Shiva Sutras of Vasugupta
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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 the 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 traditions belief that the Shiva sutras are of divine origin or revelation and are not considered the product of the human mind.
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 Kshemeraja’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 translation by Swami Shankarananda can be found on Wikisource s:Shiva Sutras of Vasugupta. It is also available a painstaking Italian translation of the Sutras and the Kshemaraja's Vimarshini by Raffaele Torella. Kriya yogi Shri Shailendra Sharma translated Shiva Sutras from Sanskrit to Hindi with commentary .
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