Cit-Shakti is Cit, as Shakti, that is as Power, or that aspect of Cit in which it is, through its associated Maya-Shakti, operative to create the universe. It is a commonly accepted doctrine that the ultimate Reality is Samvid, Caitanya or Cit.
But what is Cit? There is no word in the English language which adequately describes it. It is not mind: for mind is a limited instrument through which Cit is manifested. It is that which is behind the mind and by which the mind itself is thought, that is created. The Brahman is mindless (Amanah). I f we exclude mind we also exclude all forms of mental process, conception, perception, thought, reason, will, memory, particular sensation and the like. We are then left with three available words, namely, Consciousness, Feeling, Experience. To the first term there are several objections. For if we use an English word, we must understand it according to its generally received meaning. Generally by "Consciousness" is meant self-consciousness, or at least something particular, having direction and form, which is concrete and conditioned; an evolved product marking the higher stages of Evolution. According to some, it is a mere function of experience, an epiphenomenon, a mere accident of mental process. In this sense it belongs only to the highly developed organism and involves a subject attending to an object of' which, as of itself, it is conscious. We are thus said to have most consciousness when we are awake (Jagrat avastha) and have full experience of all objects presented to us; less so when dreaming (Svapna avastha) and deep anesthesia in true dreamless sleep (Sushupti). I may here observe that recent researches show that this last state is not so common as is generally supposed. That is complete dreamlessness is rare; there being generally some trace of dream. In the last state it is commonly said that consciousness has disappeared, and so of course it has, if we first define consciousness in terms of the waking state and of knowledge of objects. According to Indian notions there is a form of conscious experience in the deepest sleep expressed in the well-known phrase "Happily I slept, I knew nothing". The sleeper recollects on waking that his state has been one of happiness. And he cannot recollect unless there has been a previous experience (Anubhava) which is the subject-matter of memory. In ordinary parlance we do not regard some low animal forms, plants or mineral as "conscious". It is true that now in the West there is (due to the spread of ideas long current in India) growing up a wider use of the term "consciousness" in connection not only with animal but vegetable and mineral life, but it cannot be said the term "consciousness" has yet generally acquired this wide signification. If then we use (as for convenience we do) the term "Consciousness" for Cit, we must give it a content different from that which is attributed to the term in ordinary English parlance. Nextly, it is to be remembered that what in either view we understand by consciousness is something manifested, and therefore limited, and derived from our finite experience. The Brahman as Cit is the infinite substratum of that. Cit in itself (Svarupa) is not particular nor conditioned and concrete. Particularity is that aspect in which it manifests as, and through, Maya-Shakti. Cit manifests as Jñana-Shakti which, when used otherwise than as a loose synonym for Cit, means knowledge of objects. Cit-Svarupa is neither knowledge of objects nor self-consciousness in the phenomenal sense. Waking, dreaming and dreamless slumber are all phenomenal states in which experience varies; such variance being due not to Cit but to the operation or cessation of particular operation of the vehicles of mind (Antahkarana) and sense (Indriya). But Cit never disappears nor varies in either of the three states, but remains one and the same through all. Though Cit-Svarupa is not a knowledge of objects in the phenomenal sense, it is not, according to Shaiva-Shakta views (I refer always to Advaita Shaiva-darshana), a mere abstract knowing (Jñana) wholly devoid of content. It contains within itself the Vimarsha-Shakti which is the cause of phenomenal objects, then existing in the form of Cit (Cidrupini). The Self then knows the Self. Still less can we speak of mere 'awareness" as the equivalent of Cit. A worm or meaner form of animal may be said to be vaguely aware. In fact mere "awareness" (as we understand that term) is a state of Cit in which it is seemingly overwhelmed by obscuring Maya-Shakti in the form of Tamoguna. Unless therefore we give to "awareness," as also to consciousness, a content, other than that with which our experience furnishes us, both terms are unsuitable. In some respects Cit can be more closely described by Feeling, which seems to have been the most ancient meaning of the term Cit. Feeling is more primary, in that it is only after we have been first affected by something that we become conscious of it. Feeling has thus been said to be the raw material of thought, the essential element in the Self, what we call personality being a particular form of feeling. Thus in Samkhya, the Gunas are said to be in the nature of happiness (Sukha), sorrow (Dukha) and illusion (Moha) as they are experienced by the Purusha-Consciousness. And in Vedanta, Cit and Ananda or Bliss or Love are one. For Consciousness then is not consciousness of being (Sat) but Being-Consciousness (Sat-Cit); nor a Being which is conscious of Bliss (Ananda) but Being-Consciousness-Bliss (Sacchidananda). Further, "feeling" has this advantage that it is associated with all forms of organic existence even according to popular usage, and may scientifically be aptly applied to inorganic matter. Thus whilst most consider it to be an unusual and strained use of language, to speak of the consciousness of a plant or stone, we can and do speak of the feeling or sentiency of a plant. Further the response which inorganic matter makes to stimuli is evidence of the existence therein of that vital germ of life and sentiency (and therefore Cit) which expands into the sentiency of plants, and the feelings and emotions of animals and men. It is possible for any form of unintelligent being to feel, however obscurely. And it must do so, if its ultimate basis is Cit and Ananda, however veiled by Maya-Shakti these may be. The response which inorganic matter makes to stimuli is the manifestation of Cit through the Sattvaguna of Maya-Shakti, or Shakti in its form as Prakriti-Shakti. The manifestation is slight and apparently mechanical because of the extreme predominance of the Tamoguna in the same Prakriti-Shakti. Because of the limited and extremely regulated character of the movement which seems to exclude all volitional process as known to us, it is currently assumed that we have merely to deal with what is an unconscious mechanical energy. Because vitality is so circumscribed and seemingly identified with the apparent mechanical process, we are apt to assume mere unconscious mechanism. But as a fact this latter is but the form assumed by the conscious Vital Power which is in and works in all matter whatever it be. To the eye, however, unassisted by scientific instruments, which extend our capacity for experience, establishing artificial organs for the gaining thereof, the matter appears Jada (or unconscious); and both in common English and Indian parlance we call that alone living or Jiva which, as organized matter, is endowed with body and senses. Philosophically, however, as well as scientifically, all is Jivatma which is not Paramatma: everything in fact with form, whether the form exists as the simple molecule of matter, or as the combination of these simple forms into cells and greater organisms. The response of metallic matter is a form of sentiency -- its germinal form -- a manifestation of Cit intensely obscured by the Tamoguna of Prakriti-Shakti.
