[A paper read by the Author at the Silver Jubilee of the Caitanya Library, Calcutta, held on the 18th January 1915, under the Presidency of H. E. The Governor of Bengal, and revised for insertion in this Edition of “Śakti and Śākta.”]
PSYCHOLOGICAL analysis of our worldly experience ordinarily gives us both the feeling of persistence and change. This personal experience expresses a cosmic truth. An examination of any doctrine of creation similarly reveals two fundamental concepts, those of Being and Becoming, Changelessness and Change, the One and the Many. In Sanskrit they are called the Kūtastha and Bhāva or Bhāvana. The first is the Spirit or Puruṣa or Brahman and Ātman which is unlimited Being (Sat), Consciousness (Cit) and Bliss (Ānanda). According to Indian notions the Ātman as such is and never becomes. Its Power (Śakti) manifests as Nature, which is the subject of change. We may understand Nature in a two-fold sense: first, as the root principle or noumenal cause of the phenomenal world, that is, as the Principle of Becoming,and secondly, as such World. Nature in the former sense is Mūlaprakṛti, which means that which exists as the root (Mūla) substance of things before (Pra) creation (Kṛti), and which, in association with Cit, either truly or apparently creates, maintains and destroys the Universe. This Mūlaprakṛti, the Śāraḍā Tilaka calls Mūlabhūta Avyakta, and the Vedānta (of Śaṃkara to which alone I refer) Māyā.
Nature, in the second sense, that is the phenomenal world, which is a product of Mūlaprakṛti is the compound of the evolutes from this root substance which are called Vikṛtis in the Sāṃkhya and Tantra, and name and form (Nāmarūpa) by the Vedāntins, who attribute them to ignorance (Avidyā). Mūlaprakṛti as the material and instrumental cause of things is that potentiality of natural power (natura naturans) which manifests as the Universe (natura naturata).
Touching these two Principles, there are certain fundamental points of agreement in the systems which I am examining—Sāṃkhya, Vedānta and the Advaitavāda of the Tantra. They are as follows. According to the first two systems, Brahman or Puruṣa as Sat, Cit and Ānanda is Eternal Conscious Being. It is changeless and has no activity (Kartṛtva). It is not therefore in Itself a cause whether instrumental or material; though in so far as Its simple presence gives the appearance of consciousness to the activities of Prakṛti, It may in such sense be designated an efficient cause. So, according to Sāṃkhya, Prakṛti reflects Puruṣa, and in Vedānta, Avidyā of the three Guṇas takes the reflection of Cidānanda. On the other hand, the substance or factors of Mūlaprakṛti or Māyā are the three Guṇas or the three characteristics of the principle of Nature, according to which it reveals (Sattva) or veils (Tamas) Consciousness (Cit) and the activity or energy (Rajas) which urges Sattva and Tamas to operation.
It also is Eternal, but is unconscious (Acit) Becoming. Though it is without, consciousness (Caitanya), it is essentially activity (Kartṛtva), motion and change. It is a true cause instrumental and material of the World. But, notwithstanding all the things to which Mūlaprakṛti gives birth, Its substance is in no wise diminished by the production of the Vikṛtis or Tattvas: the Guṇas which constitute it ever remaining the same. The source of all becoming is never exhausted, though the things which are therefrom produced appear and disappear.
Passing from the general points of agreement to those of difference, we note firstly, those between the Sāṃkhya, and the Vedānta. The Sāṃkhya is commonly regarded as a dualistic system, which affirms that both Puruṣa and Prakṛti are real, separate and independent Principles. The Vedānta, however, says that there cannot be two Principles which are both absolutely real. It does not, however, altogether discard the dual principles of the Sāṃkhya, but says that Mūlaprakṛti which it calls Māyā, while real from one point of view, that is empirically, is not real from another and transcendental standpoint. It affirms therefore that the only Real (Sad-vastu) is the attributeless (Nirguṇa Brahman). All else is Māyā and its products. Whilst then the Sāṃkhyan Mūlaprakṛti is an Eternal Reality, it is according to the transcendental method of Śaṃkara an eternal unreality (MithyābhūtāSanātanī). The empirical reality which is really false is due to the Avidyā which is inherent in the nature of the embodied spirit (Jīva). Māyā is Avastu or no real thing. It is Nistattva. As Avidyā is neither real nor unreal, so is its cause or Māyā. The kernel of the Vedāntik argument on this point is to be found in its interpretations of the Vaidik Mahāvākya, “That Thou art” (Tat tvam asi). Tat here is Īśvara, that is, Brahman with Māyā as His body or Upādhi. Tvam is the Jīva with Avidyā as its body. It is then shown that Jīva is only Brahman when Māyā is eliminated from Īśvara, and Avidyāfrom Jīva. Therefore, only as Brahman is the Tvam the Tat; therefore, neither Māyā nor Avidyā really exist (they are Avastu), for otherwise the equality of Jīva and Īśvara could not be affirmed. This conclusion that Māyā is Avastu has far-reaching consequences, both religious and philosophical, and so has the denial of it. It is on this question that there is a fundamental difference between Śaṃkara’s Advaitavāda and that of the Śākta Tantra, which I am about to discuss.
