Consciousness (Shiva) is our essence and supreme nature. The unfolding Cosmos (Shakti) is an ordered Mystery and expresses a sentient will (continually adjusting the changes falling from the future into manifestation to maintain consciousness's orientation). Shakti holds Shiva and entices Shive to shine brighter, leading Shiva. The Way is the Union (Yoga) of Shiva and Shakti: Consciousness fully engaging with the Mystery where experiencer and experienced are one in the experiencing.
From here on I shall use the terms Consciousness and Mystery for Shiva and Shakti, as the modern mind can transcend any anthropomorphic representation of this primary duality and I do not ascribe to any religion, but seek spiritual truth. The Way is the Union, when the separation of Consciousness and the Mystery is dissolved, and experience is pure.
I am not a Sanskrit scholar and this is a gloss, seeking to convey to a modern audience the profound wisdom which I find in these ancient words from around 900 CE. Most scholars miss the fact that this was Poetry and not linear logic. My methodology was to primarily use the scholarly PDF of 'The Shiva Sutra of Vasugupta: Sanskrit with Transliteration and English Translation' by Gerard D. C. Kuiken; please refer to a scholarly translation for that perspective. I also used the web site 'learnsanskrit.cc' to farther explore various phrases.
My deeper methodology relies upon fifty years of pranic mantra meditation. Mantra meditation has enhanced my life in countless ways, everything from writing computer code to the creative arts, but most importantly bringing me an inner peace which has allowed all my relationships to mature. Mantra meditation has seen me through some extremely difficult times in my life and enhanced some of the best times through giving me the ability to focus and be present..
My version is entirely my own interpretation and may or may not agree with any particular scholarly version. This is what I think the Shiva Sutra is trying to convey. Perhaps it will inspire you to meditate and find the essence of truth as you see it. The Shiva Sutras point out a scientific methodology for experiencing one's self as Consciousness and therefore living as one's essential nature as Consciousness. Such a life is freedom while being fully engaged within the world of daily activities and relationship with humanity and the Earth. Such a life is Freedom amid pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow, which are a human's lot. One is transcendental though being fully human, fully alive as Consciousness within th emost wonderful and glorious Mystery.
1.1 - 1.5
Consciousness is the essence of the self. Mental knowledge binds Consciousness into a false and limited world view. Cultural paradigms about the nature of the cosmos are a body of knowledge which binds Consciousness. Language is the mother that generates the body of knowledge which binds Consciousness. Lifting one's Conscious out of the bondage of limited knowledge results in pure and free Consciousness.
1.6 - 1.11:
When Consciousness is fully engaged and unites experientially with the unfolding Mystery, then the body of limited knowledge dissolves. One's essence and being as pure Consciousness is distinct and exists (simultaneously and continuously) behind the states of waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. The false knowing (paradigm) which binds Consciousness arises in the waking state. Dreams are the creative imagination based upon the false knowledge which binds one's Consciousness. Deep sleep is the void, the absence of the false knowledge which binds Consciousness, without Realization. The experiencer of waking, dreaming, and deep sleep is pure Consciousness.
1.12 - 1.13
Yoga is the art and science of freeing one's Consciousness from the bondage of false knowledge (false paradigms) and directly experiencing the amazing wonder of the unfolding Mystery. The primordial longing, the virgin quintessential desire, is to know the union (Yoga) of Consciousness with the unfolding Mystery.
1.14 - 1.16
All visible form, all that is mentally known, is a collection of reflections of the Mystery within Consciousness (not illusion, but a diminished view). All visible objects are a dreamlike reflection caused by the friction of the mind's binding paradigm upon the field of Consciousness in the sacred heart of Union with the unfolding Mystery. Pure Consciousness is in Union with the transcendental unfolding Mystery without the bindings of the animal form's mind adding filters which limit Consciousness into a diminished reflection.
1.17 - 1.18
The entire Cosmos which one knows and one's perceived sense of self is a reflection of the knowledge (beliefs, world view) which is binding one's Consciousness. Intense and profound mantra meditation brings the freedom which is the happiness, joy, and bliss of a life in the world (not life separated from the world).
1.19 - 1.20
The sacred Mystery is the origin of one's body and mind. A living being is the joining of some elements and a separation from other element; all the elements of the cosmos are relational, attracting and repelling.
1.21 - 1.22
The natural and supernatural power of Consciousness arises from the wisdom of harmony within relationship with the unfolding Mystery of the cosmos. From personal experience of the great depth of the unfolding Mystery, the vigorous and virile energy of the sacred vibration of the unfolding Mystery is embodied within Consciousness.
2.1 - 2.3
Mantra meditation is the highest function of the mind. Through persevering with continued effort mantra meditation becomes elegant and is empowered to serve as a tool for spiritual fulfillment. The entire body of the knowledge of existence is mysteriously revealed with mantra meditation.
2.4 - 2.7
Inferior philosophy is like a dream which opens up and expands from the inner womb of the mind through mantra meditation. Mantra meditation is like flying in pure Consciousness and brings forth spontaneous wisdom of one's true nature. Mantra meditation is the teacher providing the means to achieve the aim of spiritual realization. The birthing of perfected wisdom is facilitated by the sacred power of the phonemes of the mantra.
