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Human Upliftment Through Kashmir Shaivism

by Virendra Qazi

The philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism occupies a distinguished position among the various schools of religious creed and thought. It provides the complete analysis of human personality and delves into the deepest and most comprehensive psychology of man. In this way, it makes the greatest contribution to furthering of human understanding.

In fact, this universal philosophy focuses on relation between God, Nature and Man, which transcends all the barriers of time, place and diverse human-cultures. It leads to the highest level of self-realisation revealing the inner most secrets of the nature of Self. It integrates all the aspects of life, which are taken in totality. Thus, rather than negation and denial, it celebrates life. Kashmir Shaivism is the only school of Indian philosophy which can inspire us for both material and spiritual progress. Besides making valuable contribution to the Indian culture, it is the highest spiritual philosophy discovered and expressed in the world.

No doubt, Kashmir Shaivism is presently evoking deep interest in west, with lot of pioneering research work at leading universities in Europe and the United States. It is a matter of concern that nothing much is done in the land of its birth, rather land of discovery of this philosophy. We should ponder over this situation and consider the importance of this philosophy in this 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 at individual, social, national and world as a whole. We can conclude without any hesitation that Kashmir Shaivism is the religion of tomorrow.

EVOLUTION OF INDIAN RELIGIOUS PHILOSOPHY

It would be pertinent to look at the evolution of Indian religious philosophy. We have Carvakas School which is the basis for lowest type of thinkers in India. Here good health, long life, prosperity, pleasures, enjoyments, etc. are the only aims of this short lived life. They believe socio political systems are needed for the achievement of these aims. There is no heaven, no hell, no piety, no sin, no God no divine law. Religion, therefore, is not needed at all. This theory is, in fact, the expression of the truth perceived through senses in its grossest and crudest form.

Above the Carvaka shool is Mimansaka, which believe in the existence of heaven and hell, admission into which are the results of ones good and bad actions. Vaisnava school believes that there is still more superior place named VAIKUNTHA. Above them are NYAYA and Vaisesika philosophies which believe in soul, time, space, law of karma, omniscient and omnipotent ISVARA or PARMATAM. The finer exposition of the truth is in SANKHYA and Yoga philosophies.

JARDUST AND VEDVYAS

If we take a detour and go outside Bharat Desh, we can observe development of various philosophies and interaction of many religious creed. In the ancient Iran, King Gastasp invited an Indian Brahman "Vyas" by name for "Shastrarth" (religious discourse) with his Raj Guru Jardust. The Parsi holy book "Shoteer", gives detailed account of this interaction and praises Vyas as a very wise and learned scholar of the time.

ANAL HAQ

The various religious creeds strived for universality as is quite evident in Sufism. The revolution was created by Hazrat Mansoor. He was humiliated, made to ride a donkey through the streets and finally hanged and his corpse burnt. His fault-Anal Haq (I am truth, God). However, in deep humiliation be addressed to people "Forget not God to see my plight, Trust in Him. He is with me like a friend. He gives me a cup which He took first Himself".

THE ALMIGHTY LORD - FROM WHOM EMANATES EVERYTHING AND WHO IS BEYOND ALL DIVERSITIES

After the detour let us come back to our present world. Don't we see a revolution-World has become one family. We talk of communication, net-working and we have surmounted all barriers that separate man from main. Similarly, people can choose their own creed, interact, analyse, approve and go their own way. However, inspite of all this, we are pained at the violent diversity and discord in the world. We are still confronted with the issue of caste, creed, language, religion and other man made barriers.

Coming to the relevance of Kashmir Shaivism for our times how would we describe our present day world ? Some call it a great paradox, beyond anybody's comprehension. Perhaps we are unable to follow this maze ? There are two phases which are quite explicit. The first one is a deep despair. Indeed, it is a deep despair which confronts us constantly. No achievement seems to satisfy us. Right from the beginning we chase the daily minimum needs and spend or waste our entire life in it. Those we feel are lucky are truly worse. They have more of dis-satisfaction, insecurity, lust for upward move, prone to scheming and outside attacks.

