advaitam and Kashmir shaivam

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rbalasub at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Mon Jul 28 15:28:47 CDT 1997

Ravi wrote:

> 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

Swami Lakshmanjee (SL) says that the Kashmir shaivites accept the world
as real, since it is shiva's creation. Unlike some other schools like
dvaita, they accept that brahman is both the material and efficient
cause. Advaita also says brahman is the material and efficient cause,
but the world is the result of a superimposition on brahman. I am not
sure how the Kashmir shaivites say that the world is real, unless they
also accept that there is a real transformation of brahman. (I have to
read a bit more stuff to understand this idea).

SL also claims that the world is real and the mAyA is not anirvachanIyam
(undefinable) and that advaita is wrong on that count. He also claims
that the chakra-s are real and saying that the world is a product of
mAyA lessens the importance of the chakra-s! Advaitins would, of course,
disagree with him on all these. Also, the 36 tattva-s ennumerated in the
shaiva Agama-s are very important for these people.

The mAnasollAsa seems to attempt a bridge between the Kashmir shaivism
and advaita. The author accepts that there is spanda and that activity
(kriyA) manifests itself because of this. However, this is only
_seemingly_ true and is due to mAyA, which is anirvachanIyam! The author
also mentions that the shaiva Agama-s accept the 36 atttva-s, but these
are also only apparently true and due to mAyA only. The author also
accepts the creation theory that the world is a product of shiva's will,
but the display of will is by mAyA only and brahman is actually

There are some similarities between Kashmir shavism and advaita, but
there also seem to be lots of differences. I am currently reading the
sarvadarshana sa.ngraha of mAdhavAchArya and the pratyabiGYa darshana is
placed after the dvaita, vishishhTAdvaita and the pAshupata schools, but
is placed before even the jaimini darshana (purva mImA.nsa). The last is
the yoga school. I should also probably mention that the schools are
placed in increasing order of similarity to advaita. So it is held by
mAdhavAchArya that the school most similar to advaita is the yoga.

> connection between advaitam, kashmir shaivam and shrii vidya are also
> elaborated.

shrI vidyA, by which I'll assume you mean the worship of shrI chakra,
meru yantra etc and also japa of the pa.nchadashAxarI, lalita trishatI
and sahasranAma-s etc are popular either in advaitic circles or the
shakta-s, whose philosophy is similar to Kashmir shaivism. They also
accept that the world is real etc. The common point between the trika
system and advaita is that some advaitins also practice kuNDalini yoga.
AFAIK, shrI vidyA is not part of the Kashmir Shaivite circles.

Anand wrote on the same topic:

>   Kashmir Shaivism accepts the advaitic theory that the world is an aabhaasa
>   (illusion) but with some crucial differences. I would like to discuss this
>   interesting topic, if others are interested.

Please do, I am very interested.


More information about the Advaita-l mailing list