Quotes on Spanda and Extracts from Spanda Karikas (9th Century).
Spanda is a Sanskrit term – derived from the root spadi: “to move a little” – for the subtle creative pulse of the universe as it manifests into the dynamism of living form.
(It holds that) the entire universe is nothing but conscious energy, and that everything in the universe is that consciousness expressed in different forms. Spanda can be translated as throb or pulse or to mean vibration, movement, or motion, referring to waves of activity issuing forth from an unseen source of spontaneous expression, emanating not only from the centre outward, but from everywhere at once.
It might be described as the essence of a wave in the ocean of consciousness. An impulse or desire to create and enjoy, likened to an eternal spring, joyfully overflowing its inner essence into manifestation and inspiration, yet ever full, complete and unchanging.
The ….Absolute …..creates a stir, a throb (spanda) which vibrates as the primordial sound. This ur-sound concentrates itself into a point (bindu), a nucleus of condensed energy……. This point encloses in itself all the possibilities of becoming, all that have to be created. Then, the point swells …., assumes a radius: the polarization takes place: the dynamic and static energies interact and, from the ensuing unfoldment, two more points emerge to form a triad of points: the primary triangle, the beginning of creation.
Moving as a resonance, the pulsation of spanda exists continuously; and in all the different states of consciousness there is spanda: it is the residual, foundational substratum of the manifested world.
Source ~ http://www.spanda.org/origin.html
Spanda, the ‘Vibration’ of Divine Consciousness manifests as the whole universe, including the physical and subtle bodies of every human being.
Tantra teaches us that there is a unifying continuity between our physical bodies, the activities of our mind and emotions, and all forms of interior awareness.
All of these are manifestations of the one source; thus, we are all microcosmic pulsations of the whole, expressions in bodily form, within the illusory dimension of time and space, of Universal Consciousness.
Spanda is often called sphuratta, the ‘scintillating pulse’ of the Supreme Light which continuously trembles within its own incandescence. This very vibration makes up the totality of all beings. Thus the Universal Spanda blissfully vibrates as all aspects of the Self. Even ‘negative’ feelings and thoughts are part of Spanda; when it contracts into the form of negative thoughts and feelings, these are used as a spring-board to move into an expanded state, thus completing the dance of life.
In Tantric Yoga, we do not seek, therefore, to ‘change’ ourselves; rather, through practice we gradually begin to recognize that everything we have sought outside of ourselves–peace, love, contentment, security, etc., vibrates as the heart energy of the universe within our own hearts.
Yoga simply unveils this reality as your true nature at the moment that the Śhakti (Divine Energy-Consciousness) begins to expand outward once again in the form of your own awakening. It cannot be otherwise. Our awakening is merely this: we recognize our own heart to be one with the central point of Supreme Consciousness, the point from which all things ebb and flow in the bliss-dance of the Universe.
Source ~ Christopher Tompkins
I am including a transcript here of Spanda Karikas for my own reference and if anyone is interested to read it. I think it has a lot to offer, but do not claim to understand all of it. I have adjusted some terms to make them more Universal, and short explanatory notes in parenthesis are mine and therefore subject to error.) Spanda is where Philosophy meets Quantum Science. It just depends on which vocabulary one prefers.
Summarised verses from Source ~ http://lovebliss.eu/spanda-k-rik-s.html
1) We praise that Absolute, who is the source of all forces and by whom, in a mere twinkle of the eye, the universe springs forth or is absorbed.
2) The pure nature of the Absolute, from whom this universe comes into existence, is not obstructed anywhere.
3) One’s own innate spirit remains untainted through different states, like waking, dreaming, etc., where divisions occur.
4) States of consciousness such as I am happy, I am miserable, I am attached, etc. clearly all depend on a primal state on which they are strung together.
5) That is the highest wherein neither pleasure or pain exist, nor where cognizable objects or cognizer exist, but which is not the ignorant state either.
6) Because the divisive activity confuses one and makes one foolishly believe oneself to be divided, one should patiently destroy and annihilate this persistent condition totally.
7) Carefully obtain the essence and examine it with zeal. Do this because everything is produced from it by the Absolute’s free and omnipresent play.
8) Why should you be concerned with removing the urging desires, when you with your own strength can merge with the pure being of the Self?
9) Even one who is incapable of doing this, due to his persistent impurities, may reach the highest state when his agitation disappears.
10) Then, due to such natural merit, knowledge of the ever present characteristic of the doer will emerge. At that time he knows and does all that is desirable.
11) How can the Absolute whose inherent nature is to smilingly observe, be as if in the cycle of deception?
12) Nothingness can not be the object of meditation since awareness will be absent there. Nothingness is not absence of ignorance. Thus claims of experiencing nothingness are just opinions and convictions.
13) Therefore consider nothingness to be a fake object of knowledge, somewhat like deep sleep. It is not by recollection of nothingness that the Self is known.
14) There are two states: “the doer” and “the done”. The product of deeds is subject to decay, but the doer is imperishable.
15) In kevala samadhi only the effort of doing vanishes. One who does not know better thinks kevala means the doer has ceased to be.
16) However, the inner Self, which is pure being, is the abode of all knowledge, and everything arises out of it. It can never cease to exist just because something objective is not perceived.
