Cidgaganacandrika (study)

by S. Mahalakshmi | 2017 | 83,507 words

This page relates ‘Vakcatushtaya (four forms of speech)’ of the English study of the Cidgaganacandrika: an important Tantric work belonging to the Krama system of Kashmir Shaivism. Written by Kalidasa (Shrivatsa) in 312 Sanskrit verses, the Cidgagana-Candrika deals with the knowledge regarding both the Macrocosmic and Microcosmic phenomena. This study includes renditions from the two available commentaries—the Divyacakorika and the Kramaprakashika

Part 11 - Vākcatuṣṭaya (four forms of speech)

[The following are the four forms of speech called Vākcatuṣṭaya]—

  1. Parā,
  2. Paśyantī,
  3. Madhyamā and
  4. Vaikharī .

They cause the manifestation of the universe[20].


When the Sādhaka resides in the state of complete universal I-ness (pūrṇahanta)[21] i.e. in the Śāmbhava state, he is said to travel in the kingdom of vāk and resides in the principal and supreme speech called Parāvāk. In the state of Parāvāk he also travels in other sounds. He has the ability of traveling from the supreme to the gross and from the gross to the supreme. He can ascend and descend without varying his consciousness. His consciousness will remain the same in each and every state.


Paśyantī-vāk is nirvikalpa (without differentiation). In this first flow of perception, one observes, looks, but does not see anything. This kind of observation, which takes place at the level of Paśyantī vāk, is in the Nirvikalpa state. It is only pure sensation without any differentiation (vikalpa), without any thought. In Śaivaite literature the state of Paśyantī vāk is denoted as “śikharastha jñāna- meaning the knowledge of something in its entirety when observed from the top. This is just seeing without thought. It is subtlest speech.


Madhyamā-vāk is speech in the middle state between the lowest speech, Vaikharī, and the highest speech, Paśyantī. Madhyamā vāk is the state of mind where one resides only in thoughts. This is only mental state, without words, sentences or letters. When one is in sleep and dream he resides in Madhyamā vāk. Here residence is only in the mind, not in action and hence no sensation. It is subtle speech.


Vaikharī meaning “gross/rough” is ordinary speech. Vaikharī vāk emerges by use of one’s tongue and lips. It is Gross speech.

Inter se subtility of Paśyantī, Madhyamā, and Vaikharī

Of these three states of speech (subtlest, subtle, and gross)in turn, each state of speech is itself also gross (sthūla), subtle (s ūkṣma), and subtlest (Para). Therefore there is gross Paśyantī, subtle Paśyantī, and subtlest Paśyantī, gross Madhyamā, subtle Madhyamā, and subtlest Madhyamā, gross Vaikharī, subtle Vaikharī, and subtlest Vaikharī.

Gross levels of Paśyantī, Madhyamā, and Vaikharī

In Saivism the location of these different refinements of sound are indicated for the easy apprehension of the aspirant.

First is gross (sthūla) Paśyantī, then gross Madhyamā, and then gross Vaikharī at the gross level. While playing metal strung instrument, the sound produced by the instrument resides in Gross Pa śyantī. Concentration on this sound leads one to enter samādhi, in the Supreme transcendental being. That sound must make one travel inside because that sound is Paśyantī, even though it is gross Paśyantī.

Sound produced by Drum instrument covered by leather is the sound of gross Madhyamā concentrating on which carries the disciple inside his own nature. Although it is easier to enter into gross Paśyantī than it is to enter into Gross Madhyamā, it is more difficult to reside in gross Paśyantī than it is to reside in gross Madhyamā. To reside in gross Paśyantī one must have the grace of the preceptor.

Gross Vaikharī consists of all the sounds produced by the mouth, by the contact of the lips and tougue. Concentration is impossible in this state of speech. Only that aspirant who resides in the Śāmbhava- state can enter into samādhi by concentrating on this gross Vaikharī. He enters into samādhi through ordinary talk. This also leads him to that supreme consciousness.

Subtle levels of Paśyantī, Madhyamā, and Vaikharī

Saivism traditionally gives the combined explanation of subtle (Sūkṣma) Paśyantī, subtle Madhyamā, and subtle Vaikharī. The inclination in thought that (ṣadajam karomi) “I will play this string instrument”, or the inclination (madhuram vādayāmi) “I will play on this drum”, or the inclination (bruve vacaḥ) “I will speak to you”, is subtle. It is this thought that resides in the mind, in the consciousness, of that person. And this is not so much a thought as an inclination, that first comes in his mind. In these three inclinations to think a thought, the inclination (ṣadajam karomi) “I will play this string instrument” is subtle Pa śyantī , the inclination (madhuram vadayami) “I will play this drum” is subtle Madhyamā and the inclination (bruve vacah) “I will speak to you” is subtle Vaikharī.

Subtlest levels of Paśyantī, Madhyamā, and Vaikharī

When only the sensation of the thought (ṣadajam karomi) “I will play this string instrument”, or (madhuram vadayami) “I will play this drum”, or (bruve vacah) “I will speak to you”, begins, when it just starts to take rise, that sensation, which is only in the thoughtless world, is subtlest. It is before desire. And that sensation of the thought (ṣadajam karomi) “I will play this string instrument”, is subtlest Paśyantī. The sensation of the thought (madhuram vādayāmi) “I will play this drum” is subtlest Madhyamā. And the sensation of the thought (bruve vacaḥ) “I will speak to you” is subtlest Vaikharī.

Aspirants of three Upāyas and levels of Vāk

Those aspirants who reside in the Śāmbhava state have no restrictions of only traveling in some particular vāk. They can travel in each and every state of vāk, and yet remain in the Śāmbhava state. The aspirant of the Śāmbhava state can travel in gross Paśyantī, subtle Paśyantī, and subtlest Paśyantī, gross Madhyamā, subtle Madhyamā, and subtlest Madhyamā, gross Vaikharī, subtle Vaikharī, and subtlest Vaikharī and still remain in his transcendental state. This is the greatness of the Śāmbhava state.

Aspirant of the Śākta state is one who has gained transcendental consciousness through adopting the means of Saktopāya [Śāktopāya?], and for him there are only two movements of speech in which he can travel, subtle and subtlest. If he tries to travel in the movement of gross speech he will be scattered, he will go astray from his Reality.

Aspirants who are in the state of Āṇavopāya, can only utilize the gross movement of speech because they have no experience of the subtle or the subtlest states of speech. They must, therefore, initially practice on the gross state of speech. Gradually their concentration on that gross speech will carry them to Saktopāya [Śāktopāya?] where they will then reside in their own nature.

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