Kashmir the land of great Divine learning
By Shail Gulati
author is a practising Shaivite mystic and has authored two books 'A Yogi and
The Snake' and 'Naamroop-A Tribute to the Divine.'
Part 1 |
| Part 3
tat swami ch Maheshwara”
Kashmir is as
beautiful as Parvati manifest, and who’s Lord is Shiva himself.
This ancient proclamation from the
scriptures of Kashmir, and duly recorded by Kalhana in the Rajtarangani, tells
in the most intimate terms of the presence of Shiva and Shaivism in
Indeed, from time immemorial, this
land has been the seat of great divine learning in general, and Shaiv darsana in
particular, Starting in this life cycle, with the revelations of Lord Shiva to
Rsi Durvasa, who passed it on to the mountain dwellers of Kashmir by the
lineage of Trayambakaditya, matured and transmitted through a galaxy of
perfected beings like Somananda, Utpala, Vasugupta, Abhinavagupta, Lalleshwari,
and in our own time, by Swami Lakshmanjoo. The vale has also had innumerable
other perfected beings like Bhagwan Gopinath and Nand bab, and great scholars
like Baljinathji pandit and jankinathji kaul kamal.It, has even had, great
saints like Adi shankaracharya and Swami Vivekananda as visitors, who, by the
time they left, were visibly enriched.While shankara actually established the
shivlinga on the hill named after him, Swami Vivekananda declared and recorded
to his gurubhais about the presence of Mahadeva, in Amarnath, and everywhere
else in the land, and also of the Devi, at kshir bhawani.
Kashmir Shaiv Darsana, Revelations
of Lord Shiva, Form an extremely profound
school of Non
-dual philosophy and experiential spirituality.
The revelations teach that man is
indeed God who has forgotten his own divine nature, and all of life’s play, is
to ultimately Re-cognize that Godhead, which has never left him, it is only
Those, to whom the philosophy is
revealed, are the darsatas, ‘the seers’, also called rsis.
The word Darsana, means essentially,
‘revelation’, or ‘seeing’. Impliedly, it also comes to mean philosophy, or
spiritual school of thought, especially when it is then expounded by the rsi to
successive disciples. Vouchsafed in the ancient past to his rsis in His abode
of Kailash, it is said to be as old, as, perhaps the first teachings of Shiva,
beginning from the primal Satyuga.... for practical purpose, many lifecycles
And Lord Shiva came as
Svacchandanath to teach. He taught the shiva tantras, the rudra tantras, and the
bhairava tantras, successively, the dual, the intermediate, and the non-dual.
By the time of Kaliyug, however, the
important bhairava tantras, which are 64, were lost..
So Shiva came again as Srikanthnath
to reveal the philosophy to Rsi Durvasa.
Ancient texts record that Rsi
Durvasa, reoriented it in this lifecycle, and taught it to Tryambaka, who is
also said to have lived in Kailash, around the end of 3rd century A.D. and whose
successive generations, in turn, revealed and thus developed the darsana by word
of mouth, in the preceptor disciple tradition..About fifteen generations later,
a disciple of the line came and settled in
The teachings, and the revelations
continued...The Darsana, ripe in itself, began to ripen in the manifest world
Transmitted through the
aforementioned galaxy of perfected beings, it began to flourish in the heavenly
kashmir, encapsulated in the Trika philosohpy, which deals with the series of
(supreme, shiva), apara(the lowest, jiva) and parapara (the intermediate link,
shakti).. comprising of four systems, the pratyabhijna system, the kula system,
the krama system, and the spanda system.
The important Bhairava tantras,
which were lost and then reintroduced by Shiva Himself, teach absolute non
Baljinath pandit, honored scholar of
Kashmir shaiv darsana, says the ancient system
was called Advait shaiva darsana.
Till today the non dual tantras are
the core of the darsana.
In our own time, another perfected
being, Swami Lakshman joo appeared, and once again gave out the priceless, and
paramount divine heritage, for all to re -reach...His his teachings, and
writings were learnt and recorded, in turn by his disciples, notably Jaideva
singh, John hughes, Baljinathji pandit, Jankinathji kaul ‘kamal”, Mark
dyczkowski and George Balesaar..
In one of his talks, Swamiji
informed that it was after King Lalitaditya requested Atrigupta, the great
scholar from Antarvedi(Madhya pradesh), to live in Kashmir, and there was no
authority left in the rest of India on the important bhairav tantras, from that
time it started being called Kashmir Shaiv darsana (and nowadays, in english,
kashmir shaivism.) So, what had begun in
once again settled there. Atrigupta was the forefather of Abhinavgupta.
