advaitam and Kashmir shaivam

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Aug 11 23:07:12 CDT 1997

On Wed, 23 Jul 1997, Ravisankar S. Mayavaram wrote:

> namaste
> What are the differences and similarities between Kashmir shaivam (written
> as Shaivism, for  some reason I am more comfortable calling it as shaivam,
> adviatam, vaishnavam, etc. instead of isms). One of the noted saint of
> Kashmir shaivam, swaami Lakshman Jee in his book "Kashmir Shaivism:
> The Secret Doctrine" lists five major differences. These differences
> concern with :
> 1) understanding of the term karma yoga
> 2) understanding the existence of individual being and universal being
> 3) understanding the essence, the substance, the basis of this universe
> 4) on the validity  and efficacy of kuNDalini yoga
> 5) on who is fit to practice the teaching
> I request knowledgeable list members to discuss the similarities and
> the differences as they understand.  It would be nice if the
> connection between advaitam, kashmir shaivam and shrii vidya are also
> elaborated.
> Thank you.
> Sincerely,
> Ravi
> miinalochani paashamochani

If you were to ask a Pandit of today who was Abhinavagupta he would
probably answer the author of the dhvanyaloka (a kavyashastra) or perhaps
the author of the tika on the Natyashastra.  His philosophical thought is
mostly forgotten.  Supposedly this Swami Lakshmanaji was the last true
teacher of his parampara.  Certainly the few Kashmiris i've met have all
been "normal" North Indian Shaivas as far as I can tell.

In a tika on the Saundarya Lahiri I have the following outline of the
Shaiva shastras is given.  There are 10 Shivagamas that teach dvaita and
18 Rudragamas that teach vishistadvaita.  Together these 28 are the basis
of Shaiva Siddhanta and Shaiva temple worship particularly in the South.
In the the worship of Shiva bhagwan is primary.  Then there are 64
Bhairavagamas which teach advaita.  These are also known as Tantras and in
them worship of Shakti is primary.  The essesnce of these 64 was collected
into the Vamakeshwari Tantra which is the basis of Shrividya.

The problem with this scheme is that the Kashmiri Shaivas commented on
several of the supposedly non-advaita Agamas as well as the tantras and
also there seems to be a big discrepency between various lists of the 64
with some famous and influential Tantras not appearing on any list.

But it is safe to say Shrividya and Kashmir Shaivism share many of the
same aims and outlooks.  Shrividya is very close to Advaita Vedanta
(Shankaracharya is the acharya of both) But Kashmir Shaivism is not too
far off, at least in comparison to other darshanas.

Jaldhar H. Vyas [jaldhar at]   And the men .-_|\ who hold
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