Now, the second phase. Really ! can this world be all that bad. Daily we can experience the morning Sun, which blesses us and dispels all darkness. The love of near and dear ones sustain us. The beauty of nature, ever motivating and ever fascinating, thrills us.

What can we conclude from these opposite, rather totally diverse explanations. It seems we have no answer ? So let us take recourse to the wisdom of our ancient seers-our ancient knowledge. The message is: good and bad are part of the same coin. Everything emanates from the Almighty Lord, the Param Shiva. And recognition of this creed means LIBERATION.

PARAM SHIVA AND HIS UNIVERSAL MANIFESTATION

PARAM SHIVA

Param Shiva is the ultimate reality who is the nature of Bliss itself and all complete in Himself. He 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.

From Param Shiva let us come to universal manifestation; let us have a look at this creation of Lord. Kashmir Shaivism postulates 36 categories of "tattvas" to explain the process of cosmic evolution. Let us keenly focus our attention to this process of universal evolution or universal experience, i.e., from God hood to Maya Shakti which is the veiling or obscuring force of nature leading to psycho - physical elements and finally the Panch Mahabhutas - five great elements : Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether. Let us look further into this great descent or the process of in-evolution, i.e. from God-hood to Man-hood.

SHIVA TATTVA

The first outward manifestation of the divine creative energy in the process of cosmic evolution is called Shiva - Tattva. It is the initial creative movement of Paramasiva. Consciousness in this condition is technically called chit. Further, it is the static aspect of consciousness or like support of all things in the manifest world. It is like the bed of a river or the canvas of a painting. It can never be seen, it can only be known by its effects. In this condition, the emphasis is on the subject without any awareness of the existence of the object. The Shiva Tattva is the chit aspect of the universal condition of Sat-Chit-Ananda.

SHAKTI TATTVA

Since the Shiva Tattva represents the passive aspect of the pure consciousness, it is dependent upon the active or dynamic aspect to bring it into being. This is called Shakti Tattva. Shakti is the active or kinetic aspect of consciousness. Just as an artist pours out his delight in a poem, picture or song, even so the Supreme pours out his delight in this manifestation called Shakti. Just as Shiva is the chit aspect of the universal condition of Sat-Chit-Ananda, Shakti is the Ananda aspect. When Shakti is predominant, supreme bliss is experienced. As Mahesvarananda puts it beautifully in Maharthamanjari. "He (i.e. Shiva) Himself full of joy enhanced by the honey of the three corners of his heart, viz ICCHA, JHANA AND KRIYA, raising up His face to gaze at His own splender is called Shakti".

This Shakti Tattva represents the force that produces a strain or stress on the surface of the universal consciousness. It polarizes consciousness into positive and negative, the aham and idam, the subject and object. As mentioned, Shakti or cosmic energy is said to have three principal forms to account for the three fundamental psychological steps that precede every action. Technically the first one is called ICHCHA SHAKTI, the power of feeling oneself as supremely able and of an obsolutely irresistible will. Second one is the JNANA SHAKTI, the power of knowledge or knowing of consciousness which holds all objects in conscious relations with ourself and also with one another. The KRIYA SHAKTI is the power of supreme action, creating or assuming any and every form. One follows the other in logical succession, and with the prominence of each respective form in the process of the evolution of consciousness, the next three tattvas come into being. These are respectively called Sadashiv Tattva, Ishvara Tattva and Shuddha Vidya Tattva.

MAYA AND FIVE KANCUKAS (COVERINGS)

Now let us come to evolution of material universe. The power of consciousness to separate and divide is called Maya Shakti. This is the power to perceive differences. The term "Maya" means illusion. Here it is used to refer to the veiling or obscuring force of nature which creates a sense of differentiation. As such, it makes universal consciousness which is unity, appear as duality and multiplicity.

The products of Maya are the five kancukas or coverings which are KALAA (limitation of authorship or efficacy) VIDYA (limited knowledge), RAGA (from all satisfaction to feeling of interest and desire) KAALA (from eternity to limitation in respect of time i.e. past, present and future) NIYATI (limitation in respect of cause and effect).