Before, however, doing so I will first contrast the notions of creation in Sāṃkhya and Vedānta. It is common ground that creation is the appearence produced by the action of Mūlaprakṛti or principle of Nature (Acit) existing in association with Cit. According to Sāṃkhya, in Mūlaprakṛti or the potential condition of the Natural Principle, the Guṇas are in a state of equality (Sāmyāvasthā), that is, they are not affecting one another. But, as Mūlaprakṛti is essentially movment, it is said that even when in this state of equality the Guṇas are yet continually changing into themselves (Sarūpaparināma). This inherent subtle movement is the nature of the Guṇa itself, and exists without effecting any objective result. Owing to the ripening of Adṛṣṭa or Karma, creation takes place by the disturbance of this equality of the Guṇas (Guṇakṣobha), which then commence to oscillate and act upon one another. It is this initial creative motion which is known in the Tantra as Cosmic Sound (Parāśabda). It is through the association of Puruṣa with Mūlaprakṛti in cosmic vibration (Spandana) that creation takes place. The whole universe arises from varied forms of this grand initial motion. So, scientific “matter” is now currently held to be the varied appearance produced in our minds by vibration of, and in the single substance called ether. This new Western scientific doctrine of vibration is in India an ancient inheritance. “Hrīṃ, the Supreme Haṃsa dwells in the brilliant heaven.” The word “Haṃsa” comes, it is said, from the word Hanti, which means Gati or Motion. Sāyana says that It is called Āditya, became It is in perpetual motion. But Indian teaching carries the application of this doctrine beyond the scientific ether which is a physical substance (Mahābhūta). There is vibration in the causal body that is of the Guṇas of Mūlaprakṛti as the result of Sadriśaparināma of Parāśabdasṛṣṭi; in the subtle body of mind (Antahkarana); and in the gross body, compounded of the Bhūtas which derive from the Tanmātras their immediate subtle source of origin. The Hirsnyagarbha and Virāt Sound is called Madhyamā and Vaikharī. If this striking similarity between ancient Eastern wisdom and modern scientific research has not been recognized, it is due to the fact that the ordinary Western Orientalist and those who take their cue from him in this country, are prone to the somewhat contemptuous belief that Indian notions are of “historical” interest only, and as such, a welcome addition possibly for some intellectual museum, but are otherwise without value or actuality. The vibrating Mūlaprakṛti and its Guṇas ever remain the same, though the predominance of now one, and now another of them, produces the various evolutes called Vikṛtis or Tattvas, which constitute the world of mind and matter. These Tattvas constitute the elements of the created world. They are the well-known Buddhi, Ahaṃkāra, Manas (constituting the Antahkarana), the ten Indriyas, five Tanmātras and five Mahābhūtas of “ether,” “air,” “fire,” “water” and “earth,” which of course must not be identified with the notions which the English terms connote. These Tattvas are names for the elements which we discover as a result of a psychological analysis of our worldly experience. That experience ordinarily gives us both the feeling of persistence and change. The former is due to the presence of the Ātmā or Chit-Śakti, which exists in us in association with Mūlaprakṛti or Māyā-Śakti. This is the Caitanya in all bodies. Change is caused by Mūlaprakṛti or Māyā-Śakti, and its elements may be divided into the subjective and objective Tattvas, or what we call mind and matter. Analysing, again, the former, we discover an individuality (Ahaṃkāra) sensing through the Indriyas, a world which forms the material of its percepts and concepts (Manas and Buddhi). The object of thought or “matter” are the varied compounds of the Vaikṛta creation, which are made up of combinations of the gross elements (Mahābhūta), which themselves derive from the subtle elements or Tanmātra. Now, according to Sāṃkhya, all this is real, for all are Tattvas. Puruṣa and Prakṛti are Tattvas, and so are the Vikṛtis of the latter.
According to the Vedānta also, creation takes place through the association of the Brahman, then known as the Lord or Īśvara (Māyopādhika-Caitanyam Īśvarah), with Māyā. That is, Cit is associated with, though unaffected by, Māyāwhich operates by reason of such association to produce the universe. The unchanging Sad-vastu is the Brahman. The ever-changing world is, when viewed by the spiritually wise (Jñānī), the form imposed by Avidyā on the Changeless Sat. It is true that it has the quality of being in accordance with the greatest principle of order, namely, that of causality. It is the Sat, however, which gives to the World the character of orderliness, because it is on and in association with that pure Cit or Sat that Māyā plays. It is true that behind all this unreal appearance there is the Real, the Brahman. But the phenomenal world has, from the alogical standpoint, no real substratum existing as its instrumental and material cause. The Brahman as such is no true cause, and Māyā is unreal (Avastu). The world has only the appearance of reality from the reflection which is cast by the real upon the unreal. Nor is Īśvara, the creative and ruling Lord, in a transcendental sense real. For, as it is the Brahman in association with Māyā, which Śaṃkara calls Īśvara, the latter is nothing but the Brahman viewed through Māyā. It follows that the universe is the product, of the association of the real and the unreal, and when world-experience ends in liberation (Mukti), the notion of Īśvara as its creator no longer exists. For His body is Māyāand this is Avastu. So long however as there is a world, that is, so long as one is subject to Māyā that is emhodied, so long do we recognise the existence of Īśvara. The Lord truly exists for every Jīva so long as he ia such. But on attainment of bodiless liberation (Videha Mukti), the Jīva becomes himself Saccidānanda, and as such Īśvara does not exist for him, for Īśvara is but the Sat viewed through that Māyā of which the Sat is free. “The Brahman is true, the world is false. The Jīva is Brahman (Paramātmā) and nothing else.”
The opponents of this system or Māyāvāda have charged it with being a covert form of Buddhistic nihilism (Māyāvādam asacchāstram pracchannam bauddham). It has, however, perhaps been more correctly said that Śrī Shaṃkara adjusted his philosophy to meet the Māyāvāda of the Buddhists, and so promulgated a new theory of Māyā without abandoning the faith or practice of his Śaiva-Śākta Dharma.
All systems obviously concede at least the empirical reality of the world. The question is, whether it has a greater reality than that, and if so, in what way? Sāṃkhya affirms its reality; Śaṃkara denies it in order to secure the complete unity of the Brahman. Each system has merits of its own. Sāṃkhya by its dualism is able to preserve in all its integrity the specific character of Cit as Niranjana. This result, on the other hand, is effected at the cost of that unity for which all minds have, in some form or other, a kind of metaphysical hunger. Śaṃkara by his Māyāvāda secures this unity, but this achievement is at t'he cost of a denial of the ultimate reality of the world, whether considered as the product (Vikṛti) of Mūlaprakṛti, or as Mūlaprakṛti itself.
There is, however, another alternative, and that is the great Śākta doctrine of Duality in Unity. There is, this Śāstra says, a middle course in which the reality of the world is affirmed without compromising the truth of the unity of the Brahman, for which Śaṃkara by such lofty speculation contends. I here shortly state what is developed more fully later. The Śākta Advaitavāda recognizes the reality of Mūlaprakṛti in the sense of Māyā-Śakti. Here in a qualified way it follows the Sāṃkhya. On the other hand, it differs from the Sāṃkhya in holding that Mūlaprakṛti as Māyā-Śakti is not a principle separate from the Brahman, but exists in and as a principle of the one Brahman substance. The world, therefore, is the appearance of the Real. It is the Brahman as Power. The ground principle of such appearance or Māyā-Śakti is the Real as Ātmā and Power. There is thus a reality behind all appearances, a real substance behind the apparent transformations. MāyāŚakti as such is both eternal and real, and so is Īśvara. The transformations are the changing forms of the Real. I pass now to the Advaitavāda of the Śākta Tantra.
