Chus Martinez On Spanda

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The Spanda system, introduced by Vasugupta (c. 800 AD), is usually described as “vibration/movement of consciousness”. Abhinavagupta uses the expression “some sort of movement” to imply the distinction from physical movement; it is rather a vibration or sound inside the Divine, a throb. The essence of this vibration is the ecstatic self-recurrent consciousness.

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The central tenet of this system is “everything is Spanda”, both the objective exterior reality and the subjective world. Nothing exists without movement, yet the ultimate movement takes place not in space or time, but inside the Supreme Consciousness. So, it is a cycle of internalization and externalization of consciousness itself, relating to the most elevated plane in creation (Śiva-Śakti Tattva).

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In order to describe the connotations of the Spanda concept, a series of equivalent concepts are enumerated, such as: self recurrent consciousness – vimarśa, unimpeded will of the Supreme Consciousness – svātantrya, supreme creative energy – visarga, heart of the divine – hṛdaya and ocean of light-consciousness  – cidānanda.

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The most important texts of the system are Śiva Sutras, Spanda Karika and Vijñāna Bhairava Tantra.

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