Sahib Kaul's Flash of Self-Realization
by Dr. B. N. Pandit
MONISTIC Saivism developed in the North in two schools, one being the Trymbaka School which flourished in Kashmir (the Medhapitha) and is known at present as the Kashmir Saivism, and the other being the school named Ardha Tryambaka which developed in the Kangra area called Jalandharapitha. Many systems of practical Sadhana (spiritual discipline), e.g. Vama, Daksina, Koula, Mata, Trika, etc., were prevalent among the followers of Saivism. The Trika system of Sadhana was highly popular with the Saivaites of Kashmir. Abhinavagupta, the greatest among the authors of the Trika system, had picked up the highest form of the Kaul system of practice from his most esteemed preceptor, Sambhunatha, the presiding teacher of the Ardha Trymbaka School. Kaulism also became sufficiently popular with the practitioners of Trika system in Kashmir since then.
Sahib Kaul, alias Anandanatha, who was a great Saiva philosopher and an experienced practitioner of Kaulism, lived in Kashmir during the reign of Shahjahan and Aurangazeb. He was a born Siddha (a perfect being) who got a sudden and spontaneous flash of the direct realisation of his absolute godhead even when he was a boy of about eight years. That sudden experience of his divine nature turned him at once into a poet of merit and, expressing his divine realisation through the medium of wonderful poetry in Sanskrit, he uttered the verse given below:
"I, Sahib Kaul or Sahibram, am that blissful Sambhu (Lord Siva the absolute God) who inscribed the figure of the whole universe on the wall of his own self, who made it wonderful by means of various hues with a devout attention; and who finally performs the Tandav dance after absorbing it into his own self".
Remembering his previous state of a soul living in a mortal body, he spoke out the second verse:
"What is and where is the body, and who has it? (Body also is, in fact, the Lord Himself). A soul, being bound by a body, is not (really) bound (because there is no body but the Lord Himself). As for me, I am myself Sambhu, Visnu, Surya, Ganesa, Brahma, Sakti and (even) the Almighty God. Let all prostrations be therefore to me."
Note - Depicting his outlook on the function of his psycho-physical set-up he spoke the third verse:
"I neither know nor do desire anything different from me; nor do I appear myself as an object of any (senses which are themselves) objects. But, through my own will, I know and do my own self, and know and do everything other than me as my own self. Prostrations to me who is the very existence of every existent entity":
Note - Declaring the pervasive absolute consciousness as his real naturet he uttered the fourth sloka:
"I (as the transcendental reality) stay beyond even that pure consciousness of the fourth state (of revelation) which continues to shine in the (three) states of waking, dreaming and sleeping. Prostrations to me who is everything and through whose lustre everything shines."
Sahib Kaul, being as yet a young boy of eight years, and not having undergone any hardening practices of Hathayoga, did not have a sufficiently strong nervous system capable to contain and to bear the weight of spiritual force experienced by him in that sudden flash of self-realisation. He felt his physical body to be failing to contain it and, consequently, collapsing under its huge pressure. His reaction to the apprehension of the so-called death urged him to utter the fifth verse:
"Death is death for such people who undergo it. It is not so for them who realise its essence; because such people are never really born. As for me, I, transcending (the relative conceptions of) both death and immortality, shine (always) through my own lustre. Prostrations to me who is the absorber of even the god of death.'
Having uttered the above verse, the philospher- poet fainted, and coming back to his senses a few hours later, he uttered five more verses. The hymn thus created was named by him as Siva-Jiva-Dasaka; the first five verses of it having been uttered in a fit of Sivahood and the rest (five) after descending back to Jivahood. The eleventh verse contains hints towards the circumstances in which the hymn came forth and the last one concludes it.
The verse spoken just on coming back to senses is the sixth one. Discussing the phenomenon of death through it he spoke:
"The way of knowing in this world is this that anything cognized by one's mind is known and that not cognized is not known. What and how can then be death for people who do not at all feel the reality of their birth? Where has the death of such people been seen or heard?"
The next verse throws more light on the same topic:
"If, however, the theory (regarding death) is put forth like this, 'union of a soul with a body is birth and its separation from it is death'; then (the answer is), 'what pleasure or sorrow can befall wise persons knowing all well, on the occasions of visits or departures of their near and dear?"'
To refute all diversity and to establish absolute unity, the philosopher-poet uttered the eighth verse:
"I was all along that very absolute reality even while thinking (repeatedly and inquisitively), 'Who am I"? I am and I can be only the Supreme. Not recollecting any of the relative conceptions like - you, this, (limited) I, he, who, etc., I alone remain myself in my own self (an an undiversifiable entity)"'.
Note: Describing the apparent diversity as the manifestation of the playful will of the monistic self, he spoke the ninth verse:
"The appearance of (diversity as) "you-ness and "I-ness" is manifested by me. This (presently appearing) unity in this diversity also is manifested by me. Prakasa (the light of consciousness) is both, pure Nirvikalpa and mixed Savikalpa, and I am thus shining unitarily in all diversity".
Another sense carried by the third line. Appearing of a thing is a Prakasa and its not appearing also is Prakasa (because that also shines in the lustre of Prakasa.)
Note: Describing the natural connotive aspect of consciousness, he uttered the last one of the 10 verses:
"If Prakasa (light of consciousness) were devoid of Vimarsa (awareness), it would not have been Prakasa. When awareness is its essential nature, then this apparent phenomenal diversity is nothing. Prostrations to me with Prakasa as my form and Vimarsa are my nature, appearing myself as soul or God."
Note: This next verse hints at the circumstances already mentioned as collected by me from a descendant of the author:
"When the body (of the poet) had reached a state ]ike that of death, the (first five Slokas were aroused by someone - (that is, Lord Siva) in His memory. The other five were composed by Sahibram Kaul after coming back again to his normal health."
The concluding verse describes the philosophic importance of the hymn:
"A (blessed) person, having learnt well the (above) 10 Slokas from an experienced preceptor, and, having himself contemplated on them again and again, may merge into his eternal and blissful lustre of pure consciousness after having attained self- realisation and consequent liberation (from all bondage)."
Complete thus is the Siva- Jiva-Dasaka, composed by Sri Sahib Kaul, alias Anandanatha, a great and exalted teacher of Saivism.