Kashmir Shaivism

Kashmir Shaivism or more accurately Trika Shaivism refers to a nondualist tradition of Śaiva-Śakta Tantra which originated sometime after 850 CE.[1][2] Though this tradition was very influential in Kashmir and is thus often called Kashmir Shaivism, it was actually a pan-Indian movement termed "Trika" by its great exegete Abhinavagupta, which also flourished in Oḍiśā and Mahārāṣṭra.[2][3] Defining features of the Trika tradition is its idealistic and monistic Pratyabhijnā ("Recognition") philosophical system, propounded by Utpaladeva (c. 925-975 C.E.) and Abhinavagupta (c. 975-1025 C.E.), and the centrality of the three goddesses Parā, Parāparā, and Aparā.[1][2]

While Trika draws from numerous Śaiva texts, such as the Shaiva Agamas and the Śaiva and Śakta Tantras, its major scriptural authorities are the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra, the Siddhayogeśvarīmata and the Anāmaka-tantra.[4] Its main exegetical works are those of Abhinavagupta, such as the Tantrāloka, Mālinīślokavārttika, and Tantrasāra which are formally an exegesis of the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra, although they also drew heavily on the Kali-based Krama subcategory of the Kulamārga.[5]

Kashmir Shaivism claimed to supersede Shaiva Siddhanta, a dualistic tradition which scholars consider normative tantric Shaivism.[6] The Shaiva Siddhanta goal of becoming an ontologically distinct Shiva (through Shiva's grace) was replaced by recognizing oneself as Shiva who, in Kashmir Shaivism's monism, is the entirety of the universe.[7]

Trident Yantra of Parama Siva
The trident (triśūlābija maṇḍalam), symbol and yantra of Parama Shiva, representing the triadic energies of the supreme goddess Parā, Parā-aparā and Aparā śakti.

History

Kashmir, stele con shiva e parvati, x-xi secolo
Shiva and Parvati (which is associated with Shakti), Kashmir, 10 or 11th century.

Shiva Sutras and Spandakārikā

Dating from around 850-900 CE, the Shiva Sutras and Spandakārikā were the first attempt from the Śākta Śaiva domain to present a non-dualistic metaphysics and gnostic soteriology in opposition to the dualistic exegesis of the Shaiva Siddhanta.[8] The Shiva Sutras appeared to Vasugupta in a dream, according to tradition. The Spandakārikā was either composed by Vasugupta or his student Bhatta Kallata.[9][10][11]

Lineage

Somananda, the first theologian of monistic Shaivism, was the teacher of Utpaladeva, who was the grand-teacher of Abhinavagupta, who in turn was the teacher of Ksemaraja.[12][13]

Abhinavagupta

The Tantrāloka, Mālinīślokavārttika, and Tantrasāra of the Kashmirian Abhinavagupta (975–1025 CE) are formally an exegesis on the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra, although they also drew heavily on the Kali-based Krama tradition of the Kulamārga.[5]

Jayaratha (1150-1200 CE) wrote a commentary on the Tantrāloka.[14]

20th century revival

There were no major writers or publications after approximately the 14th century. In the 20th century Swami Lakshman Joo, a Kashmiri Brahmin, helped revive both the scholarly and yogic streams of Kashmir Shaivism.[15] His contribution is enormous. He inspired a generation of scholars who made Kashmir Shaivism a legitimate field of inquiry within the academy.[16][17]

Acharya Rameshwar Jha, a disciple of Joo, is often credited with establishing the roots of Kashmir Shaivism in the learned community of Varanasi. Rameshwar Jha with his creativity, familiarity with the ancient texts and personal experiences provided access to concepts of non-dualistic Kashmir Shaivism. His writings of Sanskrit verses have been published as the books Purnta Pratyabhijna[18] and Samit Swatantram.[18]

Swami Muktananda, although not belonging to the direct lineage of Kashmir Shaivism, felt an affinity for the teachings, validated by his own direct experience.[19][20] He encouraged Motilal Banarsidass to publish Jaideva Singh's translations of Shiva Sutras, Pratyabhijnahrdayam, Spanda Karikas and Vijnana Bhairava.[21][22] He also introduced Kashmir Shaivism to a wide audience of western meditators through his writings and lectures on the subject.[23][24]

The Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, a chapter from the Rudrayamala Tantra, was introduced to the West by Paul Reps, a student of Joo, by including an English translation in his book Zen Flesh, Zen Bones. Cast as a discourse between the god Shiva and his consort Devi or Shakti, it presents 112 meditation methods or centering techniques (dharanas).[25]

Practice

Prerequisites

Bodhinatha-samaya-diksha
Tantric initiation (diksa) is necessary for undertaking the tantric practices of Trika Saivism.

