Four commentaries on Siva Sutras are available at present, the Vimarsini commentary of Ksemaraja in prose, the .Siva-sutra-vita by some anonymous author in prose, the, Siva-sastra-varttikam by Bhaskara in verse, and the Siva-sutra-varttikam by Varadaraja in verse.
The Siva-sutra-vita is so close to Vimarsini that it appears to be either a preliminary draft or a later abstract of the Vimarsini. There is a strong presumption that the author of the Vertis was Ksemareija himself.
My Guru's wish was more than a command to me. I looked into the translations referred to. A new interpretation should always be welcome, but when it goes against the very spirit and tradition of the system, it becomes a pernicious procedure. To cite one instance, the 5th sutra of the first section is worded as `dynamo Bhairavah'. The word udyama has been translated as 'exertion'. The first section deals with gambhava-upaya, Even the veriest tyro of gaivagama knows that sambhava upaya has nothing to do with exertion, and so `udyama' does not and cannot mean exertion in this context. Even the structure and grammar of the Sanskrit language have been twisted and tortured to yield certain pre-conceived meanings. Such preposterous translation is, to say the least, a literary crime.
I had made a promise to carry out the commands of my Guru, but when I tried to understand the text, I found myself at sea. I was afraid of setting pen to paper lest I should do injustice to this great scripture. Kaviraja ji was too ill to teach. So I studied the text word by word with the help of Acarya Rameshvara Jha who is a great Sanskrit scholar and fully conversant with gaivagama. I am very grateful to him for his help. I felt, however, that I should study it further with the help of one who has been brought up in the gaivagama tradition. So I approached my old Guru, Swami Laksmana Ji of Kashmir who, in spite of his old age and a heavy schedule of engagements with a number of scholars who had gathered round him, kindly agreed to help. He taught me the sutras together with the commentary of Ksemaraja and gave luminous exposition of viii) some very knotty problems, I am deeply beholden to him for unraveling the meaning of this difficult text.
Ksemaraja, in the introductory portion of his commentary, says that since many incongruous expositions had been given by the commentaries extant in his time, he undertook to write a new commentary in due conformity with the old tradition. I have, therefore, translated the sutras along with the Vimarsini commentary of Ksemaraja. The style of Ksemaraja is some-what involved, and so it has been an uphill task to translate his commentary into English. I have tried my best to make the translation as clear and readable as possible.
Four commentaries on Siva-sutras are available at present, the Vimarsini commentary of Ksemaraja in prose, the Siva-sastra-vritti by some anonymous author in prose, the Siva-sutra-varttikam by Bhaskara in verse, and the Siva-sutra-varttikam by Varadaraja in verse.
The Siva-sutra-vritti is so close to Vimarsini that it appears to be either a preliminary draft or a later abstract of the Vimarsini. There is a strong presumption that the author of the Vritti was Kremarelja himself. The Varttikam by Varadaraja is only a rehash of the Vimarsini in Verse. The Viirttikam by Bhaskara is an independent commentary. He differs at places from Ksemaraja. I have indicated this in my notes or exposition wherever necessary. Ksemaraja's commentary is so detailed and scholarly that it has practically elbowed every other commentary out of existence. I have, therefore, duly followed Ksemaraja in my exposition.
I have adopted the following plan in the book. Each sutra is given both in Devanagari and Roman script. Then the meaning of every word of the sutra is given in English followed by a translation of the whole sutra. This is followed by the Vimarsini commentary in Sanskrit. The commentary is then translated into English. After this, copious notes are added on important and technical words. Finally, I have given a running exposition of the main ideas of the sutra in my own words.
A long Introduction has been given in the beginning. This is followed by an abstract of each sutra. At the end of the book, a glossary of all the technical terms and Index has been appended.
For me, this work has been a labor of love, without any financial and secretarial assistance whatsoever. My great Guru, MM. Gopinath Kaviraja passed away before the work could be completed. I can now only console myself by dedicating it to his revered memory.
The Siva system of Philosophy and Yoga is generally known as Agama. The word Agama means a traditional doctrine or system which commands faith.