2.8 - 2.10
Mental knowledge, a diminished reflection of the Mystery, is purified within the fire of awareness through mantra meditation. The illusion of philosophical materialism is the food offered to be refined in the fire of Consciousness through mantra meditation. The dissolution of one's mental philosophy which covers (modifies and obscures) all that one perceives is like rising from a dream and directly experiencing the living Consciousness of pure being, of being totally alive.
3.1 - 3.3
The ego personality is a construct of the mind. One's beliefs, world view, or paradigm of reality is imprisonment in a diminished reflection of reality. The beginning art of knowing true reality is to remove the separation and division which the filters of one's beliefs, one's paradigm of reality, place upon the unified and relational totality of reality.
3.4 - 3.7
The assemblage of the nature of the body and the limited sensory channels is the destroyer of true perception of one's nature as Consciousness through the creation of the illusion of philosophical materialism. Unity and supreme happiness result from victory over the notions of separateness implied by the sensory channels of the body and the embracing of relationship. Spiritual perfection is the removal of the concealing world view of separateness and living as Consciousness embracing relationship with the totality of one's life. It is one's birthright of endless enjoyment of natural and expanding wisdom through the conquest and defeat of one's persistent delusions of separate material existence.
3.8 - 3.12
Pure Consciousness is the spirited actor within the dance of life. In our waking state we create a diminished reflection of the totality of the Mystery we perceive as a false world view of separation and philosophical materialism. The stage of all one's life experiences falls within one's Consciousness. One's senses are the limited spectators of the play of the unfolding sacred Mystery. The greatest fortune and most empowering truth is to know one's essence as Consciousness.
3.13 - 3.14
One who lives as the experiencing Consciousness in relational union with the sacred unfolding Mystery is a free and enlightened being, because there is nothing that is real except the union of Consciousness dancing with the sacred Mystery.
Mantra meditation is the seed which is the primary source of learning the art of attentiveness to the freedom of living as Consciousness in Union with the Mystery.
3.16 - 3.19
In a seated position and using a mantra to be immersed in the deep pool of Consciousness is the ultimate pleasurable experience. In this way one creates and brings to their self increasing measures or degrees of awareness of their essence as Consciousness to live life with. Sitting in mantra meditation is the birth of transcendental wisdom. The innate tone and sound of the seed mantra is a mystical energy which is a nurturing mother to awareness of being Consciousness.
3.20 - 3.21
Like oil feeding the flame of the lamp that illuminates, the forth state of luminous Consciousness is poured in and fills up the other three states (waking, dreaming, and deep sleep). One should enter into and be immersed in the forth state of living amid the other three states as Consciousness with one's total intent.
3.22 - 3.25
The spirit of the Mystery graces all living things with the sacred gift of breath which provides the vital energy. The spaces between the in-breath and out-breath are pauses, the awareness of which can give birth to the awareness of the continuous and pure nature of Consciousness. Awareness of the act of the union between the falling and rising breath repeatedly offers one awareness of the Conscious Spirit of the Mystery. The Conscious Spirit of the Mystery provides the tool to realize one's nature as Consciousness through breathing attuned with mantra meditation.
3.26 - 3.29
Devotion to regular practice of mantra meditation supports the ways of a healthy body and a healthy life. Embedded within the seed sounds of mantra meditation's vibrations is the story of wisdom for living life. Mantra meditation is an art form which gives knowledge of the self as Consciousness. Mantra meditation brings forth the knowledge of self through kindly shepherding and ruling over thoughts which wander like unruly sheep.
3.30 - 3.34
The multitude of one's own capabilities, powers, and energies are relationally united with the energy of the flow of the cosmos, the sacred Mystery. These powers of Consciousness include the maintenance and continued existence of life's perceptions and its rhythm, its sporting and resting: without exclusion, all the powers of perceiving the world and acting within it naturally proceed from Consciousness. Pleasure and pain, joys and sorrows, are generated by thoughts which are outside of mantra meditation. Mantra meditation is the experience of absolute existence as Consciousness and the Unity of Spirit with the sacred Mystery which is liberation from mundane existence, pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow.
3.35 - 3.37
Transcending the delusions in the world view one has created is a lifelong work accomplished by mantra meditation. Mantra meditation causes the disappearance of the mirage of the emission and creation of one's world view that is internal and applied as a filter over what is. Through the personal experience and knowledge gained through mantra meditation the absolute freedom of the self as Consciousness is known.
3.38 - 3.40
The breathing of mantra meditation begins to gradually make one more and more aware of pure Consciousness underlying the states of waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. Staying within the awareness of Conscious Spirit while the senses are engaged with the body and the exterior world, makes one aware that the actor speaking and desiring is being carried by the Conscious Spirit.
3.41 - 3.42
When the true knowledge of the self as Conscious Spirit destroys the conceptions of the false world view of the actor-self in the external world being the true self; then, like a snake shedding its old skin or the casting off of a garment, one is delivered from the mundane existence created by a false world view of philosophical materialism, and one is again living a life as Conscious Spirit in the balance of the supreme Unity.
3.43 - 3.44
As Consciousness, one regains one's natural and inherent connection with the breath of life, the sacred Mystery unfolding. As there is one central breath through the two channels of the nose, there is one Consciousness controlling and empowering the inner and outer senses, the perceiver and the perceived, the knower and the known.
Close one's eyes and sit in mantra meditation for a pause each day and become the power of Spirit that unites the perceiver and the perceived, the power to know that unites the knower and the known, and live as the center axis of Union, free within the circumstances of daily life.