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Kashmir Shaivism and Our Times

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.

DEFINITION

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.
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.

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.

SPECIAL FEATURES OF SAIVA YOGA

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.

RELEVANCE OF KASHMIR SHAIVISM

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.

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.

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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