The Śākta Tantra is not a formal system of philosophy (Darśana). It is, in the broadest sense, a generic term for the writings and various traditions which express the whole culture of a certain epoch in Indian History. The contents are therefore of an encyclopedic charsoter, religion, ritual, domestic rites, law, medicine, magic, and so forth. It has thus great historical value, which appears to be the most fashionable form of recommendation for the Indian Scriptures now-a-days. The mere historian, I believe, derives encouragement from the fact that out of bad material may yet be made good history. I am not here concerned with this aspect of the matter. For my present purpose, the Śākta Tantra is part of the Upāsanā kāṇḍa of the three departments of Śruti, and is a system of physical, psychical and moral training (Sādhanā), worship, and Yoga. It is thus essentially practical. This is what it claims to be. To its critics, it has appeared to be a system of immoral indiscipline. I am not here concerned with the charge but with the doctrine of creation to be found in this Śāstra. Underlying, however, all this practice, whatsoever be the worth or otherwise which is attributed to it, there is a philosophy which must be abstracted, as I have here done for the first time, with some difficulty, and on points with doubt, from the disquisitions on religion and the ritual and Yoga directions to be found in the various Tan'ras. The fundamental principles are as follows.
It is said that the equality (Sāṃya) of the Guṇas is Mūlaprakṛti, which has activity (Kartṛttva), but no consciousness (Caitanya). Brahman is Saccidānanda who has Caitanya and no Kartṛttva. But this is so only if we thus logically differentiate them. As a matter of fact, however, the two admittedly, ever and everywhere, co-exist and cannot, except for the purpose of formal analysis, be thought of without the other. The connection between the two is one of unseparateness (Avinābhāva Sambandha). Brahman does not exist without Prakṛti-Śakti or Prakṛti without the Brahman. Some call the Supreme Caitanya with Prakṛti, others Prakṛti with Caitanya. Some worship It as Śiva; others as Śakti. Both are one and the same. Śiva is the One viewed from Its Cit aspect. Śakti is the One viewed from Its Māyā aspect. They are the “male” and “female” aspects of the same Unity which is neither male nor female. Akula is Śiva. Kula is Śakti. The same Supreme is worshipped by Sādhanā of Brahman, as by Sādhanā of Ādyāśakti. The two cannot be separated, for Brahman without Prakṛti is actionless, and Prakṛti without Brahman is unconscious. There is Niṣkala Śiva or the transcendent, attributeless (Nirguṇa) Brahman; and Sakala Śiva or the embodied, immanent Brahman with attributes (Saguṇa).
Kalā or Śakti corresponds with the Sāṃkhyan Mūlaprakṛti or Sāmyāvrasthā of the three Gunas and the Vedāntic Māyā. But Kalā which is Mūlaprakṛti and Māyā eternally is, and therefore when we speak of Niṣkala Śiva, it is not meant that there is then or at any time no Kalā, for Kalā ever is, but that Brahman is meant which is thought of as being without the working Prakṛti (Prakṛteranyah), Māyā-Śakti is then latent in it. As the Devī in the Kulacūdāmani says, “Ahaṃ Prakṛtirūpācet Cidānandaparāyanā.” Sakala Śiva is, on the other hand, Śiva considered as associated with Prakṛti in operation and manifesting the world. In one case, Kalā is working or manifest, in the other it is not, but exists in a potential state. In the same way the two Śivas we one and the same. There is one Śivla who is Nirguṇa and Saguṇa. The Tāntrik Yoga treatise Ṣaṭcakranirūpaṇa describes the Jīvātmāas the Paryyāya of, that is another name for, the Paramātmāadding that the root of wisdom (Mūlavidyā) is a knowledge of their identity. When the Brahman manifests, It is called Śakti, which is the magnificent concept round which Tantra is built. The term comes from the root “Shak,” which means “to be able.” It is the power which is the Brahman and whereby the Brahman manifests Itself; for Śakti and possessor of Śakti (Śaktimān) are one and the same. As Śakti is Brahman it is also Nirguṇāand Saguṇā. Īśvara is Cit Śakti, that is, Cit in association with the operating Prakṛti as the efficient cause of the creation; and Māyā-Śakti which means Māyā as a Śakti that is in creative operation as the instrumental (Nimitta) and material (Upādāna) cause of the universe. This is the Śakti which produces Avidyā, just as Mahāmāyāor Īśvarī is the Great Liberatrix. These twin aspects of Śakti appear throughout creation. Thus in the body, the Cit or Brahman aspect is conscious Ātmāor Spirit, and the Māyā aspect is the Antahkarana and its derivatives or the unconscious (Jada) mind and body. When, however, we speak here of Śakti without any qualifications, what is meant is Cit-Śakti in association with Māyā-Śakti that is Īśvarī or Devī or Mahāmāyā, the Mother of all worlds. If we keep this in view, we shall not fall into the error of supposing that the Śāktas (whose religion is one of the oldest in the world; how old indeed is as yet little known) worship material force or gross matter. Īśvara or Īśvarīis not Acit, which, as pure Sattvaguṇa is only His or Her body. Māyā-Śakti in the sense of Mūlaprakṛti is Cit. So also is Avidyā Śakti, though it appears to be Acit, for there is no Cidābhāsa.
In a certain class of Indian images, you will see the Lord, with a diminutive female figure on His lap. The makers and worshippers of those images thought of Śakti as being in the subordinate position which some persons consider a Hindu wife should occupy. This is however not the conception of Śākta Tantra, according to which, She is not a handmaid of the Lord, but the Lord Himself, being but the name for that aspect of His in which He is the Mother and Nourisher of the, worlds. As Śiva is the transcendent, Śakti is the immanent aspect of the one Brahman who is Śiva-Śakti. Being Its aspect, It is not different from, but one with It. In the Kulacūdāmani Nigama, the Bhairavī addressing Bhairava says, “Thou art the Guru of all, I entered into Thy body (as Śakti) and thereby Thou didst become the Lord (Prabhu). There is none but Myself Who is the Mother to create (Kāryyavibhāvinī). Therefore it is that when creation takes place Sonship is in Thee. Thou alone art the Father Who wills what I do (Kāryyavibhāvaka; that is, She is the vessel which receives the nectar which flows from Nityānanda). By the union of Śiva and Śakti creation comes (Śiva-Śakti-samāyogāt jayate sṛṣṭikalpanā). As all in the universe is both Śiva and Śakti (Śivaśaktimaya), therefore, Oh Maheśvara, Thou art in every place and I am in every place. Thou art in all and I am in all.” The creative World thus sows Its seed in Its own womb.
