The Primordial Couple - Śiva and Śakti

“...the name we gave the ultimate Reality is Paramaśiva. The sages of Kashmir Śaivism tell us that as Paramaśiva begins to contemplate the creation of a universe – I like to imagine that Reality turns its face toward manifestation – there is an appearance of Śiva and his power Śakti, symbolizing the primordial couple. Together, never apart, Śiva and Śakti express the initial vibratory movement, the spanda of wanting to become creation. In them there is the intention to manifest, through this intention is as yet unexpressed.

The attention of Paramaśiva as he turns toward his manifestation is a power, a vibrant yet extremely subtle resonance. This is why, in the texts of Śaivism, Śiva is represented through his citaśakti,* the power to illumine, to give existence and from, to bestow an appearance to things – in short, prakāśa. Śakti is represented in her aspect as ānanda-śakti, the power of bliss, for she not only experiences the immense satisfaction of being perfect, full, and ecstatic, but that very bliss has driven her to take the form of all created things. Ānanda-śakti is pure Consciousness, aware of who she is, the power that imparts knowledge in creation – vimarśa – and, at the same time, she is the kernel of our experience of love.

The instrinsic nature of Consciousness is prakāśa-vimarśa – a marriage of clear perception and right understanding, in short, Śiva and Śakti as one. These two aspects are ever united. We say they are two only so that we can describe them. When we speak of one, we know that it includes the essence of the other. Joined, prakāśa-vimarśa is the fullness of the divine Consciousness. The entire universe emergences from Citi’s splendour without ever altering her nature in the least, without her being dimmed in the slightese. This fullness makes Citi aware of the perfection of her contentment. If something were taken from her, she would remain perfect; if something were added to her, she would still remain perfect. Citi knows that she contains within herself all possible creations and the she alone is Reality. Being aware of this wholeness, she experiences an immense bliss: ānanda. It is for this reason that the knowledge of the Self is always accompanied by immense happiness.

*This is in spite of the fact that earlier we identified Citi, Consciousness (also know as Citiśakti), as the Goddess.  As was also said in the Introduction, Reality is sometimes identified as he, sometimes as she, and also as it – and yet ultimately all represent the same principle.  As the power of illumination, citaśakti, which is feminine (all the śaktis are), is the power that constitutes Śiva’s true nature.  The power is feminine; the power holder masculine.  The two are inseparable, in the same way that I am inseparable from my capacity to experience bliss.