As already discussed, Śiva Sūtra-s consists of three sections. The first section deals with sāmbhavopāya, second section deals with śāktaopāya and the third section deals with āṇavopāya. Upāya means the path that is being pursued. All the three paths have been discussed under introduction to Śiva Sūtra. The third and final section deals with āṇavopāya, which talks about actions and is considered as the lowest amongst the three. Spiritual progression begins with āṇavopāya, moves up to śāktaopāya and culminates at sāmbhavopāya. Āṇava has originated from the word āṇa, which means minute, which refers to self. An individual self begins his spiritual practice from āṇavopāya. There are forty five aphorisms in this section.
Ātmā cittam आत्मा चित्तम्॥ (sūtra – III.1)
Ātmā – the individual self; cittam – mind along with intellect and ego. This can be explained as the gross form of the mind. Subtle mind is the one that is not influenced by ego and intellect.
Ātmā refers to an individual. An individual’s behavioural pattern is largely based on the quality of his mind. When the mind is devoid of sensory afflictions, it is lesser prone to impressions. Impressions (meaning effect) get embedded in the mind causing desires and addictions. Deep impressions are caused in the mind due to ego and intellect. Intellect is the cause for ego as it makes the ego to take credit of what is understood by the mind. Therefore, mind, intellect and ego work in tandem in an individual being and make him bound by illusion and bondage. A mind that is least prone to sensory impressions become ready for a gradual transformation to God consciousness. An afflicted mind is endowed with more of rajo and tamo guṇa-s than sattva guṇa. Purification of mind is possible only when it is endowed with sattvic nature. A mind that is fully afflicted by the influence of ego is subjected to repeated transmigrations. The process of transmigration ceases only when Self is realised within.
A mind can be purified and made ready to realize Śiva by developing compassion and care by leading an altruistic life. This attitude makes the mind to evolve without desires and attachments. The mind transforms by beginning with discrimination and proceeding to detachment, concentration, meditation and finally emancipation. This sūtra says that one’s mind has to be pure to pursue the right spiritual path for the ultimate Realization.