Such being the nature of Śakti, the next question is whether Māyā as Śaṃkara affirms is Avastu. It is to be remembered that according to his empirical method it is taken as real, but transcendentally it is alleged to be an eternal unreality, because, the object of the latter method is to explain away the world altogether so as to secure the pure unity of the Brahman. The Śākta Tantra is however not concerned with any such purpose. It is an Upāsanā Śāstra in which the World and its Lord have reality. There cannot be Sādhanā in an unreal world by an unreal Sādhaka of an unreal Lord. The Śākta replies to Māyā– vāda:— If it be said that Māyā is in some unexplained way Avastu, yet it is admitted that there is something, however unreal it may be alleged to be, which is yet admittedly eternal and in association, whether manifest or unmanifest, with the Brahman. According to Śaṃkara, Māyāexists as the mere potentiality of some future World which shall arise on the ripening of Adṛṣṭa which Māyāis. But in the Mahānirvā ṇa Tantra, Śiva says to Devī, “Thou art Thyself the ParāPrakṛti of the Paramātmā” (Ch. IV, v. 10). That is Māyā in the sense of Mūlaprakṛti, which is admittedly eternal, is not Avastu, but is the Power of the Brahman one with which is Cit. In Niṣkala Śiva, Śakti lies inactive. It manifests in and as creation, though Cit thus appearing through its Power is neither exhausted nor affected thereby. We thus find Īśvarī addressed in the Tantra both as Saccidānandarūpinī and Triguṇātmikā, referring to the two real principles which form part of the one Brahman substance. The philosophical difference between the two expositions appears to lie in this. Śaṃkara says that there are no distinctions in Brahman of either of the three kinds: svagata-bheda, that is, distinction of parts within one unit, svajātīya-bheda or distinction between units of one class, or vijātīya-bheda or distinction between units of different classes. Bhārati, however, the Commentator on the Mahānirvāṇa (Ch. 11, v. 34) says that Advaita there mentioned means devoid of the last two classes of distinction. There is, therefore, for the purposes of Śākta Tantra, a svagata-bheda in the Brahman Itself namely, the two aspects according to which the Brahman is, on the one hand, Being, Cit and on the other, the principle of becoming which manifests as Nature or seeming Acit. In a mysterious way, however, there is a union of these two principles (Bhāvayoga), which thus exist without derogation from the partless unity of the Brahman which they are. In short, the Brahman may he conceived of as having twin aspects, in one of which, It is the cause of the changing world, and in the other of which It is the unchanging Soul of the World. Whilst the Brahman Svarūpa or Cit is Itself immutable, the Brahman is yet through its Power the cause of change, and is in one aspect the changeful world.
But what then is “real”; a term not always correctly understood. According to the Māy āvāda definition, the “real” is that which ever was, is and will be (Kālatrayasattvāvān)in the words of the Christian liturgy, “as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be world without end”; therefore that which changes, which was not, but is, and then ceases to be is according to this definition “unreal,” however much from a practical point of view it may appear real to us. Now Māyāvāda calls Mūlaprakṛti in the sense of Māyā the material cause of the world, no independent real (Avastu). The Śākta Tantra says that the Principle, whence all becoming comes, exists as a real substratum so to speak below the world of names and forms. This Māyā-Śakti is an eternal reality. What is “unreal” (according to the above definition), are these names and forms (Avidyā), that is, the changing worlds (asat-trilokīsadbhāvam svarūpam Brahmanah smṛtam, Ch. III, v. 7, Mahānirvāṇa Tantra). These are unreal however only in the sense that they are not permanent, but come and go. The body is called Śarīra, which comes from the root Śṛī —“to decay,” for it is dissolving and being renewed at every moment until death. Again, however real it may seem to us, the world may be unreal in the sense that it is something other than what it seems to be. This thing which I now hold in my hands seems to me to be paper, which is white, smooth and so forth, yet we are told that it really is something different, namely, a number of extraordinarily rapid vibrations of etheric substance, producing the false appearance of scientific “matter.” In the same way (as those who worship Yantras know), all nature is the appearance produced by various forms of motion in Prākṛtic substance. (Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma.) The real is the Brahman and its Power. The Brahman, whether in Its Cit or Māyāaspect, eternally and changelessly endures, but Avidyā breaks up its undivided unity into the changing manifold world of names and forms. It follows from the above that Brahman and Īśvara are two co-being aspects of the One ultimate Reality, as Power to Be and to Become. For as Śaṃkara points out (Comm. Śvetāśvatara Up. I. 2) Devātmaśakti, the cause of the world, is not separate from the Paramātmā, as Sāṃkhya alleges its Pradhāna to be. And thus it is that Śiva in the Kuliirnava Tantra (I. 110) says, “some desire dualism (Dvaitavāda), others monism (Advaitavāda). Such however know not My truth, which is beyond both monism and dualism (Dvaitādvaitavivarjita).” This saying may doubtless mean that to “the knower (Jñānī) the arguments of philosophical systems are of no account, as is indeed the case.” It has also a more literal meaning as above explained. The Śāstra in fact makes high claims for itself. The Tsntra, it has been said, takes into its arms as if they were its two children, both dualism and monism affording by its practical method (Sādhanā), and the spiritual howledge generated thereby the means by which their antimonies are resolved and harmonized. Its purpose is to give liberation to the Jīva by a method according to which monistic truth is reached through the dualistic world; immersing its Sādhakas in the current of Divine Bliss, by changing duality into unity, and then evolving from the latter a dualistic play, thus proclaiming the wonderful glory of the Spouse of Paramaśiva in the love embrace of Mind-Matter (Jada) and Consciousness (Caitanya). It therefore says that those who have realized this, move, and yet remain unsoiled in the mud of worldly actions which lead others upon the downward path. It claims, therefore, that its practical method (Sādhanā) is more speedily fruitful than any other. Its practical method is an application of the general principles above described. In fact, one of its Ācāras which has led to abuse is an attempt to put into full practice the theory of Advaitavāda. Śaṃkara has in his transcendental method dealt with the subject as part of the Jñāna Kāṇḍa. Though the exponent of the Māyāvāda is esteemed to be a Mahāpuruṣa, this method is not in favour with the Tāntric Sādhaka who attributes much of the practical atheism which is to be found in this country, as elsewhere, to a misunderstanding of the transcendental doctrines of Māyāvāda. There is some truth in this charge, for, as has been well said, the vulgarization of Śaṃkara’s “Higher Science” which is by its nature an esoteric doctrine destined for a small minority, must be reckoned a misfortune in so far as it has, in the language of the Gītā, induced many people to take to another’s Dharma instead of to their own, which is the “Lower Science” of the great Vedāntin followed in all Śāstras of worship. Such a Śāstra must necessarily affirm God as a real object of worship. Dionysius, the Areopagite, the chief