My Journey to Swami Lakshmanjoo
I wrote Inanna Returns in 1995 and Inanna Hyper-Luminal in 1996. Most of my adult life I had been a very reclusive painter, and suddenly I realized that I needed to travel and lecture to promote the books I had self-published. I have no idea where I got the courage.
During this period I was fortunate to meet many wonderful people. Some of these asked me if I was familiar with Shaivism, Siddha Yoga, and Abhinavagupta — because the ideas in my books were similar. I had not heard of Abhinavagupta, but I had read Alain Danielou’s marvelous book “While the Gods Play, Shaiva Oracles on the Cycles of History and the Destiny of Mankind” many times.
Danielou was my first introduction to the concepts of Samkhya, which one could argue is a primary source for all Sanskrit metaphysics. It was also obvious to me that the misinterpretation of Samkhya had been the basis of many confused conclusions drawn by well-meaning New Age hopefuls.
“According to the concepts of the Samkhya, the universe is made up of two fundamental elements, consciousness and energy, which are complimentary and interdependent. Matter is merely organized energy. There is no material element that exists without being inhabited by consciousness. “ (Danielou)
The suggestion that the ideas in Inanna Returns resonated with Shaivism intrigued me. Thus I read “The Triadic Heart of Shiva” by Paul Eduardo Muller-Ortega, which is an excellent introduction to the life and work of the great Kashmir saint and genius Abhinavagupta. By 1997, I had begun to seriously study the Shiva Sutras translated by Jaideva Singh. My consciousness was expanded by these powerful verses.
Shiva Sutra I.2 exposition: “… Shiva has this wonderful power of veiling his real nature. … This Self-veiling is his technique or stratagem for the play of life in varied, multiple forms.”
Years before, I had experienced the understanding that the world is the Oneness in myriad veiled forms. But I had not ‘become’ that experience. It simply lay in my consciousness and drove me like the proverbial carrot in front of a poor donkey. I wanted more.
Shiva Sutra I.18 exposition: “…it is not necessary for the aspirant to lock himself up in a room and plunge into a trance in order to realize the delight of the Self. He can find this delight in the ordinary, normal course of life if he is mindful …”
This idea of living one’s enlightenment in everyday life seemed far more authentic and perhaps even more arduous than monastic isolation. There were many gems in these Shiva Sutras and even though I did not understand all the Sanskrit terms, I did not let that deter me. I simply kept reading and felt happy to be getting what wisdom I was, in those days, able to grok.
I also began to acquire books on or by Abhinavagupta, I read his Paramarthasara (B.N. Pandit) many times and was delighted by its brilliance. In my estimation, the Paramarthasara is right up there with the Bhagavad Gita and Lao Tzu.
During the period that I studied and wrote on the Bhagavad Gita, I developed the habit of acquiring many translations of Sanskrit texts. I was amazed at the various interpretations of the Bhagavad Gita. The simple fact was that the commentaries reflected the various schools of thinking.
In 2005, I came across a new translation of the Shiva Sutras. This translation was that of Swami Lakshmanjoo (1907-1991). As the title says, the Shiva Sutras are the Supreme Awakening as ‘revealed’ by Swami Lakshmanjoo. I was very impressed with his consciousness and his frank manner of communicating. He gave me new insights into the text.
I kept the works of Swami Laskhmanjoo in my treasury of Sanskrit and carried him with me when I relocated to the Southern hemisphere. But I wasn’t quite ready to “hear” and understand the power of this great Realized Soul. I still had a few dreams to live and self-created webs to unravel.
I began to study Sanskrit itself, which made listening to and reading Sanskrit words much easier. A feeling of familiarity with the sounds emerged in me, and this was really a big help.
In 2010, I ordered many of the videos and audios of Swami Lakshmanjoo’s lectures which were lovingly made by John & Denise Hughes in a selfless spirit of amazing dedication. Now granted, I had studied both the Bhagavad Gita and Abhinavagupta’s Paramartharsara extensively.
