by Virendra Qazi
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!
the 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 Peeth was one of the famous centres.
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.
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.
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 real “ Art of Living”.
is presently evoking deep interest in West, with lot of pioneering 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.
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 “Shiva-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
“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 Shaktipath-
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.
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.
“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.
is very relevant for present times. It inspires us for both material and
spiritual 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
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
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.