Since it is a Tantric tradition, a necessary prerequisite for Trika yogic practice is tantric initiation or diksa. The Mālinīvijayottara Tantra, a major source for the tradition, states: "Without initiation there is no qualification for Saiva yoga."[26]

Although domesticated into a householder tradition, Kashmir Shaivism recommended a secret performance of Kaula practices in keeping with its tantric heritage. This was to be done in seclusion from public eyes, therefore allowing one to maintain the appearance of a typical householder.[27]

The Mālinīvijayottara Tantra outlines several major preconditions conferring the authority to practice Yoga:

The Yogin who has mastered posture [and] the mind, controlled the vital energy, subdued the senses, conquered sleep, overcome anger and agitation and who is free from deceit, should practise Yoga in a quiet, pleasant cave or earthen hut free from all obstructions.[28]

Six laksyas

Clevelandart 1989.369
Schist statue of Shiva Mahadeva, Northern India, Kashmir, 8th century, Cleveland Museum of Art.

Numerous texts such as the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra also outline six “varieties of the goal” or “targets” (laksyas) of yogic practices, mainly:[29]

  • Contemplation of void (vyoman), which bestows all Perfections and liberation.
  • Contemplation of body (vigraha), which bestows the coercion of deities like Visnu or Rudra
  • Contemplation of drop (bindu), which bestows sovereignty over Yogins
  • Contemplation of phoneme (arna), which bestows the Perfection of mantra
  • Contemplation of world (bhuvana), which bestows regency of a world
  • Contemplation of resonance (dhvani), which leads to isolation and liberation.

Each of the goals is given specific practices. For example, in the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra, perfecting the Void is said to be reached by moving the mind and vital energy (through the use of mantric resonance) through two groups of three voids located along the central channel (which are also correlated with a system of six cakras), reaching to the region above the head. Different scriptures outline different lists of voids and their location in the body.[30] The practice of resonance deals with various sounds, and how the yogin is to focus on a specific sound and its resonance within the central channel.[31]

Regarding mantra, different Saiva tantras and texts teach different mantras and bija (seed) mantras. These mantras are generally intoned (uccara) at different positions in the body along the central channel (such as at the heart, throat, forehead, etc). The Diksottara tantra for example, teaches the intonation of the 'haṃsá' mantra, beginning in the heart region.[32] Some texts teach "a lineal ascent through the heart, the throat, the palate, and the forehead, culminating with the transcendence of sonic experience as the 'Limit of Resonance' [nadanta] in the cranium is pierced." Other texts have the mantric energy follow the breath through the nose outside the body.[33]

Yogas

Since Trika Saivism is a synthesis of various traditions, its texts, like the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra, distinguishes four different types of Saiva yoga. According to Somadev Vasudeva:

Two of these have been assimilated from the Tantras of the Siddhanta [1.] the conquest of the reality-levels (tattvajaya), which has been transformed into a radically new type of yoga based on the fifteen levels of the apperceptive process, and, [2.] the yoga of six ancillaries (ṣaḍaṅgayoga), which is taken over with only minor variations. The third is [3.] Kaula yoga with its system of four immersions (pindastha, padastha, rupastha and rupatita) and as a fourth may be counted [4.] the three types of possession (avesa) taught in the Trika (anava, sakta and sambhava) which are innovatively presented as three meta-categories under which all yogic exercises can be subsumed.[34]

The conquest of the tattvas

In Trika texts as well as those of other Saiva schools, it is common to formulate the process of yogic conquest of the realities (tattvas) as a series of Dhāraṇās. Dhāraṇās (“introspections”) are "complex sequences of meditative practices" which focus on a series of contemplations on a "hierarchy of apperceptive states designed to bring him ever closer to the level of the highest perceiver, Shiva". This hierarchy of meditations and visualizations is based on the Shaiva schema of the 36 tattvas.[35] According to Somadev Vasudeva, the procedure can be described thus:

The Yogin starts by disengaging the mind from external stimuli and then fixes it upon a tattva [such as earth, water, etc] with ever deepening absorption. He attains an internalised vision of the reality, and compares it with his authoritative, scriptural knowledge of the highest level. By means of tarka [reasoning], an ontological value judgement, he discerns that it is different from Siva and thus transcends it. The Yogin’s ascension inevitably brings him to the reality which is Siva at the zenith of all paths.[36]

One example of the meditation on the tattva of buddhi (intellect) from the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra is as follows:

Contemplating in the heart a lotus with colour of the rising sun, with eight petals containing the [eight bhavas] of dharma etc., and a pericarp, [the Yogin’s] intellect becomes steady within a month. Within six he becomes a knower of the Sruti (scripture). Within three years he himself becomes an author of scriptures. Contemplating his own [physical] form there (in the heart), he perceives the principle of intellect.[37]

Yoga with six ancillaries (ṣaḍaṅgayoga)

Trika yoga generally uses a system of six "limbs" or ancillaries (aṅgas) which are seen as subsidiary to the principle conquest of the tattvas. This system was adopted from the dualistic Saiva Siddhanta as well as in Pāñcarātra scriptures such as the Jayakhyasamhita. According to Somadeva Vasudeva, in Trika, ṣaḍaṅgayoga "is to be understood as a collection of helpful or even indispensable yogic techniques which enable the prospective Yogin to achieve the required “coalescence” or “identification” (tanmayata, lit. the “consisting-of-that-ness”) with the object of contemplation."[38]

These six subsidiaries as outlined by the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra, are:[39]

  • Prānāyāma, control of the "breath" or "vital energy" (prana), includes various forms of inhalation, exhalation, kumbhakah, as well as proper posture (asana), defined as either lotus or some other seated posture. The practice of udgatha (eruption) is also taught, which is a "process whereby the retained air is propelled or launched upwards from the navel-region so that it strikes the head."[40]
  • Dhāranā (fixations or concentrations). Four are taught: Fire, Water, Sovereign (defined as bindu and nada) and Nectar (fixating upon a lunar disc above the cranium which drops divine nectar into the central channel, filling the body).[41]
  • Tarka (judgment or reasoning), defined as "the ascertainment of what is to be cultivated and what is to be rejected."
  • Dhyāna (meditation), defined as "attentive contemplation on Siva" or "a focused stream of awareness directed towards the judged and thus accepted reality".
  • Samādhi, a deep absorption that arises from prolonged (the text states 48 minutes) and "firmly established" meditation, in which the yogin "becomes as though non-existent. He reaches a state where he becomes as though dead, from which even intense sounds and other such [sense data] cannot rouse him."[42]
  • Pratyāhāra, complete withdrawal of the mind

In the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra (chapter 17), these are seen as six progressive steps leading to complete identification with the object of meditation.[38] It is important to note that different Saiva tantras outline different forms of the six ancillaries, and "there is no consensus as to their order, their definition or even their subdivisions" among the different tantras.[43]

Yogic suicide

The practice of utkranti, also called "yogic suicide", is also taught in nondual Saiva Tantras like the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra, which uses the vital energy rising through the central channel to end one's life and proceed to union with Siva.[44] The text says that this abandonment of the body can be done at the end of one's life, after one has mastered all that one has set out to achieve.[45]

Four upayas

To attain moksha, sādhana or spiritual practice is necessary. Kashmir Shaivism describes four major methods (upāya-s):[46]

  1. āṇavopāya, the method of the body,
  2. śaktopāya, the method of the mind,
  3. śāmbhavopāya, the method of Consciousness,
  4. anupāya the ‘methodless’ method.

Āṇavopāya - purification of the body

While most other paths observe offering incense and external objects to the deity, this path takes on to offering breaths. The individual controls his heart and pulse by reducing it significantly. The final stage is renouncing consumption of food and water. As a result, he/she connects the state of the supreme in the form of Shiva which results in purification of the body and generation of ojas.[46]

Philosophy

Madhubani Mahavidyas
Sri Yantra diagram with the Ten Mahavidyas. The triangles represent Shiva and Shakti, the snake represents Spanda and Kundalini.

Influences and major exponents

The philosophy of Trika Shaivism is called Pratyabhijñā (Recognition) and it is mainly a nondual idealistic and monistic theism.[47][1] It is influenced by the works of the Saiva monist Vasugupta (~800 – 850 CE) and numerous Śaiva scriptures such as the Agamas and Śaiva-Śakta Tantras.The Trika philosophical system of Pratyabhijñā is presented in the works of Somānanda (c. 900-950 C.E.), Utpaladeva (c. 925-975 C.E.), Abhinavagupta (c. 975-1025 C.E.) and his disciple Kshemarāja (c. 1000-1050).[1]

According to Christopher Wallis, the philosophy of Trika Shaivism also adopted much of the ontological apparatus of Sāṅkhya school, such as its system of 25 tattvas, expanding and reinterpreting it for its own system of 36 tattvas.[48] Another important source for Trika is the idealistic and dualistic theism of Shaiva Siddhanta.[49] The Saivas also were influenced by the work of Buddhist Vijñānavāda and Pramanavada philosophers, especially Dharmakirti, who was also taken as a primary non-Saiva opponent and whose doctrines were sometimes absorbed into the Pratyabhijñā system.[50]

Metaphysics and theology

The philosophy of Recognition, as outlined by thinkers like Utpaladeva, teaches that though the identity of all souls is one with God (Isvara) or Shiva (which is the single reality, Being and absolute consciousness), they have forgotten this due to Maya or ignorance. However, through knowledge one can recognize one's authentic divine nature and become a liberated being.[51] Another important element of Trika theology is the active and dynamic nature of consciousness, which is described as the spontaneous vibration or pulsation (spanda) of universal consciousness, which is an expression of its freedom (svātāntrya) and power (Śakti).[52] Because of this, though this philosophy is idealist, it affirms the reality of the world and everyday life, as a real transformation (parinama), manifestation or appearance (ābhāsa) of the absolute consciousness.[53] The Absolute is also explained through the metaphor of light (prakasha) and reflective awareness (vimarsha).[54]

Tantric scholar-practitioner Christopher Wallis outlines the metaphysics and theology of non-dual Shaiva Tantra thus:

All that exists, throughout all time and beyond, is one infinite divine Consciousness, free and blissful, which projects within the field of its awareness a vast multiplicity of apparently differentiated subjects and objects: each object an actualization of a timeless potentiality inherent in the Light of Consciousness, and each subject the same plus a contracted locus of self-awareness. This creation, a divine play, is the result of the natural impulse within Consciousness to express the totality of its self-knowledge in action, an impulse arising from love. The unbounded Light of Consciousness contracts into finite embodied loci of awareness out of its own free will. When those finite subjects then identify with the limited and circumscribed cognitions and circumstances that make up this phase of their existence, instead of identifying with the transindividual overarching pulsation of pure Awareness that is their true nature, they experience what they call “suffering.” To rectify this, some feel an inner urge to take up the path of spiritual gnosis and yogic practice, the purpose of which is to undermine their misidentification and directly reveal within the immediacy of awareness the fact that the divine powers of Consciousness, Bliss, Willing, Knowing, and Acting comprise the totality of individual experience as well—thereby triggering a recognition that one’s real identity is that of the highest Divinity, the Whole in every part. This experiential gnosis is repeated and reinforced through various means until it becomes the nonconceptual ground of every moment of experience, and one’s contracted sense of self and separation from the Whole is finally annihilated in the incandescent radiance of the complete expansion into perfect wholeness. Then one’s perception fully encompasses the reality of a universe dancing ecstatically in the animation of its completely perfect divinity.[55]

This single supreme reality is also sometimes referred to as Aham (the heart). It is considered to be a non-dual interior space of Śiva, support for the entire manifestation,[56] supreme mantra[57] and identical to Śakti.[58]

Theology of the Triad or Trika

Kali, ca. 9th century, from Andhra Pradesh, Government Museum, Chennai
Kali, ca. 9th century, from Andhra Pradesh. The Trika synthesis of Abhinavagupta also adopted the doctrines of the Krama school of Shakta Tantra, whose main goddess was Kali.[2]

An important element of Trika Shaivism's theology is the use of several triads (symbolized by the trident) in its theological explanation of the Absolute reality. There are several triads described in Trika theology of thinkers like Abhinavagupta, including:

  • Three realities: Śiva (The Supreme Transcendent), Śakti (immanent in creation, the link between the macrocosm and the microcosm) and Aṇu (the limited atom or individual, a complete image of the ultimate, the microcosm of the macrocosm).[59]
  • Three powers: Icchā (will), Jñāna (knowledge), and Kriyā (action). Any action of any being, including God, is subject to these three fundamental energies. Iccha or Will is in the beginning of any action or process. Jnana by which the action is clearly expressed first in mind, before it is put into action. Then comes Kriyā, the energy of the action.
  • Three entities: pati (Śiva), pāśa (bondage), paśu (soul)
  • Shakti Triad or Three Goddesses: Parā (transcendence), Parāparā (transcendence and immanence) and Aparā śakti (immanence)
  • Three aspects of knowledge: Pramatri (the subject), Pramana (the modalities of knowledge) and Prameya - the known object
  • Three states of consciousness: jāgrat (awaken), svapna (dreaming) and suṣupti (dreamless sleep)
  • Three-fold spiritual path: Śāmbhavopāya, Śāktopāya and Āṇavopāya
  • The transcendental triad: prakāśa (luminosity), vimarśa (dynamics),sāmarasya (homogeneous bliss)
  • The three impurities: āṇavamala, māyā, karma.

Comparison with Advaita Vedanta

Kashmir Shaivism and Advaita Vedanta are both non-dual philosophies that give primacy to Universal Consciousness (Chit or Brahman).[60] In Kashmir Shaivism, all things are a manifestation of this Consciousness,[61] but the phenomenal world (Śakti) is real, existing and having its being in Consciousness (Chit).[62]

Texts

According to Mark S. G. Dyczkowski, Kashimiri Trika Shaivism looks to three scriptures "as its primary authorities", the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra, the Siddhayogeśvarīmata and the Anāmaka-tantra.[4]

As a monistic tantric system, Trika Shaivism, as it is also known, draws teachings from shrutis, such as the monistic Bhairava Tantras, Shiva Sutras of Vasugupta, and also a unique version of the Bhagavad Gītā which has a commentary by Abhinavagupta, known as the Gitartha Samgraha. Teachings are also drawn from the Tantrāloka of Abhinavagupta, prominent among a vast body of smritis employed by Kashmir Shaivism.