This is the point where words don’t and simply will not communicate what happens. I had always heard this tale about the guru being able to impart wisdom to the student by the mere sound of his words, by osmosis — however I had never experienced it for myself.
Now — through the power of DVDs and CDs — I was!
After I had already begun to feel this beyond-word experience, I saw that one of Swami Lakshmanjoo’s disciples had asked him how he would initiate those who came after he left his body. He replied – “Through this!” and pointed to the lens of the camera.
Swami Lakshmanjoo has a profoundly fresh interpretation of the version the Bhagavad Gita with Abhinavagupta’s commentary and also of Abhinavagupta’s classic Paramartharsara that will knock your socks off! I often find myself giggling with delight at his revelations.
The words Swami Lakshmanjoo speaks come from the place he dwells in. The sounds themselves convey the fact that he is in the Oneness (the Kashmir Shaivite term is Para Bhairava) at the time he utters the words. The sounds, as waveforms of frequency, carry the power and truth from his individual enlightenment. He is speaking within and from That.
Even though Swami Lakshmanjoo has left his body (1991), the actual sounds carry the nectar of Truth & Wisdom and have the power to change your consciousness — if you are ready to hear. As he says … Thank you!
Go to the Universal Shaiva Fellowship website and listen to some of the clips. If you feel any resonance with this man, I highly recommend that you get the DVD/book sets of both the Bhagavad Gita and the Paramarthasara. You’ll know if this is for you.
He appears as a simple, unassuming, dear old man. No flowing white beard, no long hair, no golden throne, no jive — just a good feeling of an incredible intelligence and a great Being.
As for me — yes, so how is Gracie’s story going to end? At age 65, I’ve never been happier! And that happiness has little to do with my external circumstances, although they are also quite wonderful. I never expected to be so fulfilled as an old woman. But here I am nearer, than ever before, to the wisdom that brings the sweet flowing tears of bliss.
I never gave up seeking the God-within me and that journey has given me everything and oh so much more. I remain a work in progress. And yet, every day brings me a little closer to everything I have ever loved in this world. Everyday I am a little more able to lift the “curtain of each atom” and behold the “face of the beloved”!
My heart is overflowing with that elusive Joy. I will write much more about Abhinavagupta and Swami Lakshmanjoo in the hope of sharing my adventure with you. It is my deepest wish that — for those of you who long for your Freedom, who want to come Home — these pages will in some small way nurture your own journey.
May the Light of Wisdom shine on your Way.
We meet in the Heart.
The Triadic Heart of Shiva, Kaula Tantricism of Abhinavagupta in the Non-Dual Shaivism of Kashmir, by Paul Eduardo Muller-Ortega; State University of New York Press, 1989
Shiva Sutras, The Yoga of Supreme Identity; Text of the Sutra and the Commentary of Vimarsini of Ksemaraja, Translated into English with Introduction, Notes, Running Exposition, Glassary and Index by Jaideva Singh; Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi, 1991
Abhinavagupta’s Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, Gitartha-Samgraha, Translated from Sanskrit with Introduction and notes by Boris Marjanovic; Indica Books, Varanasi, 2002; Rudra Press, Portland, OR. 2006; (Sanskrit & English)
Essence of the Exact Reality or PARAMARTHASARA of Abhinavagupta, with English Translation and notes by B.N. Pandit; Munshiram Manoharal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 1991
SHIVA SUTRAS, The Supreme Awakening, Revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo, with the Commentary of Ksemaraja; edited by John Hughes, Universal Shaiva Fellowship, 2002
Abhinavagupta’s PARAMARTHASARA – Essence of the Highest Reality, revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo; text and DVDs; John Hughes, Universal Shaiva Fellowship, 2010
Bhagavad Gita In the Light of Kashmir Shaivism, Chapters 1-6, revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo; text and DVDs; John Hughes, Universal Shaiva Fellowship, 2010
While the Gods Play: Shiva Oracles and Predictions on the Cycles of History & the Destiny of Mankind, by Alain Danielou; Inner Traditions International Ltd., paperback, 1985.