Kashmir Shaivism is not a religion.
It is a philosophy open to those who have the desire to understand
it; hence, for its study there are no restrictions of caste,
creed or color.
Kashmir Shaivism called the Trika philosophy, the three-fold
science. To clarify, this three-fold science is based on the
three energies of Lord Shiva. These three energies are called
Para, Parapara, and Apara (Supreme, Intermediate, and Inferior).
'Para' means the Supreme energy of Lord Shiva, otherwise known
as His subjective energy. 'Parapara' is the medium, the Intermediate
energy of Lord Shiva. It is called His cognitive energy. The
third, Apara, is Lord Shiva's Inferior energy and is referred
to as His objective energy.
In fact, the human being resides in the objective Inferior
energy of Lord! Shiva. This Trika philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism
teaches us how this individual being, immersed in inferior
energy, can be carried towards the Supreme, subjective energy
of Lord Shiva through His cognitive, Intermediate energy.
So the purpose of studying this Trika system is to rise from
objective energy through cognitive energy and finally be one
with the subjective energy of Lord Shiva.
As long as one resides in objective energy one is the victim
of sadness and sorrow and is entangled in the wheel of repeated
births and deaths. So one has to emerge from objective energy
and enter into subjective energy, in which one is liberated
from all this sadness, and becomes absolute in the attainment
of final beatitude.
For this journey Trika thought has laid down three means within
the body of cognitive energy, for it is cognitive energy alone
that can carry you towards the subjective energy of Lord Shiva.
The purpose of cognitive energy is to develop the limited
being's capacity and ability to receive God consciousness.
In the body of cognitive energy, as we have said, are three
means. The first and Supreme mean is called Sambhavopaya.
The second, Intermediate mean is called Saktopaya, and the
third, Inferior mean is called Anavopaya. These means are
handled and practiced according to the ability of the seeker.
S A M B H A V O P A Y A
Sambhavopaya is that path of which the Sadhaka must rid himself
of the recitation of Mantras - of Sadhana based on breathing;
meditation on particular deities; concentrating on some spiritual
thought; and so on. He has only to develop his awareness of
"I" - consciousness, and that, too, not in any particular
place. By the constant awareness of this "I"- consciousness,
individual "I" - consciousness quickly vanishes as it is united
with His subjective energy and becomes Jivan-Mukta (released
This path is meant for those seekers who reside at the highest
level of ability.
S A K T O P A Y A
Saktopaya is the means in which the aspirant or seeker
has to develop concentration upon God-consciousness by means
of some particular spiritual thought bestowed by the Master.
Here the Sadhaka has to concentrate on that particular thought
of God-consciousness without the support of Pranayama; Mantra,
and so on. He must develop God consciousness simply and only
by meditating upon this thought. He has nothing to do with
these discarded methods. That single thought of God consciousness
will alone carry him to the Supreme State of Transcendental
Being. Saktopaya is meant for those who have neither the highest
nor the lowest power of meditating energy.
A N A V O P A Y A
Anavopaya is that means in which a Sadhaka who is endowed
with an inferior capacity of mind and meditation must develop
God-consciousness by resorting to meditation on the two breaths
- inhalation and exhalation; to the practice of Pranayama;
the recitation of Mantras. In this third inferior path a Sadhaka
has, of course, to develop God-consciousness, but, as he is
not gifted with higher meditating capacity, he has to seek
the support of these inferior methods (Pranayama, etc.) so
that finally he may be carried to God-consciousness.
In fact, this system of Kashmir Shaivism is based upon Tantras
revealed by Lord Shiva. These Tantras are divided into three
classes. One class is that of the monistic Tantras. They are
called Bhairava Tantras.
The second class of Tantras is founded on the mono-dualistic
aspect of Kashmir Shaivism. These Tantras are called Rudra
The third class is based on dualistic Shaivism. These Tantras
are called Shiva Tantras.
The philosophy of these Tantras was re-originated at the beginning
of Kaliyuga by the sage Durvasa. Many centuries later this
Tantric philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism was taught by four
great Masters in four great Schools Pratyabhijna School, Krama
School, Kula School and Spanda School.
Pratyabhijna means recognition. The realization of what one
has always been in one's essential timeless nature. This system
was expounded in Kashmir by Somananda.
The Krama School is grounded in space, time and form. Its
purpose is to develop such strength of awareness that one
transcends the circle of time, space and form and thus becomes
timeless, spaceless and formless. This thought of the Krama
School of Shaivism was taught by Sri Erakanatha.
The third School of Kashmir Shaivism called the Kula system.
The purpose of this School is to discard individual energy
and to enter into blissful energy of the totality. This thought
was re-originated and taught by Sumatinatha in Kashmir.
The fourth, the Spanda School of this system was re-originated
in Kashmir by Vasuguptanatha. Spanda means "Vibration" and
the system which goes by its name directs the aspirant to
concentrate on each and every movement in this world. Even
the movement of a blade of grass will carry you to God-consciousness.
In fact these four Schools are not separate from each other.
All the four carry the Sadhaka to the throne of Universal
This thought of Kashmir Shaivism so great, world affirming
and universal that it has deeply impressed many western minds
also, hoisting out as it does wonderful vision of this whole
Universe as nothing but the Blissful energy of an all pervading
consciousnessóLord Shiva. Some other time I shall vividly
explain more and more of the secrets of Kashmir Shaivism