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KASHMIR SHAIVISM

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  • leonmaurer@aol.com
    Below is an interesting commentary on an aspect of Hindu philosophy that may help in correlating the information offered by BAG, as well as clarify some deeper
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 10, 2003
      Below is an interesting commentary on an aspect of Hindu philosophy that may
      help in correlating the information offered by BAG, as well as clarify some
      deeper aspects of theosophy.

      KASHMIR SHAIVISM

      History tells us about great ancient civilizations. Where have they gone? To
      museums, pyramids, history books, Discovery Channel, etc? But Indian
      civilization, the ancient creed and culture, can still be found in every
      village of India - alive and kicking!

      Kashmir was seat of learning along with Benaras in ancient Northern India.
      After a great spell of learning at Benares discerning people would go to
      Kashmir for higher studies and perfecting their philosophies and practices.
      The Sharda Peth was one of the famous centres.

      The Doctrine Of Recognition ( finding or discovering yourself as one with the
      Almighty) also called Pratibhigana Darshan has been given a popular name by
      renowned oriental scholar J. C. Chatterjee as KASHMIR SHAIVISM. In West this
      fascinating philosophy is also called by this name.

      This philosophy in the present form can be traced to the eighth Century Sage,
      Vasugupta to whom Shiv Sutras were revealed. His famous descendents were
      Somananda, Utpaldeva and Abhinavgupta who finally gave a concrete shape and
      foundation to this philosophy.

      Kashmir Shaivism occupies a distinguished position among the various schools
      of religious creed and thought. This universal philosophy focuses on relation
      between God, Nature and Man, which overcomes all the barriers of diverse
      human-cultures. It leads to the highest level of self-realisation, revealing
      the inner most secrets of the nature of Self. All the aspects of life are
      integrated and taken in totality. Thus, rather than negation and denial, it
      celebrates life.Kashmir Shaivism is the school of Indian philosophy which can
      inspire us for both material and spiritual progress. Rather, the approach is
      from theory to practice. Indeed, it leads us to the "INNER HARMONY & BLISS".

      Kashmir Shaivism is presently evoking deep interest in West, with lot of pi
      oneering research work at leading universities. It is a matter of concern
      that nothing much is done in the land of discovery of this philosophy. We
      should seriously ponder over this situation and consider the importance of
      this philosophy in our present strife-torn world. A thrill of self
      confidence, the spirit of bliss, surpassing all barriers of caste, creed and
      gender, no look back, no regret, the inner journey, see everything as
      creation of God, etc - how prominently and conceptually these are emphasised
      in Kashmir Shaivism. It should be our solemn endeavour to present this
      ancient philosophy in common man's language so that a resurgence takes place
      with the goal of Upliftment of individual, social, national and world as a
      whole.

      The prime focus of Kashmir Shaivism is on the Ultimate Reality called Param
      Shiva. This basic point is to recognise this source from which emanates
      everything and into which merges everything. Param Shiva is beyond
      description, beyond all manifestation, beyond limitation of form, time and
      space. He is eternal, infinite, all pervading, all knowing and all powerful.
      In fact, this reality is ineffable and beyond all descriptions.

      After our stress on this basic reality called Param Shiva, let us seek and
      understand this philosophy. Kashmir Shaivism. It is a process of recognising
      or discovery of individual soul as one with the Universal Being through
      correct knowledge of the "Descend" from Godhood to manhood. The next is
      "Ascend" or going back to Godhood. Lastly great stress is given to "Devotion"
      towards the Ultimate Reality called Param Shiva.

      As regards the Great Descend, Kashmir Shaivism postulates 36 categories or
      "tattvas" to explain the process of cosmic evolution or universal experience,
      i.e., from God hood to veiling or obscuring force of nature called Maya
      Shakti leading to various psycho - physical elements and finally the Panch
      Mahabhutas - five great elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether.

      The first outward manifestation of the divine creative energy is called "Shi
      va - Tattva". It is the initial creative movement of Paramasiva and is
      support of all things in the manifest world, like the canvas of a painting.
      Next, the "Shakti-Tattava" is active or kinetic cosmic energy that effects
      the divine consciousness into action.

      "Maya" is the veiling or obscuring force of nature that creates a sense of
      differentiation. As such, it makes universal consciousness which is unity,
      appear as duality and multiplicity. The result of the limitation of Maya are
      "Purusha" and "Prakriti", the limited being and his nature. Here the dual
      world of mind and matter is permanently established. This follows various
      mental operations, ascertaining intelligence, sense perceptions, ego, etc.
      The process is complete finally with the gross Panch Mahabutas as referred
      above.

      Now, let us consider the Ascend or going back to Godhood. What is source of
      pain and frustration- duality and moving away from Godhood! So, it is natural
      that we must strive to go back to Godhood. For this there has to be Shaktipa
      th- the descend of Divine Grace. In order to earn Grace, one has to undergo
      spiritual discipline, known as "Upyas" or Trika Yoga. Depending upon
      potential of individual, these means or yoga have been categorised with
      particular emphasis as Anupaya(supreme means- Bliss), Shambopaya(higher
      means- Will), Shaktopaya(medium means- Knowledge) and Anvopaya(inferior
      means- Action). However, it must always be remembered that descend of the
      Divine Grace-Shaktipath- is independent of human efforts.

      Kashmir Shaivism emphasises that one has to discover the inner "Bliss". Let
      us not suppress the senses, do not torture the body or mind, etc. Forcible
      control will lead to adverse effect. Be as you are. When one discovers inner
      bliss he/she will give up fascination for outer worldly enjoyments. Outwardly
      one may perform the age old traditions but inwardly he/she has to seek exact
      truth through the practices taught in Trika Yoga. There is no restriction
      based on colour, creed, gender, etc. in eligibility for initiation in this
      Yoga.

      As regards "Devotion", it is an essential aid to all the practices. An
      aspirant not blessed with devotion for the Lord can not succeed in the
      practice or Saivayoga. After inculcating the principles and treading the path
      as explained above, we should surrender and submit to the Ultimate Reality.
      This will, no doubt, lead us to the ultimate goal.

      This philosophy is very relevant for present times. It inspires us for both
      material and spiritul progress. It stresses positive acceptance of material
      world rather than the philosophy of escapism. Thus it can serve as a sound
      basis for organising our lives. We can rather say that God has made man in
      His own image. It is His Own Maya Shakti which makes man to see differently.
      Therefore, real joy can be gained as we live in this world and go about our
      work. Avoiding suppression and denial like great puritans, we should exercise
      moderation in living and turning away from the ambition of wealth, power and
      pleasures of senses. This will prepare us for the inward journey to realise
      God.

      The youth should remember that no problem of individual, society or nation is
      to be ignored. A person can not succeed in any aim of life if he shuts his
      eyes towards these problems. The whole life of Lord Krishna as depicted in
      Mahabharta is a glowing example of practical Shaivism.

      We may enjoy tasteful worldly objects as per the tradition but consider or
      ponder over their origin from "the Divine Glory". This will enable us to look
      for God in every individual, see everything as His creation, etc., leading to
      maximum love and harmony.

      Even as elderly persons we should be totally in world yet totally liberated
      from within. This example incorporated in our lives will definitely create an
      inspiration for others.

      Concluding, let us work for upliftment as our goal. With our own effort we
      should change and strive for enlightenment. Let this change permeate from
      person to family, to state and nation as a whole. Leading to universal good
      this will usher in a peaceful and conflict free world.

      Virendra Qazi, C-2 / 2284, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi.

      ( virendraqazi@... )

      Phone:- 26133936, 26892972
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