and nature seem to have a bearing on each other. Seated in the lofty
hills of the Himalayas, the school of Kashmir Saivism too is just as
parts of Hindu mythology locate in the Himalayas, particularly those
associated with the wor-ship of Lord Siva. Mountain Kailash is
believed to be the abode of Siva. According to certain
interpretations of Hindu cosmology, the origin of life itself took
place only from Kailash.
time, many schools arose that interpreted the texts and beliefs on
Siva. One significant one among them is the school of Saivism of
Kashmir. This school developed largely between the eighth and the
twelfth centuries of the Christian era. On taking a closer look at
this school, one finds it difficult to slot it into any of the
already existing moulds. For, like the Advaita Vedanta, it is
monistic, like Vaishnavism it is theistic, like Yoga it is practical,
like Nayaya it is logical and like Buddhism it is appeasing. Kashmir
Saivism is thus worth a closer look for it seems to narrow the
distance between the ideal and the real.
give a simple account of the base of Kashmir Saivism, one has to
begin with the idea of the Vedas. Veda means knowledge. The Vedas
form the bedrock of Hinduism and was transmitted to the rishis
(seers). The vedas are eternal and the period of its origin cannot be
determined. There are four in number, namely: Rig Veda, Yajur Veda,
Saama Veda, and Atharva Veda. Among these, Atharva Veda is not used
while performing yagyas. So, for all practical purposes, the Vedas
that are in use now, are three in number. Hence, they are termed as
Thrayee Veda. Siva forms the nucleus of the Veda. The Vedas are also
supposed to be the breath of Siva.
refer to Saastras, spelt out by Siva himself. Siva spelt out the
Aagamas, first to his consort, Parvati. The language that is employed
in them is ancient Sanskrit. Again the period of the Aagamaas are
equally indeterminable like the Vedas. Kashmir Saivism belongs to
the Aagamas and not the Vedas.
Saivism was nurtured by some of the most gifted Sanskrit savants, who
lived between the 8th and the 13th century AD. It is a system of
philosophy, religion and esoteric, and reconciliatory metaphysical
positions. It has an immense appeal in its devotional fervour and
aesthetic orientation. The scholarly treatises are much better known
than the hymns.
the 8th century AD, Somananda and Abhinavagupta introduced Kashmir
Saivism. Shri Abhinavagupta also gives the historical account of
monistic Kashmir Saivism in his extraordinary work Tantraloka.
philosophy of Kashmir Saivism was taught by four great teachers
namely Somananda, Erakanatha, Sumatinatha and Vasuguptanatha.
was a great contributor to Kashmir Saivism. His ideology was brought
about in his book Siva Drishti, containing 700 slokas (verses).
Although, the traditions might differ in terms of worship of God
among the various cults in India, the ideology was always based on
the Aagamaas. Kashmir Saivism is special because of the concept of
Thrigam, meaning Triad. They are Pathy, Pasu, and Paasam. Pathy
refers to the ruler, Siva. Pasu refers to the ruled, and Paasam
refers to ignorance.
Saastra, Spuntha Saastra and Prithya Pinja Saastra explain the
is the author of this Saastra. They contain Tantra Saastras numbering
sixty-four. Though some of the Tantra Saastras may sound dualistic,
they are nothing but Advaitic. Vasugupta made the first book on
Kashmira Thriga Saastra called Siva Soothram. It deals with Saakta
(mode of worship of Goddess) practices, and different modes to reach
means a feeble movement. This feeble movement originates from Sakti.
Vasugupta authored Spuntha Kaarigai or Spuntha Soothra, based on Siva
is to cultivate a feeling that we are a part of Parameswaran, the
Ultimate Siva. Somonanda initiated this Saastra.
is a basic difference between Advaitic School of thought and Saivism.
In Advaita, the ultimate is Brahmam, that is, still-in-nature with no
change in form.
in Saivism, Siva is full of life and is associated with Sakti. Siva
is matter and Sakti is energy. There is no matter without energy.
Thus, Siva and Shakti are unified. This is the principle of
Ardha-Naree-Eswara, the right half of the form is Siva and the left
half is Sakti. They are inseparable, and are together wherever they
are. Sakti is the cause of every change that takes place.
is the basis for every manifestation, whether on an individual, or on
the earth, or in the universe.
is also active and is not a silent spectator. But he is
freedom-oriented, and nothing can control him. All his actions are as
per his wishes. He can create, he can nurture and he can also destroy
anything. This freedom of his desire is Iswarya. Kashmir Saivism is
based on this Iswarya. Perhaps, this is the reason, he is called as
Eswaran. His five main forms of action are Chit Sakti, Aananda Sakti,
Ichcha Sakti, Gnana Sakti and Kriya Sakti.
Sakti refers to the capacity to produce without leaning on anything.
It is called Swathanthram. It is resplendent in nature, and is in the
form of Jyothi/light.
Sakti refers to the tendency of not depending on external factor for
the purpose of creation.
Sakti refers to the freedom to create, or to change anything as per
Sakti refers to have a dispassionate outlook and to understand the
essence of the subject matter.
Sakti refers to the ability to act. The Thrigam belong to
Iswarath-vaya-vaadham, an argument based on the conscious feeling
that we are part of Iswara. The essence of Kashmir Saivism stems from
the thought that Iswara and we, are not entirely different. We may be
different from Him in the physical frame but internally we are a part