In general, the whole written tradition of Shaivism can be divided in three fundamental parts: Āgama Śāstra, Spanda Śāstra and Pratyabhijñā Śāstra.[63]

1. Āgama Śāstra are those writings that are considered as being a direct revelation from Siva. These writings were first communicated orally, from the master to the worthy disciple. They include essential works such as Mālinīvijaya Tantra, Svacchanda Tantra, Vijñāna Bhairava Tantra, Netra Tantra, Mṛgendra Tantra, Rudrayāmala Tantra, Śivasūtra and others. There are also numerous commentaries to these works, Śivasūtra having most of them.[64]

2. Spanda Śāstra, the main work of which is Spanda Kārikā of Bhatta Kallata, a disciple of Vasugupta, with its many commentaries. Out of them, two are of major importance: Spanda Sandoha (this commentary talks only about the first verses of Spanda Kārikā), and Spanda Nirṇaya (which is a commentary of the complete text).[64]

3. Pratyabhijñā Śāstra are those writings which have mainly a metaphysical content. Due to their extremely high spiritual and intellectual level, this part of the written tradition of Shaivism is the least accessible for the uninitiated. Nevertheless, this corpus of writings refer to the simplest and most direct modality of spiritual realization. Pratyabhijñā means "recognition" and refers to the spontaneous recognition of the divine nature hidden in each human being (atman). The most important works in this category are: Īśvara Pratyabhijñā, the fundamental work of Utpaladeva, and Pratyabhijñā Vimarśinī, a commentary to Īśvara Pratyabhijñā. Īśvara Pratyabhijñā means in fact the direct recognition of the Lord (Īśvara) as identical to one's Heart. Before Utpaladeva, his master Somānanda wrote Śiva Dṛṣṭi (The Vision of Siva), a devotional poem written on multiple levels of meaning.[65]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d David Peter Lawrence, Kashmiri Shaiva Philosophy, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  2. ^ a b c d Wallis, Christopher; Tantra Illuminated, chapter II, The History of Śaiva Tantra
  3. ^ Carl Olson, The Many Colors of Hinduism, Rutgers University Press, 2007, page 237
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  51. ^ Dyczkowski, Mark S. G. The Doctrine of Vibration: An Analysis of the Doctrines and Practices of Kashmir Shaivism, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1989, p. 17-18.
  52. ^ Dyczkowski, Mark S. G. The Doctrine of Vibration: An Analysis of the Doctrines and Practices of Kashmir Shaivism, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1989, p. 24.
  53. ^ Dyczkowski, Mark S. G. The Doctrine of Vibration: An Analysis of the Doctrines and Practices of Kashmir Shaivism, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1989, p. 25.
  54. ^ Dyczkowski, Mark S. G. The Doctrine of Vibration: An Analysis of the Doctrines and Practices of Kashmir Shaivism, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1989, p. 26.
  55. ^ Wallis, Christopher; Tantra Illuminated, chapter I, 1 The Philosophy of Nondual Śaiva Tantra
  56. ^ Parā-trīśikā Vivaraṇa, Jaideva Singh, page 194
  57. ^ Parā-trīśikā Vivaraṇa, Jaideva Singh, page 180
  58. ^ Parā-trīśikā Vivaraṇa, Jaideva Singh, page 127
  59. ^ The Trika Śaivism of Kashmir, Moti Lal Pandit, pag. 13
  60. ^ Jaideva Singh (2008), Pratyãbhijñahṛdayam: The Secret of Self-Recognition, Moltilal Banarsidass, 2008 p.24-26
  61. ^ Dyczkowski 1987, p. 44.
  62. ^ Ksemaraja, trans. by Jaidev Singh, Spanda Karikas: The Divine Creative Pulsation, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, p.119
  63. ^ The Trika Shaivism of Kashmir, Moti Lal Pandit, pag. IX
  64. ^ a b The Trika Shaivism of Kashmir, Moti Lal Pandit, pag. X
  65. ^ The Trika Shaivism of Kashmir, Moti Lal Pandit, pag. XI

Sources

  • Flood, Gavin (1996), An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-43878-0
  • Muller-Ortega, Paul E. (2010), Triadic Heart of Siva: Kaula Tantricism of Abhinavagupta in the Non-Dual Shaivism of Kashmir, Suny press
  • Sanderson, Alexis (2005a), "Saivism:Saivism in Kasmir", in Jones, Lindsay (ed.), MacMillan Encyclopedia of Religion. Vol.12: Rnying Ma Pa School - Soul, MacMillan
  • Sanderson, Alexis (2005b), "Saivism:Trika Saivism", in Jones, Lindsay (ed.), MacMillan Encyclopedia of Religion. Vol.12: Rnying Ma Pa School - Soul, MacMillan
  • Sanderson, Alexis (2005e), "Saivism: Krama Saivism", in Jones, Lindsay (ed.), MacMillan Encyclopedia of Religion. Vol.12: Rnying Ma Pa School - Soul, MacMillan

