in the left, right and middle
nadis, what else should be done?
3-45 bhūyah syāt pratimīlanam
With the illumination of the
consciousness and dissolution of the beingness, the pure-self reverts
to its original, pure state again.
Aum tat sat