2. jñānaṁ bandhaḥ //
(For this limited individual),
all knowledge is bondage.
Whatever knowledge this individual possesses is bondage for him. The meaning of the present sūtra is different from the meaning given for the second sūtrā of the First Awakening which is also jñānaṁ bandhaḥ. We’ve seen that this second sūtrā of the First Awakening is to be understood as jñānaṁ bandhaḥ and ajñānaṁ bandhaḥ, “Knowing differentiatedly is bondage and not knowing undifferentiatedly is bondage.” But here, in the present sūtra, whatever knowledge he possesses in the state of limited individuality is differentiated knowledge. In this state, there is no possibility of possessing undifferentiated knowledge.
Depending on the three intellectual organs, intellect, mind and ego, the knowledge found here functions in three ways. The three intellectual organs first understand what is to be enjoyed, then establish that understanding, and finally attach ego to that understanding. And these three intellectual acts are one with (sukha) pleasure, (duḥkha) pain and (moha) illusion. Sukha is connected with the sattvika state of life, duḥkha is connected with the rājasik state of life and moha is connected with the tāmasik state of life. These three states of life are controlled by this limited knowledge of the individual being. Therefore, this kind of knowledge causes you to possess only differentiated knowledge, not undifferentiated knowledge. When he is entangled by these three kinds of differentiated knowledge, he travels in the world of repeated births and deaths in various ways and that, in reality, is bondage.
It is said in Tantrasadbhāva Śastra,
Sometimes he is situated in the state of sattva guṇa. At other times, he is situated in the state of rājas guṇa. And, at other times he is situated in the tāmas guṇa state of being. In brief words, he is only residing in the perceptions of the guṇas, not beyond them. This is why, being disconnected with the previous state of life and united with the next state of life, he moves in various births and deaths. (Tantrasadbhāva)
This is told in Spanda in these one-and-a-half verses,
When the five tanmātras1 give rise to the three intellectual organs, intellect, mind and ego, then collectively there are eight organs. These eight organs are said to be puryaṣṭaka and they function in our dreaming state. This puryaṣṭaka prevents you from getting through to the reality of your self. When the reality of your nature is ignored, then you are dependent on enjoyment which cannot be refused. Because of this, you are played and entangled by the wheel of repeated births and deaths.
Now you will be told how to end this wheel of repeated births and deaths. (Spanda Kārikā 3.17–18)
1. The five tanmātras are gandha, rasa, rūpa, śabda, and sparśa. These five tanmātras correspond to the five great elements (mahābhūtas). Gandha tanmātra arises from the element of earth (pṛithvī mahābhūta). Gandha tanmātra is the home of smell. Rasa tanmātra has come out from the element of water (jala mahābhūta). Rasa tanmātra is the residence of the impression of taste (rasa). From the element of fire (tejas mahābhūta) issues forth rūpa tanmātra. Rūpa tanmātra is the residence of form, where the impression of form resides. From the element of air (vāyu mahābhūta) rises sparśa tanmātra, which is the sensation of touch. And finally, rising from the element of ether (ākāśa mahābhūta) is śabda tanmātra, the tanmātra of sound.
For an explanation of all the elements (tattvas), see also: "Kashmir Shaivism, The Secret Supreme" by Swami Lakshmanjoo.
In this excerpt from the Manual for Self Realization: 112 Meditations of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, Swami Lakshmanjoo reveals how to be born anew in days, not in months. His advice is one of the major practices of Kashmir Shaivism.
यथा तथा यत्र तत्र
द्वादशान्ते मनः क्षिपेत् ।
र्वैलक्षण्यं दिनैर्भवेत् ॥५१॥
yathā tathā yatra tatra
dvādaśānte manaḥ kṣipet /
vailakṣaṇyaṁ dinairbhavet // 51 //
Or, in each and every action, focus your mind in dvādaśānta*. Yathā tathā yatra tatra dvādaśānte manaḥ kṣipet, when you are walking or talking, or doing some household work, or doing any other nonsense act, just concentrate your mind on [any] dvādaśānta. Your mind must hold the state of dvādaśānta in each and every act of your daily routine of life. But this must be held in continuity (pratikṣaṇa). Then, one is born anew. One is born anew in days, not in months. Vailakṣaṇyaṁ dinair bhavet, some days will take place and he will be born anew, he will become new, all-round new.
This is āṇavopāya towards śāmbhavopāya.
JOHN: Both fifty and fifty-one are āṇavopāya?
SWAMIJI: Fifty is śāktopāya. Fifty-one is āṇavopāya to śāmbhavopāya.
DEVOTEE: How is the area of dvādaśānta found?
SWAMIJI: For instance, I have put the [spectacles] in my case and I am taking it [out]. Just do all these [mundane] actions in that, in that awareness of dvādaśānta. That state must be held in each and every act, in continuity. If [your awareness] remains in continuity, then you will be born anew in days, not in months. Some days will be . . .
DEVOTEE: . . . enough.
SWAMIJI: Um, yes.
For this śloka, “kṣanair bhavet” is another reading. Vailakṣaṇ-yaṁ, vailakṣaṇātha, something new will happen to him, not in days, [but] in moments–vailakṣaṇyaṁ kṣanair bhavet.
JOHN: And the other reading is, “after some time.”
SWAMIJI: In days, in days, not in months. It won’t take a month. In a few days, you will get that bliss.
JAGDISH: “Kṣīṇa vṛtter” is the sādhaka?
SWAMIJI: Kṣīṇa vṛtter sādhakasya, the sādhaka who is kṣīṇa vṛtter, whose mind is just one-pointed, who has become one-pointed, [this happens] to him, not to that sādhaka whose mind is not one-pointed.
GEORGE: Is dvādaśānta a state or dvādaśānta is the heart?
SWAMIJI: No, dvādaśānta is the center, any center. Wherever you go, if you are talking, put your mind in the center. If you are laughing, put there also your mind in the center. That is to be done. It is not to just only laugh. While laughing, you have to put your mind in the center. While making jokes, put your mind in the center without a break. Because the center, once you have realized [it]–you just breathe in and breathe out and be acquainted with the center–and that center you have to visualize in each and every movement of your livelihood. It must come into your vision. That is . . .
JOHN: State of dvādaśānta.
SWAMIJI: . . . dvādaśānta.
Yathā tathā yatra tatra, it is not only in the pūjā room, the meditation room. While walking, while doing any absurd things, dvādaśānte manaḥ kṣipet, the mind must be centered in dvādaśānta. Any movement, in any movement, not once, not twice, not thrice, [but] pratikṣaṇa, in continuity you have to put that mind in dvādaśānta. Then kṣīṇa vṛtter, his mind will cease to function. His mind will cease to function altogether and he will become a new man in some moments, or in a few days, not months. Then nothing is to be done afterwards. Then his everything is there.
The state of dvādaśānta is not only between the two eyebrows, [or] only [in the throat pit], [or] only in the heart.
GEORGE: That center, any center178.
SWAMIJI: Any center!
SWAMIJI: Bas, you must visualize it. You must keep it in vision and then put your mind breaklessly [there], without a break, then you will become new within days, or within moments.
* Literally dvādaśānta means the end of twelve. In practice, there are four dvādaśānta's: the heart, throat, between the eyebrows, and the outside turning point of breath (twelve finger spaces from the point between the eyebrows). Swamiji favored the point between the eyebrows for meditation practice.
178. “One dvādaśānta [at a time], not every dvādaśānta [together].” Vijñāna Bhairava, additional audio (USF archives).
(Source: Self Realization: 112 Meditations of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo)