Kashmir Shaivism

The Lakshmanjoo Academy is happy to announce the publication of first Chapter of the long awaited text “Light on the Tantra of Kashmir Shaivism;  Abhinavagupta’s Tantraloka” as revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo. This 500 page introductory volume is chapter one of the renowned 10th century philosopher saint Abhinavagupta’s voluminous masterwork – Tantraloka.

This book, “Light on the Tantra of Kashmir Shaivism;  Abhinavagupta’s Tantraloka” as revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo, is chapter one of the renowned 10th century philosopher saint Abhinavagupta’s voluminous masterwork – Tantraloka. This profound text is concerned with the philosophy and practice known as Kashmir Shaivism. On account of its size and scope it is a veritable encyclopedia of non-dual Shaivism.

Tantraloka One by Swami Lakshmanjoo

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Why was the Tantraloka written? In answer to this question Abhinavagupta tells us that, although in the schools of Kashmir Shaivism there are many wonderful and important ways and methods for attaining the supreme reality, yet in his time not even one was still existing. All of those ways and methods were lost. It is for this reason that he was requested by his colleagues and disciples to create a text that would illuminate and clarify all of these ways and methods of Kashmir Shaivism. To accomplish this, Abhinavagupta composed the Tantraloka, a text, which he tells us is filled with the complete explanation of the ways and methods associated with Kashmir Shaivism. That is to say that the philosophical understanding on the level of the intellect might have been existing, but the actual practical means or methods to be used to attain the supreme reality – oneness with Universal Being – to which they all pointed was lost. Abhinavagupta was intent, therefore, to revive the true understanding of these very important teachings, to make the practices that they embodied live again. For what is the use of a map if you have no way to reach the destination? Thus, Abhinavagupta gave us the Tantraloka to remedy this situation.

The Tantraloka is composed of thirty seven chapters (ahnikas). Each chapter has it’s own distinct topic. In this present volume – chapter one – Abhinavagupta lays the groundwork for the rest of his Tantraloka.

Here are some of the topics Abhinavagupta examines in the first chapter:

•    The important Masters of the schools of Kashmir Shaivism.

•    The differentiated perception of all the means and methods (upayas).

•    The difference between knowledge, ignorance and liberation.

•    The essence of what is to be recognized, i.e., the real object to be known.

•    The oneness of Shiva and His energy (Shakti).

•    Introduction to the means and methods (upāya) for attaining full and pure knowledge where you perceive your nature as one with the universe.

•    True liberation in Kashmir Shaivism.

•    A discussion of the four states of means (upayas).

•    Three variations of absorption or trance (samavesha) as mentioned in the Malinivijaya Tantra.

•    The contents of each of the thirty seven chapters of Tantraloka.

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Kashmir Shaivism

About Kashmir Shaivism Swami Lakshmanjoo said, “Kashmir Shaivism is known as the Pure Trika system. It is ‘the three-fold science of man and his world.’ Kashmir Shaivism is a philosophy meant for any human being without restriction of caste, creed, color or gender.” Though Swami Lakshmanjoo was a master of Sanskrit Language and completely versed in all systems of Shaiva Philosophy, his teachings were always expressed in simple language, accessible to the sincere aspirant. “Trika philosophy is situated in the heart of that supreme energy of God consciousness. It teaches you to realize that this whole objective world, which is already in front of you, is not separate from God consciousness. You do not have to realize God situated in some seventh heaven.

“God and the individual are one, to realize this is the essence of Shaivism.”

The knowledge presented herein constitutes the treasured secrets revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo over a period of two decades, (1971 to 1991). These revelations form the foundation stone for ‘uniting individual consciousness with Universal God consciousness’.

Trika

The Trika philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism is beautifully expressed in the first verse of Shivadristi, composed by the great Shaiva Master Somananda, founder of the Pratyabhijnana System of Shaiva Philosophy.

Swami Lakshmanjoo

asmad rupa samāviṣṭaḥ svātmanātmanivāraṇe  /
śivaḥ karotu nijayā namaḥ śaktyā tatātmane // (1st Verse, Śivadṛiṣṭi)

“Let Shiva, who is my nature, bow down to his real nature – to Universal Shiva  by his own Shakti, for the removal of obstacles, which are no other than Shiva.”

Here, Shiva bows to himself, for the removal of obstacles, which are also Shiva, through his own energy (shakti) which is one with Shiva, and in the end He resides in the state of universal Shiva. That is the state of Para (Supreme) Bhairava!

In Trika Shaivism, although the word ‘Trika’ indicates three, everything is found in a state of oneness. From the Trika point of view there isn’t the slightest difference between individual soul and Lord Shiva, it is just a play, a drama of His own nature. The philosophy of Trika Shaivism is unique and original. For the sincere seeker of Truth it holds the wonderful vision of the whole world as real and not illusion. Trika philosophy teaches that this world is nothing but the blissful energy of the all-pervading consciousness of Lord Shiva.

May the grace of Lord Shiva shine upon you.