Book 7 Chapter 32 Srimad Deva Bhagavatam - Parvati teaches Jnana Yoga

Shakti is a being who is not properly understood as a being of any form, whether man or woman, human, goddess, animal, spiritual, or demonic, though form is taken to interact with a universe of space and time. Shakti took form as the goddess Parvati as a result of the Bhakti Yoga undertaken by Vishnu and Shiva - and taught to the gods by Vishnu.

When Shakti first manifested in this Avatar of Parvati, she said to all the beings gathered about her,

Realize who and what I am. I am beyond existence, beyond mind, beyond thought, beyond name, beyond birth, beyond death, beyond form. Like Maya, I am not existent, nor non-existent, neither existent nor non-existent, nor both existent nor non-existent. I am known as Chit, Shambit, Para Brahma, and many other names. Is the light which comes from the sun the sun itself? Is the light of the moon the moon itself? Who and what I am cannot be seen because of the form it manifests. Know that I am the cause of being, I am like Maya, the cause of all form. Like Maya is ended by Jnana Yoga without destruction, I, too have ended, and am beyond ending.

Editorial note: Maya is a word which comes from the root “man” meaning “to think:” the Buddha Gotama taught that an observer and reality are co-originating – that an observer affects what they are observing by their observation. What is seen, heard, touched, tasted and felt are subject to interpretation; the world is only as we think we have observed it. When Brahma discovered this principle, numerous forms of Brahma were manifested, to interact with what was being observed, to preserve and protect what was being observed from being effected by that observation, etc.

Parvati continued: Maya is twofold: Avidya (the belief in disparity between form and reality, observer and observed) and Vidya (the belief that observer and observed are the same, the unity of form and reality): Avidya permits truth to be hidden, and Vidya permits truth to be found. The force which brings interaction between observer and observed is both distinct from both observer and observed, and because it is organized wholly dependent upon both observer and observed - while simultaneously self-organized, it is incorrect to describe it as distinct or indistinct. When two beings love each other so truly that the love shapes their nature, can the love be said to be distinct from their nature? Is a child the product of only one parent, or the other - or neither, or both? Is an infant in the womb distinct or indistinct from their mother? In this way, I am the cause and the effect of all being.

Intelligence is self-organizing, there can be no specific cause for that intelligence which is discovered: in the same way, the sun is self-illuminating (though beyond the anticipation of the ancient text, a modern analogy is provided: the sun's light self-organizes after sufficient mass is accumulated to result in sustained nuclear fusion). It is this process of self-organization which I am. The sun's light illuminates other objects, but these, though touched by the sun, are not the sun. Intelligence is everlasting: Waking or dreaming, living in one form or another, we retain our identity, though connected - such retaining is what I am.

Jnana Yoga is the means by which intelligence is explored, sensed and understood. Intelligence is understood to be the nature of Love. I am Love. Love is the only sensation intelligence is capable of discerning: as darkness is only the absence of light, intelligence is only able to discern the absence of Love - or its presence. Love is continuous: there are a multitude of degrees and purities of love. So is intelligence: intelligence exists simultaneously in every degree and purity. Jnana is not the Dharma, but it is the nature of Atman: Atman is not the Dharma. Jnana is the result of intelligence aware of intelligence, it is self-awareness. Yet the observation of the self affects the self. Intelligence is not the Dharma. Form is not different from the form used to observe that form. Atman only exists when united with Maya.

Awakening is therefore impossible through intelligence. What is real is not manifested like form, nor can intelligence realize or manifest Atman. Only what is unaffected by observation, unmanifested by intelligence, is real. Reality can only be logically inferred - as what is without form is inferred by what has form. A hole is only known through the material surrounding it. I am this act of inference.

When will, intelligence and action become one, sight, sound, touch, taste, smell and all perception result in the strings (Sutras) of sensuality: these strings bind existence, and give it a nature, a "Sutratman" called "Linga Deha." This is composed of all the Pranas, resulting in teh Causal Body. Yet the organs which see, smell, hear, taste and touch are composed of the same materials they are observing, and the materials are continuous and contiguous. This continuity, this contiguity is a type of Cosmic Body (Virat). The nature of the connection between all matter self-organizes as a result of matter. It is this process of self-organization which I am.

When a refugee takes refuge in themselves, I am that refugee's strength. With sufficient strength of mind, body and heart, reality may be observed by reflection, as if distantly through a mirror: those strong of mind, body and heart are the mirror. Only the strength itself is real. The mirror may reflect an image, but it does not contain what it is reflecting. No more than a rope mistaken as a snake could present any real danger. The strength of this form, the potency of the illusion I present by this form, is not Me; but it does distantly reflect Me.