In plants Cit is less obscured, and there is the sentient life which gradually expands in animals and men, according as Cit gains freedom of manifestation through the increased operation of Sattvaguna in the vehicles of Cit; which vehicles are the mind and senses and the more elaborate organization of the bodily particles. What is thus mere incipient or germinal sentiency, simulating unconscious mechanical movement in inorganic matter, expands by degrees into feeling akin, though at first remotely, to our own, and into all the other psychic functions of consciousness, perception, reasoning, memory and will. The matter has been very clearly put in a Paper on "The Four Cosmic Elements" by C. G. Sander which (subject to certain reservations stated) aptly describes the Indian views on the subject in hand. He rightly says that sentiency is an integrant constituent of all existence, physical as well as metaphysical and its manifestation can be traced throughout the mineral and chemical as well as vegetable and animal worlds. It essentially comprises the functions of relationship to environment, response to stimuli, and atomic memory in the lower or inorganic plane; whilst in the higher or organic planes it includes all the psychic functions such as consciousness, perception, thought, reason, volition and individual memory. Inorganic matter through the inherent element of sentiency is endowed with aesthesia or capacity of feeling and response to physical and chemical stimuli such as light, temperature, sound, electricity, magnetism and the action of chemicals. All such phenomena are examples of the faculty of perception and response to outside stimuli of matter. We must here include chemical sentiency and memory; that is the atom's and molecule's remembrance of its own identity and behavior therewith. Atomic memory does not, of course, imply self-consciousness, but only inherent group-spirit which responds in a characteristic way to given outside stimuli. We may call it atomic or physical consciousness. The consciousness of plants is only trance-like (what the Hindu books call 'Comatose') though some of the higher aspects of sentiency (and we may here use the word 'consciousness') of the vegetable world are highly interesting: such as the turning of flowers to the sun; the opening and shutting of leaves and petals at certain times, sensitiveness to the temperature and the obvious signs of consciousness shewn by the sensitive and insectivorous plants, such as the Sundew, the Venus Flytrap, and others. The micro-organisms which dwell on the borderland between the vegetable and animal worlds have no sense organs, but are only endowed with tactile irritability, yet they are possessed of psychic life, sentiency, and inclination, whereby they perceive their environment and position, approach, attack and devour food, flee from harmful substances and reproduce by division. Their movements appear to be positive, not reflex. Every cell, both vegetable and animal, possesses a biological or vegetative consciousness, which in health is polarized or subordinate to the government of the total organism of which it forms an integral part; but which is locally impaired in disease and ceases altogether at the death of the organism. In plants, however, (unlike animals) the cellular consciousness is diffused or distributed amongst the tissues or fibers; there being apparently no special conducting or centralizing organs of consciousness such as we find in higher evolutionary forms. Animal consciousness in its highest modes becomes self-consciousness. The psychology of the lower animals is still the field of much controversy; some regarding these as Cartesian machines and others ascribing to them a high degree of psychic development. In the animals there is an endeavor at centralization of consciousness which reaches its most complex stage in man, the possessor of the most highly organized system of consciousness, consisting of the nervous system and its centers and functions, such as the brain and solar plexus, the site of Ajña and upper centers, and of the Manipura Cakra. Sentiency or feeling is a constituent of all existence. We may call it consciousness however, if we understand (with the author cited) the term "consciousness" to include atomic or physical consciousness, the trance consciousness of plant life, animal consciousness and man's completed self-consciousness.
The term Sentiency or Feeling, as the equivalent of manifested Cit, has, however, this disadvantage: whereas intelligence and consciousness are terms for the highest attributes of man's nature, mere sentiency, though more inclusive and common to all, is that which we share with the lowest manifestions. In the case of both terms, however, it is necessary to remember that they do not represent Cit-Svarupa or Cit as It is in itself. The term Svarupa (own form) is employed to convey the notion of what constitutes anything what it is, namely, its true nature as it is in itself. Thus, though the Brahman or Shiva manifests in the form of the world as Maya-Shakti, its Svarupa is pure Cit.
Neither sentiency nor consciousness, as known to us, is Cit-Svarupa. They are only limited manifestations of Cit just as reason, will, emotion and memory, their modes are. Cit is the background of all forms of experience which are its modes, that is Cit veiled by Maya-Shakti; Cit-Svarupa is never to be confounded with, or limited to, its particular modes. Nor is it their totality, for whilst it manifests in these modes It yet, in Its own nature, infinitely transcends them. Neither sentiency, consciousness, nor any other term borrowed from a limited and dual universe can adequately describe what Cit is in Itself (Svarupa). Vitality, mind, matter are its limited manifestations in form. These forms are ceaselessly changing, but the undifferentiated substratum of which they are particularized modes is changeless. That eternal, changeless, substratum is Cit,, which may thus be defined as the changeless principle of all our changing experience. All is Cit, clothing itself in forms by its own Power of Cit-Shakti and Maya-Shakti: and that Power is not different from Itself. Cit is not the subject of knowledge or speech. For as the Varaha Upanishad (Chap. IV) says it is "The Reality which remains after all thoughts are given up." What it is in Itself, is unknown but to those who become It. It is fully realized only in the highest state of Ecstasy (Samadhi) and in bodiless liberation (Videha Mukti) when Spirit is free of its vehicles of mind and matter. A Modern Indian Philosopher has (See "Approaches to Truth" and the "Patent Wonder" by Professor Pramathanatha Mukhyopadhyaya) very admirably analyzed the notion of the universal Ether of Consciousness (Cidakasha) and the particular Stress formed in it by the action of Maya-Shakti. In the first place, he points out that logical thought is inherently dualistic and therefore pre-supposes a subject and object. Therefore to the pragmatic eye of the western, viewing the only experience known to him, consciousness is always particular having a particular form and direction. Hence where no direction or form is discernible, they have been apt to imagine that consciousness as such has also ceased. Thus if it were conceded that in profounded sleep there were no dreams, or if in perfect anesthesia it were granted that nothing particular was felt, it was thereby considered to be conceded that consciousness may sometimes cease to exist in us. What does in fact cease is the consciousness of objects which we have in the waking and dreaming states. Consciousness as such is neither subjective nor objective and is not identical with intelligence or understanding -- that is with directed or informed consciousness. Any form of unintelligent being which feels, however chaotically it may be, is yet, though obscurely so (in the sense here meant) conscious. Pure consciousness, that is consciousness as such, is the background of every form of experience.
In practical life and in Science and Philosophy when swayed by pragmatic ends, formless experience has no interest, but only certain forms and tones of life and consciousness. Where these are missed we are apt to fancy that we miss life and feeling-consciousness also. Hence the essential basis of existence or Cit has been commonly looked upon as a very much specialized and peculiar manifestation in nature.