PURUSHA AND PRAKRITI

The result of Maya and its five coverings as referred above are PURUSHA and PRAKRITI. Here the dual world of mind and matter is permanently established. In order words, although the Lord is absolutely free, he puts on Maya and her five cloaks, forgets his true nature, limits His power and reduces Himself to an individual soul which is called Purusha and its objective manifestation PRAKRITI.

BUDDHI, AHAMKARA AND MANAS

Now, let us come to the tattvas of mental operation i.e. BUDDHI, AHAMKARA and MANAS. Buddhi is the ascertaining intelligence which can be external i.e. a jar perceived through eye or internal, like images built out of the impression left on mind. Ahamkara is the product of buddhi. It is the I - making principle and the power of self - appropriation. Manas is the product of ahankara. It co-operates with the senses in building up perceptions, and by itself, it builds images and concepts.

We are continuing to focus on the cosmic manifestations. The products of AHAMKARA are five powers of sense perception or JNANENDRIYAS, five powers of action or KARMENDRIYAS and five primary elements of perception or TANMANTRAS. The process of inevolution is complete finally with panch Mahabutas as referred earlier.

Frankly, very important position is given to Ahankara. In fact, it is the product of SHAKTI through the intermediate Prakriti which obviously is a mode of the Divine Energy. Rajas gunas is prominent here and other gunas are in subdued form. One can understand significance of Ahankara by the story of the Buddha Bhikshu Upasena. As he tried to over come this tattva by his "sadhana", his body got scattered because there was no Ahankara up-holding it.

It is Important to understand that, according to Kashmir Shavism, this analysis of all phenomena into thirty-six tattavas has been worked out as a tool of understanding for the ever-active and inquiring mind and as a form for contemplative meditation. At higher sadhana the number of tattvas may get reduced. Finally a highly advanced Shiva Yojin may see only the Shiva Tattva in the whole of creation.

DOCTRINE OF THE FOUR STAGES IN THE MANIFESTATION OF SPEECH

The above description is an endeavor of movement from individuality to universality. In this context, it is interesting to mention about four type of speech. Speech is not only the means to convey one's ideas to others, it is also a way to understand things personally. When we choose to convey ideas to others, we generally use spoken language, known as VAIKHARI. A finer form of speech that serves as the medium for thinking and understanding, through which a person forms definite and indefinite ideas about words and their meanings, is the mental speech called MADHYAMA. It is an internal reflection of manifestation of awareness taking the form of ideas. There is a still finer level of speech, far subtler in character and resides in the inner-most part of our being. It is called PASYANTI. It is known as the "be-holding speech" because through its medium enlightened people can behold all objective existence within themselves. Beyond this is PARAVAC the supreme speech or the transcendental speech. This consists of pure awareness of the self. It is also called PARAVANI.
 

This doctrine can also be understood by the example of an artist's creation from the grossest to the finest level. His tangible creation like a painting, etc. can be VAIKHARI and the images formed mentally, where his creation shines within him in the form of MADHYAMA. Before even this exists a subtle creative urge like a stir, or restlessness or inward flutter which is PASYANTI. Finally, at the most subtle level, the original seed of the artistic creation lies in the innter most center which is shining as PARAVAC, the Supreme speech.

BONDAGE

After discussing the cosmic manifestation in the form of tattva's and speech, let us come to bondage and liberation as per Kashmir Shaivism.

From the absolute point of view there is no bondage, yet when the Lord manifests as limited due to His own free will, He forgets His own perfection and becomes bound. In other words, bondage is nothing more than an individual's self - forgetfulness or ignorance of his own perfection. Even in the state of apparent limitation he remains pure and perfect although he is unaware of it. For the purpose of divine sport, the Absolute voluntarily accepts the limitation of self - consciousness, which give rise to limited desires. Because of these limited desires, the finite self performs various finite actions and experiences their consequences. Thus, the chain of karma leads the individual from bondage to bondage.

