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Jan 10, 2003 01:36 AM
by leonmaurer

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. 


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 

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 

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 

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 

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.

( )

Phone:- 26133936, 26892972

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