On the contrary, Cit is Being or Reality itself. Cit as such is identical with Being as such. The Brahman is both Cit and Sat. Though in ordinary experience Being and Feeling-Consciousness are essentially bound up together, they still seem to diverge from each other. Man by his very constitution inveterately believes in an objective existence beyond and independent of his self. And this is so, so long as he is subject to the veil (Maya-Shakti). But in that ultimate basis of experience which is the Paramatma the divergence has gone; for the same boundless substratum which is the continuous mass of experience is also that which is experienced. The self is its own object. To the exalted Yogin the whole universe is not different from himself as Atma. This is the path of the "upward-going" Kundali (Urddhva-Kundalini).
Further, there has been a tendency in fact to look upon consciousness as a mere function of experience; and the philosophy of unconscious ideas and mind-stuff would even go so far as to regard it as a mere accident of mental process. This is to reverse the actual facts.
Consciousness should rather be taken as an original datum than as a later development and peculiar manifestation. We should begin with it in its lowest forms, and explain its apparent pulse-life by extending the principle of veiling (Maya-Shakti) which is ceaselessly working in man, reducing his life to an apparent series of pulses also. An explanation which does not start with this primordial extensity of experience cannot expect to end with it. For if it be not positive at the beginning, it cannot be derived at the end.
But what, it may be asked, is the proof of such pure experience? Psychology which only knows changing states does not tell us of it. This is so. Yet from those states, some of which approach indifferentiation, inferences may be drawn; and experience is not limited to such states, for it may transcend them.
It is true that ordinarily we do not meet with a condition of consciousness which is without a direction or form; but tests drawn from the incidents of ordinary normal life are insufficient, it has been argued, to prove that there is no consciousness at all when this direction and form are supposed to have gone. Though a logical intuition will not tell its own story, we can make reflection on intuition render us some sort of account, so that the intuitive fact appears in review, when it will appear that consciousness is the basis of, indeed, existence itself, and not merely an attendant circumstance. But the only proof of pure consciousness is an instance of it. This cannot be established by mere reflection. The bare consciousness of this or that, the experience of just going to sleep and just waking, and even the consciousness of being as such, are but approximations to the state of consciousness as such, that is pure consciousness, but are not identical with it. Then, what evidence, it may be asked, have we of the fact that pure consciousness is an actual state of being? In normal life as well as in abnormal pathological states, we have occasional stretches of experience in which simplicity of feature or determination has advanced near to indifferentiation, in which experience has become almost structureless. But the limit of pure experience is not there reached. On the other hand, there is no conclusive proof that we have ever had a real lapse of consciousness in our life, and the extinction of consciousness as such is inconceivable in any case. The claim, however, that consciousness as such exists, rests not so much on logical argument as on intuitive grounds, on revelation (Shruti) and spiritual experience of the truth of that revelation.
According to Indian Monism, a Pure Principle of Experience not only is, but is the one and only ultimate permanent being or reality. It does not regard Cit as a mere function, accident, or epiphenomenon, but holds it to be the ever existing plenum which sustains and vitalizes all phenomenal existence, and is the very basis on which all forms of multiple experience, whether of sensation, instinct, will, understanding, or reason, rest. It is, in short, the unity and unchanging Reality behind all these various changing forms which, by the veil or Maya-Shakti, Jiva assumes.
The Cit-Svarupa, inadequately described as mere blissful awareness of feeling, exists, as the basis and appears in the form of, that is clothed with, mind; a term which in its general sense is not used merely in the sense of the purely mental function of reason but in the sense of all the forms in which consciousness is displayed, as distinguished from Cit Itself, which is the unity behind all these forms whether reason, sensation, emotion, instinct, or will. All these are modes wherein the plastic unformed clay of life is determined. For every conception or volition is essentially an apparent circumscription or limitation of that Sat which is the basis of phenomenal life.
Professor P. N. Mukhyopadhyaya has described pure consciousness to be an infinitude of "awareness," lacking name and form and every kind of determination, which is a state of complete quiescence where the potential is zero or infinity -- a condition without strain or tension which is at once introduced when the slightest construction is put upon it, resulting in a consciousness of bare "this" and "that". It is not a consciousness of anything. It is an experience of nothing in particular. But this must not be confounded with no experience. The former is taken to be the latter because life is pragmatic, interest being shown in particular modes of awareness. To man's life, which is little else than a system of partialities, pure experience in which there is nothing particular to observe or shun, love or hate seems practically to be no experience at all. Pure Consciousness is impartial. There is no difference (Bheda) so far as pure Awareness is concerned. Pure Consciousness is a kind of experience which stands above all antithesis of motion and rest. It does not know Itself either as changing or statical, since it is consciousness as such without any determinations or mode whatever. To know itself as changing or permanent, it must conceal its illogical and unspeakable nature in a veil (Maya). Every determination or form makes experience a directive magnitude. Consciousness then assumes a direction or special reference. It is not possible to direct and refer in a special way without inducing such a feeling of strain or tension, whether the conditions be physiological or psychological. Pure consciousness has, thus, been compared to an equipotential surface of electrical distribution. There is no difference of potentials between any two points A and R over this surface. It is a stretch of consciousness, in which there is, apparently, no sensible diversity of features, no preference, no differential incidence of subjective regard. Like the equipotential surface, such consciousness is also quiescent. To secure a flow on it. there must be a difference of potentials between any two points. Similarly, to have a reference, a direction, a movement of attention, there must be a determination in the total experience of the moment in the given mass of consciousness. Absolute quiescence is a state of consciousness. which is pure being with no special subjective direction and reference; with no difference of level and potential between one part of the experience and another. Experience will show special subjective direction and reference if it assumes at least form or determination, such as "this" or "that"; to have no difference of level or potential, experience must be strictly undifferentiated -- that is to say, must not involve the least ideal or representative structure. Absolute quiescence exists only with that Consciousness which is pure Being, or Paramatma.