The Siva system, in general, is known as Siva-Sasana or givagama, The non-dualistic gaiva system of Kashmir is known as Trika-Aasana or Trika-gastra or Rahasya-sampradaya. The words asana and Citra are very significant. Both contain the root Rise which means discipline. asana or gastro means teaching containing rules for discipline. A sastra or asana in India never meant merely an intellectual exposition of a particular system. It certainly expounded the fundamental principles of reality but at the same time laid down on the basis of the principles certain rules, certain norms of conduct which had to be observed by those who studied the particular sastra. A sastra was not simply a way of thought but also a way of life. The Siva philosophy of Kashmir is generally called `Trika sastra, because it is philosophy of the triad —
(3) Nara — the bound soul or
(1) Para — the highest
(2) prepare — identity in difference and
(3) apart — difference. The literature of the Trika system of Kashmir falls into three categories, viz., (1) the Agama sastra,
(2) the Spanda sastra and
(3) the Pratyabhijyia sastra.
Agama sastra is considered to be revelation by Siva. It lays down both the principles and practices of the system. Among the works belonging to the Agama category may be mentioned the following Tantras.
Malinivijaya or Mali nivijayottara, Svacchanda, Vijivarana Bhairava, Mrgendra, Netra, Rudra-Yamala, siva-Satras, etc. Most of these taught generally the dualistic doctrine. The most important Agama of the Trika system was known as the Siva Sutras.
The importance of this work consists in the fact that it was revealed to counter the effects of dualism.1 It is generally know:. as Sivopanisat-sangraha — a compendium containing the secret: doctrine revealed by Siva. This was revealed to Vasugupta. There are three theories regarding the revelation of the Siva-Sutras to Vasugupta.
1. Kallata in the Spanda-vritti says that Siva taught the Siva-Sutras in a dream to Vasugupta who was living on Mahadeva mountain in the valley of the Harvan stream behind the Shalimar garden near Srinagara.
2. Bhaskara says in his Varttika on the Siva-Sutras that they were revealed to Vasugupta in a dream by a Siddha — a perfected semi-divine being.
3. Ksemaraja, in his commentary Vimarsini, maintains that Siva appeared to Vasugupta in a dream and said, ''On the Mahadeva mountain, the secret doctrines are inscribed on a piece of stone. Collecting the doctrines from there, teach them to those who deserve grace.'' On waking up, Vasugupta went to the place and by a mere touch the particular stone turned up and he found the Siva-Sastras inscribed on it.
The particular rock is still called Sarhkaropala, and it is said that the Sastras were inscribed on it. (See the plate No. 1). The rock is there, but there is no trace of the sutras.
The following are the common points in all the theories regarding the discovery of the Siva-Sutras.
1. There was no hur an author of the Sastras. They originated from Siva.
2. They were revealed to Vasugupta. Whether they were revealed to him by Siva in a dream or by a Siddha or they were found on a rock at the instance of Siva are matters which are irrelevant to the main issue of the revelation.
Date of the Discovery of the Sutras :
We know from Rajatarangini that Kallata flourished in the reign of king Avanti-Varman of Kashmir, Avanti-Varman reined in the 9th Century A.D. Vasugupta who had discovered the Siva-Sutras was the guru (teacher) of Kallata. He must have flourished either in the last part of the 8th Century or the beginning of the 9th Century A.D. This must have been therefore, the date of the discovery of the Sutras.
Commentaries on the Siva-Sutras:
Ksemaraja says in his commentary Vimarsini that he noticed discrepancies in the various commentaries prevalent in his time. Therefore, he undertook to write a new commentary. He has not named the commentaries in which he noticed discrepancies. Only four commentaries have survived.
1. The Vritti.
2. The Varttika by Bhaskara.
3. The Vimarsini by Ksemaraja.
4. The Siva-Sutra-varttikam by Varadaraja alias Kmadasa.
The author of the Vritti is not known. The commentary vritti tallies with Vimarsini not only in interpretation but also mostly in words. It appears that either the Vritti was written at first and was used by Ksemaraja as a framework for elaboration or that Vimarsini was written at first and either Ksemaraja himself or someone else prepared an abstract of it in the Vritti.
Bhaskara says in the introductory portion of his Varttika that Vasugupta taught the Siva-Sutras to Kallata who taught them to Pradyumnabhatta, the son of his maternal uncle. Pradyumnabhatta taught them to his son Prajriarjuna. Prajilar-juna taught them to a pupil, Mahadevabhatta who in turn taught them to his son, grikanthabhatta. Bhaskara himself learned the sutras from Srikanthabhatta. Bhaskara flourished in the 11th century A.D. So his Attica was written during that period.
The Vritti gives the main ideas Sutras in a very succinct form in prose. Bhaskara in his Varttika interprets each sutra in verse.