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Information Digest
Volume 4
April 2003

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Lalla-Ded Educational and Welfare Trust

Table of Contents

Lalla-Ded Educational Trust
Project Zaan
Information Digest - Vol. 4

Har-van

Religion

Mysticism has remained a very potent factor in the spiritual journey of people in Kashmir. Mysticism connotes direct personal communion with the divine, devoid of intellectual intervention. This experience though not based on reason or earthly knowledge is achieved through self-discipline, inward purity and 'effort'. The 'effort' in the spiritual sense could be what we call as 'Yoga'. Or in Indian tradition as 'Tantra'. Tantra refers to actual spiritual practices which open the gates of perception to divine reality within and around us. Kashmir has throughout the ages remained a great seat of Tantra practices.

 Mysticism being beyond religious denominations also attracted adherents from Islam. They usually called themselves as Sufis (or Rishis in Kashmir). On coming to Kashmir, they found congenial atmosphere for these practices and also established liaison with the local mystics.
 Since mystic experiences do not lend themselves to description through common language or empirical knowledge, the adherents of this genre found their own way of expression through poetry with its own symbols and images. This is the reason that we have had a lot of Sufi or mystic poets in Kashmir, both Hindus and Muslims. No doubt Lalla Ded comes at the top of this pack, but many like Nund Reshi, Shamas Faqir, P.mp3anand, Wahab Khar, Swachha Kral, Krishen Joo Razdan, Master Zinda Kaul, Ahad Zargar are but a few of them.

 The Tantra practiced in Kashmir had strong links if not basis in Kashmir Shaivism - most of it to Shakti (the manifest divine). Thus worship of Shakti in the f.mp3 of Devi is also connected with tantric practices. The awakening of Kundalini i.e. the Shakti factor in each person through its various stages (from Muladhar to Sahastradal) has been part of the Tantra folklore. The famous Kashmiri works Panchastavi and Samudralahiri are in praise of Maa Shakti but at the same time alluding to the rise of Kundalini Shakti in the devotee. (Although the authorship of Samudralahiri is attributed to Adi Shankara on his visit to Kashmir, but it is not conclusively proved.)
 
 

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