With regard, however, to all descriptions of this state, it must be borne in mind that they only negatively correspond with their subject-matter by the elimination of characteristics which are peculiar to, and constitute the human consciousness of, the Jiva, and are therefore alien to the Supreme Consciousness. They give us no positive information as to the nature of pure Cit, for this is only known in Yoga by the removal of ignorance (Avidya) under which all logical thinking and speaking is done. This "ignorance" is nothing but a term for those limitations which make the creature what he is. It is a commonplace in Indian religion and philosophy that the Brahman as It exists in itself is beyond all thought and words, and is known only by the Samadhi of Yoga. As the Mahanirvana Tantra says (III. V. 6 et seq.): "The Brahman is known in two ways: from His manifestations which are the object of Sadhana or as It is in itself in Samadhiyoga": for, as Ch. XIV, V. 135 Ibid., says, Atmajñana is the one means of liberation in which Its nature is realized. It is, perhaps in part at least, because the merely negative and imperfect character of such description is not sufficiently noted that pure consciousness, as the author cited points out, has in general awakened no serious interest in the practical West; though it has been the crown of glory for some of, what have been said to be, the stateliest forms of Eastern thought, which asserts itself to be in possession of an experimental method by which the condition of pure consciousness may be realized. The question is, thus, not one of mere speculation, but of demonstration. This state, again, is believed by the East to be not a dull and dreary condition, a dry abstraction or reductio ad absurdum of all which imparts to our living its worth and significance. Not at all; since it is the first Principle in which as Power all existence is potential and from which it proceeds. It is reasonable, therefore, it is contended, to assume that all which life possesses of real worth exists in the Source of life itself. Life is only a mode of infinite Supremacy with beatitude, which is Being and Consciousness in all its metaphysical grandeur, an absolutely understandable condition which no imagination can depict and no categories can reach and possess.
Owing to the necessarily negative character of some of the descriptions of the Supreme Brahman we find such questions "How can it differ from a nullity?" (Dialogues on Hindu Philosophy, 259, by Rev. K. M. Banerjee): and the statement of the English Orientalist Colonel Jacob (whose views are akin to those of others) that "Nirvana is an unconscious (sic) and stone-like (sic) existence". Such a misconception is the more extraordinary in that it occurs in the work of an author who was engaged in the translation of a Vedantic treatise. These and many similar statements seem to establish that it is possible to make a special study of Vedanta and yet to misunderstand its primary concepts. It is true that the Brahman is unconscious in the sense that It is not our consciousness; for, if so, It would be Jiva and not Paramatma. But this is only to say that it has not our limitations. It is unlimited Cit. A stone represents its most veiled existence. In its Self it is all light and self-illumining (Svaprakasha). As Shruti says (Katha Up. 5-15) "All things shed luster by His luster. All things shine because He shines." All things depend on It: but It has not to depend on anything else for Its manifestation. It is therefore better to say with the Hamsopanishad and the Christian Gospel that It is the Peace beyond all understanding. It has been dryly remarked that "The idea that Yoga means a dull state is due, perhaps, to the misunderstanding of Patañjali's definition of it.
Man, however, ordinarily and by his nature craves for modes and forms (Bhaumananda); and though all enjoyment comes from the pure Supreme Consciousness, it is supposed that dualistic variety and polarity are necessary for enjoyment. What, thus, in its plenitude belongs to the sustaining spirit of all life is transferred to life alone. All knowledge and existence are identified with variety, change, polarity. Whilst skimming over the checkered surface of the sea, we thus, it is said, ignore the unfathomed depths which are in respose and which nothing stirs, wherein is the Supreme Peace (Santa) and Bliss (Paramananda).
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says: "Other beings live on a fraction of this great Bliss." The Bliss of Shiva and Shakti are one, for they are inseparate. Hence she is called (Trishati II. 32) Ekabhoga: for Eka = Ishvara and Bhoga = Svasvarupananda.
Nyaya and Samkhya say that the chief end of man is the absolute cessation of pain, but Vedantins, going beyond this negative definition, say that, all pain having surceased on Unity with the Supreme, the chief end is that positive Bliss which is of its essence. The Devi Kalyani, the Mother of all, is Herself Bliss -- that is, all bliss from earthly bliss (Bhaumananda) to Brahman-Bliss (Brahmananda). As the Commentator Shamkara in his commentary on the Trishati says (citing Shruti): "Who else can make us breathe, who else can make us live, if this blissful Ether were not?"
If, further, it be asked what is pure Experience which manifests itself in all these diverse forms, it must be said that from Its very definition pure Cit, or the Supreme Brahman (Parabrahman), is that about which nothing in particular can be predicated: for predication is possible only in relation to determinations or modes in consciousness. And in this sense Yogatattva Upanishad says that those who seek a knowledge of it in Shastras are deluded; "How can that which is self-shining be illuminated by the Shastras? Not even the Devas can describe that indescribable state." The Mandukya Upanishad, speaking of the fourth aspect (Pada) of Atma, says that it is the non-dual Shiva which is not an object which can be sensed, used, taken, determined (by any marks), or of which an account can be given, but is unthinkable and knowable only by the realization of Atma. Negative predication may, however, clear away improper notions. It is really inscrutable Being upon which no category can be fastened. This must always be borne in mind in any attempted definition of this transcendent state. It is of a self-existent (Niradhara), unending (Nitya), changeless (Avikari), undifferentiated (Abhinna), spaceless (Purna), timeless (Shasvata), all-pervading (Sarvatravastha), self-illumining (Svayamjyotih), pure (Shuddha) experience. As the Kularnava Tantra says (I -- 6, 7): "Shiva is the impartite Supreme Brahman, the all-knowing Creator of all." He is the stainless One and the Lord of all. He is one without a second (Advaya). He is light itself. He changes not, and is without beginning or end. He is without attribute and above the highest. He is Being (Sat), Consciousness (Cit), and Bliss (Ananda). As Sat, It is unity of being beyond the opposites of "this" and "that". "here and there," "then and now". As Cit, It is an experiencing beyond the opposites of worldly knowledge and ignorance. As Supreme Ananda, It is the Bliss which is known upon the dissolution of the dualistic state which fluctuates between, and is composed of, happiness and sorrow; for created happiness is only an impermanent change of state (Vikara) or Becoming, but the Supreme Bliss (Paramananda) endures. Bliss is the very Nature (Svarupa) of this Supreme Consciousness, and not, as with the creature, a mere changing attribute of some form of Becoming. Supreme Being (Sat) is a unity without parts (Nishkala). Supreme Feeling-Consciousness (Cit) is immediacy of experience. In the Jiva, Consciousness of Self is set over against the not-Self; for logical thought establishes a polarity of subject. Thus the undifferentiated Supreme Consciousness transcends, and the Supreme Bliss (Paramananda) is beyond, the changing feelings of happiness and sorrow. It is the great Peace (Santa) which, in the words of the Hamsopanishad (V. 12, Ed. Anandashrama, XXIX, p. 593) as of the New Testament, passes all worldly understanding. Sacchidananda, or Pure Being, persists in all the states of Becoming which are its manifestation as Shakti. It may be compared to a continuous, partless, undifferentiated Unity universally pervading the manifested world like ether or space, as opposed to the limited, discontinuous, discrete character of the forms of "matter" which are the products of its power of Shakti. It is a state of quiescence free of all motion (Nishpanda), and of that vibration (Spandana) which operating as the Primordial Energy, evolves the phenomenal world of names and forms. It is, in short, said to be the innermost Self in every being -- a changeless Reality of the nature of a purely experiencing principle (Caitanyam Atma) as distinguished from whatever may assume the form of either the experienced, or of the means of experience. This Cit in bodies underlies as their innermost Self all beings. The Cit or Atma as the underlying Reality in all is, according to Vedanta, one, and the same in all: undivided and unlimited by any of them, however much they may be separated in time and space. It is not only all-pervading, but all-transcending. It has thus a two-fold aspect: an immanent aspect as Shakti (Power), in which It pervades the universes (Saguna Brahman); and a transcendental aspect, in which It exists beyond all Its worldly manifestations (Nirguna Brahman). Cit, as it is in itself, is spaceless and timeless, extending beyond all limitations of time and space and all other categories of existence. We live in the Infinite. All limits exist in Cit. But these limits are also another aspect of It that is Shakti. It is a boundless tranquil ocean on the surface of which countless varied modes, like waves, are rising, tossing and sinking. Though It is the one Cause of the universe of relations, in itself It is neither a relation nor a totality of relations, but a completely relationless Self-identity unknowable by any logical process whatever.