Further reading

  • Basham, A. L. (1989). Zysk, Kenneth (ed.). The Origins and Development of Classical Hinduism. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-507349-5.
  • Dyczkowski, Mark S. G. (1987). The Doctrine of Vibration: An Analysis of the Doctrines and Practices of Kashmir Shaivism. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-88706-432-9.
  • Lakshmanjoo, Swami (2003). Kashmir Shaivism: The Secret Supreme. 1st Books Library. ISBN 1-58721-505-5.
  • Muller-Ortega, Paul E. (2010). Triadic Heart of Siva: Kaula Tantricism of Abhinavagupta in the Non-Dual Shaivism of Kashmir. Suny press.
  • Mishra, Kamalakar (1999). Kashmir Saivism, The Central Philosophy of Tantrism. Sri Satguru Publications. ISBN 81-7030-632-9.
  • Shankarananda, Swami (2003). Consciousness is Everything, The Yoga of Kashmir Shaivism. Shaktipat Press. ISBN 0-9750995-0-7.
  • Hughes, John. Self Realization in Kashmir Shaivism. ISBN 0-7914-2179-1.
  • Toshkani, (Proceedings Edited by) SS (2002). Lal Ded: The great Kashmiri Saint-poetess, Proceedings of the National Seminar Conducted by Kashmir Education, Culture and Science Society, November 12, 2000. B-36 Pamposh Enclave, New Delhi-110048: APH Publishing Corporation. ISBN 81-7648-381-8.
  • Muktananda, Swami (2000). Play of Consciousness – A Spiritual Autobiography. SYDA Foundation. ISBN 0-911307-81-8.
  • Muktananda, Swami (1980). Secret of the Siddhas. SYDA Foundation. ISBN 81-86693-07-6.
  • Durgananda, Swami; Brooks; et al. (1997). Meditation Revolution. Agama Press. ISBN 0-9654096-1-9.
  • Singh, Jaideva (2000). Śiva Sutras – The Yoga of Supreme Identity. Delhi: Moltilal Banarsidass. ISBN 81-208-0406-6.
  • Singh, Jaideva (2005). Spanda-Kārikas - The Divine Creative Pulsation. Delhi: Moltilal Banarsidass. ISBN 81-208-0821-5.
  • Singh, Jaideva (2008). Pratyãbhijñahṛdayam - The Secret of Self-Recognition. Delhi: Moltilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-0323-7.

External links

Abhinavagupta

Abhinavagupta (c. 950 – 1016 AD) was a philosopher, mystic and aesthetician from Kashmir. He was also considered an influential musician, poet, dramatist, exegete, theologian, and logician – a polymathic personality who exercised strong influences on Indian culture.He was born in Kashmir in a family of scholars and mystics and studied all the schools of philosophy and art of his time under the guidance of as many as fifteen (or more) teachers and gurus. In his long life he completed over 35 works, the largest and most famous of which is Tantrāloka, an encyclopedic treatise on all the philosophical and practical aspects of Kaula and Trika (known today as Kashmir Shaivism). Another one of his very important contributions was in the field of philosophy of aesthetics with his famous Abhinavabhāratī commentary of Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharata Muni.

Aham (Kashmir Shaivism)

Aham, a concept of Kashmir Shaivism, is defined as the supreme heart (hṛdayam), transcendent Self, supreme I awareness or infinite consciousness. The space of Aham is where khecarī mudrā (free movement in the space of the heart) is realised. Khecarī mudrā is considered the supreme state of spiritual evolution.

Kaula (Hinduism)

Kaula, also known as Kula, Kulamārga ("the Kula practice") and Kaulācāra ("the Kaula conduct"), is a religious tradition in Shaktism and tantric Shaivism characterised by distinctive rituals and symbolism connected with the worship of Shakti. It flourished in India primarily in the first millennium AD.

Kaula preserves some of the distinctive features of the Kāpālika tradition, from which it is derived. It is subdivided into four subcategories of texts based on the goddesses Kuleśvarī, Kubjikā, Kālī and Tripurasundarī respectively. The Trika texts are closely related to the Kuleśvarī texts and can be considered as part of the Kulamārga.In later Hatha Yoga, the Kaula visualization of Kuṇḍalini rising through a system of chakras is overlaid onto the earlier bindu-oriented system.

Lakshman Joo

Swami Lakshman Joo Raina (9 May 1907 – 27 September 1991) was a mystic and scholar of Kashmir Shaivism or Trika. He was known as Lal Sahib ("Friend of God") by followers.

Muktananda

Muktananda (16 May 1908 – 2 October 1982), born Krishna Rai, was the founder of Siddha Yoga. He was a disciple and the successor of Bhagavan Nityananda. He wrote a number of books on the subjects of Kundalini Shakti, Vedanta, and Kashmir Shaivism, including a spiritual autobiography entitled The Play of Consciousness. In honorific style, he is often referred to as Swami Muktananda.

Parameshwara (God)

Paraméshwara (IAST: Parameśvara, Sanskrit: परमेश्वर) or Paramashiva is the term usually referred to god Shiva as the Supreme being according to Saivism which is one of 4 major sampradaya of Hinduism. Parameshwara is the ultimate reality and nothing exists that is non one with Paramashiva. He is the totality controlling the triple forces of creation, preservation and destruction.

