Kashmir Shaivism

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The trident (triśūlābija maṇḍalam), symbol and yantra of Parama Shiva, representing the triadic energies of parā, parā-aparā and aparā śakti

Kashmir Shaivism is a group of nondualist Tantric Shaiva exegetical traditions from Kashmir that originated after 850 CE.[1] 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 subcategory of the Kulamārga.[2]

Kashmir Shaivism claimed to supersede Shaiva Siddhanta, a dualistic tradition which scholars consider normative tantric Shaivism.[3] 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.[4]

History[edit]

Siva Sutras and Spandakārikā[edit]

Dating from around 850-900 CE, the Siva 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 Saiva Siddhanta.[5] The Siva Sutras appeared to Vasugupta in a dream, according to tradition. The Spandakārikā was either composed by Vasugupta or his student Bhatta Kallata.

Lineage[edit]

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.[6][7]

Abhinavagupta[edit]

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.[2]

Jayaratha (1150-1200 CE) wrote a commentary on the Tantrāloka.[8]

20th century revival - Lakshman Joo[edit]

Nondualist Kashmir Shaivism went underground for a number of centuries. While there may have been yogis and practitioners quietly following the teachings, there were no major writers or publications after perhaps the 14th century. In the 20th century Swami Lakshman Joo, himself a Kashmiri Brahmin, helped revive both the scholarly and yogic streams of Kashmir Shaivism.[9] His contribution is enormous. He inspired a generation of scholars who made Kashmir Shaivism a legitimate field of inquiry within the academy.[10][11]

Acharya Rameshwar Jha, a disciple of Swami Lakshman Joo, is often credited with firmly establishing the roots of Kashmir Shaivism in the learned community of Varanasi. Rameshwar Jha with his extraordinary creativity, innate familiarity with the ancient texts and personal experiences was able to provide easy access to abstruse concepts of non dualistic Kashmir Shaivism to the layman and scholars alike. His original writings of Sanskrit verses have been compiled and published as books Purnta Pratyabhijna[12] and Samit Swatantram.[12]

Nor should the contribution of Swami Muktananda be overlooked.[13] While himself not belonging to the direct lineage of Kashmir Shaivism, Muktananda felt a great affinity for the teachings which were validated by his own direct experience.[14] He encouraged and endorsed Motilal Banarsidass to publish Jaideva Singh's translations of Shiva Sutras, Pratyabhijnahrdayam, Spanda Karikas and Vijnana Bhairava.[15][16] He also introduced Kashmir Shaivism to a wide audience of western meditators through his writings and lectures on the subject.[17][18]

The Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, a chapter from the Rudrayamala Tantra, was introduced[citation needed] to the West by Paul Reps, a student of Lakshman Joo. Reps brought the text to wider attention by including an English translation in his popular book Zen Flesh, Zen Bones. Cast as a discourse between the god Shiva and his consort Devi or Shakti, it briefly presents 112 meditation methods or centering techniques (dharanas).[19]

Practice[edit]

To attain moksha sādhana or spiritual practice is necessary. Kashmir Shaivism describes four methods (upāya-s):[20]

  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[edit]

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.[20]

Kaula[edit]

Main article: Kaula

Although domesticated into a householder tradition, Kashmir Shaivism recommended a secret performance of Kaula practices in keeping with its heritage. This was to be done in seclusion from public eyes, therefore allowing one to maintain the appearance of a typical householder.[21]

Philosophy[edit]

A stone carving of Shiva and Parvati, associated with Shakti.

Pratyabhijñā philosophy[edit]

The nondual or monistic philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism is called Pratyabhijna. Ksemaraja, the student of Abhinavagupta, extended this philosophy to a broad range of tantric Saiva texts.[22]

Aham, the Heart of Śiva[edit]

Aham is the concept of supreme reality as heart. It is considered to be a non-dual interior space of Śiva, support for the entire manifestation,[23] supreme mantra[24] and identical to Śakti.[25]

Comparison with Advaita Vedanta[edit]

Kashmir Shaivism is philosophically similar to yet distinguished from Advaita: both are non-dual philosophies that give primacy to Universal Consciousness (Chit or Brahman).[26] However, in Kashmir Shaivism, all things are a manifestation of this Consciousness[27] but the phenomenal world (Śakti) is real, existing and having its being in Consciousness (Chit),[28] while Advaita Vedanta holds that the supreme, Brahman, is inactive (niṣkriya) and that the phenomenal world is an illusion (māyā).[29] The reality and very divinity of every aspect of the phenomenal world is tied to the Tantric practices of Kashmir Shaivism.

Texts[edit]

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.[30]

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.[31]

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).[31]

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.[32]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ David Peter Lawrence, Kashmiri Shaiva Philosophy, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  2. ^ a b Sanderson, Alexis. "The Śaiva Literature." Journal of Indological Studies (Kyoto), Nos. 24 & 25 (2012–2013), 2014, pp. 52-53.
  3. ^ Flood, Gavin. 2006. The Tantric Body. P.61
  4. ^ Flood, Gavin. 2006. The Tantric Body. P.66-67, 122
  5. ^ Sanderson, Alexis. "The Hinduism of Kashmir." June 9, 2009. pg.31-32.
  6. ^ Flood, Gavin. 1996. An Introduction to Hinduism. P.164-167
  7. ^ Flood, Gavin. 2006. The Tantric Body. P.66
  8. ^ Sanderson, Alexis. "The Śaiva Literature." Journal of Indological Studies (Kyoto), Nos. 24 & 25 (2012–2013), 2014, pp. 53, 59, 61, 68.
  9. ^ Kashmir Shaivism, The Secret Supreme, Revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo
  10. ^ "Foreword", Lance E. Nelson in Self Realization in Kashmir Shaivism, John Hughes, pp.xxii-iv
  11. ^ Consciousness is Everything, The Yoga of Kashmir Shaivism, Swami Shankarananda pp. 47-8
  12. ^ a b Pratyabhijna Press Varanasi, Publishers Arun Krishna Joshi, Vijay Krishna Joshi, Nichi bag Varanasi
  13. ^ Lal Ded: The great Kashmiri Saint-poetess, Proceedings of the National Seminar Conducted by Kashmir Education, Culture and Science Society. p12
  14. ^ Play of Consciousness – A Spiritual Autobiography, Swami Muktananda,p117
  15. ^ Swami Durgananda,‘To See the World Full of Saints’ in Meditation Revolution, Brooks, Durgananda et al, pp96-97
  16. ^ Siva Sutras – The Yoga of Supreme Identity, Jaideva Singh p iv
  17. ^ Swami Durgananda, ‘To See the World Full of Saints’ in Meditation Revolution, Brooks, Durgananda et al, pp.96-97
  18. ^ Secret of the Siddhas, Swami Muktananda, Chapters 9-37
  19. ^ Paul Reps, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings (ISBN 0-8048-0644-6)
  20. ^ a b Kashmir Shaivism, The Central Philosophy of Tantrism, Kamalakar Mishra p339-350
  21. ^ Flood, Gavin. 2006. The Tantric Body. P.14
  22. ^ Sanderson, Alexis. "The Hinduism of Kashmir." June 9, 2009. pg.32-33.
  23. ^ Parā-trīśikā Vivaraṇa, Jaideva Singh, page 194
  24. ^ Parā-trīśikā Vivaraṇa, Jaideva Singh, page 180
  25. ^ Parā-trīśikā Vivaraṇa, Jaideva Singh, page 127
  26. ^ Pratyãbhijñahṛdayam, Jaideva Singh, Moltilal Banarsidass, 2008 p.24-26
  27. ^ The Doctrine of Vibration: An Analysis of Doctrines and Practices of Kashmir Shaivism, By Mark S. G. Dyczkowski, p.44
  28. ^ Ksemaraja, trans. by Jaidev Singh, Spanda Karikas: The Divine Creative Pulsation, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, p.119
  29. ^ Consciousness is Everything, The Yoga of Kashmir Shaivism, Swami Shankarananda pp. 56-59
  30. ^ The Trika Shaivism of Kashmir, Moti Lal Pandit, pag. IX
  31. ^ a b The Trika Shaivism of Kashmir, Moti Lal Pandit, pag. X
  32. ^ The Trika Shaivism of Kashmir, Moti Lal Pandit, pag. XI

Sources[edit]

  • 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, MacMillan Encyclopedia of Religion. Vol.12: Rnying Ma Pa School - Soul, MacMillan 
  • Sanderson, Alexis (2005b), "Saivism:Trika Saivism", in Jones, Lindsay, MacMillan Encyclopedia of Religion. Vol.12: Rnying Ma Pa School - Soul, MacMillan 
  • Sanderson, Alexis (2005e), "Saivism: Krama Saivism", in Jones, Lindsay, MacMillan Encyclopedia of Religion. Vol.12: Rnying Ma Pa School - Soul, MacMillan 

Further reading[edit]

  • 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[edit]