Cit is the boundless permanent plenum which sustains and vitalizes everything. It is the universal Spirit, all-pervading like the Ether, which is, sustains, and illumines all experience and all process in the continuum of experience. In it the universe is born, grows and dies. This plenum or continuum is as such all-pervading, eternal, unproduced, and indestructible: for production and destruction involve the existence and bringing together and separation of parts which in an absolute partless continuum is impossible. It is necessarily in itself, that is as Cit, motionless, for no parts of an all-filling continuum can move from one place to another. Nor can such a continuum have any other form of motion, such as expansion, contraction or undulation, since all these phenomena involve the existence of parts and their displacement. Cit is one undifferentiated, partless, all-pervading, eternal, spiritual substance. In Sanskrit, this plenum is called Cidakasha; that is, just as all material things exist in the all-pervading physical Ether, so do they and the latter exist in the infinitely extending Spiritual "Ether" which is Cit. The Supreme Consciousness is thought of as a kind of permanent spiritual "Space" (Cidakasha) which makes room for and contains all varieties and forms appearing and disappearing. Space itself is an aspect of spiritual substance. It is a special posture of that stress in life which takes place in unchanging consciousness (P. Mukhyopadhyaya "The Patent Wonder," 21 -- 24). In this Ocean of Being-Consciousness we live, move and have our being. Consciousness as such (that is as distinguished from the products of Its power or Shakti), is never finite. Like space, it cannot be limited, though, through the operation of its power of self-negation or Maya-Shakti, it may appear as determined. But such apparent determinations do not ever for us express or exhaust the whole consciousness, any more than space is exhausted by the objects in it. Experience is taken to be limited because the Experiencer is swayed by a pragmatic interest which draws his attention only to particular features in the continuum. Though what is thus experienced is a part of the whole experience, the latter is felt to be an infinite expanse of consciousness or awareness in which is distinguished a definite mass of especially determined feeling.
As Cit is the infinite plenum, all limited being exists in it, and it is in all such beings as the Spirit or innermost Self and as Maya-Shakti it is their mind and body. When the existence of anything is affirmed, the Brahman is affirmed, for the Brahman is Being itself. This pure Consciousness or Cit is the Paramatma Nirguna Shiva who is Being-Consciousness-Bliss (Sacchidananda). Consciousness is Being. Paramatma, according to Advaita Vedanta, is not a consciousness of being, but Being-Consciousness. Nor is it a consciousness of Bliss, but it is Bliss. All these are one in pure Consciousness. That which is the nature of Paramatma never changes, notwithstanding the creative ideation (Srishtikalpana) which is the manifestation of Shakti as Cit-Shakti and Maya-Shakti. It is this latter Shakti which, according to the Sakta Tantra, evolves. To adopt a European analogy which is yet not complete, Nishkala Paramatma is Godhead (Brahmatva), Sakala, or Saguna Atma, is God (Ishvara). Each of the three systems Samkhya, Mayavada Vedanta, and Sakta monism agrees in holding the reality of pure consciousness (Cit). The question upon which they differ is as to whether unconsciousness is a second independent reality, as Samkhya alleges; and, if not, how the admitted appearance of unconsciousness as the Forms is to be explained consistently with the unity of the Brahman.
Such then is Cit, truly known as it is in Itself only in completed Yoga or Moksha; known only through Its manifestations in our ordinary experience, just as to use the simile of the Kaivalya Kalika Tantra, we realize the presence of Rahu or Bhucchaya (the Eclipse) by his actions on the sun and moon. The Eclipse is seen but not the cause of it. Cit-Shakti is a name for the same changeless Cit when associated in creation with its operating Maya-Shakti. The Supreme Cit is called Parasamvit in the scheme of the Thirty-six Tattvas which is adopted by both the Shaiva and Shakta Agamas.
According to Shamkara, the Supreme Brahman is defined as pure Jñana without the slightest trace of either actual or potential objectivity. The Advaita Shaiva-Shaktas regard this matter differently in accordance with an essential principle of the Agamic School with which I now deal.
All occultism whether of East or West posits the principle that there is nothing in any one state or plane which is not in some other way, actual or potential, in another state or plane. The Western Hermetic maxim runs "As above, so below". This is not always understood. The saying does not mean that what exists in one plane exists in that form in another plane. Obviously if it did the planes would be the same and not different. If Ishvara thought and felt and saw objects, in the human way, and if he was loving and wrathful, just as men are, He, would not be Ishvara but Jiva. The saying cited means that a thing which exists on one plane exists on all other planes, according either to the form of each plane, if it be an intermediate causal body (Karanavantarasharira) or ultimately as the mere potentiality of becoming which exists in Atma in its aspect as Shakti. The Hermetic maxim is given in another form in the Visvasara Tantra: "What is here is elsewhere. What is not here is nowhere" (Yadihasti tad anyatra. Yannehasti na tat kvacit). Similarly the northern Shaiva Shastra says that what appears without only so appears because it exists within. One can only take out of a receptacle what is first assumed to be within it. What is in us must in some form be in our cause. If we are living, though finite forms, it is because that cause is infinite Being. If we have knowledge, though limited, it is because our essential substance is Cit the Illuminator. If we have bliss, though united with sorrow, it is because It is Supreme Bliss. In short, our experience must exist in germ in it. This is because in the Sakta Agama, there is for the worshipper a real creation and, therefore, a real nexus between the Brahman as cause and the world as effect. According to the transcendent method of Shamkara, there is not in the absolute sense any such nexus. The notion of creation by Brahman is as much Maya as the notion of the world created.
