Re: Why VHEMT?
- --- In Why_VHEMT@yahoogroups.com, Kate Derrick <maamkat@...> wrote:
>is "all good" would inflict even these few examples onto his eternal
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Kate Derrick <maamkat@...>
> To: Why_VHEMT@yahoogroups.com
> Sent: Monday, December 31, 2007 2:09:33 PM
> Subject: Re: Why VHEMT?
> Now pose the question: what sort of intelligent designer, who
handiwork? Possible answer: God is omnipotent, omniscient and
omnipresent. BUT he is a cosmic demon. He is the embodiment of evil -
pain, suffering and death. And, it took him 4.2 billion years to
bring about this transcendent horror and inflict it on his "beloved"
humans. Why in the hell did it take so damn long? Maybe he's busy
doing the same things to some other hapless beings in a galaxy far,
The answer to your may be found in the philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism
In describing the nature of reality, the Kashmir Shaiva explains
that there is only One Being, called Lord Shiva. This Being is the
nature and existence of all beings. This Being is defined as being
filled with the infinite light (prakasa) of God Consciousness. The
Shaiva also holds that the objective world, although experienced as
separate from one's self, does not have a separate existence. It is
the energy (Shakti) of Shiva. Although one might conclude that the
world is separate from his energy, thinking that his energy is the
separate formal cause of the objective world. It is not. The
objective world, comprised of the collection of objects,
cognition's, and limited subjects, is nothing more than the
expansion of the divine Shakti. It is not separate from Shiva's
energy. Lord Shiva is the energy holder (Shaktiman) and the
objective universe is his energy, his Shakti.
But what is the relation of Lord Shiva to his energy? Does Shiva
hold this energy as one might hold a tool, to be used in the act of
creation? Lakshmanjoo clarifies this by explaining that if, for the
sake of argument, we make the distinction between Shiva and his
Shakti we could say that Shakti is this whole objective universe--
which includes not only the objects of perception (pramana) and the
means of perception (pramana), but also the limited subjects or
perceivers (pramatri) attached to those objects--and that Shiva is
that reality from which this universe issues forth. And yet it is
said that Shiva and Shakti are not aware that they are separate.
Why? Because in reality they are not separate at all. They are one
just as a fire is one with its heat.
Although Kashmir Shaivism and Advaita Vedanta both teach nondualism,
the non-dualism of Kashmir Shaivism is quite different from that of
Advaita Vedanta. Essential to this difference is Advaita Vedanta's
proposition that this universe is untrue and unreal, that it is a
false projection of maya. This theory is completely opposed to the
Kashmir Shaiva theory of reality. To counter this proposition
Kashmir Shaivism argues that, if Shiva is real, how could an unreal
substance emerge from something that is real? If Shiva, the ultimate
essence of existence, is real, his creation must also be real. For
the Kashmir Shaiva this universe is just as real as its creator.
The nondualism expounded by Kashmir Shaivism creates a dilemma for
its adherents. If this universe is as real as its creator, how does
the latter create this diverse universe as one with himself? To
explain this seeming incompatibility, Kashmir Shaivism proposes the
theory of reflection (pratibimbavada). This theory explains that the
universe is created in the same way that the image of an object,
such as a house, can be reflected in a mirror. In the case of Shiva,
however, there is no object such as the house which exists
independently from the mirror of God Consciousness, because if there
were, it would mean that there is an object which exists outside of
God Consciousness. The Kashmir Shaiva theory proclaims that nothing
can exist outside of God Consciousness, because only God
Consciousness exists. Therefore, the Shaiva explains, the only thing
that exists is the house appearing in the mirror. There is no
external object, no separate house, being reflected in the mirror.
There is only the mirror of God Consciousness. What then causes
the "reflection" to appear in the "mirror" of Shiva's awareness? To
this question the Shaiva answers, it is svatantrya, the absolutely
independent will of God. It is Lord Shiva that creates this whole
universe in the mirror of his awareness by his absolutely
independent will (svatantrya), his freedom.
In summarizing the essence of the nondual cosmology of Kashmir
Shaivism, Lord Shiva creates the objective world through the
expansion of his Shakti, which is absolutely one with him. The
universe is manifest in his own nature, like a reflection in a
mirror, by his own absolutely independent will.
Concealing and Revealing His Nature
But why has Lord Shiva created this external objective world, this
manifestation of supreme energy, in his own nature? It is the answer
to this question that begins to shed light on Moksha and the means
of its attainment in the teaching of Kashmir Shaivism. Trika
Shaivism teaches that Shiva has manifested this external world for
only one reason-to create the possibility of recognizing his own
nature. And furthermore, the Kashmir Shaiva understands that this
objective universe, a manifestation of Lord Shiva's Svatantrya
Shakti, is a means, a tool, to be used to realize the universal
reality of Shiva.
As Abhinavagupta tells it, when Lord Shiva is completely alone,
bereft of his creation, he exists in the full splendor of his God
Consciousness. He does not need to recognize his own nature, because
it is already there. Nevertheless, he wants his own nature to be
recognized. This recognition gives him great joy. But, because it is
already there, there is nothing to recognize. So, in order to
recognize his nature, Shiva must become ignorant of his nature. He
must seemingly separate himself from his nature. It is only then
that he can experience the joy of recognizing it.
This, Kashmir Shaiva's say, is the play of the universe. Because of
Lord Shiva's freedom, his Svatantrya, this universe is created
solely for the fun and joy of this realization. It is Shiva's play
to seemingly leave his own nature so that he can find it and enjoy
it again. This is the dance of Shiva, the joyous game in which he is
continuously creating this universe--to lose himself and then find
In order to seemingly depart from his own nature, to lose himself in
his creation, he must withdraw his God Consciousness. And in order
to find himself, he must again expand his God Consciousness. This
process is known as nimesa (closing) and unmesa (opening). It is the
supreme energy of God which gives rise to nimesa and unmesa. Nimesa
is the withdrawal of his God Consciousness, and unmesa is the
expansion of his God Consciousness. Both of these states are
contained within Shiva simultaneously.
By withdrawing his God Consciousness, Shiva conceals himself in his
creation. Only Shiva has this power, the power of his own
Svatantrya, to totally disregard and hide his own nature and then to
find it again. But what is it that he finds when he rediscovers his
own nature? He finds, upon realizing his own nature, that it was
already there. For the Kashmir Shaiva, this is the real essence of
this teaching. Lord Shiva loses his nature only to find it again--
and when he does he realizes that it was already there.
He wants, in the external universe that he has created, to
completely disconnect his God Consciousness and then to realize that
it was never disconnected. For although it is disconnected, in the
real sense, it is not disconnected at all. In finding it he realizes
that it was never lost. He experiences that there was never really
any separation from his God Consciousness. Separation only seemed to
exist. For Shaivism this is the greatest mystery of existence and
Lord Shiva's supreme act.
Bondage through Ignorance
Another point will shed additional light on our topic. In creating
this world Shiva conceals his real nature. How does he do this? The
Shaiva says that he conceals it with particularity. His Maya, his
magic, brought about by his power of absolute freedom (Svatantrya
Shakti), is to hide himself in the particularity of the world. As a
particular individual, Shiva loses the real undifferentiated
knowledge of his real Self and possesses only differentiated
knowledge of particularity. Through this maya or ajnana (ignorance),
he veils himself. This is stated very succinctly in the first two
verses of the Shiva Sutras: "Awareness is the reality of everything.
Having differentiated knowledge and not having undifferentiated
knowledge is bondage."