THREE MALAS (IMPURITIES)

This limitations which constitutes the essential nature of the finite self is called MALA, which means impurity or taint. It is a manifestation of divine free will and is of three kinds. Anava Mala is the primary or innate ignorance of the individual soul. It reduces the universal consciousness to a limited aspect. Mayiya Mala is the limited condition brought about by maya. Karma Mala is the limitation in the power of action. Anava Mala leads to Karma Mala, e.g. good or evil actions. This leads to Mayiya Mala which brings about the experience of pleasure, pain, birth and death due to the vasanas or habit energies of good and evil actions. It is the force of the vasanas that carries the jivas from one life to another.

LIBERATION

It is natural that we must strive from bondage to liberation. Libration according to Kashmir Shavism means PRATYABHIJNA or recognition of one's true nature which means the original, pure I - consciousness. This pure I - consciousness is immediate, non-relational awareness. To be integrated to the divine I is liberation. As Abhinavagupta puts it "MOKSA OR LIBERATION is nothing else but the awareness of one's true nature". The highest attainment, however, is that of Shiva Consciousness in which the entire universe appears as I - consciousness.

SHAKTIPAT AND TRIKA YOGA

We most remember that it is not simply by intellectual understanding that one gains awareness of true I - consciousness. There has to be shaktipata - the descent of divine grace.

In order to earn grace, one has to undergo spiritual discipline. This is known, as upaya or Yoga. Here we would draw a line between two prevalent systems of Yoga in ancient India and Trika Yoga of Kashmir. Ancient India had Yoga for monks like Patanjali Yoga and Hatha Yoga and Yoga for householders which had evolved into various forms. Trika Yoga on the other hand is free from all stringent restrictions and repressive discipline. It discourages torturing the body and mind or starving the senses. Abhinavagupta calling on the authority of his greatest preceptor, Sambhunatha, clearly states that the senses can only give up their fascination for wordly enjoyments through a spontaneous indifference arising from the blissful experiences that Yoga elicts. In other words, once a practitioner has discovered the inner bliss of the self, all the common sense pleasures will seem inadequate by comparison and will, therefore, no longer be a temptation. He adds that the senses are liable to adverse reactions if these are forcibly controlled.

Let us further define Yoga as per Trika system. As per MALINIVIJAYATANTRA, "The unity of one (a finite being) with another (Almighty God) is called Yoga by Siva Yogins".

The Yoga or upayas as per Kashmir Shaivism are divided under four heads having relevant emphasis viz (1) ANUPAYA (ananda or Bliss) (2) SAMBHAVOPAYA (ICCHA) (3) SAKTOPAYA (JYANA) (4) ANAVOPAYA (Kriya or action). These upayas or means have been so categorised as supreme means, medium means or inferior means, depending upon the individual potential.

As already mentioned grace of God, i.e., Shaktipata is independent of human effort. The Yoga of Patanjali starts from lowest type and ends with those of the highest type so that practitioner is led step by step into highest type of samadhi. But Abhinabvagupta starts in his Tantraloka with the highest type of Yoga and comes down gradually to lower type of its practices. He is of the view that aspirant should catch hold of the highest practice and should try it. If, however, he feels that he is not capable of treading the highest path, he can come down to the path nearest to it. One may in this way come down to any lower path in accordance with his psychological capabilities.

FOUR UPAYAS (MEANS)

ANUPAYA

The first one is Anupaya. It is immediate through speediest descent of grace. Therefore, Diksha (initiation) has practically no role. In this path to liberation no active process on the part of the individual is involved. An aspirant has only to observe that nothing is to be done. Be as you are: only reside in your being. This is attributed to ANANDA SAKTI of Siva and is also called ANANDOPAYA. Here we can quote from famous Shaiva saint of Kashmir - Pandit Krishan Joo Razdan :-

Oh Lord !
With your speediest Grace;
Make me transcend all - Will, Knowledge & Action
SHAMBHAVOPAYA

It is also called ICCHOPAYA because it comes about by a mere orientation of the will. It is designed for advanced aspirants, who by meditating on the Shiva Tattva, attain the highest level of awareness. In this path, will predominates. It involves the practice of maintaining the constant awareness that the universe is nothing but CHITI. Even this must ultimately he transcended. Thus all mental activities stop and mind shines without any flutter of ideas. The light of pure consciousness alone shines in such practice and an aspirant discovers the pure transcendental aspect of his self in that state. All this happens by means of intuition and not by means of thinking or understanding capacities, both of which become absorbed in the pure lusture of consciousness of the self in that state. A certain type of bodily posture, as described in the sixth chapter of Bhagavadgita, becomes helpful in the beginning of the practice of this Yoga, but it is not required afterwards.