of the line of all Christian mystics said that we could only speak “apophatically” of the Supreme as It existed in Itself, that is, other than as It displays Itself to us. Of It nothing can be affirmed but that It is not this and not that. Here he followed the, “neti neti,” of the Vedānta. Īśvarīis not less real than the things with which we are concerned every day. She is for the Indian Sādhaka the highest reality, and what may or may not be the state of Videha Mukti has for him, no practical concern. Those only who have attained it will know whether Śaṃkara is right or not; not that they will think about this or any other subject; but in the sense that when the Brahman is known all is known. A friend from whom I quote, writes that he had once occasion to learn to what ridiculous haughtiness, some of the modern “adepts” of Śri Śaṃkara’s school are apt to let themselves be carried away, when one of them spoke to him of the personal Īśvara as being a “pitiable creature.” The truth is that such so-called “adepts” are no adepts at all, being without the attainment, and far from the spirit of Śaṃkara—whose devotion and powers made him seem to his followew to be an incarnation of Śiva Himself. Such a remark betrays a radical misunderstanding of the Vedānta. How many of those, who to-day discuss his Vedānta from a merely literary standpoint, have his, or indeed any faith? What some would do is to dismiss the faith and practice of Śaṃkara as idle superstition, and to adopt his philosophy. But what is the intrinsic value of s philosophy which emanates from a mind which is so ignorant as to be superstitious? Śaṃkara, however, has said that faith and Sādhanā are the preliminaries for competency (Adhikāra) for the Jñānakāṇḍa. He alone is competent (Adhikārī) who possesses all good moral and intellectual qualities, faith (Śraddha), capacity for the highest contemplation (Samādhi), the Saṃkhyan discrimination (Viveka), absence of all desire for anything in this world or the next, and an ardent longing for liberation. There are few indeed who can claim even imperfectly all such qualifications. But what of the rest? There is no Vaidik Karmakāṇḍa in operation in the present age, but there are other Śāstras of worship which is either Vaidik, Tāntrik or Paurāṇik. These provide for those who are still, as are most, on the path of desire. The Tantra affirms that nothing of worth can be achieved without Sādhanā. Mere speculation is without result. This principle is entirely sound whatever may be thought of the mode in which it is sought to be applied. Those to whom the questions here discussed are not mere matters for intellectual business or recreation will recall that Śaṃkara has said that liberation is attained not merely by the discussion of, and pondering upon revealed truth (Vicāra), for which few only are competent, but by the grace of God (Īśvara Anugraha), through the worship of the Mother and Father from whom all creation springs. Such worship produces knowledge. In the Kulacūdāmani, the Devī says:—“Oh all-knowing One, if Thou knowest Me then of what use are the Āmnāyas (revealed teachings) and Yājanem (ritual)? If Thou knowest Me not, then again, of what use are they?” But neither are, in another sense, without their uses for thereby the Sādhaka becomes qualified for some form of Urddhvāmnāya, in which there are no rites (Karma).
With this short exposition of the nature of Śaktitattva according to Śākta Tantra I pass to an equally brief account of its manifestation in the Universe. It is sufficient to deal with the main lines of the doctrine without going into their very great acconlpanying detail. There follow, on the main theme, the account given in the celebrated Śāradā Tilaka a work written by Lakṣmanācāryya, the Guru of Abhinava Gupta, the great Kashmīrian Tāntrik, about the commencement of the eleventh century, and its Commentary by the learned Tāntrik Pandit Rāghava Bhatta which is dated 1454 A.D. This work has long been held to be of great authority in Bengal.
Why creation takes place cannot in an ultimate sense be explained. It is the play (Līlā) of the Mother. Could this be done the Brahman would be subject to the law of causality which governs the Universe but which its Cause necessarily transcends.
The Tantra, however, in common with other Indian Śāstras recognizes Adṛṣṭa Sṛṣṭi, or the doctrine that the impulse to creation is proximately caused by the Adṛṣṭa or Karma of Jīvas. But Karma is eternal and itself requires explanation. Karma comes from Saṃskāra and Saṃsk āra from Karma. The process of creation, maintenance and dissolution, according to this view, unceasingly recurs as an eternal rhythm of cosmic life and death which is the Mother’s play (Līlā). And so it is said of Her in the Lalitā Sahasranāma that, “the series of universes appear and disappear with the opening and shutting of Her Eyes.” The existence of Karma implies the will to cosmic life. We produce it as the result, of such will. And when produced it becomes itself the cause of it.
In the aggregate of Karma which will at one period or another ripen, there is, at any particular time, some which are ripe and others which are not so. For the fruition of the former only creation takes place. When this seed ripens and the time therefore approaches for the creation of another universe, the Brahman manifests in Its Visvarūpa aspect, so that the Jīva may enjoy or suffer therein the fruits of his Karma, and (unless 1iberation be attained) accumulate fresh Karma which will involve the creation of future worlds. When the unripened actions which are absorbed in Māyā become in course of time ripe, the Vṛtki of Māyāor Śakti in the form of desire for creation arises in Paramaśiva, for the bestowal of the fruit of this Karma. This state of Māyā is variously called by Śruti, Īkṣana, Kāma, Vicikīrśā.
It is when the Brahman “saw,” “desired,” or “thought” “May I be many,” that there takes place what is known as Sadrishaparināma in which the Supreme Bindu appears. This, in its triple aspect, is known as Kāmakalā, a manifestation of Śakti whence in the manner hereafter described the Universe emanates. This Kāmakalāis the Mūla or root of all Mantra. Though creation takes placc in order that Karma may be suffered and enjoyed, yet in the aggregate of Karma which will at one tlime or another ripen, there is at any particular period some which are ripe and others which are not so. For the fruition of the former only creation takes place. As creation will servc no purpose in the case of Karma which is not ripe, there is, after the exhaustion by fruition of the ripe Karma, a dissolution (Pralaya). Then the Universe is again merged in Māyāwhich thus abides until the ripening of the remaining actions. Karma, like everything else, re-enters the Brahman, and remains there in a hidden potential state as it were a seed. When the seed ripens creation again takes place.
With Īkṣana, or the manifestation of creative will, creation is really instantaneous. When the “Word” went forth, “Let these be light,” there was light, for the ideation of Īśvara is creative. Our mind by its constitution is however led to think of creation as a gradual process. The Sāṃkhya starts with the oscillation of the Guṇas (Guṇakṣobha) upon which the Vikṛtis immediately appear. But just as it explains its real Parināma in terms of successive emanations, so the Śākta Tantra, describes a Sadṛṣaparināma in the body of Īśvara their cause. This development is not a real Parināma, but a resolution of like to like, that is, there is no actual change in the nature of the entity dealt with, the various stages of such Parināma being but names for the multiple aspects to us of the same unchanging Unity.
