The importance of Kashmir Saivism lies in the fact that an independent school of Saivism, with its own specific ethos and orientation, emerged from the soil of Kashmir during the eighth century of our era, which till the end of twelfth century made great strides both philosophically and theologically. The type of Saivism that emerged during the eighth century is deeply rooted in the religious outlook of Tantrism. It is the Tantric religious outlook which has served as the substratum for the flowering of various schools of Saivism, and which ultimately terminated in the rise of such philosophical schools as the Spanda and the Pratyabhijna.
The author of the book has made every attempt at explaining as comprehensively as possible the complex theoretical thinking of the Trika. The Trika, although non-dualistic in orientation, does not obliterate the existence of the person, and that is why it accepts Reality as being of the nature of I-consciousness. According to Trika, Reality is both prakasa and vimarsa, and so the world we ive in is an actual manifest condition of the Absolute. Also its theology of divine kenosis discloses that God is not far away from us, but as light of consciousness constitutes our essential nature.
Moti Lal Pandit, being a Kashmiri Pandit, had the opportunity of studying the philosophical and Tantric traditions of Trika from various teachers both in and outside the Valley. Trained as a theologian and in modern humanities and classical languages, he has accordingly been the communicator of today's Hinduism and Buddhism when they encounter the modern world. His many books include: Towards Transcendence; Being as Becoming; Transcendence and Negation: A Study of Buddhist Compassion and Christian Love; Beyond the Word; Sunyata, The Essence of Mahayana Spirituality; In Search of the Absolute; and The Hidden Way: A Study in Modern Religious Esoterism.
The Trika Saivism of Kashmir whose philosophic content and orientation in characterized by non dualistic mode of thinking has its basic source in such primary revelatory texts that are known as the Agamas or Tantras. The entire Tantric tradition whether philosophic or theological is basically esoteric in that it that is the Tantric tradition shares its esoteric knowledge only with those who have been initiated by a competent teacher. In addition to its esoteric veneer, the tradition of Kashmir Saivism has also been given different nomenclatures such as trika sasana or rahasya sampradaya. The former appellation denotes that the tradition has constructed its philosophical as well theological superstructure on the basis of principles that are triadic whereas the latter appellation denotes the esoteric spirit of the tradition. We may thus say that the trika Saivism contains within itself a definite system of thought as well as such a religious discipline that is esoteric and hidden.
The entirety of Trika Literature both canonical and non canonical has been classified into the agamic spanda and the pratyabhijna literatures. For the Trika adherents the Agamic literature on account of its revelatory character is being treated as belonging to the supernatural realm which means that it is free from such deficiencies and defects from which the worldly literature suffers. The worldly literature has its source in the human mind and must necessarily carry imprints of the human mind which is but the product of prakrti. The agamic literature on the contrary is of divine nature and so is free from all such empirical defects that is the mark of worldly literature it is for this reason that he Agamic literature is considered as a fit vehicle or means for gaining access to the soteric goal which is nothing else then to gain liberation from the samsaric bondage of becoming. The important Agamic texts that are give the status of revelation are the malinivijaya Svacchanda Bijnanabhairava Mrgendra, Netra, etc. most of these texts on account of the vagaries of time and history have been lost. These Agamic texts in one form or the other express non dualistic ideas, although not in a systematic way concerning the absolute or what in religious terms is called god. These text also expound and explain such basic religious methods which enable the adept to reach his soteric goal of liberation.
This revelatory thought of the Agamic texts remained for a long period of time scattered and in a state of diffusion. The first attempt that was made at integrating the diffused thought of the Agamas was that of Vasugupta. Vasugupta while composing the text of the Sivasutra largely succeeded in his mission and accordingly this text has been accordingly this text has been accorded the status of revelation. Concerning the actual authorship of the Sivasutra there are various shades of opinion among the traditional scholars of Kashmir. Some of them hold the view that Vasugupta was just a compiler of the text whereas the actual author of the text is considered to be Siva himself. It is said that Siva revealed the entire text of the Suvasutra in a dream to Vasugupta. Some among these scholars hold the view that Siva informed Vasugupta in a dream that the entire text is inscribed on a rock in the Mahadeva mountain. There is a third school of opinion which thinks that the text was transmitted of Vasugupta by some Siddhas. Whatever be the case concerning the authorship of the Sivasutra the fact remains that the name of Vasugupta in one way or the other is associated with the text from a historical point of view it is Vasugupta who is viewed as being responsible in having transmitted.
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend