Out of what and from where does the supreme Lord manifest the universe? The reply given is.. out of the glory of his own divine Yoga Sakti, which refers to the group of his extraordinary divine powers, beginning with the power of will icchfi, etc.2 When expanded, these powers reveal themselves in an extraordinary way and thus become prominent. The creation of the universe by the supreme Lord is thus only his own self-expansion in the aspect of his Yoga Sakti. As has been stated in the Sarvamaiigala Tantra: Yoga Sakti and the possessor of Yoga Sakti Ithough essentially one! are referred to as two distinct categories. The supreme Lord’s Yoga Saktis constitute the universe, while the supreme Lord is the possessor of Yoga Sakti. What is the nature of the four eggs? The author Abhinavagupta explains in the text that the four eggs are the the sakti egg, the miliB egg, the prakrti egg, and the prthvl egg. The divine Yoga Sakti of the supreme Lord, which negates his transcendent nature and is therefore named nkhydti self-negating, and which underlies the universe composed of an infinite number of subjects and objects of experience, all having ahamtS ‘T’-nature as their essence, is called the sakti egg, as it veils the transcendent nature of the supreme Lord, thereby binding him.3
The remaining three eggs, which will be explained later, remain in the womb of the first one, the Yoga Sakti egg, which is comprised of the saddsiva tattva, the is vara tattva, and the guddha vidyCt tattva. It is given the name sakti egg on account of its nature as a veil or shell-like covering. Both SadaSiva and ISvara are said to be its presiding deities.4 The subsequent egg, called mUyd, is characterised by the three defilements malas, and is of the nature of delusion. It lies at the root of discreteness and differentiation, and causes bondage in all. It extends from the level of the mityii tattva down to that of the purusa tattva. The remaining two eggs, which will be described later, lie in its womb. The presiding deity of this egg is a rudra named Gahana. The subsequent egg die prakrti, having sattva, rajas, and lamas as its nature, and evolving into products and the sense organs required to grasp them, thus giving the fettered being an opportunitv for the enjoyment of objects, is called the prakrti egg since it also causes bondage. The great and glorious Visnu, who is associated with discreteness, is the lord of the egg on this prakrti level. Finally, the egg which is characterised by the assumption of different forms such as that of man, animals, birds, reptiles, etc., and which causes bondage in the form of kaflcukas5 to limited subjects pasus h is called the prthvl anda. The prthvl anda earth egg7 includes the fourteen kinds of gross material creation. Its chief presiding deity is Brahma. Thus after having described the four kinds of eggs, the author Abhinavagupta states in this verse the nature of the worid in terms of its being composed of an object of enjoyment and the enjoyer.
That this world is contained within four eggs is well known in the Agamas. It may be asked What is the nature of the world? The reply given is, It is of infinite variety. The world is comprised of differentiated kinds of subjects such as presiding deities like Rudra, and of embodied limited subjects possessing different kinds of physical bodies consisting of legs, hands, mouths, etc., of various shapes and sizes. Similarly the sense organs, such as the eyes, possessed by them are also different and have varying capacities. For example, subjects like Rudra are endowed with unsurpassable powers such as omniscience and omnipotence and are capable of knowing all things simultaneously in a moment. They are also capable of accomplishing tasks all at once.1 The sense organs in limited embodied subjects, though in some ways similar to those in superior subjects, are really controlled by the niyati Yoga Sakti? of the supreme Lord. Hence they possess the capacity for knowing some objects such as a pot and so on, but they are incapable of knowing all or accomplishing all. Nonetheless, superior subjects, such as practitioners of Yoga are equipped with superior sense organs which enable them to overcome the limitation imposed by the niyati Yoga Sakti. They therefore succeed in knowing through their sense organs objects lying at a great distance or hidden behind some obstruction, as well as objects at close proximity in time and space, and they also experience joy and sorrow arising in other subjects.
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