Shakti is one. It appears as various by its manifestations. In one aspect there is no Parināma, for Saccidānanda is as such immutable. Before and after and in creation It remains what It, was. There is therefore no Parināma in or of the Akṣarabrahman as such. There is Parināma, however, in its Power aspect. The three Guṇas do not change, each remaining what it is. They are the same in all forms but appear to the Jīva to exist in different combinations. The appearance of the Guṇas in different proportions is due to Avidyā or Karma which is this apparenti Guṇakṣobha. It is Saṃskāra which gives to the Sāṃya Prakṛti, existence as Vaiśamya. What the Tantra describes as Sadṛṣaparināma is but an analysis of the different aspects of what is shortly called in other Śāstras, Īkṣana. This Sadṛṣaparināma is concerned with the evolution of what is named Parā Sound (Paraśabdasṛṣṭi). This is Cosmic Sound; the causal vibration in the substance of Mūlaprakṛti which gives birth to the Tattvas which are its Vikṛtis: such Cosmic Sound being that which is distinguished in thought from the Tattvas so produced.
The Śāradā says that from the Sakala Parameśvara who is Saccidānanda issued Śakti that is, that power which is necessary for creation. God and His power are yet more than the creation which He manifests. Śakti is said to issue from that which is already Sakala or associated with Śakti, because as Rāghava Bhatta says, She who is eternal (Anādirūpa). was in a subtle state as Caitanya during the great dissolution (Pralaya), (Yā AnādirūpāCaitanyādhyāsena Mahāpralaye Sūkṣmā Sthitā).
With however the disturbance of the Guṇas, Prakṛti became inclined (Ucchūnā) to creation, and in this sense, is imagined to issue. Śakti, in other words, passes from a potential state to one of actuality. The Parameśvara is, he adds, described as Saccidānanda in order to affirm that even when the Brahman is associated with Avidyā, its own true nature (Svarūpa) is not affected. According to the Śāradā, from this Śakti issues Nāda and from the latter Bindu (known as the Parabindu). The Śāradāthus enumerates seven aspects of Śakti. This it does, according to Rāghava Bhatta, so as to make up the seven component parts of the Oṃkāra. In some Śākta Tantras this first Nāda is omitted and there are thus only six aspects. The Śaiva Tantras mention five. Those which recognize Kalā as a Tattva identify Nāda with it. In some Tantras, Kalā is associated with Tamoguṇa, and is the Mahākāla who is both the child and spouse of Ādyāśaktifor creation comes from the Tāmasic aspect of Śakti. In the Śāradātilaka, Nāda and Bindu are one and the same Śakti, being the names of two of Her states which are considered to represent Her as being more prone to creation (Ucchūnāvasthā). There are two states of Śaktibindu suit,able for creation (Upayogyāvasthā). As there is no mass or Ghana in Niṣkala Śiva, that Brahman represents the Aghanāvasthā. The Prapañcasāra Tantra says that She, who is in the first place Tattva (mere “thatness”), quickens under the influence of Cit which She reflects; then She longs to create (Vicikīrśu) and becomes massive (Ghanībhūtā) and appears as Bindu (Parabindu). Ghanībhūtla means that which was not dense or Ghana but which has become so (Ghanāvasthā). It involves the notion of solidifying, coagulating, becoming massive. Thus milk is said to become Ghanībhūta when it condenses into cream or curd. This is the first gross condition (Sthūlāvasthā); the Brahman associated with Māyā in the form of Karma assumes that aspect in which It is regarded as the primal cause of the subtle and gross bodies. There then lies in it in a potential, undifferentiated mass (Ghana), the universe and beings about to be created. The Parabindu is thus a compact aspect of Śakti wherein action or Kriyā Śakti predominates. It is compared to a grain of gram (Canaka) which under its outer sheath (Māyā) contains two seeds (Śivaśakti) in close and undivided union. The Bindu is symbolized by a circle. The Śūnya or empty space within is the Brahmapada. The supreme Light is formless, but Bindu implies both the void and Guṇa, for when Shiva becomes Bindurūps He is with Guṇa. Rāghava says, “She alone can create. When the desire for appearance as all Her Tattvas seizes Her, She assumes thc state of Bindu whose characteristic is action” (Kriyāśakti). This Bindu or Avyskta, as it is the sprouting root of the universe, is called the supreme Bindu (Parabindu), or causal or Kārana Bindu, to distinguish it from that aspect of Itself which is called Bindu (Kāryya), which appears as a state of Śakti after the differentiation of the Parabindu in Sadṛṣaparināma. The Parabindu is the Īśvara of the Vedānta with Māyā as His Upādhi. He is the Saguṇa Brahman, that is, the combined Cit-Śakti and Māyā-Śakti or Īśvara with undifferentiated Prakṛti as His Avyaktaśarīra. Some call Him Mahāviṣṇu and others the Brahmapuruṣ ̣ a. Here is Paramaśiva. “Some call the Haṃsa, Devī. They are those to are filled with a passion for Her lotus feet.” As Kālīcarana, the Commentator of the Ṣaṭcakranirūpaṇa says, it matters not what It is called. It is adored by all. It is this Bindu or state of supreme Śakti which is worshipped in secret by all Devas. In Niṣkala Śiva Prakṛti exists in a hidden potential state. The Bindu Paraśaktimaya (Śivaśaktimaya) is the first movement of creative activity which is both the expression and result, of the universal Karma or store of unfulfilled desire for cosmic life.
It is then said that the Parabindu “divides” or “differentiates.” In the Satyaloka is the formless and lustrous One. She exists like a grain of gram (Canaka) surrounding Herself with Māyā. When casting off (Utmijya) the covering (Bandhana) of Māyā, She, intent on creation (Unmukhī), becomes twofold (Dvīdhā bhittvā), or according to the account here given threefold, and then on this differentiation in Śiva and Śakti (Śiva-Śakti-vibhāgena) arises creative ideation (Sṛṣṭikalpanā). As so unfolding the Bindu is known as the Sound Brahman (Śabdabrahman). “On the differentiation of the Parabindu there arose unmanifested sound” (Bhidyamānāt parād bindoravyaktātmā ravo ’bhavat). Śabda here of course does not mean physical sound, which is the Guṇa of the Kāryyākāśa or atomic Ākāśa. The latter is integrated and limited and evolved at a later stage in Vikṛti Parināma from Tāmasika Ahaṃkāra. Śabdabrahman is the undifferentiated Cidākāśa or Spiritual Ether of philosophy, in association with its Kalā or Prakṛti or the Sakala Śiva of religion. It is Cit-Śakti vehicle by undifferentiated Prakṛti, from which is evolved Nādamātra (“Sound only” or the “Principle of Sound”) which is unmanifest (Avyakta), from which again is displayed (Vyakta) the changing universe of names and forms. It is the Pranavarūpa Brahman or Oṃ which is the cosmic causal principle and the manifested Śabdārtha. Avyakta Nāda or unmanifested Sound is the undifferentiated causal principle of Manifested Sound without any sign or characteristic manifestation such as letters and the like which mark its displayed product. Śabdabrahman is the all-pervading, impartite, unmanifested Nādabindu substance, the primary creative impulse in Paraśiva which is the cause of the manifested Śabdārtha. This Bindu is called Para because It is the first and supreme Bindu. Although It is Śakti like the Śakti and Nāda which precede It, It is considered as Śakti on the point of creating the world, and as such It is from this Parabindu that Avyakta Sound is said to come.