Prakāśa

Prakāśa is a concept of Kashmir Shaivism translated by various authors as "light", "splendour", "light of consciousness" (identified with Śiva) (Swami Lakshman Joo), "luminous and undifferentiated consciousness" (Paul E. Murphy) or "primordial light beyond all manifestations" (Paul Muller-Ortega). Fellow Tantric practitioners Tibetan Buddhists practice Clear Light yoga based on a similar concept.

Prakāśa is considered supreme, ultimate, unsurpassable, but as such it cannot be described as pure transcendence, because even though it is above all, it is still present in the manifestation, in every aspect of it. Thus prakāśa is said to be both transcendent and immanent.

Pratyabhijna

Pratyabhijna (Sanskrit: प्रत्यभिज्ञा, romanized: pratyabhijñā, lit. 're-cognition') is an idealistic monistic and theistic school of philosophy in Kashmir Shaivism, originating in the 9th century CE. The term Trika was used by Abhinavagupta to represent the entire Kashmir Shaivism or to designate the Pratyabhijna system.The name of the system is derived from its most famous work, Īśvara-pratyabhijñā-kārikā by Utpaladeva. Etymologically, Pratyabhijna is formed from prati- ("re-") + abhi (preposition meaning "closely") + *jñā ("to know"). So, the meaning is direct knowledge of one's self, "recognition".The central thesis of this philosophy is that everything is Śiva, absolute consciousness, and it is possible to re-cognize this fundamental reality and be freed from limitations, identified with Śiva and immersed in bliss. Thus, the slave (paśu - the human condition) shakes off the fetters (paśa) and becomes the master (pati - the divine condition).

Satcitananda

Satchitananda (IAST: Satcitānanda) or Sacchidānanda representing "existence, consciousness, and bliss" or "truth, consciousness, bliss", is an epithet and description for the subjective experience of the ultimate, unchanging reality in Hinduism called Brahman.

Shaktipat

Shaktipat or Śaktipāta (Sanskrit, from shakti "(psychic) energy" and pāta, "to fall") refers in Hinduism to the transmission (or conferring) of spiritual energy upon one person by another. Shaktipat can be transmitted with a sacred word or mantra, or by a look, thought or touch – the last usually to the ajna chakra or agya chakra or third eye of the recipient.

Saktipat is considered an act of grace (anugraha) on the part of the guru or the divine. It cannot be imposed by force, nor can a receiver make it happen. The very consciousness of the god or guru is held to enter into the Self of the disciple, constituting an initiation into the school or the spiritual family (kula) of the guru. It is held that Shaktipat can be transmitted in person or at a distance, through an object such as a flower or fruit.Shaktipat is a very important part of the Kundalini system. This is a simple and quick method of awakening the Kundalini. Since ancient times, this method is its being given to disciples by the Guru. In this, the guru gives a secret mantra to the disciple, and together the disciple is asked to do sadhana of Maa Shakti and Mahadev Shiva; and if any disruption or problem occurs to the disciple in awakening the Kundalini, then the guru gives Shaktipat to the disciple . In this, the experienced and capable guru whose own kundalini is awakened, by touching the third eye of the disciple with his thumb, or by the mental or distant hands, the energy of the cosmic mother Kundalini flows through the hands. This gives the seeker a temporary experience of Kundalini Shakti Awaken. If the seeker is at a higher level of sadhana then he can keep the Kundalini awake. In order to keep this active throughout the life, the seeker should be practiced in the daily life.

Shiva Sutras of Vasugupta

Shiva Sutras are a collection of seventy seven aphorisms that form the foundation of the tradition of spiritual mysticism known as Kashmir Shaivism. They are attributed to the sage Vasugupta of the 9th century C.E.Vasugupta is said to have lived near Mahadeva Mountain in the valley of the Harvan stream behind what are now the Shalimar Gardens near Srinagar. One myth is that he received the aphorisms in a dream visitation of a Siddha or semi-divine being. Another is that Lord Shiva came to him in a dream and instructed him to go to a certain rock on which he would find the teachings inscribed. This rock called Shankaropala is still visited by devotees. The other theory is that Lord Shiva taught the Siva-Sutras to Vasugupta in a dream. Whatever the truth is these myths point to the traditional belief that the Shiva sutras are of Philosophical origin or revelation and are surely a very great product of Sanatana Dharma.

Historically the Shiva Sutras and the ensuing school of Kashmir Shaivism are a Tantric or Agamic tradition. The Tantrics saw themselves as independent of the Vedic mainstream schools of thought and practice, and as beyond the rules that had been put in place by them.

A number of commentaries were written by Vasugupta’s contemporaries or successors. Most famous of them is Kshemaraja’s Vimarshini (10th Century C.E.) which has been translated into English by Jaideva Singh and Swami Lakshman Joo. Another is a commentary called the Varttika by Bhaskara (11th century C.E.) which has been translated into English by Mark Dyczkowski.

