The transcendental aspect of nature is called Parasamvit (“vid” = to know) which means Pure Consciousness. Since something cannot come from nothing, Pure Consciousness is a logical necessity that must contain all things in their fullness.
Caitanya is used to describe the eternal substance in which all things inhere. It is defined as Sat-Cit-Ananda (Being-Consciousness-Bliss). It represents the perfect condition of the supreme ideal, when Nature rests in Herself, when there is no feeling of a want to be satisfied, when there is no feeling of a need to go forth. It is by definition without parts and therefore unproduced, indestructible and motionless. It must also be eternal, all-pervading, with no inside or outside; it is without attributes (Nirguna) and therefore beyond space and time; it is beyond the mind and therefore no a subject of knowledge. It is a principle of pure experience and realized only by spiritual illumination.
To manifest means, by definition, to appear or become evident – which implies the perceiver and perceived. Consciousness becomes visible to itself as subject (Aham = I) and object (Idam = this). These two aspects of consciousness appear simultaneously and are eternally related. During the period of universal dissolution, they are in a condition of equilibrium. When the balance is upset and the process of cosmic evolution begins their duality appears. These are the first two Tattvas – Siva Tattva & Sakti Tattva.
Siva Tattva is the first factor in the process of cosmic evolution. Consciousness in this condition is called Cit (there is no English equivalent for it) – the static aspect of consciousness in the manifest world. The Siva Tattva accounts for the Subject (Aham) of dual relationship of universal manifestation – it is the subject, knower, experiencer. It is pure consciousness – the ideal universe of perfect equilibrium has vanished and consciousness has begun to stir. It is dependent upon the active aspect of consciousness to bring it into being.
Sakti Tattva is the second factor in the process of cosmic evolution (“sak” = to be able, to be capable of). It is the kinetic aspect of consciousness. It accounts for the Object (Idam) of the dual relationship of universal manifestations. It is the universal stream of consciousness that brings all things into being and destroys all things at the end of each cycle of time. It it the universal energy that brings all things into being, and as such is considered as the feminine aspect of Nature, the Mother of the universe.
Sakti it said to have three principle modes that follow in logical succession: the power of will (Iccha); the power of knowledge (Jnana); the power of action (Kriya).
Sadasiva Tattva (Will-aspect)
Sadasiva Tattva is the third process of cosmic evolution (“sada” = always; “siva” = happy/prosperous). This stage is also called the Sadakhya Tattva – the state in which there is the first notion of being. It is the first evolute (a produced thing) of consciousness – therefore it must have parts – those parts are the dual relationship of “I am this” – emphasis is placed on I (Aham).
I AM THIS
The subject (Aham) is said to become aware of itself in relation to its object (Idam). Sadasiva Tattva accounts for the Will aspect of Sakti – it is the condition that precedes any determinate action. It is destructible, and therefore not eternal. As the first evolute produced in the process of the evolution of consciousness, it is the last evolute dissolved in the involution of consciousness.
Isvara Tattva (Knowledge-aspect)
Isvara Tattva is the fourth process of cosmic evolution. This tattva is postulated to account for that condition when the Subject (Aham) recognizes the object (Idam) – here the relationship is “this I am” – emphasis on This (Idam). It is the stage of self identification.
THIS I AM
It is the Knowledge-aspect of Sakti. It is pure awareness without reaction. There is no desire to go toward or away. It is the knowledge that precedes ultimate action.
Sadvidya Tattva (Action-aspect)
Sadvidya Tattva is the fifth process of cosmic evolution – it means to have true knowledge (“sat” = true; “vid” = to know). It is postulated to account for the complete unity in the dual relationship of “I am this” – without emphasis o either the Subject (Aham) or Object (Idam).
I AM THIS
It is the Action-aspect of Sakti. In it consciousness was lost in the ecstasy of divine wonder while embracing Itself as the subject (Aham). Consciousness has been overcome by exaltation while gazing as Itself as the object (Idam). Consciousness looks first at Aham (I) and then at Idam (This) – which necessitates movement – and is therefore said to manifest that aspect of universal consciousness that creates all things.
The first five Tattvas from Siva to Sadvidya are called Pure because the dual relationship of subject and object is a single unit – the object is seen as part of the subject. In the condition to follow, the subject and object are separated, so that the object is seen as something separate and apart from the subject. The force that separates them is another form of Sakti – called Maya Sakti – the power of consciousness to separate and divide.
Maya Tattva and its Evolutes
Maya Tattva is the sixth process of cosmic evolution, it means “delusion” and is used to mean the veiling and obscuring force of Nature. It displays universal consciousness as a duality. It accounts for the manifestation of form out of formless. The same principle was mentioned in Vedanta but there it was not real nor not-real. In Kasmir Saivism is it considered the gross aspect of consciousness. During Pralaya (universal dissolution) it is in its subtle aspect – dormant. At no time is it ever non-existent.
Maya is that which limits the universal conditions of consciousness and produces the state of limited experience. Maya appears due to a law of Nature that every period of action (in this case Sadvidya) is followed by a period of rest. When Nature goes to sleep after experiencing Universal Manifestation, the five evolutes of Maya (Kancukas) appear – therefore the world of limited experience is the cosmic dream of nature.
Kancukas (“kanj” = to bind) come into being as a result of contraction (limited aspect) by the Power of Maya of the five universal modes of consciousness (the first five Tattvas mentioned above).
- Siva Tattva >>> Kala (Time)
Kala limits the universal condition of Eternal Existence – therefor it is the origin of Time.
- Sakti Tattva >>> Niyati (Space)
Niyati (“ni-yam” = to regulate/restrain) is the power that limits the universal condition of All-Pervasiveness – therefore it is the origin of Space.
- SadasivaTattva >>> Raga (Desire)
Raga (“ranj” = to color) is the power that limits the universal condition of All-Completeness; therefor it is the origin of Desire.
- Isvara Tattva >>> Vidya (Limited Knowledge)
Vidya (“vid” = to know) is the power that limits the universal condition of All-Knowledge – therefore it is the origin of Limited Knowledge.
- Sadvidya Tattva >>> Kala (Limited Power)
Kala (=a small part of anything) is the power that limits the universal condition of All-Powerfulness – therefore it is the origin of Limited Power.
The result of Maya and it’s evolutes (Kancukas) is the production of Purusa and Prakrti. At this stage the Subject (Aham) and the Object (Idam) are completely severed and look upon each other as mutually exclusive. Here the dual world of the mind and matter is permanently established.