Vismayo yogabhūmikā विस्मयो योगभूमिकाः (sūtrā 12)

Vismayaḥ means filled with astonishment and yogabhūmikā means the various stages of yoga. This aphorism refers to different stages of yogic development, the development of consciousness of a yogi. The reference is made to a yogi, because a yogi attempts to unite his individual consciousness with that of cosmic consciousness or Shiva consciousness.

When a yogi transcends normal stages of consciousness and moves towards turya, he begins to feel the bliss and becomes bewildered by its effect. This can be compared to a person from a hot terrain making his journey to a hill resort. When he moves towards the hill, he could feel the change in weather conditions from hot to cold. When a person progresses spiritually, he has to make a beginning to transcend the three known level of consciousness to the next higher level of consciousness, the turya stage. He can realize Shiva only in the highest level of consciousness, which means that his concentration should be totally focused on Shiva and Shiva alone. If any other thoughts impregnate his mind, he will not be able to realize the Absolute. When he makes significant progress, the level of bliss that he enjoys also becomes strong and pulls him further towards Shiva. When he begins to taste the bliss, he gets engrossed in the stage of supreme happiness or ānandā that is full of surprises. He is surprised because, he has not experienced that kind of ānandā earlier.

The ānandā here does not mean the bliss that arises in kuṇḍalini meditation. The experience of kuṇḍalini is different from the direct experience of Shiva. Chakras associated kuṇḍalini are known as psychic centers. Here, the level consciousness is not totally purified. Thought is not with Shiva, but with the psychic centers only. To realize Shiva, mind should be in total purity without any external stimulation.

This aphorism says that a yogi does not get satisfied with the intriguing bliss hence, he progresses further and further to know the One who causes this bliss. Bliss is nothing but the entry point into Shiva’s expanded cosmic energy.