Rāghava Bhatta ends the discussion of this matter by shortly saying that the Śabdabrahman is the Caitanya in all creatures which as existing in breathing creatures (Prāṇī) is known as the Śakti Kuṇḍalini of the Mūlādhāra. The accuracy of this definition is contested by the Compiler of the Prāṇatośinī, but if by Caitanya we understand the Manifested Cit, that is, the latter displayed as and with Mūlaprakṛti in cosmic vibration (Spandana), then the apparently differing views are reconciled.
The Parabindu on such differentiation manifests under the threefold aspects of Bindu, Nāda, Bīja. This is the fully developed and kinetic aspect of Paraśabda. The Bindu which thus becomes threefold is the Principle in which the germ of action sprouts to manifestation producing a state of compact intensive Śakti. The threefold aspect of Bindu, as Bindu (Kāryya), Nāda and Bīja are Śivamaya, Śivaśaktimaya, Śaktimaya; Para, Sūkṣma, Sthūla; Icchā, Jñāna, Kriyā; Tamas, Sattva, Rajas; Moon, Fire and Sunand the Śaktis which are the cosmic bodies known as Īśvara, Hiranyagarbha, and Virāt. All three, Bindu, Bīja, Nāda are the different phases of Śakti in creation, being different aspects of Parabindu the Ghanāvasthā of Śakti. The order of the three Śaktis of will, action and knowledge differ in Īśvara and Jīva. Īśvara is allknowing and therefore the order in Him is Icchā, Jñāna, Kriyā. In Jīvā, it is Jñāna, Icchā, Kriyā. Icchā is said to be the capacity which conceives the idea of work or action; which brings the work before the mind and wills to do it. In this Bindu, Tamas is said to be predominant, for there is as yet no stir to action. Nāda is Jñāna Śakti, that is, the subjective direction of will by knowledge to the desired end. With it is associated Sattva. Bīja is Kriyā Śakti or the Śakti which arises from that effort or the action done. With it Rajoguṇa or the principle of activity is associated. Kriyā arises from the combination of Icchā and Jñāna. It is thus said, “Drawn by Icchāśakti, illumined by Jñānaśakti, Śakti the Lord appearing as Male creates (Kriyāśakti). From Bindu it is said arose Raudrī; from Nāda, Jyeshthā; and from Bīja, Vāmā. From these arose Rudra, Brahma, Viṣ̣ ṇu.” It is also said in the Gorakṣa Saṃhitā, “Icchā is Brāhmī, Kriyā is Vaiṣṇavī: and Jñāna is Gaurī. Wherever there are these three Śaktis there is the Supreme Light called Oṃ.” In the Sakala Parameśvara or Śabdabrahman in bodies (that is, Kuṇḍalini Śakti), Bindu in which Tamas prevails is, Rāghava says, called Nirodhikā; Nāda in which Sattva prevails is called Ardhendhu, and Bīja the combination of the two (Icchā and Jñāna) in which Rajas as Kriyā works is called Bindu. The three preceding states in Kuṇḍalinī are Śakti, Dhvani, and Nāda. Kuṇḍalinīis Cit-Śakti into which Sattva enters a state known as the Paramākāśāvasthā. When She into whom Sattva has entered is next pierced by Rajas, She is called Dhvani which is the Akṣarāvasthā. When She is again pierced by Tamas, She is called Nāda. This is the Avyektāvasthā, the Avyakta Nāda which is the Parabindu. The three Bindus which are aspects of Parabindu constitute the mysterious Kāmakalā triangle which with the Hārddhakalāforms the roseate body of the lovely limbed great Devi Tripurasundarī who is Śivakāmā and manifests the universe. She is the trinity of Divine energy of whom the Shritattvārnava says:—“Those glorious men who worship in that body in Sāmarasya are freed from the waves of poison in the untraversable sea of the Wandering (Saṃsāra).” The main principle which underlies the elaborate details here shortly summarised is this. The state in which Cit and Prakṛti-Śākta are as one undivided whole, that is, in which Prakṛti lies latent (Niṣkala Śiva), is succeeded by one of differentiation, that is, manifestation of Māyā(Sakala Śiva). In such manifestation it displays several aspects. The totality of such aspects is the Māyā body of Īśvara in which are included the causal, subtle and gross bodies of the Jīva. These are, according to the Śāradā, seven aspects of the first or Parāstate of Sound in Ṣ́abdasṛṣṭi which are the seven divisions of the Mantra Oṃ, viz. A, U, M, Nāda, Bindu, Śakti, Śānta. They constitute Paraśabdasṛṣṭi in the Īśvara creation. They are Īśvara or Oṃ and seven aspects of the cosmic causal body; the collectivity (Samaṣṭi) of the individual (Vyaṣṭi) causal, subtle and gross bodies of the Jīva.
Before passing to the manifested Word and Its meaning (Śabdārtha), it is necessary to note what is called Arthasṛṣṭi in the Avikṛti or Sadṛṣaparināma: that is the causal state of Sound called Paraśabda; the other three states, viz.: Paśyantī, Madhyamā and Vaikharīmanifesting only in gross bodies. As Parabindu is the causal body of Śabda, It is also the causal body of Artha which is inseparately associated with It as the combined Śabdārtha. As such, He is called Śambhu who is of the nature of both Bindu and Kalā and the associate of Kalā. From Him issued Sadāśiva, “the witness of the world,” and from Him Īśa, and then Rudra, Viṣṇu and Brahmā. These six Śivas are various aspects of Cit as presiding over (the first) the subjective Tattvas and (the rest) the elemental world whose centres are the five lower Cakras. These Devatās when considered as belonging to the Avikṛti Yarināma are the Devatā aspect of apparently different states of causal sound by the process of resolution of like to like giving them the semblance of all pervasive creative energies. They are Sound powers in the aggregate (Samaṣṭi). As appearing in, that is, presiding over, bodies they are the ruling Lords of the individual (Vyeṣṭi) evolutes from the primal cause of Śabda.
