... Virendra Qazi
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 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.
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 real “ Art of Living”.
Kashmir Shaivism 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.
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 “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 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 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,
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 Yoga.
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
This philosophy 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 realise God.
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