Applying these principles we find in our dual experience an "I" (Aham) or subject which experiences an object a "This" (Idam): that is the universe or any particular object of the collectively which composes it. Now it is said that the duality of "I" and "This" comes from the One which is in its essential nature (Svarupa) an unitary experience without such conscious distinction. For Vedanta, whether in its Mayavada or Sakta form, agrees in holding that in the Supreme there is no consciousness of objects such as exists on this plane. The Supreme does not see objects outside Itself, for it is the whole and the experience of the whole as Ishvara. It sees all that is as Itself. It is Purna or the Whole. How then, it may be asked, can a supreme, unchanging, partless, formless, Consciousness produce from Itself something which is so different from Itself, something which is changing, with parts, form and so forth. Shamkara's answer is that transcendentally, it does not produce anything. The notion that it does so is Maya. What then is his Maya? This I have more fully explained in my papers on "Maya-Shakti" and on "Maya and Shakti". I will only here say that his Maya is an unexplainable (anirvacaniya) principle of unconsciousness which is not real, not unreal, and partly either; which is an eternal falsity (Mithyabhuta sanatani), which, though not Brahman, is inseparably associated with It in Its aspect as Ishvara; which Maya has Brahman for its support (Maya Brahmashrita); from which support it draws appearance of separate independent reality which in truth it does not possess. The Parabrahman aspect of the One is not associated with Maya.
According to the Sakta exposition of Advaitavada, Maya is not an unconscious (jada) principle but a particular Shakti of Brahman. Being Shakti, it is at base consciousness, but as Maya-Shakti it is Consciousness veiling Itself. Shakti and Shaktiman are one and the same: that is, Power and its Possessor (Shaktiman). Therefore Maya-Shakti is Shiva or Cit in that particular aspect which He assumes as the material cause (Upadanakarana) in creation. Creation is real; that is, there is a direct causal nexus between Shiva as Shakti (Cit-Shakti and Maya-Shakti) and the universe. In short Shiva as Shakti is the cause of the universe, and as Shakti, in the form of Jiva (all manifested forms, He actually evolves. Comparing these two views; -- Shamkara says that there is in absolute truth no creation and therefore there can be no question how it arose. This is because he views the problem from the transcendental (Paramarthika) standpoint of self-realization or Siddhi. The Sakta Shastra, on the other hand, being a practical Sadhana Shastra views the matter from our, that is the Jiva, standpoint. To us the universe and ourselves are real. And Ishvara the Creator is real. Therefore there is a creation, and Shiva as Shakti creates by evolving into the Universe, and then appearing as all Jivas. This is the old Upanishadic doctrine of the spider actually evolving the web from itself, the web being its substance in that form. A flower cannot be raised from seed unless the flower was in some way already there. Therefore as there is an "Aham" and "Idam" in our experience, in some way it is in the supreme experience of Parashiva or Parasamvit. But the Idam or Universe is not there as with us; otherwise It would be Jiva. Therefore it is said that there are two principles or aspects in the Brahman, namely, that Prakasha or Cit aspect, and Vimarsha Shakti, the potential Idam, which in creation explicates into the Universe. But in the supreme experience or Amarsha, Vimarsha Shakti (which has two states) is in Its supreme form. The subtler state is in the form of consciousness (Cidrupini); the gross state is in the form of the Universe (Vishvarupini). The former is beyond the universe (Vishvottirna). But if Vimarsha Shakti is there in the form of consciousness (Cidrupini), it is one with Cit. Therefore it is said that the Aham and Idam, without ceasing to be in the supreme experience, are in supreme Shiva in undistinguishable union as Cit and Cidrupini. This is the Nirguna state of Shivashakti. As She is then in undistinguishable union with Shiva, She is then also simple unmanifested Cit. She is then Caitanya-rupa or Cidrupini: a subtle Sanskrit expression which denotes that She is the same as Cit and yet suggests that though in a present sense She is one with Him, She is yet in a sense (with reference to Her potentiality of future manifestation) different from Him. She is Sacchidanandamayi and He is Sacchidananda. She is then the unmanifested universe in the form of undifferentiated Cit. The mutual relation, whether in manifestation or beyond it, whether as the imperfect or Ideal universe, is one of inseparable connection or inherence (Avinabhava-sambandha, Samanvaya) such as that between "I-ness" (Ahanta) and "I" (Aham), existence and that which exists (Bhava, Bhavat), an attribute and that in which it inheres (Dharma, Dharmin), sunshine and the sun and so forth. The Pañcaratra School of the Vaishnava Agama or Tantra, speaking of the Mahashakti Lakshmi says, that in Her supreme state She is undistinguishable from the "Windless Atmosphere" (Vasudeva) existing only as it were in the form of "darkness" and "emptiness" (that is of unmanifested formlessness). So the Mahanirvana Tantra speaks of Her "dark formlessness". In the Kulacudamani Nigama, Devi says (I. 16-24) -- "I, though in the form of Prakriti, rest in consciousness-bliss' (Aham prakritirupa cet cidanandaparayana). Raghava Bhatta in his commentary on the Sharada Tilaka (Ch. I) says, "She who is eternal existed in a subtle (that is unmanifested) state, as consciousness, during the final dissolution" (Ya anadirupa caitanyadhyasena mahapralaye sukshma sthita). It would be simpler to say that She is then what She is (Svarupa) namely Consciousness, but in creation that consciousness veils itself. These terms "formless," "subtle," "dark," "empty," all denote the same unmanifested state in which Shakti is in undistinguishable union with Shiva, the formless consciousness. The Pañcaratra (Ahirbudhnya Samhita, Ch. IV), in manner similar to that of the other Agamas, describes the supreme state of Shakti in the dissolution of the Universe as one in which manifested Shakti "returns to the condition of Brahman" (Brahmabhavam brajate). "Owing to complete intensity of embrace" (Atisankleshat) the two all-pervading ones, Narayana and His Shakti, become as it were a single principle (Ekam tattvam iva). This return to the Brahman condition is said to take place in the same way as a conflagration, when there is no more combustible matter, returns to the latent condition of fire (Vahni-bhava). There is the same fire in both cases but in one case there is the activity of combustion and in the other there is not. It follows from this that the Supreme Brahman is not a mere knowing with out trace of objectivity. In It the Aham is the Self as Cit and the Idam is provided by Cidrupini-shakti. There is Atmarama or play of the Self with the Self in which the Self knows and enjoys the Self, not in the form of external objects, but as that aspect of consciousness whose projection all objects are. Shakti is always the object of the Self and one with it. For the object is always the Self, since there is nothing but the Self. But in the supreme experience the object is one in nature with Shiva being Caitanya-rupa; in the universe the object seems to the Jiva, the creation of and subject to Maya, to be different from the Self as mind and matter.