The completion of the causal Avikṛti Parināma with its ensuing Cosmic vibration in the Guṇas is followed by a real Parināma of the Vikṛtis from the substance of Mūlaprakṛti. There then appears the manifested Śabdārtha or the individual bodies subtle or gross of the Jīva in which are the remaining three Bhāvas of Sound or Śaktis called Paśyantī, Madhyamā, Vaikharī. Shabda literally means sound, idea, word; and Artha its meaning; that is, the objective form which corresponds to the subjective conception formed and language spoken of it. The conception is due to Saṃskāra. Artha is the externalized thought. There is a psycho-physical parallelism in the Jīva. In Īśvara thought is truly creative. The two are inseparable, neither existing without the other. Śabdārtha has thus a composite meaning like the Greek word “Logos,” which means both thought and word combined. By the manifested Śabdārtha is meant what the Vedāntins call Nāmarūpa, the world of names and forms, but with this difference that according to the Tāntrik notions here discussed there is, underlying this world of names and forms, a real material cause that is Paraśabda or Mūlaprakṛti manifesting as the principle of evolution.
The Śāradā says that from the Unmanifested RootAvyakta Being in Bindu form (Mūlabhūta Bindurūpa) or the Paravastu (Brahman), that is, from Mūlaprakṛti in creative operation there is evolved the Sāṃkhyan Tattvas. Transcendentally, creation of all things takes place simultaneously. But, from the standpoint of Jīva, there is a real development (Parināma) from the substance of Mūlabhūta Avyakta Bindurūpa (as the Śāradācalls Mūlaprakṛti) of the Tattvas, Buddhi, Ahaṃkāra, Manas, the Indriyas, Tanmātras and Mahābhūtas in the order stated. The Tantra therefore adopts the Sāṃkhyan and not the Vedāntic order of emanation which starts with the Apañcikṛta Tanmātra, the Tāmasik parts of which, on the one hand, develop by Pañcīkarana into the Mahābhūta, and on the other, the Rājasik and Sāttvik parts of which are collectively and separately the source of the remaining Tattvas. In the Śākta Tantra, the Bhūtas derive directly and not by Pañcīkarana from the Tanmātras. Pañcīkarana exists in respect of the compounds derived from the Bhūtas. There is a further point of detail in the Tāntrik exposition to be noted. The Śākta Tantra, as the Purāṇas and Śaiva Śāstras do, speaks of a threefold aspect of Ahaṃkāra, according to the predominance therein of the respective Guṇas. From the Vaikārika Ahaṃkāra issue the eleven Devatās who preside over Manas and the ten Indriyas from the Taijasa Ahaṃkāra is produued the Indriyas and Manas: and from the Bhūtādika Ahaṃkāra the Tanmātras. None of these differences in detail or order of emanation of the Tattvas has substantial importance. In one case start is made from the knowing principle (Buddhi), on the other from the subtle object of knowledge the Tanmātra.
The abovementioned creation is known as Īśvara Sṛṣṭi. The Viśvasāra Tantra says that from the Earth come the herbs (Oshadhi), from the latter food, and from food seed (Retas). From the latter living beings are produced by the aid of sun and moon. Here what is called Jīva Sṛṣṭi is indicated, a matter into which I have no time to enter here.
To sum up, upon this ripening of Karma and the urge therefrom to cosmic life, Niṣkala Śiva becomes Sakala. Śakti manifests and the causal body of Īśvara is thought of as assuming seven causal aspects in Sadṛṣaparināma which are aspects of Śakti about to create. The Parabindu or state of Śakti thus developed is the causal body of both the manifested Śabda and Artha. The Parabindu is the source of all lines of development, whether of Śabda, or as Śambhu of Artha, or as the Mūlabhūta of the Manifested Śabdārtha. On the completed ideal development of this causal body manifesting as the triple Śaktis of will, knowledge and action, the Śabdārtha in the sense of the manifested world with its subtle and gross bodies appears in the order described.
From the above description, it will have been seen that the creation doctrine here described is compounded of various elements, some of which it shares with other Śāstras, and some of which are its own, the whole being set forth according to a method and terminology which is peculiar to itself. The theory which is a form of Advaitavāda has then some characteristics which are both Sāṃkhyan and Vedāntic. Thus it accepts a real Mūlaprakṛ̣ ti, not however as an independent principle in the Sāṃkhyan sense, but as a form of the Śakti of Śiva. By and out of Śiva-Śakti who are one, there is a real creation. In such creation, there is a special Adṛṣṭa Sṛṣṭi up to the transformation of Śakti as Parabindu. This is Īśvara Tattva of the thirty-six Tattvas, a scheme accepted by both Advaita Śaivas and Śāktas.
Then by the operation of Māyā-Śakti it is transformed into Puruṣa-Prakṛti and from the latter are evolved the Tattvas of the Sāṃkhya. Lastly, there is Yaugika Sṛṣṭi of the Nyāya Vaiśeṣika in that the world is held to be formed by a combination of the elements. It accepts, therefore, Adṛṣṭa Sṛṣṭi from the appearance of Śakti, up to the complete formation of the Causal Body known in its subtle form as the Kāmakalā; thereafter Parināma Sṛṣṭi of the Vikṛtis of the subtle and gross body produced from the causal body down to the Mahābhūtasand finally Yaugika Sṛṣṭi in so far as it is the Bhūtas which in varied combination go to make up the gross world.
There are (and the doctrine here discussed is an instance of it) common principles and mutual connections existing in and between the different Indian Śāstras, notwithstanding individual peculiarities of presentment due to natural variety of intellectual or temperamental standpoint or the purpose in view. Śiva in the Kulārṇava says that all the Darśanas are parts of His body, and he who severs them severs His limbs. The meaning of this is that the six Darśanas are the Six Minds, and these, as all else, are parts of the Lord’s Body.
Of these six minds, Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika teach Yaugika Sṛṣṭi; Sāṃkhya and Patanjali teach Yaugika Sṛṣṭi and Parināma Sṛṣṭi; Māyāvāda Vedānta teaches Yaugika Sṛṣṭi, Parināmasṛṣṭi according to the empirical method and Vivartta according to the transcendental method. According to the Vivartta of Māyāvāda, there is no real change but only the appearance of it. According to Śāktavāda, Ultimate Reality does in one aspact really evolve but in another aspect is immutable. Māyāvāda effects its synthesis by its doctrine of grades of reality, and Śākta-vāda by its doctrine of aspects of unity and duality, duality in unity and unity in duality. Ultimate Reality as the Whole is neither merely static nor merely active. It is both. The Natural and the spiritual are one. In this sense the Śākta system claims to be the synthesis of all other doctrines.