Upayas(means) in Trikha Philosophy(Kashmir Shaivism)

There are three upayas(means to get Grace/state of shiva) given in Kashmir Shaivism. They are:
1.Sambhavopaya (supreme means)
2.Saktopaya(medium means)
3.Anavopaya(inferior means)

There is another upaya known as Anupaya(no-means)-which is only meant for self-realized masters.

The concept of Moksha in Kashmir Shaivism is different from Advaith vendantis. For vedantis,the state of Shiva is sat, chit and Anand(All-truth,all consciousness,Bliss).Kashmir Shaivism argues that Shiva is already sat(truth) and there is no doubt in it. Instead, for Kashmir shaivism followers, The state of Shiva is Chit(all-consciousness),Ananad(Bliss),Iccha(rise of desire due to Shiv-Iccha),Gyan(knowledge) and Kriya(action).Sambhavopaya is Iccha(shiv-Iccha),Saktopaya is Gyan(Knowledge or means) and Anavopaya is Kriya(action).Iccha,Gyan and Kriya has been explained in detail in Kashmir Shaivism.

The state where thoughtlessness is maintained by the grace of master. A transcendental state of consciousness wherein the highly realized soul finds that whole universe has come out from sentences, sentences from words, words from letters and letters from that real “I” which is param shiva. The yogi finds that this whole universe is reflected in his own consciousness and that it is reflected from within rather than from without.
In sambhavopaya there are no means to travel upon. It is the meant. There is no where to go. The masters grace is of utmost importance in this upaya. Sambhavopaya functions in Matrikachakra(the world of alphabets,words and sentences),Pratyahara(withdraw of senses) and pratibimbavada (theory of reflection of shiva in 36 elements from shiva tattva to prithvi tatva).It is said that a Yogi in the Sambhavopaya state shines like the midday sun for the whole universe. Sambhavopaya is also called icchopaya.

Saktopaya is also called Gyanopaya. It is functioned by the means of energies as it is the means which originates from Gyan Sakti(energy of knowledge).In this upaya, the yogi does not have to recite mantras or be aware using his breath or concentrate on any particular spot. He has only to see and concentrate on that supreme being that is found in two actions without action. This is called centering in “Vigyana Bhairava Tantra”.
In Saktopaya centering can be practiced between any and all actions and or thoughts. In centering, the yogi must develop great velocity of awareness(firmness of awareness).There must be continuity in the cycle of yogi’s awareness. The yogi can center between any two thoughts or any two movements, between one thought and another thought, between waking and dreaming, between one step and the next step, between one breath and next breath. The saktopaya yogi must simply insert beakless awareness in the center of any two actions or thoughts. If this awareness is faulty and is not beakless then he falls and enters into the lowest upaya i.e anavopaya.
In this upaya the yogi must make himself capable of receiving Master’s grace.

Anavopaya is concerned with anu(individual soul).It is that upaya(means) which is functioned by the process of concentrating on uccara(breathing),Karana(organs of sensation),Dhyana(contemplation), and sthana pralkalpana(concentrating on some particular place).Anavopaya is also known as Kriyopaya.
Concentration on the breath is the essential element of the practice of cakrodaya. In practicing cakrodaya, one has to continue breathing deeply and find out the point, the center between the two breaths, the incoming and the outgoing breath. In cakrodaya the beginning points and ending points of the span of the breath are predominant. This is uccara , concentration on the breath .It can either be with sound or without sound.
Concentration on karana means having and maintaining one pointedness through vision or through any sense organ. It can be through vision or sound or any other sense organ.
Dhyana(contemplation ) is another mode of anavopaya. Dhyava is contemplation on some point. There are different forms of dhyana, like contemplating on heart, or on the meaning of some mantra(such as soham,aham or siva).contemplating on object is lower form of this upaya and concentrating on mantra is higher form as it is contemplation without any shape or form.
Sthana Prakalpana means concentration on some particular place. The higher form of sthana prakalpana, which is a practice of higher anavopaya,is that practice where one has to find out where each aspect of reality is found in the span of the breath. One has to see where the Devas and Lokpalas are residing, where is the location of Dawn and morning, the location of midday, sunset and midnight. Location and time when the Sun moves towards northern side and southern side. These are all Sthana Prakalpana, and these are the particular points, one has to concentrate on, to discover in the course of ones breath. The practice of Sthana Prakalpana is to see the vastness of this universe in one breath. The second and the lower from of Sthana Prakalpana, which is lower from of anavopaya is where one concentrate on different points in the body. These particular places for concentration are divided into three. One particular place for concentration is between the two eyebrows(bhrumadhya).The second place for concentration is the pit of the throat(Kantha kupa), and the third place of concentration is the heart(Hridaya).

In avavopaya the strength of one’s awareness is such that one has to take the support of everything as an aid to maintain and strengthen one’s awareness. In Saktopaya one begin with the center and then become established in that center. In sambhavopaya the strength of awareness is such that no support is needed, One is already residing in the meant.
It is important to realize that though there are different upayas, yet all these upayas lead one to the state of one’s transcendental consciousness. The difference in these upayas is that anavopaya will carry one in a long way, Saktopaya in a shorter way and Sambhavopaya in the shortest way. Although the ways are different, the point to be achieved is one…

source:Kashmir Shaivism-the secret supreme(by Swami Laksman joo)
siva-sutras-the supreme awakening(By swami lakshmanjoo)



  1. sanjiv
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Useful knowledge from the point of trikha philosophy. KP’s should preserve their culture and religion.

  2. Bartek
    Posted October 8, 2016 at 6:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    hello I have a question, is it true that regard to philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism everyone attain liberation, some in bigger number of incarnations soame in lesser number of incarnation, but everybody will attain liberation?

    • admin
      Posted October 9, 2016 at 6:17 am | Permalink | Reply

      Yes, that is true.

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