Alamgrasa and Hathapaka

The Pratyabhijnahridayam talks about two methods for bringing the world of differentiation, aka ‘germs,’ to oneness with Consciousness: Alamgrasa and Hathapaka. In Consciousness, by the fire of yogic understanding, the yogi of the path of knowledge reduces the many to the one.

All existing things hurled forcibly into the fire that rages in the [Heart] of one’s own Consciousness, abandon all differentiation and feed the fire with the fuel of its own power. When the finite form of all things is dissolved by the violent digestion (Hathapaka), then the All, which feeds and sustains the divinities of Consciousness, becomes the ambrosia of immortality.

– Abhinavagupta

Hathapaka is a ‘violent digestion’ in which reality is devoured whole, in one gulp. Alamgrasa (alam = full, grasa = swallowing) is a complete and full swallowing of the world of differentiation (i.e. the experienced object) until all separation and karmic residue have been consumed into Consciousness.

AlamgrasaOne myth tells us that Lord Shiva swallowed the poison that contaminated the ocean in order to save the world. His throat turned blue and He is called Neelakantha (Blue-Throated One). In our private universe we have to become Shiva. Fearlessly, we digest our moment-to-moment experience of life. We learn to live so cleanly and aware that no trace of samsaric residue remains.

While ordinary people find themselves overwhelmed by negative situations and people, the yogi can perform hathapaka and alamgrasa. He drinks the poison and has the inner alchemy to process all toxicity in the fire of his awareness. Alamgrasa means full swallowing so that no seed, no germ of samsara remains. There will be no repetition of mental constructs because whatever has happened is gone. The yogi will remember what happened, but it will have no control over him.

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