The next point is the nature of creation or rather emanation (Abhasa) for the former term is associated with dualistic notions of an extra-Cosmic God, who produces a world which is as separate from Himself as is the pot from the potter. According to this doctrine there is an Evolution of Consciousness or Cit-Shakti (associated with Maya-Shakti) into certain forms. This is not to say that the Brahman is wholly transformed into its emanations, that is exhausted by them. The Brahman is infinite and can never, therefore, be wholly held in this sense in any form, or in the universe as a whole. It always transcends the universe. Therefore when Consciousness evolves, it nevertheless does not cease to be what it was, is, and will be. The Supreme Cit becomes as Shakti the universe but still remains supreme Cit. In the same way every stage of the emanation-process prior to the real evolution (Parinama of Prakriti) remains what it is, whilst giving birth to a new Evolution. In Parinama or Evolution as known to us on this plane, when one thing is evolved into another, it ceases to be what it was. Thus when milk is changed into curd, it ceases to be milk. The Evolution from Shiva-Shakti of the Pure Tattvas is not of this kind. It is an Abhasa or "shining forth," adopting the simile of the sun which shines without (it was supposed) change in, or diminution of, its light. This unaffectedness in spite of its being the material cause is called in the Pañcaratra by the term Virya, a condition which, the Vaishnava Lakshmi Tantra says, is not found in the world "where milk quickly loses its nature when curds appear." It is a process in which one flame springs from another flame. Hence it is called "Flame to Flame". There is a second Flame but the first from which it comes is unexhausted and still there. The cause remains what it was and yet appears differently in the effect. God is never "emptied" as it is said wholly into the world. Brahman is ever changeless in one aspect; in another It changes, such change being as it were a mere point of stress in the infinite Ether of Cit. This Abhasa, therefore, is a form of Vivartta, distinguishable however from the Vivartta of Mayavada, because in the Agama, whether Vaishnava, or Shakta, the effect is regarded as real, whereas according to Shamkara, it is only empirically so. Hence the latter system is called Sat-karanavada or the doctrine of the reality of the original source or basis of things, and not also of the apparent effects of the cause. This Abhasa has been called Sadrisha Parinama (See Introduction to Principles of Tantra, Part II), a term borrowed from the Samkhya but which is not altogether appropriate. In the latter Philosophy, the term is used in connection with the state of the Gunas of Prakriti in dissolution when nothing is produced. Here on the contrary we are dealing with creation and an evolving Power-Consciousness. It is only appropriate to this extent that, as in Shadrisa Parinama there is no real evolution or objectivity, so also there is none in the evolution of the Tattvas until Maya intervenes and Prakriti really evolves the objective universe.
This being the nature of the Supreme Shiva and of the evolution of consciousness, this doctrine assumes, with all others,. a transcendent and a creative or immanent aspect of Brahman. The first is Nishkala Shiva; the second Sakala Shiva; or Nirguna Saguna; Parama, Apara (in Shamkara's parlance); Paramatma, Ishvara; and Paramabrahman, Shabdabrahman. From the second or changing aspect the universe is born. Birth means 'manifestation'. Manifestation to what'? The answer is to consciousness. But there is nothing but Cit. Creation is then the evolution whereby the changeless Cit through the power of its Maya-Shakti appears to Itself in the form of limited objects. All is Shiva whether as subject or object.
This evolution of consciousness is described in the scheme of the Thirty-six Tattvas.
Shamkara and Samkhya speak of the 24 Tattvas from Prakriti to Prithivi. Both Shaivas and Shaktas speak of the Thirty-six Tattvas, showing, by the extra number of Tattvas, how Purusha and Prakriti themselves originated. The northern or Advaita Shaiva Agama and the Sakta Agama are allied, though all Shaiva Scriptures adopt the same Tattvas. In all the Agamas whether Vaishnava, Shaiva, or Shakta, there are points of doctrine which are the same or similar. The Vaishnava Pañcaratra, however, moves in a different sphere of thought. It speaks in lieu of the Abhasa here described of four Vyuha or forms of Narayana, viz., Vasudeva, Samkarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. The Thirty-six Tattvas are the 24 from Prithivi to Prakriti together with (proceeding upwards) Purusha, Maya and the five Kañcukas (Kala, Kala, Niyati, Vidya, Raga), Shuddhavidya (or Sad-vidya), Shakti, Shiva. These are divided into three groups named Shiva Tattva, Vidya Tattva, Atma Tattva, and Shuddha, Shuddhashuddha, Ashuddha Tattvas. The Shuddha or Pure Tattvas are all the Tattvas from Shiva-Shakti Tattvas to and including Sadvidya Tattva. The Pure-Impure or Mixed (Shuddha-ashuddha) Tattvas are those between the first and third group which are the Impure Tattvas (Ashuddha Tattva) of the world of duality, namely, the 24 Tattvas from Prakriti to Prithivi. The other group of three is as follows: Shiva Tattva includes Shiva Tattva and Shakti Tattva, Vidya Tattva includes all Tattvas from Sadashiva to Sadvidya, and Atma Tattva includes all Tattvas from Maya and the Kañcukas to Prithivi. The particular description here of the 36 Tattvas, held by both Shaivas and Shaktas, is taken from the northern Shaiva Kashmir philosophical school, itself based on the older Agamas such as Malinivijaya Tantra and others.
It is common doctrine of Advaitavada that the One is of dual aspect; the first static (Shiva) and the other kinetic (Shakti). This doctrine of aspects is a device whereby it is sought to reconcile the fact that there is changelessness and change. Philosophically it is an evasion of the problem and not a solution. The solution is to be found in revelation (Veda) and in direct Spiritual Experience (Samadhi). These states vary in different men and in different races and creeds. But in support of Advaitavada, reliance may be placed on the fact that Samadhi or ecstasy, in all parts of the world and in all faiths, tends towards some kind of unity, more or less complete. All seek union with God. But the dispute is as to the nature of that union. Pure Advaitavada is complete identity. The scheme now outlined shows how that unitary experience, without ceasing to be what it is, assumes limited forms.