There are many translations of the Shiva Sutras into English. A painstaking Italian translation of the Sutras and the Kshemaraja's Vimarshini by Raffaele Torella is also available. Demetrios Th. Vassiliades translated the Shiva Sutras with the Kshemaraja's Vimarshini into Greek. Kriya yogi Shri Shailendra Sharma translated Shiva Sutras from Sanskrit to Hindi with commentary.

In 2014 new translation of Shiva Sutras into English has been made available along with innovative commentary organized into chapters called cascades

Siddha

Siddha (Tamil "great thinker/wise man"; Sanskrit, "perfected one") is a term that is used widely in Indian religions and culture. It means "one who is accomplished". It refers to perfected masters who have achieved a high degree of physical as well as spiritual perfection or enlightenment. In Jainism, the term is used to refer the liberated souls. Siddha may also refer to one who has attained a siddhi, paranormal capabilities.

Siddhas may broadly refer to siddhars, naths, ascetics, sadhus, or yogis because they all practice sādhanā.The Svetasvatara (II.12) presupposes a Siddha body.

Siddha Yoga

Siddha Yoga is a spiritual path founded by Muktananda (1908–1982). The organization states in its literature that the Siddha Yoga tradition is "based mainly on eastern philosophies". It also states that it "draws many of its teachings from the Indian yogic texts of Vedanta and Kashmir Shaivism, the Bhagavad Gita and the poet-saints." The present head of Siddha Yoga is Gurumayi Chidvilasananda.

A central element of the Siddha Yoga path is shaktipat-diksha, literally translated as “initiation by descent of divine power,” through which a seeker’s Kundalini Shakti is awakened by the Guru. Once active, this inner power is said to support the seeker’s steady efforts to attain self-realization.Ashrams and meditation centers provide places to learn and practice Siddha Yoga. The two main ashrams are: Gurudev Siddha Peeth in Ganeshpuri, India, and Shree Muktananda Ashram in upstate New York. There are meditation centers in a number of countries, including India, the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Japan.

Svatantrya

Svātantrya (from the Sanskrit sva meaning self and tantram meaning dependence – 'self-dependency', or 'free will') is the Kashmiri Shaivite concept of divine sovereignty. Svātantrya is described as an energy that emanates from the Supreme (Paramaśiva), a wave of motion inside consciousness (spanda) that acts as the fundament of the world, or in another view, the original word (logos, pārāvak). It does not use any external instrument as it itself is the first stage of creation.

In antithesis with the Vedantic concept of Brahman, which is a mere conscious witness without effective power, being inflicted by the illusory power (or maya of the Brahman), in the Kashmiri Shaivite viewpoint creation is actively willed into existence by the supreme consciousness (Śiva) by the means of his irresistible will-force (Svātantrya). This is an important aspect of the Pratyabhijna school of Kashmir Shaivism.

Svātantrya is a concept that goes to the root of many spiritual matters in Kashmir Shaivism, like, the divine sovereignty of Śiva (God), consciousness (caitanya), creative power (vimarśa), mantric efficiency and Kundalini.

Tantraloka

Tantrāloka (Sanskrit तन्त्रालोक ) "Light on Tantra" is the masterwork of Abhinavagupta on Kashmir Shaivism, who was in turn the most revered Kashmir Shaivism master.

Tantrasara

The Tantrasara is a work attributed to Abhinavagupta, the most famous historical proponent of the Trika or Kashmir Shaivism philosophy of Hinduism. It is said to be a condensed version of the Tantraloka, Abhinavagupta's masterpiece.

Tattva (Shaivism)

The tattvas in Indian philosophy are elements or principles of reality. Tattvas are the basic concepts to understand the nature of absolute, the souls and the universe in Samkhya and Shaivite philosophies. Samkhya philosophy lists 25 tattvas while later Shaivite philosophies extend the number to 36.Tattvas are used to explain the structure and origin of the Universe. They are usually divided into three groups: śuddha (pure tattvas); śuddhaśuddha (pure-impure tattvas); and aśuddha (impure tattvas). The pure tattvas describe internal aspects of the Absolute; the pure-impure tattvas describe the soul and its limitations; while the impure tattvas include the universe and living beings that assist the existence of soul.

Utpaladeva

Utpaladeva (ca. AD 900–950) was one of the great teachers of the philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism.

Utpaladeva, an influential philosopher-theologian of the Pratyabhijna school of Tantric Shaivism composed the Īśvara-pratyabhijñā-kārikās, or 'Stanzas on the Recognition of [Oneself as] the Lord' and the Garland of Hymns to Śiva (Śiva-stotrāvalī).

Utpala’s disciple was Lakṣmaṇa Gupta, a teacher of Abhinavagupta.

Vasugupta

Vasugupta (~ 800 – 850 CE) was the author of the Shiva Sutras, an important text of the Advaita tradition of Kashmir Shaivism, also called Trika (sometimes called Trika Yoga).

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