The same Yoga and mudra have also been depicted in the poetry of Kalidasa in the third canto of his KUMARS AMBHAVA.

SHAKTOPAYA

If a prerson feels that he is not capable to succeed in the practice of sambhopaya, he can try SAKTOPAYA which has its position just below it. It is also called Jnana upaya. Here the primary concern is to realise the self through knowledge, meditation and contemplation of ideas such as "SHIVOHAM" (I am Siva). Mental activity plays an important role in this upaya. A regular practice in mental repetition of the exactly correct nature of the real self leads to pure and limitless consciousness in one self. Thus, a person having attained perfection in Sakta Yoga, attains the Sakta Samavesa of Sivahold and becomes fit for the practice of Sambhava Yoga.

ANAYOPAYA

We are discussing the practice of Yoga as per individuals capacities. For those who are not competent to practice the two higher type of Yoga, there is ANAVOPAYA. Anu means the psychological self, the mind body complex and this Yoga is useful to those beings who live in the field of maya. It is also called Kriya Yoga because mental activity of meditation dominates its practice. Certain objective elements are taken as the targets of meditation in this Yoga and they are imagined to be identical with Param Shiva and in this way a practitioner feels his omnipresence. Some of these objective elements are nearer to one's self and some are farther and the Anava Yoga is of several categories on this account, like budhi being nearest to self, then prana, the life force, then deha, the physical body and still further sthana, the phenomenal universe consisting of time, space and the elements which have their palce in them.

DHYANA YOGA

Dhyana Yoga is the form of anava yoga which is practiced with contemplative meditation on budhi. The word `dhyana' means conteplation. There are different forms of dhyana. For example, you are practicing dhyana when you contemplate on the lotus in your heart, or on the meaning of some mantra such as "So-HAM".

UCCARA YOGA

The word "UCCARA" means "breathing" uccara actually means concentration on the breath, the power of life force - Prana, whose functions vary depending on whether we are awake, asleep, in a transcendental state, and so on. One is supposed to meditate upon this phenomenan with the understanding that they are nothing other than one's own inner self. With practice one withdraws one's attention from the body and the mind, and focuses on the most subtle elements of pure power of prana/ aprana working in its functions. This technique is quite popular with Buddhist. They have adopted it extensively. It is considered simple as compared to other techniques.

KARANA YOGA

The term karna denotes the physical body, particularly "sense organ" which are to be made the target of contemplate meditation. Physical postures are to be accompanied by special form of contemplation which will help students realize the absolute divinity of their own nature.

STHANA KALPANA

It is meditation on entities outside the person like on some particular place alongwith contemplation of non-dualistic theism. The two objects used are time and space. This Yoga carries practitioners out of the limitations of time and washes its impression and they develop an impression of eternity which becomes one with their essential nature. The practitioners realize that they are eternal.

Ritual performance of many types of initiation (DIKSA) are also considered to be aids to Trika Yoga, especially for an aspirant of lesser ability. That helps him in acquiring greater ability to practice any type of the above mentioned Yoga. Details regarding that ritual have been discussed in detail in Tantraloka, the gist of which is given in Tantrasara.

VIGYAN BHAIRAV TANTRA

It is a very ancient book on Yoga. It goes directly to the heart of the problem of the union of human consciousness with the Divine, avoiding mechanical worship, external rites and ceremonies. It is a precious gem delineating the mystic approach to the Divine. For this purpose, it makes full use of all the aspects of human life - prana, manas, imagination and intuition. It contains 112 types of yoga. There is hardly any other book on yoga which has described so many ways of approach to central reality that is present in each man as his essential self.