[The reader is referred to the Diagram on the following page]
Parasamvit shown on top of the Diagram is Nishkala Shiva or the changeless Brahman aspect; and Shiva-Shakti below is the aspect of the supreme Brahman from which change comes and which appears as its products or changing forms. Both are Shiva-Shakti. When, however, Shiva is kinetic, He is called Shakti. Regarding the matter from the Shakti aspect both are Shakti. Neither ever exists without the other, though Shakti is in one aspect Cidrupini, and in the other in the form of the Universe (Vishvarupini). In themselves and throughout they are one. The divergence takes place in consciousness, after it has been subjected to the operation of Maya, the effect of which is to polarize consciousness into an apparently separate "I" and "This". Parasamvit is not accounted a Tattva, for It is beyond all Tattvas (Tattvatita). Shiva Tattva and Shakti Tattva are counted separately, though Shakti Tattva is merely the negative aspect of Shiva Tattva. Shiva Tattva and Shakti Tattva are not produced. They thus are, even in dissolution. They are Saguna-Brahman; and Parasamvit is the Nirguna-Brahman. The first evolved Tattva is Sadashiva of Sadakhya Tattva of which the meaning is Sat akhya yatah, or that state in which there is the first notion of Being; for here is the first incipiency of the world-experience as the notion "I am this" which ultimately becomes a separate "I" and "This". In my Garland of Letters I have with more technical detail described the evolution of Jiva-consciousness. Here I will only shortly summarize the process.
As already stated, the Aham and Idam exist in an unitary state which is indescribable in Parasamvit. Shakti Tattva is called negative because negation is the function of Shakti (Nishedha-vyapara-rupa Shaktih). Negation of what P The answer is negation of consciousness. The universe is thus a product of negation. Where there is pure experience there is no manifested universe. Shakti negates the pure experience or consciousness to the extent, that it appears to itself limited. Shakti disengages the unified elements (Aham and Idam) which are latent in the Supreme Experience as an undistinguishable unity. How? The answer is one of great subtlety.
Of the Shiva-Shakti Tattvas, Shiva represents the Prakasha and Shakti the Vimarsha aspect, which contains potentially within it, the seed of the Universe to be. The result is that the Prakasha aspect is left standing alone. The Shiva Tattva is Prakasha-matra, that is, to use the imagery of our plane, an "I" without a "This". This is a state in which the unitary consciousness is broken up to this extent, that it is no longer a Perfect Experience in which the Aham and Idam exist in undistinguishable union, but there is one Supreme Aham Consciousness only, which is the root of all limited subjectivity To this Aham or Shiva Tattva, Shakti gradually unveils Herself as the Idam or Vimarsha aspect of consciousness. The result is that from Shiva and Shakti (in which the latter takes the playful part) there is evolved the first produced consciousness called Sadakhya Tattva. There is then an Aham and Idam aspect of experience. But that experience is not like the Jiva's, which arises at a later stage after the intervention of Maya-Shakti. In the Jiva consciousness (Jivatma) the object (Idam) is seen as something outside and different from itself. In Sadakhya Tattva and all the subsequent pure Tattvas, that is Ishvara Tattva and Shuddhavidya Tattva, the "This" is experienced as part of the Self and not as separate from it. There is (as will appear from the Diagram) no outer and inner. The circle which represents the one Consciousness is. divided into "I" and "This" which are yet parts of the same figure. The "This" is at first only by degree and hazily (Dhyamala prayam) presented to the Aham like a picture just forming itself (Unmilitamatra-citrakalpam). For this reason it is said that there is emphasis on the Aham which is indicated in the Diagram by the arrow-head. This is called the "Nimesha" or "closing of the eyes" of Shakti. It is so called because it is the last stage in dissolution before all effects are withdrawn into their first cause. Being the last stage in dissolution it is the first in creation. Then the Idam side becomes clear in the next evolved Ishvara Tattva in which the emphasis is therefore said to be on the "This" which the Aham subjectifies. This is the "Unmesha" or "opening of the eyes" state of Shakti; for this is the state of consciousness when it is first fully equipped to create and does so. The result again of this is the evolved consciousness called Shuddhavidya Tattva in which the emphasis is equal on the "I" and "This". Consciousness is now in the state in which the two halves of experience are ready to be broken up and experienced separately. It is at this state that Maya-Shakti intervenes and does so through its power and the Kañcukas which are forms of it. Maya-Shakti is thus defined as the sense of difference (Bhedabuddhi); that is the power by which things are seen as different from the Self in the dual manifested world. The Kañcukas which are evolved from, and are particular forms of, the operation of Maya are limitations of the natural perfections of the Supreme Consciousness. These are Kala which produces division (Pariccheda) in the partless and unlimited; Niyati which affects independence (Svatantrata); Raga which produces interest in, and then attachment to, objects in that which wanted nothing (Purna); Vidya which makes the Purusha a "little knower" in lieu of being all-knower (Sarva-jñata) and Kala which makes Purusha a "little doer," whereas the Supreme was in its Kartrittva or power action of almighty. The result of Maya and its offshoots which are the Kañcukas is the production of the Purusha and Prakriti Tattvas. At this stage the Aham and Idam are completely severed. Each consciousness regards itself as a separate 'I' looking upon the "This" whether its own body or that of others as outside its consciousness. Each Purusha (and they are numberless) is mutually exclusive the one of the other. Prakriti is the collectivity of all Shaktis in contracted (Sankucadrupa) undifferentiated form. She is Feeling in the form of the undifferentiated mass of Buddhi and the rest and of the three Gunas in equilibrium. The Purusha or Self experiences Her as object. Then on the disturbance of the Gunas in Prakriti the latter evolves the Vikritis of mind and matter. The Purusha at this stage has experience of the multiple world of the twenty-four impure Tattvas.
Thus from the supreme "I" (Parahanta) which is the creative Shiva-Shakti aspect of Parasamvit which changelessly endures as Sacchidananda, Consciousness experiences Itself as object (Sadakhya, Ishvara, Sadvidya Tattvas) and then through Maya and the limitations or contractions which are the Kañcukas or Samkocas it loses the knowledge that it is itself its own object. It sees the separate "other"; and the one Consciousness becomes the limited experiencers which are the multiple selves and their objects of the dual universe. Shakti who in Herself (Svarupa) is Feeling-Consciousness (Cidrupini) becomes more and more gross until physical energy assumes the form and becomes embedded in the "crust" of matter vitalized by Herself as the Life-Principle of all things. Throughout all forms it is the same Shakti who works and appears as Cit-Shakti and Maya-Shakti, the Spirit and Matter aspect of the Power of the Self-Illumining Pure Super-Consciousness or Cit.