From Yoga Sutra to Shiva Sutra

If Yoga Sutra of Patanjali is a path then it’s end goal is defined by Shiva Sutra. In the early 800s, Shri Vasugupta was living on Mahadeva Mountain near Srinagar (Kashmir). Tradition states that one night Lord Siva appeared to him in a dream and told him of the whereabouts of a great scripture carved in rock. Upon awakening, Vasugupta rushed to the spot and found seventy-seven verses of sutras etched in stone, which he named the Siva Sutras.

 The Non-dual Kashmir Shaivism is built on the foundation of Shiva Sutra. Kashmir Shaivism, reached its culmination in the philosophy of Abhinavagupta and Kshemaraja (tenth to eleventh century AD).

The Kashmir Shaivism is also called Trika (Threefold) Philosophy. This three-fold division is sometimes represented in terms of it’s key aspects: siva, sakti, and anu or pati, pasa, pasu . Siva represents the principle of supreme transcendental consciousness, sakti its energy, and anu the individual being. At the level of living beings pasu is the individual who acts according to his/her conditioning, almost like an animal, pasa are the bonds (karmic, instinctual and habitual) that tie them to their behavior, and pati or pasupati (Lord of the Flock) is Siva personified whose knowledge liberates the pasu and makes it possible for her/him to reach their infinite potential. 

In Kashmir Shaivism, the  consciousness of self-realized person ebbs and flows between an identity of ‘individual self ‘and ‘Siva’, which is the infinite consciousness in which all cosmos are embedded. Kashmir Saivism is strongly monistic and provides an extremely rich and detailed understanding of the human psyche, and a clear and distinct path of kundalini-siddha yoga to the goal of Self Realization.

In the search for peace, enlightenment and Liberation, no path is more tolerant, more mystical, more widespread or more ancient than Saivite Hinduism. Saivism is not, therefore, a school or philosophy; it is a way of life in itself.

The Kashmir Shaivism has a pragmatic approach towards the problems of life. It is not idealistic and it considers Cosmos as real for all practical purposes. Everything exists in the absolute reality in the form of pure limitless abundance and all comprehending luminious-supreme-consciousness. That supreme consciousness is called ‘Parama Siva’. The universe is nothing but an objective manifestation of His divine powers. He is the reality and his powers are his essence and real.

The Kashmir Saivism is not about the deliverance of the Soul from Maya (delusion of polrities.) It is about the divinization of the Self, which means the recognition of our own identity with Parma Shiva.

“Kashmir Shaivism has penetrated to that depth of living thought where diverse currents of human wisdom unite in a luminous synthesis.”
– Rabindranath Tagore

The Shiva Sutra is divided into three paths, one paths leads to other making it as one whole method (or upaya). The first is Anvopaya (or Atomic Path) and is concerned with ‘anu’ – a limited being. The path defines a way that allows individual to use his mental capacity to release one from the ignorance of his true self. In this method (upaya) all the faculties of cognition are to be concentrated upon a particular external objects other than the self, and then self is to be experienced with the help of those particular objective entities. This is also known as Kriyayoga, because of concentration on external object. This yoga involves sufficient mental effort and action. Thus action (of mind on external objects) plays significant part in reaching up to this stage. This path is very similar to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra and involves asanas and pranayams to clean the nadis, and doing dharana/dhyana of external objects to develop the power of concentration. This is where Yoga Sutra ends.

Anaovpaya leads one to second path or method – The Shaktopaya (method of using inner-power or shakti). In Shaktopaya the activities of inner meditation are the most important factor. Thus it is an indirect means to (using inner meditation instead of direct love) complete the liberation. In Shri Vijnana Bhairava a traditional treatise of this method, one hundred and twelve ways are explained to attain the state of absorbtion in inner-vibration by meditating on the central nadi (sushmana) in the dreambody. All the practices of ‘Shakti’ are connected with this path of Shiva Sutra. In this method the guidence of a living teacher who has realized their true-self is necessary. Through the grace of shaktipat from living teacher inner-vibrations unfold. It is a yogic practice of attention and intention. The seeker has to develop concentration upon Shiva consciousness by means of a inner practice unfolded by the master. The definition of Shaktopaya is given in Shri Malinivijaya Tantra as :- When the aspirant concentrates on the particular inner vibration of Shiva-consciousness without the support of Pranayama and chanting of mantras etc, he develops that consciousness uninterruptedly. That state is called Shaktopaya.

Shaktopaya the leads one to Shambavopaya, which is a path, shown by the inner-master, in which the knowledge of the ultimate reality comes through the practice of emptying one’s consciousness of all its contents and then whole-being is completely absorbed in the inner-vibration of Shiva-consciousness, i.e., Love. Shambavopaya is meant for those who have fully developed their awareness of chit-consciousness and individual mind or ego-self is dissolved by inner-love of Shiva-consciousness, everything then arises and dissolves like a dream in their heart. 

I saw myself in all things
I saw God shining in everything.
You have heard, stop! see Shiva
The house is his, who am I Lalla.

Shiva pervades the world
Hindu and Muslim are the same.
If you are wise know yourself
Then you will know God.

 He is in me, I am in Him.
I experienced bliss in his company.
It was futile of me to seek Him in an alien land.
I found- Him in my own country-my own self.

He is here, He is there, He pervades all.
He is all-in-all, concealed and transcendent.
~ Lalleshvari (1335-1376).


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