Kashmir Shaivism / Advaita Vedanta

Thu Jul 24 11:22:31 CDT 1997


Ravi asked about how these compare and I also am very curious to know. In
an effort to inspire more knowledgeable list members to share with us, I am
going to quote something Jaideva Singh says about Advaita from the Kashmir
Shaivism perspective...

"It is because Sankara Vedanta considers Brahman to be only prakasa or
jnana (light or illumination) without any vimarsa or activity that it has
to invoke the help of Maya for the manifestation of the universe. Brahman
is devoid of any activity; it is, therefore, impotent to create. It is,
only Isvara or mayopahita caitanya that can manifest the universe. But
whence does this Maya drop in? If it is some power extraneous to Brahman or
Isvara, the Sankara Vedanta is reduced to dualism. If Maya is only  an
expression of the power of Brahman, then Brahman cannot be divested of
activity. Both Sankhya and Vedanta consider the Purusa or Atma to be
niskriya or inactive, because they take the word 'activity' in a very crude
sense. Surely Brahman or Atma does not work like a potter or watch-maker.
The very Vimarsa, the very Iccha (will) of the Divine is spiritual energy
of incalculable force that can proliferate into any form from the subtlest
to the grossest."
 -J.Singh's "Siva Sutras" (Yoga of Supreme Identity) page xx, Introduction

Many commentators and popularizers such as Sw.Abhayananda (History of
Mysticism) simply equate Maya and Sakti (the active power of Siva), which
is why I asked a few weeks back whether such an equation was valid. Does
Maya = Sakti?  I wouldn't want to say yes or no. My *guess* is the question
turns on the degree of reality assigned to the universe. If the universe is
never real then there is no question about who "creates" it. If the grand
mirage is attributed with any kind of existence in itself then Jaideva's
criticism above seems more difficult to answer. Perhaps others can shed
more light on this?


Allan Curry

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