SPECIAL FEATURES OF SAIVA YOGA

It should be noted that Saiva Yoga is not a practice in suppression of the functions of mind as taught by Patanjali. It is a practice in uniting the individual with universal by means of interesting and blissfull practices as taught in Saiva scriptures. In fact, out-wardly one may perform the age old, traditional or vedic rituals but inwardly he has to seek the exact truth through some yogic practices taught in Trika System. Maintaining the semblance of an ordinary house holder he has not to make any show of the powers aroused through its practice. There is no restriction based on caste, creed, gender etc. in eligibility for initiation in the Saiva yoga. Even a lowest caste can become a disciple or even a preceptor if he attains sufficient success in this practice.

DEVOTION FOR LORD

Finally, rather concluding, the only condition for saivayoga is devotion and Urge. Devotion 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. The highest knowledge of the absolute monism has been termed as the highest devotion.

Here, we can refer to Utpaladeva, who commands the greatest reverence not only for his philosophic insight or poetic genius but also for his supreme devotion to the Lord. His SIVASTOTRAVALI can rightly be called ocean of devotion.

SPECIFIC FEATURES OF KASHMIR SHAIVISM

At this stage, let us have little summing up regarding specific features of Kashmir Shaivism. Indeed, it is a religio - philosophical system elaborated mostly in the Pratyabhijna Darsana, which means re-cognition of self. Siva voluntarily adopts self - velling and becomes a jiva. The problem for the jiva is to recognise his self as Siva. The Pratyabhijna philosophy first gives a description of ultimate reality, shows how it descends to the level of the jiva or empirical individcual and how the jiva can recognise himself as Siva and become liberated.

Comparing to the Vedanta philosophy of Samkara, it accept the cosmic manifestation in totality. Some religious thinkers say "Kashmir Shaivism accepts a great challenge". Cit or Brahman is both prakasha and Vimarsha i.e. light and activity. Maya is Siva-Mayi: Divine and perfectly real. The universe is not mithya. The universe is Siva-rupa and therefore real. It is a display of the glory of the Divine.

Kashmir Shaivism adopts a realistic and utilitarian attitude. It relies on three fold authority of (a) the divine scriptures, (b) experienced preceptors and (c) One's own intuitiue self-experiences to which the highest importance has been given. In fact, an aspirant is allowed to adopt any system of practice in accordance with his individual psycho - physical aptitudes.

LINGODDHARA - DIKSA

This is a very special feature of Kashmir Shaivism. As per 17th chapter of TANTRASARA of Abhinavgupta a man of another religious denomination can, if he so desires, be initiated in Shaivism after being freed from his former belief. This has also been explained in detail in 22 and 23 chapter (AHNIKA) of TANTRALOKA.

DEFINITION

Now, let us have a clear delineation regarding the definition of Kashmir Shaivism :

Kashmir Shaivism is a process of discovery of individual soul as one with the Universal Being through a process based on :
  Correct knowledge of the exact nature of universal elements. Practice in Trika Yoga. A highly affectionate and devotional attitude towards the Absolute Reality.


We have discussed in detail the above three basis of this philosophy, i.e., 36 cosmic manifestations or Tattvas, Trika Yoga or upyas and the great stress on devotion to Lord.

RELEVANCE OF KASHMIR SHAIVISM

Before summing up relevance of this philosophy let us have a look at the Indian philosophy in general. It is a fact that no nation can achieve its desired national aims without the help of a suitable philosophy. A deep rooted philosophy can urge

and inspire a nation towards its national aims. The ancient Indian philosophy took comprehensive view of human life and was practicable in that ancient social set up, served well for thousands of years and India continued to be a prosperous country flourishing in religion and philosophy. However, subsequently, impact of many great thinkers have led us from faith to reasoning, practice to theory, etc. We were taken from a practical path of all round progress towards an idealistic path of mere theories and suitable only for few people. The result of this idealistic approach by rulers and thinkers has been invasion and destruction at the hands of more practical and powerful foreigners.
 

Kashmir Shaivism is the only school of Indian philosophy which can inspire us for both material and spiritual progress. It can serve as a sound basis for our national aims of establishing a welfare state. This philosophy is to be presented in the present day style in the light of the psychology of the youngest generations of our nation. The message for them is that world should be accepted in totality. No problem of society, state, nation and individual 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 lord Krishna, as depicted in Mahabharata is a glowing example of practical Shaivism.

