Kashmir Shaivism - Historical Roots & Different Schools

Kashmir Shaivism is the essence of Tāntric thought. Tāntrism developed around the 4th or 5th century CE as a powerful religious current and gave a new dimension and direction to India’s medieval religious culture and spiritual life.  This was a period when numerous Shaiva cults belonging to different preceptorial lines were flourishing in Kashmir, and Kashmir came to be known as a great centre of Tāntric thought and practice. Scholars divide the entire medieval Shaiva tradition into two main streams – the pre-Tāntric Atimārga or the Outer Path, and the Tantric Mantramārga or the Path of Mantra.

Instructor: SS Toshkhani

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Enrolled Students

30

Suggested Time

4 weeks

Pricing

Dakshina 

Language

English

Rating

-

Unit 1: Introduction

Agamic - Revealed Texts 27 min

Āgmas which came to be considered as revealed texts and looked upon as spiritual authorities came about through long centuries of evolution into Āgamic cults. These gave rise to a new school of philosophy called Śaivadvayvāda or non-dual Shaivism which held its sway in Kashmir from the 9th century, when the Śiva Sūtras were revealed to Vasugupta, to the end of the 13th century and beyond. The Āgamic tradition reached its pinnacle in the 10th century when Shaivism’s greatest philosopher and theologist, Abhinavgupta wove these different strands of thought and ritual together into a coherent and refined philosophical system called Anuttara Trika or simply Trika. The cults which emerged from the Āgamic texts can be classified under four main categories: the Ṥaivasiddhānta, Vāmtantras, the Bhūta and Gāruḍa Tantras and the Bhairavatantras,
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Unit 2: Schools of Non-dual Shaivism

Non Dual Shaivism 8 min

Traditionally the origins of non-dual Shaivism are traced to the sage Durvasa. At the behest of Shiva Shrikantha, he is said to have asked his three mind-born sons Tryambaka, Āmardaka and Śrīnātha to propagate the teachings of Śaiva non-dualism, dualism and dualism-cum-non-dualism respectively.
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Trika School 13 min

Trika was originally an independent school of non-dual Shaivism in the Āgamic tradition. It was so inclusive in character that it was said to encompass the essence of all the Siddhānta, Vāma and Bhairava Tantras. The Trika school is so called because of its conceptions of several triads or threesomes it accepts as the central point around which its doctrine, system of worship and practice revolve. The primary triad consists of the three goddesses Parā, Parāparā and Aparā, representing three levels of Reality.
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The Krama School 19 min

The term krama denotes sequence or progression and Krama Shaivism, a system which believes in the “notion of cyclic reality”, postulates that the Ultimate Reality can be realized through a succession of stages.The Krama is a system deeply oriented towards Shakti, envisioning the Ultimate reality as feminine in essence. It worships Kālī as the highest Goddess of Consciousness and is hence known as Kālīnaya and also as Mahārtha or the Supreme Meaning.  
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The Kula School 18 min

The term kula also implies yoginī kula or the clan or group of yoginīs who are shown in tantric literature as surrounding Bhairava and bestowing direct experience to the worshipper. Kula can also be taken to mean the totality of cosmic powers with everything—the whole world, the physical body, all objects forming a part of it.
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Unit 3: Spanda and Pratyabhijñā

Spanda School 14 min

The term spanda means the spontaneous vibration or pulsation of universal consciousness, which is conceived as a subtle or slight movement – “kiñciccalanam” as Abhinavagupta calls it – “within the fundamental core of the absolute”. It is not a motion set in time and space, but it conveys the sense of an internal dynamism of the Supreme Reality itself giving rise to the process of external manifestation. It emerged from the philosophical systemization of Shaiva monism from the aphorisms of the Śiva Sūtras.
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The Pratyabhijñā School 18 min

The school of Pratyabhijñā or Self-recognition represents the highest point in the development of non-dualist philosophical thought in Kashmir Shiva tradition. It is a systematic and rational philosophy of absolute consciousness that developed in the 9th century. Somānanda, the pupil of Vasugupta, first formulated its foundational tenets in his philosophical work Śivadŗșṭi (the Vision of Shiva) on which he wrote a vŗtti or commentary also, which is now lost.
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