Everything is Energy – The Spanda Karikas
The Spanda Karikas
The Spanda system, – part of the Trika system – was introduced in Kashmir in the beginning of the 8th century. Just as the Shiva Sutras, Vasuguptanatha was the author of the Spanda Karikas too, in the 9th century. Spanda means pulsation or movement and Karika means verse. Each Karika consists of 32 syllables, and each line, divided into two parts, has 16 syllables. Each Karika discusses philosophical ideas and could stand alone on its own.
What the Spanda school says is that everything is energy, Spanda – pulsation. Spanda is everywhere. It moves our mind too, it manifests at different level. While for example the sramanas do not engage in emotions, and the Bhakti tradition turns ‘bad’ emotions into an offering for God, Spanda says that vibration can manifest as sensation, emotion – and they are all a form of the pulsation of life.
As we close and open our eyes, we see and sense the whole universe. Just as Shiva, we all have the ability to create and destroy our own world. We build our microcosm and we affect our experiences by contraction and expansion of the Shakti power.
Everything around us has three aspects to it. Just like the three Gunas in the Bhagavad Gita. In tantric yoga we can work with all three aspects: sattva, rajas and tamas. According to the pulsation within us, every experience can change from balanced to more energetic, or towards contraction.
In order to practice Karika number twenty-two, the student needs to be awake – Prabuddha. In tantra, intensity of the feelings is a positive thing. Using the energy of the emotions, energy can be transformed.
When we feel unhappy, we need to place the awareness on the I. In order to feel happy within ourselves, the ‘I’ meditation can help. When we meditate on the I, we bring our awareness to ourselves, and this brings on contentment.
Sometimes in our lives we have to deal with anger, sadness and other strong emotions. It is our choice to engage in these emotions or letting go of it. It may happen that for several reasons we hold on to the experience. If we bring up the memory in our meditation and just observe it, while we let go of the story, shift can happen. Our emotions may shift as we let go of the story.
We can use our thoughts to trigger positive things. Using a mantra during our meditation can have wonderful effects on us. The mantra, just as thoughts, gets absorbed into the subconscious mind. By repeating the mantra, that positive energy multiplies and triggers the movement of energy – Shakti power – in us.
Very useful message of the Spanda Karikas that we can implement in our everyday lives: there is light even in the dark. It is our choice where we want to be.