Pashupata Sutram I:12-18

Better knowledge of the social climate two-thousand years ago would be helpful for better understanding these few sutras. The commentary of Kaundinya is often used to decipher them, but Kaundinya was much later in time than Lakulisha, and would be using the common speech of his own time and teaching only Brahmin (the highest caste) men.

The Teachings of the Immortal, Lord Lakulisha,
Twenty-Eighth Incarnation of Lord Shiva.

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Translations are in bold
OR” indicates an alternate translation, also in bold.
Any commentary that follows is my own.

I.12  Do not look at urine and excrement.  OR  Avoid visible proximity of urine and excrement.

This sutra has caused us much contemplation. What on earth is this doing here? We have been told that this scripture is deeply esoteric and here we are talking about urine and excrement. Taken in context though, it appears to be simpler than one might expect.

At one time, I interpreted this sutra as saying that one should not mentally dwell on impurities. This is a valid interpretation. However, at this point in the sutras, having been advised on our practice and living conditions in the previous sutras, we are now being advised on how to handle things when we have to go into the village. (This will become apparent in the next few sutras.) With this in mind, “Avoid visible proximity of urine and excrement” seems like a good translation and good advice.

These sutras were written over two-thousand years ago when plumbing was probably primitive or non-existent—I found this to be the case in many places only twenty-five years ago—and a teacher might reasonably advise students to avoid such places in order to retain purity and keep the body well for sadhana. We can apply this teaching to our own time by attending to hygiene and cleanliness in public places and avoiding those places that do not meet high standards. In other words, as a part of personal care and maintenance for sadhana, we should be discriminant regarding common areas when away from home.

I.13  Do not speak with women or servants. OR Do not speak with women servants.

Ladies, do not be offended. As I have said elsewhere many times before, scriptures are written by and for men, and here we have an example. For our own use, we might put it this way:  “Do not speak with men or servants,” or “Do not speak with men servants.”

If we suppose that the caste system was rigid during the time of these teachings, a person of the servant caste would not be in a position to relate to us in a manner harmonious with our sadhana, and keeping company with persons of the opposite sex could put us in a awkward position.

To translate this translation into our own time, we learn not to keep company with persons who could get us off track with distracting sexual interests, and not to keep company that is not conducive to our sadhana.

Better knowledge of the social climate two-thousand years ago would be helpful for better understanding these few sutras. The commentary of Kaundinya is often used to decipher them, but Kaundinya was much later in time than Lakulisha, and would be using the common speech of his own time and teaching only Brahmin (the highest caste) men.

It is known that Lakulisha had four close disciples: two men and two women. Now, if he says to stay away from women, is he talking just to the men? And if so, does this let us women-folk off the hook? Interesting question.

I.14  If seen or spoken with,

I.15  Touching,

I:16  Do pranayama, 

I.17  And sing for that person or many,

I.18  For pure thought.  OR  For pure mind.

If in the village we find ourselves talking with a woman (or a man) or a servant, we are given a remedy for correcting any pollution we may have acquired: We are to do bath in ashes, restraint of life energy (pranayama), and withdraw the senses (pratyahara) by singing, to clear the mind.

The above teachings are not pejorative. They are for the purpose of protection, development and preservation of one’s sadhana. Reading them with this idea in mind, they are easier to understand. It should be understood that the teachings these sutras hold are meant for one practicing surrender sadhana, one path among manyand are not necessarily pertinent to others.

Love,
Durga Ma
durgama.com

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2 thoughts on “Pashupata Sutram I:12-18

  1. Pingback: Pashupata Sutram I: 19-44 | Mystical Tidbits

  2. Pingback: Pashupata Sutram I: 19-44 | Mystical Tidbits

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