17) The fully enlightened yogi has uninterrupted awareness of the Self throughout all three states, whereas others are only aware of it at the beginning and end of each state.
18) Shakti along with supreme maya appears as both knowledge and knowable. As such the foundation is omniscient, so what is there but pure intelligence? (Here Maya means ”creative power’ not ‘illusion’.)
19) Spanda flows forth as the gunas (Note : primary energy tendencies which influence us), which never cease to be Spanda. Therefore nothing can ever obstruct what the enlightened has realized.
(Note : http://somathread.ning.com/groups/yoga-and-tantra/philosophy-of-yoga/a-parable-of-the-gunas )
20) However the gunas make healthy, but unenlightened, people fall down into the (cycle of death and rebirth), so hard to get out of.
21) Therefore, one should constantly exert oneself to the utmost to discern the Spanda principle. Then one will soon attain the Self even in the waking state.
22) When greatly exasperated, overjoyed, confused or running for your life, take refuge in the stable foundation of Spanda.
23) Hold on to this state of Spanda. Abide in Spanda by deciding to submit to what ever Spanda bids
24) Abiding in Spanda, the sun and moon set and Shakti follows the sushumnā path to brahmarandhra.
(Note : The primal energy rises)
25) Then, when by this means the moon and the sun remain hidden, some enter the great heaven and become fully enlightened, but the ignorant merely enter a state of stupor.
26) When on this powerful path use mantras endowed with the power of omniscience. Advance beyond reasoning and the embodied soul.
27) There, in that suitable state of serenity, which can never be known as an object, the mind of the aspirant gets dissolved into Pure Consciousness.
28) Because the limited individual is essentially one with pure being, which is the cause of all limited sentiments, the limited individual identifies with the awareness he has of these sentiments.
29) Thus there is no basis of thoughts, words or meanings that is not Pure Being. The experiencer of pleasure and pain is always and in everything abiding as the sentiment of pleasure or pain.
30) S/He who is blessed with this understanding and sees the entire universe as play, he sees the Self continuously and is beyond doubt liberated while living.
31) This is the arising of pure meditation in the meditator’s awareness, in which the aspirant of resolute will has the realization of his pure being.
32) This is the attainment of the nectar of immortality that gives Self-realization. This is initiation for liberation that bestows Union.
33) The great benefactor (The Absolute) brings that about, which the will requests from the heart. During the waking state, He makes the sun and moon rise in the embodied (wo)man.
34) Similarly, in the dream state, the Absolute vividly reveals the desired object in response to the prayerful request. During the dream state the Absolute resides in sushumnā. (Note: the central psychic channel).
35) Otherwise, in the case of worldly people, the generation of images happens during dreaming and waking in accord with the character of the person.
36) Surely, as an object may be seen indistinctly at first, despite ones full attention, it will later become clear when observed with ones full power.
37) Similarly the highest truth at last becomes firmly established for the persevering yogi using his strength in a one-pointed manner.
38) Just as a starving man can still his hunger, so can a weak man achieve his goal by resorting to That. (Note : Awareness of Spanda as the underlying vibration, and the Will for realisation).
39) When the body is permeated with Spanda, one knows everything inside it. Similarly when one’s pure being is permeated with Spanda, one understands everything spiritual.
40) Exhaustion ravages the body of the ignorant because of his ignorance. How can ignorance continue to exist in the absence of its cause? So It is destroyed by the coming forth of pure being.
41) When one persistent thought is replaced by another, pure being comes forth in between. One should notice this for oneself.
(Note : this is an important verse for it describes the essential practice of meditation…..awareness of the space between thoughts, allowing that space to expand and dwelling in that space.)
42) Out of this arises light, sound, form and taste which are disturbances, in the form of limited stimuli.
43) When (the yogi) abides in that which permeates everything and desires to know the meaning of everything, then there is no point in saying much for he will experience for himself.
44) Keeping awake at all times, the yogi stays in the field of spiritual knowledge. Seeing everything as identical with That, he is never troubled by anything.
45) He who is deprived of his spiritual status by the forces of concealment becomes a victim of the forces of words (Note: This means the wanderings of the mind). Thus he is known as fettered.
46) (The yogi) looses the supreme nectar and his independence, when convictions take hold of him. He has at that time gone into the domain of subtle elements.
47) Language penetrates awareness when the state of pure being is lost. Thus subtle forces are always ready to conceal the Self.
48) This Shakti of Shiva’s, when characterized by doership, binds the fettered soul. But when understood and set free on its own path, it brings perfection.
49) Bewitched by the appearance of the subtle elements that reside as the subtle body, in the form of I AM-ness, the mind and the determinative faculty, man is closed inside the state produced by convictions, feelings, etc.
50) Subject to the controlling power of these subtle indulgences, man is bound in transmigatory existence. Thus we will explain how to end this situation.
51) When he is sincerely merged with Spanda and dissolved in compassion, then he blocks the indulgences and the fluctuations and arrives at mastery over the cycle of transmigration.
52) I pay homage to the wonderful speech of my guru, whose words yield wonderful meanings. They act like a boat to cross the fathomless ocean of doubt.