Kashmir Shaiv Darsana - Part 2

Kashmir the land of great Divine learning

By Shail Gulati

Shail GulatiThe author is a practising Shaivite mystic and has authored two books 'A Yogi and The Snake' and 'Naamroop-A Tribute to the Divine.'

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

To further our study of the great kashmir Shaiv Darsana, let us first consider some basics of shiva and shaivism:

Who Is Shiva?

Transcendent God:

Shiva is the timeless God of the universe.

Before even the creation of our world, He alone exists; as existence itself, and can be understood as the ultimate transcendence, the supreme being..

Personal God:

This supreme being, wants to become something. So, He manifests the world as we know it, with himself the projector, but alongside all that he creates, he enters the project as an embodiment, much like the director taking a role in his own play!

He now involves himself in meditating and re-connecting with his transcendent Godness. Such connecting is termed as “yoga”, and so, shiva the yogi, is replete with divine knowledge and power. Shiva constantly deploys his powers and wisdom, his godhood, to uplift all his children. In this, he is goodness personified, and many who have faith in his immanence, worship him as their personal god.

Why then is Shiva known as the destroyer?

Hinduism believes that the processes of God are principally threefold:  creation, preservation, and destruction. It further believes, that God optimizes his attributes in  a particular manifestation to enable the execution of a specific process with the greatest efficacy,

Thus Brahma is the creator of the world, Vishnu incarnates time and again , for he is it’s preserver.

Which , in some thinking leaves Shiva as the destroyer at the end of a world cycle.

However, this is one view. Those who know Shiva better (the shaivites), see His role in a different way.

In a world full of changes, something must mark the parameter of permanence,  and that permanent principle is Shiva. Shaivites prefer to understand Him as the”Re-absorber”. Their view is :

The Shaivite Belief

Shiva is one of four main Gods of Hinduism, the other three being Brahma, Vishnu and Devi, Shiva’s consort Herself.

In the beginning, only Shiva is. He is endowed with immense power, Shakti, which is none other than Devi, the eternal consort. The two are inseparable, like any one thing and its inherent nature,

So, saying only Shiva was, enigmatically and automatically, means only shivashakti was.

God, and Mother Nature “In-here” in each other as one.

They create Brahma and Vishnu. Brahma creates the world, and enters it, so does Vishnu, and, yes, So do shiva and devi. Most of us know Shiva from here, in his popular depiction as Shiva, the yogi.

He is dhyanastha, meditative, mindful, beneficent, always immersed in transmitting spiritual guidance, sharing many methods of attainment.

Ultimately, all is absorbed back to him, but, those are lucky, who get absorbed in godhead in their current birth, whilst retaining their body, that is, before dying.This is attainment.

So, to one who wants to learn of shiva’s mysticism, destruction does not mean ‘finishing of the world’,

It rather connotes the ending of ignorance and falsehood, the ending of identifying too much  with the finites. Shiva guides us to higher wisdom by the ‘taking away’ of junk messages that have accumulated in our minds through ages, and have resulted not only in personal misery, but also creating chaos and disharmony when we come together in collective societies.

Foremost amongst our errant conditionings, is:

We think we are distant from god.

Shiva ends the delusion that we are only body and mind, distant from god.

Ending of delusion, ends limitation. So if there is something shiva does destroy, its your limitation.

‘Verily’, teaches Shiva, ‘god is nearer to you than your very breath’ for simply understood, is not god the breath in you?

And thus, Shiva begins to remind us of where it all began….

Shiva teaches that we, in fact, are made of the same shivashakti principle that began the world.

All creation is from one source and that there are no two different origins.

This makes him the teacher divine, Shiva dakshinamurti. He who taught without taking a fee.

What is shiva’s mysticism?

We have another very common belief,

That we are our physical body only.

While this, of course, is a fact for us, Shiva says it is not the whole truth.

Debunk these half baked understandings, says shiva, And find out for yourself what really is.

Just as, somewhere within our flesh and bone, exist our digestive organs , which we cannot ordinarily see, but know their presence by their effects..At a deeper level, we know we have a mind, even though we cannot see it, we again acknowledge it by its effects, we know we think!

So too, at an even more subtle depth , resides, very much , our innermost self, and we can know it by its effects, after we practice quietitude and meditation.

Like a child who is not guided about the presence of his intestines, just takes them for granted, and might well consider them superstition, unless shown beyond a doubt... so too, when he grows up, all ‘other worldly’ things assume an infamous tag of ‘superstition’ !

On the other hand, to the mystic who has known his meditative transcendences, not only the body, but also the entire world is a superstition : if the reality of self that fulfills it , is not known.

Kashmir shaivism and the dynamics of Vijnanbhairava

Kashmir shaivism, replete with its pratyabhijna , agama and spanda sastras, has a very rich heritage for the whole world.

Expounded endearingly to his wife, goddess parvati, faithfully recorded in  the text known as vijnanbhairava, the applied metaphysics of shiva, 112 yoga dharanas are taught as a means of attaining to the siva conscious Self.

Shiva’s mysticism consists of elaborately detailed and graded, Simple and higher techniques of meditations, ranging from

  • The simple listening of music , dance, drama, good food, and other aesthetic delights, to the point of enrapturement.

  • Yogic, deliberate regulation of breath.

  • Mind stimulating thoughts, say as likening the expansiveness of the sky to the transcendent goodness.

  • Likewise delibration on the spiritual vibration of a glorius natural landscape

  • The meditating upon the form and importantly, the quality of an attained preceptor.

Together with the basic philosophy given out in pratyabhijna and detailed vision in Siva sutras, the shaiv darsana of Kashmir guides a sansari jiva to steadily re-access his Sivahood.

Source: Kashmir Sentinel