As a pious house holder, we have to enjoy tasteful worldly objects within the limits laid down by traditional social laws and go on practicising Saiva Yoga side by side. Having attained success in the Yoga and relished the blissful experience of self-awareness, one losses interest in worldly enjoyments. This leads to self-recognition and experience of one's practical God head.

Be in world - yet away from it. As an elder person, we have to set such an example and create an inspiration for others. Here, it would be very pertinent to narrate an incident of a realised soul, a house holder. He was an elderly noble soul engrossed in his "Sadhna" most of the time. During evening people would interact with him, join the prayer, followed by little "prasad".

A bright young man had an enlightening experience with him. It started with a doubt. Why this holy man is interfering with the cosmic process ?. During distribution of "prasad", the people would narrate their urgent family concerns to which he would reply "Mother Durga will solve your problem".

One day this young man could express his doubt as he could find a movement alone with him. The noble person explained. "Look, my dear son, I am not living in some forest or hillok. I consider all the people around as my family members. I only direct their attention to God, the eternal Guide, who can give us the real wisdom to bear pleasure or pain.

"Perhaps you are not satisfied", he continued looking at his doubtful countenance. He directed him to get up and reach for the broom which was at the farthest end of room, hidden behind the door, "Dear, have a close look at the broom", he suggested. "I can see circle of threads tied around" the young man observed.

"I have since mastered the ASHAT SIDDHIS (the eight super-national powers) which are tied with the broom and kept at the farthest corner of the room", the holy man continued, "I feel you are a bright deserving young man. You verily require my blessings. Please ask any help or "aashirvad" and this broom will grant you". The young man could, thus, realise the `level of attainment' of this holy man, who knew the real meaning of attachment and detachment.

LALLESHWARI - HER SPIRITUAL GEMS

While expounding the relevance of Kashmir Shaivism our deepest gratitude goes to Lalleshwari, whose teachings give a unique opportunity to have insight into this mystic philosophy. She conveyed its essence in a simple way for benefit of the humanity.

Emanating from the basic Creed of Kashmir Shaivism she stresses positive acceptance of the material world rather than the philosophy of escapism. 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 realize God.

We can, indeed, get the spiritual thrill by reproducing a few mystical outpourings of her heart :-

GRACE OF GOD IS INDEPENDENT OF HUMAN EFFORT.

Some Thou pushed towards Bliss Thyself !
Some struggled very hard !
Some got drunk and obsessed :
Some one's Sadhna ended in Vain !

TO REALISE HIM OVERCOME THE BARRIERS

Shiva abides in all that exists anywhere ;
Do not discriminate between a Hindu and a Musalman ;
If you are wise, recognize your true Self ;
That is the true awareness of God.

DO NOT ESCAPE THE WORLD

Some renounced their homes, some the hermitages ;
stay as you are and be firm in your mind.
Thereby you will get established in the Self ;
What is the good of smearing ashes.

MODERATION IN LIVING

Overeating will not permit you reach the goal ;
Willful abstention from food makes you conceited.
Eat moderately to be a normal person ;
Moderate eating would surely lead to unbolting of the
Gates !

LOOK FOR GOD WITHIN

Looking for the mystic Moon within me ;
It was--like searching for the like.
I found Narayana (Shiva) permeating everywhere/
everything ;
Why this sport of diversity, Oh Lord !

ON KUNDALINI

Crossing the Six Forests, came the SHESHIKALA
oozing,
The Prakrti was sacrificed (burnt out) with the air
(Prana).
With the fire of love, I roasted my heart,
Thus SHIVA was realized by me.

BLISS

I, Lalla, entered through the garden - gate of my soul ;
There, O Joy ! I found SHIVA united with SHAKTI.
Overwhelmed, I got immersed in Lake of Nector.
Even though alive or dead, what can existence do unto me !

CONCLUSION

Let us work for upliftment as our goal. With our own self - effort we should change and strive for enlightenment. Let this change permeate from man to family, to state and nation as a whole. Leading to universal good this will usher in peaceful and conflict free world.

Kashmiri Writers Virendra Qazi
 

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