[Advaita-l] Can anybody tell the difference between advaita and kashmir shaivism?

Animesh darkdevil114 at rocketmail.com
Sat Apr 4 11:02:59 CDT 2015

Namaste sir ,

The goal of Kashmir Shaivism is to merge with Shiva, the deity who represents Universal Consciousness, to realise one's already existing identity with him by means of wisdom, yoga and grace. The Trika system of philosophy which had appeared on this earth through Durvasa, was in this way re-introduced by Siva's will, for the welfare and spiritual development of the people of Kaliyuga. Srimat Swami Lakshman Joo, in one of his lectures on Kashmir Shaivism says, "Like Vedanta, this system endeavours to remove the innate ignorance that separates the individual from the universal."Then, what are the points of difference between these two established philosophies?There is no difference so far as the aim of both is concerned. Both the monistic philosophies aim at the realization of the Ultimate Reality, which one calls Parabrahman and the other calls Parama Siva. So Paramasiva or Parameshwara is that ultimate Reality, which the Vedas declare as "This world came out from the Eternal Existence which is one, the only and without the second."But there are points of difference in so far as their composition is concerned. On the basis of Sankhya, the two philosophies hold that the universe comprises of tattwas (or categories).

Twenty three are common in both:

Five Bhutas - (Elements)

Five Jnanendriyas (Organs of cognition)

Five Karmendriyas (Organs of action)

Five Tanmatras (subtle elements)

Three Antahkaranas (internal organs)-Mind, Intellect & Ego.

The points of difference are:

i) In Vedanta the twenty-fourth category is Prakriti and the twenty-fifth is the Purusha, which is known as the Supreme Being (Parameshwara). He is ever pure and is not tainted with the stain of worldly corruption, just as no amount of dirt can ever alter the chemical purity of gold in a gold ring. Therefore, soul or self in Vedanta means the universal Soul, Paramatman or Supreme Spirit. This is identified with Purusha, the efficient cause of the manifest world. It brings all change by its mere presence as the sun brings forth the spring flowers.

Trika, on the other hand, adds thirteen more tattwas to the twenty-three of Sankhya. These are:

Prakriti - the world of difference which has the quality of being affected,

Purusha - the limited individual,

Six Kanchukas or sheaths - They are the limiting adjuncts on the individual in respect of space, Knowledge, interest, time and authorship.

So far this is all impure knowledge.

Five more tattwas are considered to be in the field of Pure- knowledge. These are the five energies Parama Siva called consciousness, bliss, desire, knowledge and Action. Kashmir Shaivism postulates the single reality of Siva with two aspects - one Transcendental and the other Immanent like two sides of one and the same coin. The first is beyond manifestation. But both are real as the effect cannot be different from the cause. It is said:

ii) Vedanta discusses the relationship of God, Matter and World. The central theme of the Vedanta Sutras is the philosophical teachings of the Upanishads, which concern the nature of these three relative principles. This includes the relation between the universal soul and the individual soul. Shankaracharya explained, for the practical purposes, this union in his monumental commentaries in the 8th century A. D.

The system of Kashmir Shaivism deals with the three-fold principle of God, Soul and Matter, which gives it the name Trika. Vasugupata ( 9th century A. D. ) received the Siva- Sutras by inspiration and explained these to preserve for man the principle of monism which existed in the Tantras, also known as Agamas. This revived an understanding of truth in its ultimate form.

iii) In Vedanta, Maya, is a means of operation. It is not a substance. It is the force which creates illusion of non-perception in nature. It is the dividing force or we may call it the finitising energy which creates form in the formless. The world is known as Maya because it has no reality. It is only an appearance of fleeting forms. The real is never affected by the unreal as the ground is never made wet by a mirage. Maya is ignorance (avidya) when it operates the individual mind. It vanishes when the knowledge of reality dawns just as the morning mist dissipates on rising of the sun.

In Kashmir Shaivism Maya is the power of contraction of the five universal modes of consciousness, called the Kanchukas or sheaths. The power of contraction works thus:

Eternal Existance contracts into time 
All-pervasiveness contracts into Space 
All-completeness contracts into desire 
All-knowledge contracts into limited knowledge 
and, All-powerfulness contracts into limited power
Maya-shakti, as it is called here, produces Purusha and Prakriti which together establish the dual world of mind and matter. Here it is termed Maya-Granthi, as it becomes the cause of bondage. As un- divided power of Siva, Maya is not separate from the reality either. 


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