And though some element in some
thoughts, for example in the krama school, or even in the lower upaya of siva
sutras accomodate the seekers duality, the darsana is Largely Non dual, It spans
both monism ( all beings are one principle) and monotheism (God is supreme), or
simply, God is all, and in all.
The understanding of God, here,
however is a little more advanced than the Brahman of Advait Vedanta, inasmuch
as the Shiva of Advait Shaiv Darsana is replete with his own Shakti, it is not
something extraneous to him, like maya. And so, while, like the Upanishadic
Mahavakya, even Kashmir shaiv leads you to the truth, that you are THAT supreme
consciousness, yet the understanding of Maya being a part of Shiva’s own
swatantrya shakti (absolute free will), marks the advance of Advait Shaiv over
It is also distinct from the
monistic theism of Shaiva siddhanta, inasmuch as its tilt on non duality, is
much more, we could say it is absolute monism, with a gentle respect for theism,
in that light, it has sometimes been called monistic theism, or theistic monism.
The sacred texts are principally
three types, the Agama sastras, the Spanda sastras, and the Prtyabhijna
sastras.For our purpose, these would be, the Siva sutras and the Vijnanbhairava,
The Spanda karikas, and the Prtyabhijnahrdyam.
Swamiji takes care to point out in
his book, Kashmir shaivism, the secret supreme, that there are different types
of contacts between masters and disciples, beginning with Shiva himself, as
teacher, and sadashiva as student, and coming down to the fifth contact, where,
the teacher is still some form of divine shiva, but the discipe is a mortal. But
that the ultimate initiation (parasambandh) can take place in any state of these
five contacts. He, therefore gives us hope, that this is the great potential of
the darsana, that it may be transmitted not just as a given philosophy, but as
direct revelation, possibly also explaining the revelations that comprise the
Siva sutras, to sage vasugupta, who came much later than rsi Durvasa, and in
recorded historical times, in a mortal human frame.
Salutations to Shiva, Lord of all!,
to His consort Devi, at whose behest, he first poemed the divine verses, for us
to re -cognize our divine self, to Durvasa, and the rsis, to Swami Lakshman jee,
and so many other benefactors, some, who may not now be known, but who are
represented simply, by the Shiva they taught us we all are.
This, is actually, the brief of the
Darsana, that you are the shiva you look for, because all is shiva!
And it brings us to an important
understanding of the dynamics of the Darsana:
It is not only the fruit of the
collective past, that has been placed in our present by our preceptors, but
also, that the fruit contains the seed for the collective future.
Salutations, therefore, to all who
are yet to arrive, for they are Shiva too! It is all our play, for ourselves, so
let us play it well! Indeed there is an adage in shaivism that says, to worship
Shiva, be Shiva!
Saiva Yoga is revealed by Lord
Shiva, who, perenially mindful of spirituality, is ever eager to share his
penchant with devi, his beloved consort, and transfer illumination.His poetic
agamas (replies) to the Devi in response to her nigamas(querries), are recorded
in the tantras, puranas, samhitas and siva sutras for the benefit of sincere
seekers.They are called the Shaivagamas.And these are the revelational learnings
of the rsis.
Concisely, The Shaiv philosophy is :
That in the beginning all is
A primal urge, pratham spanda,
arises in Shiva to roll out a whole universe.
His Shakti enables him to do exactly
that.We honour her as jag janani, mother nature.
All creation forget their pristine
beginning, by a spiritual concussion, called anava mala, the primal forgetting.
Once the divine beginning is forgotten, other limitations are quick tocreep in,
omniscience becomes worldly conditioned knowledge, omnipotence becomes limited,
specific ability, and omnipresence is reduced to a body/collective bodies.
All creatures accumulate experiences
in their worldly sojourn. This is almost always in pairs, joy sadness, hot cold,
dark light and so on.We understand that all is transient.
We begin to look for permanence.The
journey back to pristinity begins.We turn to Masters and the Darsanas, and We do
arrive at our own self realisation..
Shiva yoga is beautifully expounded
by the sage vasugupta, in the “Shiva sutras”,
Alternatively deemed the Shiva
Upanishad, this teaches of three out of four possible systems of Shiva’s mystic
way, graded to suit the seeker’s present level of attainment. The four upayas
Anupaya or Ananda upaya.
Sambhava upaya or iccha upaya.
Saktopaya or jnana yoga.
upaya.Also called kriya upaya.
will be taken up in due writings.